0129-20 NY Times Crossword 29 Jan 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Jeremy Newton
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Want Some Actors?

Themed answers are given and family names of actors reversed, and “FOR” inserted in the middle:

  • 17A Want an actress from “Soul Food”? : LONG FOR NIA (from “Nia Long”)
  • 23A Want an actor from “Wonder Woman”? : PINE FOR CHRIS (from “Chris Pine”)
  • 36A Want an actress from “Mad Men”? : JONES FOR JANUARY (from “January Jones”)
  • 44A Want an actor from “Rogue One”? : YEN FOR DONNIE (from “Donnie Yen”)
  • 55A Want an actor from “Here Come the Girls”? : HOPE FOR BOB (from “Bob Hope”)

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 11m 00s!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Texting pal, maybe : BFF

Best friend forever (BFF)

14 QB Manning : ELI

Eli Manning is a retired footballer who played quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning retired from football as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2015. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback. Eli, Peyton and Archie co-authored a book for children titled “Family Huddle” in 2009. It describes the Mannings playing football together as young boys.

17 Want an actress from “Soul Food”? : LONG FOR NIA (from “Nia Long”)

Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

19 The buck stops here : BANK

The phrase “passing the buck” supposedly comes from poker. The marker that indicates whose turn it is to deal is called the buck, and it is passed from player to player. Over time, the phrase came to mean the passing of responsibility (or usually blame). President Harry S. Truman popularized the derivative phrase “the buck stops here” by placing a sign bearing those words on his desk in the Oval Office. President Truman had received the sign as a gift from a prison warden who was also an enthusiastic poker player.

22 Hat for a chef : TOQUE

A toque was a brimless style of hat that was very fashionable in Europe in the 13th to 16th centuries. Nowadays we associate toques with chefs, as it is the name given to a chef’s hat (called a “toque blanche” in French, a “white hat”). A chef’s toque is quite interesting. Many toques have exactly 100 pleats, often said to signify the number of ways that an egg can be cooked.

23 Want an actor from “Wonder Woman”? : PINE FOR CHRIS (from “Chris Pine”)

Actor Chris Pine played a very young Captain James T. Kirk in the 2009 “Star Trek” film. Pine was also the fourth actor to play the role of Jack Ryan in the film series from the Tom Clancy novels (after Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck).

“Wonder Woman” is a 2017 film starring Gal Gadot as the superhero title character. It is listed by many as one of the best superhero movies of all time. Gadot had played Wonder Woman before, in the 2016 film “Batman v Superman”.

28 Vow to get even? : IOU

I owe you (IOU)

29 Pennsylvania N.L. team, familiarly : PHILS

Philadelphia’s baseball team was founded in 1883 as the Quakers, with the name changing to “Philadelphias” and “Phillies” not long into the team’s history. The Phillies have been based in the same city using the same team name longer than any other team in US professional sports.

36 Want an actress from “Mad Men”? : JONES FOR JANUARY (from “January Jones”)

January Jones is a model and actress from Brookings, South Dakota. Most famously, Jones plays Betty, the wife of Don Draper, on the TV show “Mad Men”. My favorite movie featuring Jones is 2011’s “Unknown” in which she starred opposite Liam Neeson.

40 Company whose bathroom sinks are named for Swedish bodies of water : IKEA

The IKEA furniture chain was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

44 Want an actor from “Rogue One”? : YEN FOR DONNIE (from “Donnie Yen”)

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is a 2016 movie that serves as a prequel to the original 1977 film “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”. “Rogue One” is the improvised military call sign used by rebel soldiers who go on a mission to steal plans for the Death Star.

49 Deck divided into the Major and Minor Arcana : TAROT

In a 78-card tarot deck, the picture cards are referred to as the Major Arcana. The remaining cards are known as the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana included The Fool, the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man, and Death.

50 Org. seeking clean skies : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

55 Want an actor from “Here Come the Girls”? : HOPE FOR BOB (from “Bob Hope”)

I remember my first non-business visit to Los Angeles. I was a typical tourist and bought a map showing the homes of the stars and drove around Beverly Hills absorbing all the glitz. At one point I drove past a Rolls Royce that was stopped in oncoming traffic, waiting to make a left turn. The window was down, and the driver was puffing away on a big cigar. It was none other than Bob Hope. Seeing him there right beside me, that was a big thrill …

Down

2 Sheet of ice : FLOE

An ice floe is a sheet of ice that has separated from an ice field and is floating freely on the ocean.

