1220-21 NY Times Crossword 20 Dec 21, Monday

Constructed by: Anne Rowley
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Common Thread

Themed answers have in COMMON a starting word associated with THREAD:

  • 54A What ties everything together, including 20-, 32- and 42-Across? : COMMON THREAD
  • 20A Prompt action when things are unraveling : STITCH IN TIME
  • 32A Beat around the bush : HEM AND HAW
  • 42A “Oh, blast!” : DARN IT ALL!

Bill’s time: 5m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Actress Raquel : WELCH

Actress Raquel Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago. Her first major role was in the 1966 sci-fi movie “Fantastic Voyage” (fantastic film!).

10 ___-retentive : ANAL

The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

14 Nebraska city nicknamed the “Gateway to the West” : OMAHA

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River. When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

22 Number of provinces in Canada : TEN

Canada comprises ten provinces and three territories. The three territories lie to the north of the country, and are Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Territories differ from provinces in that they only have governmental powers that are delegated to them by the federal government, whereas the provinces have constitutional powers in their own right.

24 Rear end, in slang : TUSHIE

“Tush”, a word meaning “backside”, is an abbreviation of “tochus” that comes from the Yiddish “tokhes”.

32 Beat around the bush : HEM AND HAW

To beat around the bush is to prevaricate, to avoid coming to the point. The phrase originated with bird hunting in which locals were employed by the aristocratic hunters to beat the bushes, rousing the birds so that they could be shot as they flew off. So, beating around the bush was a preamble to the slaughter, in a sense a prevarication before getting to the main event.

40 “The ___ Duckling” (fairy tale) : UGLY

Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Ugly Duckling” has to be one of the most endearing ever written. Unlike so many fairy tales, “The Ugly Duckling” isn’t based on any folklore and is simply a product of Andersen’s imagination. It is speculated that Andersen was the illegitimate son of the Crown Prince of Denmark, and that he wrote the story of the ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan as a metaphor for the secret royal lineage that was within Andersen himself.

44 One of three in Orion’s belt : STAR

A subset of three particularly bright stars in the constellation of Orion is named “Orion’s Belt”. The three bright stars sit almost in a straight line and are about equidistant. They’re usually the easiest way to spot the constellation of Orion in the night sky.

48 Prefix meaning “different” : HETERO-

The prefix “hetero-” comes from the Greek “heteros” meaning “different, other”.

50 “A work of ___ that did not begin in emotion is not ___”: Cézanne : ART

Paul Cézanne was a post-impressionist artist who was born and worked in the beautiful city of Aix-en-Provence in the South of France. Cézanne has the reputation of being the artist who bridged the late 19th century Impressionist movement with the early 20th century Cubist movement. Both Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso are quoted as saying that Cézanne “is the father of us all”.

51 Letter before chi : PHI

Phi is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

62 The “h” in m.p.h. : HOUR

Miles per hour (mph)

63 Brewed beverages in bottles : ALES

The many, many different styles of beer can generally be sorted into two groups: ales and lagers. Ales are fermented at relatively warm temperatures for relatively short periods of time, and use top-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that float on top of the beer as it ferments. Lagers ferment at relatively low temperatures and for relatively long periods of time. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that fall to the bottom of the beer as it ferments.

64 Fauna’s partner : FLORA

The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

65 Piece with a view : OP-ED

“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.

67 Annual theater awards : TONYS

The Tony Awards are more completely referred to as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Broadway Theatre. The awards are named for Mary Antoinette “Tony” Perry, who was a co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

Down

4 Chew the fat : CHAT

Back in the day, a wealthy person would “bring home the bacon”, and sit around with guests “chewing the fat”.

6 Title girl in a bygone MTV cartoon : DARIA

“Daria” is an animated television show on MTV. It is a spin-off from the hit series “Beavis and Butthead”.

7 “You said it!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

9 Pumpkin seed : PEPITA

Pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas, from the Mexican Spanish term “pepita de calabaza” meaning “little seed of squash”.

19 Outback bird : EMU

Even though emu meat is classified as a red meat because of its color, it has a fat content that is comparable to other poultry.

In Australia, the land outside of urban areas is referred to as the outback or the bush. That said, I think that the term “outback” is sometimes reserved for the more remote parts of the bush.

25 Andrew Wyeth portrait subject : HELGA

Andrew Wyeth was known as a realist painter and “the painter of the people” in recognition of his popularity with the man in the street. His neighbor, Helga Testorf, posed for a total of 247 paintings over a 14 year period, a series known as “The Helga Pictures”. The remarkable thing is that neither Wyeth’s wife nor Testorf’s husband knew anything about the portrait sessions or the paintings.

27 Antiknock fluid : ETHYL

The Ethyl Corporation produced the controversial anti-knock fuel additive known as Ethyl (tetra-ethyl lead), and we are still with the consequences.

The difference between a premium and regular gasoline is its octane rating. The octane rating is a measure of the resistance of the gasoline to auto-ignition i.e. its resistance to ignition just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. If ignition occurs before the spark is created, the resulting phenomenon is called “knocking”. We sometimes use the adjective “high-octane” to mean “intense, dynamic, high-powered”

30 Wide-mouthed jug : EWER

A pitcher is a container for liquid that has a handle, mouth and spout. The term “jug” is used for the same container in other English-speaking countries. “Ewer” is an older term describing a pitcher/jug. Today, a ewer is a highly decorative pitcher, often with a base and flared spout.

