1211-20 NY Times Crossword 11 Dec 20, Friday

Constructed by: Ari Richter
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 8m 45s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Big name in razors : ATRA

Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

14 One of two or three in a typical orchestra : OBOE

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

15 Can you believe it? : TENET

A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “he holds”.

22 It requires some assembly : QUORUM

“Plenum” (plural “plena”) is the name given to a complete legislative assembly under the parliamentary system, with the associated term of “quorum” being the minimum number of members required to be present to conduct business.

26 Actress Rosie of “Do the Right Thing” : PEREZ

Rosie Perez is an American actress born in New York City of Puerto Rican descent. As well as pursuing her acting career, Perez is an activist promoting Puerto Rican rights, and was arrested in 2000 at a rally to protest US Navy weapons-training off the coast of Puerto Rico.

“Do the Right Thing” is a Spike Lee movie that was released in 1989. Much of the action in the film is centered on a local pizzeria called “Sal’s” owned by Italian-American Salvatore Frangione (played by Danny Aiello).

29 Shrubland sight : HEATH

It is a commonly held belief that heather and erica are the same thing botanically, but in fact, erica is another name for a different species called “heath”.

35 A home? : OAKLAND

The Oakland Athletics (OAK) baseball franchise was founded back in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics. The team became the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 and moved to Oakland in 1968. Today, the Athletics are usually referred to as “the A’s”.

39 Some early arrivals : PREEMIES

A “preemie” (sometimes “premie”) is a preterm or premature birth.

41 “Let’s go!,” in Durango : VAMOS!

Durango is one of the 31 states of Mexico. Durango is landlocked, and is located in the northwest of the country.

44 Ham it up : EMOTE

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

57 Where Jackie Robinson played college ball : UCLA

The great Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in baseball’s Major League. When Robinson made his first MLB appearance, for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he did so in front of over 26,000 spectators. Well over half the crowd that day were African-Americans, there to witness the event. Major League Baseball universally retired Robinson’s number 42 in 1997. However, on the annual Jackie Robinson Day, all MLB players on all teams wear #42 in his honor.

58 Northwest county of Pennsylvania : ERIE

There are three Erie Counties in the US:

  • Erie County, New York (with Buffalo as the county seat)
  • Erie County, Ohio (with Sandusky as the county seat)
  • Erie County, Pennsylvania (with Erie as the county seat)

59 Fetal positions? : UTERI

“Uterus” (plural “uteri”) is the Latin word for “womb”.

60 Deck wood : TEAK

Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family that is commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia. Teak’s tight grain and high oil content make it very suitable for constructing outdoor furniture, where weather resistance is valued. For the same reason, teak is the wood of choice for wooden decks on boats.

63 Point on a vane in Spain : ESTE

“Este” (east) is a “dirección” (direction), in Spanish.

Down

1 Pulitzer-winning writer Maureen : DOWD

Maureen Dowd is a celebrated columnist for “The New York Times” as well as a best-selling author. Dowd won a Pulitzer for her columns about the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

3 Phenomenon discovered by Apollo astronauts : MOONQUAKE

The Apollo program is very much associated with President Kennedy, as he gave NASA the challenge to land men on the moon by the end of the sixties. However, the Apollo program was conceived during the Eisenhower administration as a follow-up to Project Mercury that put the first Americans in space.

4 Terrarium inhabitant, maybe : PET TURTLE

A terrarium (plural “terraria”) is a contained environment used to house land animals. The term “terrarium“ comes from the equivalent “aquarium”, a tank for holding mainly fish. In general, a contained environment for keeping live animals or plants is known as a “vivarium”

7 Feral : UNTAMED

“Feral”, meaning “existing in a wild or untamed state”, comes from the Latin word “fera” meaning “wild animal”.

8 “Feel the ___” (onetime political slogan) : BERN

“Feel the Bern” is perhaps the best-known of several slogans used by the Bernie Sanders campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

13 On edge : 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.

19 Fixtures used for pies : PIZZA OVENS

Pizza was invented in Naples, where it has a long tradition that goes back to ancient Rome. During an 1889 visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a special pizza that was created with toppings designed to mimic the colors of the Italian flag. The ingredients of tomato (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green) can still be found together on menus today, on a pie usually named Pizza Margherita after the queen. I do love basil on my pizza …

21 Penguin’s home : GOTHAM CITY

“Gotham” had been a nickname for New York City long before it was picked up by comic books as a setting for Batman tales. The term was coined by Washington Irving in a periodical that he published in 1807. Irving was lampooning New York politics and culture, and lifted the name from the village of Gotham in Nottinghamshire, England. The original Gotham was, according to folklore, inhabited by fools.

