1019-20 NY Times Crossword 19 Oct 20, Monday

Constructed by: Fred Piscop
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): … In the Comics

Themed answers are images used IN THE COMICS to represent specific concepts:

  • 16A Anger, in the comics : STORM CLOUD
  • 59A Nervousness, in the comics : SWEAT DROPS
  • 15D Odor, in the comics : WAVY LINES
  • 26D Idea, in the comics : LIGHT BULB

Bill’s time: 4m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 President George or George W. : BUSH

President George W. Bush (GWB) is named for his father, George H. W. Bush. The “W” in the name of both father and son stands for “Walker”. Walker was the family name of President George H. W. Bush’s mother, Dorothy Walker.

5 Egypt’s capital : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

10 “Casablanca” pianist : SAM

The movie “Casablanca” was released in January of 1943, timed to coincide with the Casablanca Conference, the high-level meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill. The film wasn’t a box-office hit, but gained critical acclaim, winning three Oscars including Best Picture. The signature song “As Time Goes By” was written many years earlier for a 1931 Broadway musical called “Everybody’s Welcome”, and was a hit in 1931 for Rudy Vallee. But today we all remember the Casablanca version, sung by Dooley Wilson (who played “Sam” in the film). Poor Dooley didn’t get to record it as a single, due to a musician’s strike in 1943. The 1931 Rudy Vallee version was re-released that year and became an even bigger hit second time round.

14 Catkin-producing tree : ALDER

Alder trees are deciduous (i.e. not evergreen), and the fruit of the tree is called a “catkin”. The tree carries both male and female catkins that look very similar to each other, but the male catkin is longer than the female. Alders are pollinated by wind usually, although bees can play a role.

15 What an oenologist is an expert on : 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.

22 Harper who wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird” : LEE

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” was first published in 1960. The book is a mainstay in English classes all around the world. In my humble opinion, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a great ambassador for American literature.

26 Refrain syllables in “Deck the Halls” : LAS

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in the 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la!”

32 Honda model with a palindromic name : CIVIC

Introduced in 1972, the Honda Civic is the second-oldest brand of Japanese car made for the US today (only the Toyota Corolla has been around longer). Today’s Civic is a compact car, but the original was smaller, and classed as a sub-compact. The first design had a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel drive to save on space, copying the configuration introduced with the British Mini.

37 Letter after phi, chi and psi : OMEGA

Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet and is the one that looks like a horseshoe when in uppercase. The lowercase omega looks like a Latin W. The word “omega” literally means “great O” (O-mega). Compare this with the Greek letter Omicron, meaning “little O” (O-micron).

38 Channel for Erin Burnett and Don Lemon : CNN

Erin Burnett is a television journalist and the host of her own show on CNN called “Erin Burnett OutFront”. Apparently Burnett also used to show up occasionally as advisor to Donald Trump on “The Celebrity Apprentice”.

Don Lemon is a TV journalist and news anchor based in New York who hosts the show “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon”.

39 Make catty remarks from the side : SNIPE

To snipe is to attack with snide criticism, especially from a safe distance. This usage of the term is an extension of the older meaning, to take a shot from a hidden position (as in “sniper”). Such a shot was originally taken when hunting the game birds called “snipes”.

45 Classic distress call : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

46 Setting for TV’s “Cheers” : BAR

The wonderful sitcom “Cheers” ran for eleven seasons on NBC, from 1982 to 1993. “Cheers” spawned an equally successful spin-off show called “Frasier”, which also ran for eleven seasons and often featured guest appearances of characters from the original “Cheers”. The Cheers bar was styled on the Bull & Finch Pub in Boston (in which I’ve had a pint of Guinness two!). The owner of the Bill & Finch cleverly agreed to the initial interior and exterior shots, charging only one dollar. Since then he has made millions from selling “Cheers” memorabilia, and also from increased trade.

47 German car once owned by General Motors : OPEL

Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

52 Peas and peanuts, for two : LEGUMES

Plants called legumes are notable in that they work symbiotically with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, microorganisms found in the root nodules that convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium ions. As nitrogen is an essential component of proteins, legumes are exceptionally rich sources of plant protein. Examples of legumes are peas, beans, lentils and peanuts.

56 Perfect example : EPITOME

The more common meaning of “epitome” is “perfect example of a group, quality, type”. An epitome is also an abstract or summary of a book or article.

58 Presidential office shape : OVAL

The West Wing of the White House Complex is also known as the Executive Office Building, and houses the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room and the Situation Room. The West Wing was constructed at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt to house his staff, leaving the residence to his family alone. President William Howard Taft had the West Wing expanded, and it was he who created the first Oval Office built. President Herbert Hoover had the West Wing rebuilt after it was significantly damaged in a fire. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had the West Wing redesigned to its current layout, including the Oval Office that is used today.

