1114-20 NY Times Crossword 14 Nov 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Emily Carroll & Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 20m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Proceed down the runway, perhaps : SASHAY

To sashay is to strut along in a showy manner. “Sashay” is an Anglicized form of the French word “chassé”, a sliding step used in square dancing.

15 Polish, say : EUROPEAN

The country of Poland takes her name from the West Slavic tribe known as the Polans.

18 Literally, “art-doer” : GEISHA

The Japanese term “geisha” best translates as “artist” or “performing artist”.

19 Achilles, for example : TENDON

The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the leg, above the heel. The name is a reference to Achilles, the hero of Greek myth who was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel.

25 For whom the ravens Huginn and Muninn collect intel, in legend : ODIN

According to Norse mythology, the god Odin had a pair of ravens that flew all over the world each day to get him information. The ravens were named Huginn and Muninn.

27 Lane hugger? : KENT

Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.

Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. One has to wonder how challenging the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …

28 California roll ingredient : AVOCADO

A California roll is a kind of sushi roll that is made inside-out, with the seaweed inside and the rice on the outside. A California roll often includes rice, seaweed, cucumber and avocado. The dish originated in Los Angeles where a chef at the Tokyo Kaikan restaurant substituted avocado for fatty tuna (“toro”) in a traditional sushi recipe. The chef also put the seaweed on the inside, as his American customers preferred not to look directly at seaweed while they were eating it!

36 “My Violent Evil Monster Just Scared Us Nuts” and others : MNEMONIC DEVICES

There are several mnemonics used to remember the planets and the order in which they are found in the Solar System. One example is “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets”, but that doesn’t really work since Pluto was relegated from “planethood” in 2006. The most oft-quoted mnemonic for the eight planets is “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos”. Given the relegation of Pluto, I kind of like “Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nature”.

41 Swan song : END

The phrase “swan song” is used for a final gesture, a last performance. The expression derives from an ancient belief that swans are silent for most of their lives, but sing a beautiful song just before they die.

43 Countless : UMPTEEN

The word “umpty” was introduced as slang for a Morse code dash. In the early 1900’s, the same term came to mean “of an indefinite number”, and was associated with the numerals divisible by ten, i.e. twenty, thirty, forty, etc. The extended adjective “umpteen” began to appear during WWI as army slang.

47 Attachment to a car’s dashboard : GPS UNIT

A global positioning system (GPS) is known as a satellite navigation system (Sat Nav) in Britain and Ireland.

49 Late actress Diana of “Game of Thrones” : RIGG

Diana Rigg was a marvelous actress from England who was best known for playing Emma Peel on the hit sixties show “The Avengers”. Rigg also won an Emmy for her performance in a 1997 television adaptation of “Rebecca”. In my humble opinion, she was also the best-ever Bond girl (opposite George Lazenby, the worst-ever Bond guy), in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” …

52 High dudgeon : WRATH

“Dudgeon” is a noun describing a state of sullen, ill humor. To be in a state of “high” dudgeon is to be in really ill humor.

57 “Kimigayo,” in Japan : ANTHEM

The word “anthem” used to describe a sacred song, especially one with words taken from the Scriptures. The British national anthem (“God Save the Queen/King”) technically is a hymn, and so it came to be described as “the national hymn” and later “the national anthem”. The use of the word “anthem” extended from there to describe any patriotic song.

59 Comic actor who played Sir Robin and Harry the Haggler : ERIC IDLE

Eric Idle is one of the founding members of the Monty Python team. Idle was very much the musician of the bunch, and is an accomplished guitarist. If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Idle, and was indeed written by him. That song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.

63 62-Down part : RETINA
(62D Body part with a 63-Across : EYE)

The retina is the tissue that lines the inside of the eye, the tissue that is light-sensitive. There are (mainly) two types of cells in the retina that are sensitive to light, called rods and cones. Rods are cells that best function in very dim light and only provide black-and-white vision. Cones on the other hand function in brighter light and can perceive color.

Down

2 Parlement vote : OUI

In French, the “Parlement français” (French parliament) is divided into the “Sénat” (Senate) and the “Assemblée nationale” (National Assembly).

5 ___ dixit : IPSE

“Ipse dixit” is Latin, a phrase meaning “he himself said it”. The term is used in contemporary English to describe an unsupported assertion, one usually by someone in authority.

6 Bundestag vote : NEIN

“Nein” is the German for “no”, and “ja” translates as “yes”.

The German parliament is known as the “Bundestag”, and has been since its founding in 1949. The Bundestag meets in the magnificent Reichstag building in Berlin.

9 Concern about an old sofa : SAG

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

13 Mythical figure associated with snakes : ATHENA

The Greek goddess Athena (sometimes “Athene”) is often associated with wisdom, among other attributes. In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today’s perception of the owl as being “wise”. Athena’s Roman counterpart was Minerva.

