0127-20 NY Times Crossword 27 Jan 20, Monday

Constructed by: Timothy Polin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Moustaches

Themed answers are each the names of fictional villains, each of whom sports an evil-looking MOUSTACHE:

  • 60A Archetypically villainous features possessed by the answers to the starred clues : MOUSTACHES
  • 18A *Sinister genius in a series of Sax Rohmer novels : DR FU MANCHU
  • 23A *Quick-tempered, gun-toting, rabbit-hating toon : YOSEMITE SAM
  • 38A *Dudley Do-Right’s enemy in old TV cartoons : SNIDELY WHIPLASH
  • 51A *Chief pirate in Neverland : CAPTAIN HOOK

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 The “A” in A&E : ARTS

Arts and Entertainment (A&E)

16 Season to be full of cheer : NOEL

“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, and ultimately comes from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). “Noel” has come to be used as an alternative for “Christmas carol”.

17 Gaucho’s weapon : BOLA

Bolas are heavy balls connected by cords that constitute a throwing weapon. Bolas are often used to capture animals by tripping them as they run. The weapon is usually associated with gauchos, the South American cowboys, although there is evidence that the Inca army used them in battle.

A gaucho is someone who lives in the South American pampas, the fertile lowlands in the southeast of South America. The term “gaucho” is also used as the equivalent of our “cowboy”.

18 *Sinister genius in a series of Sax Rohmer novels : DR FU MANCHU

Dr. Fu Manchu is a villainous character created by English author Sax Rohmer. He was played on the big screen by some big names over the years, including Warner Oland, Boris Karloff, John Carradine, Christopher Lee, Peter Sellers and Nicolas Cage.

20 With, en français : AVEC

“En français” (in French)

21 Luau garland : LEI

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

22 Los Angeles hoopster : LAKER

The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team started out in 1947 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The team chose the Lakers name in honor of the nickname of Minnesota, “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. The Lakers moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

23 *Quick-tempered, gun-toting, rabbit-hating toon : YOSEMITE SAM

Yosemite Sam is a cartoon character who frequently goes up against Bugs Bunny. As Sam himself would say, “I’m the fastest gun north, south, east, aaaaaaand west of the Pecos.” Yosemite Sam made his debut appearance in a 1945 cartoon short titled “Hare Trigger”.

35 “Stupid is as stupid ___” (line from “Forrest Gump”) : DOES

The epic 1994 movie “Forrest Gump” is based on a 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. Groom said that he had envisioned John Goodman playing the title role, and not Tom Hanks.

38 *Dudley Do-Right’s enemy in old TV cartoons : SNIDELY WHIPLASH

Dudley Do-Right appeared on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, a cartoon that appeared on television in a couple of different versions from 1959-1964. Dudley was a bungling Mountie who struggled with his nemesis, the evil Snidely Whiplash, while pursuing the romantic intentions of Nell Fenwick (who always seemed to prefer Dudley’s horse!).

43 Electric ___ : EEL

“Electrophorus electricus” is the biological name for the electric eel. Despite its name, the electric “eel” isn’t an eel at all, but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body that is related to the catfish. The electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.

51 *Chief pirate in Neverland : CAPTAIN HOOK

Captain Hook is the bad guy in “Peter Pan”, the famous play by J. M. Barrie. Hook is Peter Pan’s sworn enemy, as Pan cut off Hook’s hand causing it to be replaced by a “hook”. It is implied in the play that Hook attended Eton College, just outside London. Hook’s last words are “Floreat Etona”, which is Eton College’s motto. Barrie openly acknowledged that the Hook character is based on Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab from the novel “Moby Dick”.

Neverland is the fictional location where Peter Pan lives in the works of J. M. Barrie. The name actually evolved in Barrie’s works, starting out as “Peter’s Never Never Never Land”. Also, Barrie used the names “the Never Never Land”, “the Neverland” and “the Neverlands”. Famously, entertainer Michael Jackson renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch as Neverland Valley Ranch when he took ownership in 1988, in a nod to “Peter Pan”.

56 Part of an old Apple commercial tagline : I’M A PC

The “Get a Mac” ad television campaign that ran from 2006 to 2009 featured just two men standing against a white background. The guy on the left called himself a PC, and was played by author and actor John Hodgman. The guy on the right called himself a Mac, and was played by actor Justin Long.

59 Letter in a Viking inscription : RUNE

A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

63 James with a jazzy voice : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

64 Foes of elves, in Tolkien : ORCS

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

65 Tennis star ___ Osaka : NAOMI

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese-born tennis professional who became the first Asian player to be ranked number-one in singles.

