1125-20 NY Times Crossword 25 Nov 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: John Guzzetta & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Flipping Rhymes!

Themed answers come in pairs that rhyme with each other, but only if we FLIP the order of the words in one element of each pair:

  • 16A Prince, e.g. : MALE HEIR
  • 25A Stamp on an envelope [and 16-Across flipped] : AIRMAIL (sounds like “HEIR MALE”)
  • 31A It takes a glider up to launch altitude : TOW PLANE
  • 44A Basic kind of shoe [and 31-Across flipped] : PLAIN-TOE (sounds like “PLANE TOW“)
  • 50A Golf reservation : TEE TIME
  • 63A Herbal drink full of antioxidants [and 50-Across flipped] : THYME TEA (sounds like “TIME TEE”)

Bill’s time: 6m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 University of New Mexico mascot : LOBO

The University of New Mexico (UNM) is a school in Albuquerque, founded in 1889. The sports teams of UNM are called the Lobos, and there are two mascots who work the crowds called Lobo Louie and Lobo Lucy.

5 Jocular sort : WAG

A very amusing person might be referred to as a card, stitch, wag or riot.

8 “Uncle!” : I GIVE!

To say uncle is to submit or yield. This peculiarly American use of “uncle” dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

13 ___ Drago (“Rocky IV” villain) : IVAN

Dolph Lundgren is an actor and martial artist from Sweden. Lundgren’s debut role was a small one, acting as a KGB henchman in the James Bond movie “A View to a Kill”. His big break was starring opposite Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky IV”, playing a scary Russian boxer named Ivan Drago.

15 Polar ___ (weather phenomenon) : VORTEX

The polar vortices are two persistent cyclones that are found over the Earth’s poles, one over the Arctic and one over the Antarctic. It is within the southern polar vortex that we now have a hole in the ozone layer, but there is also a depletion of ozone taking place in the northern polar vortex.

19 ___ Kemper, player of TV’s Kimmy Schmidt : ELLIE

Actress Ellie Kemper’s big break came with the role of Erin Hannon, a receptionist on the sitcom “The Office”. More recently, Kemper played the title role in the Netflix comedy series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a Netflix-made sitcom that was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (the latter worked with Fey on “30 Rock”). The title character, played by Ellie Kemper, is a young woman adjusting to life in New York City after she was rescued from an underground bunker in Indiana where she had been held for 15 years. I tried a few episodes and found that it didn’t really hold my attention. But, I may give it another go one day, as I hear good things …

20 Choice on “Let’s Make a Deal” : DOOR

The game show “Let’s Make a Deal” first aired way back in 1963. For many years the show was hosted by Monty Hall, from 1963 until 1986, and again briefly in 1991. In more recent years, Wayne Brady took over as host in 2009.

23 Extravagant but superficial display : GLITZ

Our word “glitz”, meaning “showiness”, is the Yiddish word for “glitter”.

27 HBO alternative : SHO

Showtime (SHO) is a competitor of The Movie Channel (TMC) in terms of program lineup, although both channels are in fact owned by CBS.

34 Southwest city on the Salt River : TEMPE

Tempe is a city in the metropolitan area of Phoenix. The city is named for the Vale of Tempe in Greece.

37 It’s parallel to a radius : ULNA

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”.

42 Indian state along the Himalayas : ASSAM

Assam is a state in the far northeast of India, and just south of the Himalayas. Assam is noted for its tea, as well as its silk.

The magnificent Himalaya range of mountains in Asia takes its name from the Sanskrit for “abode of snow”. Geographically, the Himalaya separates the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau to the north.

48 Condition often causing repetitive behavior, in brief : OCD

Apparently, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.

49 Holiday ___ : INN

The first Holiday Inn hotel opened in 1952. The name for the hotel chain was inspired by the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The Holiday Inn chain has been British-owned since 1988.

55 Villain defeated by Puss in Boots : OGRE

“Puss in Boots” is a fairy tale from Europe, the earliest recording of which is in a collection of stories by Giovanni Francesco Straparola that dates back to the 1550s. The title character has been used in subsequent works; he makes an appearance in Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Sleeping Beauty”, and more recently in the “Shrek” series of animated films.

56 Voting group : BLOC

“Bloc” is the French word for “block”.

58 Sounds heard here and there in a nursery rhyme : OINKS

There was an old American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O) that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the older US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

61 Halloween hue : ORANGE

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

66 Turner who launched CNN : TED

Ted Turner’s big initiative in the world of business was the founding of CNN, the first 24-hour cable news channel. Turner never graduated from college as he was expelled from Brown University for having a female student in his dormitory room. Years later, in 1989, Brown awarded him an honorary B.A.

67 Whole passel : SLEW

A passel is a large group or quantity. “Passel” is a variant of the word “parcel”.

