0114-20 NY Times Crossword 14 Jan 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Jim Peredo
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Cranky at First

Themed answers each start with a synonym of “cranky”:

  • 18A Video game franchise in which the enemies are pigs : ANGRY BIRDS
  • 23A With 51-Across, Eric Carle kid-lit book, after “The” : … GROUCHY …
  • 51A See 23-Across : … LADYBUG
  • 34A Feline in an internet meme : GRUMPY CAT
  • 57A 1980 boxing biopic : RAGING BULL

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Actress Hathaway : ANNE

Actress Anne Hathaway is a favorite of mine, I must say. She starred in “The Devil Wears Prada” in 2006 and in 2007’s “Becoming Jane”, a film that I particularly enjoyed.

14 Hacienda drudge : PEON

A peon is a lowly worker who has no real control over his/her working conditions. The word “peon” comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.

In Spanish, the term “hacienda” is often used for a large estate.

15 Like much of the Dakotas : RURAL

The Dakota Territory was formed in 1861 and ceased to exist with the admission to the Union of the states of North Dakota and South Dakota. The territory was split into two states in 1889 largely due to lobbying by the Republican Party, which enjoyed a lot of support in the Dakota Territory. The admission of two states added to the political power of the party in the US Senate, by adding four safe Republican seats.

18 Video game franchise in which the enemies are pigs : ANGRY BIRDS

Angry Birds is a video game developed for smartphones. Angry Birds is the third most downloaded game, after Tetris and Pac-Man. There is a whole series of Angry Birds games now, including Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Star Wars and Angry Birds Transformers.

20 “The ___ of Pooh” (Benjamin Hoff book) : TAO

The author Benjamin Hoff is best known for his 1982 book “The Tao of Pooh”, and a successor title published in 1992 called “The Te of Piglet”. Both books use the “Winnie the Pooh” stories to illustrate Taoist beliefs.

21 Rotten little twerp : SNOT

“Twerp” and “pipsqueak” are both terms used for someone who is insignificant and contemptible.

23 With 51-Across, Eric Carle kid-lit book, after “The” : … GROUCHY …
(51A See 23-Across : … LADYBUG)

Eric Carle is a very successful children’s author and book illustrator, with over 100 million of his books sold around the world. Carle’s most famous title is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, and it alone has sold 30 million copies.

25 Pal of Chewbacca : HAN

Wookiees are a biped race featured in “Star Wars”. The most notable Wookiee is Chewbacca (aka “Chewie”), the loyal friend and associate of Han Solo who serves as co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

28 Dadaism pioneer : MAN RAY

Man Ray was an American modernist artist who spent most of his working life in Paris. Man Ray was born in South Philadelphia in 1890, and his real name was Emmanuel Radnitzky. His family shortened “Radnitzky” to “Ray” in response to the anti-Semitic feeling that was prevalent at the time. Emmanuel was known as “Manny”, and he decided to assume the name Man Ray and use it for his work.

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

30 911 responder, in brief : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

32 ___ Jemison, first black woman in space : MAE

Mae Jemison was a crew member on the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a 1992 mission. As such, Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel in space. Jemison is also a big fan of “Star Trek” and appeared on an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. That made her the first real astronaut to appear on any of the “Star Trek” shows.

41 Rogue computer in “2001” : HAL

In Arthur C. Clarke’s “Space Odyssey” (famously adapted for the big screen as “2001: A Space Odyssey”) the computer system that went rogue was called HAL 9000, or simply “HAL”. HAL stands for “Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer”. Even though, Clarke denied it, there’s a good argument that can be made that the acronym HAL is a veiled reference to IBM, the big player in the world of computing at the time of the novel’s publication (1968). The acronym HAL is just a one-letter shift from the initials “IBM”.

42 Outcome of haste, it’s said : WASTE

Haste makes waste …

52 Story that one generally sticks to, whether it’s true or not : ALIBI

“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.

