1205-20 NY Times Crossword 5 Dec 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 18m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17 FedEx Office alternative : UPS STORE

The franchised UPS Stores make up the world’s largest network of retail shipping, printing and business service centers. The first such outlets were branded and owned by Mail Boxes Etc., starting in 1980. UPS acquired Mail Boxes Etc. in 2001, and introduced the UPS Store brand in 2003. I’m a big fan …

19 The “Black Paintings” and others : GOYAS

The “Black Paintings” are a series of fourteen paintings by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. Each is a relatively depressing and dark work, hence the name, and come from the latter part of Goya’s life. The paintings were actually completed as murals on the walls of the artist’s own house, but were then cut from the walls and attached to canvas.

20 Temple offering: Abbr. : DEG

Temple University in Philadelphia was founded in 1888, and started out as a night school offering classes to people of limited means who had to hold down jobs during the day. These students earned themselves the nickname of “night owls”, leading to the use of “Owls” for Temple’s athletic teams.

23 Big biceps, slangily : GUNS

The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.

26 Spot for a slicer : 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”.

27 Without a script, briefly : OTC

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs don’t need a prescription (Rx).

“Scrip” is an informal term meaning “prescription”.

30 Letters for a proof reader : QED

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

35 Things kept in bottles : GENIES

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

38 Dr. Jekyll creator’s inits. : RLS

Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) was a Scottish author. He was most famous for his novels “Treasure Island”, “Kidnapped” and “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story, including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

39 Tenor part in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” : ERNESTO

Gaetano Donizetti was a composer from the Lombardy region of Italy. He is best known for his operas, of which he wrote almost seventy. The most famous of these is probably “Lucia di Lammermoor” (1835).

40 “There is no ___ higher than truth”: Gandhi : GOD

Mohandas Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader in India in the first part of the 20th century, as the country sought independence from Britain. He was also referred to as “Mahatma”, meaning “great soul”. His remarkable philosophy of nonviolence and living a modest lifestyle was a great inspiration to the Indian people. India (and Pakistan) was granted independence in 1947. Tragically, Gandhi was assassinated the very next year.

45 Ava DuVernay film subject : SELMA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

46 Beverage brand with a lizard logo : SOBE

The brand name “SoBe” can be found on teas, juices and bottled waters. SoBe is an abbreviation for South Beach, the neighborhood in Miami Beach, Florida.

47 Stuff in a den, once : OPIUM

The opium poppy produces a latex that can be dried, producing the drug known as opium. The drug has been used since ancient times, and was usually absorbed by smoking it. The latex contains several alkaloids that have a profound effect on human metabolism, including morphine and codeine. Opium’s morphine is particularly significant for the illegal drug trade. The morphine can be extracted from the opium and converted to heroin.

49 Skater Babilonia : TAI

Tai Babilonia is a retired figure skater, long time partner of Randy Gardner. The pair started skating together when she was just eight years old, and stayed together until she was 49, retiring in 2008. Babilonia was engaged to the comedian David Brenner, but he passed away in 2014 before they could marry.

51 One getting in on the hustle? : DANCER

The hustle is a genre of disco dance that was popular in the seventies. The dance form really took off when Van McCoy released a song called “The Hustle”, to which an accompanying line dance became a big craze in 1975.

57 Beaks : SNOOTS

“Snoot” is a variant of “snout”, and is a word that originated in Scotland. The idea is that someone who is snooty, or “snouty”, tends to look down his or her nose at the rest of the world.

Down

1 Comics character with a pug nose : SLUGGO

8-year-old Nancy Ritz has been in her own comic strip “Nancy” since 1938. Since 1938, her best friend has been the lazy Sluggo Smith. Nancy is actually a little older than she looks. She first appeared in 1933 when the same strip was called “Fritzi Ritz”. Within a few years, Nancy took over as the main character and so the strip was renamed to “Nancy”.

4 Features of Hopi lands in Arizona : MESAS

Many members of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.

6 Start of some thoughts shared on social media : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

11 Occasion for smoking : BARBEQUE

Believe it or not, “barbeque” is an allowed variant spelling for “barbecue”.

