1226-20 NY Times Crossword 26 Dec 20, Saturday

Constructed by: John Guzzetta
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 39s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ARIE (Aree!!!)
  • SHARIA (Sharea!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Creators of quipus, knotted strings used to record census data and other information : INCA

A quipu was a device used by the Incas for recording numbers. It was made of colored threads that were knotted, and used the base ten number system. The word “quipu” is sometimes translated as “talking knots”.

16 Iris feature : AREOLA

An areola (sometimes “areole”) in anatomy is a small ring of color, as in the areola surrounding the nipple, and the areola surrounding the pupil of the eye. “Areola” (plural “areolae”) comes from Latin, meaning “small open space”, and is a diminutive of the Latin word “area”, meaning “open space”.

17 It adds color to a sidewalk : CHALK ART

Back in Ireland, the “pavement” is what we call the “sidewalk, footpath” (because the footpath is “paved”, often with “paving” stones!). It’s very confusing when you arrive in this country from Ireland, and a little dangerous when one has been taught from a young age to “walk on the pavement” …

19 Ones making good use of the hands? : CARD SHARKS

A “card sharp” is someone who is skilled and deceptive with playing cards, particularly when playing gambling games like poker. It seems that the term “card sharp” predates the related “card shark”, both of which have the same meaning.

22 Singer India.___ : ARIE

India.Arie is an American soul and R&B singer who was born India Arie Simpson in Denver, Colorado.

28 One of many that Bugs Bunny appeared in : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

Bugs Bunny first said “What’s up, Doc?” in the 1940 cartoon short “A Wild Hare”, while addressing the hunter Elmer Fudd.

29 The eucharist, e.g. : RITE

In the Christian, the Eucharist is a rite celebrating Christ’s sacrifice, as called out by Jesus at the Last Supper.

30 Going out for a while? : SIESTA

We use the word “siesta” to describe a short nap in the early afternoon, and imported the word into English from Spanish. In turn, the Spanish word is derived from the Latin “hora sexta” meaning “the sixth hour”. The idea is that the nap is taken at the sixth hour after dawn.

32 Embroidery loop : PICOT

A picot is a loop of thread, either for function or for decoration, at the edge of some knitted or tatted material.

33 Field of product liability : TORT LAW

“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.

38 Like some queens : APIAN

A queen bee has a stinger, just like worker bees. When a worker bee stings, it leaves its stinger in its victim. The worker bee dies after losing its stinger as the loss rips out part of its insides. However, a queen bee can sting with impunity as her stinger’s anatomy is different.

39 Basilica di Santa Chiara locale : ASSISI

The Italian town of Assisi is in Umbria. Assisi is famous as the birthplace of St. Francis and as the home to the Franciscan religious order. It was also the home to Saint Clare and her order of the Poor Sisters (later known as the Poor Clares).

41 ___ State, home of the Golden Flashes : KENT

Kent State University’s main campus is located in Kent, Ohio. Kent State will forever be associated with student activism and opposition to the Vietnam War in the late sixties and early seventies. The fateful day was May 4, 1970 when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students, killing four protesters and wounding nine.

42 One “A” in the Michigan nickname “A2” : ANN

Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Supposedly, Allen and Rumsey originally used the name “Annsarbour” in recognition of stands of bur oak that were on the land they had purchased and in recognition of their wives, both of whom were called “Ann” (i.e. Anns’ Arbor). The city sometimes goes by the nickname “A²”.

48 Aromatic attire : LEIS

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

50 Italian sculptor ___ Lorenzo Bernini : GIAN

Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian sculptor and architect, one generally regarded as the successor to Michelangelo. Bernini’s most famous work perhaps is the design for the Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Square) that is located in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

51 Some Craigslist listings: Abbr. : APTS

Apartment (apt.)

Craigslist (usually written as “craiglist”) is an online network of communities that features classified advertisements organized geographically. Craigslist was started by Craig Newmark in 1995, originally as an email distribution list for his friends who lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area.

57 Words in a foreign language that bear a deceptive resemblance to those in another, like the French “décevoir” (“disappoint”) and the English “deceive” : FAUX AMIS

58 Pet from the tropics : IGUANA

Iguanas have what is known as a “third eye” on their heads. Known as the parietal eye, it can sense levels of light, although it cannot make out details.

59 Showbiz’s “Mr. Showmanship” : LIBERACE

The flamboyant pianist’s full name was Wladziu Valentino Liberace, and his nickname was “Mr. Showmanship”. Liberace was born in a suburb of Milwaukee into a Polish-Italian family. There used to be a Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, but sadly it closed in 2010 after 31 years in operation.

60 Lilliputian : TEENSY

The word “lilliputian” meaning “wee” or “very small”, comes from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. In Swift’s tale, Lilliput and Blefuscu are two island nations that are inhabited by tiny people who are under six inches tall.