14 Like some bread and beer : YEASTY

Yeasts are unicellular microorganisms in the kingdom Fungi. The species of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used for centuries in the making of wine and beer, and in breadmaking. Saccharomyces cerevisiae converts carbohydrates into carbon dioxide and alcohol in the process of fermentation. When making beer and wine, the carbon dioxide and alcohol may be captured by the liquid. When making bread, the carbon dioxide and alcohol is driven off by heat.

20 Research org. in Bethesda : NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) organization is made up of 27 different institutes that coordinate their research and services. Examples of member institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

The community of Bethesda in Maryland lies just northwest of Washington, D.C. The original settlement in the area was called “Darcy’s Store”. a reference to the original store that drew settlers to the location along the toll road between Georgetown and Rockville. The community’s name was changed to Bethesda in 1871 by a local postmaster, after a Presbyterian church called the Bethesda Meeting House. Bethesda is home to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Naval Medical Center. During WWII, Bethesda also hosted the Norwegian Royal Family while their country was occupied by German forces.

23 Bath water? : AVON

The River Avon that flows in the southwest of England is sometimes referred to as the Lower Avon or Bristol Avon. The extra wording is to distinguish it from a number of other River Avons in the country, including the famous one through William Shakespeare’s Stratford. The Lower Avon passes through the cities of Bristol and Bath.

Bath is a beautiful city in South West England of which I have very fond memories. Bath is an old Roman spa town, and the city’s name comes from the Roman baths that have been excavated and restored.

30 Something to sneeze at? : DANDER

Dander is microscopic material shed from an animal’s body. It is small enough to travel through the air, and becomes part of house dust. It is usually when traveling through the air that it can be breathed in by humans, and cause an allergic reaction. Dandruff is similar to dander, except that the skin that is shed comes from the scalp instead of the main body, and the flakes are larger in size.

32 Brand with a classic “501 Blues” ad campaign : LEVIS

Levi Strauss was the founder of the first company in the world to manufacture blue jeans. Levi Strauss & Co. opened in 1853 in San Francisco. Strauss and his business partner were awarded a patent in 1873 for the use of copper rivets to strengthen points of strain on working pants.

34 Roast V.I.P.s : MCS

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

37 Crude verse : DOGGEREL

“Doggerel” is a term used to insult poetry that has little value as literature. The term probably comes from “dog”, perhaps in that it is “only fit for dogs”.

38 Big Apple sch. system : CUNY

New York City’s public university system is called the City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY is made of 24 institutions and is the largest urban university in the whole country. It is also the third largest university system in the US, after the State University of New York and California State University.

Apparently, the first published use of the term “Big Apple” to describe New York City dates back to 1909. Edward Martin wrote the following in his book “The Wayfarer in New York”:

Kansas is apt to see in New York a greedy city. . . . It inclines to think that the big apple gets a disproportionate share of the national sap.

Over ten years later, the term “big apple” was used as a nickname for racetracks in and around New York City. However, the concerted effort to “brand” the city as the Big Apple had to wait until the seventies and was the work of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau.

39 1960s “It Girl” Sedgwick : EDIE

Edie Sedgwick became famous when she starred in several short films made by Andy Warhol in the sixties. Sedgwick’s life was portrayed in a 2006 biographical film called “Factory Girl”.

Clara Bow was a fabulous silent film star, with her most famous movie being “It” from 1927. Clara Bow’s performance was so celebrated in the movie that she was forever to be known as the “It girl”. The term “it” was a euphemism for “sex appeal”, and that is what Clara Bow was known to “exude”. Bow applied her red lipstick in the shape of a heart, and women who copied this style were said to put on a “Clara Bow”.

40 Preceders of spikes, in volleyball : SETS

In volleyball, each team can only touch the ball a maximum of three times before it returns to the other side of the net. The three contacts are often a “bump” (a preliminary pass) and a “set” (setting up the attacking shot) followed by a “spike” (a shot into the opposing court).

44 Eliot hero : MARNER

“Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe” is a novel written by George Eliot and first published in 1861. There’s an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, with Patsy Kensit playing Eppie, the young orphaned child that Marner takes under his wing.

45 Tributary of the Missouri : PLATTE

The Platte River used to be called the Nebrakier, which is an Oto word meaning “flat river”. Indeed, the state of Nebraska takes its name from “Nebrakier”. For a while it was also called the River Plate as “plate” is the French word “flat”. Later this became “Platte”, the phonetic spelling of the French “plate”.

50 Davis of Hollywood : GEENA

As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Davis is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …

53 ___ teeth (rarity) : HEN’S

Something might be described as scarcer than hen’s teeth, as hens don’t have teeth at all!

55 New Zealand demonym : KIWI

Unlike many nicknames for people of a particular country, the name “Kiwi” for a New Zealander isn’t offensive at all. The term comes from the flightless bird called the kiwi, which is endemic to New Zealand and is the country’s national symbol. “Kiwi” is a Maori word, and the plural (when referring to the bird) is simply “kiwi”. However, when you have two or more New Zealanders with you, they are Kiwis (note the “s”, and indeed the capital “K”!).

