1102-20 NY Times Crossword 2 Nov 20, Monday

Constructed by: Luke Vaughn
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Finally Get the Picture

Themed answers each end with a synonym of “scribble”:

  • 20A Popular dog crossbreed : GOLDENDOODLE
  • 27A Have an invisible footprint : LEAVE NO TRACE
  • 46A One version of poker : FIVE-CARD DRAW
  • 55A “S.N.L.” offering : COMEDY SKETCH
  • Bill’s time: 5m 59s

    Bill’s errors: 0

    Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

    Across

    1 Hacky ___ (game) : SACK

    Wham-O was founded in 1948, with the company’s first product being the Wham-O slingshot. Since then, Wham-O has marketed a string of hit toys including the Hula Hoop, Frisbee, Slip ‘N Slide, Silly String, Hacky Sack and Boogie Board.

    17 Z ___ zebra : AS IN

    The term “zebra” comes from an old Portuguese word “zevra” meaning “wild ass”. Studies of zebra embryos show that zebras are basically black in color, with white stripes that develop with growth. Before this finding, it was believed they were white, with black stripes.

    18 Poetic foot with a short and a long syllable : IAMB

    An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The lines in Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” use four sequential iambs, e.g. “Whose woods / these are / I think / I know”. With that sequence of four iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic tetrameter.

    20 Popular dog crossbreed : GOLDENDOODLE

    A goldendoodle is crossbreed from a golden retriever and a poodle. The term “goldendoodle” is a portmanteau of “golden retriever” and “labradoodle”. A labradoodle is a crossbreed from a Labrador retriever and poodle.

    24 Coins in India : RUPEES

    The rupee is a unit of currency used in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. The term “rupee” comes from the Sanskrit word “rupya”, which once meant “stamped, impressed” and then “coin”.

    35 ___ and tonic : GIN

    The original tonic water was a fairly strong solution of the drug quinine dissolved in carbonated water. It was used in tropical areas in South Asia and Africa where malaria is rampant. The quinine has a prophylactic effect against the disease, and was formulated as “tonic water” so that it could be easily distributed. In British colonial India, the colonial types got into the habit of mixing in gin with the tonic water to make it more palatable by hiding the bitter taste of quinine. Nowadays, the level of quinine in tonic water has been dropped, and sugar has been added.

    37 Thurman of “Pulp Fiction” : UMA

    Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s moll Mia in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from acting from 1998 until 2002 following the birth of her first child. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

    I’m not a big fan of director Quentin Tarantino. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think “Pulp Fiction” is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence, it’s really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta’s career was on the rocks and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out to be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly-received performances.

    38 Was gentle with : CODDLED

    The verb “to coddle”, meaning “to treat tenderly”, was actually coined in 1815 by Jane Austen in her novel “Emma”. At least, that is the first written record we have of the verb’s usage. John Knightley (younger brother of George Knightley) addresses his wife Isabella (elder sister of Emma Woodhouse) with the following words:

    “My dear Isabella,” exclaimed he, hastily, “pray do not concern yourself about my looks. Be satisfied with doctoring and coddling yourself and the children, and let me look as I chuse.”

    42 Tinker Bell, for one : FAIRY

    Tinker Bell is a fairy in the “Peter Pan” story by J. M. Barrie. “Tink” is a minor character in the original play and novel, but evolved into a major character in the many, many film and television adaptations of the tale.

    44 Locale of the anvil and the stirrup : EAR

    The middle ear is the portion of the ear immediately behind the eardrum. The middle ear contains three small bones called the ossicles, the three smallest bones in the human body. The ossicles’ job is to transmit sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. The shape of the bones gives rise to their names: the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus) and stirrup (stapes).

    50 Actor Nielsen of “Airplane!” : LESLIE

    Leslie Nielsen was a Canadian actor, one famous for playing the zany Sergeant Frank Drebin in “The Naked Gun”. Nielsen’s big break in films came in the innovative comedy “Airplane!”

    The 1980 movie “Airplane!” has to be one of the zaniest comedies ever made. The lead roles were Ted Striker (played by Robert Hays) and Elaine Dickinson (played by Julie Hagerty). But it was Leslie Nielsen who stole the show, playing Dr. Barry Rumack. That’s my own humble opinion of course …

    55 “S.N.L.” offering : COMEDY SKETCH

    NBC first aired a form of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 1975 under the title “NBC’s Saturday Night”. The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from “The Tonight Show”. Back then “The Tonight Show” had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to put together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call “Saturday Night Live”.

    59 Commuting option : TRAIN

    Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …

    63 Root used in making poi : TARO

    The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish (which I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

    64 “Party on, ___!” “Party on, Garth!” : WAYNE

    “Wayne’s World” was originally a “Saturday Night Live” sketch starring Mike Myers (as Wayne Campbell) and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar. The sketch was so successful that it was parlayed into two hit movies, released in 1992 and 1993. Not my cup of tea though …

    65 Jane Austen novel : EMMA

    Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel. Emma interfered in that troubled courtship.

