0115-20 NY Times Crossword 15 Jan 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Mary Lou Guizzo
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Answers for a Boxer

Themed answers are common phrases that come from the world of boxing:

  • 17A Engaged in foul play : HIT BELOW THE BELT
  • 22A One engaged in friendly contention : SPARRING PARTNER
  • 36A “Oh, now they’re really going to fight!” : THE GLOVES ARE OFF
  • 49A Cry “Uncle!” : THROW IN THE TOWEL
  • 56A Hold back : PULL ONE’S PUNCHES

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 7m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Mary Stuart, for one : SCOT

Mary, Queen of Scots ruled over Scotland from 1542 until 1567, even though she spent most of that reign in France, where she had grown up. 16-year-old Mary married 9-year-old Francis, the Dauphin of France in 1558, and the following year became queen consort when her husband acceded to the throne. Francis only ruled for a year before dying of natural causes. The young widow returned to Scotland, the country of her birth, in 1561. In 1567, Mary was forced to abdicate the Scottish throne in favor of her one-year-old son James, after an uprising against Mary and her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell. Mary fled south to seek the protection of her cousin, Elizabeth I of England. As Mary had once claimed Elizabeth’s throne as her own, Elizabeth had Mary imprisoned. Mary was held in confinement for over 18 years and eventually beheaded in 1587, having been found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth.

5 Taiwan-based computer giant : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

14 Tea made with milk, sugar and cardamom : CHAI

Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.

The spice known as cardamom comes from the seeds of several plants that are native to India. Those plants were introduced to Guatemala in the early 20th century, and now Guatemala produces and exports more cardamom than even than any country in the world, even India. Cardamom is the third-priciest spice on the market today by weight, after vanilla and saffron.

15 Rob of “Parks and Recreation” : LOWE

Actor Rob Lowe is one of the “founding members” of the so-called Brat Pack, having appeared in the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire”. More recently, he played a regular character on the TV show “Parks and Recreation”. My favorite of his roles though, was playing Sam Seaborn on Aaron Sorkin’s great drama series “The West Wing”. When “The West Wing” first aired, Seaborn was billed as the show’s main character, but outstanding performances from the rest of the cast and some great writing meant that Lowe’s role became “one of many”. This led to some dissatisfaction on Lowe’s part, and eventually he quit the show.

“Parks and Recreation” is a sitcom that started airing on NBC in 2009, and is a show that has grown on me. It stars the “Saturday Night Live” alum Amy Poehler. The creators of “Parks and Recreation” are part of the team responsible for the American version of “The Office”, so you’ll notice some similarities in the style of the two shows, and some actors that have appeared in both.

16 Attacked with a spray : MACED

“Mace” is actually a brand name, one introduced by Lake Erie Chemical when they started to manufacture “Chemical Mace”, with the name being a play on the club-like weapon from days of old. Mace was originally a form of tear gas, but Mace today uses a formula that is actually a pepper spray, a different formulation.

20 Burnt ___ (old Crayola color) : UMBER

Umber is an earthy, brown shade. The word “umber” originally described a pigment made from earth found in Umbria, a region in central Italy. In its natural form, the pigment is referred to as “raw umber”. The heated form of the pigment has a more intense color and is known as “burnt umber”.

29 Lith., e.g., once : SSR

The nation of Lithuania is a former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) sitting on the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, and 16 miles north of Vilnius is a point that is officially recognized as the geographic center of Europe.

31 2020, por ejemplo : ANO

In Spanish, there are 12 “meses” (months) in an “año” (year).

32 “___ che macchiavi quell’anima” (aria opener) : ERI TU

Every crossword constructor’s favorite aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (“A Masked Ball”). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.

42 Colorful spring flower : PANSY

The pansy is a garden flower that takes its name from the French word “pensée” meaning “thought”. This name was chosen as the flower was often used as a symbol of remembrance. The petals of pansies have dark blotches that often appear to form the outline of a face.

43 A.B.A. member: Abbr. : ATT

The American Bar Association (ABA) was founded back in 1878 and is a voluntary association for lawyers and law students. The ABA focuses on setting academic standards for law schools and setting ethical codes for the profession.

44 Stand in a mall : KIOSK

Our word “kiosk” came to us via French and Turkish from the Persian “kushk” meaning “palace, portico”.

46 HBO competitor : TMC

The Movie Channel is owned by Showtime, which in turn is a subsidiary of CBS. The channel’s name is often abbreviated to “TMC”, although this is informal usage.

49 Cry “Uncle!” : THROW IN THE TOWEL

“To say uncle” is an American expression meaning “to submit, yield”. Its usage dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

55 ___ Gay (historic plane) : ENOLA

The Enola Gay was the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in August 1945. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of pilot Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.

63 Gangster : THUG

Murderers and robbers given to harassing travelers in India were known locally as “thuggees”, from the Hindi word for “thief”. This gave us our contemporary word “thug”, meaning “brute”.

