1230-20 NY Times Crossword 30 Dec 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Kate Hawkins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Billy Club

Themed answers each start with a famous BILLY:

  • 66A Nightstick … or what might form if the beginnings of 14-, 20-, 37- and 58-Across started paying dues? : BILLY CLUB
  • 14A It might cost extra at a beach resort : OCEAN VIEW (Billy Ocean)
  • 20A Clairvoyant’s accessory : CRYSTAL BALL (Billy Crystal)
  • 37A Key lime pie crust ingredient : GRAHAM CRACKER (Billy Graham)
  • 58A Cut above the rest? : PORTERHOUSE (Billy Porter)

Bill’s time: 9m 15s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ESO (esa!)
  • PINYON (pinyan!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 SAG-___ (media labor union) : AFTRA

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was formed back in 1933, at a time when Hollywood stars were really being exploited by the big movie studios, especially the younger and less inexperienced performers. Early supporters of the Guild included famous names like Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney (you could imagine them in a negotiation!). Past presidents of SAG were also big names, such as Eddie Cantor, James Cagney, Ronald Reagan, Howard Keel, Charlton Heston, Ed Asner and Melissa Gilbert. SAG merged with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) in 2012 to create SAG-AFTRA.

14 It might cost extra at a beach resort : OCEAN VIEW (Billy Ocean)

Billy Ocean was born in Trinidad and Tobago, and moved with his family to England when he was 8-years old. He was born Leslie Sebastian Charles, but took the name Billy Ocean from a local football team in Trinidad, “Ocean’s Eleven”, who in turn took their name from the famous Frank Sinatra movie. Ocean achieved chart success as early as 1976, with “Love Really Hurts Without You”. However, his global career took off with his 1984 smash “Caribbean Queen”. Perhaps Ocean had global success in mind, because quite cannily he recorded the song under three different names around the world. There’s a version called “European Queen”, and there’s an “African Queen” version out there somewhere as well …

17 Ocher-like hue : RAW SIENNA

The shade known as “sienna” or “burnt sienna” was originally a pigment made from earth found around Siena in Tuscany.

Ocher is a light, yellowish-brown color, although variations of the pigment are possible such as red ocher and purple ocher. “Ocher” is usually spelled “ochre” on the other side of the pond.

20 Clairvoyant’s accessory : CRYSTAL BALL (Billy Crystal)

We’ve been using the term “clairvoyant” to describe a psychic since the nineteenth century. Prior to that, a clairvoyant was a clear-sighted person. The term comes from French, with “clair” meaning “clear” and “voyant” meaning “seeing”.

Billy Crystal is an actor and comedian who first gained fame as the character Jodie Dallas on the seventies sitcom “Soap”. Crystal is also famous for hosting the Academy Awards, and has done so nine times. Only Bob Hope has hosted the event more times, and he did so on 18 occasions.

22 Chubby mouse in Disney’s “Cinderella” : GUS

In the 1950 Disney animated feature “Cinderella”, the title character has two mousy sidekicks named Jaq and Gus. Along with two other mice, Jaq and Gus are transformed by the Fairy Godmother into horses that pull Cinderella’s carriage so that she can attend the ball.

25 Direction in which el sol rises : ESTE

In Spanish, “el sol” (the sun) rises in the “este” (east).

27 Taboo : NO-NO

The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. Cook described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

30 Demands for payment : DUNS

To dun is to insist on payment of a debt. The etymology of the verb is unclear, but one suggestion is that it dates back to a well-known debt collector in London named Joe Dun.

37 Key lime pie crust ingredient : GRAHAM CRACKER (Billy Graham)

The species of citrus fruit called a key lime is so named due to its association with the Florida Keys.

44 Biblical sister of Rachel : LEAH

According to the Bible, Leah was one of the two wives of Jacob, the other being Leah’s sister Rachel. Jacob’s intention had been to marry Rachel, but Leah and Rachel’s father “switched” his daughters and provided Leah as the veiled bride. Jacob married Rachel a week later, and lived with the two wives concurrently.

48 Twitter logo : BIRD

The familiar blue Twitter logo is known as “Larry the Bird”. The logo was named for former Boston Celtics player Larry Bird.

52 Deep blue : INDIGO

The name of the color “indigo” ultimately comes from the Greek “indikon” meaning “blue dye from India”.

54 Borrower’s fig. : APR

Annual percentage rate (APR)

57 Adjective in a U.S. Marines ad : FEW

“The few, the proud, the Marines” is the modern-day recruiting slogan used by the US Marine Corps.

61 Suffix with lact- : -OSE

The sugar known as lactose is a disaccharide, comprising a molecule of galactose combined with a molecule of glucose. Lactose is a major component in milk, and it is broken down in the body by an enzyme called lactase. The production of lactase used to diminish over time in humans, as babies stopped nursing and transitioned to solid food. Many human populations have evolved to maintain lactose production throughout life, in response to the inclusion of animal milk in the diet. Individuals and populations that do not have the genes enabling lifelong production of lactase are said to be lactose intolerant.

