1112-20 NY Times Crossword 12 Nov 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Kristian House
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Fun Puzzle Day Day

Themed answers each include double letters. We sound those 2 letters out loud to make sense of the answer:

  • 17A Shelley ode that begins “Hail to thee, blithe spirit!” : AA SKYLARK (“To a Skylark”)
  • 28A “Bye for now” : TALK UU LATER (talk to you later)
  • 45A Gently leaves shore : FLOATS OUT CC (floats out to sea)
  • 61A Famous question first asked around 1600 : BB, OR NOT BB (“To be, or not to be”)

Bill’s time: 12m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Spiritual leader : LAMA

“Lama” is a Tibetan word meaning “chief, high priest”.

15 Parts of some circles, in France : AMIS

That would be a circle of “amis” (friends).

16 Say nothin’, say? : ELIDE

“To elide” is to pass over, omit or slur a syllable when speaking.

17 Shelley ode that begins “Hail to thee, blithe spirit!” : AA SKYLARK (“To a Skylark”)

“To a Skylark” is an 1820 poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The opening line “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit” is the inspiration used by Noël Coward for the title of his famous comic play called “Blithe Spirit”.

19 Scuttlebutt : RUMOR

Just as modern day office workers gather around the water cooler to gossip, on board a ship back in the early 1800s the sailors would gather around the water barrel on the deck to shoot the breeze. That water barrel was called a “scuttlebutt”, from “scuttle” (opening in a ship’s deck) and “butt” (barrel). Quite interesting …

20 Like the Beatles lyric “The girl with colitis goes by” for “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes” : MISHEARD

Julian Lennon is the oldest child of John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia Powell. Julian was the inspiration of several Beatles songs, including “Hey Jude” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. “Hey Jude” was originally a song called “Hey Jules”, written by Paul McCartney. He wrote the original song for Julian, as a way of comforting the child during his parents divorce. One day in 1966, Julian came home from nursery school and showed his Dad a drawing he had made of his classmate, a little girl called Lucy O’Donnell. Julian described the artwork as “Lucy … in the sky with diamonds”.

22 “___ at Home” (one of three special TV shows of 2020) : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

23 Forearm bones : ULNAS

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

25 Genre for the group Sublime : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of a sound.

35 “The wild man of the snows” : YETI

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

42 Smartphone precursors, for short : PDAS

Personal digital assistant (PDA)

44 Vocalist Gorme : EYDIE

Eydie Gormé is best known for her work with her husband Steve Lawrence. The duo started performing traditional popular music together in the late fifties. One of the couple’s children is David Nessim Lawrence, a composer who wrote the score for the 2006 movie “High School Musical”.

50 Dog show org. : AKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the organization that handles registration of purebred dogs The AKC also promotes dog shows around the country, including the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

61 Famous question first asked around 1600 : BB, OR NOT BB (“To be, or not to be”)

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

62 Vaudeville offering : REVUE

“Revue” is the French word for “review”.

The Vire is a river that flows through Normandy in France. The poets of the Vire valley were known as the “Vau de Vire”, a term that some say gave rise to our word “Vaudeville”.

63 Jai ___ : ALAI

Jai alai is a game that derives from Basque pelota, and is known as “cesta-punta” in the Basque language. The name “jai alai” translates from the original Basque as “merry festival”.

64 Stamp collector? : VISA

A visa is usually a stamp in one’s passport, an indication that one is authorized to enter (and less often, to exit) a particular country. The word “visa” comes into English, via French, from the Latin expression “charta visa” meaning “paper that has been seen”, or “verified paper”.

65 Serengeti sighting : ELAND

The eland (plural “eland, elands”) is a large African antelope, in fact the largest antelope on the planet. Both male and female eland have horns, and those horns have a steady spiral ridge along their length.

The Serengeti is a region in Africa located in northern Tanzania and southwest Kenya. The name “Serengeti” comes from the Maasai language and means “Endless Plains”.

66 Eugene V. ___, early American Socialist leader : DEBS

Eugene V. Debs was an American union leader who ran as a candidate for US President in five elections from 1900 through 1920. Debs was a dedicated socialist and ran as a member of the Social Democratic Party, and later the Socialist Party of America.

67 Megan Rapinoe won one in 2018 : ESPY

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

Megan Rapinoe is a professional soccer player and a star on the US national team. One of Rapinoe’s many claims to fame is that she is the only player, male or female, to score a goal directly from a corner kick in an Olympic Games.

