0106-20 NY Times Crossword 6 Jan 20, Monday

Constructed by: Tess Davison & Kathy Lowden
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Gem

Themed answers are birthstones corresponding to months called out in the themed clues. Additionally, the word BIRTHSTONE is spelled out by letters circled in the grid:

  • 11A One of 17-, 18-, 37-, 60- or 62-Across : GEM
  • 17A JULY : RUBIES
  • 18A MAY : EMERALDS
  • 37A FEBRUARY : AMETHYSTS
  • 60A APRIL : DIAMONDS
  • 62A JUNE : PEARLS

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 01s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 One of 17-, 18-, 37-, 60- or 62-Across : GEM

Here is the “official” list of birthstones, by month, that we tend to use today:

  • January: Garnet
  • February: Amethyst
  • March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
  • April: Diamond
  • May: Emerald
  • June: Pearl or Moonstone
  • July: Ruby
  • August: Sardonyx or Peridot
  • September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
  • October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
  • November: Topaz or Citrine
  • December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

14 Saudi ___ : ARABIA

The largest country in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia, which covers over 750,000 square miles. The smallest country is Bahrain, which covers less than 700 square miles.

15 Director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

17 JULY : RUBIES

Ruby is a precious stone made from the mineral corundum, also called aluminium oxide. The corundum includes some of the element chromium, which results in the red or pink color.

18 MAY : EMERALDS

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl that is green in color due to traces of chromium. Beryl containing traces of vanadium are also considered to be emeralds, at least here in the US. “Vanadium emeralds” aren’t recognized as emeralds in Europe.

20 Pistol, slangily : GAT

“Gat” is a slang term meaning “gun” that is derived from “Gatling gun”, the precursor to the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent it so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure …

32 The “p” of r.p.m. : PER

Revolutions per minute (rpm)

37 FEBRUARY : AMETHYSTS

Amethyst is a form of quartz that is purple in color. There was a belief that the stone protected the owner from drunkenness, which is how amethyst got its name. The Ancient Greek “ἀméthystos” means “not intoxicated”.

48 Brain test, for short : EEG

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.

52 The “A” in DNA : ACID

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

54 Beat poet Ginsberg : ALLEN

Allen Ginsberg was a poet from from Newark, New Jersey whose name became inextricably linked with the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture of the 1960s. His most famous work is the 1955 poem “Howl”, in which Ginsberg denounces capitalism and conformity in the US.

The group of American writers known as the Beat Generation first came to prominence at a poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco in October of 1955. Five young poets presented their work that day:

  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Philip Lamantia
  • Michael McClure
  • Gary Snider
  • Philip Whalen

57 Post-W.W. II alliance : NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded not long after WWII in 1949 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The first NATO Secretary General was Lord Ismay, Winston Churchill’s chief military assistant during WWII. Famously, Lord Ismay said the goal of NATO was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

58 ___ Gorbachev, former first lady of the Soviet Union : RAISA

Raisa Gorbacheva was the wife of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. There’s no doubt that Raisa’s charm and personality helped her husband as he worked to change the image of the Soviet Union.

60 APRIL : DIAMONDS

The chemical element carbon has the symbol C and atomic number 6. Pure carbon exists in several physical forms, including graphite and diamond.

62 JUNE : PEARLS

Pearls form in oysters because of a reaction that is similar to an immune system response in higher animals. The pearl is formed as the oysters lays down successive layers of calcium carbonate around some microscopic foreign body that has penetrated the shell.

65 Termite look-alike : ANT

Termites are insects that are somewhat unique in that they can digest cellulose (as can ruminants such as cattle). Because of this diet, they cause a lot of trouble for human populations by feeding on wood in man-made structures.

67 Be successful in the end : PAN OUT

When prospectors pan for gold, they do so by mixing soil and water in a pan. Because gold is very dense, gravel and soil can be washed over the side of the pan leaving the heavy precious metal at the bottom. The gold has been “panned out”, and so we often use “pan out” figuratively to mean “turn out, succeed”.

68 Director Spike : LEE

Film director Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has very much made New York City his home and place of work. Most of Lee’s films are set in New York City, including his first feature film, 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It”. That film was shot over two weeks with a budget of $175,000. “She’s Gotta Have It” grossed over $7 million at the US box office.

69 Breyer’s competitor : EDY’S

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

Breyers ice cream was introduced by William A. Breyer in 1866, in Philadelphia. Always known for using all-natural ingredients, Breyers products made in recent years contain more and more food additives in an attempt to cut costs in a competitive market. In fact, most Breyers products can’t even be labeled “ice cream” anymore as they don’t contain enough milk and cream and so are labeled “frozen dairy dessert” instead.

Down

1 Spelling of a word that’s not the usual: Abbr. : VAR

Variant (var.)

