0215-20 NY Times Crossword 15 Feb 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Randolph Ross
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 14m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Give a sop to, maybe : APPEASE

Cerberus is a dog with three heads that appears in both Greek and Roman mythology. Cerberus had the job of guarding the gates of Hades and preventing those who had crossed the River Styx from ever escaping. A sop is a piece of food that has been dipped in some liquid, as one might sop a piece of bread in soup. There is an idiomatic expression, “to give a sop to Cerberus”, which means to give someone a bribe, or pay someone off. The idea is that if one could bribe Cerberus, give him a sop to eat, then he would let you pass and escape from Hades.

15 Was naturally a part of something : INHERED

To inhere is to be inherent, to be innate, to exist naturally.

17 Duds : THREADS

“Duds” is an informal word meaning “clothing”. The term comes from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

18 Largest of the British Virgin Islands : TORTOLA

Tortola is one of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean located to the east of Puerto Rico. Tortola is the largest and most populated of the BVI, and is home to the territory’s capital Road Town.

21 Pipe filler : HASHEESH

Hashish is a drug that is derived from the Indian hemp or cannabis plant. The term “hashish” (also “hasheesh”) comes from the Arabic word for “grass”.

23 Epoch when modern mammals arose : EOCENE

The Eocene Epoch lasted from 56 to 34 million years ago. The name “Eocene” comes from the Greek “eos” meaning “dawn” and “kainos” meaning “new”. This is a reference to the “new dawn” for mammals, which emerged during the Eocene epoch.

25 Soft leathers : SUEDES

Suede is leather made from the underside of an animal’s skin, usually the skin from a lamb. As such it is very soft, although not as durable as leather made from the exterior skin. The soft leather was, and is still used for making gloves. Back in 1859 these gloves were called “gants de Suede” in France, or “gloves of Sweden”. So, the name “suede” comes from the French word for Sweden.

27 Fruity and fragrant compounds : ESTERS

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

30 Competitor of Century 21 : RE/MAX

RE/MAX is an international real estate company headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The name “RE/MAX” stands for “real estate maximum”, and the company’s logo is a hot-air balloon with RE/MAX emblazoned on it.

36 Subjects of baseless charges? : AWOLS

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

38 Food that’s cured : SALAMI

“Salame” (note the letter E at the end) is an Italian sausage that is traditionally associated with the peasant classes. The meat in the sausage is preserved with salt, and it can be hung and stored for as long as ten years. The name “salame” comes from “sale”, the Italian word for salt, and “-ame”, a suffix indicating a collective noun. Our English word “salami” is actually the Italian plural for “salame”.

41 Dangers for swimmers : RIPTIDES

Riptides are stretches of turbulent water caused by the meeting of different currents in the ocean.

43 Benchmark test for British students : A LEVEL

The UK’s education system was reformed in the fifties with the introduction of the General Certificate of Education (GCE). There were two levels of certification that could be awarded in most subjects. The GCE Ordinary Level (O Level) was a much less rigorous standard of examination than the GCE Advanced Level (A Level). The O Levels have largely been replaced now, but students still sit A Level examinations.

45 Young hares : LEVERETS

Hares belong to the genus Lepus. Young hares under one-year-old are called leverets.

48 21st-century health menace : OPIOIDS

The name of the class of drugs called “opioids” comes from the word “opium”, which describes the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy. Drugs derived from opium are known as “opiates”. The broader term “opioids” covers both natural and synthetic drugs that behave in the same way as opiates, i.e. those drugs that bind to opioid receptors in the brain.

49 Millinery items : HATPINS

A milliner is someone who makes, designs or sells hats. Back in the 1500s, the term described someone who sold hats made in Milan, Italy, hence the name “milliner”.

51 Chanel fragrance with a French name : EGOISTE

Égoïste is a fragrance for men that is produced by Chanel.

52 S.R.O. : NO SEATS

Standing room only (SRO)

Down

1 Mourn, in a way : SIT SHIVA

Shiva is a period of mourning in the Jewish tradition that lasts for one week. “Shiva” is a Hebrew for “seven”. The immediate family members of the deceased usually “sit shiva” in the home of the deceased, and there receive visitors. The ritual of sitting shiva is based on the story in Genesis in which Joseph mourns the death of his father Jacob for seven days.

3 Hynde of the Pretenders : CHRISSIE

Chrissie Hynde is the lead singer and guitarist of the rock band the Pretenders. Hynde formed the Pretenders in the late seventies, and despite changes in the band’s lineup, Hynde kept the Pretenders going right through the early nineties. Hynde is an enthusiastic vegan and supporter of the animal rights group PETA. If you’re in Hynde’s home town of Akron, Ohio you can eat at her vegan restaurant, “The VegiTerranean”.

