0120-20 NY Times Crossword 20 Jan 20, Monday

Constructed by: Evan Kalish
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Get the Picture

Themed answers each end with a type of picture:

  • 56A Comprehend … or what 20-, 29- and 47-Across do, finally : GET THE PICTURE
  • 20A Cinnamon-and-sugar cookie : SNICKERDOODLE
  • 29A “Saturday Night Live” segment : COMEDY SKETCH
  • 47A Televised activity with Ping-Pong balls : LOTTO DRAWING

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Poker or snooker : GAME

Snooker is a fabulous game. It is played on what looks like a large pool table, 12 x 6 feet in dimensions if full size. Snooker is a derivative of the older game of billiards, and is believed to have been developed by British Army officers who were stationed in India in the latter half of the 1800s. “Snooker” was a word used in the British military for a first-year cadet and for an inexperienced soldier. Somehow, that usage morphed into the name of the game.

14 Savory food quality : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

15 “Hear, hear!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

17 The Devil : SATAN

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

19 Black gem with bands : ONYX

Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it’s the black version that’s used for jewelry. The name “onyx” comes from the Greek word for “fingernail”, as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

20 Cinnamon-and-sugar cookie : SNICKERDOODLE

Snickerdoodles are cookies that are well known in the US, but are relatively unknown in the rest of the world. It’s possible that “snickerdoodle” came from the German “Schneckennudel”, which is a variety of sweet bun.

23 Yang’s counterpart : YIN

The yin and yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

24 Hurdle for a coll. senior, maybe : GRE

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

25 Beats by ___ (headphones brand) : DRE

Beats by Dre is a brand of audio products made by Beats Electronics, a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, the largest acquisition by far in the company’s history.

26 Hurdle for a H.S. senior, maybe : SAT

Today, the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation “SAT”.

35 ___ Baba, crier of “Open sesame!” : ALI

In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic phrase “open sesame” that opens the thieves’ den.

36 Pooh’s pessimistic pal : EEYORE

Eeyore is the donkey character in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”. Eeyore is very lovable, but has a gloomy and pessimistic outlook on life.

37 Retail giant with a famous catalog, once : SEARS

Richard Sears was a station agent on the railroad. In the late 1800s, he bought up a shipment of unwanted watches that was left at his depot and sold the watches to other agents up and down the line. He was so successful that he ordered more watches and then came up with the idea of using a catalog to promote more sales. The catalog idea caught on, and his success allowed Sears to open retail locations in 1925. By the mid 1900s, Sears was the biggest retailer in the whole country.

39 ___ Antonio, Tex. : SAN

The city of San Antonio, Texas was named by Spanish explorers. They came upon a Native American settlement in the area on 13 June 1631, the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua.

42 W.W. I’s Red Baron, e.g. : AIR ACE

Manfred von Richthofen was a famous WWI fighter pilot flying for the Germans and was known as the Red Baron. Von Richthofen was credited with more kills than any other pilot fighting on either side of the conflict, recording over 80 combat victories. He didn’t survive the war though, as he was shot down near Amiens in France in 1918.

46 Zilch : NADA

We use the term “zilch” to mean “nothing”. Our current usage evolved in the sixties, before which the term was used to describe “meaningless speech”. There was a comic character called Mr. Zilch in the 1930s in “Ballyhoo” magazine. Mr. Zilch’s name probably came from the American college slang “Joe Zilch” that was used in the early 1900s for “an insignificant person”.

47 Televised activity with Ping-Pong balls : LOTTO DRAWING

Originally, lotto was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

51 Result no longer allowed on “Jeopardy!” : TIE

The TV show “Jeopardy!” first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek has been host since 1984.

52 Reggae relative : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of a sound.

53 School lunch sandwich, for short : PBJ

Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J or PBJ)

60 Explorer Ponce de ___ : LEON

Juan Ponce de León was a famous Spanish explorer and conquistador. Ponce de León led the Europeans to Florida, and it was he who gave the state its name (Spanish for “Flowery Land”). He was injured on his last voyage to Florida, supposedly by a poisoned arrow, and died from his wound in Havana, Cuba.

63 Lake into which Michigan’s “thumb” juts : HURON

Lake Huron takes its name from the Huron Native-American people that lived by its shores. Early French explorers often called the lake “La Mer Douce”, which translates as “the freshwater sea”.

66 Big name in online satire, with “The” : ONION

“The Onion” is a satirical news network, with a print newspaper and a heavy online presence. “The Onion” newspaper was founded by two college students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988. The founders sold the operation a year later for about $20,000. The paper grew steadily until 1996 when it began to publish online and really took off. I think it’s worth a tad more than $20,000 today …

69 Rat Pack member ___ Davis Jr. : SAMMY

Singer, actor and comedian Sammy Davis, Jr. started his show business career in vaudeville as a child as a part of a song and dance trio that included his father. After WWII, Davis became friends with Frank Sinatra, and soon found himself a member of the famed Rat Pack. Along with his fellow Rat Packers, he made movies like “Ocean’s 11” (1960) and “Robin and the 7 Hoods” (1964).

