1110-20 NY Times Crossword 10 Nov 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Robert Fisher
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): They’re Jobs?

Themed answers are common words and phrases reinterpreted as job descriptions:

  • 20A Sommelier? : PORT AUTHORITY
  • 29A Bartender? : DRAFTSPERSON
  • 46A Soda jerk? : FOUNTAINHEAD
  • 56A Barista? : GROUNDSKEEPER

Bill’s time: 7m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Big mess : SNAFU

“SNAFU” is an acronym standing for “situation normal: all fouled up” (well, that’s the polite version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

6 Merino, for one : WOOL

The Merino breed of sheep is prized for the soft quality of its wool.

14 Hour and minutes separator : COLON

We routinely use a colon to separate hours and minutes when writing a time of day (“09:15”, for example). When reading British English, we’re more likely to see a period (“full stop”) used for the same purpose (as in “09.15”).

15 Long-eared hopper : HARE

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

16 Smidgen : IOTA

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.

Our word “smidgen” (sometimes shortened to “smidge”) is used to describe a small amount. The term might come from the Scots word “smitch” that means the same thing or “a small insignificant person”.

17 The Eagles’ “___ These Nights” : ONE OF

The Eagles band formed in 1971, with the founding members being Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Frey and Henley were hired as session musicians by Linda Ronstadt. The four then played live together backing Ronstadt in a gig at Disneyland in 1971, and recorded their debut album together in England the following year.

19 Source of linen : FLAX

Flax is mainly grown for its seeds (to make oil) and for its fibers. Flax fibers have been used to make linen for centuries, certainly back as far as the days of the ancient Egyptians. Flax fibers are soft and shiny, resembling blond hair, hence the term “flaxen hair”.

20 Sommelier? : PORT AUTHORITY

Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

“Sommelier” is the French word for “wine steward”. If that steward is a female, then the term used in French is “sommelière”.

23 Winter D.C. setting : EST

Eastern Standard Time (EST)

24 “If you ask me …,” in shorthand : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

25 Pen’s end : NIB

“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.

32 Product once advertised with the jingle “Who wears short shorts? …” : NAIR

Nair is a hair-removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide (“slaked lime”) and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name “Nair” probably comes from combining “no” and “hair”.

35 How Marcie addresses Peppermint Patty, for no apparent reason : SIR

Peppermint Patty is a character in the long-running comic strip “Peanuts”, by Charles M. Schulz. Peppermint Patty has a friend named Marcie who famously refers to her as “Sir”, which is perhaps a reference to Peppermint Patty’s reputation as a tomboy. Tomboy or not, it is revealed in the strip that Peppermint Patty has quite a crush on Charlie Brown.

36 Shakespeare’s “___ Andronicus” : TITUS

“Titus Andronicus” is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, perhaps even the first that he wrote. I’ve never seen the play and apparently it is very gory, perhaps the reason why it was quite popular in Shakespeare’s own lifetime. Over the decades, sensibilities have changed and a result “Titus Andronicus” is performed less often today than his other works.

37 Actress Kendrick : ANNA

Anna Kendrick is a marvelous actress whose big break came when she played the sidekick to George Clooney’s character in the very interesting 2009 film “Up in the Air”. Kendrick can sing as well as act, and played a student a cappella singer in the 2012 movie “Pitch Perfect”.

42 The “I” of I.P.A. : INDIA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

45 Quod ___ demonstrandum : ERAT

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

46 Soda jerk? : FOUNTAINHEAD

A spring that is the source of a stream is called a fountainhead. For centuries, we’ve been using “fountainhead” figuratively to describe the principal source of anything significant.

50 One of 12 in “antidisestablishmentarianism”: Abbr. : SYL

Syllable (syl.)

Disestablishment is the process by which a church is removed from a privileged position, creating a secular state. Opponents to such a move, supporters of retaining an established church, are known as antidisestablishmentarians. “Antidisestablishmentarianism” is one of the longest words in the English language.