A demonym is a term used for natives of a geographical location, with that term being derived from the name of that particular location. For example the Irish come from Ireland, and the Americans come from America.

60 Forensic science subject : DNA

Something described as forensic is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Discusses : GOES INTO
9 Proceed down the runway, perhaps : SASHAY
15 Polish, say : EUROPEAN
16 Sharp : ASTUTE
17 Working as a go-between : LIAISING
18 Literally, “art-doer” : GEISHA
19 Achilles, for example : TENDON
21 Pines : ACHES
22 “All ___ are civil ___, because all men are brothers” (quote attributed to François Fénelon) : WARS
25 For whom the ravens Huginn and Muninn collect intel, in legend : ODIN
27 Lane hugger? : KENT
28 California roll ingredient : AVOCADO
31 Religious observance : HOLY DAY
33 Assembly line feature : ROBOT ARM
35 “___ the Wizard” (show tune) : HE’S
36 “My Violent Evil Monster Just Scared Us Nuts” and others : MNEMONIC DEVICES
41 Swan song : END
42 Me time, say : SOLITUDE
43 Countless : UMPTEEN
47 Attachment to a car’s dashboard : GPS UNIT
48 Stick: Sp. : PALO
49 Late actress Diana of “Game of Thrones” : RIGG
51 Parliament votes : AYES
52 High dudgeon : WRATH
54 See for a bit : PEEK AT
57 “Kimigayo,” in Japan : ANTHEM
59 Comic actor who played Sir Robin and Harry the Haggler : ERIC IDLE
63 62-Down part : RETINA
64 Fresh bread? : NEW MONEY
65 Formal : DRESSY
66 Turn off : ALIENATE

Down

1 It might be hair-raising : GEL
2 Parlement vote : OUI
3 Historian’s specialty, perhaps : ERA
4 “I see you’ve left me no choice” : SO IT’S COME TO THIS
5 ___ dixit : IPSE
6 Bundestag vote : NEIN
7 Adjective on an Indian menu : TANDOORI
8 “I swear!” : ON GOD!
9 Concern about an old sofa : SAG
10 Unmoored, in a way : ASEA
11 Predicament : STICKY SITUATION
12 Quieted down : HUSHED
13 Mythical figure associated with snakes : ATHENA
14 Like some bread and beer : YEASTY
20 Research org. in Bethesda : NIH
22 Getting close, perhaps : WARM
23 Bath water? : AVON
24 Cover-up in court : ROBE
26 Totally useless : NO HELP
29 Do makeup? : ATONE
30 Something to sneeze at? : DANDER
32 Brand with a classic “501 Blues” ad campaign : LEVIS
34 Roast V.I.P.s : MCS
37 Crude verse : DOGGEREL
38 Big Apple sch. system : CUNY
39 1960s “It Girl” Sedgwick : EDIE
40 Preceders of spikes, in volleyball : SETS
43 Rising : UPWARD
44 Eliot hero : MARNER
45 Tributary of the Missouri : PLATTE
46 Chill : NIP
50 Davis of Hollywood : GEENA
53 ___ teeth (rarity) : HEN’S
55 New Zealand demonym : KIWI
56 Very top : ACME
58 When the National Day of Prayer is celebrated : MAY
60 Forensic science subject : DNA
61 Diminutive suffix : -LET
62 Body part with a 63-Across : EYE

6 thoughts on “1114-20 NY Times Crossword 14 Nov 20, Saturday”

  1. 28:08 VERY slow getting started on this one and only because I got a few Downs. Had most of the top half done in 23 minutes, then once I got a couple of the long entries I “polished ” (not Polished) the rest off in just 5 minutes.

  2. 25:51. Smooth solve except I had “Medusa” before ATHENA, and I thought the connection between AVON and Bath was related to cosmetics. Oh well, they don’t award style points for these things.

    I thought the clue for EUROPEAN lacked polish.

    I guess Huginn and Muninn were the original precursors of the internet. They’d have saved an awful lot of flying time if they’d learn to use Google.

    I wasn’t aware of the reason behind ATHENA’s relation to snakes. Apparently the ancient Greeks thought that a snake’s hissing was the snake hissing out knowledge and prophesies. ATHENA was the goddess of wisdom so those were her words or knowledge. You’d think she’d find something more intelligible than a snake’s hiss to communicate wisdom, but maybe she never worked out all the kinks.

    Best –

  3. 15:56 I was cruising to my first sub 11 minute Saturday and then I hit the southwest corner. I had UMPTEEN and the end of 4D but couldn’t get anything else. I don’t know much about Eliot and couldn’t remember PALO from HS Spanish. Finally got UPWARD and the rest fell into place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.