1124-20 NY Times Crossword 24 Nov 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Caitlin Reid
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): They Sound Fishy

Themed answers sound like common exclamations, but with a sea creature substituted:

  • 19A “An orca is actually a dolphin?!” : WHALE I’LL BE DARNED! (Well, I’ll be darned)
  • 37A “Wow, that’s a giant sea cow!” : OH, THE HUGE MANATEE (Oh, the humanity!)
  • 55A “This is the best fish I’ve ever had!” : GREAT COD ALMIGHTY! (Great God almighty!)

Bill’s time: 5m 35

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Billboard magazine feature : CHART

“Billboard” was founded way back in 1894 as a trade magazine for the advertising and bill posting industry. The editorial focus gradually moved towards music as phonographs, radios and the recorded music business took off in the early part of the 20th century. “Billboard” published its first “music hit parade” 1936, and is now famous for its collection of lists that track music sales.

10 Garment with straps : BRA

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

13 Immature insect : 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.

16 From east of the Urals : ASIAN

The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia and Kazakhstan is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

23 Director Anderson : WES

Film director Wes Anderson’s most famous movie is probably “The Royal Tenenbaums” that was released in 2001, and is not my favorite film by any stretch. However, Anderson’s 2007 release “The Darjeeling Limited”, that I enjoyed.

24 Column with an angle : OP-ED

“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.

25 Long-running CBS drama : NCIS

NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon. “NCIS” is now a franchise, with spin-off shows “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans”.

27 Hamster holder : CAGE

The rodents known as hamsters are commonly kept as house pets. Male hamsters are called bucks, females are called does, and baby hamsters are known as pups.

35 The “A” of MoMA : ART

The founding of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City was very much driven by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of John D. Rockefeller. Working with two friends, Abby managed to get the museum opened in 1929, just nine days after the Wall Street Crash. The MoMA’s sculpture garden bears the name of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and has done so since 1949.

36 Word before boom or blues : BABY …

A baby boomer is someone who was born in the post-WWII baby boom. The rate of births had been falling fairly steadily in the US at least since 1900, but this trend was sharply reversed in 1946 after WWII. The higher birth rate continued until 1964, when it returned to pre-war levels. Since then the birth rate has continued to decline, although at a slower pace. The period between 1946 and 1964 is often defined as the “baby boom”.

37 “Wow, that’s a giant sea cow!” : OH, THE HUGE MANATEE (Oh, the humanity!)

Manatees, also known as “sea cows”, are very large marine mammals that can grow to 12 feet in length. The manatee is believed to have evolved from four-legged land mammals and probably shares a common ancestor with the elephant.

41 Resentful and hostile manner, informally : ‘TUDE

‘Tude (attitude)

44 “___ sells seashells by the seashore” : SHE

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.

45 Turquoise and topaz : HUES

“Turquoise” is the Old French word for “Turkish”. The name was given to the blue mineral because much of it was brought into Europe from Turkey, although most of the turquoise mines were located in the Khorasan Province of Iran.

Topaz is a semiprecious stone made from silicate containing aluminum and fluorine. Topaz is the state gemstone of Utah, and the rare blue topaz is the state gemstone of Texas.

47 Easily fooled sorts : SAPS

“Sap” is slang for “fool, someone easily scammed”. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words are derived from “sapwood”, which is the softwood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

50 Sully, as a reputation : TAR

To sully is to stain, tarnish. The term is often used in the context of sullying or tarnishing a reputation.

51 Country that borders three “-stans” : IRAN

The countries of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan lie along Iran’s northern and eastern borders.

55 “This is the best fish I’ve ever had!” : GREAT COD ALMIGHTY! (Great God almighty!)

In Britain and Ireland, the most common fish that is used in traditional “fish and chips” is Atlantic cod. Cod has been overfished all over the world, and is now considered to be an endangered species by many international bodies. Confrontations over fishing rights in the North Atlantic led to conflicts called “the Cod Wars” between Iceland and the UK in the 1950s and the 1970s, with fishing fleets being protected by naval vessels and even shots being fired.

66 Bobs and weaves : DOS

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

Hair weaves are used to add length and body to hairstyles. Extensions, made from human or synthetic hair, are usually clipped, glued or sewn into natural hair to achieve the effect. Most of the human hair used in extensions comes from India and China, with a lot sourced from religious institutions. In some traditions, the believers shave their heads as an act of devotion, after which the temple sells the hair at auction.