The original Rat Pack from the fifties was a group of actors that centered on Humphrey Bogart, and included a young Frank Sinatra. Supposedly, Bogart’s wife, Lauren Bacall, christened them the Rat Pack after seeing them all return from one of their nights on the town in Las Vegas. The sixties Rat Pack was a reincarnation of the fifties version, with the core group of actors being Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin (Dino), Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.

Down

1 Dress (up) : GUSSY

To gussy up is to dress showily. The term “gussy” was a slang term that was used to describe an overly-dressed person.

2 Neighbor of a Saudi : OMANI

Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman is a monarchy, and the official name of the state is the Sultanate of Oman. All of the country’s legislative, executive and judiciary power resides with the hereditary sultan.

4 Apple computer : IMAC

The iMac is a desktop computer platform that Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such as strawberry, blueberry and lime.

5 Chinese tree with fan-shaped leaves : GINKGO

The ginkgo tree is quite remarkable in that it is regarded as a living fossil. This means that it has not evolved as a living organism and, based on fossil evidence, is the same species today as it was millions of years ago. It is a remarkably successful species, having survived many extinction events that wiped out so much of life on the planet.

10 Army no-show : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

11 Kind of wagon for pioneers : CONESTOGA

A conestoga is a large covered wagon that was used in many of the wagon trains that crossed North America in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The name was taken from the Conestoga Valley near Lancaster, Pennsylvania where the design was developed. The conestoga wagon resembled a boat on wheels, and often the gaps between the planks were caulked so that it would float when crossing water.

13 One cause of an “R” rating : SEX

The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

21 Humorous Bombeck : ERMA

Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years. She produced more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns under the title “At Wit’s End”, with all describing her home life in suburbia.

22 Deceived with a fake-out, in hockey : DEKED

A deke, also known as a dangle, is a technique used to get past an opponent in ice hockey. “Deke” is a colloquial shortening of the word “decoy”.

28 Letter before iota : THETA

The Greek letter theta is the one that looks like the number zero with a horizontal line across the middle.

29 A diamond that has one is moderately expensive : CARAT

The carat is a unit of mass equal to 200 mg. It is used in sizing gemstones.

30 Ross of the Supremes : DIANA

Diana Ross is one of the most prolific recording artists in history. She sang with the Supremes from 1959 to 1970 and then launched an incredibly successful solo career. Ross was listed in the 1993 edition of “The Guinness Book of World Records” as the most successful music artist ever, with eighteen #1 records.

The Supremes were the most successful vocal group in US history based on number-one hits. The group started out in 1959 as a four-member lineup called the Primettes. The name was changed to the Supremes in 1961. One member dropped out in 1962, leaving the Supremes as a trio. Lead singer Diana Ross began to garner much of the attention, which eventually led to a further name change, to Diana Ross & the Supremes.

32 The first one begins “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly” : PSALM

The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.

33 Quintet to which “y” is often added : AEIOU

The vowels are A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y.

34 One attending a shindig : PARTYGOER

“Shindig” is such a lovely word, I think, and one describing a party that usually includes some dancing. Although its origin isn’t really clear, the term perhaps comes from “shinty”, a Scottish game similar to field hockey.

38 Writer F. ___ Fitzgerald : SCOTT

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote five novels (one unfinished), the most famous of which is “The Great Gatsby”. A little bit of trivia about Fitzgerald is that he was the first cousin once removed of Mary Surratt, the boarding house owner who was convicted of participating in the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln and who was hanged for her crime.

40 “1984” language : NEWSPEAK

“Newspeak” is a language created by the totalitarian state in George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Newspeak is grammatically identical to English, but there is a limited vocabulary that is designed to limit freedom of thought.

43 Back-and-forth changes to a Wikipedia page : EDIT WAR

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, and is the most-used reference site on the Internet. The site was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. I, for one, am very grateful …

45 ___ torch : TIKI

A tiki torch is a bamboo torch that’s commonly used in Tiki culture. Tiki culture is a relatively modern invention dating from the 20th century, and is the experience created in Polynesian-style restaurants. The word “Tiki” is borrowed from Polynesia.

49 Chips with melted cheese : NACHOS

The dish known as “nachos” was supposedly created by the maître d’ at a restaurant called the Victory Club in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The name of the maître d’ was Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya.

