0211-20 NY Times Crossword 11 Feb 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Neil Padrick Wilson & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Flying Colors

Themed answers are COLORFUL things that “FLY”:

  • 33A With 35-Across, complete success … or a hint to 18-, 23-, 46- and 51-Across : FLYING …
  • 35A See 33-Across : … COLORS
  • 18A Lighting display at many a rock concert : LASER SHOW
  • 23A Symbol of pride : RAINBOW FLAG
  • 46A Comeuppance for a package thief : GLITTER BOMB
  • 51A Sport that can leave you with welts : PAINTBALL

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Story of why you really couldn’t have done it : 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’”.

6 Car rental partner of Budget : AVIS

Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.

10 Open a bit : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

15 Oenophile’s love : WINE

In Greek mythology, Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us “oeno-” as a prefix meaning “wine”. For example, oenology is the study of wine and an oenophile is a wine-lover.

16 Cops, slangily : PO-PO

“Po-po” is a slang term meaning “police”.

23 Symbol of pride : RAINBOW FLAG

The best-known rainbow flag is the one representing gay pride. Such usage of the rainbow flag was popularized in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker. The varying colors of the flag represent the diversity of the gay community.

26 Channel famous for veejays : MTV

MTV (the Music Television Network) started using “video jockey” (VJ, veejay to describe the media personalities who introduced music videos. The term is a derivative of the already well-established “disk jockey” (DJ).

28 Homer’s H : ETA

Homer was a famous poet of ancient Greece who is believed to be the author of the two classic epic poems “Iliad” and “Odyssey”. However, some scholars believe that Homer did not actually exist, but rather he is the personification of oral tradition that was passed down through the ages.

32 Sign before Taurus : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

39 Hankerings : YENS

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

42 Actress Zadora : PIA

Pia Zadora is an American actress and singer. Zadora’s most famous role was in the 1982 film “Butterfly” in which she worked with Orson Welles and Stacey Keach. The film was based on the novel “The Butterfly” by James M. Cain and deals with the difficult subject of father-daughter incest.

45 Food additive with “the fifth taste” : MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

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.

50 Letter flourishes : SERIFS

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 …

51 Sport that can leave you with welts : PAINTBALL

The “paint” in paintball isn’t actually paint, but rather a mix of gelatin and food coloring.

55 Actress Merrill of “BUtterfield 8” : DINA

Dina Merrill was in 22 movies, including two of my favorites: “Desk Set” with Tracy & Hepburn, and “Operation Petticoat” with Cary Grant. Merrill also carried some sway in the business world. Until 2007, she was on the compensation committee of Lehman Brothers, the merry band that approved all those big bonuses.

“BUtterfield 8” (note the capitalization of both the “B” and the “U”) is a film released in 1960 starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey. The title of the movie, and of the John O’Hara novel on which the film is based, is actually a telephone number. Up to the mid-sixties, telephone exchanges were given names rather than numbers. BUtterfield 8 was an exchange in the wealthy Upper East Side of Manhattan, and calling BU-8 was equivalent to 28-8, the first three digits of a 7-digit phone number.

57 Like granola, largely : OATEN

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.

60 Shooting sport : SKEET

There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:

  • Skeet shooting
  • Trap shooting
  • Sporting clays

Down

1 “Congratulations! You’ve been selected …” program : ADWARE

“Adware” is “advertising-supported software”, an application that includes ads in some form so that the developed can generate revenue. Sometimes deceptive practices can be used to entice a user to install such programs, so adware can sometimes be classed as malware (malicious software).

3 The Basques’ peninsula : IBERIA

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

Basque Country is an area that covers north-central Spain and southwestern France, and is home to the Basque people.

4 #2 for #44 : BIDEN

Vice President Joe Biden was a US Senator representing the state of Delaware from 1973 until he joined the Obama administration. While he was a senator, Vice President Biden commuted to Washington from Wilmington, Delaware almost every working day. He was such an active customer and supporter of Amtrak that the Wilmington Station was renamed as the Joseph R. Biden Railroad Station in 2011. Biden has made over 7,000 trips from that station, and the Amtrak crews were known to even hold the last train for a few minutes so that he could catch it. Biden earned himself the nickname “Amtrak Joe”.