51 Sgt. or cpl. : NCO

A non-commissioned officer (NCO) might be a sergeant (sgt.) or a corporal (cpl.).

53 Govt. agency for retirees : SSA

The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to be 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

56 Barista? : GROUNDSKEEPER

A barista is a person who serves coffee in a coffee shop. “Barista” is Italian for “bartender”.

62 ___ de las Amazonas : RIOS

In Spanish, “el Amazonas” (the Amazon) is a “río” (river).

64 Word after fist or baby : … BUMP

The fist bump is that tapping of fists together as a form of greeting. It is a more “hip” version of a handshake, a might be called a “pounding of flesh”.

65 Blue: Sp. : AZUL

In Spanish, “el mar” (the sea) is “azul” (blue) and is full of “agua” (water).

66 Sunnis and Shiites, e.g. : SECTS

The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favored the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.

69 Writing by John Locke or Alexander Pope : ESSAY

John Locke was an English philosopher whose most famous work was “Essay Concerning Human Understanding”. Locke’s position was that at birth the mind is a blank slate, a “tabula rasa”, and that knowledge is determined by experiences perceived through our senses.

Alexander Pope was an English poet who was famous for his own compositions as well as for a translation of Homer’s works. One of Pope’s most notable poems is “Ode on Solitude” that opens with:

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.

Pope wrote that when he was just twelve years old!

Down

3 On the qui vive : ALERT

“On the qui vive” is a phrase that means “on the alert”. The term “qui vive?” is French for “(long) live who?” and was used as a challenge by a sentry to determine what loyalty a person had.

8 ___ Belt : ORION’S

A subset of three particularly bright stars in the constellation of Orion is named “Orion’s Belt”. The three bright stars sit almost in a straight line and are about equidistant. They’re usually the easiest way to spot the constellation of Orion in the night sky.

11 Dacron fabric, for one : POLYESTER

In a general sense, a polyester is any polymer containing the ester functional group in the main chain. In this sense, the list of polyesters includes naturally occurring compounds as well as synthetics. More specifically, the term “polyester” is often synonymous with the synthetic compound polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is the main constituent of the manufactured fibers Dacron and Terylene.

12 Boarding pass info : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

21 Sch. in Amherst : UMASS

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) is the largest public university in New England. UMass was founded back in 1863, although it took a while to get the school into service. Construction work was delayed and the college went through two presidents before William S. Clark took charge. He cracked the whip, completed the construction and enrolled the first students in the same year that he took over the reins, in 1867. As a result, although Clark was the third President of UMass, he is regarded by most as the school’s founding father.

27 Dutch city or a cheese it’s famous for : GOUDA

Gouda is a cheese that originated in the Dutch city of the same name, although today Gouda is produced all over the world and very little of it comes from the Netherlands. Gouda is often smoke-cured, which gives it a yellowish-brown outer skin and that characteristic smoky taste.

32 Babes in the woods : NAIFS

A naïf is someone who is naive, as “naïf” is the French word for “naive”.

40 Rubbish : DRECK

Dreck is filth or trash. It is a word that comes into English from “drek”, the Yiddish for “rubbish”.

47 Top-of-the-line Honda offerings : ACURAS

Acura is the luxury brand of the Honda Motor Company. As an aside, Infiniti is the equivalent luxury brand for the Nissan Motor Company, and Lexus is the more luxurious version of Toyota’s models.

49 Order that may follow “Ten-hut!” : AT EASE

“Ten-hut!” is a term used in the US military that means “Come to attention!”.

