1109-20 NY Times Crossword 9 Nov 20, Monday

Constructed by: Kate Hawkins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Pall to Pull

Themed answers each start with a word in the format PxLL, with “x” representing a vowel progression as we descend the grid:

  • 17A Raiser of the dead? : PALLBEARER
  • 24A Financial aid for college that doesn’t need to be repaid : PELL GRANT
  • 37A Arthropod that can roll into a ball : PILL BUG
  • 49A Busy person just before an election : POLL TAKER
  • 59A Lures for magazine readers : PULL QUOTES

Bill’s time: 5m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13 Olympic Dream Team inits. : USA

In 1989, the International Basketball Federation changed its rule requiring amateur status for participants in the Olympic Games (although prior to the ruling, European and South American professionals could play). So the US was able to field the “Dream Team” at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Since the rules changed, the US won gold in four out of the five Olympic tournaments.

14 Place in a mausoleum : ENTOMB

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was the grave of King Mausolus of Persia, known as the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. This gave us our modern word “mausoleum”: a building containing a burial chamber. The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

17 Raiser of the dead? : PALLBEARER

A pall is a cloth used to cover a casket at a funeral. Pallbearers actually carry the coffin, covered by the pall. The phrase “casting a pall over”, meaning to create a dark mood, is metaphorical use of the pall over the casket.

19 Musk who founded SpaceX : ELON

SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is a space transportation company that was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, veteran of PayPal and Tesla Motors. In 2012, SpaceX became the first private concern to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) and, in 2020, the first to send humans to the ISS. Apparently, SpaceX is the lowest-price player in the game.

24 Financial aid for college that doesn’t need to be repaid : PELL GRANT

Pell Grants are awarded by the federal government to students in financial need so that they can attend college. The grant is named for Claiborne Pell, the US senator who sponsored the bill that introduced aid for students.

27 Country whose name becomes another country if you change the last letter to a Q : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

Iraq is often called the “Cradle of Civilization” as it was home to Sumer, which was the earliest known civilization on the planet. By 5000 BC the Sumerian people were practicing year-round agriculture and had a specialized labor force. For the first time, a whole race was able to settle in one place by storing food, instead of having to migrate in a pattern dictated by crops and grazing land.

31 Mixed-breed dog that’s part spaniel : COCKAPOO

Poodle hybrids are sometimes described as “designer dogs”. Examples are the Labradoodle (Labrador retriever and poodle cross), cockapoo (cocker-spaniel and poodle cross), maltipoo (Maltese and poodle cross) and Jack-A-Poo (Jack Russell and poodle cross).

Spaniels are gun dogs or bird dogs, i.e. hunting dogs bred to find and retrieve game. The etymology of “spaniel” suggests that the breed is Spanish in origin, as the term came into English from the Old French “espaigneul” meaning “Spanish”.

37 Arthropod that can roll into a ball : PILL BUG

Arthropods are invertebrates with external skeletons, segmented bodies and jointed appendages. The list of arthropods includes animals such as insects, spiders, centipedes and crabs. Over 80% of the animal species on the planet are arthropod species.

40 Melted chocolate, e.g. : GOO

Chocolate is made from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree. The seeds are very bitter and the traditional drink made with the seed was called “xocolatl” by the Aztecs, meaning “bitter water”. Our word “chocolate” comes from “xocolatl”.

43 Right to cross someone else’s land : EASEMENT

In the world of law, an “easement” is the right given to an individual to make limited use of someone else’s real property. Usually this is a right of way allowing someone to cross the property.

45 Unlucky : HAPLESS

One’s “hap” is one’s luck. So, to be “hapless” is to be out of luck, unfortunate.

48 Start of a newspaper article, in journalese : LEDE

The opening paragraph in any work of literature is often just called “the lead”. In the world of journalism, this is usually referred to as “the lede”. The derivative phrase “bury the lede” means to fail to stress the most important aspect of a story.

56 Insects that love wool : MOTHS

The larvae of several types of moth are noted for eating fabrics made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton. Many people store woolens in cedar chests believing that the scent of the wood prevents a moth infestation. In fact, the only known effective repellent is the naphthalene found in mothballs, which might be a health concern for humans. One way to kill moth larvae in fabric is to freeze the garment for several days at a temperature below -8 degrees centigrade.

57 Appropriate initials of “stuff we all get” : 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”.

62 Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

63 Minneapolis’s twin city : ST PAUL

Saint Paul is the state capital of Minnesota, and is one half of the “Twin Cities” , also known as Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Saint Paul used to be called Pig’s Eye, named after a popular tavern in the original settlement in the area. In 1841, Father Lucien Galtier established a log chapel nearby that he dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, giving the city its current name. The magnificent Cathedral of St. Paul now sits on the site where the log chapel was built.

65 Banana leftover : PEEL

The banana is actually a berry, botanically speaking. And, bananas don’t really grow on trees. The “trunk” of the banana plant is in fact a pseudostem. The pseudostem is a false stem comprising rolled bases of leaves, and it can grow to 2 or 3 meters tall.

