1116-20 NY Times Crossword 16 Nov 20, Monday

Constructed by: Jennifer Nutt
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Baby Steps

The ends of themed answers suggest a progression demonstrated by a BABY advancing towards its first STEPS:

  • 59A Small advances … or the progression suggested by the ends of 17-, 23-, 33-, 41- and 48-Across : BABY STEPS
  • 17A Sweet item at a bakery : JELLY ROLL
  • 23A Keep watch while a homeowner’s away : HOUSE-SIT
  • 33A Bar-to-bar activity : PUB CRAWL
  • 41A What a speaker or musician may adjust before starting : MIC STAND
  • 48A Easy win : CAKEWALK

Bill’s time: 4m 57s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Original airer of “Doctor Who” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” : BBC

The marvelous British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is mainly funded by the UK government through a television licence fee that is levied annually on all households watching TV transmissions.

The iconic science-fiction television show “Doctor Who” first aired in 1963 on the BBC, and relaunched in 2005. The relaunched series is produced in-house by the BBC in Cardiff in Wales, the location that is the setting of the successful “Doctor Who” spin-off called “Torchwood”. The new show is about the Cardiff branch of the Torchwood Institute which investigates incidents involving extraterrestrials. Why “Torchwood”? Well, “Torchwood” is an anagram of “Doctor Who”.

The zany comedy show called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” first aired in 1969 on the BBC. The show ran for four seasons and finished up soon after John Cleese decided to leave the team and move onto other projects.

9 Jitter-free jitter juice : DECAF

The first successful process for removing caffeine from coffee involved steaming the beans in salt water, and then extracting the caffeine using benzene (a potent carcinogen) as a solvent. Coffee processed this way was sold as Sanka here in the US. There are other processes used these days, and let’s hope they are safer …

15 Writer Tolstoy : LEO

Russian author Leo Tolstoy is best known for his novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”. He also wrote the much-respected novellas “Hadji Murad” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”.

21 “In memoriam” piece : OBIT

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

“In memoriam” is a Latin phrase that we use in English to mean “in memory of” when referring to a person that is deceased.

22 Drinking mug : STEIN

A stein is a type of beer glass. The term is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is German for “stone”.

26 Drs.’ co-workers : RNS

Registered nurse (RN)

30 Zippo : NADA

“Nada” is the Spanish word for “nothing”.

The use of the words “zip” and “zippo” to mean “nothing” dates back to the early 1900s, when it was student slang for being graded zero on a test.

33 Bar-to-bar activity : PUB CRAWL

Remember those days …?

37 Skater Lipinski : TARA

When American skater Tara Lipinski won the figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, she was only 15 years old. To this day, Lipinski is the youngest person to win an individual gold at the Winter Games.

38 Heart chambers : ATRIA

The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers (the atria) accept deoxygenated blood from the body and oxygenated blood from the lungs. The atria squeeze those blood supplies into the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles), “priming” the pump, as it were. One ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, and the other pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

39 What a smiley or frowny emoji indicates : MOOD

An emoji is a character found on many cell phones that is much like an emoticon, but is more elaborate.

43 Immature bug : LARVA

The larva is an intermediate stage in the development of an insect. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago. “Larva” is a Latin word that can translate as “mask”. The term is used in the context of insects as the larval stage can “mask” the appearance of the adult.

46 Green item proffered by Sam-I-Am : EGG

Dr. Seuss’s famous children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham” was first published in 1960. “Green Eggs and Ham” now ranks twelfth in the list of top selling children’s books. By the way, “Harry Potter” books hold the top four slots in that list. The text of “Green Eggs and Ham” has a lot of “I am” going on. It starts with:

I am Sam
I am Sam
Sam I am

and ends with:

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,
Sam-I-am

48 Easy win : CAKEWALK

The Cakewalk is a dance that originated in the African-American community from the “Prize Walk”, in the days of slavery. The Prize Walk was a procession in which couples “walked” with as much style as possible, with the intent of winning the big prize, a large cake. Our term “cakewalk”, meaning something easily accomplished, derives from this tradition. The expression “take the cake” has the same etymology.

52 Tally mark : NOTCH

Back in the mid-1600s, a tally was a stick marked with notches that tracked how much one owed or paid. The term “tally” came from the Latin “talea” meaning “stick, rod”. The act of “scoring” the stick with notches gave rise to our word “score” for the number in a tally.

55 “___ unto them that call evil good, and good evil”: Isaiah : WOE

Here is a verse from the Bible’s Book of Isaiah:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

63 Convenience for withdrawing $$$ : ATM

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

67 Nervous about what’s ahead : ANTSY

The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

Down

1 Island group whose name is a brand of water : FIJI

The island nation of Fiji is an archipelago in the South Pacific made up of over 330 islands, 110 of which are inhabited. Fiji was occupied by the British for over a century and finally gained its independence in 1970.