Down

1 Youngest of the Hemsworth brothers : LIAM

Liam Hemsworth is an Australian actor who is best known these days for playing Gale Hawthorne in “The Hunger Games” series of films. Hemsworth met Miley Cyrus while working on the movie “The Last Song”, and the two actors were engaged for a while. Liam is a younger brother of actor Chris Hemsworth, who plays the superhero “Thor” on the big screen.

2 Fruit whose name is pronounced in three syllables : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

3 Terrarium growth : MOSS

A terrarium (plural “terraria”) is a contained environment used to house land animals. The term “terrarium“ comes from the equivalent “aquarium”, a tank for holding mainly fish. In general, a contained environment for keeping live animals or plants is known as a “vivarium”

4 Key symbols : ANKHS

The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life”. The ankh wasn’t just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world). The ankh is also known as “the key of the Nile” and “crux ansata” (Latin for “cross with a handle”).

5 Peace Nobelist Yousafzai : MALALA

“I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” is a memoir co-written by Malala Yousafzai and British journalist Christina Lamb. The title tells the essence of Malala’s story. She started a blog when she was 11 or 12 that outlined her life in northwest Pakistan under occupation by the Taliban. As the Pakistani military regained control of the area, Malala’s story was related in a documentary and she gave frequent interviews. One day a gunman came looking for her, and found her on a school bus. He shot Malala three times, with one bullet going into her forehead. She survived, and was taken to England to recuperate. She was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 17, making her the youngest ever Nobel laureate.

6 Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan : OMAR

Ilhan Omar has been representing Minnesota’s 5th congressional district in the US House since 2019. At that time, she became one of the first two Muslim women, as well as the first Somali American, to serve in the US Congress.

7 #1 Stevie Wonder hit that honors a music legend : SIR DUKE

“Sir Duke” is a song written and recorded by Stevie Wonder, released as a single in 1977. The song is a tribute to Duke Ellington, who passed away in 1974.

11 Wedding rental : LIMO

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

12 Thick soup noodle : UDON

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

18 Busybodies : YENTAS

“Yenta” (also “Yente”) is actually a female Yiddish name. In Yiddish theater “yenta” came to mean a busybody, a gossip.

21 Native of the Land of the Midnight Sun : INUIT

The Inuit people live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.

24 Many a troubadour : LUTIST

The lute is a stringed instrument with a long neck and usually a pear-shaped body. It is held and played like a guitar, and was popular from the Middle Ages right through to the late Baroque era. A person who plays the lute can be referred to as a “lutenist”.

A troubadour was a composer and musician of the Middle Ages whose works dealt mainly with chivalry and courtly love. Troubadours were usually men, and a female troubadour would have been called a trobairitz, a lovely word …

25 Noted lines? : STAFF

That would be a musical staff.

26 Pope John Paul II’s first name : KAROL

Pope John Paul II led the Catholic Church from 1978 until 2005, a period of over 26 years. That made him the second longest serving Pope in history, after Pius IX who reigned for over 31 years in the mid 1800s. Paradoxically, John Paul II’s predecessor was John Paul I who only ruled for 33 days. John Paul II was a native of Poland, and was the first non-Italian Pope to lead the church since 1523. His birth name was Karol Wojtyla.

27 “The Jetsons” dog : ASTRO

“The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it debuted in 1963 on ABC, “The Jetsons” was the network’s first ever color broadcast. “The Jetsons” is like a space-age version of “The Flintstones”. The four Jetson family members are George and Jane, the parents, and children Judy and Elroy. Residing with the family in Orbit City are their household robot Rosie and pet dog Astro.

29 President between John and Richard : LYNDON

President Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) is one of only four people to have held all four elected federal offices, namely US Representative, US Senator, US Vice-President and US President. As President he is perhaps best remembered for escalating involvement in the Vietnam War, and for his “Great Society” legislation.

30 Jessica who was the original Blanche DuBois on Broadway : TANDY

Actress Jessica Tandy was famous for having played very American roles, but she started out her career as an English actress. Tandy’s first marriage was to the marvelous English actor Jack Hawkins, but the couple divorced in 1940 and Tandy moved to New York. There she met Canadian actor Hume Cronyn whom she married in 1942. Cronyn and Tandy were jointly honored with a special Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1994. Tandy won the Best Actress Oscar in 1989 for playing the title role in “Driving Miss Daisy”.

