0105-22 NY Times Crossword 5 Jan 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Damon J. Gulczynski
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): Optimist & Pessimist

Themed answers in the across-direction are associated with OPTIMISM, and in the down-direction with PESSIMISM. Also, the themed answers come in pairs that cross each other in the grid:

  • 54A One who identifies with the answers to the starred Across clues : OPTIMIST
  • 36D One who identifies with the answers to the starred Down clues : PESSIMIST
  • 9A *One of two extremes in a saying : FEAST
  • 9D *One of two extremes in a saying : FAMINE (from “feast or famine”)
  • 20A *Description of a glass, maybe : HALF FULL
  • 4D *Description of a glass, maybe : HALF EMPTY (from “half full or half empty”)
  • 38A *Word in a classic Tolstoy title : PEACE
  • 35D *Word in a classic Tolstoy title : WAR (from “War and Peace”)
  • 62A *Certain forecast : SHINE
  • 53D *Certain forecast : RAIN (from “come rain or come shine”)

Bill’s time: 12m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Screenwriter Ben who wrote “Angels Over Broadway” : HECHT

Ben Hecht had many jobs in Hollywood, but mainly is remembered as a screenwriter. Hecht earned the nickname “the Shakespeare of Hollywood” largely due to the large number of screen credits he received, getting writing credit for about seventy films. Included in the list of screenplays he worked on are “The Front Page”, “Some Like It Hot”, “Gone with the Wind” and “A Farewell to Arms”.

16 Grace’s last name on “Will & Grace” : ADLER

Debra Messing is most famous for playing Grace Adler on the television series “Will & Grace”.

17 Directive before “You’re on ‘Candid Camera'” : SMILE

The hidden-camera prank show called “Candid Camera” was created and produced by Allen Funt, and first aired on television in 1948. The show actually started as “Candid Microphone”, a radio series that was broadcast from 1947 until it was eclipsed by the television version.

18 Medium at Madame Tussauds : WAX

Marie Tussaud was a wax sculptor from France. Some of her early work was very gruesome as she lived through the French Revolution. She would take the decapitated heads of executed citizens and use them to make death masks which were then paraded through the streets. She eventually moved to London, taking with her a vast collection of wax models made by her and her father. She opened a museum to display the works, and Madame Tussauds wax museum is a major attraction in the city to this day.

24 Lion-colored : TAWNY

Something described as tawny is yellow-brown or tan in color. The term comes from the Anglo-French “tauné” meaning “the color of tanned leather”.

31 Kind of state : ZEN

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

34 Fuss : HOOPLA

The word “hoopla” means “boisterous excitement”. The term probably comes from “houp-là”, something the French say instead of “upsy-daisy”. Then again, “upsy-daisy” probably isn’t something said very often here in the US …

35 ___ Jiabao, 2003-13 premier of China : WEN

Wen Jiabao served as Premier of China from 2003 until 2013. The role of Premier of China is like that of prime minister in some other countries. The President of China serves as head of state.

36 Kind of stick : POGO

What we know today as a pogo stick was invented in Germany by Max Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall. The name “pogo” comes from the first two letters in each of the inventors’ family names: Po-hlig and Go-ttschall.

40 Thus : ERGO

“Ergo” is a Latin word meaning “hence, therefore”, and one that we absorbed directly into English.

42 Number it’s good to be under : PAR

That would be golf …

43 Home of the Vasco da Gama Bridge, over 7.5 miles long : LISBON

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. It is the westernmost capital city in Europe, and indeed is the westernmost large city on the continent. Lisbon is also the oldest city in Western Europe, and was founded hundreds of years before London, Paris and Rome.

Vasco da Gama left on his first voyage of discovery in 1497. da Gama journeyed around the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa, and across the Indian Ocean making landfall in India. Landing in India, his fleet became the first expedition to sail directly from Europe to the sub-continent. Vasco da Gama was well known for acts of cruelty, especially on local inhabitants. One of his milder atrocities was inflicted on a priest whom he labeled as a spy. He had the priest’s lips and ears cut off, and sent him on his way after having a pair of dog’s ears sewn onto his head.

45 “___ sells seashells by the seashore” : SHE

She sells seashells on the seashore.
The shells she sells are seashells, I’m sure.
For if she sells seashells on the seashore
Then I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

50 Grade sch. subject : SCI

Science (sci.)

51 Italian cheese city : PARMA

Parma is a city in northern Italy that is famous for its ham (prosciutto) and cheese (parmesan). The adjective “Parmesan” means “of or from Parma”.

59 Carrier name until 1997 : USAIR

From 1953, what we recently referred to as US Airways was called Allegheny Airlines. In the seventies, customers became very dissatisfied with the company’s service levels as it struggled to manage a rapid expansion in its number of flights. These problems earned the airline the nickname “Agony Air”. Allegheny tried to leave the “agony” behind in 1979 and changed its name to USAir, but commuters then just used the nickname “Unfortunately Still Allegheny”. The name was changed again, in 1997, to US Airways. US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2013, and the “US Airways” brand name was gradually replaced with “American Airlines”.