Fiji Water, as one might guess, is a brand of water from the Fiji Islands. I just think that bottling water and sending it around the world is absolutely insane …

3 Metric weight, informally : KILO

Today, the gram is defined as one thousandth of a kilogram, with the kilogram being equal to the mass of a physical sample preserved by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. Prior to 1960, the gram was defined as the weight of a cubic centimeter of pure water (at the temperature of melting ice).

8 Fillies’ counterparts : COLTS

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less than one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

9 Sirius … or Lassie, for example? : DOG STAR

When you look up at the night sky, the brightest star you can see is Sirius. Sirius appears so bright to us because it is relatively close to the Earth. Sirius is commonly known as the “Dog Star” because it can be seen in the constellation Canis Major, the “Big Dog”.

The canine character Lassie is the creation of Eric Knight, an author who wrote a short story that he expanded into a novel called “Lassie Come Home” published in 1940. “Lassie Come Home” was turned into a movie three years later, the first of a very successful franchise. The original Lassie (a female) was played by a dog called Pal (a male). In fact, all of the dogs that played Lassie over the years were males, because they looked better on camera, retaining a thick coat even during the summer months.

13 Some greenery on forest floors : FERNS

Ferns are unlike mosses in that they have xylem and phloem, making them vascular plants. They also have stems, leaves and roots, but they do not have seeds and flowers, and reproduce using spores. Spores differ from seeds in that they have very little stored food.

18 Give a drubbing : ROUT

A drubbing is a beating, one given either literally or figuratively. The term “drub” dates back in English to the 17th century when it was imported from the Arabic word for a beating, i.e. “darb”.

23 Roman poet who wrote “Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow!” : HORACE

One of ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets was Quintus Horatius Flaccus or “Horace”, as we tend to know him. Horace’s most famous work is probably his collection of Latin lyric poems titled “Carmina” (the Latin for “Odes).

“Carpe diem” is a quotation from Horace, one of ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets. “Carpe diem” translates from Latin as “seize the day” or “enjoy the day”. The satirical motto of a procrastinator is “carpe mañana”, “translating” as “seize tomorrow”.

25 Member of an early Andean civilization : INCA

The Inca Empire was known as the Tawantinsuyu, which translates as “land of the four quarters”. The Inca Empire was a federal organization having a central government that sat above four “suyu” or “quarters”, four administrative regions.

27 Field of Frida Kahlo or El Greco : ART

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter famous for her self-portraits. She was married to the equally famous artist Diego Rivera. Kahlo was portrayed by actress Salma Hayek in a film about her colorful life called “Frida” released in 2002.

El Greco (“the Greek”, in Spanish) was the nickname of the artist whose real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos. El Greco was born in Crete in 1541, and moved to Venice to study art when he was in his early twenties. A few years later he moved to the city of Toledo in central Spain, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.

29 Shore phenomenon around the time of the new and full moons : SPRING TIDE

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

31 Tablecloth fabric : DAMASK

Damask was originally a weaving technique associated with the Byzantine and Islamic weaving centers of the Middle Ages. “Damask” comes from the name of Damascus, which was a major trading city at that time.

33 School fund-raising org. : PTA

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

34 “Ode on a Grecian ___” : URN

Here’s the first verse of the poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats:

THOU still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

35 Action on eBay : BID

There have been some notable things sold on eBay over the years. For example:

  • Ad space on a guy’s forehead, in the form of a temporary tattoo – $37,375
  • William Shatner’s kidney stone – $25,000
  • A cornflake shaped like Illinois – $1,350
  • A single corn flake – $1.63
  • A box of 10 Twinkies – $59.99
  • The original Hollywood sign – $450,400
  • The meaning of life – $3.26

36 Score before 15, in tennis : LOVE

In tennis the score of zero is designated as “love”. Some people believe that this usage originates from the French “l’oeuf” (meaning “the egg”). The idea is that the written character “0” looks like an egg.

38 Lead-in to girl or boy : ATTA

The exact origins of the scoring system used for a game in tennis seems to be a tad murky. One suggestion is that clock faces were once used to keep score, with a hand pointing to 15, 30, 45 and 60. When the rules were changed to ensure games were won with more than a one-point difference in the score, the concept of “deuce” was introduced. The hand on the clock was then moved back to 40 (for deuce), and 50 was used for “advantage”, with 60 continuing to represent “game”. This resulted in the scores 15, 30, 40 and game.

42 Scented bags : SACHETS

A sachet is a small packet of perfumed powder left in perhaps a closet or trunk to scent clothes. The word “sachet” is a diminutive of the French word “sac” meaning “bag”.

43 Rap’s ___ Wayne : LIL

“Lil Wayne” is the stage name used by rap artist Dwayne Carter, Jr. from New Orleans.