54 Big name in mattresses : SERTA

Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement. Serta advertisements feature the Serta Counting Sheep. Each numbered sheep has a different personality, such as:

  • #1 The Leader of the Flock
  • #½ The Tweener
  • #13 Mr. Bad Luck
  • #53 The Pessimist
  • #86 Benedict Arnold

60 Company nicknamed Big Blue : IBM

The origin of the IBM nickname “Big Blue” seems to have been lost in the mists of time. That said, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the IBM logo is blue, and almost every mainframe they produced was painted blue. I remember visiting IBM on business a few times in my career, and back then we were encouraged to wear white shirts and blue suits “to fit in” with our client’s culture.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Big mess : SNAFU
6 Merino, for one : WOOL
10 What shaken soda cans do after being opened : SPEW
14 Hour and minutes separator : COLON
15 Long-eared hopper : HARE
16 Smidgen : IOTA
17 The Eagles’ “___ These Nights” : ONE OF
18 Working diligently : AT IT
19 Source of linen : FLAX
20 Sommelier? : PORT AUTHORITY
23 Winter D.C. setting : EST
24 “If you ask me …,” in shorthand : IMO
25 Pen’s end : NIB
26 Sense of self : EGO
29 Bartender? : DRAFTSPERSON
32 Product once advertised with the jingle “Who wears short shorts? …” : NAIR
35 How Marcie addresses Peppermint Patty, for no apparent reason : SIR
36 Shakespeare’s “___ Andronicus” : TITUS
37 Actress Kendrick : ANNA
38 Booth at a fair : STAND
41 Let go of : CEDE
42 The “I” of I.P.A. : INDIA
44 Suffix with super : -IOR
45 Quod ___ demonstrandum : ERAT
46 Soda jerk? : FOUNTAINHEAD
50 One of 12 in “antidisestablishmentarianism”: Abbr. : SYL
51 Sgt. or cpl. : NCO
52 Group of scenes : ACT
53 Govt. agency for retirees : SSA
56 Barista? : GROUNDSKEEPER
60 Concept : IDEA
62 ___ de las Amazonas : RIOS
63 Turn away : AVERT
64 Word after fist or baby : … BUMP
65 Blue: Sp. : AZUL
66 Sunnis and Shiites, e.g. : SECTS
67 Intersect : MEET
68 Bone-dry : SERE
69 Writing by John Locke or Alexander Pope : ESSAY

Down

1 It will have you seeing things : SCOPE
2 Discussing politics and religion with strangers, often : NO-NOS
3 On the qui vive : ALERT
4 12 inches : FOOT
5 Dirty, as a trick : UNFAIR
6 “You got a problem with that?” : WHAT OF IT?
7 “I do solemnly swear …,” e.g. : OATH
8 ___ Belt : ORION’S
9 Proceed without restraint : LET RIP
10 Sort (through) : SIFT
11 Dacron fabric, for one : POLYESTER
12 Boarding pass info : ETA
13 Makeup of candles or early records : WAX
21 Sch. in Amherst : UMASS
22 “Yeah, sure” : I BET
27 Dutch city or a cheese it’s famous for : GOUDA
28 Beginning : ONSET
29 Outlet from a sink : DRAIN
30 Part of a bridal gown : TRAIN
31 Chopped finely, as food : RICED
32 Babes in the woods : NAIFS
33 What an onslaught of political ads may do : ANNOY
34 “Pretend for a moment that you care what I want” : INDULGE ME
39 Easy-peasy : NO HASSLE
40 Rubbish : DRECK
43 ___ time (never) : AT NO
47 Top-of-the-line Honda offerings : ACURAS
48 Give an electrical charge : IONIZE
49 Order that may follow “Ten-hut!” : AT EASE
53 Engineering details : SPECS
54 Big name in mattresses : SERTA
55 ___-craftsy : ARTSY
57 Entranced : RAPT
58 Gloomy : DOUR
59 Dark times, informally : EVES
60 Company nicknamed Big Blue : IBM
61 In ___ time : DUE

13 thoughts on “1110-20 NY Times Crossword 10 Nov 20, Tuesday”

  1. 10:27 I had a tough time getting going on this one. The corner in the NW was the last thing I filled. Had no idea on “qui vive” and everything else up there just took awhile. Overall I liked the puzzle, especially some of the longer downs.