67 Lecherous looks : LEERS

The word “lecher”, meaning “one who debauches”, came into English in the 12th century. The original word in Old French was “lecheor”, literally “licker”.

68 Fruit tree also known as a blackthorn : SLOE

The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and the main flavoring ingredient in sloe gin. A sloe looks like a small plum, but is usually much more tart in taste.

Down

1 With 61-Across, former White House girl : SASHA …
(61A See 1-Down : … OBAMA)

Sasha is the younger of the two Obama children, having been born in 2001. She was the youngest child to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. moved in with his parents as a small infant. Sasha’s Secret Service codename is “Rosebud”, and her older sister Malia has the codename “Radiance”.

2 Group of three : TRIAD

A triad is a group of three and, specifically in music, a chord made up of three notes.

4 Scourge : BANE

Today, we tend to use the word “bane” to mean “anathema, a source of persistent annoyance”. A few centuries ago, a bane was a cause of harm or death, perhaps a deadly poison.

6 Areas decked with holly in a holiday song : HALLS

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in the 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la!”

7 Husband of Jezebel in the Bible : AHAB

Ahab was King of Israel, but the power behind his throne was his wife Jezebel, a Phoenician princess. Jezebel’s god was Ba’al, and she used her influence to get temples of Ba’al built in Israel. Jezebel’s name is still associated with the worship of false prophets.

9 Big cheese : TOP DOG

The phrase “the big cheese” doesn’t have its roots in the word “cheese” at all. The original phrase was “the real cheese” meaning “the real thing”, and was used way back in the late 1800s. “Chiz” is a Persian and Hindi word meaning “thing”, and it’s not hard to see how the expression “the real chiz” morphed into “the real cheese”. In early-20th century America, instead of a “real cheese”, the most influential person in a group was labeled as “the big cheese”.

21 Big lummox : APE

The word “lummox” comes from East Anglian slang , and describes an ungainly and often clueless person. The term is probably a contraction of “lumbering ox”.

30 Lift provider : UBER

The basic service offered by ride-hailing company Uber is known as UberX. The service provides a private ride for up to four passengers in a standard car. UberXL provides a minivan or SUV with room for up to 6 passengers.

31 Henna and others : DYES

Henna has been used for centuries as a dye, for leather and wool as well as hair and skin. In modern days, henna is often used for temporary tattoos.

36 Summons in Gotham City : BAT-SIGNAL

Batman is an ally of Police Commissioner Gordon of Gotham City. Gordon orders the shining of a searchlight, known as the Bat-Signal, into the sky to summon Batman when he is needed.

45 Panama, e.g. : HAT

Panama hats are traditional headgear from Ecuador, and have never been made in volume in Panama. The “panama” moniker came about as many of the hats were shipped to the Isthmus of Panama for transportation by sea to the rest of the world. Authentic panama hats are made from the leaves of a palm-like plant known locally as the jipijapa palm.

47 Make-it-yourself dishes from bars : SALADS

Our word “salad” comes from the Latin “salare” meaning “to salt”. The Latin “herba salata” translates as “salted vegetables”, which I guess could be a salad …

52 Big zoo attraction : RHINO

There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, with the smaller Javan Rhino being the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

54 Abbr. before the ZIP code 10001 : NY, NY

The ZIP code 10001 covers much of Midtown Manhattan.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Try, informally : STAB
5 Billboard magazine feature : CHART
10 Garment with straps : BRA
13 Immature insect : LARVA
14 “Huzzah!” : YAHOO!
15 Severe disappointment : BLOW
16 From east of the Urals : ASIAN
17 Hold on tight : CLASP
18 Helper : AIDE
19 “An orca is actually a dolphin?!” : WHALE I’LL BE DARNED! (Well, I’ll be darned)
22 Nil : NADA
23 Director Anderson : WES
24 Column with an angle : OP-ED
25 Long-running CBS drama : NCIS
27 Hamster holder : CAGE
29 Effort that goes “Pfft!” : DUD
32 Components of some fad diets : JUICES
35 The “A” of MoMA : ART
36 Word before boom or blues : BABY …
37 “Wow, that’s a giant sea cow!” : OH, THE HUGE MANATEE (Oh, the humanity!)
41 Resentful and hostile manner, informally : ‘TUDE
42 Make a quilt, e.g. : SEW
43 Bottle units : LITERS
44 “___ sells seashells by the seashore” : SHE
45 Turquoise and topaz : HUES
47 Easily fooled sorts : SAPS
48 Schematic : PLAN
50 Sully, as a reputation : TAR
51 Country that borders three “-stans” : IRAN
55 “This is the best fish I’ve ever had!” : GREAT COD ALMIGHTY! (Great God almighty!)
60 Tear apart : REND
61 See 1-Down : … OBAMA
62 ___ rings (side dish) : ONION
63 Chimes in : ADDS
64 Gave off, as charm : OOZED
65 ___ state : NANNY
66 Bobs and weaves : DOS
67 Lecherous looks : LEERS
68 Fruit tree also known as a blackthorn : SLOE

