0126-22 NY Times Crossword 26 Jan 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Michael Schlossberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): See Here!

Themed answers give us an appropriate message, given that circled letters in the grid remind us the upper part of a Snellen EYE TEST chart:

  • 17A First part of a message suggested by this puzzle’s circled letters : CONGRATULATIONS …
  • 28A Second part of the message : … ON PASSING YOUR …
  • 47A Last part of the message : … EYE TEST

Bill’s time: 8m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Lettuce often used in lettuce wraps : BIBB

Bibb is a variety of lettuce in the cultivar known as butterhead. All butterhead varieties have loose-leafed heads and a buttery texture.

5 Guest essays : OP-EDS

“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.

10 Major oil acronym : OPEC

The OPEC cartel was formally established in 1960 and has been headquartered in Vienna since 1965. The US is actually the third largest oil producer in the world (after Russia and Saudi Arabia). One reason America isn’t in OPEC, even though we are a big producer, is that we import a lot more than we export. But we all probably knew that already …

14 Blend of black tea, honey, spices and milk : CHAI

Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.

15 Packed, like a ship with cargo : LADEN

Cargo is freight carried by some vehicle. The term “cargo” comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.

16 Language of Pakistan : URDU

Urdu is one of the two official languages of Pakistan (the other being English), and is one of the 22 scheduled languages in India. Urdu partly developed from Persian and is written from right to left.

17 First part of a message suggested by this puzzle’s circled letters : CONGRATULATIONS …
28 Second part of the message : … ON PASSING YOUR …
47 Last part of the message : … EYE TEST

The commonly used eye chart (that starts with the letters “E FP TOZ LPED”) is called a Snellen chart. The test is named after its developer Herman Snellen, who introduced it way back in 1862.

22 Wall St. debut : IPO

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

24 One with a venomous bite : 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.

26 Many a Jul. 4 party : BBQ

It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

On 11 June 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee of five people to draft a declaration of independence. Included in the five were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adams persuaded the other committee members to give Jefferson the task of writing the first draft. A resolution of independence was passed by the Congress on 2 July 1776. The final draft of the declaration was approved by the Congress two days later, on July 4th. John Adams wrote a letter to his wife that included an assertion that July 2nd (the date of the resolution of independence) would become a great American holiday. Of course Adams was wrong, and it was actually the date the Declaration of Independence was finalized that came to be celebrated annually.

36 Old Toyota coupe : PASEO

The Paseo is a compact car sold in the US by Toyota from 1991 to 1997. “Paseo” is Spanish for “walk, stroll”.

The type of car known as a “coupe” or “coupé” is a closed automobile with two doors. The name comes from the French word “couper” meaning “to cut”. In most parts of the English-speaking world the pronunciation adheres to the original French, but here in most of North America we go with “coop”. The original coupé was a horse-drawn carriage that was cut (coupé) to eliminate the rear-facing passenger seats. That left just a driver and two front-facing passengers. If the driver was left without a roof and out in the open, then the carriage was known as a “coupé de-ville”.

39 “The Simpsons” prankster : BART

On the animated TV comedy “The Simpsons”, Bart likes to prank-call Moe’s Tavern. Bart asks Moe to “page” someone in the bar using a fictitious name, a name which sounds like a rude phrase when called out loud. This running joke on “The Simpsons” is a homage to a series of legendary calls made in real life to the Tube Bar in Jersey City by John Elmo and Jim Davidson that were taped and circulated widely in the mid-seventies. Some of the milder names used in the original prank calls were:

  • Al Cholic (alcoholic)
  • Cole Kutz (cold cuts)
  • Sal Lammy (salami)
  • Anita Bath (I need a bath)

40 Root beer treat : FLOAT

Root beer is a beverage that is very North American, and is rarely found elsewhere in the world. Root beer originated in the 1700s and was made from the root of the sassafras plant. The traditional root beer was a beverage with a very low alcohol content, and today there are many versions that contain no alcohol at all. The sassafras root was used as the primary flavor ingredient right up until 1960, when the FDA banned its use as tests determined that it was a carcinogen.