54 Pursuer of an “accursed white whale” : AHAB

In Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” the obsessed Captain Ahab manages with a final effort to lodge his harpoon in the whale’s flesh. He yells out “… to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” With that, the injured whale dives, and Captain Ahab is pulled under to his doom with a loop of the harpoon’s rope wrapped around his neck.

57 1980 boxing biopic : RAGING BULL

I just do not like boxing, nor movies about boxing, but I certainly accept that “Raging Bull” is true cinema classic. It is a biopic released in 1980, with Robert De Niro starring as Jake LaMotta, and ably directed by Martin Scorsese. Famously, De Niro gained about 70 pounds in weight to lay LaMotta in his early years, showing true dedication to his craft.

59 Many a Meccan : ARAB

Mecca is in the Makkah province of Saudi Arabia. It was the birthplace of Muhammad and is the holiest city in Islam. Every year several million Muslims perform the Hajj, a holy pilgrimage to Mecca.

61 Princely school : ETON

The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including David Cameron who was British prime minister from 2010 to 2016. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington and George Orwell. Author Ian Fleming was also and Eton alumnus, as was Fleming’s iconic character James Bond, although 007 was expelled by the school.

62 Aquarium buildup : ALGAE

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

63 Fey of “30 Rock” : TINA

Comedian and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Fey is perhaps best known to television viewers as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (1997-2006), and as the creator and star of the sitcom “30 Rock” (2006-2013).

64 “Bill & ___ Excellent Adventure” : TED’S

“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a 1989 comedy sci-fi film, starring Alex Winter as Bill and Keanu Reeves as Ted. It’s about two lazy students traveling through time in preparation for a history assignment, with a lot of “Dude!” and “Excellent!” scattered throughout the dialog. Reading the plot, this isn’t a movie that I’d normally go for, but somehow, I enjoyed it …

65 Requests for Friskies, perhaps : MEOWS

The Friskies brand is known today as a cat food, although it was first introduced as a dry dog food in 1930.

Down

2 Like hosiery hues, typically : NEUTRAL

The word “hose” meaning “covering for the leg” has the same roots as the contemporary German word “Hose” meaning “trousers, pants”.

7 Logician’s “therefore” : ERGO

“Ergo” is a Latin word meaning “hence, therefore”, and one that we’ve absorbed directly into English.

8 April event that’s “green” : EARTH DAY

Earth Day was founded in the US, where it was introduced by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Earth Day was designed to increase awareness and appreciation of our planet’s natural environment. The original Earth Day was on April 22nd, 1970. Decades later, the day is observed in over 175 countries.

11 Apple coating at a fair : CARAMEL

The confectionery product known as caramel is made by heating sugar. The process of caramelization requires slow heating of the sugar to about 170 °C. The heating causes the sugar molecules to break down and convert into the compounds that provide the characteristic color and flavor of caramel.

12 When checkmate is most likely to occur : ENDGAME

In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be “in check”. If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in “checkmate” and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce “check!”) so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn’t occur.

13 “Just” punishment : DESERTS

The phrase “just deserts” describes something which is deserved, and in today’s usage that can be something good or bad. The expression has been around a long time, and back in the 14th century it only applied to something bad. I guess the idea is that someone doing something unacceptable got his “just deserts”, the dry and barren expanses fitting to the deed. Over time, the pronunciation of “deserts” changed, with the emphasis on the second syllable, like our word “desserts”. The correct phrase is still spelled “just deserts”, but it is pronounced “just desserts”. As a result, many believe that the phrase is in fact spelled “just desserts”, meaning is one is getting what one deserves, sweet endings to one’s meals, as it were. But no, one is getting a dry and arid expanse that sounds like something sweet to eat.

19 Cause of ruination : BANE

Today, we tend to use the word “bane” to mean anathema, a source of persistent annoyance. A few centuries ago, a bane was a cause of harm or death, perhaps a deadly poison.

23 Yukon S.U.V. maker : GMC

The GMC Yukon is basically the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Tahoe.