When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the US in January 2009, the ceremony was attended by more people than had ever attended any event in the nation’s capital. Famously, President-Elect Obama strayed slightly from the required wording of the oath of office, and so he had to be sworn in again the next day.

10 Lhasa ___ (dog) : APSO

The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.

11 Who said “In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks” : JOHN MUIR

John Muir was a famous American naturalist, although he was born in Scotland. Muir founded the Sierra Club in 1892. He published “My First Summer in the Sierra” in 1911, which described one of Muir’s favorite places in the country, the Sierra Nevada range in California.

13 Do some sculling : ROW

A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …

21 “The Thinker” sculptor : RODIN

Rodin’s famous sculpture known as “The Thinker” has been reproduced many times. Rodin’s original version of “The Thinker” is actually a detail in a much larger work known as “The Gates of Hell”. The original plaster version of “The Gates of Hell” can be seen at the magnificent Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

25 Something a lighthouse beacon cuts through : FOG

The oldest lighthouse still in use is the Tower of Hercules located on the coast of Galicia in northwest Spain. Renovated in 1791, this magnificent lighthouse was built by the Romans in 2nd century CE and has been in constant use since that time. It is believed that the structure’s design is based on the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World.

32 Clark Kent and Mr. Hyde, for two : ALTER EGOS

Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story, including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

34 Pasta often served with clam sauce : LINGUINE

“Linguine alle vongole” is Italian for “linguine with clams”. The dish originated in Naples, but is popular all over Italy, and indeed all over North America.

35 Lit ___ (college class) : CRIT

Literary studies, also called literary criticism (lit crit), is the evaluation and interpretation of literature.

36 Welcome watering holes : OASES

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

37 Place to play hoops : GYM

Basketball is truly a North American sport. It was created in 1891 by Canadian James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first “hoops” were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When a player got the ball into the “net”, someone had to clamber up and get the ball back out again in order to continue the game!

41 Saudi capital : RIYADH

Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia, and is located near the center of the country. The name “Riyadh” translates from Arabic as “the gardens”.

42 Ballet position on tiptoe : POINTE

“En pointe” is the name given to ballet dancing on the tips of the toes, and is a French term. A ballerina wears pointe shoes (sometimes “toe shoes”) to perform this delightful-looking, albeit unhealthy feat (pun!).

47 Start of a billiards game : BREAK

The name of the game billiards comes from the French word “billiard” that originally described the wooden cue stick. The Old French “bille” translates as “stick of wood”.

49 Pesky swarmer : GNAT

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

51 Shareable PC file : PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

52 Actress Lucy of “Elementary” : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

If you’ve seen the American television show “Elementary”, you will know that it is an adaptation of the classic tales by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that are set in the present day. “Elementary” is similar in look and feel to the excellent BBC series “Sherlock”, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern-day Holmes. We can pick up “Sherlock” in some parts of the country as part of “Masterpiece Mystery” on PBS.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Story of why you really couldn’t have done it : ALIBI
6 Car rental partner of Budget : AVIS
10 Open a bit : AJAR
14 Minus item, in accounting : DEBIT
15 Oenophile’s love : WINE
16 Cops, slangily : PO-PO
17 Plants in abandoned lots : WEEDS
18 Lighting display at many a rock concert : LASER SHOW
20 Overdue amount : ARREAR
22 Strike callers : UNIONS
23 Symbol of pride : RAINBOW FLAG
26 Channel famous for veejays : MTV
28 Homer’s H : ETA
29 Dim bulbs : IDIOTS
30 Papermaking material : PULP
31 It often introduces new wrinkles : AGING
32 Sign before Taurus : ARIES
33 With 35-Across, complete success … or a hint to 18-, 23-, 46- and 51-Across : FLYING …
35 See 33-Across : … COLORS
37 Mourner’s emotion : GRIEF
38 Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi and Sigma Pi : FRATS
39 Hankerings : YENS
40 Bluffer’s words in poker, maybe : I RAISE
42 Actress Zadora : PIA
45 Food additive with “the fifth taste” : MSG
46 Comeuppance for a package thief : GLITTER BOMB
48 In an overwhelming way : HUGELY
50 Letter flourishes : SERIFS
51 Sport that can leave you with welts : PAINTBALL
54 Country or heavy metal : GENRE
55 Actress Merrill of “BUtterfield 8” : DINA
56 Polish before publishing : EDIT
57 Like granola, largely : OATEN
58 Lose sleep (over) : FRET
59 Sound of a flop : THUD
60 Shooting sport : SKEET