The Penguin is an enemy of Batman in the comic book series and its spin-offs. The villain first appeared in 1941 and was inspired by the advertising mascot of Kool cigarettes at that time, a penguin with a hat and cane. Famously, the Penguin was played by Burgess Meredith in “Batman” TV series in the 1960s. The character was also portrayed by Danny DeVito in the 1992 film “Batman Returns”.

27 Big seller of outdoor equipment : REI

REI is a sporting goods store, with the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to climb Mount Everest.

33 Set of awards won by John Legend and Rita Moreno, for short : EGOT

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards.

“John Legend” is the stage name of singer-songwriter John Stephens. Sorry … I’ve never heard of him outside of the occasional crossword …

Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress Rita Moreno is one of the few performers to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony. Moreno got her big break, and won her Oscar, for playing Anita in the 1961 screen adaptation of “West Side Story”. And, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2004.

40 Name on an orange Monopoly property : ST JAMES

The street names in the original US version of the board game Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.

43 French printmaker ___ Daumier : HONORE

Honore Daumier was a French caricaturist, and also a respected painter, sculptor and printmaker.

45 Resort near White River National Forest : ASPEN

Aspen, Colorado used to be known as Ute City, with the name change taking place in 1880. Like many communities in the area, Aspen was a mining town, and in 1891 and 1892 it was at the center of the highest production of silver in the US. Nowadays, it’s all about skiing and movie stars.

46 What two X’s make : SCORE

Our verb “to score” meaning “to tally”, comes from the Old Norse “skor”, which is a “mark, notch”. It is likely that items such as livestock were counted by placing a notch in a stick for each set of twenty, hence our use of the noun “score” to mean “twenty”.

47 ___ Ziff, antagonist on “The Simpsons” : ARTIE

On the animated television show “The Simpsons”, there is a recurring character named Artie Ziff. Artie is an Internet entrepreneur who is infatuated with his former classmate Marge Simpson. Ziff is voiced by comic actor Jon Lovitz.

48 Like unsuccessful chess players : MATED

In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be “in check”. If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in “checkmate” and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce “check!”) so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn’t occur.

50 Actor Elba : IDRIS

English actor Idris Elba plays the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and played the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally appears as a disk jockey using the name “DJ Big Driis”.

52 Pal : CHUM

A chum is a friend. The term “chum” originated in the late 1600s as an alternative spelling for “cham”. In turn, “cham” was a shortened form of “chambermate”, a roommate at university.

53 Native of Rwanda : HUTU

Rwanda is a sovereign nation in central Africa that is populated by three groups: the Hutu, Tutsi (aka “Watusi”) and Twa. The Tutsi are the second largest population of people in Rwanda, with the Hutu being the largest group. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.

55 Like bot accounts on social media : FAKE

A bot is a computer program that is designed to imitate human behavior. It might crawl around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses. It might also act as a competitor in a computer game.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Still on the line, say : DAMP
5 Slights : SNUBS
10 Big name in razors : ATRA
14 One of two or three in a typical orchestra : OBOE
15 Can you believe it? : TENET
16 Stuff in a muffin : BRAN
17 Informal cheer : WOOT!
18 Something about which you might say “It’s good!” : EXTRA POINT
20 “Be smart about this, now …” : DON’T GET ANY IDEAS …
22 It requires some assembly : QUORUM
23 Spiced up : ZESTY
24 Growth ___ : SPURT
26 Actress Rosie of “Do the Right Thing” : PEREZ
29 Shrubland sight : HEATH
30 Completely off course : DERAILED
35 A home? : OAKLAND
38 Without stopping : IN ONE GO
39 Some early arrivals : PREEMIES
41 “Let’s go!,” in Durango : VAMOS!
42 Like some masks : CLOTH
44 Ham it up : EMOTE
45 “Same here” : AS AM I
49 Take part : JOIN IN
51 Like some perfume ads : SCRATCH AND SNIFF
56 Crack jokes, perhaps? : POTTY HUMOR
57 Where Jackie Robinson played college ball : UCLA
58 Northwest county of Pennsylvania : ERIE
59 Fetal positions? : UTERI
60 Deck wood : TEAK
61 One might be pressing : NEED
62 Ponders : MUSES
63 Point on a vane in Spain : ESTE

