1225-20 NY Times Crossword 25 Dec 20, Friday

Constructed by: Erik Agard & Wendy L. Brandes
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Merry Christmas, everyone! Please, stay safe …

Bill’s time: 11m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Fictional hero whose name is Spanish for “fox” : ZORRO

The character Zorro was created by Johnston McCulley in 1919 for a series of stories and pulp fiction, the first title being “The Curse of Capistrano”. The name “Zorro” (Spanish for “fox”) is the secret identity of a Spanish colonial nobleman called Don Diego de la Vega. Famously, Zorro had the habit of carving the letter Z on some object after defeating a foe.

16 Link, of a sort : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

18 Setting for the start of “The Sound of Music” : ABBEY

“The Sound of Music” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that was made into a celebrated movie in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The musical is based on “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”, a memoir by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family ended up in Stowe, Vermont after the war. One family descended from the Vermont von Trapps lives in the same town in which I used to live in California.

19 Locale traversed by Lewis and Clark: Abbr. : IDA

Idaho has the nickname “Gem State”, mainly because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there. Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State, as potatoes are such a popular crop in the state. I’d go for the potatoes over the gems, but that’s probably just me. Oh, and Idaho license plates have borne the slogan “Famous Potatoes” for decades …

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were soldiers in the US Army. Lewis was a personal aide to President Thomas Jefferson, even residing in the Presidential Mansion. This exposure contributed to his selection as leader of the famous “Lewis and Clark Expedition”, which was known at the time as the Corps of Discovery Expedition. William Clark was actually Lewis’s boss for a while before Clark retired. Lewis asked Clark to come out of retirement to accompany him on his three-year exploration.

23 ___ Bay (place mentioned in “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”) : FRISCO

“Frisco” is not a term you’d hear used in the San Francisco Bay Area for the main city. Acceptable nicknames are “the City by the Bay” and “Fog City”. We usually just refer to it as “the City”.

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” is a song that Otis Redding started composing in 1967 while sitting on a houseboat in Sausalito, on San Francisco Bay. Redding finished the song soon after, with the help of co-writer Steve Cooper. “The Dock of the Bay” was released in January of 1968, just one month after Redding was killed in a plane crash. The song became the first posthumous single to reach number in the US charts. As an aside, Janis Joplin’s recording of “Me and Bobby McGee” achieved the same feat in 1971.

27 Dance traditionally performed to tell a story : HULA

The hula is a native dance of Hawaii that uses arm movements to relate a story. The hula can be performed while sitting (a noho dance) or while standing (a luna dance).

30 Reefer : DOOBIE

Marijuana cigarettes have been known as reefers since the twenties. It is thought that the term “reefers” comes from either the Mexican Spanish for a drug addict (“grifo”), or from its resemblance to a rolled sail, i.e. a sail that has been “reefed”.

33 Like someone associated with a blue, pink and white flag, for short : TRANS

The transgender community has widely adopted a blue, pink and white flag to represent transgender pride. The flag was designed by transgender activist and US Navy veteran Monica Helms in 1999. It comprises five horizontal stripes: light blue, pink, white, pink and light blue. The light blue stripes at the top and bottom are the traditional color associated with baby boys. The abutting pink stripes are the traditional color associated with baby girls. The white stripe in the center represents those who are transitioning, or those who consider themselves gender-neutral.

34 Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year : GRETA THUNBERG

“Time” magazine started naming a “Man of the Year” in 1927, only changing the concept to “Person of the Year” in 1999. Prior to 1999, the magazine did recognize four females as “Woman of the Year”: Wallis Simpson (1936), Soong May-ling a.k.a. Madame Chiang Kai-shek (1937), Queen Elizabeth II (1952) and Corazon Aquino (1986). “Time” named Albert Einstein as Person of the Century in 1999, with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi as runners-up.

42 Tour grp. : PGA

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.

45 Whistle blower : REFEREE

Back in the early 17th century, a referee was someone who examined patent applications. We started using the same term for a person presiding over a sporting event in the 1820s. “Referee” is a derivative of the verb “to refer”, and literally describes someone who has the authority to make a decision by “referring to” a book, archive etc.

49 They end in septembre : ETES

In French, the season of “été” (summer) starts in “juin” (June) and ends in septembre (September). Note that the names of months are not capitalized in French.