31 Comic Murphy : EDDIE

Eddie Murphy is a multi-faceted performer and entertainer from the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Murphy was a comedian on “Saturday Night Live” from 1980 to 1984. He has also appeared in several hit movies, the success of which make Murphy the fourth-highest grossing actor in the country, as of 2014.

38 Alcoves that may have shrines : APSES

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

43 Last-second play change : AUDIBLE

To call an audible is to make a change at the last minute based on the latest information. The phrase “call an audible” comes from American football. A quarterback can call an audible in response to the formation of the defense, even after his team-mates are already lined up. He calls out the last-minute instructions, effectively negating the previously agreed play.

47 Cropped trousers : CAPRIS

Capri pants first became popular on the island of Capri, apparently. They were invented in Europe in 1948, but only became stylish in the US in the sixties. Mary Tyler Moore often wore Capri pants on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and to some extent she sparked a fashion trend. After a lull in the seventies and eighties there was a resurgence in sales after Uma Thurman wore them (and danced in them) in “Pulp Fiction”.

51 Dried flower bud used as a spice : CLOVE

Cloves are the flower buds of the tree Syzygium aromaticum. Until a couple of centuries ago, clove trees were only found in the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Because they were a rich source of cloves, mace and nutmeg, the Moluccas were referred to historically as the Spice Islands.

53 The brother in “Am I my brother’s keeper?” : ABEL

In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

54 Sighting in a telescope : NOVA

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

56 City near Canyonlands and Arches National Parks : MOAB

Moab is a city in eastern Utah that attracts a lot of visitors each year, mainly those heading for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, which are nearby.

Canyonlands is a magnificent national park in southeast Utah not far from Moab. The canyons in the park, and the associated mesas and buttes, were formed mainly by the Colorado and Green Rivers.

The gorgeous Arches National Park is located in eastern Utah, just outside of Moab. The main focus of the park is the preservation of over 2,000 natural sandstone arches. The arches are relatively fragile, and 43 have collapsed since 1970, mainly due to erosion caused by wind and rain.

59 Site of some sniping : EBAY

Auction sniping is a relatively new phenomenon, a phenomenon that is associated with online auctions. A sniper waits until the final seconds of an auction and drops in a slightly higher bid, winning the auction as other bidders have no time to respond. Auction sniping is often executed with the help of a software application, or by using an online service.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Spiritual leader : LAMA
5 ___ of all : MOST
9 It’s not C-worthy : D-PLUS
14 App image : ICON
15 Parts of some circles, in France : AMIS
16 Say nothin’, say? : ELIDE
17 Shelley ode that begins “Hail to thee, blithe spirit!” : AA SKYLARK (“To a Skylark”)
19 Scuttlebutt : RUMOR
20 Like the Beatles lyric “The girl with colitis goes by” for “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes” : MISHEARD
21 “See ya!” : I’M GONE!
22 “___ at Home” (one of three special TV shows of 2020) : SNL
23 Forearm bones : ULNAS
25 Genre for the group Sublime : SKA
28 “Bye for now” : TALK UU LATER (talk to you later)
33 ___ Alexander, historical mystery novelist : TASHA
35 “The wild man of the snows” : YETI
36 Use hip boots, maybe : WADE
37 Craftsperson : ARTISAN
39 Connective tissues along the outside of the leg, informally : IT BANDS
41 Certain snow construction : FORT
42 Smartphone precursors, for short : PDAS
44 Vocalist Gorme : EYDIE
45 Gently leaves shore : FLOATS OUT CC (floats out to sea)
48 Even so : YET
49 Ad infinitum : NO END
50 Dog show org. : AKC
52 Unknown people, slangily : RANDOS
55 Unmannerly : IMPOLITE
60 Cancel, as a mission : ABORT
61 Famous question first asked around 1600 : BB, OR NOT BB (“To be, or not to be”)
62 Vaudeville offering : REVUE
63 Jai ___ : ALAI
64 Stamp collector? : VISA
65 Serengeti sighting : ELAND
66 Eugene V. ___, early American Socialist leader : DEBS
67 Megan Rapinoe won one in 2018 : ESPY

