1212-20 NY Times Crossword 12 Dec 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Sid Sivakumar & Brooke Husic
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 20m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Company with the most U.S. patents per year since 1993 : IBM

Tech giant IBM was founded as the Tabulating Machine Company in 1896. The company changed its name to the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) in 1911 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1916. The name “International Business Machines” (IBM) was given first to the company’s Canadian subsidiary, and then to its South American subsidiary. In 1924, it was decided to adopt the International Business Machines name for the whole company. Good choice …

9 Bench targets, for short : PECS

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

13 Profession in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” : MEATPACKER

Upton Sinclair was a prolific American author, with almost 100 books to his name. Sinclair’s most famous work is probably “The Jungle”, a 1906 novel about the meatpacking industry. Revelations in “The Jungle” contributed to the Meat Inspection Act being passed by Congress a few months after the book was published. Sinclair also wrote “Oil”, published in 1927, which was the basis of the 2007 film “There Will Be Blood” that stars Daniel Day-Lewis.

16 “That said …,” in a text : OTOH

On the other hand (OTOH)

17 Narrow band of storms : SQUALL LINE

A squall line is a line of thunderstorms that sometimes precedes a cold front.

18 Country whose flag stripe colors are exactly the same as Guinea’s except in reverse order : MALI

The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa located south of Algeria. Formerly known as French Sudan, the nation’s most famous city is Timbuktu. Mali is the third-largest producer of gold on the continent, after South Africa and Ghana.

Guinea lies north of Liberia on the west African coast. Like much of Africa, it was for many years a French Colony (as “French Guinea”). Guinea declared independence in 1958, but has suffered from autocratic rule since then, and is now one of the poorest countries in Africa.

20 Longtime college basketball coach Kruger : LON

Lon Kruger is a professional basketball coach from Silver Lake, Kansas, and former player with the Kansas State Wildcats. Kruger spent most of his career coaching college basketball, but did spend three years with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

21 Tempur-Pedic acquisition of 2012 : SEALY

The Sealy Corporation makes mattresses. The company name comes from the city where it started out in 1881, namely Sealy, Texas. Sealy Corporation is now headquartered in Trinity, North Carolina.

22 What doesn’t require a return envelope? : E-FILING

E-file: that’s certainly what I do with my tax return …

29 Focus of some celebrity suits : LIBEL

The word “libel” describes a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation. It comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s, libel was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging association arising in the 1600s. The related concept of slander is defamation in a transient form, such as speech, sign language or gestures.

31 What shows what you’re made of? : DNA PROFILE

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relatives.

41 “Capeesh?” : UNDERSTOOD

“Capeesh?” is a slang term meaning “do you understand?” It comes from the Italian “capisce” meaning “understand”.

53 Symbol for elasticity, in economics : ETA

Elasticity in the world of economics is a mathematical concept. An elastic variable is one that might be varied by changing something else. For example, in some markets one can lower the price of goods and thereby increase the volume of sales. Sometimes variables are inelastic. For example, sales volume might be described as inelastic if changing the price has no effect.

54 Like cars in a junkyard, maybe : RUST-EATEN

Rust is iron oxide. Rust forms when iron oxidizes, reacts with oxygen.

58 Story lines : ARCS

A story arc is a continuing storyline in say a television show that runs through a number of episodes. Story arcs are also found in comics, books, video games, and other forms of media.

64 Host : SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

65 Annual event first held at the Hollywood Athletic Club : EMMYS

The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars from the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name “Emmy” is a softened version of the word “immy”, the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras. The Emmy statuette was designed by television engineer Louis McManus in 1948, and depicts a woman holding up an atom. McManus used his wife as a model for the woman.

66 Org. with X-rays : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

Down

1 Pings : IMS

Even though instant messaging (sending and receiving IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

In the world of computer science, a “ping” is a test message sent over a network between computers to check for a response and to measure the time of that response. We now use the verb “to ping” more generally, meaning to send someone a message, usually a reminder.

3 Representation of the first-born child of “earth mother” and “sky father,” in Hawaiian culture : MAUNA KEA

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.

6 Sch. with the most applications in the U.S. : UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) gets more applications from potential students than any other university in the country. UCLA also has more students enrolled than any other university in the state.

9 Fluffy dog, for short : POM

The Pomeranian is a small breed of dog named for the Pomerania region of Europe (part of eastern Germany and northern Poland). The breed was much loved by the royalty of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian. Due to the notoriety of the monarch’s pet, the Pomeranian was bred for small size, so that during the Queen’s admittedly long reign, the size of the average “pom” was reduced by 50% …

11 Mustard, for one : COLONEL

Colonel Mustard is one of the suspects in the board game “Clue”.

Clue is a board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

12 Rafter neighbor : SHINGLE

Rafters are the beams that slope from the ridge of a roof down to the tops of the supporting walls.

14 Put on hold : TABLE

These “tabling” and “shelving” idioms drive me crazy, because they are often misused. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” and put “on the table” for discussion. I know that language evolves, but I think that it should at least make sense …

15 Diving spot : REEF

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.