54 Book club leader on TV : OPRAH

“Oprah’s Book Club” was a segment that started in 1996 on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Each book reviewed was a personal recommendation by Winfrey herself. The first book reviewed was “The Deep End of the Ocean” by Jacquelyn Mitchard. The original book club ended in 2011, but there’s now a reboot known as “Oprah’s Book Club 2.0” that focuses on digital media now that “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is no more.

56 “If u ask me …” : IMO …

In my opinion (IMO)

58 Pharmaceutical giant, informally : LILLY

Eli Lilly is the largest corporation in the state of Indiana. Founder Eli Lilly was a veteran of the Union Army in the Civil War, and a failed Mississippi plantation owner. Later in life he returned to his first profession and opened a pharmaceutical operation to manufacture drugs and sell them wholesale. Under Lilly’s early guidance, the company was the first to create gelatin capsules to hold medicines and the first to use fruit flavoring in liquid medicines.

59 Perfect score … or half of one : TEN

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”.

61 City NE of Manchester : LEEDS

I went to school for a while not far from Leeds in West Yorkshire in the north of England. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Leeds was a major center for the production and trading of wool, and then with the onset of mechanization it became a natural hub for manufacture of textiles. These days Leeds is noted as a shopping destination and so has been dubbed “the Knightsbridge of the North”.

Manchester is the second-most populous city in the UK, and is located in the northwest of England. Manchester grew in size dramatically during the Industrial Revolution. Home to a thriving textile industry, Manchester is often referred to as the world’s first industrialized city.

Down

2 Supreme Egyptian god : AMEN-RA

Amun-Ra (also “Amon, Amen”) was a god in Egyptian mythology. Amun lends his name to our word “ammonia”. This is because the Romans called the ammonium chloride that they collected near the Temple of Jupiter Amun, “sal ammoniacus” (salt of Amun).

6 Magnate : CZAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

7 Rebecca in the Basketball Hall of Fame : LOBO

Rebecca Lobo is a former WNBA basketball player who launched a second career as a sports reporter and analyst for ESPN. Lobo played with the New York Liberty, Houston Comets and Connecticut Sun.

21 Labor leader? : DOULA

A doula is a person who provides non-medical support for women and their families during childbirth as well as in the period immediately following the arrival. The term “doula” comes from the Ancient Greek word “doule” which means “female slave”. Given such a negative association, “doula” is often dropped in favor of “labor companion” or “birthworker”.

28 Popular fantasy film franchise, for short : LOTR

“Lord of the Rings” (LOTR)

32 “The Avengers” role : HULK

The comic book hero named “The Hulk” first made an appearance in 1962. The Hulk is the alter ego of reserved and withdrawn physicist Bruce Banner. Banner transforms into the Hulk when he gets angry.

42 Toy associated with France : POODLE

The standard poodle breed of dog is considered by many to be the second-most intelligent breed, after the border collie. The name “poodle” comes from a Low German word meaning “to splash about”, reflecting the original use of the breed as a water retriever.

48 One of Donald Duck’s nephews : LOUIE

Donald Duck’s nephews are identical triplets called Huey, Dewey and Louie, and they first appeared on the screen in 1938. Once in a while, due to errors in production, a fourth duck can be seen in the background. This little “mistake” is affectionately called “Phooey Duck” by folks in the industry.

51 Major D.C. lobby : AARP

“AARP” is now the official name for the interest group that used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons. The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired.

52 “___ Gotta Have It” : SHE’S

Film director Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has very much made New York City his home and place of work. Most of Lee’s films are set in New York City, including his first feature film, 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It”. That film was shot over two weeks with a budget of $175,000. “She’s Gotta Have It” grossed over $7 million at the US box office.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Temple figure : RABBI
6 Joins hands? : CLAPS
11 Refresh, as the memory : JOG
14 “All this kid stuff now, it’s crazy” : I’M OLD
15 Fictional hero whose name is Spanish for “fox” : ZORRO
16 Link, of a sort : URL
17 ___ code : PENAL
18 Setting for the start of “The Sound of Music” : ABBEY
19 Locale traversed by Lewis and Clark: Abbr. : IDA
20 Studio upgrade : ONE-BEDROOM
22 Standouts on the pitcher’s mound : ACES
23 ___ Bay (place mentioned in “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”) : FRISCO
24 Provides : RENDERS
26 Season ticket holder, presumably : FAN
27 Dance traditionally performed to tell a story : HULA
30 Reefer : DOOBIE
31 Wet-weather footwear : GALOSH
33 Like someone associated with a blue, pink and white flag, for short : TRANS
34 Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year : GRETA THUNBERG
37 Hard to pick up : FAINT
38 Command after a crash : RELOAD
39 “Sure, that time works for me” : I’M FREE
41 Not handle ice well, say : SKID
42 Tour grp. : PGA
45 Whistle blower : REFEREE
47 Watering hole : SALOON
49 They end in septembre : ETES
50 Type of rental agreement : LEASE-TO-OWN
53 Topper : LID
54 Book club leader on TV : OPRAH
55 Sound : AUDIO
56 “If u ask me …” : IMO …
57 Madame___ (online lifestyle magazine) : NOIRE
58 Pharmaceutical giant, informally : LILLY
59 Perfect score … or half of one : TEN
60 Parts of an assembly : STEPS
61 City NE of Manchester : LEEDS