62 Country singer Steve : EARLE

Steve Earle is an American songwriter and performer, and someone with a reputation of having lived a hard life. Earle’s brushes with the law and drug addiction problems have earned him the nickname “the hardcore troubadour”.

63 Norway’s capital : OSLO

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiana.

64 Ginger ___ : ALE

The brand most closely associated with ginger ale is Canada Dry. “Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale” was first formulated in 1904 by a Canadian chemist called John McLoughlin from Ontario. Prohibition in the United States helped sales of the drink as it was particularly effective in masking the taste of illegally-produced, homemade liquor.

65 White-plumed wader : EGRET

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.

66 Many souvenir shirts : TEES

A souvenir is a memento, a token of remembrance. We imported the word “souvenir” from French, in which language it has the same meaning. The term comes from the Latin “subvenire” meaning “to come to mind”, or literally “to come up”.

Down

1 ___ metabolism (energy expended at rest) : BASAL

One’s basal metabolism comprises just the basic processes of the body, the one’s essential to maintain life. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories needed to maintain that basal metabolism, sufficient energy to maintain function of the vital organs such as heart, lungs, kidneys. Excluded is the energy needed to move around, eat, or absorb food.

3 Mall unit : STORE

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to be a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

4 Group of buffalo : HERD

There are two species of bison left (four species are extinct). We are most familiar with the American bison (commonly called the American buffalo), but there is also a European bison, which is sometimes called a “wisent”.

5 Prickly plant : CACTUS

The cactus (plural “cacti”) is a member of a family of plants that are particularly well-adapted to extremely dry environments. Almost all cacti are native to the Americas, although some succulent plants from the old world are similar in appearance and are often mislabeled as “cacti”.

6 Basketball great Iverson : ALLEN

Allen Iverson is a professional basketball player who played in the NBA for several years. Iverson signed up to play for a Turkish basketball team in 2010. He played in Turkey for two seasons and retired from the game in 2013. Iverson is known by the nickname “the Answer”.

10 In answer to the request “Talk dirty to me,” she sometimes says “The carpet needs vacuuming” : SIRI

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

11 Pantry-raiding bugs : ANTS

The word “pantry” dates back to 1300, when it came into English from the Old French “panetrie” meaning a “bread room”. Bread is “pain” in French, and “panis” in Latin.

17 Percussion instrument made from a gourd : MARACA

Maracas are percussion instruments that are native to Latin America. They are constructed from a dried shell, like that of a coconut, to which a handle is attached. The shell is filled with dried seeds or beans, and shaken.

21 Droopy part of a basset hound : EAR

The basset hound wouldn’t be my favorite breed of dog, to be honest. Basset hounds have a great sense of smell with an ability to track a scent that is second only to that of the bloodhound. The name “basset” comes from the French word for “rather low”, a reference to the dog’s short legs.

29 Chief Norse god : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. He is usually depicted as having one eye, reflecting the story of how he gave one of his eyes in exchange for wisdom.

30 Big name in dog food : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

31 Cousin of an elk : DEER

The elk (also “wapiti”) is one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …

33 Mosque leader : IMAM

An imam is a Muslim leader, and often the person in charge of a mosque and/or perhaps a Muslim community.

34 Presidential bill-killer : VETO

The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

35 Read the U.P.C. of : SCAN

The initialism “UPC” stands for Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code. The first ever UPC-marked item to get scanned in a store was on June 26, 1974 at 08:01 a.m. at Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum.

48 Portrait painter Rembrandt ___ : PEALE

Rembrandt Peale was a prolific American portrait artist. As one might guess from his given name, Rembrandt was the son of another artist, Charles Willson Peale, who named him for the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. Indeed, Rembrandt had two brothers, named Raphaelle and Rubens Peale. Rembrandt Peale’s most famous works are portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

49 Bird in a gaggle : GOOSE

A collection of geese is referred to as a “gaggle” when on the ground. When geese are in V-formation in flight, they are referred to collectively as a “skein”.

51 Money in Mexico : PESOS

The peso is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.

52 Name spelled out in a Kinks hit : LOLA

“Lola” is a fabulous song that was written by Ray Davies and released by the Kinks back in 1970. Inspired by a real life incident, the lyrics tell of a young man who met a young “lady” in a club, danced with her, and then discovered “she” was actually a transvestite. The storyline isn’t very traditional, but the music is superb.

The Kinks were an English band who participated in the British Invasion of America in the sixties, although only briefly. After touring the US in the middle of 1965, the American Federation of Musicians refused permits for the Kinks to book concerts for four years, apparently in response to some rowdy on-stage behavior by the band.

