1017-20 NY Times Crossword 17 Oct 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Victor Barocas & Brad Wilber
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Quincunx

We have a mini-theme and some grid art. There are five PLUS SIGNS arranged in a QUINCUNX (4 corners of a square and a point in the center) pattern:

  • 1A Pattern of five shapes arranged like this puzzle’s central black squares : QUINCUNX
  • 62A One of five depicted in this puzzle : PLUS SIGN

Bill’s time: 12m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Highlands memorials : CAIRNS

A cairn is a man-made pile of stones that can have various uses. A cairn might be a prosaic trail marker, or a distinctive landmark or monument. Our term “cairn” derives from the Gaelic “carn” meaning “rocky hill, heap of stones”.

15 Like Davy Jones’s locker : UNDERSEA

No one is really sure why the phrase “Davy Jones’s locker” is used to refer to the bottom of the sea, but the first known reference to the idiom was made in “The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle” published in 1751, written by Scottish author Tobias Smollett. What is clear, is that Davy Jones is a euphemism for the devil or god of the seas.

17 Type face? : EMOTICON

An emoticon is a glyph created using text characters to represent facial features, and usually oriented sideways. The emoticon is designed to indicate emotion or attitude. The classic example is the smiley face: 🙂

18 Treaty signed by Carter and Brezhnev : SALT II

There were two rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the US and the Soviet Union, and two resulting treaties (SALT I & SALT II). The opening round of SALT I talks were held in Helsinki as far back as 1970, with the resulting treaty signed by President Richard Nixon and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1972. Brezhnev also signed the SALT II treaty, with President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

President Jimmy Carter was the 39th President, and the only US president to receive the Nobel Peace Prize after leaving office (Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama have also been so honored, but while in office).

Leonid Brezhnev was Soviet leader from 1964 until his death in 1982. Under Brezhnev, Soviet spending on the military grew to about 12.5% of the nation’s Gross National Product. This level of spending, without effective economic reform, led to the USSR’s “Era of Stagnation” that started in the mid-seventies. His large major political decision was to invade Afghanistan, a move that placed further strain on the fragile Soviet economy.

23 Summer Mass. hrs. : EDT

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

26 Roman’s foe in the Gallic Wars : CELT

The Celts are a very broad group of people across Europe who are linked by common languages. The original Celts were largely absorbed by other cultures, although a relatively modern revival of the “Celtic identity” is alive and well in Britain and Ireland. Such Celtic peoples today are mainly found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in France.

30 “Veep” actress Chlumsky : ANNA

“Veep” is a political satire sitcom on HBO that is a remake of the British show “The Thick of It” (Warning: strong language!). “Veep” is set in the office of fictional US Vice President Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

38 With 61-Across, two-time N.C.A.A. football champs of the 2010s : CLEMSON …
61a See 38-Across : … TIGERS

Clemson University was founded in 1889. The school takes its name from the town in which it is located: Clemson, South Carolina. The athletic teams of Clemson University have been called the Tigers since 1896 when football coach Walter Riggs arrived from Auburn University. Riggs was an admirer of the Princeton Tigers, so he gave his new school the tiger mascot.

42 Alternatives to Nikes : PUMAS

Puma is a German company that sells athletic shoes worldwide. The company is most famous for its line of soccer boots.

44 God with a chariot pulled by goats : THOR

In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of Odin. Thor wielded a mighty hammer and was the god of thunder, lightning and storms. Our contemporary word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s Day”.

47 Overseer of millions at work, perhaps : CFO

Chief financial officer (CFO)

48 Govt. research grant org. : NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) organization is made up of 27 different institutes that coordinate their research and services. Examples of member institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

50 Goblins, old-style : HOBS

A hobgoblin is a mischievous spirit of folk lore. Perhaps the most famous character labeled as a hobgoblin is Puck in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

54 Changed one’s tune, in brief? : DJED

The world’s first radio disc jockey (DJ) was one Ray Newby of Stockton, California who made his debut broadcast in 1909, would you believe? When he was 16 years old and a student, Newby started to play his records on a primitive radio located in the Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless in San Jose. The records played back then were mostly recordings of Enrico Caruso.