Down

1 Youngest of the Hemsworth brothers : LIAM
2 Fruit whose name is pronounced in three syllables : ACAI
3 Terrarium growth : MOSS
4 Key symbols : ANKHS
5 Peace Nobelist Yousafzai : MALALA
6 Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan : OMAR
7 #1 Stevie Wonder hit that honors a music legend : SIR DUKE
8 Sound of reproof : TSK!
9 Skinny? : DERMAL
10 Doesn’t give up on a hard task : PLUGS AWAY
11 Wedding rental : LIMO
12 Thick soup noodle : UDON
13 Exceedingly dry : SERE
18 Busybodies : YENTAS
21 Native of the Land of the Midnight Sun : INUIT
24 Many a troubadour : LUTIST
25 Noted lines? : STAFF
26 Pope John Paul II’s first name : KAROL
27 “The Jetsons” dog : ASTRO
29 President between John and Richard : LYNDON
30 Jessica who was the original Blanche DuBois on Broadway : TANDY
31 Comic Murphy : EDDIE
32 Stopwatch button : RESET
34 Baseball strategy that starts with a stolen base attempt : HIT AND RUN
38 Alcoves that may have shrines : APSES
40 Call : BECKON
43 Last-second play change : AUDIBLE
46 Honked : TOOTED
47 Cropped trousers : CAPRIS
51 Dried flower bud used as a spice : CLOVE
52 “Still mooing” : RARE
53 The brother in “Am I my brother’s keeper?” : ABEL
54 Sighting in a telescope : NOVA
56 City near Canyonlands and Arches National Parks : MOAB
57 Words on either side of “___ what ___” : IT IS
58 One of 256 in a gal. : TBSP
59 Site of some sniping : EBAY
61 Past the expiration date, say : BAD

14 thoughts on “1112-20 NY Times Crossword 12 Nov 20, Thursday”

  1. 16:00 Got the theme with 61A, and wondered how it would play out in the rest. Spent about 2 minutes looking for 4-5 fat fingers. Had to do an alphabet run for 52 – I thought it might be JANDOS (Jane Does) as the clue for 52D didn’t quite register at first. Also had EMO before SKA since EMO seems to be showing up a lot lately. Also knew that 44A had a Y in her name, just wasn’t sure where at first. Otherwise not too tough for a Thurs.

    I think all those misheard lyrics are quite amusing

  2. 16:58 Took me awhile to get the theme. Like Ron I figured out what was happening at 61A. That bottom corner slowed me down. I really wanted ounces for 58D but the abbreviation wasn’t fitting and it took me awhile to figure out what was collecting stamps. Never heard of 33A and didn’t know the correct spelling for 44A.

  3. 25:20. Fun theme. I knew 61A had to be “…or not to be”. Figured that out, and I was off to the races. Last to fall was trying to figure out the R at the RANDOS/RARE nexus. Took me a second to get “Still mooing”. Clever.

    Pretty much boilerplate crosswordese for the fill. I was just thinking slowly I suppose.

    Best –

  4. 22:56 no errors after being halfway in 8 minutes. For some reason that has been my typical experience of late. I got the gimmick early with AASKYLARK. As often happens, little things slowed me down such as ULNAE before ULNAS. Oh, yeah…and sometimes I just can’t hit the right keys like in yesterday’s comments where I gave myself a time of 24:23 instead of my actual time of 14:23.🥺

  5. 23:40 Even on a day that I figured out the theme while solving, I’m still 150% slower than the rest of y’all… but hey, I figured out the theme…go me!!

  6. No errors but I thought this to be one of the more difficult Thursdays,
    especially since the “theme” entries were scattered about. Picked up the theme at 28-A with UU via crosses. Last to fall was the north west AA. Good one.

  7. 54:50 with one error…I had an X where 52D and 52A meet…IMO both of these clues are horrible and I noticed that Bill being the diplomat he is didn’t comment on either one.
    Finishing a tough puzzle only to wind up with one error is discouraging to say the least.👎
    Go Ravens🙏
    Stay safe😀

  8. After reading the comments I am still trying to understand 52A RANDOS? Can someone enlighten me.
    OK I looked it up but never heard it before:

    Dictionary
    ran·do
    noun
    plural noun: randos

    a person one does not know, especially one regarded as odd, suspicious, or engaging in socially inappropriate behavior.

  9. 33:46, no errors. Today’s time should make our self-professed slow-pokes feel good. Ran into a brick wall in the NW corner, trying to get ODE AA LARK (ode to a lark) work out. It didn’t.

  10. This one took me 55 minutes. I thought I was not going to be able to finish. Spent the last half hour on the north east corner I’m embarrassed to say. Anyway no errors. I like the gimmick.

  11. Did ok once I picked up the the theme. I started in NW corner and got stuck. Went right down to 61A and when that all appeared I had an AHA moment.. still,.. I messed up on MOAB.. I had MOAM..

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