4 Bob of old children’s TV : KEESHAN

“Captain Kangaroo” is a TV series for children that CBS aired for a long, long time. The show was first broadcast in 1955, and the last episode aired nearly 30 years later in 1984. The title character was played by Bob Keeshan. Apparently Keeshan had to wear heavy makeup in the early years to make him old enough for his role. The show ran so long that Keeshan had to use makeup to look younger in the latter years.

5 Theater portmanteau : DRAMEDY

Comedy-drama (dramedy)

6 It had a major part in the Bible : RED SEA

The Red Sea (sometimes called the Arabian Gulf) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to the north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.

8 Official proceedings : ACTA

Actum (plural “acta”) is the Latin word for “deed”. “Acta” is used in English to describe many official records, including minutes, proceedings etc.

13 Sister of Helios : SELENE

Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon, and the equivalent of the Roman deity Luna. Selene gave her name to the word “selenology”, the study of the geology of the moon, and also gave her name to the chemical element “selenium”. According to mythology, Selene fell in love with the handsome hunter/shepherd Endymion, a mere mortal.

20 What are depicted in some blue prints? : THE SMURFS

The Smurfs are little blue people created in 1958 by the Belgian cartoonist who went by the pen name Peyo. The Smurfs became famous in the US when Hanna-Barbera used them in a children’s cartoon series. The characters are largely a group of males. The original lineup included just one “Smurfette”, who is wooed by almost all of the boy Smurfs. Later, another female was introduced into the mix called Sassette, and still later along came Granny Smurf.

28 Jungle herbivore : TAPIR

All four species of tapir are endangered. Even though the tapir looks much like a pig, it is more closely related to the horse and the rhinoceros.

30 Chewed out : RAILED AT

To rail at or against something is to complain bitterly about it.

35 Title for a retired professor : EMERITA

“Emeritus” (female form “emerita”, and plural “emeriti”) is a term in the title of some retired professionals, particularly those from academia. Originally an emeritus was a veteran soldier who had served his time. The term comes from the Latin verb “emerere” meaning to complete one’s service.

37 Animal hunted in “Lord of the Flies” : WILD PIG

“Lord of the Flies” is such a great story! William Golding wrote the novel as an allegory of society. The most famous screen adaptation was made in 1963, directed by Peter Brook.

39 Third-largest city of the later Ottoman Empire, surpassed only by Constantinople and Cairo : ALEPPO

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and is located not far from Damascus, the nation’s capital. Aleppo owes it size and history of prosperity to its location at the end of the Silk Road, the trade route that linked Asia to Europe (and other locations). The Suez Canal was opened up in 1869 bringing a new route for transport of goods, and so Aleppo’s prosperity declined over the past one hundred years or so. The city’s population has suffered terribly since the start of the Syrian Civil War, with the Battle of Aleppo raging from 2012 to 2016.

40 Duties : LEVIES

A levy is a tax. The term “levy” comes from Old French in which “levée” means “raising”. So a levy is a tax that has been “raised” (in the sense of “collected”, not “increased”).

46 Cough syrup amts. : TSPS

Teaspoon (tsp.)

49 Daughter of Loki, in Norse myth : HEL

Hel is a being from Norse Mythology who presides over a realm that is also called Hel. The underworld of Hel receives many of the dead, and the term “go to Hel” is used in Norse accounts to mean “to die”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Drink every last drop from : SUCK DRY
8 Give a sop to, maybe : APPEASE
15 Was naturally a part of something : INHERED
16 Street protester or Tibetan monk : CHANTER
17 Duds : THREADS
18 Largest of the British Virgin Islands : TORTOLA
19 Bad vibrations : SEISMS
20 Things picked up on beaches : TAN LINES
21 Pipe filler : HASHEESH
23 Epoch when modern mammals arose : EOCENE
24 “See you then” : IT’S A DATE
25 Soft leathers : SUEDES
26 Like bodybuilders’ arms : VEINY
27 Fruity and fragrant compounds : ESTERS
29 Ending with many fruit names : -ADE
30 Competitor of Century 21 : RE/MAX
31 Marijuana, in older slang : TEA
34 Be in charge of : HEAD UP
36 Subjects of baseless charges? : AWOLS
38 Food that’s cured : SALAMI
41 Dangers for swimmers : RIPTIDES
43 Benchmark test for British students : A LEVEL
44 1960s catchphrase : FREE LOVE
45 Young hares : LEVERETS
47 Takes stock? : LADLES
48 21st-century health menace : OPIOIDS
49 Millinery items : HATPINS
50 Source of running water : OPEN TAP
51 Chanel fragrance with a French name : EGOISTE
52 S.R.O. : NO SEATS
53 Units in a horse race : LENGTHS