55 One side of the Ural Mountains : EUROPE

As are many celestial bodies, the moon of Jupiter called Europa was named after a figure in Greek mythology. Europa was a Phoenician woman who was abducted by Zeus. Europa also gave her name to the continent of Europe.

The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia and Kazakhstan is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

57 Who definitely isn’t the real McCoy? : HATFIELD

The Hatfield and McCoy families of West Virginia and Kentucky were involved in a notorious feud that lasted from 1863 to 1891. The feud was somewhat resurrected in 1979 when representatives from both families appeared on the game show “Family Feud”. The McCoys came out ahead on TV and went home with over $11,000 and a pig.

59 Setting for “The Great Escape” : STALAG

“Stalag” was the term used for a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany. “Stalag” is an abbreviation for “Stammlager”, which in turn is the short form of” Mannschaft Stamm und Straflager”, literally “crew master and prison camp”.

“The Great Escape” is a 1944 nonfiction book by Paul Brickhill that recounts the story of a mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Germany. Brickhill was actually a participant in the breakout. Famously, the book was adapted into a very successful 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough.

Down

1 NATO alphabet letter before Romeo : QUEBEC

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

5 Shout, in Chamonix : CRI

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is on the eastern border of France, in the Alps. Famously it was the site of the 1924 Winter Olympics, the first ever Winter Games.

6 SOS responder, for short : USCG

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has the distinction of being the country’s oldest continuous seagoing service. The USCG was founded as the Revenue Cutter Service by Alexander Hamilton in 1790.

8 Site of Coleridge’s “stately pleasure-dome” : XANADU

“Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is my wife’s favorite poem. Coleridge wrote his masterpiece one night in 1797 after a vivid dream heavily influenced by opium.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

10 Political commentator Navarro : ANA

Ana Navarro is a Nicaraguan-born, American political strategist and commentator. Navarro is a lifelong Republican who worked for Governor Jeb Bush and for Senator John McCain. However, she was very critical of presidential candidate Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. She was so vehement in her anti-Trump views that she ended up voting for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the election.

12 Whence a memorable emperor’s fall : RETURN OF THE JEDI

The name of the third film in the “Star Wars” series of movies is “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”.

13 Gadfly : NUISANCE

A gadfly is a fly that annoys horses and other livestock. It isn’t one particular species, but rather the name given to the horse-fly, botfly and other flies that bite and and generally irritate farm animals. “Gadfly” was absorbed into English in a figurative sense in the 17th century, when it was used for a particularly irritating person and one who is persistently critical of others.

14 Reaction to an unexpected joke : SPIT TAKE

The comic maneuver in which someone spits out a drink in response to a joke or a surprising statement, that’s called a “spit take”.

21 ___ City (Baghdad district) : SADR

Sadr City is a suburb of Baghdad that has oft been in the news in recent years. Sadr City is named after the deceased Shia leader Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr.

28 Sharpen, as a razor : STROP

A strop is a strip of leather used to sharpen a razor.

29 Palindromic tennis champ of the 1990s : SELES

Monica Seles has a Hungarian name as she was born to Hungarian parents in former Yugoslavia. Seles was the World No. 1 professional tennis player in 1991 and 1992 before being forced from the sport when she was stabbed by a spectator at a match in 1993. She did return to the game two years later, but never achieved the same level of success.

34 Old ___ : SAW

A saw is an old saying, one that is often repeated and is very familiar. The term “old saw” is actually a tautology, as by definition a “saw” is “old”.

39 Theater director Trevor with three Tonys : NUNN

Trevor Nunn is an English theater, film and television director. Two of his more famous stage productions are the blockbuster musicals “Cats” and “Les Misérables”.

40 Language from which “peyote” comes : NAHUATL

Nahuatl is a group of languages spoken mainly in Central Mexico. Historically, Nahuatl was known as “Aztec”.

The peyote is a small, spineless cactus that is native to southwestern Texas and Mexico. When ingested, the peyote is known to have a psychoactive effect. One of the psychoactive alkaloids in peyote is mescaline, a recreational drug of choice for the likes of Aldous Huxley and Pablo Picasso.