41 Z, in Athens : ZETA

Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a precursor of our Roman letter Z. The word “zeta” is also the ancestor of the letter name “zed”, which became “zee”, the term that we use here in the US.

Athens is the capital city of Greece and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with a history that goes back around 3,400 years. In its heyday, Classical Athens was a remarkable center for the arts and philosophical debate, and was home to Plato and Aristotle. Athens is often called “the cradle of Western civilization” and “the birthplace of democracy”. The city was named for the Greek goddess Athena.

42 Eldest von Trapp daughter : LIESL

The von Trapps portrayed in the musical “The Sound of Music” were a real family, as is well known. In the musical and film, the eldest daughter is Liesl, although in real life her name was Agathe. Agathe came with her family to the US in 1938, and operated a private kindergarten in Baltimore, Maryland for 35 years. Agathe passed away in 2010. Agathe/Liesl was the daughter who was “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”.

44 Minecraft block made from gunpowder and sand : TNT

Minecraft is a video game that was released in 2011. It has been cited as one of the most influential video games of all time.

45 Sega hedgehog : SONIC

Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character in a videogame and the mascot of Sega, the computer game developer. Sonic was set up as a rival to Nintendo’s mascot Mario.

50 Vegan milk source : SOY

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy that are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.

56 Corrects : EMENDS

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

60 Manhattan district : SOHO

The Manhattan neighborhood known today as SoHo was very fashionable in the early 1900s, but as the well-heeled started to move uptown the area became very run down and poorly maintained. Noted for the number of fires that erupted in derelict buildings, SoHo earned the nickname “Hell’s Hundred Acres”. The area was then zoned for manufacturing and became home to many sweatshops. In the mid-1900s artists started to move into open loft spaces and renovating old buildings as the lofts were ideal locations in which an artist could both live and work. In 1968, artists and others organized themselves so that they could legalize their residential use of an area zoned for manufacturing. The group they formed took its name from the name given to the area by the city’s Planning Commission i.e “South of Houston”. This was shortened from So-uth of Ho-uston to SoHo as in “SoHo Artists Association”, and the name stuck.

61 ___ alla vodka : PENNE

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish with a sauce made of vodka, cream, tomatoes, onions and sausage or bacon.

66 Stratford’s river : AVON

Stratford-upon-Avon is a town in the county of Warwickshire in the English midlands. Most famously perhaps, it was the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

68 Actress Hathaway : ANNE

Actress Anne Hathaway is a favorite of mine, I must say. She starred in “The Devil Wears Prada” in 2006 and in 2007’s “Becoming Jane”, a film that I particularly enjoyed. And yes, baby Anne was named after Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare.

69 Parisian papa : PERE

In French, a “père” (father) is a “membre de la famille” (member of the family).

The French capital of Paris is named for the Parisii, a Celtic Iron-Age people that lived in the area on the banks of the River Seine.

71 Chow : FOOD

“Chow” is a slang term for “food” that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.

Down

1 Includes secretly, in a way : BCCS

A blind carbon copy (bcc) is a copy of a document or message that is sent to someone without other recipients of the message knowing about that extra copy.

2 Breakfast chain : IHOP

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests.

3 Sacred Indian plant also called the strangler fig : BANYAN TREE

The banyan is a fig that germinates in cracks and crevices of a host tree and then sends roots down towards the ground. The roots that head down the host give rise to a familiar name for the banyan, namely the strangler fig. The banyan tree is the national tree of India.

4 Ginormous : BIG

“Ginormous” is a melding of the words “gigantic” and “enormous” and, surprisingly to me, one that dates back to about 1948. I thought that the term was far more contemporary …

7 End of a college valedictorian’s address? : EDU

A valediction is an act of taking one’s leave, from the Latin “vale dicere”, to say farewell. An example of a valediction would be the words “yours truly” at the end of a letter. And, the valedictorian (here in the US anyway) is the student in a graduating class that is chosen to say the final words at the graduation ceremony, a farewell to the classmates.