Down

1 With 61-Across, former White House girl : SASHA …
2 Group of three : TRIAD
3 Deluge : AVALANCHE
4 Scourge : BANE
5 Goes biking : CYCLES
6 Areas decked with holly in a holiday song : HALLS
7 Husband of Jezebel in the Bible : AHAB
8 Stood up : ROSE
9 Big cheese : TOP DOG
10 It may be a setup : BLIND DATE
11 Took transportation : RODE
12 Left speechless, maybe : AWED
13 What a sprinkler may sprinkle : LAWN
15 Nude : BARE
20 “Yeah, if only!” : I WISH!
21 Big lummox : APE
26 Average mark : CEE
27 Captain and company : CREW
28 Convenience in a cash-only business : ATM
30 Lift provider : UBER
31 Henna and others : DYES
32 Quickly writes (down) : JOTS
33 [Head shake] : [UH-UH]
34 “Could go either way” : IT DEPENDS
35 Develops wrinkles, say : AGES
36 Summons in Gotham City : BAT-SIGNAL
38 Application : USE
39 Dream disrupter, perhaps : ALARM
40 Chilly air : NIP
45 Panama, e.g. : HAT
46 Not hip : UNCOOL
47 Make-it-yourself dishes from bars : SALADS
49 Little fellows : LADS
50 Circus performer : TAMER
52 Big zoo attraction : RHINO
53 Make up (for) : ATONE
54 Abbr. before the ZIP code 10001 : NY, NY
55 Gown wearer, informally : GRAD
56 What a let in tennis affords : REDO
57 Light wind? : OBOE
58 Stunned state : DAZE
59 Things charged at science labs? : IONS

17 thoughts on “1124-20 NY Times Crossword 24 Nov 20, Tuesday”

  1. 14:19. I had several missteps on this one – OUNCES before LITERS, GEMS before HUES, TBAR before UBER (Both give you a lift, but not a LYFT), UHOH before UHUH (making me wonder about the crosser TODE). MAR before TAR, giving me a crossing MAMER, etc. Took longer than it should have. Anod it’s only Tuesday!

  2. 10:34. Nice theme. A little levity now and then is always a good thing. No real missteps in this one. If I’d done it in ink, it would be pretty clean.

    Duncan – Appreciate the acknowledgement of the pun yesterday. Maybe I should have split the word up into 4 parts to make it more obvious.

    Best –

  3. 14:30. A slow day for me for some reason. I had trouble at the top but once finished the answers seemed so obvious. Oh, well…

    1. Online definition: NANNY STATE: “the government regarded as overprotective or as interfering unduly with personal choice”.

  4. For a discussion of “nanny state”, see the following:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanny_state

    And … while it may be true (in some sense) that “tar is not tarnish”, it is indeed possible either to tar, or to tarnish, someone’s reputation. (I’d post another link, but that tends to get me in trouble with the spam filter here and, in any case, Bill’s comment, above, is pretty much right on.)

    1. No errors, no erasures. Nor did I think that TAR had any connection to “tarnish”. However, I did think that it could have to do with the now seldom-seen product called pine tar. If one had it on one’s hands it is pretty hard to get off. Thus, dirtied up. Also, the bygone practice of being “tarred and feathered” would sure call for an intense cleaning. By the same token, one could have TAR smeared all over their reputation.

  5. 13 minutes 55 seconds. No errors or look up’s. People don’t know what a nanny state is? With all due respect, they should.

  6. As far as I know the French word for “bra”, “soutien-gorge” means “holder of breast”, as it is certianly its use. This is using a “literaty” meaning of “gorge”, which is sometimes used in the description of cleavages.

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