66 Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

67 Singer Lana Del ___ : REY

“Lana Del Rey” is the stage name of singer/songwriter Elizabeth Grant. Del Rey calls herself a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra”. Nice …

Down

2 Carne ___ (grilled beef dish) : ASADA

The name of the dish called “carne asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.

3 Home of Cardiff and Swansea : WALES

Cardiff, located on the country’s south coast, has been the capital of Wales since 1955. “Cardiff” is an anglicized form of “Caerdydd”, the city’s name in Welsh.

The city of Swansea is located on the coast in South Wales. It is the second largest city in Wales, after the capital of Cardiff. I love Swansea, and lived there for a couple of years …

4 Yanks’ foes : REBS

During the Civil War, the personification of the Southern states was “Johnny Reb”. The northern equivalent was “Billy Yank”.

7 Edible mushroom with a honeycomb cap : MOREL

The morel is that mushroom with the honeycomb-like structure on the cap. Morels are highly prized, especially in French cuisine. They should never be eaten raw as they are toxic, with the toxins being removed by thorough cooking.

10 Best Actress nominee for “Juno” : ELLEN PAGE

Canadian actress Ellen Page came to prominence playing the female lead in the 2007 hit film “Juno”. Page also played the female lead in one of my favorite films of recent time, namely 2010’s “Inception”.

“Juno” is a great comedy-drama released in 2007 that tells the story of a spunky teenager who is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The title character is played by Ellen Page, with Michael Cera playing the father of her child. The film won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The relatively low-budget movie earned back its initial budget on the first day of its full release to the public. Low-budget blockbuster; my kind of movie …

11 “A long time ___ in a galaxy far, far away …” (“Star Wars” intro) : AGO

Every “Star Wars” film starts out with an opening crawl announcing “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….”

15 “Erin go ___!” : BRAGH

“Erin go bragh!” is an anglicization of the Irish phrase “Éirinn go Brách!”, which translates as “Ireland Forever!”

18 Elective eye surgery : LASIK

LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

24 Big ___, nickname of baseball’s David Ortiz : PAPI

The Dominican-American baseball player David Ortiz has the nickname “Big Papi”. After each home run that Ortiz scores, he looks upwards and points to the sky in a tribute to his mother who died in a car crash in 2002 when she was only 46 years old.

25 Unstable chemical compound : ENOL

An enol is an alkene with a hydroxyl group, and so is part-alkene and part-alcohol. The term “enol”, therefore, is a portmanteau of “alkene” and “alcohol”.

26 Grand ___ National Park : TETON

Grand Teton National Park (NP) is located just south of Yellowstone NP, and a must-see if you are visiting the latter. The park is named after the tallest peak in the magnificent Teton Range known as Grand Teton. The origins of the name “Teton” is not very clear, although my one story is that it was named by French trappers, as the word “tetons” in French is a slang term meaning “breasts”.

28 Comes down a mountain, in a way : RAPPELS

What we call “rappelling” in this country is known as “abseiling” in the rest of the world (from the German “abseilen” meaning “to rope down”).

31 Alternative to Venmo : CASH

Venmo is a smartphone payment app that is now owned by PayPal. The first version of the product was introduced in 2009 by two entrepreneurs who had met as freshman students at the University of Pennsylvania. They sold the company in 2012 for over $26 million, and then PayPal acquired it the following year for a whopping $800 million. I wonder if PayPal ever buys blogs …

34 Cry to a toreador : OLE!

“Toreador” is an old Spanish word meaning “bullfighter”, but it’s a term not used any more in Spain nor in Latin America. In English we use the term “toreador”, but in Spanish a bullfighter is a “torero”. A female bullfighter in a “torera”.

44 Trending hashtag beginning in 2017 : #METOO

The use of the #MeToo hashtag initially was encouraged by actress Alyssa Milano in 2017 to draw attention to sexual assault and sexual harassment. Milano was acting in response to the growing number of allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. The use of the phrase “Me Too” in the context of sexual misconduct dates back to 2006. Social activist Tarana Burke started to use the phrase on the Myspace social network after a 13-year-old girl told her that she had been sexually assaulted. Apparently, Burke had no response at the time the girl confided in her, but later wished she had responded, “Me too”.

50 “Trees” in underwater forests : KELPS

Kelps are large seaweeds that grow in kelp forests underwater. Kelps can grow to over 250 feet in length, and do so very quickly. Some kelps can grow at the rate of 1-2 feet per day.

52 It’s said to have the thickest fur of any mammal : OTTER

The fur of the sea otter is exceptionally thick. It is the densest fur in the whole animal kingdom.

54 Op-ed piece, e.g. : ESSAY

“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.

56 Farm animal that kicks : MULE

A hinny is the offspring of a male horse (the “h-” from h-orse) and a female donkey/ass (the “-nny” from je-nny). A mule is more common, and is the offspring of a female horse and male donkey/ass.

60 Back muscle, for short : LAT

The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, and are the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.

61 “What?,” in Oaxaca : QUE?

