1012-21 NY Times Crossword 12 Oct 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Conor Sefkow
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme Alliternation

Themed answers are ALLITERATIVE phrases that include a reference to a NATION:

  • 37A Portmanteau coinage describing this puzzle’s theme : ALLITERNATION
  • 17A Game that has only a single round : RUSSIAN ROULETTE
  • 23A Single item seemingly always found at the bottom of a McDonald’s bag : FRENCH FRY
  • 49A Entrance divided in half horizontally : DUTCH DOOR
  • 58A Board game played on a big hexagram : CHINESE CHECKERS

Bill’s time: 10m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Dip for chips : SALSA

“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

6 Epitome of redness : BEET

The more common meaning of “epitome” is “perfect example of a group, quality, type”. An epitome is also an abstract or summary of a book or article.

10 ___ Jima (1945 battle site) : IWO

Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.

17 Game that has only a single round : RUSSIAN ROULETTE

The disturbing game of Russian roulette involves the placing of a single round in a revolver, spinning the cylinder and then a player firing the gun with the muzzle placed against his or her head. The “game” supposedly originated in Russia, and the name was first cited in a short story that dates back to 1937. Russian roulette was made famous by the 1978 movie “The Deerhunter” as it plays a central role in the film’s plot.

21 Bay Area airport code : SFO

The San Francisco Bay Area is served by three major airports: San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC).

23 Single item seemingly always found at the bottom of a McDonald’s bag : FRENCH FRY

French fries are called “chips” back in Ireland where I grew up. And what we call “chips” in the US are known as “crisps” in Britain and Ireland. In France, French fries are known as “pommes frites” (fried potatoes).

27 Sales at concerts or games, informally : MERCH

Merchandise (“mdse.” or “merch.”)

29 Nile biter : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

31 “Kill Bill” actress Lucy : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I do enjoy one of Liu’s more recent projects in which she plays Joan Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

“Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (I haven’t seen it, as I really don’t “do” Tarantino). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There has been a lot of talk about making “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.

32 One of more than 115 on a table : ELEMENT

Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist. When Mendeleev classified elements according to their chemical properties, he noticed patterns and was able to group elements into his famous 1869 Periodic Table. So powerful was his table that he actually predicted the properties of some elements that had not even been discovered in 1869. Element number 101 is mendelevium and was named after Mendeleev.

36 Dinghy or dory : BOAT

Our term “dinghy” comes from the Hindi “dingi”, a word meaning “small boat”.

A dory is a small boat that’s around 20 feet long with a shallow draft, a flat bottom and a sharp bow. Dories are commonly used for fishing.

37 Portmanteau coinage describing this puzzle’s theme : ALLITERNATION

A portmanteau was a large suitcase, one that could be taken apart into two separate pieces. The word “portmanteau” is French for a “travelling bag”, from “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (a coat, cloak). We also use “portmanteau” to mean a word that has been melded together from two parts (just as the suitcase comprised two parts). This usage was introduced to the world by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. He explained to Alice that the nonsense words in the “Jabberwocky” poem were actually portmanteau words. For example “slithy” comes from “slimy” and “lithe”.

41 Like some aprons or reputations : STAINED

In Old French, a “naperon” was a “small table-cloth”. The term was absorbed into English as “napron”, describing a cloth used to cover the front of a person at work. Over time, “a napron” was heard as “an apron”, giving us our contemporary noun “apron”.

42 Info for an airport limo driver : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

43 NaOH, familiarly : LYE

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide (NaOH), although historically the term “lye” was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

44 Cartoon collectibles : CELS

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.

47 Hot drink at a ski resort : TODDY

The word “toddy” has come a long way. Its origins lie in the Hindi word for a palm tree, which is “tar”. The derivative word “tari” was used for palm sap, which came into English as “tarrie”, then “taddy” and “toddy”, all of which described an alcoholic drink made from fermented palm sap. That was back around 1600. Late in the 18th century, the palm sap drink called “toddy” had morphed into meaning any alcoholic drink made with liquor, hot water, sugar and spices.

49 Entrance divided in half horizontally : DUTCH DOOR

A Dutch door has a top and a bottom equally divided in area. There is a suggestion that the term “go Dutch” originated with the Dutch door. The bill is “split”, and so are Dutch doors. That said, when people “go Dutch” they each pay for themselves, as opposed to even splitting the tab.

58 Board game played on a big hexagram : CHINESE CHECKERS

The board game known as Chinese Checkers has nothing to do with checkers, nor anything to do with China. It was invented in Germany in 1892, under the name “Stern-Halma”. The Chinese Checkers moniker was the creation of the Pressman Company which purchased the rights to the game in the US in 1928.

62 Map with elevation lines, in brief : TOPO

A topographic map is one that illustrates land relief, the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the terrain. Typically, this is done using contour lines that show the steepness of slopes.