Down

1 Con : RIP OFF
2 Supreme Egyptian god : AMEN-RA
3 Rib-eye request : BONE IN
4 Overindulges in 5-Down : BLABS
5 Activity by the water cooler : IDLE CHATTER
6 Magnate : CZAR
7 Rebecca in the Basketball Hall of Fame : LOBO
8 Shaded area : ARBOR
9 Like many biochem majors : PRE-MED
10 Kind of flour : SOY
11 Spot to pick up a smoothie : JUICE BAR
12 Process involving a server : ORDERING
13 Readers, e.g. : GLASSES
21 Labor leader? : DOULA
22 Was su-u-uper into : ADORED
25 “Better than I expected!” : NOT BAD AT ALL!
28 Popular fantasy film franchise, for short : LOTR
29 Word on either side of “to” : ASHES
31 Sorting header in a music app : GENRES
32 “The Avengers” role : HULK
34 When the sports preshow ends : GAME TIME
35 Used as improv fodder, say : RIFFED ON
36 Sound : NOISE
37 Like many a campsite at night : FIRELIT
40 Fishing gear left underwater : EELPOT
42 Toy associated with France : POODLE
43 Throw away all inhibitions : GO WILD
44 Gets to : ANNOYS
46 Like ghost stories : EERIE
48 One of Donald Duck’s nephews : LOUIE
51 Major D.C. lobby : AARP
52 “___ Gotta Have It” : SHE’S
54 Ending with clip or slip : -ONS

14 thoughts on “1225-20 NY Times Crossword 25 Dec 20, Friday”

  1. 14:31, no errors. A couple of thoughtful spots, but a relatively straightforward solve.

    Wishing everyone a … peaceful …. Christmas (and let’s hope next year’s will be merry … 🙂).

  2. 18:40 Several early miscues – SLIP vs SKID; AAA vs PGA; REBOOT vs RELOAD; PER vs ONS (54D);
    61A – kept thinking of Manchester, New Hampshire. Then I took a better guess on 42D (Toy of France) and with the middle E came up with LEEDS and that opened up the whole SE corner, the last to fall.

    Merry Xmas all.

  3. 19:10. Merry Christmas everyone. I don’t see any other posts yet this morning, but they’re probably delayed.

    I had “Emma” before HULK. I was thinking of the old show “The Avengers” with Steed and Emma Peel.

    Best –

  4. 25:42, which was a Christmas gift after the way the rest of the week went. Jeff and I both showing our age with “Emma” for an Avengers character 🙂
    Merry Christmas to all the solvers!

  5. For a long time I, too, had “The Avengers” TV character but “Peel” instead of “Emma,” which slowed me down. Never heard of “doula” but kept it as nothing else would work. The “ashes to ashes” in the center of today’s puzzle had me in tears as my best buddy, Greyson the kitty, died of cardiac arrest Christmas eve. Farewell, Greyson. Be free.

  6. No errors. Got hung up on 21D DOULA for a long time since it had such a pivotal position. I let it go, worked around it and “oila”! DOULA. Never heard of it but they seem to be very popular.

  7. 46:00 with one error…I had SLID FOR SKID and like all the other “old timers” I was thinking of Emma Peel for the avengers.
    It is an Erik Agard and partner puzzle so that’s expected👎
    Stay safe😀

  8. Erik Agard doesn’t seem to strike fear into the hearts of men like he used to. No errors. Galosh? OK, I guess so.

  9. 13:49, no errors. Hard for me to believe that Christmas was five weeks. On one hand, it seems like Christmas was a long time ago; on the other hand, it seems like time has just flown by.

    34A: I remember her from Ricky Gervais’s opening speech at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards. Saying to the celebrity gathering: “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.” …….. Classic!

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