64 Turnabouts, informally : UIES

Hang a “uey” or “uie”, make a u-turn, make a 180.

66 Actor Rogen : SETH

Seth Rogen is a Canadian comedian who got a lot of credit for his supporting role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. That led to him being cast as the lead in the 1970 film “Knocked Up”. Rogen also co-directed and co-starred in the movie “The Interview”, which created a huge ruckus in North Korea.

67 Crafty website : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

Down

1 Straight downhill ski run : SCHUSS

A schuss is a very fast run downhill in skiing, one with no turns taken to slow the pace of the descent. “Schuss” is a German word for “shot”.

2 Some early “astronauts” : CHIMPS

Enos was a chimpanzee that was launched into Earth orbit in 1961 by NASA on a Mercury Atlas 4 rocket. Enos’s flight was a rehearsal for the first orbital flight made by an American, astronaut John Glenn. Enos returned from his mission safely, but died the following year from dysentery.

3 Granola treat : OAT BAR

The names “Granola” and “Granula” were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

4 River of Tuscany : TIBER

The Tiber is the principal river in Italy in that it runs through the capital, Rome. It is also the third longest river in the country.

Tuscany is a beautiful region in central Italy, the capital of which is the city of Florence. Tuscany is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, which was centered around Florence. It was home to great artistic icons such as Dante, Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Galileo and Puccini.

6 Corp. manager : COO

Chief operating officer (COO)

10 Colt 45 brewer : PABST

Colt 45 is a brand of lager that first went on the market in 1963. It has a relatively high alcohol content (6.1%), and so is sometimes referred to as a malt liquor.

11 Knock off : ICE

To ice, to off, to whack, to knock off, to murder.

13 E.P.A.-banned pesticide : DDT

DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

19 Nine-time P.G.A. Tour winner Jay : HAAS

Jay Haas is a former PGA golfer from St. Louis, Missouri who now plays on the Champions Tour. Haas was named Champions Tour Player of the Year for 2006.

23 Individual: Prefix : IDIO-

The prefix “idio-” indicates something peculiar, as in “idiosyncrasy”, a peculiarity exhibited by an individual or a group.

25 Receptacle for one doing decoupage : GLUE POT

Découpage involves the use of colored paper cutouts that are glued onto an object as decoration The term “découpage” comes from the Middle French word “decouper” meaning “to cut out”.

28 Deeply massage : ROLF

Rolfing is a trademarked massage technique developed by Ida Pauline Rolf in the fifties.

33 “Kidnapped” author’s monogram : RLS

“Kidnapped” is a novel written by Scotsman Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) that he targeted at a young male audience. The book’s full name is the most descriptive title I’ve ever seen:

Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: How he was Kidnapped and Cast away; his Sufferings in a Desert Isle; his Journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he Suffered at the hands of his Uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called: Written by Himself and now set forth by Robert Louis Stevenson.

34 “___ gratia artis” : ARS

It seems that the phrase “art for art’s sake” has its origins in France in the nineteenth century, where the slogan is expressed as “l’art pour l’art”. The Latin version “Ars gratia artis” came much later, in 1924. That’s when MGM’s publicist chose it for the studio’s logo, sitting under Leo the lion. Who’d a thunk it?

35 Napoleon’s marshal : NEY

Michel Ney was one of the first 18 Marshals of France created by Napoleon. When Bonaparte was eventually defeated for the last time, Ney was arrested and sentenced to death. He was executed in Paris by firing squad. Nay refused to wear a blindfold, and demanded that he himself be allowed to give the order to fire.

38 ___’acte : ENTR

The term “entr’acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval “entre deux actes” (between two acts) of a theatrical performance. The term often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.

39 Pageant wear : SASH

The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.

40 Tennis great Huber : ANKE

Anke Huber is a retired professional tennis player from Germany. Huber stepped out of the shadow of fellow German star Steffi Graf when Graf retired in 1999, and for the last two years of her playing career Huber enjoyed recognition as Germany’s top player.

47 Brawls : MELEES

Our term “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

50 Skateboarding jump : OLLIE

An ollie is a skateboarding trick invented in 1976 by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand. Apparently it’s a way of lifting the board off the ground, while standing on it, without touching the board with one’s hands. Yeah, I could do that …

52 Full complement of limbs on a squid : TEN

Cephalopods are a class of molluscs with arms or tentacles, a prominent head and a body with bilateral symmetry. Most cephalopods have the ability to squirt ink as a defensive mechanism. Examples of the class are the octopus, squid and cuttlefish. The name “cephalopod” comes from the Greek for “head-feet”.

56 Lead-in to Man or 12 : PAC-

The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.

“Pac-12” is an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.