21 On the double : STAT

The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.

26 Amy of “Arrival” : ADAMS

Amy Adams is an American actress, although she was actually born in Vicenza, Italy while her father was a US serviceman stationed on an Italian base. My favorite Amy Adams film so far is the outstanding “Julie & Julia” in which she acted alongside Meryl Streep. I highly recommend this truly delightful movie.

2016’s “Arrival” is a very entertaining sci-fi film that is based on a short story by Ted Chiang called “Story of Your Life”. Amy Adams plays a linguist who is called upon to communicate with aliens who have arrived on Earth.

28 Computer shortcuts : MACROS

A macroinstruction (usually shortened to “macro”) is a set of instructions in a computer program that are abbreviated to one simple command.

32 Hybrid fruit also known as an aprium : PLUOT

Hybrids of plums and apricots are known as plumcots and apriplums. The later generation hybrid known as a pluot is ¼ apricot and ¾ plum, in terms of genetics. An aprium is ¼ plum and ¾ apricot.

33 Musical piece with a recurring theme : RONDO

A rondo was often chosen by composers in the classical period for the last movement of a sonata (or symphony or concerto, for that matter). In rondo form there is a principal theme that alternates with a contrasting theme(s). So, the original theme anchors the whole piece in between secondary digressions.

38 Tapenade discard : OLIVE PIT

The dish known as tapenade is traditionally made from olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. The name comes from the Provençal word for capers, i.e. “tapenas”.

42 N as in Nissan? : NEUTRAL

PRNDL … that would be Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low. The gear shift for an automatic transmission is sometimes known familiarly as the “prindle” stick, from the abbreviation PRNDL.

In the US, the Big Three automotive manufacturers are General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. The equivalent Big Three in Germany are Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and in Japan are Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

43 Total meltdown : DEBACLE

“Debacle” means “disaster”, and is a French word with the same meaning as in English. In French, the term originally was used for the breaking up of ice on the surface of a river.

48 Siberian native : TATAR

Tatars (sometimes “Tartars”) are an ethnic group of people who mainly reside in Russia (a population of about 5 1/2 million). One of the more famous people with a Tatar heritage was Hollywood actor Charles Bronson. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky.

Siberia is a vast area in Eurasia and Northern Asia. The region’s industrial development started with the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway from 1891 to 1916, which linked Siberia to Russia in the west.

56 Part of San Francisco’s Muni system : TRAM

SF Muni is the San Francisco Municipal Railway, the name of the public transportation system in the city and surrounding area. SF Muni includes buses, light rail and, most famously, the city’s cable cars.

61 Last word of “America the Beautiful” : SEA

When she was 33 years old, Katharine Lee Bates took a train ride from Massachusetts to Colorado Springs. She was so inspired by many of the beautiful sights she saw on her journey that she wrote a poem she called “Pikes Peak”. Upon publication the poem became quite a hit, and several musical works were adapted to the words of the poem, the most popular being a hymn tune composed by Samuel Ward. Bates’s poem and Ward’s tune were published together for the first time in 1910, and given the title “America the Beautiful”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Company with the most U.S. patents per year since 1993 : IBM
4 “Quiet, you!” : SHUSH!
9 Bench targets, for short : PECS
13 Profession in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” : MEATPACKER
16 “That said …,” in a text : OTOH
17 Narrow band of storms : SQUALL LINE
18 Country whose flag stripe colors are exactly the same as Guinea’s except in reverse order : MALI
19 Tilt : UNBALANCE
20 Longtime college basketball coach Kruger : LON
21 Tempur-Pedic acquisition of 2012 : SEALY
22 What doesn’t require a return envelope? : E-FILING
25 Gets ready to throw : TAKES AIM
29 Focus of some celebrity suits : LIBEL
30 Suffix with elector : ATE
31 What shows what you’re made of? : DNA PROFILE
34 “Whew!” : THAT WAS CLOSE
37 They cover all the bases : HOME-RUN TROTS
41 “Capeesh?” : UNDERSTOOD
44 Drink, in a way : LAP
45 Demands : NEEDS
46 Rhythmic pattern in jazz : STOP-TIME
49 I, for one : SUBJECT
52 Having overhangs, say : EAVED
53 Symbol for elasticity, in economics : ETA
54 Like cars in a junkyard, maybe : RUST-EATEN
58 Story lines : ARCS
60 Luxury wear for showgoers : OPERA CAPES
62 Fairy ___ : TALE
63 Order in the court : PLEASE RISE
64 Host : SLEW
65 Annual event first held at the Hollywood Athletic Club : EMMYS
66 Org. with X-rays : TSA