It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

12 Amazon and others : ETAILERS

Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the world. It is also the largest Internet company in the world by revenue. The company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, in his garage in Bellevue, Washington. I’m a big fan of Amazon’s approach to customer service …

13 Reason not to go swimming in the ocean : RED TIDE

An algal bloom that takes on a red or brown color is commonly referred to as “red tide”. The algae causing the bloom are phytoplankton containing photosynthetic pigments that give the red/brown color. Some red tides are extremely harmful to marine life as there can be a depletion of oxygen dissolved in the seawater. The algae can also contain natural toxins that can kill those creatures that eat it.

21 Long-running fictional hero who made his debut in “Call for the Dead” : GEORGE SMILEY

George Smiley is the protagonist in many of John le Carré’s spy novels.

25 Anti-insomnia drug : LUNESTA

Lunesta is a Sunovion-owned brand name for the hypnotic drug eszopiclone that can be prescribed for insomnia.

28 Dessert you might be “liable” to eat? : TORTE

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

“Tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. In common law, a tort is a civil wrong that results in the injured party suffering loss or harm, and the injuring party having a legal liability. Tort law differs from criminal law in that torts may result from negligence and not just intentional actions. Also, tort lawsuits may be decided on a preponderance of evidence, without the need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

31 Calendar abbr. : MAR

March is the third month in our Gregorian calendar. It takes its name from the Latin “Martius”, which was the first month of the earliest Roman calendar. In turn, Martius was named for Mars, the Roman god of war.

36 Things scanned nowadays : QR CODES

A QR Code (for “Quick Response Code”) is a two-dimensional barcode that is favored over UPC barcodes as it can read more quickly and can store much more information. The QR Code comprises black squares within a square grid on a white background.

41 One found among the reeds : OBOIST

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

42 Bathymetry measurements : DEPTHS

Bathymetry is the measurement of depth in a body of water. The term “bathymetry” comes from the Greek “bathus” meaning “deep” and “metron” meaning “measure”.

52 $200 Monopoly properties, for short : RRS

The four railroad (RR) properties in the Monopoly board game are:

  • Reading Railroad
  • Pennsylvania Railroad
  • B&O Railroad
  • Short Line

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Snack product once owned by General Mills : SLIM JIM
8 Like many a yoga master : LIMBER
14 Words from one preparing to knock back a few : LINE ‘EM UP!
16 Just think of something : IDEATE
17 FedEx Office alternative : UPS STORE
18 Four of a kind, say : TETRAD
19 The “Black Paintings” and others : GOYAS
20 Temple offering: Abbr. : DEG
22 Checkout choice : DEBIT
23 Big biceps, slangily : GUNS
24 Very fine example : JEWEL
26 Spot for a slicer : DELI
27 Without a script, briefly : OTC
28 Get pooped : TIRE OUT
30 Letters for a proof reader : QED
31 Woman of the world? : MOTHER NATURE
33 Cherished by : DEAR TO
35 Things kept in bottles : GENIES
36 Squiggly musical symbols : QUARTER RESTS
38 Dr. Jekyll creator’s inits. : RLS
39 Tenor part in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” : ERNESTO
40 “There is no ___ higher than truth”: Gandhi : GOD
43 Nickname for a man whose name means “merciful” : CLEM
45 Ava DuVernay film subject : SELMA
46 Beverage brand with a lizard logo : SOBE
47 Stuff in a den, once : OPIUM
49 Skater Babilonia : TAI
50 Dive : SWOOP
51 One getting in on the hustle? : DANCER
53 “That was nice!” : I LIKED IT!
55 Choice word : EITHER
56 Diabolical : DEVILISH
57 Beaks : SNOOTS
58 “How can I say no?!” : YES, LETS!