57 School founded by Thos. Jefferson : UVA

The University of Virginia (UVA) was founded by Thomas Jefferson, who then sat on the original Board of Visitors alongside former US Presidents James Madison and James Monroe. In fact, the original UVA campus was built on land near Charlottesville that was once a farm belonging to President Monroe.

58 Make a record of : LOG

The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Mary Stuart, for one : SCOT
5 Taiwan-based computer giant : ACER
9 Secretly watched : SPIED
14 Tea made with milk, sugar and cardamom : CHAI
15 Rob of “Parks and Recreation” : LOWE
16 Attacked with a spray : MACED
17 Engaged in foul play : HIT BELOW THE BELT
20 Burnt ___ (old Crayola color) : UMBER
21 Some batteries : AAAS
22 One engaged in friendly contention : SPARRING PARTNER
29 Lith., e.g., once : SSR
30 Hands (out) : DOLES
31 2020, por ejemplo : ANO
32 “___ che macchiavi quell’anima” (aria opener) : ERI TU
34 Invalidate : ANNUL
36 “Oh, now they’re really going to fight!” : THE GLOVES ARE OFF
41 Puts up on a gallery wall : HANGS
42 Colorful spring flower : PANSY
43 A.B.A. member: Abbr. : ATT
44 Stand in a mall : KIOSK
46 HBO competitor : TMC
49 Cry “Uncle!” : THROW IN THE TOWEL
54 Veg out : LOLL
55 ___ Gay (historic plane) : ENOLA
56 Hold back : PULL ONE’S PUNCHES
62 Elude : AVOID
63 Gangster : THUG
64 Turnabouts, informally : UIES
65 Evasive : CAGEY
66 Actor Rogen : SETH
67 Crafty website : ETSY

Down

1 Straight downhill ski run : SCHUSS
2 Some early “astronauts” : CHIMPS
3 Granola treat : OAT BAR
4 River of Tuscany : TIBER
5 Nothing but : ALL
6 Corp. manager : COO
7 “Oh, gross!” : EWW!
8 Do over for radio, say : RETAPE
9 ___ campaign : SMEAR
10 Colt 45 brewer : PABST
11 Knock off : ICE
12 What has a long history in ichthyology? : EEL
13 E.P.A.-banned pesticide : DDT
18 Slip up : ERR
19 Nine-time P.G.A. Tour winner Jay : HAAS
23 Individual: Prefix : IDIO-
24 Timeout alternative : NO TV
25 Receptacle for one doing decoupage : GLUE POT
26 Smaller than micro- : NANO-
27 Ample, informally : ENUF
28 Deeply massage : ROLF
32 Meringue ingredient : EGG
33 “Kidnapped” author’s monogram : RLS
34 “___ gratia artis” : ARS
35 Napoleon’s marshal : NEY
36 “Take ___!” : THAT
37 Possesses, biblically : HATH
38 ___’acte : ENTR
39 Pageant wear : SASH
40 Tennis great Huber : ANKE
44 Drying oven : KILN
45 Coves : INLETS
46 Like a really good game for a pitcher, say : TWO-HIT
47 Brawls : MELEES
48 Stylish and sophisticated : CLASSY
50 Skateboarding jump : OLLIE
51 Forested : WOODY
52 Full complement of limbs on a squid : TEN
53 Exactly as scheduled : ON CUE
56 Lead-in to Man or 12 : PAC-
57 School founded by Thos. Jefferson : UVA
58 Make a record of : LOG
59 Gender-neutral pronoun spelled with a slash between the first and second letters : S/HE
60 Wager : PUT
61 “Yuck!” : UGH!

12 thoughts on “0115-20 NY Times Crossword 15 Jan 20, Wednesday”

  1. 22:47 finally caught up from last Saturday’s puzzle problems… got hung up today on the west side of the grid(ATT/ENTR, CAGEY/WOODY)

  2. Had a lot of trouble getting started. Made a lot of guesses that I couldn’t confirm and bounced around filling the 3 letter answers until I could get a foothold. Went for naught after entering ‘bet’ for ‘wager’ at 60D and initially couldn’t make sense of 56A until I changed it.

  3. 7:37, no errors. Must have been totally in sync with the setter today. Cleared up a misconception, thought that TMC (The Movie Channel) and TCM (Turner Classic Movies) were one and the same; learn something new.

    1. Dave –

      I PUT $100 on Kansas City to win the Super Bowl.

      Interestingly, someone once told me (maybe it was even one of Bill’s write ups) that the word “put” is the longest entry in the dictionary – ie it has the most uses and meanings. I think “wager” is definition 8 or something that I saw, and that was still just the transitive verb definitions. There are more intransitive verb meanings as well as noun and adjective meanings.

      Best –

  4. Couldn’t figure out why “ten” would be the full complement of limbs on what I read as a “squad”! (But got it with crosses.)

  5. Wouldn’t monogram of Robert Louis Stevenson be “RSL”, as it is traditional to put the last name in the middle (and enlarged) in monogram?

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