4 Many an animated meme : GIF

A bitmap is an image file format used to store digital images. Basically, each pixel in a bitmap file is stored as a “bit” of information, hence the name “bitmap”. In 1987, CompuServe introduced a new type of image file called the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). A GIF image takes the same information as a bitmap and then compresses it, resulting in a smaller file size. However, during compression the image may lose some resolution. The GIF format also handles short video clips, usually animations.

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

6 Stroke on a letter : SERIF

Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif, using the French word “sans” meaning “without” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

9 Ad by MADD, e.g. : PSA

Public service announcement (PSA)

Candace Lightner lost her 13-year-old child to a drink-driver in 1980. Soon after, Lightner formed the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

10 Something most people don’t go into more than once a year : LABOR

The normal gestation period for humans is 280 days, a little over 9 months. The gestation period can be a little shorter, or longer. Back in 1945, a pregnancy was confirmed at 375 days, which is just over 12 months.

11 Like many dinar spenders : IRAQI

The dinar is the official currency in many countries, such as Iraq, Tunisia and Serbia. The gold dinar dates back to the early days of Islam, with the name deriving from the Roman currency called “denarius” meaning “ten times” (as it was originally a coin worth ten asses).

22 Turkey Day, e.g.: Abbr. : THU

Thanksgiving Day was observed on different dates in different states for many years, until Abraham Lincoln fixed the date for the whole country in 1863. Lincoln’s presidential proclamation set that date as the last Thursday in November. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November, arguing that the earlier date would give the economy a much-needed boost.

25 Spanish table wine : RIOJA

Rioja wines come from the province of La Rioja in Northern Spain. In my days living back in Europe, Rioja wines were noted for their heavy oaky flavors and it wasn’t uncommon to order a “rough Rioja” when out for dinner of an evening.

26 Mixer option : COLA

The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.

29 Nightcap go-with, in brief : PJS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

31 Danish coins : ORE

Dominica is an island nation in the Caribbean, one not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. Christopher Columbus and his crew first spotted the island on a Sunday. Columbus named it “Dominica”, as “dominica” is Latin for “Sunday”.
The Norwegian and Danish krone are divided into 100 öres.

34 Mythical ship that gave its name to a constellation : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

The constellation Argo Navis (“Argo the Ship” in Latin) is no longer officially recognized. Instead, it has been divided into its constituent parts: Puppis (“The Poop Deck”), Vela (“The Sails”) and Carina (“The Keel”).

37 Generic dog name : FIDO

“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.

44 Happy cowpoke’s cry : YAHOO!

“Cowpoke” is a term used nowadays for any cowboy, but it was originally limited to the cowboys who prodded cattle onto railroad cars using long poles.

45 Cable news anchor Hill : ERICA

Erica Hill was the co-anchor of “CBS This Morning”, and before that she was co-anchor of CBS’s “The Early Show”. Hill moved in 2008 to NBC News and co-hosted the weekend edition of “Today”. She moved to CNN in 2016.

48 “La Traviata,” for one : OPERA

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “La Traviata” was originally titled “Violetta” after the main character in the piece. The title “La Traviata” translates into “The Woman Gone Astray”, reflecting Violetta’s life as a courtesan.

52 Place to veg : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

53 Medicinal qty. : TBSP

Tablespoon (tbsp.)

57 John Winston ___ Lennon : ONO

After John Lennon married Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name by deed poll, adding “Ono” as a middle name. His official name became John Winston Ono Lennon, as he wasn’t allowed to drop the name “Winston” that was given to him at birth.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Texting pal, maybe : BFF
4 Tank top? : GAS CAP
10 Risky thing to go out on : LIMB
14 QB Manning : ELI
15 Lofty ambitions : IDEALS
16 Single’s bars? : ARIA
17 Want an actress from “Soul Food”? : LONG FOR NIA (from “Nia Long”)
19 The buck stops here : BANK
20 Creepazoid’s gaze : LEER
21 Stripped (of) : RID
22 Hat for a chef : TOQUE
23 Want an actor from “Wonder Woman”? : PINE FOR CHRIS (from “Chris Pine”)
27 Cobbler’s supply : SOLES
28 Vow to get even? : IOU
29 Pennsylvania N.L. team, familiarly : PHILS
30 Summer hangout : POOL
32 Take rudely : GRAB
36 Want an actress from “Mad Men”? : JONES FOR JANUARY (from “January Jones”)
39 They’re often lit : SOTS
40 Company whose bathroom sinks are named for Swedish bodies of water : IKEA
41 Female compadre : AMIGA
42 Words of honor : ODE
43 Playground rebuttal : I AM SO!
44 Want an actor from “Rogue One”? : YEN FOR DONNIE (from “Donnie Yen”)
49 Deck divided into the Major and Minor Arcana : TAROT
50 Org. seeking clean skies : EPA
51 By the dawn’s early light? : EAST
54 Home of the first man to walk on the moon, the first American to orbit Earth and the first American woman to walk in space : OHIO
55 Want an actor from “Here Come the Girls”? : HOPE FOR BOB (from “Bob Hope”)
58 Just pretend : MOCK
59 Robotic supervillain in the first “Avengers” sequel : ULTRON
60 Bad marks : EFS
61 Colorful neckwear : BOAS
62 Attempts it : HAS A GO
63 Part of a tavern : TAP