45 Flamingo’s support, often : ONE LEG

The name “flamingo” comes from the Greek word for “purple wing”. The flamingo’s pink or reddish color comes from the bird’s diet, and in particular the pigments ingested from animal and plant sources.

51 Flounder relative : SOLE

The group of flatfish known as soles take their name from “solea”, the Latin word for “sandal”. And, they do kind of have that shape.

Flounder are flatfish that are typically found lying on the bottom of estuaries and coastal lagoons. Just after it hatches, a young flunder has eyes on either side of its brain. As the fish matures, one of these eyes migrates to the other side of its body. The adult flounder then has two eyes which face up as the fish lies camouflaged on the ocean floor.

52 Brain wave readers, for short : EEGS

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.

53 “Really? Is *nobody* on my side now?” : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

58 Morocco’s next-largest city after Casablanca : FES

Fes (sometimes “Fez”) is the second-largest city in Morocco. Fes is home to the Fes el Bali quarter, a walled part of the city that is thought to be the largest car-free urban area in the world. Fes also gave its name to the red felt hat called a “fez”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Pattern of five shapes arranged like this puzzle’s central black squares : QUINCUNX
9 Highlands memorials : CAIRNS
15 Like Davy Jones’s locker : UNDERSEA
16 Request before a deal : ANTE UP
17 Type face? : EMOTICON
18 Treaty signed by Carter and Brezhnev : SALT II
19 Some last a lifetime : BANS
20 Grind : GNASH
22 Hunger (for) : LUST
23 Summer Mass. hrs. : EDT
24 ___ Yonath, 2009 Chemistry co-Nobelist : ADA
25 No-goodnik : RAT
26 Roman’s foe in the Gallic Wars : CELT
28 Building supports : STUDS
30 “Veep” actress Chlumsky : ANNA
31 About to explode, maybe : IRATE
33 Do some supermarket work : RESTOCK
35 More repulsive : ICKIER
37 Chemistry student’s expense : LAB FEE
38 With 61-Across, two-time N.C.A.A. football champs of the 2010s : CLEMSON …
40 Inexperienced with : NEW AT
41 Puts away : EATS
42 Alternatives to Nikes : PUMAS
44 God with a chariot pulled by goats : THOR
47 Overseer of millions at work, perhaps : CFO
48 Govt. research grant org. : NIH
49 Ending with xylyl : -ENE
50 Goblins, old-style : HOBS
52 Follow : ENSUE
54 Changed one’s tune, in brief? : DJED
55 One side of the Ural Mountains : EUROPE
57 Who definitely isn’t the real McCoy? : HATFIELD
59 Setting for “The Great Escape” : STALAG
60 Present person : ATTENDEE
61 See 38-Across : … TIGERS
62 One of five depicted in this puzzle : PLUS SIGN

Down

1 NATO alphabet letter before Romeo : QUEBEC
2 Needing to be tucked in, say? : UNMADE
3 Disclaimer hinting at false humility : I DON’T LIKE TO BRAG
4 Brings home : NETS
5 Shout, in Chamonix : CRI
6 SOS responder, for short : USCG
7 Newborn : NEONATE
8 Site of Coleridge’s “stately pleasure-dome” : XANADU
9 Paper alternative to plastic : CASH
10 Political commentator Navarro : ANA
11 “___ never work” : IT’LL
12 Whence a memorable emperor’s fall : RETURN OF THE JEDI
13 Gadfly : NUISANCE
14 Reaction to an unexpected joke : SPIT TAKE
21 ___ City (Baghdad district) : SADR
27 Ornaments : TRIMS
28 Sharpen, as a razor : STROP
29 Palindromic tennis champ of the 1990s : SELES
30 Hitting : AT BAT
32 Bronze: Lat. : AES
34 Old ___ : SAW
35 Tailgate party sight : ICE CHEST
36 French dessert of fruit encased in sweet batter : CLAFOUTI
39 Theater director Trevor with three Tonys : NUNN
40 Language from which “peyote” comes : NAHUATL
43 Unfortunate event : MISHAP
45 Flamingo’s support, often : ONE LEG
46 Blush : REDDEN
51 Flounder relative : SOLE
52 Brain wave readers, for short : EEGS
53 “Really? Is *nobody* on my side now?” : ET TU?
54 Rackets : DINS
56 Something to shoot for : PAR
58 Morocco’s next-largest city after Casablanca : FES