68 Bethlehem ___ (old company) : STEEL

Bethlehem Steel used to be the second-largest steel producer in the country, after Pittsburgh’s U.S. Steel. The company shut down its steel plants in 1995, and went bankrupt in 2001. The land where the main plant stood in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was purchased in 2007 and is now the site of a casino. Iron-ically (pun intended!), the developers building the casino had problems acquiring enough steel for construction due to a worldwide steel shortage …

69 Some E.R. cases : ODS

Overdose (OD)

70 Loretta with the #1 country hit “Coal Miner’s Daughter” : LYNN

Singer Loretta Lynn is sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Country Music. Lynn was born in 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky to a coal miner and his wife, and so famously is also referred to as “the Coal Miner’s Daughter”. Her much younger sister (by 19 years) is the singer Crystal Gayle.

Down

2 Like the head of a tennis racket : OVAL

Our modern sport of tennis evolved from the much older racquet sport known as “real tennis”. Originally just called “tennis”, the older game was labeled “real tennis” when the modern version began to hold sway. Real tennis is played in a closed court, with the ball frequently bounced off the walls.

3 Concerns for Cinderella and her stepsisters : BALLGOWNS

The folktale usually known as “Cinderella” was first published by French author Charles Perrault in 1697, although it was later included by the Brothers Grimm in their famous 1812 collection. The storyline of the tale may date back as far as the days of ancient Greece. A common alternative title to the story is “The Little Glass Slipper”.

4 Buck ___, first African-American coach in Major League Baseball : O’NEIL

Buck O’Neil was a first baseman and manager with the Kansas City Monarchs, a team in the Negro American League. He was appointed as a coach with the Chicago Cubs in 1962, making him the first African-American coach in the major leagues.

5 TV’s ___ Raw : WWE

“WWE Raw” is a professional wrestling TV show. Not my cup of java …

7 It’s a wrap : GYRO

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

10 1986 celebrity autobiography : I, TINA

“I, Tina” is a 1986 autobiography by Tina Turner. The book was so successful it was adapted into a movie called “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” The film version was released in 1993 and stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner.

11 20-ounce Starbucks order : VENTI

Starbucks introduced us to coffee drinks in a whole range of volumes:

  • Demi … 3 fl oz
  • Short … 8 fl oz
  • Tall … 12 fl oz
  • Grande … 16 fl oz (Italian for “large”)
  • Venti … 20 fl oz (Italian for “twenty”)
  • Trenta … 30 fl oz (Italian for “thirty”)

12 Sing the praises of : EXTOL

To extol something is to praise it loudly. The term comes from the Latin “extollere” meaning “to raise up, elevate”.

17 Actress Katherine of “27 Dresses” : HEIGL

Katherine Heigl is best associated with the television show “Grey’s Anatomy”, in which she plays Dr. Izzie Stevens. That’s not a show I ever watched, but I did enjoy the espionage show “State of Affairs” in which Heigl played the lead. I guess I was in the minority though, as NBC cancelled “State of Affairs” after only one season …

21 Acorn producer : OAK

These days, we don’t usually consider acorns as a foodstuff. But in days past, many cultures around the world have used acorns as food. Usually, bitter tannins that occur in acorns need to be leached out in water. Acorn meal can be a substitute for grain flour, which can then be used to make bread. Acorns have also been used as a substitute for coffee, especially when coffee was rationed. Notably, acorn coffee was brewed up by Confederates during the American Civil War, and by Germans during World War II.

26 Traditional ingredient in a manhattan : RYE

The cocktail called a manhattan is made from whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. I favor my own version of a brandy manhattan, using brandy, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.

27 Disco ___ (“The Simpsons” character) : STU

On “The Simpsons”, the character Disco Stu is voiced by Hank Azaria, although the original intent was for him to be voiced by Phil Hartman. Disco Stu is described as “a black, wrinkly John Travolta”.

28 Greeting south of the border : HOLA

“Hola” is Spanish for the greeting “hi”.

33 Cousin of intuition : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

36 H.S. class : ECON

Economics (econ.)

41 One in a coop : HEN

The Old English word “cypa”, meaning “basket”, evolved in the 14th century to the word “coop” to describe a small cage for poultry. We still use “coop” today.

43 Cable news anchor Melber : ARI

Ari Melber is a television journalist and chief legal correspondent for MSNBC. He has hosted his own daily show called “The Beat with Ari Melber” since 2017.

47 Coral reef dweller : EEL

Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef comprises calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.

51 Wading bird : EGRET

Egrets are a group of several species of white herons. Many egret species were faced with extinction in the 1800s and early 1900s due to plume hunting, a practice driven by the demand for egret plumes that could be incorporated into hats.

54 Eldest von Trapp daughter in “The Sound of Music” : LIESL

The von Trapps portrayed in the musical “The Sound of Music” were a real family, as is well known. In the musical and film, the eldest daughter is Liesl, although in real life her name was Agathe. Agathe came with her family to the US in 1938, and operated a private kindergarten in Baltimore, Maryland for 35 years. Agathe passed away in 2010.