Down

1 Drooping flower feature : BELL
2 Sheet of ice : FLOE
3 Common kind of pen for illustrators : FINE-POINT
4 Many an animated meme : GIF
5 Thinks the world of : ADORES
6 Stroke on a letter : SERIF
7 “Leave it to me!” : CAN DO!
8 Comedian Wong : ALI
9 Ad by MADD, e.g. : PSA
10 Something most people don’t go into more than once a year : LABOR
11 Like many dinar spenders : IRAQI
12 Demerit : MINUS
13 Lie in the sun : BAKE
18 Car fronts : GRILLES
22 Turkey Day, e.g.: Abbr. : THU
24 Suffix with good and willing : -NESS
25 Spanish table wine : RIOJA
26 Mixer option : COLA
27 “Out, out!” : SHOO!
29 Nightcap go-with, in brief : PJS
30 Game of checkers? : POKER
31 Danish coins : ORE
32 More sticky and viscous : GUMMIER
33 Increase the stakes : RAISE A BET
34 Mythical ship that gave its name to a constellation : ARGO
35 Words before nose or hair : BY A …
37 Generic dog name : FIDO
38 Bread accompanying saag paneer : NAAN
42 ___-forgotten : OFT
43 Addled : IN A FOG
44 Happy cowpoke’s cry : YAHOO!
45 Cable news anchor Hill : ERICA
46 Quiet corners : NOOKS
47 Univ. units : DEPTS
48 “La Traviata,” for one : OPERA
49 It’s monumental : TOMB
52 Place to veg : SOFA
53 Medicinal qty. : TBSP
55 “Who woulda thunk …?” : HUH …?
56 Suffix with crap : -OLA
57 John Winston ___ Lennon : ONO

12 thoughts on “0129-20 NY Times Crossword 29 Jan 20, Wednesday”

  1. 27:17. A puzzle completely out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know NIA LONG, CHRIS PINE, nor JANUARY JONES nor had I seen any of those shows. I didn’t know “Here Come the Girls” (ok – I did know BOB HOPE) ERICA Hill, ULTRON (never seen The Avengers or its sequels), and I didn’t know ALI Wong. A slog meant for some demographic that isn’t me….

    Obviously since I didn’t know any of those people the theme was a mystery to me until BOB HOPE at the end – even though knowing the theme wouldn’t have helped me anyway.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s puzzle.

    Best –

  2. Jeff wrote my comments for me. I had to totally rely on crosses to finish this on as I had absolutely no clue about the themed names except for Bob Hope and by then it was too late. No errors, but frustrating.

  3. It wasn’t easy, but what I would question is Tbsp for medicinal dose – surely more a cooking measure. Usually you take a teaspoon of medicine, not a tablespoon.

  4. Have mixed feelings about this puzzle, mostly on the tepid side. Theme was easy enough, but some of the shorter fill was elusive. Had bask before BAKE and hah before HUH.

  5. Nia Long’s name has been in enough crossword puzzles in the last couple years to make it an easy answer for me. Got the theme much earlier than usual.
    But I will never, ever, admit how long it takes me.
    Archive this: Toque, usually spelled touque here in Canada, worn by nearly every Canadian at least once, is a knit cap with, almost always, a pom-pom. Seen frequently in winter, unlike the very rarely seen toque blanche.

  6. Re 39 across, the oft-used crossword answer “sot” is just a plain old-fashioned slur. C’mon, guys, those folks have a disease.

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