63 Explorer Marco : POLO

Marco

66 Old dagger : SNEE

A “snee” is a type of dagger formerly used by Scottish highlanders.

67 Tip of a shoelace : AGLET

An aglet is a plastic or metal sheath that is found on the end of a shoelace or perhaps a drawstring. The name “aglet” comes from the Old French word “aiguillette” meaning “needle”.

Down

1 Font flourish : SERIF

Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif, using the French word “sans” meaning “without” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

2 Egyptian king of the gods : AMUN-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).

4 “___ boom bah!” : SIS

Apparently, “Sis boom bah” is a popular cheer in American high schools and colleges (I didn’t know that!). The term was also used by Johnny Carson when he was playing the character Carnac the Magnificent.

5 “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” boxer : ALI

Muhammad Ali first used his famous catchphrase “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” before his world title fight against Sonny Liston in 1964. Back then Ali still went by his birth name of Cassius Clay.

6 Canada’s oldest national park : BANFF

Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is located high in the Canadian Rockies and is a popular tourist destination. The town of Banff and the surrounding park were given their name in 1884 by then president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, George Stephen. He named Banff for his birthplace of Banffshire in Scotland.

10 “Goodnight, ___” (classic song) : IRENE

“Goodnight, Irene”, also known as “Irene, Goodnight”, is a lovely American folk song that was first recorded commercially back in 1932 by blues singer Lead Belly. The song made it to number one in the charts for the Weavers in 1950 and for Frank Sinatra in the same year.

11 Decisive defeat : WATERLOO

Waterloo is a small municipality in Belgium. The name “Waterloo” originated with the Dutch and is probably an anglicization of a Dutch word meaning “wet clearing in a forest”. The town is famous for the Battle of Waterloo that took place nearby in 1815. Said battle was fought between the Imperial French army led by Emperor Napoleon, and an Anglo-Allied army led by Irish-born British Field Marshal, the Duke of Wellington. Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo led to his abdication and the restoration of King Louis XVIII to the throne of France. Bonaparte was exiled to the British-owned island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died in 1821. Such is the fame of the battle that the term “Waterloo” is used figuratively today for any decisive or crushing defeat.

18 Volcanic pollutant : ASH

Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.

19 Rock’s ___ Bizkit : LIMP

Limp Bizkit is described as a nu metal band, with “nu metal” being a subgenre of “heavy metal”. Limp Bizkit has been around since 1994, and that’s all I know …

24 Nobelist Bohr with a 32-Across named for him : NIELS

Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who won his 1922 Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics and atomic structure. Later in his life, Bohr was part of the team working on the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bomb. Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein had a series of public debates and disputes in the twenties and thirties. Although the two respected each other very highly, they held very different views on quantum theory, different views on the laws of physics at the atomic level. The passage of time has shown that Bohr won out in those debates.

25 San Diego’s state, informally : CALI

The name of the California city of San Diego dates back to 1602, when Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno named the area after the Catholic Saint Didacus. Saint Didacus was more commonly referred to as San Diego de Alcalá.

26 One-named Greek New Age musician : YANNI

Yanni is a remarkable Greek musician who is very successful in the world of New Age music. What I find so remarkable is that he is a self-taught musician. Yanni was born Yiannis Chryssomallis in Kalamata, Greece and moved to the US in 1972 to attend the University of Minnesota.

30 Obsessive fan, in slang : STAN

“Stan” is a song by rapper Eminem (featuring Dido) that was recorded in 2000. The title refers to a fictional Eminem fan named “Stan” who becomes obsessed with the rapper, and who grows irate when his letters to his idol go unanswered. Stan’s final act is to make a voice recording as he drives into a river, with his pregnant girlfriend locked in the trunk. One of the legacies of the song is that “stan” is now used as a slang term for an obsessed and maniacal fan.

33 Etail site for handmade goods : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

35 Most common answer in New York Times crosswords (more than 6% of all puzzles) : ERA

Arthur Wynne is generally credited with the invention of what we now know as a crossword puzzle. Wynne was born in Liverpool, England and emigrated to the US when he was 19-years-old. He worked as a journalist and was living in Cedar Grove, New Jersey in 1913 when he introduced a “Word-Cross Puzzle” in his page of puzzles written for the “New York World”. The first book of crossword puzzles was published by Shuster & Shuster, in 1924. The collection of puzzles was a huge hit, and crosswords were elevated to the level of “a craze” in 1924 and 1925.

38 Weapon in the original Clue : LEAD PIPE

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 …

39 Support for a PC : TECH

The original IBM Personal Computer is model number 5150, which was introduced to the world on August 12, 1981. The term “personal computer” was already in use, but the success of the IBM 5150 led to the term “PC” being used for all computer products compatible with the IBM platform.