69 Ending with ticker or masking : … TAPE

Stock price information used to be transmitted over telegraph lines by “stock tickers” that produced the famous “ticker tape”, a paper tape with stock symbols and prices printed on it. The “ticker” got its name from the noise it created when it was printing. Even though ticker tape is no longer used, the concept lives on in the scrolling electronic tickers that stream across the bottom of a television screen when there’s a financial program airing.

Down

2 Utah city of more than 100,000 : PROVO

Provo, Utah is a city located just over 40 miles south of South Lake City. Provo is home to Brigham Young University. The city was originally called Fort Utah, and the name was changed to Provo in 1850 in honor of Étienne Provost. Provost was a French-Canadian fur trader who was perhaps the first man of European descent to see the Great Salt Lake.

4 Total ditz : SPACE CADET

The expression “space cadet” is used to describe someone who is eccentric and disconnected with reality. It may even imply that the person is a user of hallucinogens. The phrase has been around since the sixties, and may be derived from the science fiction TV show “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” which aired in the fifties.

5 Fill-in-the-blanks story : MAD LIB

Mad Libs is a word game, one mostly played by children in America. The idea is that one player provides a list of words which are then inserted into blank spots in a story, usually with hilarious results (they say!).

6 White-plumed herons : EGRETS

Egrets are a group of several species of white herons. Many egret species were faced with extinction in the 1800s and early 1900s due to plume hunting, a practice driven by the demand for egret plumes that could be incorporated into hats.

7 Title role for Jude Law in a 2004 remake : ALFIE

There have been two versions of the movie “Alfie”. The original, and for my money the best, was made in 1966 with Michael Caine. The remake came out in 2004 and stars Jude Law in the title role. The theme song was performed by Cher in the 1966 movie, but it was Dionne Warwick’s cover version from 1967 that was the most successful in the charts.

Jude Law is a wonderful English actor, and a big name in Hollywood these days. He makes a great romantic lead, witness his performance in 2006’s “The Holiday” in which he starred opposite Cameron Diaz. He and Diaz were nominated by MTV for the best onscreen kiss that year!

8 Reed who sang “Walk on the Wild Side” : LOU

Lou Reed was best known as a rock musician and songwriter, and was especially associated with the fabulous 1973 hit “Walk on the Wildside”. Reed is less well known as a photographer, but he published two collections of his work. The first was released in 2003 under the title “Emotions in Action”, and the second in 2006 called “Lou Reed’s New York”. Reed passed away in 2013.

9 Certain bachelor, in personals : SWM

Single white male (SWM)

10 Tolstoy’s “___ Karenina” : ANNA

I have to admit to not having read Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”, but I did see the excellent 1977 British television adaptation starring Nicola Pagett. I also saw the 2012 film adaptation with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard and found that to be far from excellent, awful in fact. I am no Stoppard fan …

11 Nutty/marshmallowy ice cream flavor : ROCKY ROAD

The flavor of ice cream known as rocky road is made using chocolate ice cream mixed with nuts and marshmallows. The exact origin of the flavor seems to be disputed, but one story is that William Dreyer invented in 1929, chopping up walnuts and marshmallows with sewing scissors belonging to his wife.

13 Commit a fine-dining faux pas : SLURP

The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

19 ___ mater : ALMA

The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.

25 Freshman, a year later, informally : SOPH

The term “sophomore” has been used for a student in the second year of university since the 1680’s. The original meaning of the word was “arguer”. The term has Greek roots, from two Greek words that have been artificially combined in English. The Greek “sophos” means “wise”, and “moros” means “foolish”.

31 Egyptian cobra : ASP

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in ancient Egypt.

32 Substance coiled in a double helix : DNA

Both DNA and RNA are complex molecules comprising nucleotide bases arranged in chains. Famously, DNA molecules form a double-helix structure, with two chains coiled around each other. RNA chains are single-stranded structures that usually fold onto themselves.

36 Body shop approx. : EST

Estimate (est.)

39 Sci-fi princess helping lead the Rebel Alliance : LEIA

Princess Leia is Luke Skywalker’s twin sister in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and was played by Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous “cinnamon bun hairstyle” that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds …

49 Sign in the bleachers at a football game : HI, MOM!

At a sports event one might sit in the bleachers. “Bleachers” is a particularly American term used to describe the tiered stands that provide seating for spectators. These seats were originally wooden planks, and as they were uncovered they would be bleached by the sun, giving them the name we use today. Sometimes the fans using the bleachers might be referred to as “bleacherites”.