Down

1 Comics character with a pug nose : SLUGGO
2 Golfer’s near miss : LIP OUT
3 Together : IN SYNC
4 Features of Hopi lands in Arizona : MESAS
5 Dashes (off) : JETS
6 Start of some thoughts shared on social media : IMO
7 Informal name for Vespa mandarinia : MURDER HORNET
8 Blasted : LIT
9 Tagged, for short : IDED
10 Handed (out) : METED
11 Occasion for smoking : BARBEQUE
12 Amazon and others : ETAILERS
13 Reason not to go swimming in the ocean : RED TIDE
15 Itsy-bitsy : PEEWEE
21 Long-running fictional hero who made his debut in “Call for the Dead” : GEORGE SMILEY
24 Heebie-jeebies : JITTERS
25 Anti-insomnia drug : LUNESTA
28 Dessert you might be “liable” to eat? : TORTE
29 Relative of molto, in music : TANTO
31 Calendar abbr. : MAR
32 Quaint agreement : ‘TIS
33 Slight headache, maybe : DULL PAIN
34 Gradually become familiar with : EASE INTO
36 Things scanned nowadays : QR CODES
37 Put down again, as tiles : RELAID
40 It’s a treat : GOODIE
41 One found among the reeds : OBOIST
42 Bathymetry measurements : DEPTHS
44 A lot : MUCHO
46 Peachy : SWELL
48 Cross : MEET
50 Makes tracks, in a way : SKIS
52 $200 Monopoly properties, for short : RRS
54 “___ known rivers” (start of a Langston Hughes poem) : I’VE

18 thoughts on “1205-20 NY Times Crossword 5 Dec 20, Saturday”

  1. 27:20 Got all the corners before I could tackle the center. For a long while I was “stung” thinking of a Vespa as a scooter. Once on the right track that really helped fill in the center. The big nest of HORNETS was found about 100 miles N of here. It gave me the WILLIES before I got the JITTERS.

    @Bill – glad you are on the mend. Take it easy

  2. Dear Bill,

    I hope you will be feeling back to normal very, very soon.

    All the best from Canada.

    Beryl Corber

  3. 30:38. Great puzzle. A+ cluing. Clue for TORTE wins the day. First go through I had nothing filled in. Finally got SOBE as the first letters I filled in.

    Did this 9 days late. It’s the last of my vacation make up puzzles.

    Best –

  4. Did ok for a saturday. Got hung up in NE corner.. didn’t see the BARBEQUE because I thought 30A was DEL and didn’t rethink it and 22A got me again as I didn’t see DEBIT.. that one has got me more than once.
    The MURDER in front of HORNET had me going for a while but when JETS fell I had an AHA moment..

  5. 18:30, one careless error (I was originally thinking TYE Babilonia, and forgot to go back and change the E to an I). Got stuck a little in the SE. Getting SELMA got me to RELAID, which got me DEVILISH, which finally broke the corner. Agree, the 28D clue for TORTE made me chuckle.

  6. No errors, but took forever to get started. Finally entered RLS and
    GUNS to gain some traction. I suspected SLUGGO from the start so the G in GUNS gave me confirmation. Branched out from there to finish.
    The cluing really kept me off-balance and, like Jeff, gave it a high grade. Being an ex bandlander gave me help with the variety of musical terms as well.

  7. 27A: without a script – I got the right answer – o.t.c. – but I was interpreting the clue as another version of AdLib, Off The Cuff. It wasn’t until I read the Answer Explanations that I realized I was wrong (but, lol, right). Thanks. Made for a good chuckle.

  8. I almost gave up on this one, I must confess but finally was able to finish it with no errors or help of any kind in 59 minutes flat.

  9. 1:00:50 no errors…I didn’t get 20A until I read Bills explanation.
    Clues like 39A will always be crosses for me as the only thing I know about opera is it’s loud and long although I do like the JD Wentworth commmercials.
    Stay safe.😀
    Go Ravens 🙏

  10. 20:58, no errors. Fell into the same 7D trap, thinking Vespa = scooter. The presence of Asian Giant Hornets (aka MURDER HORNETS) was first discovered in the Vancouver, BC area about 2 years ago. Believed to have immigrated there via shipping containers from Asia. A separate colony was discovered in northwestern Washington State. An extensive trapping and extermination effort is underway to eliminate this invasion. Their greatest threat is that they will exterminate an entire hive of domestic Honey Bees in a matter of hours; beheading the Honey Bees, and using the nest to raise their own offspring. Imagine a Yellow Jacket that is 2″ long.

  11. I was so depressed by the Seahawks loss to the Rams that I forgot to finish! Anyway, the NE gave me problems, starting with RIPTIDE for REDTIDE. I also thought I knew or even had read all of Smiley’s appearances, but don’t remember “A Call for the Dead”.

    I read somewhere that barbeque came from French “beard” to “tail”.

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