49 Shish ___ : KEBAB

The term “kebab” (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use “kebab” when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer. “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer”.

51 Popular health info source : WEBMD

WebMD is a website containing health information. Online since 1996, WebMD is read by over 80 million readers each month. One example of the useful features on the site is the Pill Identification Tool.

53 First Nations group : CREE

The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US, Montana is home to most of the Cree nation. They live on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada, most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

56 Magnum ___ : OPUS

“Magnum opus” is a Latin term meaning “great work”. The magnum opus of a writer or composer perhaps, is his or her greatest work.

61 Truckload unit : TON

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton, long ton or gross ton. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a short ton. To further complicate matters, there is also a metric ton or tonne, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Tricked by doing something unexpectedly, with “out” : FAKED …
6 Original airer of “Doctor Who” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” : BBC
9 Jitter-free jitter juice : DECAF
14 Slicker, as winter highways : ICIER
15 Writer Tolstoy : LEO
16 Speechify : ORATE
17 Sweet item at a bakery : JELLY ROLL
19 One streaming on Twitch, maybe : GAMER
20 Wedding vow : I DO
21 “In memoriam” piece : OBIT
22 Drinking mug : STEIN
23 Keep watch while a homeowner’s away : HOUSE-SIT
26 Drs.’ co-workers : RNS
27 Categorize : ASSORT
30 Zippo : NADA
32 Not an original, informally : REPRO
33 Bar-to-bar activity : PUB CRAWL
37 Skater Lipinski : TARA
38 Heart chambers : ATRIA
39 What a smiley or frowny emoji indicates : MOOD
41 What a speaker or musician may adjust before starting : MIC STAND
43 Immature bug : LARVA
44 Tidy : NEAT
45 Wagered : RISKED
46 Green item proffered by Sam-I-Am : EGG
48 Easy win : CAKEWALK
52 Tally mark : NOTCH
54 The “E” in PG&E: Abbr. : ELEC
55 “___ unto them that call evil good, and good evil”: Isaiah : WOE
58 In flames : AFIRE
59 Small advances … or the progression suggested by the ends of 17-, 23-, 33-, 41- and 48-Across : BABY STEPS
62 Police trainee : CADET
63 Convenience for withdrawing $$$ : ATM
64 Appear out of nowhere : POP UP
65 Maples and myrtles : TREES
66 Mattress’s place : BED
67 Nervous about what’s ahead : ANTSY

Down

1 Island group whose name is a brand of water : FIJI
2 Got an A on : ACED
3 Metric weight, informally : KILO
4 Slithery fish : EEL
5 Thirsty : DRY
6 Ill-defined shapes : BLOBS
7 Misrepresent : BELIE
8 Fillies’ counterparts : COLTS
9 Sirius … or Lassie, for example? : DOG STAR
10 It was: Lat. : ERAT
11 Job for a cinematographer : CAMERAWORK
12 Didn’t go out to a restaurant : ATE IN
13 Some greenery on forest floors : FERNS
18 Give a drubbing : ROUT
23 Roman poet who wrote “Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow!” : HORACE
24 Spanish gold : ORO
25 Member of an early Andean civilization : INCA
27 Field of Frida Kahlo or El Greco : ART
28 Coal deposit : SEAM
29 Shore phenomenon around the time of the new and full moons : SPRING TIDE
31 Tablecloth fabric : DAMASK
33 School fund-raising org. : PTA
34 “Ode on a Grecian ___” : URN
35 Action on eBay : BID
36 Score before 15, in tennis : LOVE
38 Lead-in to girl or boy : ATTA
40 Family man : DAD
42 Scented bags : SACHETS
43 Rap’s ___ Wayne : LIL
45 R-rated, say : RACY
46 Put into law : ENACT
47 Succeed in life : GO FAR
49 Shish ___ : KEBAB
50 Gladden : ELATE
51 Popular health info source : WEBMD
53 First Nations group : CREE
55 Shed tears : WEPT
56 Magnum ___ : OPUS
57 Catch sight of : ESPY
60 Place to get a mani-pedi : SPA
61 Truckload unit : TON

5 thoughts on “1116-20 NY Times Crossword 16 Nov 20, Monday”

  1. 7:58. Just one issue. I had WEEP for “Shed Tears” and and I had to CRAWL thru the answers to realize the clue was past tense and change it to WEPT.

  2. 8:03. Monday. A little late today. Have to admit I found the clue for DOG STAR a little amusing.

    Agree with Bill about FIJI water although bottling water in general is nuts. I’ve been drinking tap water and/or water from my fridge since I was a kid. That said, if bottling water and sending it around the world is insane, what exactly is it when you pay $25,000 for William Shatner’s kidney stone??

    Best –

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