1203-20 NY Times Crossword 3 Dec 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Jake Halperin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Unlucky Break

We have a rebus puzzle today, with the number “13” used in the grid to represent the similarly looking letter “B” in three down-answers:

  • 57A Bad fortune … as suggested by 19-, 30- and 47-Across? : UNLUCKY BREAK
  • 19A This occurs at least once – and never more than three times – in a year : FRIDAY THE 13TH
  • 21D Marked by opposite extremes : BIPOLAR
  • 30A Memorable launch of April 11, 1970 : APOLLO 13
  • 26D Runs interference for the offense? : ABETS
  • 47A 2007 heist film sequel : OCEANS 13
  • 48D Big joints : BLUNTS

Bill’s time: 13m 03s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Fools : 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.

13 Size in a lingerie shop : C-CUP

“Lingerie” is a French term. As used in France, it describes any underwear, worn by either males or females. In English we use “lingerie” to describe alluring underclothing worn by women. The term “lingerie” comes into English via the French word “linge” meaning “washables”, and ultimately from the Latin “linum”, meaning “linen”. We tend not to pronounce the word correctly in English, either here in the US or across the other side of the Atlantic. The French pronunciation is more like “lan-zher-ee”, as opposed to “lon-zher-ay” (American) and “lon-zher-ee” (British).

15 Softly : PIANO

In musical notation, the Italian word “piano” (p) instructs musicians to play softly, and “forte” (f) to play loudly. The additional notation “pianissimo” (pp) means “very soft”, and fortissimo (ff) means “very loud”.

16 College named after a Scottish island : IONA

Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name “Killian”.

Although the small island of Iona lies just off the west coast of Scotland, it was the site of a monastery built in the Middle Ages by a monk from Ireland named Colm Cille (also known as Columba). Colm Cille and his followers were sent into exile from the Irish mainland and settled in Iona, as at that time the island was part of an Irish kingdom. This monastery in Iona expanded its influence over the decades and founded other institutions all over Ireland and Great Britain. It is believed that the famous Book of Kells may have been written, or at least started, at the monastery on Iona. Iona is also the burial site for Macbeth, King of Scotland who was immortalized in Shakespeare’s fictional account of the king’s life.

17 Word before “Streets” and “Girls” in film titles : MEAN …

“Mean Streets” is a crime drama co-written and directed by Martin Scorsese, and released in 1973. The leads in the movie are played by Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel.

“Mean Girls” is a teen comedy movie released in 2004 starring Lindsay Lohan. Tina Fey also puts in an appearance, which really isn’t surprising as Fey wrote the screenplay.

18 Certain chamber ensemble : OCTET

Chamber music is a style of classical musical that is written for a small group of instruments, as opposed to a full orchestra. That number of players should be able to stage a performance in a “chamber”, traditionally a large room in a palace or other grand residence.

19 This occurs at least once – and never more than three times – in a year : FRIDAY THE 13TH

In our Gregorian calendar there is always at least one occasion annually when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, with the dreaded day only coming three times at most each year. Someone with a fear of Friday the 13th is said to be “friggatriskaidekaphobic”, from “Frigg”, the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named, and from “triskaidekaphobia”, the fear of the number thirteen. No one seems to know for sure from where the superstition arises, but it was first documented in the mid-1800s, apparently in an 1869 biography of the composer Rossini.

24 Where frozen concentrated orange juice and Gatorade were invented: Abbr. : FLA

In the mid-forties a process was developed to concentrate orange juice into a powder, the intent being to make it available to the armed forces. When WWII came to an end, the government’s need for the product went away, so Florida Foods Corporation was set up to market orange juice concentrate (rather than powder) to the public. This new concentrate was given the name “Minute Maid” implying that juice could be prepared quickly by simple dilution.

Gatorade was developed at the University of Florida by a team of researchers at the request of the school’s football team. And so, Gatorade is named after the Gators football team.

