1219-20 NY Times Crossword 19 Dec 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Caitlin Reid & Andrew J. Ries
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Williams who was one of the original Temptations : OTIS

The Temptations singing group used to be known as the Elgins, and was formed in 1960 in Detroit. The group is still performing today, although only the second tenor, Otis Williams, was part of the original quintet. The Temptations were very much associated with their “sister group”, the Supremes.

9 Ones holing up in closets? : MOTHS

The larvae of several types of moth are noted for eating fabrics made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton. Many people store woolens in cedar chests believing that the scent of the wood prevents a moth infestation. In fact, the only known effective repellent is the naphthalene found in mothballs, which might be a health concern for humans. One way to kill moth larvae in fabric is to freeze the garment for several days at a temperature below -8 degrees centigrade.

In Old French a “clos” was an enclosure, with the diminutive form “closet” describing a small enclosure or private room. Over time this evolved into our modern usage of “closet”, describing a cabinet or cupboard.

14 Where the dish oysters Rockefeller was invented, informally : NOLA

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana has the nickname “The Big Easy”. This name might come from the early 1900s when musicians found it relatively “easy” to find work there. The city is also known by the acronym NOLA, standing for New Orleans (NO), Louisiana (LA).

22 Nutritional guideline, in brief : RDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

23 Parting word : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

30 Jewelry stores? : TREASURE TROVES

The term “treasure trove” comes from the Anglo-French “tresor trové “ meaning “found treasure”.

35 Common material for a jacket : ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In the US, the convention is to write the title on the spine of a book from top-to-bottom. In most of Europe, the convention is to write the title from bottom-to-top. We have a lot of books in the “library” in our house from both sides of the Atlantic, and so there is much moving of the head from left to right as we glance along our bookshelves.

44 Callisto’s animal form, in Greek mythology : BEAR

In Greek mythology, Callisto was a nymph who was turned into a bear after being seduced by Zeus. As a bear, she was set into the night sky as the constellation Ursa Major (the Big Bear).

50 Creature whose name comes from the Tswana language : TSETSE

Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as “fly”. Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite which is passed onto humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the insect, then the tsetse fly is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.

51 Bruce Lee in “Fists of Fury,” for example : ONE-MAN ARMY

Bruce Lee was born not far from here, in San Francisco, although he was raised in Hong Kong, returning to the US to attend college. Sadly, Bruce Lee died when he was only 32 years old, due to cerebral edema (a swelling of the brain) attributed to adverse reactions to the pain killing drug Equagesic.

54 Parting word : TA-TA

An Englishman might say “ta-ta” or “cheerio” instead of “goodbye”. Well, supposedly so …

57 Unit of magnetic flux density : TESLA

The Tesla unit measures the strength of a magnetic field, and is named after the physicist Nikola Tesla. Tesla was born in Serbia, but later moved to the US. His work on mechanical and electrical engineering was crucial to the development of alternating current technology, the same technology that is used by equipment at the backbone of modern power generation and distribution systems.

59 Prohibition Bureau name : NESS

Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. When Ness took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, for being on the take. Ness handpicked 50 prohibition agents who he thought he could rely on, later reducing the group to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That group of 11 earned the nickname “The Untouchables”, the agents who couldn’t be bought.

Down

1 How beans or cheese are often served in Britain : ON TOAST

Welsh rarebit is a delicious dish made using a cheese-flavored sauce served over toast. It may be that the name Welsh rarebit was originally a bit of an insult to the folks in Wales. The dish was called Welsh “rabbit” back in the 1700s. In those day’s rabbit was the poor man’s meat, and the implication of the dish’s name is that in Wales cheese was the poor man’s rabbit.

7 The “she” of “Nevertheless, she persisted” : ELIZABETH WARREN

Elizabeth Warren is the senior US Senator from Massachusetts, and the first female to hold that office for her state. Warren is a prominent Democratic and is a favorite of the progressive wing of the party.

9 Snafu : MESS

“SNAFU” is an acronym standing for “situation normal: all fouled up” (well, that’s the polite version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

10 Like NyQuil, in brief : OTC

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

NyQuil is a medication designed to relieve the symptoms of a common cold. NyQuil contains loads of ingredients that will make you sleepy, so if you are taking it, it’s safer to do so at night. It’s a Proctor & Gamble brand, and the equivalent non-drowsy formula is known as DayQuil.