60 Aduba of “Mrs. America” : UZO

Uzo Aduba is an actress best known for playing prison inmate Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix TV show “Orange Is the New Black”.

61 Certain church gift : TITHE

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

65 Church council : SYNOD

The word “synod” comes from the Greek word for “assembly, meeting”. A synod is a church council, usually one in the Christian faith.

66 Face cards, for short? : IDS

Identity document (ID)

67 Ocular woes : STYES

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

Down

1 This-and-that dish : HASH

Hash, beef and vegetables mashed together, is a very American dish and one that really surprised me when I first came across it. “Hash” just seems like such an unappetizing item, but I soon found out how delicious it was. The name “hash” in this context comes from the French “hacher” meaning “to chop”. Back in the early 1900s the dish called “hashed browned potatoes” was developed, which quickly morphed into “hash browns”. From there the likes of corned beef hash was introduced.

2 Humorist Bombeck : ERMA

Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years. She produced more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns under the title “At Wit’s End”, with all describing her home life in suburbia.

5 Girl Scout emblem : TREFOIL

A trefoil is a symbol that appears like a trifoliate leaf, a leaf with three leaf-like parts.

10 Enlighten : EDIFY

To edify is to provide instruction in order to improve spiritually, morally or intellectually. The intent is to “build up” someone’s faith or morality, and so “edify” comes from the Latin “aedificare” meaning “to build, construct”. This Latin root also gives us our word “edifice”, meaning “massive building”.

11 Oct. contest for a pennant : ALCS

American League Championship Series (ALCS)

12 Word sung twice after “Que” : SERA

The 1956 song “Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” was first performed by Doris Day in the Hitchcock film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”. Day later used the same tune as the theme song for the sitcom “The Doris Day Show” that aired in the late sixties and early seventies.

13 Ancient siege site : TROY

The story of the Wooden Horse of Troy is told in Virgil’s poem “The Aeneid”. According to the tale, the city of Troy finally fell to Greeks after a siege that had lasted for ten years. In a ruse, the Greeks sailed away in apparent defeat, leaving behind a large wooden horse. Inside the horse were hidden 30 crack soldiers. When the horse was dragged into the city as a victory trophy, the soldiers sneaked out and opened the city’s gates. The Greeks returned under cover of night and entered the open city.

25 Eldest of the Baldwin brothers : ALEC

The four acting Baldwin brothers are:

  • Alec Baldwin (b. 1958)
  • Daniel Baldwin (b. 1960)
  • William “Billy” Baldwin (b. 1963)
  • Stephen Baldwin (b. 1966)

26 Sommelier’s handout : WINE LIST

“Sommelier” is the French word for “wine steward”. If that steward is a female, then the term used in French is “sommelière”.

27 The mating game? : CHESS

In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be “in check”. If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in “checkmate” and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce “check!”) so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn’t occur.

29 Wavy fabric pattern : MOIRE

A moiré pattern is a phenomenon in physics, a so-called interference pattern. If you lay two sheets of mesh over each other for example, slightly offset, then what you see is a moiré pattern. “Moiré” is the French name for a textile that we know simply as “moire”. The rippled pattern of the textile resembles that of the interference pattern.

31 “The Greek” of film : ZORBA

The film “Zorba the Greek” and the musical “Zorba” are adaptations of the 1952 novel “Zorba the Greek” by Nikos Kazantzakis. The 1964 film version stars Anthony Quinn in the title role, and Alan Bates. The movie is set and was filmed on location on the island of Crete, the home of author Kazantzakis.

32 Goad : EGG ON

The verb “to edge” has been used to mean to incite, to urge on, from the 16th century. Somewhere along the way “edge” was mistakenly replaced with “egg”, giving us our term “to egg on” meaning “to goad”.

33 Nary a soul : NO ONE

The adjective “nary” means “not one”, as in “nary a soul” or even “nary a one”.

35 *Word in a classic Tolstoy title : WAR
(38A *Word in a classic Tolstoy title : PEACE)

I have to confess that I have tried to read Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” twice in my life, and failed both times (it is l-o-n-g; 1,225 pages in the first published edition). Even though the 1956 movie adaptation runs for 3 1/2 hours, it’s still the easy way out! The film version stars Audrey Hepburn as Natasha Rostova and Henry Fonda as Count Pierre Bezukhov.

48 ___ acid : AMINO

Amino acids are essential to life in many ways, not least of which is their use as the building blocks of proteins. Nine amino acids are considered “essential” for humans. These nine must be included in the diet as they cannot be synthesized in the body.