30 Memorable launch of April 11, 1970 : APOLLO 13

Jim Lovell is a retired astronaut who commanded the famous Apollo 13 mission that almost ended in disaster with three crew members lost in space. Lovell wrote an account of the dramatic mission in a book called “Lost Moon”. “Lost Moon” was the basis of the excellent movie “Apollo 13” in which Tom Hanks portrayed Lovell.

36 It’s a downer : OPIATE

Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

39 Like some suspects : USUAL

The film “Casablanca” bequeathed us some of the most memorable lines in film history. For example, the Claude Rains character (Major Renault) pronounces, “Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects.”

42 Part of a parkway : MEDIAN

Here in the US, the area separating opposing lanes of traffic on a divided highway called the “median strip”. Over in the UK, that median strip is known as the “central reservation”.

The original parkways were scenic highways or roadways in or connecting parks. Sadly, many parkways are a lot less scenic these days, as buildings have sprouted up along the highway’s edges.

47 2007 heist film sequel : OCEAN’S 13

“Ocean’s 11” is a great film from 1960, starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. The original storyline is updated for the excellent 2001 remake, with George Clooney playing the lead. In the 1960 movie, the love interest is a character called Beatrice Ocean, played by Angie Dickinson. In the 2001 version, the love interest gets a new name, Tess Ocean, and is played by Julia Roberts. The 2001 remake (titled “Ocean’s Eleven”, note the spelling) spawned two sequels: “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean’s Thirteen” in 2007.

51 Texas’ ___ River, formerly part of the U.S./Mexico border : RED

The Red River (sometimes “Red River of the South”) runs for almost 1,400 miles, and for much of its length serves as the border between Texas and Oklahoma. It is a saltwater river, with the salt coming from vast deposits buried in the upper reaches of the river and its tributaries. Almost 3,500 tons of salt flows down the Red River every day.

52 Grocery section : DELI

The word “delicatessen” (or “deli” for short) came into English from the German “Delikatessen”. The Germans borrowed the word from French, in which language “délicatesse” means “delicious things (to eat)”. The term’s ultimate root is “delicatus”, the Latin for “giving pleasure, delightful”.

64 Object of a search in an animated 2003 film : NEMO

“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar. The film was the winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, “Finding Nemo” is the best-selling DVD of all time and, until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest-grossing, G-rated movie at the box office.

65 Preppy clothing brand : J.CREW

J.Crew is a clothing and accessory retailer. Never been there, but I’ve seen the name turn up on credit card statements somehow …

67 Weizman who once headed the Israeli Air Force : EZER

Ezer Weizman was the seventh President of Israel. Earlier in his career, Weizman was a combat pilot in the UK’s Royal Air Force and later rose to Commander of the Israeli Air Force. He also served as Israel’s Minister of Defense before becoming President.

68 Bracket position : SEED

“Bracketology” is a term used to describe the process of predicting which college basketball teams will advance in a bracket in the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament. President Barack Obama famously participates in an ESPN segment called “Baracketology” in which he predicts the outcome of the tournament, game by game.

Down

1 “Westworld” genre, informally : SCI-FI

“Westworld” is a highly entertaining sci-fi thriller that was released in 1973. The film was written and directed by the great Michael Crichton and stars Yul Brynner. Brynner plays a rogue android in a Western-themed, futuristic theme park. Great stuff …

2 Hard nut to crack : ACORN

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.

4 Actor James : SPADER

Actor James Spader’s breakthrough role was the male lead in the 1989 film “Sex, Lies and Videotape”. After building a successful career on the big screen, Spader played some high-profile characters on the small screen in shows like “The Practice”, “Boston Legal” and “The Blacklist”. Spader worked as a yoga instructor while he was starting out his career, and indeed met his ex-wife while working at a yoga studio in the eighties.