52 High-altitude Western lake : TAHOE

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general, behind the five Great Lakes. It’s also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

55 “The Family Circus” cartoonist Bil : KEANE

Bil Keane was a cartoonist most associated with his strip “The Family Circus”. Once Bil sketched out the text and idea for the cartoon, he used to send it off to his son Jeff Keane who inked and colored the pictures for him in preparation for publication. In the storyline itself, the main characters are based on Bil’s own family. In fact, the son “Jeffy” in the story is based on Jeff, Bil’s son and longtime production assistant. After Bil passed away in 2011, Jeff took over as the author of the strip.

61 Insect found in “Antarctica” … but not Antarctica : ANT

The letter string “ANT” appears in the word “Antartica”, but there aren’t any ants living naturally in Antarctica.

62 Cornfield cry : CAW!

Ravens and crows are very similar species, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. Ravens are a little larger and often travel in pairs, whereas crows are a little smaller are are usually seen in larger groups. Crows make a cawing sound, while the raven’s call is more like a croak.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 iPhone downloads : APPS
5 Breakfast, lunch and dinner : MEALS
10 The “A” in A&E : ARTS
14 Stumble : TRIP
15 Lit, as a lantern : AGLOW
16 Season to be full of cheer : NOEL
17 Gaucho’s weapon : BOLA
18 *Sinister genius in a series of Sax Rohmer novels : DR FU MANCHU
20 With, en français : AVEC
21 Luau garland : LEI
22 Los Angeles hoopster : LAKER
23 *Quick-tempered, gun-toting, rabbit-hating toon : YOSEMITE SAM
27 “You betcha!” : YEP!
28 Taxis : CABS
29 Illuminated sign in a studio : ON AIR
31 Exchange of negative commercials : AD WAR
34 Choose : OPT
35 “Stupid is as stupid ___” (line from “Forrest Gump”) : DOES
38 *Dudley Do-Right’s enemy in old TV cartoons : SNIDELY WHIPLASH
42 You can usually see right through it : PANE
43 Electric ___ : EEL
44 Brought about : LED TO
45 Cyberbusiness, briefly : ETAIL
47 “Right away!” : STAT!
49 Owns : HAS
51 *Chief pirate in Neverland : CAPTAIN HOOK
56 Part of an old Apple commercial tagline : I’M A PC
58 1600 Pennsylvania ___ (D.C. address) : AVE
59 Letter in a Viking inscription : RUNE
60 Archetypically villainous features possessed by the answers to the starred clues : MOUSTACHES
63 James with a jazzy voice : ETTA
64 Foes of elves, in Tolkien : ORCS
65 Tennis star ___ Osaka : NAOMI
66 Lots and lots : A TON
67 Track or swimming competition : MEET
68 Typical middle schooler, agewise : TWEEN
69 Ending with ticker or masking : … TAPE

Down

1 Held in check : AT BAY
2 Utah city of more than 100,000 : PROVO
3 Stacks : PILES
4 Total ditz : SPACE CADET
5 Fill-in-the-blanks story : MAD LIB
6 White-plumed herons : EGRETS
7 Title role for Jude Law in a 2004 remake : ALFIE
8 Reed who sang “Walk on the Wild Side” : LOU
9 Certain bachelor, in personals : SWM
10 Tolstoy’s “___ Karenina” : ANNA
11 Nutty/marshmallowy ice cream flavor : ROCKY ROAD
12 [Giggle] : [TE-HEE]
13 Commit a fine-dining faux pas : SLURP
19 ___ mater : ALMA
24 Mother in a stable family? : MARE
25 Freshman, a year later, informally : SOPH
26 Opposed to : ANTI
30 Warning that’s pure bluster : IDLE THREAT
31 Egyptian cobra : ASP
32 Substance coiled in a double helix : DNA
33 Culinary concoction much used in French cuisine : WINE SAUCE
34 Avian hooter : OWL
36 Body shop approx. : EST
37 “___ nuff!” : SHO’
39 Sci-fi princess helping lead the Rebel Alliance : LEIA
40 Squeal of pain : YELP
41 Impulsive people tend to lack one : PLAN
46 Bank no. : ACCT
47 Cry from a person in peril : SAVE ME!
48 Connects (with) : TIES IN
49 Sign in the bleachers at a football game : HI, MOM!
50 Love, to Leonardo : AMORE
52 High-altitude Western lake : TAHOE
53 “Get ___ here!” : OUTTA
54 Winning : ON TOP
55 “The Family Circus” cartoonist Bil : KEANE
57 Discreet “Hey!” : PSST!
61 Insect found in “Antarctica” … but not Antarctica : ANT
62 Cornfield cry : CAW!

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