24 Vikki who sang “It Must Be Him” : CARR

Vikki Carr is the stage name of singer Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martínez Cardona, born in El Paso. Most of Carr’s success came with songs released in Spanish, but also had a big hit in 1967 with the English-language song “It Must Be Him”.

26 Smart ___ : ALEC

Apparently, the original “smart Alec” (sometimes “Aleck”) was one Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

38 Musical for which Liza Minnelli won an Oscar : CABARET

The musical “Cabaret” is based on “I Am a Camera”, a 1951 play written by John Van Druten. In turn, the play was adapted from a novel “Goodbye to Berlin” written by Christopher Isherwood. The action in the musical takes place in the 1930s, in a seedy Berlin cabaret called the Kit Kat Klub. “Cabaret” is a great stage musical, although the 1972 film of the musical isn’t one of my favorites.

40 Part man, part deity : DEMIGOD

In Greek mythology, a demigod was a half-god, the offspring of one parent who was a god and one parent who was human. The list of demigods includes the Greek hero Heracles and the Celtic hero Cú Chulainn.

43 Stereotypical place of exile : SIBERIA

Siberia is a vast area in Eurasia and Northern Asia. The region’s industrial development started with the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway from 1891 to 1916, which linked Siberia to Russia in the west.

44 Sam the Froot Loops mascot and others : TOUCANS

Toucan Sam is the mascot of Kellogg’s Froot Loops breakfast cereal, and he can be seen on the front of every box. Froot Loops have been manufactured by Kellogg’s since 1963. The little loops come in different colors, originally red, orange and yellow, but now there are green, purple and blue loops as well. Notice I said “different colors” not “different flavors”. Each loop tastes the same, so I wonder where the color comes from …?

45 Tiny bit 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.

48 Relatives of weasels with dark fur : SABLES

Sables are small mammals, about two feet long, that are found right across northern Europe and northern Asia. The sable’s black pelt is highly prized in the fur trade. Sable is unique among furs in that it feels smooth no matter which direction it is stroked.

51 Legal drama with Susan Dey : LA LAW

“L.A. Law” ran on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and was one of the network’s most successful drama series. It took over from the equally successful “Hill Street Blues” in the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot until, after a six-year run, it was itself replaced by yet another respected drama, “E.R.” The opening credits showed that famous California licence plate. The plate was on a Jaguar XJ for most of the series, but moved onto a Bentley towards the end of the run. For each series the registration sticker was updated, so no laws were being broken.

Actress Susan Dey first appeared on “The Partridge Family” when she was 17-years-old when she had no acting experience. Years later, Dey won a Golden Globe for playing the leading role of Grace Van Owen in “L.A. Law”.

55 ___ Boss (German fashion house) : HUGO

Hugo Boss started a clothing company in a small town just south of Stuttgart in Germany in 1924. He joined the Nazi party before the war, and made a lot of money as an official supplier of uniforms to the likes of the SS and Hitler Youth. He paid the price of collaboration after the war (a fine), but his business survived. Boss the boss died in 1948, but the Hugo Boss company is still going strong today.

58 Leg, in old slang : GAM

The American slang term “gams” is used for a woman’s legs. The term goes back to the 18th century “gamb” describing the leg of an animal on a coat of arms.