11 1979 film with Bette Midler’s first starring role : THE ROSE

I am a huge, huge fan of Bette Midler. I love her bawdy humor, her expansive personality, and her amazing voice. Midler will forever be associated with the 1979 film “The Rose”, which is loosely based on the life of the self-destructive singer Janis Joplin, with Bette playing the lead. Midler shows that she can act in this movie, and boy does she show that she can sing. The title song was written by Amanda McBroom and became a huge hit for Midler in 1979.

20 Wax figure? : TUSSAUD

Marie Tussaud was a wax sculptor from France. Some of her early work was very gruesome as she lived through the French Revolution. She would take the decapitated heads of executed citizens and use them to make death masks which were then paraded through the streets. She eventually moved to London, taking with her a vast collection of wax models made by her and her father. She opened a museum to display the works, and Madame Tussauds wax museum is a major attraction in the city to this day.

28 Dark period for Monet : NUIT

In French, “jour” (day) is the opposite of “nuit” (night).

French artist Claude Monet was one of the founders of the Impressionist movement, and indeed the term “Impressionism” comes from the title of his 1872 painting “Impression, Sunrise”. That work depicts the port of Le Havre, which was Monet’s hometown. Later in his life, Monet purchased a house in Giverny, and famously installed lily ponds and a Japanese bridge in the property’s extensive gardens. He spent two decades painting the water lily ponds, producing his most famous works.

29 Eponym of a European capital, by tradition : ROMULUS

According to tradition, Rome was founded by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The pair had a heated argument about who should be allowed to name the city and Romulus hit Remus with a shovel, killing him. And so, “Rome” was born, perhaps instead of “Reme”!

35 Firm, in a way : AL DENTE

The Italian expression “al dente” literally means “to the tooth” or “to the bite” and is used to describe not only pasta, but also vegetables that are cooked so that they are tender and yet still crisp.

36 Male kangaroos : BOOMERS

In Australia, male kangaroos are known by several names including bucks, boomers, jacks or old men. Females are called does, flyers, or jills. There seems to be just the one name for young kangaroos, i.e. joeys. A group of kangaroos might be called a mob, troop or court.

38 Agamemnon’s son : ORESTES

Orestes is a character appearing in Greek mythology, and is the subject of several Ancient Greek plays. In a story by Homer, Orestes kills his mother Clytemnestra. He does so in revenge as Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon, who was her husband and father to Orestes. Agamemnon was killed by his wife for sacrificing his daughter Iphigenia in order to get favorable winds on a sea voyage. Heavy stuff …

Agamemnon was a figure in Greek mythology. He was the brother of Menelaus, who in turn was married to Helen. When Helen ran off with Paris to Troy, Agamemnon led the united Greek forces in the resulting Trojan War.

45 Lyre holder in classical artwork : ERATO

In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry. She is often depicted with a wreath of myrtle and roses, and playing a lyre.

47 River of Idaho : TETON

The Teton River in Idaho runs along the west side of the Teton Range along the border between Idaho and Wyoming.

49 Letter before Quebec in the NATO alphabet : PAPA

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

50 Squirt : TYKE

“Tyke” has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902, but for centuries before that a tyke was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.

53 Big ___ : MAC

The iconic Big Mac sandwich was introduced nationally by McDonald’s in 1967. It was the creation of a Pittsburgh franchisee who offered it on the menu as a response to the very similar “Big Boy” sandwich offered by the competing Big Boy restaurant chain.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Williams who was one of the original Temptations : OTIS
5 Audible nudge : AHEM!
9 Ones holing up in closets? : MOTHS
14 Where the dish oysters Rockefeller was invented, informally : NOLA
15 “Fine then!” : BE LIKE THAT!
17 Got a schoolmate in trouble, maybe : TOLD
18 Case study? : CRIME SCENE
19 Round trips? : ORBITS
21 Flies : ZIPS
22 Nutritional guideline, in brief : RDA
23 Parting word : ADIEU
24 Delicate touch : TACT
25 Dinner ___ : ROLL
26 Hard and fast : SET
27 Rebuff : SNUB
29 Stands : RISES
30 Jewelry stores? : TREASURE TROVES
34 First track on a soundtrack album, often : MAIN THEME
35 Common material for a jacket : ABOUT THE AUTHOR
40 Make murky : CLOUD
41 Passing concern : WILL
42 Stuff searched for in vein? : ORE
43 Lingering quality : ODOR
44 Callisto’s animal form, in Greek mythology : BEAR
46 Voice : UTTER
48 Certain border : HEM
49 Speak softly with contentment : PURR
50 Creature whose name comes from the Tswana language : TSETSE
51 Bruce Lee in “Fists of Fury,” for example : ONE-MAN ARMY
54 Parting word : TA-TA
55 Marbled cut : STRIP STEAK
56 Let proceed : OKED
57 Unit of magnetic flux density : TESLA
58 Not again! : ONCE!
59 Prohibition Bureau name : NESS