49 Moved like molasses : OOZED

When sugar cane is processed to extract sugar, it is crushed and mashed to produce a juice. The juice is boiled to make a sugary concentrate called cane syrup, from which sugar crystals are extracted. A second boiling of the leftover syrup produces second molasses, from which more sugar crystals can be extracted. A third boiling results in what is called blackstrap molasses.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Screenwriter Ben who wrote “Angels Over Broadway” : HECHT
6 “Wanna ___?” : BET
9 *One of two extremes in a saying : FEAST
14 Loud, as a crowd : AROAR
15 Firefighter’s tool : AXE
16 Grace’s last name on “Will & Grace” : ADLER
17 Directive before “You’re on ‘Candid Camera'” : SMILE
18 Medium at Madame Tussauds : WAX
19 Prefix with aggression : MICRO-
20 *Description of a glass, maybe : HALF FULL
22 “Suppose …” : IF SAY …
23 Long, long time : EON
24 Lion-colored : TAWNY
27 Perpetrate, as a crime : COMMIT
30 “Thanks, it’s just what I’ve always wanted,” often : LIE
31 Kind of state : ZEN
34 Fuss : HOOPLA
35 ___ Jiabao, 2003-13 premier of China : WEN
36 Kind of stick : POGO
37 Put out : EMIT
38 *Word in a classic Tolstoy title : PEACE
40 Thus : ERGO
41 Moving well for one’s age : SPRY
42 Number it’s good to be under : PAR
43 Home of the Vasco da Gama Bridge, over 7.5 miles long : LISBON
45 “___ sells seashells by the seashore” : SHE
46 Finalized : SET
47 Not at all reasonable : INSANE
48 Thus : AND SO
50 Grade sch. subject : SCI
51 Italian cheese city : PARMA
54 One who identifies with the answers to the starred Across clues : OPTIMIST
59 Carrier name until 1997 : USAIR
60 Aduba of “Mrs. America” : UZO
61 Certain church gift : TITHE
62 *Certain forecast : SHINE
63 After tax : NET
64 These: Sp. : ESTOS
65 Church council : SYNOD
66 Face cards, for short? : IDS
67 Ocular woes : STYES

Down

1 This-and-that dish : HASH
2 Humorist Bombeck : ERMA
3 Helix : COIL
4 *Description of a glass, maybe : HALF EMPTY
5 Girl Scout emblem : TREFOIL
6 Cry like a baby : BAWL
7 Lift up : EXALT
8 Nickname for a wrangler : TEX
9 *One of two extremes in a saying : FAMINE
10 Enlighten : EDIFY
11 Oct. contest for a pennant : ALCS
12 Word sung twice after “Que” : SERA
13 Ancient siege site : TROY
21 Not being utilized, say : UNTAPPED
25 Eldest of the Baldwin brothers : ALEC
26 Sommelier’s handout : WINE LIST
27 The mating game? : CHESS
28 Energy, informally : OOMPH
29 Wavy fabric pattern : MOIRE
31 “The Greek” of film : ZORBA
32 Goad : EGG ON
33 Nary a soul : NO ONE
35 *Word in a classic Tolstoy title : WAR
36 One who identifies with the answers to the starred Down clues : PESSIMIST
39 Grub : EATS
44 Stirs up : INCITES
46 Caught in a trap : SNARED
48 ___ acid : AMINO
49 Moved like molasses : OOZED
51 Kisser : PUSS
52 Cinder-covered : ASHY
53 *Certain forecast : RAIN
55 Some kitchenware : POTS
56 Teeny-tiny : ITTY
57 Place for a lace : SHOE
58 ___ Gerritsen, author of romantic thrillers : TESS
60 Place of higher education, to Brits : UNI

9 thoughts on “0105-22 NY Times Crossword 5 Jan 22, Wednesday”

  1. 8:39 Clever idea to have all the optimist / pessimist themes cross each other.

    @Bill – you have Wednesday’s explanations, but Tuesday’s grid posted.

  2. 7:40, no errors, and I think I’ll refrain from pointing out that the grid shown up above is the one from yesterday … 😜.

  3. Apologies, everyone, for posting the wrong grid last night. I will put it down to exhaustion from having family with us for the past week. Young people … 🙂

  4. Official DNF. NE corner was going nowhere. Never saw Will and Grace, couldn’t conjure up the 2 extremes from what little I had. Embarrassing for a mid week….

  5. 11:27. I don’t even remember NOT doing this puzzle on time last week. That’s how busy I’ve been lately. But a fun theme and impressive idea/construction.

    I’ve plugged this here before, but there is a great documentary called “Somm” that chronicles 4 people’s pursuit of receiving the title of master sommelier – of which there have only been about 250 in the world. Fascinating film even if you aren’t that interested in wine. I think you can catch it free on Hulu these days.

    Best –

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