Oaxaca (officially “Oaxaca de Juárez”) is the capital city of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, which is located in the south of the country.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Thing with pads and claws : PAW
4 Wanders : ROAMS
9 Rod, reel, tackle box, etc., for a fisher : GEAR
13 Olympic Dream Team inits. : USA
14 Place in a mausoleum : ENTOMB
16 ___ Tokarczuk, 2018 Literature Nobelist : OLGA
17 Raiser of the dead? : PALLBEARER
19 Musk who founded SpaceX : ELON
20 Brainstorms : IDEAS
21 Go by, as time : ELAPSE
23 Young Scottish lady : LASS
24 Financial aid for college that doesn’t need to be repaid : PELL GRANT
27 Country whose name becomes another country if you change the last letter to a Q : IRAN
29 Person with a basket or cart : SHOPPER
31 Mixed-breed dog that’s part spaniel : COCKAPOO
35 “Keen!” : NEATO!
36 “That’s ___ from me” (refusal) : A NO
37 Arthropod that can roll into a ball : PILL BUG
40 Melted chocolate, e.g. : GOO
41 Word before mall or poker : STRIP …
43 Right to cross someone else’s land : EASEMENT
45 Unlucky : HAPLESS
48 Start of a newspaper article, in journalese : LEDE
49 Busy person just before an election : POLL TAKER
51 Pledge drive giveaway : TOTE
55 Fix, as a shoe : RESOLE
56 Insects that love wool : MOTHS
57 Appropriate initials of “stuff we all get” : SWAG
59 Lures for magazine readers : PULL QUOTES
62 Tiny bit : IOTA
63 Minneapolis’s twin city : ST PAUL
64 Defining period : ERA
65 Banana leftover : PEEL
66 Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
67 Singer Lana Del ___ : REY

Down

1 Necessity for a teacher : PUPIL
2 Carne ___ (grilled beef dish) : ASADA
3 Home of Cardiff and Swansea : WALES
4 Yanks’ foes : REBS
5 Number said just before “Liftoff!” : ONE
6 ___ snail’s pace : AT A
7 Edible mushroom with a honeycomb cap : MOREL
8 Gets a whiff of : SMELLS
9 Flips out : GOES APE
10 Best Actress nominee for “Juno” : ELLEN PAGE
11 “A long time ___ in a galaxy far, far away …” (“Star Wars” intro) : AGO
12 Tried to get elected : RAN
15 “Erin go ___!” : BRAGH
18 Elective eye surgery : LASIK
22 Having tines : PRONGED
24 Big ___, nickname of baseball’s David Ortiz : PAPI
25 Unstable chemical compound : ENOL
26 Grand ___ National Park : TETON
28 Comes down a mountain, in a way : RAPPELS
30 Rummage (around) : ROOT
31 Alternative to Venmo : CASH
32 Like some beer at a bar : ON TAP
33 Related to big business : CORPORATE
34 Cry to a toreador : OLE!
38 Hay unit : BALE
39 For whom a product designer designs : USER
42 Against the law : ILLEGAL
44 Trending hashtag beginning in 2017 : #METOO
46 Dots on a transit map : STOPS
47 What lieutenants do to captains : SALUTE
50 “Trees” in underwater forests : KELPS
52 It’s said to have the thickest fur of any mammal : OTTER
53 When repeated, comforting words : THERE
54 Op-ed piece, e.g. : ESSAY
56 Farm animal that kicks : MULE
57 Sample a soda, say : SIP
58 Tribulation : WOE
60 Back muscle, for short : LAT
61 “What?,” in Oaxaca : QUE?

12 thoughts on “1109-20 NY Times Crossword 9 Nov 20, Monday”

  1. 05:53 No issues. Did not get the vowel progression until coming here. Also never heard the term PULLQUOTES

    @Bill – You have the continuation of 27A about IRAQ under 29A and hence no explanation for SHOPPER. And you don’t have a number associated with 62A IOTA

    1. Thanks, Ron F. It’s a one-man show here, and that leads to some pretty awful proof-reading. So, I really appreciate the help!

  2. 7:26. Forgot to look for the theme.

    I didn’t know PULL QUOTE either, but when Googled it after I finished the puzzle, I knew exactly what it was. I just didn’t know the name for it. Imagine a full page article and you see a large 2″x2″ (give or take) quote in the middle of it. That’s called a PULL QUOTE I assume because you pull a quote out of the article to make people stop and read it.

    I learned something on a Monday. Can I go back to bed now?

    Best –

  3. 10:30. Another fast start hindered by fat fingers and a tablet that sometimes doesn’t register my input. Paper and pencil would be faster.

  4. 8:17, finished this after solving Sunday’s puzzle while watching NO vs TB football “game”. (Final score 31-3 is not a “game”). Learned about “Pull Quotes” as well, hope you had a nice post puzzle nap, Jeff!

  5. Messed up on PALLBUG and ENOL.. maybe if I took the time to see the theme I might have changed it….
    Didn’t know PALLBUG and thought PAILBUG sounded better.

  6. 9:47, no errors. Seemed a bit more difficult than the usual Monday grid. My first exposure to the term PULLQUOTE, as well.

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