    66 Lake that feeds into Lake Ontario : ERIE

    Lake Erie is the fourth-largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

    67 Newspaper opinion pieces : OP-EDS

    “Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

    69 Ballpoint points : NIBS

    “Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

    The ballpoint pen was invented by László Bíró in the late thirties, a Hungarian newspaper editor. Over in Ireland we use the term “biro” as a generic word for “ballpoint pen”.

    Down

    1 Retrieves, as baseballs : SHAGS

    To shag (I am reliably informed, never having played a game of baseball in my life!) is to chase and catch a fly ball.

    2 “The Fox and the Grapes” author : AESOP

    Our expression “sour grapes” is used to describe a negative attitude adopted by somebody towards something just because that person can’t have the thing himself or herself. The phrase alludes to one of Aesop’s fables, the story of “The Fox and the Grapes”. In the fable, a squirrel could climb up to grapes high in a tree that a fox was unsuccessful in getting to. On seeing this, the fox said, “It’s okay, the grapes were sour anyway”.

    3 Country along Argentina’s entire western border : CHILE

    The nation of Chile has a very distinctive shape. It is a narrow strip that runs up the west coast of South America. The average width of the country is only a little over 100 miles, and yet its length is about 2,700 miles. Chile is touted as the longest country in the world, although I am not so sure what that means exactly. I mean, Russia extends about 4,800 miles from east-to west, so maybe “longest” implies long in the north-south direction?

    Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil), and the world’s largest Spanish-speaking nation. The name “Argentina” comes from the Latin “argentum”, the word for “silver”. It is thought that the name was given by the early Spanish and Portuguese conquerors who also named the Rio de la Plata (the “Silver River”). Those early explorers got hold of lots of silver objects that they found among the native population.

    6 “Holy moly!” : EGAD!

    The mild expletive “Holy moly!” is a euphemism for “Holy Moses!”

    7 Furry red monster of children’s TV : ELMO

    The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” for many years was Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

    12 John Cougar Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the ___” : USA

    John Mellencamp started to use the stage name Johnny Cougar in 1976, a name that evolved into John Cougar, and then to John Cougar Mellencamp in the eighties. In 1992 the “Cougar” was dropped altogether and Mellencamp has been performing under his own name since then. Mellencamp was married to former supermodel Elaine Irwin for eighteen years, but the two decided to split. Mellencamp’s longtime girlfriend is actress Meg Ryan.

    13 “Big” name in London : BEN

    Big Ben is the name commonly used for the large bell in the Clock Tower (“Elizabeth Tower” since 2012) of the Palace of Westminster (aka “Houses of Parliament”). Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell, and there is some debate about the origins of the nickname. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall who supervised the bell’s installation, or perhaps the English heavyweight champion of the day Benjamin Caunt. Big Ben fell silent in 2017 to make way for four years of maintenance and repair work to the clock’s mechanism and the tower.

    22 Batman and Robin are a “dynamic” one : DUO

    Batman and Robin are somewhat unique among their superhero compatriots in that they have no special powers, just a whole load of cool gadgets. Batman is sometimes referred to as the Caped Crusader, Robin as the Boy Wonder, and the pair as the Dynamic Duo.

    25 Artist’s stand : EASEL

    The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey”, would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

    29 YouTube clip, informally : VID

    YouTube is a video-sharing website that was launched in 2005 by three ex-PayPal employees. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Yep, $1.65 billion, less than two years after it was founded …

    31 Green-___ monster : EYED

    William Shakespeare was one of the first to associate the color green with envy. He called jealousy the “green-eyed monster” in his play “Othello”.

    38 Tornadoes : CYCLONES

    A cyclone is a weather system, something like a tropical storm. It is composed of air circulating rapidly around a low pressure center. In the northern hemisphere, cyclones circulate in a counterclockwise direction, whereas in the southern hemisphere they circulate clockwise.

    48 Marijuana cigarette, in old slang : REEFER

    Marijuana cigarettes have been known as reefers since the twenties. It is thought that the term “reefers” comes from either the Mexican Spanish for a drug addict (“grifo”), or from its resemblance to a rolled sail, i.e. a sail that has been “reefed”.

    52 Maker of Asteroids : ATARI

    I remember being quite addicted to the Atari video arcade game called Asteroids back in the early eighties. Apparently I wasn’t the only one, as Asteroids was Atari’s best selling game of all time.

    53 Intermittently available fast-food sandwich : MCRIB

    The McDonald’s McRib sandwich is based on a pork patty. There isn’t any pork rib in the patty though. It is primarily made up of pork shoulder meat reconstituted with tripe, heart and stomach tissue. Enjoy …

    57 Some Thanksgiving side dishes : YAMS

    Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the world than they are in this country, and are especially common in Africa.

    59 Start of every ZIP code in Virginia : TWO

    ZIP codes were introduced in 1963. The acronym “ZIP” stands for “Zone Improvement Plan”, a name indicating that mail travels more efficiently when the codes are included in the postal address.