57 German chancellor ___ von Bismarck : OTTO

Germany first became a country of her own in 1871 when the Princes of the various independent German states met at Versailles outside Paris to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as the Emperor of the German Empire. The man behind this historic development was Wilhelm’s Ministerpräsident, Otto von Bismarck. Von Bismarck was a powerful figure in Prussia and indeed on the world stage, earning him the nickname “Iron Chancellor”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 University of New Mexico mascot : LOBO
5 Jocular sort : WAG
8 “Uncle!” : I GIVE!
13 ___ Drago (“Rocky IV” villain) : IVAN
14 Sardonic : WRY
15 Polar ___ (weather phenomenon) : VORTEX
16 Prince, e.g. : MALE HEIR
18 Publicly ordain : ANOINT
19 ___ Kemper, player of TV’s Kimmy Schmidt : ELLIE
20 Choice on “Let’s Make a Deal” : DOOR
22 Latch ___ : ONTO
23 Extravagant but superficial display : GLITZ
25 Stamp on an envelope [and 16-Across flipped] : AIRMAIL
27 HBO alternative : SHO
29 Prefix with thermal : GEO-
30 Parts of accordions : KEYS
31 It takes a glider up to launch altitude : TOW PLANE
34 Southwest city on the Salt River : TEMPE
37 It’s parallel to a radius : ULNA
38 Jumbled : MESSY
40 Every’s partner : EACH
42 Indian state along the Himalayas : ASSAM
44 Basic kind of shoe [and 31-Across flipped] : PLAIN-TOE
46 Arboretum specimen : TREE
48 Condition often causing repetitive behavior, in brief : OCD
49 Holiday ___ : INN
50 Golf reservation : TEE TIME
53 Helpful : UTILE
55 Villain defeated by Puss in Boots : OGRE
56 Voting group : BLOC
58 Sounds heard here and there in a nursery rhyme : OINKS
61 Halloween hue : ORANGE
63 Herbal drink full of antioxidants [and 50-Across flipped] : THYME TEA
65 Inferior : LESSER
66 Turner who launched CNN : TED
67 Whole passel : SLEW
68 Bethlehem ___ (old company) : STEEL
69 Some E.R. cases : ODS
70 Loretta with the #1 country hit “Coal Miner’s Daughter” : LYNN

Down

1 Shade of green : LIME
2 Like the head of a tennis racket : OVAL
3 Concerns for Cinderella and her stepsisters : BALLGOWNS
4 Buck ___, first African-American coach in Major League Baseball : O’NEIL
5 TV’s ___ Raw : WWE
6 Desert, e.g. : ARID ZONE
7 It’s a wrap : GYRO
8 Naturally occurring example of “opposites attract”? : ION
9 Group at a wedding : GROOMSMEN
10 1986 celebrity autobiography : I, TINA
11 20-ounce Starbucks order : VENTI
12 Sing the praises of : EXTOL
15 Juggling or ventriloquism : VARIETY ACT
17 Actress Katherine of “27 Dresses” : HEIGL
21 Acorn producer : OAK
24 Part of a squad : TEAM MEMBER
26 Traditional ingredient in a manhattan : RYE
27 Disco ___ (“The Simpsons” character) : STU
28 Greeting south of the border : HOLA
32 Signed, sealed or delivered : PAST TENSE
33 Cousin of intuition : ESP
35 One way to wait : PATIENTLY
36 H.S. class : ECON
39 Wasn’t upright, say : SLOUCHED
41 One in a coop : HEN
43 Cable news anchor Melber : ARI
45 “Fall in love” or “fall to pieces” : IDIOM
47 Coral reef dweller : EEL
50 Hammers and sickles : TOOLS
51 Wading bird : EGRET
52 Wipe, as a hard drive : ERASE
54 Eldest von Trapp daughter in “The Sound of Music” : LIESL
57 German chancellor ___ von Bismarck : OTTO
59 Sharp : KEEN
60 Like cut logs : SAWN
62 Hairstyling stuff : GEL
64 N.F.L. stat: Abbr. : YDS

10 thoughts on “1125-20 NY Times Crossword 25 Nov 20, Wednesday”

  1. 10:37 At first I was thinking that the “flipping” was the other answer in reverse. But it soon became apparent. Got impatient with 5D since I am not familiar with WWE Raw (needed the leading W) so I did a lookup.

  2. 9:42 after changing O’NEAL to O’NEIL (hadn’t noticed ELLAE until then). Buck O’Neil is one of a handful of baseballers whose names I remember and I always spell it incorrectly when I encounter it in a crossword puzzle (which is pretty often). Grrr. Maybe next time … 😳🤨😜.

  3. 7:46. Quick for a Wednesday for me. I saw the theme right away which helped.

    Interesting story about how this theme came to be in Wordplay today. They were trying to make a word ladder with homophones and came up with nothing that worked the way they wanted. In so doing they noticed this flip flop phenomenon. Interestingly, these were the only 3 they came up with, but they were symmetrical and worked in the puzzle.

    Best –

  4. 10:15, would have been even quicker if I hadn’t fat fingered 3 “S’s” into “Assam”. Is that the correct way to write the plural of “S”? It always seemed to appear possessive…

  5. Got a bit dicey in the northwest which featured a trio of names unknown to me. Solved with crosses and a logical guess or two so finished WNE.

  6. 12:12, 2 errors: TE(A) TIME; (A)RASE. Got overconfident with the use of the theme. After I entered THYME TEA, was certain 50A would be TEA TIME, without checking the 50A clue.

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