Down

1 “Congratulations! You’ve been selected …” program : ADWARE
2 Eye lustfully : LEER AT
3 The Basques’ peninsula : IBERIA
4 #2 for #44 : BIDEN
5 “Things may well not happen the way you suppose” : IT’S A BIG IF
6 Beltmaker’s tool : AWL
7 Through, on an itinerary : VIA
8 “Yo mama” joke, e.g. : INSULT
9 Perceived to be : SEEN AS
10 Lhasa ___ (dog) : APSO
11 Who said “In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks” : JOHN MUIR
12 Guests at the Last Supper : APOSTLES
13 Do some sculling : ROW
19 Fix, as a contest : RIG
21 “The Thinker” sculptor : RODIN
24 Turkey piece : WING
25 Something a lighthouse beacon cuts through : FOG
27 4-Down and others, for short : VPS
30 Those in favor : PROS
31 Those in favor : AYES
32 Clark Kent and Mr. Hyde, for two : ALTER EGOS
33 One may open a window for it : FRESH AIR
34 Pasta often served with clam sauce : LINGUINE
35 Lit ___ (college class) : CRIT
36 Welcome watering holes : OASES
37 Place to play hoops : GYM
38 Butter or olive oil : FAT
40 “Yeah, right!” : I’LL BET!
41 Saudi capital : RIYADH
42 Ballet position on tiptoe : POINTE
43 Escapee’s cry : I’M FREE!
44 Not answering at roll call : ABSENT
46 Pick up on : GET
47 Start of a billiards game : BREAK
49 Pesky swarmer : GNAT
51 Shareable PC file : PDF
52 Actress Lucy of “Elementary” : LIU
53 Relative of Inc. : LTD

8 thoughts on “0211-20 NY Times Crossword 11 Feb 20, Tuesday”

  1. 9:19. Didn’t pay much attention to the theme. PO-PO means police? Really?

    I still say no one goes to a restaurant and says “this dish is too umami for me.” They might say it was too sweet, too salty, too sour, too bitter, but what would something “too umami” taste like? Maybe there’s an umami mafia making money off it somehow…. Too cynical? 🙂

    Best –

  2. 12:44 Agree with Jeff on “umami”…if not for the NYTC I would have never heard of the word. btw, 2X Bill’s time today, starting a road trip tomorrow so I may be “44 Down” from the comment section for a few days 🙂

  3. 9:20, no errors. Felt that the theme was a bit of stretch today, even @Bill had to put the word “FLY” in quotes. Apparently anything that is above the ground must be “FLYING”.

    Agree with previous posters that people, in general, would not send a dish back for being too UMAMI. However, if you were served a dish which should have had the fat skimmed off, you might send it back for being too greasy or too fatty. Contrariwise, if you ordered a rich soup or stew, and it came out thin, tasteless and watery, you might send it back for those reasons.

    1. Bruce – All true. My point is that UMAMI isn’t a comparable entity to salt, sweet, sour, bitter as best I can tell.

      You can have something too salty, too sweet, too sour and too bitter. If, indeed, there is no such thing as “too umami”, how can it be a comparable entity – a 5th taste as it were? And if there actually is something that can be too umami, then I simply don’t understand the concept…still.

      Coincidentally I made this same gripe in yesterday’s LAT puzzle.

      Best –

  4. Re clue on 14 across: Obviously the constructors of this puzzle have no idea what a “debit” really means in accounting. A “debit” simply means “right” and a “credit” simply means “left” in fundamental accounting principles, as in the Accounting Equation of (A=L+C), where “A” stands for Asset and “L” and “C” respectively stand for Liability and Capital or Owner Equity. For example: a “minus” item only becomes a “debit” if it is under a “Liability” section or a “Capital” section; but not if it is under an “Asset” section, where a “minus” becomes a “credit”. Hope this helps clarify the misconception by most people.

  5. JB, Thanks. I’ve done accounting since 12th grade HS. I might add the accounts on the bottom half of a Trial Balance Sheet with SALES, COGS and EXPENSES, the same holds true where DEBITS decrease sales and increase cost of goods and expenses.

    A little nerdy of me to add that.

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