65 Stomach woe : ULCER

Until fairly recently, a peptic ulcer was believed to be caused by undue amounts of stress in one’s life. It is now known that 70-90% of all peptic ulcers are in fact associated with a particular bacterium.

66 Nightstick … or what might form if the beginnings of 14-, 20-, 37- and 58-Across started paying dues? : BILLY CLUB

The term “billy club” has been used for a policeman’s nightstick or truncheon since the 1850s. Before that, the term was burglar’s slang for a crowbar.

67 A lot of TikTok’s audience : TEENS

TikTok is a video-sharing service that is based in China, and is very popular with the younger set. The TikTok mobile app provides tools that facilitate production of sophisticated selfie videos that use special effects.

Down

2 Mythological figure who’s a symbol of hubris : ICARUS

Daedalus was a master craftsman of Greek mythology who was tasked with creating the Labyrinth on the island of Crete that was to house the Minotaur. After the Labyrinth was completed, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower, so that he could not spread word of his work. Daedalus fabricated wings so that he and Icarus could escape by flying off the island. Despite being warned by his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun so that the wax holding the wings’ feathers in place melted. Icarus drowned in the sea, and Daedalus escaped.

Hubris is arrogance or overbearing pride.

4 Govt. prosecutors : DAS

District attorney (DA)

6 Southwestern evergreen : PINYON

The piñon is also known as the pinyon pine, and is a tree that grows in the American Southwest and in Mexico. Pinyon nuts (a type of pine nut) are quite delicious …

7 Corrals : PENS

“Corral” is Spanish word that we’ve imported into English describing an enclosure for livestock. Ultimately, the term comes from the Vulgar Latin “currale” meaning “enclosure for carts”, itself coming from “currus”, the Latin for “cart”.

9 ___ corridor, Northeast transportation route : ACELA

The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, as it gets up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Introduced in 2000, the brand name “Acela” was created to evoke “acceleration” and “excellence”.

12 La-Z-Boy product : RECLINER

La-Z-Boy is a furniture manufacturer based in Monroe, Michigan. Although the company makes furniture for every room in the house, it is famous for its recliner chairs found in family rooms all over the country.

28 Envelope information in “May I have the envelope, please?” : OSCAR

Legend has it that actor Emilio Fernández was the model for the Oscar statuette. Cedric Gibbons, art director at MGM, created the design and supposedly convinced a reluctant Fernández to pose nude for “Oscar”.

29 Country that’s partially in the Arctic: Abbr. : NOR

Norway has been ranked as the country in the world with the highest standard of living almost every year since 2001. Norway is rich in natural resources and has a relatively low population. The people benefit from a comprehensive social security system, subsidized higher education for all citizens and universal health care. And Norway is famous for her success at the Winter Olympic Games, having won more gold medals than any other nation in the world.

32 “Eureka!” : AHA!

“Eureka” translates from Greek as “I have found it”. The word is usually associated with Archimedes, uttered as he stepped into his bath one day. His discovery was that the volume of water that was displaced was equal to that of the object (presumably his foot) that had been submerged. He used this fact to determine the volume of a crown, something he needed in order to determine if it was made of pure gold or was a forgery.

37 1968 Winter Olympics site : GRENOBLE

Grenoble is a city at the foot of the French Alps. The Winter Olympic Games were held there in 1968.

38 Formula One event : ROAD RACE

In motor racing, the designation “formula” is a set of rules that all participants and cars must abide by. The definition of “Formula One” was agreed back in 1946, with the “one” designating that it is the most advanced of the “formulae”, and the most competitive.

39 ___ culpa : MEA

Many Roman Catholics are very familiar with the Latin phrase “mea culpa” meaning “my fault”, as it is used in the Latin Mass. The additional term “mea maxima culpa” translates as “my most grievous fault”.

40 Illya Kuryakin’s org. in the film “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” : KGB

The “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti” (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Scottish actor David McCallum got his big break playing Illya Kuryakin on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, alongside Robert Vaughn playing Napoleon Solo. McCallum also appeared in the 1963 movie “The Great Escape”, working with Charles Bronson. There was good and bad about this project, as after McCallum introduced his wife Jill Ireland to Bronson, Ireland left her husband and married Bronson five years later.

In the television show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E”, the acronym in the title stands for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. I know this because, when I was about 9-years-old, I wrote away for an identity card that showed I was a member of the spy organization!

47 Shiny trinket : BAUBLE

Trinkets and baubles are small ornaments, and often pieces of jewelry.

51 Uncool sorts : DWEEBS

“Dweeb” is relatively recent American slang that came out of college life in the late sixties. Dweeb, squarepants, nerd; they’re all not-nice terms that mean the same thing, i.e. someone excessively studious and socially inept.

55 “The Lord is my shepherd …,” for one : PSALM

Psalm 23 starts with:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

59 Nexuses : HUBS

A nexus is a means of connection, or a center where many connections come together. “Nexus” is a Latin word meaning “that which ties or binds together”. The Latin “nexus” is the past participle of the verb “nectere” meaning “to bind”.