    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1 Hacky ___ (game) : SACK
    5 Loud, mocking call : JEER
    9 Wash with vigor : SCRUB
    14 Sound of a chuckle : HE-HE
    15 Stare at, as a creep might : OGLE
    16 Principle to fight for : CAUSE
    17 Z ___ zebra : AS IN
    18 Poetic foot with a short and a long syllable : IAMB
    19 Opposite of rural : URBAN
    20 Popular dog crossbreed : GOLDENDOODLE
    23 Common dog command : SPEAK
    24 Coins in India : RUPEES
    27 Have an invisible footprint : LEAVE NO TRACE
    32 Whimper : MEWL
    35 ___ and tonic : GIN
    36 Part of a test that may produce a hand cramp : ESSAY
    37 Thurman of “Pulp Fiction” : UMA
    38 Was gentle with : CODDLED
    41 Before, in a poem : ERE
    42 Tinker Bell, for one : FAIRY
    44 Locale of the anvil and the stirrup : EAR
    45 Vehicle that travels in only one direction : SLED
    46 One version of poker : FIVE-CARD DRAW
    50 Actor Nielsen of “Airplane!” : LESLIE
    51 Pants might burst at them : SEAMS
    55 “S.N.L.” offering : COMEDY SKETCH
    59 Commuting option : TRAIN
    62 Grand achievement : FEAT
    63 Root used in making poi : TARO
    64 “Party on, ___!” “Party on, Garth!” : WAYNE
    65 Jane Austen novel : EMMA
    66 Lake that feeds into Lake Ontario : ERIE
    67 Newspaper opinion pieces : OP-EDS
    68 Optimistic : ROSY
    69 Ballpoint points : NIBS

    Down

    1 Retrieves, as baseballs : SHAGS
    2 “The Fox and the Grapes” author : AESOP
    3 Country along Argentina’s entire western border : CHILE
    4 Model and reality star Jenner : KENDALL
    5 Connect : JOIN
    6 “Holy moly!” : EGAD!
    7 Furry red monster of children’s TV : ELMO
    8 Having a new life : REBORN
    9 Made a bust? : SCULPTED
    10 Occupations : CAREERS
    11 Massage : RUB
    12 John Cougar Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the ___” : USA
    13 “Big” name in London : BEN
    21 Barely scrape (by) : EKE
    22 Batman and Robin are a “dynamic” one : DUO
    25 Artist’s stand : EASEL
    26 Panic : SCARE
    28 Prior to now : AGO
    29 YouTube clip, informally : VID
    30 Ceased : ENDED
    31 Green-___ monster : EYED
    32 Botch, as a catch : MUFF
    33 Inbox accumulation : EMAIL
    34 Relinquish, as one’s rights : WAIVE
    38 Tornadoes : CYCLONES
    39 “Wee” fella : LAD
    40 Botch something : ERR
    43 Take back, as an offer : RESCIND
    45 Add sugar to : SWEETEN
    47 Skill of an archer : AIM
    48 Marijuana cigarette, in old slang : REEFER
    49 Use a sentence with a “?” : ASK
    52 Maker of Asteroids : ATARI
    53 Intermittently available fast-food sandwich : MCRIB
    54 High heels, e.g. : SHOES
    56 Version that’s just for show : DEMO
    57 Some Thanksgiving side dishes : YAMS
    58 Common dog command : STAY
    59 Start of every ZIP code in Virginia : TWO
    60 Genre for Megan Thee Stallion : RAP
    61 Sailor’s “yes” : AYE

    13 thoughts on “1102-20 NY Times Crossword 2 Nov 20, Monday”

    1. 5:45. I didn’t fully read the clue for 64A, so when I saw “Party on ___ “, I just immediately put in Garth. Easy enough to fix. No other issues. Haven’t heard of a Goldendoodle.

    2. 8:09. It’s about as fast as I can go. Several slips of my finger slowed me down. I agree with @Duncan. TGIM😂

    3. 14:42 no errors…didn’t realize their was a theme and never heard of Goldendoodle…not a word in my paper today about Pearl Harbor.
      Stay safe😀
      Go Ravens

    4. 7:34, no errors. Didn’t notice the connection between today’s ‘theme’ entries. Didn’t care for NIBS as the answer to 69A. Always considered the term ‘ballpoint’ differentiates that type of pen point from the NIB of a quill or fountain pen.

      1. Thanks for bringing up this differentiation of the word NIB, BruceB. I checked the dictionaries for NIB and they say the “pointed end of a pen”. That then led to checking the word PEN and finding “any writing instrument”. That would make the word inclusive. So it appears that the term NIB has carried over from the classic feather quill to all modern day writing instruments. Even felt tips and erasable inks would still have a NIB.

    5. No errors. After I had finished I went back to see if I could find a theme. I looked for 30 seconds or so. Found none. Came here and as often happens Bill reveals it. Otherwise, a good, solid Monday puzzle.

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