8 Place to nosh on a knish : DELI

A knish is a snack food from Germany and Eastern Europe that was made popular in the US by Jewish immigrants. A knish has a filling, often made of mashed potato and ground meat, covered by a dough that is baked or fried.

10 Paris accord? : OUI

In French, a response on “un questionnaire” (a questionnaire) might be “oui” (yes) or “non” (no).

11 These women “rule” the dance floor : PROM QUEENS

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

12 Poet ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA

Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, and the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”). Millay was noted not only for her work, but also for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon, for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

13 Brink : CUSP

The word “cusp” comes from the Latin “cuspis” meaning “spear, point”. In the world of astrology, a cusp is an imaginary line separating two signs of the zodiac. For example, some whose birthday is between April 16 and April 26 is said to have been born “on the cusp” between the signs Aries and Taurus.

18 Kelly of morning TV : RIPA

When Kelly Ripa secured the co-host spot on morning television with Regis Philbin, she was still acting in “All My Children” in a role she had been playing for over ten years. After a year of holding down two jobs, she eventually gave up the acting gig. Ripa has acted as spokeswoman for several brands over the years, including Electrolux and Rykä.

19 Keith of country music : TOBY

Toby Keith is a country music singer from Clinton, Oklahoma. One of Keith’s number one hits is a 2003 duet with Willie Nelson called “Beer for My Horses”.

27 “Bedtime for ___” : BONZO

“Bedtime for Bonzo” is a 1951 comedy film about a man training a chimpanzee. The man in question is played by future US president Ronald Reagan. After Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, California, Reagan called up Eastwood and asked him, “What’s an actor who once appeared with a monkey in a movie doing in politics?”. Eastwood had appeared with a monkey in the 1978 film “Every Which Way but Loose”.

29 Beach bottle letters : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

30 Like pretzels and winter highways : SALTED

Pretzels originated in Europe and are especially popular in Southern Germany where a pretzel is known as “Brezel”. Pretzels were introduced into the US in the 1800s by immigrants from Germany and Switzerland who came to be known over here as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

43 Fallon’s late-night predecessor : LENO

“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:

  • Steve Allen (1954-57)
  • Jack Paar (1957-62)
  • Johnny Carson (1962–92)
  • Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
  • Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
  • Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)

45 Edible part of asparagus : STEM

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant that is grown mainly for its edible shoots. The shoots must be harvested when they are very young, as they become woody very quickly.

52 After-dinner coffee order : DECAF

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in several plants. The chemical serves as a natural pesticide by paralyzing and killing certain insects that would otherwise feed on the plant. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that is consumed by humans across the world.

55 Avenger with a hammer : THOR

The Avengers are a team of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. The original lineup, which dates back to 1963, consisted of Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the Wasp. Soon after their formation, the Avengers rescued Captain America trapped in ice, and thereafter he joined the team. There is a 2012 movie called “The Avengers” that features Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor.

57 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.

58 Member of the Rat Pack : DINO

“Dean Martin” was the stage name of singer and actor Dino Crocetti. Martin was famous for his numerous hit songs such as “That’s Amore”, “Volare” and “Everybody Loves Somebody”, as well as his film career with Jerry Lewis. Off screen, Martin was a member of the famous “Rat Pack” as he was a great friend of Frank Sinatra. Martin was always associated with Las Vegas and when he passed away in 1995 the lights on the strip were dimmed in his honor.

The original Rat Pack from the fifties was a group of actors that centered on Humphrey Bogart, and included a young Frank Sinatra. Supposedly, Bogart’s wife, Lauren Bacall, christened them the Rat Pack after seeing them all return from one of their nights on the town in Las Vegas. The sixties Rat Pack was a reincarnation of the fifties version, with the core group of actors being Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin (Dino), Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.