Down

1 How beans or cheese are often served in Britain : ON TOAST
2 As you like it : TO ORDER
3 “All right, you’ve got my interest” : I’LL BITE
4 Title woman in a 1975 R&B hit by the Spinners : SADIE
5 Preschool recital : ABCS
6 R&B artist with the Grammy-winning 2017 hit “Best Part” : HER
7 The “she” of “Nevertheless, she persisted” : ELIZABETH WARREN
8 Ape or parrot : MIMIC
9 Snafu : MESS
10 Like NyQuil, in brief : OTC
11 1979 film with Bette Midler’s first starring role : THE ROSE
12 Cabinet additions : HANDLES
13 Does some lifting : STEALS
16 Stayed fresh : KEPT
20 Wax figure? : TUSSAUD
24 Excited, in modern slang : TURNT
25 Item in a metalworker’s gun : RIVET
28 Dark period for Monet : NUIT
29 Eponym of a European capital, by tradition : ROMULUS
31 L’___ (Lalique perfume) : AMOUR
32 Nonbinary possessive : THEIR
33 “Get ___!” : REAL
35 Firm, in a way : AL DENTE
36 Male kangaroos : BOOMERS
37 Sensationalistic opinion, informally : HOT TAKE
38 Agamemnon’s son : ORESTES
39 Studies more closely, perhaps : REREADS
40 Running mate? : COHOST
44 Cheeks : BUNS
45 Lyre holder in classical artwork : ERATO
47 River of Idaho : TETON
49 Letter before Quebec in the NATO alphabet : PAPA
50 Squirt : TYKE
52 “Cool” amount : MIL
53 Big ___ : MAC

14 thoughts on “1219-20 NY Times Crossword 19 Dec 20, Saturday”

  1. 27:34 after finding and fixing a 2-square error (of the “meant to go back and look at that” variety).

    For whatever reason, I struggled with this puzzle. (I can only hope that someone else did, too, so that I can at least indulge in a bit of Schadenfreude … 😜.)

    1. Sure, I struggled with this puzzle. I struggle with all Saturday puzzles. (My time here was about 35 minutes, fairly typical.)

  2. 40:04 with one lookup. Except for the NW and SE corners I was done in about 20 minutes. Started at both for a while then took a stab at 1D with ??T?A?T as my starting point. Guessed right and it all clicked. I stared blankly at the SE for 10 minutes. Knew SNAKE wasn’t right for 47D but couldn’t think of any other Idaho rivers. I suspected NESS was right for 59A but couldn’t fill in anything else. Looked up 38D and then it all fell into place.

  3. 27:37….3 seconds off Nonny…whaaaat? Heck, this is a good time for me(sorry Nonny…I know, I shouldn’t “be like that”

  4. 22:19. I’m always amazed at how faster I am at these things when I do them in the morning rather than late at night. You’d think I’d learn, but I never do. Some clever cluing in this one. Two setters so Jack won’t like this one.

    I had GAUSS before TESLA even though GAUSS isn’t used as a unit that much anymore.

    Isn’t Welsh rarebit supposed to give you nightmares – or at least very vivid dreams? Seems to me there’s some urban myth about it.

    Best –

  5. DNF.. had to look a few up.. I was stuck on ELIZA DOOLITTLE for 7D and after 20 minutes working the crosses , and the fact that I was short 1 letter, I had a tough go…

  6. Had ELIZABETHBARRET which gave me BILL for 41-A which seemed to fit. That, of course , left me with ETCE at the bottom because I had to guess E at square 58. Not enough steam in the boiler to get it untangled. Fri/Sat close but still 0 fer 2.

  7. 35:42, 4 errors: ELIZABETH (B)ARREN; (O)RATO; B(O)AR; (B)ILL. Southwest corner was last to fall. Section was blank, except for TESLA, until I realized 31D could be AMOUR instead of AMORE. Then the section fell somewhat quickly. I, too, thought of GAUSS before TESLA.

  8. @Jeff…you got that right.
    1:04:50 with no errors…for a two setter NYT Saturday puzzle that’s a win for me.
    Stay safe.😀
    Hope you got your shot…not much chance yet in Maryland 👎

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