64 Alternative to Lowe’s : ACE

The Ace Hardware chain of stores was founded in 1924 in Chicago, Illinois. The name “Ace” was chosen after “ace” fighter pilots from World War I.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Discovery : FIND
5 First courses, for short : APPS
9 SAG-___ (media labor union) : AFTRA
14 It might cost extra at a beach resort : OCEAN VIEW (Billy Ocean)
16 Apple tool : CORER
17 Ocher-like hue : RAW SIENNA
18 Put up : ERECT
19 “Who do you think you ___?” : ARE
20 Clairvoyant’s accessory : CRYSTAL BALL (Billy Crystal)
22 Chubby mouse in Disney’s “Cinderella” : GUS
23 That: Sp. : ESO
24 ___ Dobbs, title detective in Jacqueline Winspear books : MAISIE
25 Direction in which el sol rises : ESTE
27 Taboo : NO-NO
30 Demands for payment : DUNS
31 When doubled, enthusiastic : RAH
34 Ticked off : SORE
36 Lo-___ image : RES
37 Key lime pie crust ingredient : GRAHAM CRACKER (Billy Graham)
41 Do with a pick, maybe : ‘FRO
42 Zone : AREA
43 Habitat for some moss and mushrooms : LOG
44 Biblical sister of Rachel : LEAH
46 Good name for someone with a sharp tongue? : BARB
48 Twitter logo : BIRD
52 Deep blue : INDIGO
54 Borrower’s fig. : APR
57 Adjective in a U.S. Marines ad : FEW
58 Cut above the rest? : PORTERHOUSE (Billy Porter)
61 Suffix with lact- : -OSE
62 “A Promised Land” memoirist : OBAMA
63 Tip : UNBALANCE
65 Stomach woe : ULCER
66 Nightstick … or what might form if the beginnings of 14-, 20-, 37- and 58-Across started paying dues? : BILLY CLUB
67 A lot of TikTok’s audience : TEENS
68 Root/blossom connector : STEM
69 Watches : EYES

Down

1 Search for food : FORAGE
2 Mythological figure who’s a symbol of hubris : ICARUS
3 Like the topmost emails in an inbox : NEWEST
4 Govt. prosecutors : DAS
5 Declares : AVERS
6 Southwestern evergreen : PINYON
7 Corrals : PENS
8 Give a “Whap!” : SWAT
9 ___ corridor, Northeast transportation route : ACELA
10 Ban : FORBID
11 “X” marks its spot : TREASURE
12 La-Z-Boy product : RECLINER
13 Clumsy : ARTLESS
15 “Well played!” : NICE!
21 Lacking scruples, say : AMORAL
26 Modern ___ : ERA
28 Envelope information in “May I have the envelope, please?” : OSCAR
29 Country that’s partially in the Arctic: Abbr. : NOR
32 “Eureka!” : AHA!
33 Keep, as doubts : HARBOR
35 Green prefix : ECO-
37 1968 Winter Olympics site : GRENOBLE
38 Formula One event : ROAD RACE
39 ___ culpa : MEA
40 Illya Kuryakin’s org. in the film “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” : KGB
41 Lose it : FLIP OUT
45 Contract killers : HITMEN
47 Shiny trinket : BAUBLE
49 “I wish …” : IF ONLY …
50 Search’s partner : RESCUE
51 Uncool sorts : DWEEBS
53 Reverse and others : GEARS
55 “The Lord is my shepherd …,” for one : PSALM
56 Count (on) : RELY
59 Nexuses : HUBS
60 “Will do” : ON IT
64 Alternative to Lowe’s : ACE

12 thoughts on “1230-20 NY Times Crossword 30 Dec 20, Wednesday”

  1. 9:46 Unfamiliar with AFTRA, MAISIE, and GUS the mouse. All obtained from Crosses. Also spelled 6D as PINION in the beginning

  2. 6:58, no errors. PINYON trees are familiar to me because of where I live (though I have to go a bit further south and/or west to find one).

  3. 15:42. Really struggled with this Wednesday puzzle – one day after setting a personal best for a Tuesday. Oh well. Success is fleeting.

    The KGB has (had) such an innocuous sounding meaning to it: (K)Committee of (G) governmental (B) security. And the (B) is a word that is literally bez (without) opasnost (danger) meaning “security”. I always joked that Russian only has about 20 words, and everything else in the language is one of the root words with 25 inflections to it to create a meaning. Their word for “security” is a good example of that.

    I digress.

    Best –

  4. 22:53 with one error…I had BINYON for PINYON .
    An alternative spelling of an obscure clue…GOOD ONE KATE👎
    Stay safe😀

  5. 8:28, no errors. Only a coin flip over the cross ESO/PINYON (A or O?) kept me from having the same 2 errors as Bill. Familiar with all the ‘Billy’s’ except PORTER.

  6. Very easy for me. I thought that it should have been a Tuesday-level puzzle. My only erasure was changing BOG to LOG which crosses dictated. Never even looked at the theme until I had it completely solved. Enjoyed the challenge though.

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