43 U-shaped stringed instrument : LYRE

The lyre is a stringed instrument that is most closely associated with ancient Greece, and with the gods Hermes and Apollo in particular. According to myth, Hermes slaughtered a cow from a sacred herd belonging to Apollo and offered it to the gods but kept the entrails. Hermes used the entrails to make strings that he stretched across the shell of a tortoise, creating the first lyre. Apollo liked the sound from the lyre and agreed to accept it as a trade for his herd of cattle.

45 World’s largest cosmetics company : L’OREAL

L’Oréal is a French cosmetics company, the largest cosmetics and beauty company in the world. Here in the US, L’Oréal runs a “Women of Worth” program that honors women who volunteer in their communities. The phrase “Women of Worth” underlines the longstanding L’Oréal slogan “Because I’m worth it”, which evolved into “Because you’re worth it” and eventually “Because we’re worth it”.

50 “I give!” : UNCLE!

To say uncle is to submit or yield. This peculiarly American use of “uncle” dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

51 Lake on 25-Down’s border : TAHOE
(25D San Diego’s state, informally : CALI)

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. It is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general behind the five Great Lakes. Tahoe is also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

52 Revolutionary Guevara : CHE

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

55 768 of them make a gal. : TSPS

Teaspoon (tsp.)

59 Long, long time : EON

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

60 Many an I.R.S. employee : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Dip for chips : SALSA
6 Epitome of redness : BEET
10 ___ Jima (1945 battle site) : IWO
13 The first one was sent in 1971 : EMAIL
14 Shape for an eyebrow or rainbow : ARCH
15 Captivated : RAPT
17 Game that has only a single round : RUSSIAN ROULETTE
20 Connections : INS
21 Bay Area airport code : SFO
22 Not get take-out : DINE IN
23 Single item seemingly always found at the bottom of a McDonald’s bag : FRENCH FRY
27 Sales at concerts or games, informally : MERCH
28 Region traveled by 63-Across : ASIA
29 Nile biter : ASP
31 “Kill Bill” actress Lucy : LIU
32 One of more than 115 on a table : ELEMENT
36 Dinghy or dory : BOAT
37 Portmanteau coinage describing this puzzle’s theme : ALLITERNATION
40 Club charges : DUES
41 Like some aprons or reputations : STAINED
42 Info for an airport limo driver : ETA
43 NaOH, familiarly : LYE
44 Cartoon collectibles : CELS
47 Hot drink at a ski resort : TODDY
49 Entrance divided in half horizontally : DUTCH DOOR
54 Counter-Strike or League of Legends : E-SPORT
56 “Thanks, but I’m good” : NAH
57 Regret : RUE
58 Board game played on a big hexagram : CHINESE CHECKERS
62 Map with elevation lines, in brief : TOPO
63 Explorer Marco : POLO
64 Informal goodbye : PEACE
65 For each : PER
66 Old dagger : SNEE
67 Tip of a shoelace : AGLET

Down

1 Font flourish : SERIF
2 Egyptian king of the gods : AMUN-RA
3 Scottish girls : LASSES
4 “___ boom bah!” : SIS
5 “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” boxer : ALI
6 Canada’s oldest national park : BANFF
7 Cause for a correction : ERROR
8 Prefix with tourism : ECO-
9 A bad joke might go over with one : THUD
10 “Goodnight, ___” (classic song) : IRENE
11 Decisive defeat : WATERLOO
12 Professional you might need to see? : OPTICIAN
16 Drill sergeant’s shout : TEN-HUT!
18 Volcanic pollutant : ASH
19 Rock’s ___ Bizkit : LIMP
24 Nobelist Bohr with a 32-Across named for him : NIELS
25 San Diego’s state, informally : CALI
26 One-named Greek New Age musician : YANNI
30 Obsessive fan, in slang : STAN
33 Etail site for handmade goods : ETSY
34 Doled (out) : METED
35 Most common answer in New York Times crosswords (more than 6% of all puzzles) : ERA
36 ___ one’s time (waited) : BIDED
37 Where model workers can be found? : AUTO SHOP
38 Weapon in the original Clue : LEAD PIPE
39 Support for a PC : TECH
40 Pick up on : DETECT
43 U-shaped stringed instrument : LYRE
45 World’s largest cosmetics company : L’OREAL
46 Listing in a footnote : SOURCE
48 Name on a building wing, perhaps : DONOR
50 “I give!” : UNCLE!
51 Lake on 25-Down’s border : TAHOE
52 Revolutionary Guevara : CHE
53 Button at a bowling alley : RESET
55 768 of them make a gal. : TSPS
59 Long, long time : EON
60 Many an I.R.S. employee : CPA
61 Container with a pump : KEG

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