  2. 07:29 A few quickly remedied miscues – AZUR vs AZUL (Azur is the French, I guess); DICED vs RICED; STALL vs STAND leading to a little bit long to figure out 39D and 40D.

  3. 16:46, no errors but I really struggled to get traction on this one. I guess my mind was not in sync with the setter today

  4. 12:56. Tough for a Tuesday, I thunked. Late to the party today. Good theme.

    When I was a senior in high school, and we had a senior lounge. This lounge was periodically proctored by a member of the faculty. Occasionally when the faculty changed who was watching over us, we’d throw a full unopened can of soda into the fireplace, and then we’d all leave the room. The faculty member, not knowing what was going on, was rather startled when the can exploded. It didn’t SPEW. Sounded like a gun going off and soda went everywhere. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Hilarity ensued…that and a few detentions. I still laugh remembering those times. I was amazed at how big the can got before it exploded.

    Antidisestablishmentarianism isn’t as long as the disease known as pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. It was originally a factitious word, but it does supposedly appear in Oxford dictionary now as the longest word in the English language.

    Best –

  5. Learned DRECK today.. but got a lesson in long syllable words too!! Pretty cool!!

    Re:@glenn from yesterday and his time in writing the answers.. amazing.. I think he has posted a time close to that before. 6 + minutes.. I can’t even write that fast.. is it legible??

  6. 9:42, no errors. This was hard for some reason.

    @Anon Mike
    FWIW, all NYT stuff I do is hand-written. I tend to mix up hand-written and typed because I notice they require different skills and it’s really an apples-to-oranges comparison. I tend to type the stuff over on LAT, and naturally end up about a minute faster on comparable stuff. I will do sub 4 sometimes hand-written on early week Newsday stuff, which makes these Mon NYT grids Mensa-level stuff by comparison, so there’s that.

    Believe it or not, I’m slow compared to a lot of solvers. As far as legibility goes, I basically am the only one to read them, but I’ve done a ACPT trial and AFAIK they didn’t have an issue in reading my answers on the papers I sent off to them. I’ve had to work a whole lot on my writing since I started into this (and still need to fix a couple of things that would probably make it a lot easier/faster), so when I do note it’s hand-written it’s usually because I amazed myself by it (not to brag or anything like that).

  7. 29:25 no errors but a bit much for a Tuesday ImO including too many foreign words including Yiddish
    It took me a while to understand 29A until it dawned on me that it was the politically correct way to say “draftsman”
    Most of you don’t like football but even you guys would have enjoyed last nights Ravens, Browns game…it was the best of 2020 IMO.
    Stay safe…help is on the way😀
    Go Ravens 👍👍

  8. If “chopped finely” is the clue it seems to me the answer should be “diced”. If the answer is “riced” wouldn’t a better clue be “shredded finely”?

    1. As the chief cook in my house, I agree. I’ve never chopped a mashed potato in my life. A Ricer has holes, not blades.

  9. 15:23, no errors. Seemed to be a mix Monday level and Friday level clues. I’ll second Anonymous II; chopping (to me) is the action of cutting something with sharp blade; while RICING is to: “force (cooked potatoes or other vegetables) through a sieve or ricer.” I suppose chopping something fine enough, would be indistinguishable from RICING; but I’m not buying it. Hadn’t seen the term DRAFTSPERSON before. I justified it by assuming it referred to someone who drove a team of horses. Eventually realized that it’s just the non-gender specific term for draftsmen (why not just use ‘drafter’?)

  10. No errors. My only erasure was changing DICED to RICED. I am pretty good about having a low erasure count. One of my puzzle strategies is to be very certain about the entry before writing it in. Basically that means confirming by two or three crosses ahead that an entry has a high likelihood of being correct. It is a slow, painstaking technique but I consider the resulting level of confidence to be worth it.

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