62 Major chip maker : NEC

“NEC” is the name that the Nippon Electric Company chose for itself outside of Japan after a rebranding exercise in 1983.

Down

1 Joshua trees, e.g. : YUCCAS

Yuccas are a genus of shrubs and trees that live in hot and dry areas of North and South America. One of the more famous species of Yucca is the Joshua tree. Yuccas has a unique pollination system, with moths transferring pollen from plant to plant. New Mexico adopted the yucca as its state flower in 1927.

“Joshua tree” is the common name for the plant species more correctly called Yucca brevifolia. One of the best places to see Joshua trees is in the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. The plant was named by Mormon settlers crossing the Mojave Desert in the mid-1800s. The name was chosen as the shape of the tree reminded the settlers of Joshua reaching his hands to the sky in prayer.

3 “The way,” in Islam : SHARIA

Sharia law is the Islamic legal system that governs many things like crime, politics and economics as well as many aspects of personal behavior. Sharia law is based on the Quran as well as the Hadith, the latter being a set of opinions and life examples from the prophet Muhammad.

5 Organizer of a couples cruise? : NOAH

Genesis 6:19-20 states that Noah was instructed to take two animals of every kind into the ark. Later, in Genesis 7:2-3 Noah was instructed to take on board “every clean animal by sevens … male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth”. Apparently, “extras” (7 rather than 2) were needed for ritual sacrifice.

8 Maiden : DAMSEL

A damsel is a young woman, and often a lady of noble birth. The term “damsel” came into English from the Old French “dameisele”, which had the same meaning. The modern French term is “demoiselle”, which in turn is related to the term of address “mademoiselle”.

9 Keogh alternative : IRA

Keogh plans are retirement plans used by self-employed individuals and small businesses. The plans are named for Democratic member of the US House Eugene James Keogh who sponsored the bill that introduced such plans.

11 Cap material : POLAR ICE

The polar ice cap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar ice cap is an ice sheet that covers the landmass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar ice cap.

26 Lime might be added to one : KILN

The name of the element calcium comes from the Latin “calcis” meaning “lime”. “Quicklime” and “burnt lime” are common names for calcium oxide.

27 “Hands Across the ___” (John Philip Sousa march) : SEA

John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor from Washington, D.C. Sousa was well known for his patriotic marches and earned himself the nickname “The American March King”. He served as a member of the US Marine Band from 1868 to 1875, and after leaving the Marines learned to conduct and compose. One of the Sousa compositions that is well-known around the world is called “The Liberty Bell”, a tune used as the musical theme for BBC Television’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Sousa also wrote “Semper Fidelis”, which is the official march of the US Marine Corps.

31 River of song : SWANEE

“Swanee” was written in 1919 by George Gershwin. Gershwin was very young at the time and came up with the music in just ten minutes while riding on a Manhattan bus. Al Jolson was already a star, and he heard Gershwin playing the song at a party. Jolson made a deal to include the song in his show “Sinbad”, and then “Swanee” just took off.

32 Bunch of flowers : POSY

“Poesy” was the name given to a line of verse engraved on the inner surface of a ring. The related word “posy”, for a bouquet of flowers, arose with the notion that giving a posy might be a message of love, just as a poesy inside a ring could have the same meaning.

34 It has its opinions : OP-ED PAGE

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

44 N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer who was the 1993 Super Bowl M.V.P. : AIKMAN

Troy Aikman is a former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Now that he is retired from football, Aikman works as a sportscaster on the Fox network.

49 Locale near a landing : STAIR

A landing is the area at the top and bottom of a staircase. Apparently, we called the steps between the landings a “flight” of stairs, because one “flies” between landings! Can that be true?

53 One likely to end on a low note? : TUBA

The tuba is the lowest-pitched of all the brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is just one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). “Tuba” is the Latin word for “trumpet, horn”. Oom-pah-pah …