53 Jewish festival usually in March : PURIM

Purim is a festival commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to wipe them out by Haman the Agagite, as recorded in the Book of Esther.

54 Ride for a Quidditch player : BROOM

Quidditch is a game that is famously played in the “Harry Potter” series of books and films. The game is contended by two teams of seven wizards or witches flying on broomsticks. The are four animated balls and six ring-shaped goals floating in mid-air. One of the balls is the Golden Snitch, and one of the players is the Seeker. It is the Seeker’s sole purpose to capture the Golden Snitch and thereby end the game.

55 Female donkey : JENNY

A female donkey/ass is known as a jenny, and a male is known as a jack, or sometimes “jackass”. We started using the term “jackass” to mean “fool” in the 1820s.

58 Great Lake bordered by Ohio : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

59 “Yellowfin” fish : TUNA

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

60 J.F.K.’s successor : LBJ

Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was born in Stonewall, Texas to Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Strive for an epic effect : GO BIG
6 Poker or snooker : GAME
10 Plays a role : ACTS
14 Savory food quality : UMAMI
15 “Hear, hear!” : AMEN!
16 Had on : WORE
17 The Devil : SATAN
18 Richly adorn : GILD
19 Black gem with bands : ONYX
20 Cinnamon-and-sugar cookie : SNICKERDOODLE
23 Yang’s counterpart : YIN
24 Hurdle for a coll. senior, maybe : GRE
25 Beats by ___ (headphones brand) : DRE
26 Hurdle for a H.S. senior, maybe : SAT
29 “Saturday Night Live” segment : COMEDY SKETCH
32 Mate for a mama : PAPA
35 ___ Baba, crier of “Open sesame!” : ALI
36 Pooh’s pessimistic pal : EEYORE
37 Retail giant with a famous catalog, once : SEARS
39 ___ Antonio, Tex. : SAN
41 Finger or toe : DIGIT
42 W.W. I’s Red Baron, e.g. : AIR ACE
44 After-tax amount : NET
46 Zilch : NADA
47 Televised activity with Ping-Pong balls : LOTTO DRAWING
50 Very: Sp. : MUY
51 Result no longer allowed on “Jeopardy!” : TIE
52 Reggae relative : SKA
53 School lunch sandwich, for short : PBJ
56 Comprehend … or what 20-, 29- and 47-Across do, finally : GET THE PICTURE
60 Explorer Ponce de ___ : LEON
62 Computer cable : WIRE
63 Lake into which Michigan’s “thumb” juts : HURON
64 Born and ___ : BRED
65 Opera solo : ARIA
66 Big name in online satire, with “The” : ONION
67 Jolts : JARS
68 Smell really bad : REEK
69 Rat Pack member ___ Davis Jr. : SAMMY

Down

1 Dress (up) : GUSSY
2 Neighbor of a Saudi : OMANI
3 Drive home, as a runner on third base : BAT IN
4 Apple computer : IMAC
5 Chinese tree with fan-shaped leaves : GINKGO
6 Collections of funny outtakes : GAG REELS
7 In the thick of : AMID
8 Tune : MELODY
9 Sign, as a check : ENDORSE
10 Army no-show : AWOL
11 Kind of wagon for pioneers : CONESTOGA
12 Attempt : TRY
13 One cause of an “R” rating : SEX
21 Humorous Bombeck : ERMA
22 Deceived with a fake-out, in hockey : DEKED
27 Bitter-tasting : ACRID
28 Letter before iota : THETA
29 A diamond that has one is moderately expensive : CARAT
30 Ross of the Supremes : DIANA
31 Watching closely : EYING
32 The first one begins “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly” : PSALM
33 Quintet to which “y” is often added : AEIOU
34 One attending a shindig : PARTYGOER
38 Writer F. ___ Fitzgerald : SCOTT
40 “1984” language : NEWSPEAK
43 Back-and-forth changes to a Wikipedia page : EDIT WAR
45 ___ torch : TIKI
48 Bring back, as a worker : REHIRE
49 Chips with melted cheese : NACHOS
53 Jewish festival usually in March : PURIM
54 Ride for a Quidditch player : BROOM
55 Female donkey : JENNY
57 Finishes : ENDS
58 Great Lake bordered by Ohio : ERIE
59 “Yellowfin” fish : TUNA
60 J.F.K.’s successor : LBJ
61 Time in history : ERA

5 thoughts on “0120-20 NY Times Crossword 20 Jan 20, Monday”

  1. 6:29 but felt trickier than that. Biggest laugh of the day was for 34D “One attending a shindig” I had PAR and thought of PARasite, but it didn’t fit. Maybe I’ve thrown one too many in my life…

    Speaking of which – Bill I hope you enjoyed your party over the “holiday” weekend. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years weren’t enough for you? 🙂

    Best –

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