2 Salad green : ARUGULA

Eruca sativa is an edible plant that is known as “arugula” in the US, and “rocket” in Britain and Ireland and in Canada. The Italian name for the plant is “rucola”, from the Latin name. It is “rucula” that evolved into the American term “arugula”.

6 Part of Manhattan where the United Nations is located : EAST SIDE

While there are many neighborhoods in New York City’s borough of Manhattan, there are some broader terms that are used to navigate one’s way around the island:

  • Uptown: above 59th Street
  • Midtown: between 59th Street and 14th Street (but sometimes 23rd Street or 34th Street)
  • Downtown: below 14th Street
  • Upper Manhattan: above 96th Street
  • Lower Manhattan: below Chambers Street
  • East Side: east of Fifth Avenue
  • West Side: west of Fifth Avenue

The United Nations (UN) headquarters in Manhattan, New York City was completed in 1952. The organization also has three main offices around the world, in Geneva (opened in 1946), in Nairobi (opened in 1996) and in Vienna (opened in 1980).

7 Actress Davis : GEENA

As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Davis is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …

8 Upstate New York city south of the Finger Lakes : ELMIRA

Elmira is a city in the southern tier of New York State located closed close to the border with Pennsylvania. Elmira was also the family home of Olivia Langdon, wife of Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). Mark Twain and family are buried in Elmira’s Woodlawn Cemetery.

When I first moved to the US, I settled in Upstate New York and was lucky enough to live near the beautiful Finger Lakes. The largest of the eleven lakes is Seneca Lake, which is one of the deepest bodies of water in the United States.

10 Part of a cigarette rating : TAR

The partially-combusted particulate matter that is produced as a cigarette burns forms a resinous material called “tar”. Cigarette tar is different than the tar used on roads, but it is still very toxic. Marijuana smoke produces a very similar tar to cigarette smoke, and is just as dangerous.

13 Genre of the Edgar Awards : MYSTERY

The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (“Edgars”) are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America. There are several categories of awards. For example, the Ellery Queen Award honors “writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry”. The Raven Award is presented to non-writers, who contribute to the mystery genre.

19 Actor’s representative: Abbr. : AGT

Agent (agt.)

29 Home of Arizona State University : TEMPE

Tempe is a city in the metropolitan area of Phoenix. The city is named for the Vale of Tempe in Greece.

Arizona State University (ASU) has a long history, and was founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885. The athletic teams of ASU used to be known as the Normals, then the Bulldogs, and since 1946 they’ve been called the Sun Devils.

31 SAG-___ (Hollywood union) : AFTRA

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was formed back in 1933, at a time when Hollywood stars were really being exploited by the big movie studios, especially the younger and less inexperienced performers. Early supporters of the Guild included famous names like Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney (you could imagine them in a negotiation!). Past presidents of SAG were also big names, such as Eddie Cantor, James Cagney, Ronald Reagan, Howard Keel, Charlton Heston, Ed Asner and Melissa Gilbert. SAG merged with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) in 2012 to create SAG-AFTRA.

34 Woodrow Wilson was the only U.S. president to have one : PHD

Woodrow Wilson was a professor at Princeton from 1890 to 1902 at which time he was promoted to president of the university. Professor Wilson had earned his PhD. at John Hopkins University in 1886, so that when he was elected 28th President of the United States in 1912, he became the only US President to hold a PhD.

39 Alcoholic drink that’s often flavored with fruit : SCHNAPPS

“Schnapps” isn’t actually a German word, but is our English spelling of the German “Schnaps” (note the “pp” versus “p”). Germans use the word “Schnaps” to describe any strong alcoholic drink. We tend to use “Schnapps” for a liqueur, usually a sweet beverage flavored with fruit. “Schnaps” is a Low German noun meaning “swallow”.

40 Event ending in -gate : SCANDAL

The Watergate scandal is so named because it involved a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The Watergate complex is made up of five units, three of which are apartment buildings, one an office building, and one a hotel-office building (which housed the DNC headquarters). Watergate led to the “-gate” suffix being used for many subsequent scandals, such as “Irangate”, “Bridgegate” and “Deflategate”.

41 Illegal import from Colombia : COCAINE

The coca plant is native to South America and is similar in appearance to a blackthorn bush. Coca leaves have been chewed by humans for centuries, perhaps even as far back as 3,000 years ago. Chewing the leaves apparently produces a pleasurable numb sensation in the mouth and a pleasant taste. The most famous alkaloid in the leaf is cocaine, but this wasn’t extracted in its pure form until the mid-1800s. The extracted cocaine was used in medicines and tonics and other beverages.

44 Airplane wing feature : AILERON

In traditional aircraft designs, pitch is controlled by the elevator and roll is controlled by the aileron. On some newer aircraft these two functions are combined into control surfaces called “elevons”.