56 Couple of pennies? : ENS

There are a couple of letters N (ens) in the word “pennies”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Unquestionably” : YES
4 Creators of quipus, knotted strings used to record census data and other information : INCA
8 Make disappear : DISPEL
14 Show the door : USHER OUT
16 Iris feature : AREOLA
17 It adds color to a sidewalk : CHALK ART
18 Part of certain percussion instruments : MALLET
19 Ones making good use of the hands? : CARD SHARKS
21 #1, informally : FAVE
22 Singer India.___ : ARIE
23 Whose house might be in Aarhus : DANE
24 Not very bright : DRAB
25 Start of a romance : SPARKS
28 One of many that Bugs Bunny appeared in : CEL
29 The eucharist, e.g. : RITE
30 Going out for a while? : SIESTA
32 Embroidery loop : PICOT
33 Field of product liability : TORT LAW
36 Retries : DO-OVERS
38 Like some queens : APIAN
39 Basilica di Santa Chiara locale : ASSISI
41 ___ State, home of the Golden Flashes : KENT
42 One “A” in the Michigan nickname “A2” : ANN
43 Powerhouse : DYNAMO
47 Over the ___ : EDGE
48 Aromatic attire : LEIS
50 Italian sculptor ___ Lorenzo Bernini : GIAN
51 Some Craigslist listings: Abbr. : APTS
52 Protector of a quarterback’s blind side, often : LEFT TACKLE
55 Hurt : HARMED
57 Words in a foreign language that bear a deceptive resemblance to those in another, like the French “décevoir” (“disappoint”) and the English “deceive” : FAUX AMIS
58 Pet from the tropics : IGUANA
59 Showbiz’s “Mr. Showmanship” : LIBERACE
60 Lilliputian : TEENSY
61 Rules might define them : ERAS
62 Major chip maker : NEC

Down

1 Joshua trees, e.g. : YUCCAS
2 F equivalent : E-SHARP
3 “The way,” in Islam : SHARIA
4 Ruffles : IRKS
5 Organizer of a couples cruise? : NOAH
6 Big name in bandages : CURAD
7 Draw : ATTRACT
8 Maiden : DAMSEL
9 Keogh alternative : IRA
10 Something for which a dealer might tell customers “Hands off!” : SELF-DRIVING CAR
11 Cap material : POLAR ICE
12 Kind of music or pitch : ELEVATOR
13 No-nos at a racetrack : LATE BETS
15 Respected figure : ELDER STATESMAN
20 Works with the hands : KNEADS
26 Lime might be added to one : KILN
27 “Hands Across the ___” (John Philip Sousa march) : SEA
31 River of song : SWANEE
32 Bunch of flowers : POSY
33 Suffer some damage : TAKE A HIT
34 It has its opinions : OP-ED PAGE
35 Add up, so to speak : RING TRUE
37 Suffix with prism : -OID
40 Cold evidence : SNIFFLE
42 From dawn to dusk : ALL DAY
44 N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer who was the 1993 Super Bowl M.V.P. : AIKMAN
45 Venom : MALICE
46 “Be right with you” : ONE SEC
49 Locale near a landing : STAIR
53 One likely to end on a low note? : TUBA
54 Chops : AXES
56 Couple of pennies? : ENS

11 thoughts on “1226-20 NY Times Crossword 26 Dec 20, Saturday”

  1. 43:03 with two lookups. Had the left half done in about 20 minutes. Then another 10 for the SE corner. Another 10 staring at NE corner. Then resorted to lookups. Unfamiliar with FAUXAMI, though I am sure I misused many of them when I was trying to learn French years ago

  2. 15:51, no errors. Don’t recall ever seeing the phrase FAUX AMIS before, but I’ve seen both halves separately, so it made sense to me.

  3. 26:37. All the football references down south helped me get started with AIKMAN, LEFT TACKLE and KENT State. Area that gave me the most fits until the end was DOOVERS, POSY and PICOT where I simply guessed the “P” as my last letter.

    I remember FAUX AMIS from crosswords past although I couldn’t remember it exactly. I think I forgot to take my memory pill this morning…. One that comes to mind is from Spanish. Their word “tremendo” is similar to our “tremendous”, but “tremendo” means something horrible. If someone calls you “tremendo” they’re saying you’re awful….not tremendous and wonderful like I was hoping.

    Best –

  4. 18:14, no errors. Did this one with my son while we were waiting for our Peanut Butter Whiskey Cake (!) to cool down. Grandkids were quiet, hence the good time. NE was the last to fall.

  5. I was doing fine until I hit the NE corner. After surviving the SE corner with no lookups, I was confident. I caved and did 1 lookup and it proved to be the closure to the NE corner. So technically I’m a DNF but it was fun.

  6. One letter away from a Fri/Sat sweep as I was left to guess (wrongly) at square 32. Didn’t encounter much of a headwind otherwise. POLARICE for cap material was a good one.

  7. 1:07:56 no errors…this was a win for me no matter how much time it took.
    57A was IMO a horrible clue.
    Stay safe😀

  8. 35:45, 5 errors: (R)ICOT/(R)OSY; ST(R)I(P)/F(R)UX AMIS/E(P)AS. Happy with simply filling in all the boxes today. Initially entered the ‘R’ in the PICOT/POSY cross, changed it to a ‘P’, then changed it back. Also, considered entering STAIR in 49D, but went with STRIP (as in landing strip). Should have recognized FAUX AMIS (French for ‘fake friends’).

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