Down

1 Pings : IMS
2 Pass on after passing on : BEQUEATH
3 Representation of the first-born child of “earth mother” and “sky father,” in Hawaiian culture : MAUNA KEA
4 Flares : SPLAYS
5 Part of a campus map : HALL
6 Sch. with the most applications in the U.S. : UCLA
7 Foundation location : SKIN
8 Thusly : HENCE
9 Fluffy dog, for short : POM
10 Latin for “and elsewhere” : ET ALIBI
11 Mustard, for one : COLONEL
12 Rafter neighbor : SHINGLE
14 Put on hold : TABLE
15 Diving spot : REEF
21 On the double : STAT
23 “It’s game over for me” : I LOST
24 Die-hard fan no matter what, in slang : LIFER
26 Amy of “Arrival” : ADAMS
27 Alaska, often : INSET
28 Computer shortcuts : MACROS
32 Hybrid fruit also known as an aprium : PLUOT
33 Musical piece with a recurring theme : RONDO
35 Jazzy Jeff, per a 1988 3x platinum album title : THE DJ
36 Not so great : WORSE
38 Tapenade discard : OLIVE PIT
39 State of being broken : TAMENESS
40 Flew : SPED
41 Wins a race against, perhaps : UNSEATS
42 N as in Nissan? : NEUTRAL
43 Total meltdown : DEBACLE
47 Heads out, slangily : PEACES
48 Siberian native : TATAR
50 Bumper ___ : CROP
51 Mathematical suffix : -TUPLE
55 Feel : SEEM
56 Part of San Francisco’s Muni system : TRAM
57 A snap : EASY
59 Hem, e.g. : SEW
61 Last word of “America the Beautiful” : SEA

16 thoughts on “1212-20 NY Times Crossword 12 Dec 20, Saturday”

  1. 41:48 With a couple lookups. Back down to earth after a speedy Friday. Had the most of the left half and parts of the right done in about 20 minutes, then nothing. Even slept on it for a while. Finally cracked the NE with LIFER for 24D, and needed a lookup for the SE. Part of the issue was having bumper CARS vs. CROP. Unfamiliar with a PLUOT. Don’t understand PEACES.

    I read the WORDPLAY write-up and it seems that I erred in much the same fashion though I had trouble recovering.

    1. Back in the late ’60s it was considered cool to make a “V” sign with your fingers and say ‘peace’ when leaving or ‘Heading out’. This morphed into the term ‘peace-ing out’. Apparently, this has morphed into ‘PEACES’. I have never heard it used this way.

  2. 19:23, no errors. Didn’t seem too difficult, but I think it was one of those that might have seemed a lot harder on another day.

  3. 29:53. Good puzzle with some tough cluing. I had COLOred before COLONEL for “Mustard, for one”. When I saw the real answer, I’ll admit I chuckled. “N as in Nissan” for NEUTRAL might be the runner up of the day.

    I knew I was in for a good solve when I got IBM, IMS and BEQUEATH right off the bat. There’s something psychological about struggling in the NW, usually the first clues you look at.

    Best –

  4. 49:40…combine my usual lack of crossword expertise with my insistence on using ESPYS vs EMMYS and voila! Last place!! But I’ll happily take a Saturday finish 🙂

  5. I did fine until I hit that SE corner with TATAR and TAMENESS and RUSTEATEN.. I had TAMELESS, so I couldn’t get RUSTEATEN .. I had RUSTEARED, RUSTEAREL, ..
    So TAMENESS was my downfall. I looked it up.. the definition doesn’t sound like you’re in a state of being broken. But….. I guess if I would have seen RUSTEATEN I would have left it as TAMENESS and chalked up another grid with uncertainty about some choices by the crossword creator. I would be interested to know how these kind of words are treated in a tournament style format…

    1. My justification for this associates TAMENESS with the degree to which one would tame, or ‘break’, a horse.

  6. Had UNDERSTAND/MACRAS/PLUNT so no cigar. Southeast was trouble for a time as I stubbornly held onto RUSTEDOUT until …EATEN revealed itself. Never heard of a pluot.

  7. 15:27, no errors, pretty fast for a Saturday for me. Remembering that tapenade was made of olives finally broke the SE for me, as it hinted the “RISE” part of PLEASERISE. Then I knew that having “BART” for 56D was wrong (having lived in SF, I knew that BART is not part of MUNI, but they do share some stations, so I went with it). Everything else fell into place. TAMENESSS came a little easier because yesterday’s puzzle had a similar answer (UNTAMED for “Feral”), and I did yesterday’s today, immediately before this one.

  8. 36:31, no errors. Didn’t think I was going to finish today. Several pitfalls. 11D desperately tried COLLARD/COLONIC before COLONEL. 42D CAPITAL/INITIAL before NEUTRAL. 54A RUSTED OUT before RUST EATEN. Happy for a clean finish.

  9. 1:19:20 no errors…a two setter Saturday NYT puzzle that I finished with no errors is a big win for me even with the time.
    Stay safe.😀
    Go Ravens 🙏

  10. My local paper, The Denver Post — always rich in errors — reprinted this puzzle today (Jan. 18) without the bottom line in the answer grid! (Wish I could attach a photo of it.) This caused some consternation as I briefly scanned the puzzle and its clues for some hidden meaning behind this farcical ineptitude.

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