46 Unit of energy : ERG

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

53 ___ Pérignon : DOM

Dom Pérignon is a prestige label of champagne from Moët et Chandon, the French winery. The label’s name honors the Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, who helped to improve the quality and production of champagne in the early 18th century. Although Dom Pérignon made major contributions to champagne production, many of the stories in which he figures are just myths. He did not “invent” champagne, nor sparkling wine in general. Nor did he say the famous words, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”. That lovely line first appeared in a print advertisement in the late 1800s!

59 Hindu queen : RANI

A ranee (also “rani”) is an Indian queen or princess, and the female equivalent of a raja.

63 “Let’s ___!” (cry after grace) : EAT

A grace is a short prayer recited before or after a meal.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Leave empty : VACATE
7 Fellow : GENT
11 One of 17-, 18-, 37-, 60- or 62-Across : GEM
14 Saudi ___ : ARABIA
15 Director Kazan : ELIA
16 “Pick a card, ___ card” : ANY
17 JULY : RUBIES
18 MAY : EMERALDS
20 Pistol, slangily : GAT
21 Upper-body garment that’s not tucked in : TUNIC
23 Surfeit : GLUT
24 Source of solar energy : SUN
25 Trap : SNARE
26 Zipped … or ripped : TORE
27 Like the waistband on underwear : ELASTIC
30 ___ rule (typically) : AS A
32 The “p” of r.p.m. : PER
33 Like driftwood or a has-been : WASHED UP
35 Ill-tempered, as a baby : FUSSY
37 FEBRUARY : AMETHYSTS
40 Rascal : SCAMP
43 Lessen : DECREASE
47 Gear tooth : COG
48 Brain test, for short : EEG
51 More protected by a tree’s leaves : SHADIER
52 The “A” in DNA : ACID
54 Beat poet Ginsberg : ALLEN
56 Fall behind : LAG
57 Post-W.W. II alliance : NATO
58 ___ Gorbachev, former first lady of the Soviet Union : RAISA
59 Hi-___ monitor : RES
60 APRIL : DIAMONDS
62 JUNE : PEARLS
65 Termite look-alike : ANT
66 Mark left by a whip : WELT
67 Be successful in the end : PAN OUT
68 Director Spike : LEE
69 Breyer’s competitor : EDY’S
70 Miserly : STINGY

Down

1 Spelling of a word that’s not the usual: Abbr. : VAR
2 Salad green : ARUGULA
3 Beach huts : CABANAS
4 Not much : A BIT
5 Make a knot : TIE
6 Part of Manhattan where the United Nations is located : EAST SIDE
7 Actress Davis : GEENA
8 Upstate New York city south of the Finger Lakes : ELMIRA
9 Nephews’ counterparts : NIECES
10 Part of a cigarette rating : TAR
11 Runs, as a horse : GALLOPS
12 Puts up with : ENDURES
13 Genre of the Edgar Awards : MYSTERY
19 Actor’s representative: Abbr. : AGT
22 Rough, as an 11-Across : UNCUT
24 Stitch : SEW
28 Phony : SHAM
29 Home of Arizona State University : TEMPE
31 SAG-___ (Hollywood union) : AFTRA
34 Woodrow Wilson was the only U.S. president to have one : PHD
36 Not new : USED
38 Noes’ opposites : YESES
39 Alcoholic drink that’s often flavored with fruit : SCHNAPPS
40 Event ending in -gate : SCANDAL
41 Illegal import from Colombia : COCAINE
42 Shake up : AGITATE
44 Airplane wing feature : AILERON
45 Shell-less marine invertebrate : SEA SLUG
46 Unit of energy : ERG
49 Made, as an income : EARNED
50 “With pleasure” : GLADLY
53 ___ Pérignon : DOM
55 Top 10s, e.g. : LISTS
59 Hindu queen : RANI
61 Be in debt : OWE
63 “Let’s ___!” (cry after grace) : EAT
64 Hog’s home : STY

6 thoughts on “0106-20 NY Times Crossword 6 Jan 20, Monday”

  1. 13:59, not really difficult, but tough for a Monday. It is Monday, isn’t it? I’ve been on vacation for the last two weeks… 🙂

  2. 2 Errors (from not proof reading). RAIS(O)/SCHN(O)PPS and AP(E)RA/AMETHYS(E)S. Both pretty obvious, especially when considering the circled squares which for me spelled out BIRTH SEONES!

    AILERON totally new to me.

  3. 10:11, no errors. Nothing much else to say, so I’ll toss this out there: I don’t think that PEARLS are technically classified as GEMs. They are products of an organic process, in that respect are similar to amber and ivory.

  4. Double revealer? BIRTHSTONES are also GEMSTONES aren’t they? I think @BruceB is “technically” right about the PEARLS though.

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