15 thoughts on “1017-20 NY Times Crossword 17 Oct 20, Saturday”

  1. 14:59, no errors. Interestingly, I have seen the word quincunx, and it came to mind pretty readily once I had a few letters from crosses, but I’m absolutely sure that I have never known what it meant until now.

  2. 24:56 including 4 minutes to step thru the whole puzzle looking for miscues and then finally looking to @Bill for two bad letters for terms I was unfamiliar with – QUINCUNX (I didn’t have the C) and CLAFOUTI (didn’t have the O). Tho I suppose that better guessing at the crossings (CRI and HOBS, Hobgoblins, after all) could have led me to get them without much more difficulty. They say that patience is a virtue – perhaps.

    Thirty five years ago I lived in Belgium for a couple years. They have lots of French cuisine, and while I saw Clafoutis often enough in the Patisseries, I never heard of or internalized the term – at least not that I remember. I just pointed at it in the display case and went YUM afterwards. Let’s just say that my French was just good enough to get by and that’s it. C’est finis!!

  3. Another ugh! Like @Ron I didn’t know QUINCUNX or CLAFOUTI. Had to peek at the answer grid several times. This whole week has been hard for me. I’m glad it’s almost over. 31:10.😕

  4. 26:21. Hand up for another that screwed up QUINtUNX and CLAFaUTI. As Ron states, in retrospect CRI and HOBS make logical sense, but what does that have to do with me? But unlike Ron I didn’t bother to go looking for them. So 2 errors – 2 letters wrong, 4 words wrong. Take your pick. Otherwise, a pretty easy Saturday.

    Best –

  5. One session (breakfast) no mistakes.
    “I don’t like to brag” but I rarely finish the Saturday KenKen and the Saturday Crossword at my breakfast session.

  6. 45:49, but fortunately nobody will see my last place time for 5 weeks 🙂 Looked up the meaning of “quincunx” and “clafouti” after completing the puzzle, but was able to solve them the respective downs and acrosses. “Return Of The Jedi” and one fumble thumb on “redden” was what did me in…

  7. Messed up in the NE corner after making it through that mental Olympics in NW and SW corner.. Like others, QUINCUNX, CLAFOUTI… but I also never heard of SPITTAKE, I went with LONG TAKE and that threw me off … but I shoul have gotten CAIRNS.

  8. Two letters (4 errors?) short of success. Much better than I thought after an initial review, so I’ll take it as a moral victory. This was a tough one.

  9. My first entry was at 58D, ‘course I had FEZ, which slowed me down at the bottom. Having grown up in WV, I thought 57A
    was pretty good. Had XANADU early on but couldn’t get any crosses until after I finished the whole east side. Being a regular viewer of “Good Eats”, I knew what a CLAFOUTIS was, but wasn’t sure how to spell it.
    Overall, not a bad Saturday.

  10. 15:13, no errors. Surprising time, considering all the false starts. Thought I had seen this arrangement of crosses on a flag, heraldry shield or family crest, but can’t find one now. Never knew the term QUINCUNX (learn something new). Not only are the 5 PLUS SIGNs arranged in a quincunx, but each of the plus signs is a quincunx itself. Happy for a clean fill, since the C in QUINCUNX/CRI; F in CFO/CLAFOUTI; and H in NIH/NAHUATL were total WAGS.

  11. I have made clafoutis, but it has been a while. I had almost forgotten about them. I made them in a flan pan with the fruit spread on the bottom of the pan – canned, not fresh, plums were the best – and a batter similar to a pancake batter poured over, then baked. They come out of the oven really puffed up, but soon collapse. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Maybe I will make one for Thanksgiving dessert.

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