53 Like Satan : EVIL

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

55 Pirate’s plunder : SWAG

“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, and a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. “Swag” is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional version of “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 President George or George W. : BUSH
5 Egypt’s capital : CAIRO
10 “Casablanca” pianist : SAM
13 Start the poker pot : ANTE
14 Catkin-producing tree : ALDER
15 What an oenologist is an expert on : WINE
16 Anger, in the comics : STORM CLOUD
18 ___ and crafts : ARTS
19 Broadcast time : AIR DATE
20 Ill-tempered : PEEVISH
22 Harper who wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird” : LEE
23 Scores in baseball : RUNS
25 Bit of sunshine : RAY
26 Refrain syllables in “Deck the Halls” : LAS
27 Burden too heavily : OVERLOAD
32 Honda model with a palindromic name : CIVIC
35 Uttered : SAID
36 Just sitting around : IDLE
37 Letter after phi, chi and psi : OMEGA
38 Channel for Erin Burnett and Don Lemon : CNN
39 Make catty remarks from the side : SNIPE
40 Trig, calc, etc. : MATH
41 Lose color : FADE
42 Voice above baritone : TENOR
43 Love, jealousy and anger : EMOTIONS
45 Classic distress call : SOS
46 Setting for TV’s “Cheers” : BAR
47 German car once owned by General Motors : OPEL
49 Intervening space : GAP
52 Peas and peanuts, for two : LEGUMES
56 Perfect example : EPITOME
58 Presidential office shape : OVAL
59 Nervousness, in the comics : SWEAT DROPS
61 Arm or leg : LIMB
62 Country singer Steve : EARLE
63 Norway’s capital : OSLO
64 Ginger ___ : ALE
65 White-plumed wader : EGRET
66 Many souvenir shirts : TEES

Down

1 ___ metabolism (energy expended at rest) : BASAL
2 Remove a knot from : UNTIE
3 Mall unit : STORE
4 Group of buffalo : HERD
5 Prickly plant : CACTUS
6 Basketball great Iverson : ALLEN
7 Wedding words : I DO
8 Extend one’s tour of duty : RE-UP
9 Arranged alphabetically, e.g. : ORDERED
10 In answer to the request “Talk dirty to me,” she sometimes says “The carpet needs vacuuming” : SIRI
11 Pantry-raiding bugs : ANTS
12 See-through material : MESH
15 Odor, in the comics : WAVY LINES
17 Percussion instrument made from a gourd : MARACA
21 Droopy part of a basset hound : EAR
24 No-goodnik : SO-AND-SO
26 Idea, in the comics : LIGHT BULB
28 Trellis-climbing plant : VINE
29 Chief Norse god : ODIN
30 Big name in dog food : ALPO
31 Cousin of an elk : DEER
32 Easy ___, easy go : COME
33 Mosque leader : IMAM
34 Presidential bill-killer : VETO
35 Read the U.P.C. of : SCAN
39 Calm and impassive : STOLID
41 Observe through a crystal ball, say : FORESEE
44 “Take me as ___” : I AM
45 Group of seven : SEPTET
48 Portrait painter Rembrandt ___ : PEALE
49 Bird in a gaggle : GOOSE
50 Enough : AMPLE
51 Money in Mexico : PESOS
52 Name spelled out in a Kinks hit : LOLA
53 Like Satan : EVIL
54 Minecraft or Fortnite : GAME
55 Pirate’s plunder : SWAG
57 Gait slower than a gallop : TROT
60 Blunder : ERR

11 thoughts on “1019-20 NY Times Crossword 19 Oct 20, Monday”

  1. 4:55 Not sure what happened here, bringing home a sub 5 minute time and that even with having GEESE before GOOSE (misread the clue) and correctly guessing the “L” on the PEALE / EARLE crossing. Don’t think I’ll ever see sub 5 again.

  2. You know you’re dealing with crossword pros when you complete a Monday in 6:24 and still take last place 🙂
    Nice work gents!

  3. 6:49. I was fine with that time until I looked at everyone else’s. I’m too busy this morning to try to think of an excuse so I’ll just deal with it.

    “Cheers” was my go-to show during the first parts of the shutdown. I’m still watching it regularly. There are 273 episodes of “Cheers”, and I’ve now watched about 250 of them. The end is near, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching the series from the pilot on.

    I watched my St. Louis Cardinals win the 2006 World Series while seated at the original Cheers on Beacon Street. The inside looks nothing like the interior of the show as most people know. They put another bar called Cheers in Faneuil Hall that had an interior more similar to the show, but that closed recently due to the shutdowns. Sigh.

    Best –

  4. Nice Monday puzzle. About the only one that I did not know was the Rembrandt PEALE entry. I did not know anything about this family and, in fact, was trying to wrap my brain around how the famous Dutch painter could have a name like that. As always, Bill’s comments explain all.

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