Down

1 Pulitzer-winning writer Maureen : DOWD
2 Peek-___ : A-BOO
3 Phenomenon discovered by Apollo astronauts : MOONQUAKE
4 Terrarium inhabitant, maybe : PET TURTLE
5 Take turns, say : STEER
6 On deck : NEXT UP
7 Feral : UNTAMED
8 “Feel the ___” (onetime political slogan) : BERN
9 Command that one shouldn’t follow : STAY!
10 Home : ABODE
11 Goes for it : TRIES
12 Rushed : RAN AT
13 On edge : ANTSY
19 Fixtures used for pies : PIZZA OVENS
21 Penguin’s home : GOTHAM CITY
24 Store : SHOP
25 ___ drop (British sweet treat) : PEAR
27 Big seller of outdoor equipment : REI
28 Suffix with northwest : -ERN
31 Shortly : IN A MINUTE
32 Cool summer treats : LEMON ICES
33 Set of awards won by John Legend and Rita Moreno, for short : EGOT
34 Measurement that might be made in milligrams : DOSE
36 Zip : NIL
37 “To God,” in hymns : DEO
40 Name on an orange Monopoly property : ST JAMES
43 French printmaker ___ Daumier : HONORE
45 Resort near White River National Forest : ASPEN
46 What two X’s make : SCORE
47 ___ Ziff, antagonist on “The Simpsons” : ARTIE
48 Like unsuccessful chess players : MATED
50 Actor Elba : IDRIS
52 Pal : CHUM
53 Native of Rwanda : HUTU
54 Unchanged, as on an earnings report : FLAT
55 Like bot accounts on social media : FAKE

22 thoughts on “1211-20 NY Times Crossword 11 Dec 20, Friday”

  1. 14:41 Record Friday time for me even with a few early miscues. PITTSBURGH (home of the NHL Penguins – guess I missed the apostrophe S in the clue) vs GOTHAMCITY and LEMONADES vs LEMONICES. Unfamiliar with WOOT

  2. 24:15. I was happy with that time until I saw everyone else’s time. Now I just need to look for excuses. Good cluing in this one.

    I read 5A as “Sights” rather than “Slights” for too long of a time.

    Thought of Antarctica and Pittsburgh for penguin’s home, but it took me forever to think of GOTHAM.

    Lastly, I guessed ARnIE before ARTIE which led to PONTY HUMOR whatever that is.

    Best –

  3. 40:01 “Antarctica” was too obvious for 21D but I mistakenly used it anyway. That and not knowing “preemies” had 2 “e”s set the whole west side into meltdown. Was not familiar with “EGOT“, so even after getting it with the acrosses I still questioned my solution. Tough one for me, but any Friday finish is a good finish.

  4. @Anon Mike…in one try or in one go…get it?
    52:45 no errors…this one was full of very misleading clues and not much fun for me.
    Stay safe.😀
    Go Ravens 🙏

  5. 35 across — A home??

    Should have been A’s home?

    They are the Oakland Athletics or just the A’s as we refer to them here

    Not Oakland Athletic (singular)

  6. If the setter needs to use obscure words like WOOT he/she needs to rework that section.
    Also A home is really poor. I agree 100% with Catfish.

  7. Looked up w00t and apparently it’s an online expression of happiness. Spelled with two zeros. Had trouble understanding 1A DAMP, until realizing it was a clothesline.

  8. I’m very sure that I heard the exclamation “Woot, woot!” many (as in, at least 50 or 60) years ago, long before it became an Internet thing spelled “w00t”, and this site seems to justify my confidence:

    https://7esl.com/woot-woot/

    I would have said it was either a British thing (as, apparently, it was) or an upper-crust college thing. (However, I have no idea where I heard it … 😳.)

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