5 Part of EGOT : EMMY

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards. Also known as the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam”, there are relatively few individuals who have been so honored. The first five to do so were:

  1. Richard Rodgers in 1962
  2. Helen Hayes in 1977
  3. Rita Moreno in 1977
  4. John Gielgud in 1991
  5. Audrey Hepburn in 1994 (posthumously)

6 Artist Mondrian : PIET

Piet Mondrian was a painter from the Netherlands who also lived and worked in Paris, London and New York. Mondrian’s works ranged in style from Impressionism to Abstract.

9 High-G.D.P. : RICH

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

10 Kind of milk : OAT

Oat milk is one of the alternatives to cow’s milk, and is lactose free. I’m a big fan …

15 Palindromic kitchen item : POT TOP

The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

  • Able was I ere I saw Elba
  • A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
  • Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite terms is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

26 Runs interference for the offense? : ABETS

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

28 Sixth Amendment right : COUNSEL

The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that deals with an individual’s rights when facing criminal prosecution.

29 Flattens, in brief : KOS

Knockout (KO)

38 Actress Scala : GIA

Gia Scala’s most famous role was the mute resistance fighter in “The Guns of Navarone”. Scala was born in Liverpool, England to an Irish mother and Italian father. She lived some years in Italy before moving to New York City. It’s probably good that she played a mute character in “The Guns of Navarone”, as who knows what her accent was like!

40 Big co. in the 2008 financial meltdown : AIG

“AIG” is an initialism used by the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation. After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers starting in 2008, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I’d say …

43 Emcee’s segue : AND NOW …

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

A segue is a transition from one topic to the next. “Segue” is an Italian word that literally means “now follows”. It was first used in musical scores directing the performer to play into the next movement without a break. The oft-used term “segway” is given the same meaning, although the word “segway” doesn’t really exist. It is a misspelling of “segue” that has been popularized by its use as the name of the personal transporter known as a Segway.

56 Hybrid tennis attire : SKORT

The garment called a “skort” is a hybrid between shorts and a skirt.

57 Like items at a Goodwill store : USED

Goodwill Industries is a non-profit organization focused on providing aid to people in the community. Goodwill is funded by thrift stores located right across North America. The organization has its roots in an urban outreach program of the Morgan methodist Chapel in Boston, Massachusetts that started operations in 1902. That program involved the collection of discarded household goods and clothing, and the repair of the items so that they could be distributed to the needy.

60 Some party hires, for short : DJS

Disc jockey (DJ, deejay)

62 Music’s Dr. ___ : DRE

“Dr. Dre” is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fools : SAPS
5 Huger than huge : EPIC
9 Weed killer’s target : ROOT
13 Size in a lingerie shop : C-CUP
14 Modest skirt : MIDI
15 Softly : PIANO
16 College named after a Scottish island : IONA
17 Word before “Streets” and “Girls” in film titles : MEAN …
18 Certain chamber ensemble : OCTET
19 This occurs at least once – and never more than three times – in a year : FRIDAY THE 13TH
22 ___ workings : INNER
23 Cut out : OMIT
24 Where frozen concentrated orange juice and Gatorade were invented: Abbr. : FLA
27 Something to teach a dog : TRICK
30 Memorable launch of April 11, 1970 : APOLLO 13
32 Go ___ : APE
34 Modern lead-in to scrolling : DOOM-
36 It’s a downer : OPIATE
37 Championship memento : RING
39 Like some suspects : USUAL
41 Alternative to an elbow poke : PSST!
42 Part of a parkway : MEDIAN
44 Bygone TV part : DIAL
46 Experiences : HAS
47 2007 heist film sequel : OCEANS 13
49 “To weep is to make less the depth of ___”: Shak. : GRIEF
51 Texas’ ___ River, formerly part of the U.S./Mexico border : RED
52 Grocery section : DELI
54 Convenience stores : MARTS
57 Bad fortune … as suggested by 19-, 30- and 47-Across? : UNLUCKY BREAK
60 Emphatic affirmation : DID SO!
63 Pop-pop’s partner : NANA
64 Object of a search in an animated 2003 film : NEMO
65 Preppy clothing brand : J.CREW
66 Booking.com booking : TRIP
67 Weizman who once headed the Israeli Air Force : EZER
68 Bracket position : SEED
69 TVs : SETS
70 Conserve energy : REST