60 San Francisco area, with “the” : … BAY

The San Francisco Bay Area comprises the nine counties that impinge on the San Francisco Bay itself: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma. The region also includes the major cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Actress Hathaway : ANNE
5 Forest components : TREES
10 Scored 100 on : ACED
14 Hacienda drudge : PEON
15 Like much of the Dakotas : RURAL
16 Alternative to a walker : CANE
17 When doubled, miniature golf : PUTT
18 Video game franchise in which the enemies are pigs : ANGRY BIRDS
20 “The ___ of Pooh” (Benjamin Hoff book) : TAO
21 Rotten little twerp : SNOT
22 “Time is money,” e.g. : ADAGE
23 With 51-Across, Eric Carle kid-lit book, after “The” : … GROUCHY …
25 Pal of Chewbacca : HAN
27 Put a ding in, say : MAR
28 Dadaism pioneer : MAN RAY
29 Just sitting around : IDLE
30 911 responder, in brief : EMT
31 Perfectly understood : CLEAR
32 ___ Jemison, first black woman in space : MAE
33 Pub pints : ALES
34 Feline in an internet meme : GRUMPY CAT
38 A wartime communication might be sent in it : CODE
41 Rogue computer in “2001” : HAL
42 Outcome of haste, it’s said : WASTE
46 “Hail!,” to Caesar : AVE
47 Promising, as a future : ROSY
48 Soon-to-be graduate, usually : SENIOR
49 Backside, in Britain : BUM
50 “That’s the spot!” : AHH!
51 See 23-Across : … LADYBUG
52 Story that one generally sticks to, whether it’s true or not : ALIBI
54 Pursuer of an “accursed white whale” : AHAB
56 Button on a cam : REC
57 1980 boxing biopic : RAGING BULL
59 Many a Meccan : ARAB
61 Princely school : ETON
62 Aquarium buildup : ALGAE
63 Fey of “30 Rock” : TINA
64 “Bill & ___ Excellent Adventure” : TED’S
65 Requests for Friskies, perhaps : MEOWS
66 “No problemo!” : EASY!

Down

1 18-Across, e.g. : APP
2 Like hosiery hues, typically : NEUTRAL
3 Zero, zip, nada : NOT A ONE
4 Rapper’s posse : ENTOURAGE
5 In poor taste : TRASHY
6 Like undercooked eggs : RUNNY
7 Logician’s “therefore” : ERGO
8 April event that’s “green” : EARTH DAY
9 Sneakily clever : SLY
10 Gastric juice, e.g. : ACID
11 Apple coating at a fair : CARAMEL
12 When checkmate is most likely to occur : ENDGAME
13 “Just” punishment : DESERTS
19 Cause of ruination : BANE
23 Yukon S.U.V. maker : GMC
24 Vikki who sang “It Must Be Him” : CARR
26 Smart ___ : ALEC
29 Subtly suggest : IMPLY
33 “Be that as it may …” : AT ANY RATE
35 “Here’s trouble!” : UH-OH!
36 BuzzFeed competitor : MASHABLE
37 Totally blown away : AWED
38 Musical for which Liza Minnelli won an Oscar : CABARET
39 Release a fertilizable egg : OVULATE
40 Part man, part deity : DEMIGOD
43 Stereotypical place of exile : SIBERIA
44 Sam the Froot Loops mascot and others : TOUCANS
45 Tiny bit of energy : ERG
47 Drops from the sky : RAIN
48 Relatives of weasels with dark fur : SABLES
51 Legal drama with Susan Dey : LA LAW
53 Coal containers : BINS
55 ___ Boss (German fashion house) : HUGO
58 Leg, in old slang : GAM
60 San Francisco area, with “the” : … BAY

9 thoughts on “0114-20 NY Times Crossword 14 Jan 20, Tuesday”

  1. No Errors. I found myself breezing through the east, then east to west in the south and then back to the northwest, where as was stuck for quite awhile. I just couldn’t see NOTAONE, and started with NOTABIT and GOTIT, switched to NOTHING, but then I really got lost. Eventually it became “CLEAR”.

    Not used to not seeing any posts. There is usually at least one from six weeks ago.

  2. Only problem was in bottom middle. Couldn’t imagine what a dog would do to indicate a desire for Friskies that started with an m. Finally figured out cats like them, too.

  3. 8:29, no errors. I noticed the trend of synonyms for a sour disposition, expected to see a clue related to them. For the sake of symmetry, 51A LADYBUG should have contained a ‘cranky’ synonym.

  4. This one took some time and thought, more than usual for Tuesday, and it was a good exercise. Liked the theme, though it seemed a bit scattered, maybe because of the cross-reference

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