Down

1 Mourn, in a way : SIT SHIVA
2 Cold : UNHEATED
3 Hynde of the Pretenders : CHRISSIE
4 Bob of old children’s TV : KEESHAN
5 Theater portmanteau : DRAMEDY
6 It had a major part in the Bible : RED SEA
7 N.F.L. stat: Abbr. : YDS
8 Official proceedings : ACTA
9 Call on a hot line? : PHONE SEX
10 British sitting room : PARLOUR
11 Draws in : ENTICES
12 Made up (for) : ATONED
13 Sister of Helios : SELENE
14 Gets the lead out : ERASES
20 What are depicted in some blue prints? : THE SMURFS
22 Knight mare? : STEED
28 Jungle herbivore : TAPIR
30 Chewed out : RAILED AT
31 Personal agenda : TO-DO LIST
32 Desperate hour : ELEVENTH
33 Judges : ASSESSES
34 “Here, try this” : HAVE ONE
35 Title for a retired professor : EMERITA
36 Had plateful after plateful : ATE A TON
37 Animal hunted in “Lord of the Flies” : WILD PIG
38 Site of a western gunfight : SALOON
39 Third-largest city of the later Ottoman Empire, surpassed only by Constantinople and Cairo : ALEPPO
40 Duties : LEVIES
42 Fur : PELAGE
46 Cough syrup amts. : TSPS
49 Daughter of Loki, in Norse myth : HEL

12 thoughts on “0215-20 NY Times Crossword 15 Feb 20, Saturday”

  1. 27:55. One error. The “G” of PELAGE/EGOISTE I just left blank and looked it up. I even thought of the G there, but I couldn’t imagine a perfume by the name EGOISTE. Shows what I know. A lot of punny clues in this one.

    Had “Buffalo” before KEESHEN, as in Buffalo Bob of Howdy Doody, but I quickly saw that would get me nowhere. Also took a while to accept the spelling of HASHEESH (hashish is how I know it).

    I dare anyone to say SIT SHIVA 5 times fast out loud…..

    Best –

    1. Also had Buffalo Bob at first and spelled “hasheesh” with an i, but quickly figured it out toward the end of the solve. Got the g in pelage correct because I knew there was a word “pelagic,” although couldn’t remember what it meant.

  2. 26:04, but I had to cheat to get myself unstuck in an empty upper left: after several fruitless head-scratching minutes, I used Google to get CHRISSIE Hynde and was then able to finish without further help. In my own defense: I’m moving to a new house, I’ve been working twelve hours a day for a month to make it happen, I’ve lost ten pounds, and I’m just too worn out to be my usual stubborn self … 😳.

    So, this time, our local idiot troll can truthfully say that I cheat … but … if and when I do, I report exactly what I did …

  3. Really liked this one in spite of being one square short again;
    ECOISTE/PELACE. Unfamiliar with both. I, too, struggled with the spelling of HASHEESH until crosses bailed me out.

  4. 44:48, 2 errors: PELA(T)E/E(T)OISTE; the consonant in the cross was a complete guess. From here on I will remember that PELAGE is the hairy covering of a mammal. Experienced problems in the NW similar to previous posters. Didn’t help that I started with 1A DRAINED; or 20A SEA SHELL. Similar to @Jeff, I wanted to put BUFFALO in 4D.

  5. Note to Bill — Just above the Complete List of Clues, there’s a funny little line starting es” class= … Been there a while, but I’ll bet it’s not supposed to be … ?

    1. Thanks, Sandra. That HTML “typo” persisted for a while before it was caught. It’s in these old, syndicated posts but was fixed a few weeks for the new posts. Thanks for taking the time to point it out. I really appreciate that kind of help, because it’s much needed! 🙂

  6. What!? Bill and I were the only posters who solved this one? Of course, it took me a lot longer (about 25 minutes) but, really? I’m in shock. And grinning.

  7. NW corner did me in. Had to cheat on CHRISSA . Had 4 other errors in other sections but gave it my best shot. I misread the “BOB” hint. I totally forgot about Captain Kangaroo even though I used to watch the show.. That was a nice piece of info on his grandson climbing Mt Everest. Thanks Bill!!

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