Down

1 “Westworld” genre, informally : SCI-FI
2 Hard nut to crack : ACORN
3 Parenthetical comment after an ambiguous witticism : PUN INTENDED
4 Actor James : SPADER
5 Part of EGOT : EMMY
6 Artist Mondrian : PIET
7 The U.S. Forest Service owns about 38% of it : IDAHO
8 Films : CINEMA
9 High-G.D.P. : RICH
10 Kind of milk : OAT
11 2000 Beatles album … or its peak position on Billboard : ONE
12 Add (up) : TOT
15 Palindromic kitchen item : POT TOP
20 Droughty : ARID
21 Marked by opposite extremes : BIPOLAR
24 Preserve, in a way : FLASH-FREEZE
25 Countless, informally : LOTSA
26 Runs interference for the offense? : ABETS
28 Sixth Amendment right : COUNSEL
29 Flattens, in brief : KOS
31 Bit of insolence : LIP
32 Tanks and such : ARMOR
33 Slice : PIECE
35 Nasty campaign charges : MUD
38 Actress Scala : GIA
40 Big co. in the 2008 financial meltdown : AIG
43 Emcee’s segue : AND NOW …
45 Life partner? : LIMB
48 Big joints : BLUNTS
50 Breadwinner : EARNER
53 Words of empathy : I CARE
55 Busts : TAMES
56 Hybrid tennis attire : SKORT
57 Like items at a Goodwill store : USED
58 Join : KNIT
59 Talks, talks, talks : YAPS
60 Some party hires, for short : DJS
61 “___ or no ___?” (server’s question) : ICE
62 Music’s Dr. ___ : DRE

17 thoughts on “1203-20 NY Times Crossword 3 Dec 20, Thursday”

  1. 16:21, no errors. I saw the gimmick relatively early, but put a “B” in each “rebus” square, and the app didn’t complain.

  2. 19:33 for once I figured out the theme as I was solving…Marking this day down on my calendar!! Bill, just get better and don’t worry about the late blog posts, please!

  3. 18:20 Same as @Nonny. Saw it needed a 13 but wasn’t sure how that worked in the Downs. Just put in a B and once complete, the app turned them all to 13.

    Seems like this would have been a good one to run on a Friday the 13th.

  4. 20:04. I did this one yesterday and already forgot my comments/impressions. But I do remember it was cute substituting B for 13.

  5. 17:17. Saw the 13 pretty quickly but needed a few minutes to see the B part of it. Getting caught up on these after being on vacation for a week.

    OAT milk? Where exactly are the udders on an oat plant? Maybe the stem or something….

    Best –

  6. No errors.. got the theme but didn’t really prevent any stumper.. just a cute finish..
    Bit of a groaner for 60A DID SO?? And 15D POTTOP??
    Never heard anyone use these terms before but that doesn’t matter if it passes the editor test..

  7. 48D: Blunt = a hollowed-out cigar filled with marijuana.
    Never heard of it but then I’ve never used marijuana.
    Pretty easy for a Thursday.

  8. 16:10, no errors. Two thirds of the way through before I recognized there was a theme. Then, once I got it, was looking for it in the 45D/57A cross.

  9. Mr. Halperin might want to consult an atlas before he inserts Texas rivers. Mexicans and those living near the Rio Grande would be stunned to see the Red river popping up down there!

    1. @Gail …

      The clue refers to an earlier time in history. See the following Wikipedia article:

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

      In particular, the second paragraph says this:

      “The south bank of the Red River formed part of the US–Mexico border from the Adams–Onís Treaty (in force 1821) until the Texas Annexation and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.”

      I seldom bet against the setter and editor in situations like this; they’re really very careful to check their sources … 🙂

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