35 Host Kotb of morning TV : HODA

Hoda Kotb is an Egyptian-American television journalist who is perhaps best known as a co-host of the NBC morning show “Today”. She is also the author of the bestselling autobiography “Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee”.

39 Sound from a pug : SNORT

The pug is a dog breed of Chinese origin. Our current family pet is a boxer/pug cross, and is a good-looking mutt!

40 Salt Lake City athlete : UTE

The Utah Utes are the athletic teams of the University of Utah.

Salt Lake City (SLC) was founded by Brigham Young, in 1847. The city takes its name from the Great Salt Lake on which it sits, and indeed was known as “Great Salt Lake City” up until 1868.

43 Goal of phishing schemes, informally : ID THEFT

Phishing is the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PINs, etc.”

46 Outback animal : WOMBAT

Wombats are marsupials that are native to Australia. Apparently, wombats are often mocked in their native land, as they are viewed as fat, slow, lazy animals. The “unofficial” mascot of the 2000 Sydney Olympics was “Fatso the Fat-A***ed Wombat”.

49 Burgle : ROB

The crime of burglary is the breaking into and entering of a building with the intent to steal. The actual theft itself is a separate crime.

51 The Evita of “Evita” : PERON

Eva Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón who was in office from 1946 to 1955. The Argentine First Lady was known affectionately by the people as “Evita”, the Spanish language diminutive of “Eva”. “Evita” is also the title of a tremendously successful musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice that is based on the life of Eva Perón.

55 One of about 93 million between Earth and the sun : MILE

Sol was the Roman god personifying the Sun. For centuries, English astronomers have used the name “Sol” for our sun, to distinguish it from suns in other planetary systems.

57 Move, in real estate lingo : RELO

Relocate (relo)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Actress Raquel : WELCH
6 Slightly wet : DAMP
10 ___-retentive : ANAL
14 Nebraska city nicknamed the “Gateway to the West” : OMAHA
15 Female French friend : AMIE
16 It’s good for what ails you : CURE
17 Prince or princess : ROYAL
18 Held in high esteem : RESPECTED
20 Prompt action when things are unraveling : STITCH IN TIME
22 Number of provinces in Canada : TEN
23 Nay’s opposite : YEA
24 Rear end, in slang : TUSHIE
28 Ground-breaking tool : HOE
29 Watery expanse : SEA
31 In the mail : SENT
32 Beat around the bush : HEM AND HAW
36 “Well, ___-di-dah!” : LAH
37 Cry of pity : ALAS!
38 Shoe bottoms : SOLES
40 “The ___ Duckling” (fairy tale) : UGLY
41 Relieved (of) : RID
42 “Oh, blast!” : DARN IT ALL!
44 One of three in Orion’s belt : STAR
46 Bundle of money : WAD
47 Poetic praise : ODE
48 Prefix meaning “different” : HETERO-
50 “A work of ___ that did not begin in emotion is not ___”: Cézanne : ART
51 Letter before chi : PHI
54 What ties everything together, including 20-, 32- and 42-Across? : COMMON THREAD
58 Pulsating : THROBBING
61 Like coincidences that make you go “hmm” : EERIE
62 The “h” in m.p.h. : HOUR
63 Brewed beverages in bottles : ALES
64 Fauna’s partner : FLORA
65 Piece with a view : OP-ED
66 Exam : TEST
67 Annual theater awards : TONYS

Down

1 Lowest of the low : WORST
2 Act poorly? : EMOTE
3 Stockpile : LAY IN
4 Chew the fat : CHAT
5 Like the good old days : HALCYON
6 Title girl in a bygone MTV cartoon : DARIA
7 “You said it!” : AMEN!
8 Fine spray : MIST
9 Pumpkin seed : PEPITA
10 Means of entry : ACCESS
11 Hexagonal bit of hardware : NUT
12 “___ we cool?” : ARE
13 Was in first place : LED
19 Outback bird : EMU
21 Obeys : HEEDS
25 Andrew Wyeth portrait subject : HELGA
26 Counting everything together : IN ALL
27 Antiknock fluid : ETHYL
28 Contains : HAS
29 One getting dressed for lunch? : SALAD
30 Wide-mouthed jug : EWER
32 Caustic : HARSH
33 Of the highest standard : ELITE
34 Angry with : MAD AT
35 Host Kotb of morning TV : HODA
39 Sound from a pug : SNORT
40 Salt Lake City athlete : UTE
43 Goal of phishing schemes, informally : ID THEFT
45 “Let the ___ show …” : RECORD
46 Outback animal : WOMBAT
49 Burgle : ROB
50 Frequent teenage sensation : ANGST
51 The Evita of “Evita” : PERON
52 Opposite of clean-shaven : HAIRY
53 They’re symbolized by light bulbs in cartoons : IDEAS
55 One of about 93 million between Earth and the sun : MILE
56 Change for a five : ONES
57 Move, in real estate lingo : RELO
58 Howe’er : THO’
59 You might do it after stubbing a toe : HOP
60 Feel sorry about : RUE

6 thoughts on “1220-21 NY Times Crossword 20 Dec 21, Monday”

  1. PEPITA and HALCYON on a Monday? Hmmmm

    And Wyeth painted HELGA 245 times over a 14 year period and no physical attraction? (” I did not have se.ual relations with that woman!!”)
    Hmmmmmmm

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