62 Member of the ratite pack? : EMU

Ratites are species of birds that cannot fly. Ratites are different physiologically than other birds in that they have nowhere on their sternum to attach the muscles needed for flight.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lettuce often used in lettuce wraps : BIBB
5 Guest essays : OP-EDS
10 Major oil acronym : OPEC
14 Blend of black tea, honey, spices and milk : CHAI
15 Packed, like a ship with cargo : LADEN
16 Language of Pakistan : URDU
17 First part of a message suggested by this puzzle’s circled letters : CONGRATULATIONS …
20 Cloak-and-dagger sort : SPY
21 Hypotheticals : IFS
22 Wall St. debut : IPO
23 Site of a legend : MAP
24 One with a venomous bite : ASP
26 Many a Jul. 4 party : BBQ
28 Second part of the message : … ON PASSING YOUR …
35 Against : ANTI
36 Old Toyota coupe : PASEO
37 Dear’s rhyming partner : NEAR
39 “The Simpsons” prankster : BART
40 Root beer treat : FLOAT
41 Z, in Athens : ZETA
42 Eldest von Trapp daughter : LIESL
44 Minecraft block made from gunpowder and sand : TNT
45 Sega hedgehog : SONIC
46 Lead-in to “long” : ERE …
47 Last part of the message : … EYE TEST
50 Vegan milk source : SOY
51 Plain : UNADORNED
53 Genre similar to indie rock : ALT-POP
56 Corrects : EMENDS
60 Manhattan district : SOHO
61 ___ alla vodka : PENNE
65 Garden hose shape : COIL
66 Stratford’s river : AVON
67 Cinder-to-be : EMBER
68 Actress Hathaway : ANNE
69 Parisian papa : PERE
70 Furnace/vent connectors : DUCTS
71 Chow : FOOD

Down

1 Includes secretly, in a way : BCCS
2 Breakfast chain : IHOP
3 Sacred Indian plant also called the strangler fig : BANYAN TREE
4 Ginormous : BIG
5 German chancellor Scholz : OLAF
6 Caresses : PATS
7 End of a college valedictorian’s address? : EDU
8 Place to nosh on a knish : DELI
9 Like some decisions : SNAP
10 Paris accord? : OUI
11 These women “rule” the dance floor : PROM QUEENS
12 Poet ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA
13 Brink : CUSP
18 Kelly of morning TV : RIPA
19 Keith of country music : TOBY
25 Barely rains : SPITS
27 “Bedtime for ___” : BONZO
28 Studio sign : ON AIR
29 Beach bottle letters : SPF
30 Like pretzels and winter highways : SALTED
31 Doesn’t get fooled by : IS ONTO
32 Not as messy : NEATER
33 Came down with : GOT
34 5:1, e.g. : RATIO
35 Fit : ABLE
38 Borderline indecent : RACY
43 Fallon’s late-night predecessor : LENO
45 Edible part of asparagus : STEM
48 Jabbered : YAPPED
49 Scornful looks : SNEERS
51 Ahead by a run : UP ONE
52 After-dinner coffee order : DECAF
53 “Stat!” : ASAP!
54 The “heart” of “I [heart] N Y” : LOVE
55 Avenger with a hammer : THOR
57 Taboo : NO-NO
58 Member of the Rat Pack : DINO
59 Coaster : SLED
62 Member of the ratite pack? : EMU
63 43-Down’s network : NBC
64 Sports barrier … or target : NET

12 thoughts on “0126-22 NY Times Crossword 26 Jan 22, Wednesday”

  1. 6:20, no errors. Another clever idea. At the end, I tried to make sense out of the circled letters and was amused when I grokked the nonsensical way in which they make sense … 😜.

  2. 12:01 even after I covered one eye, then the other, then both, I couldn’t figure out how the reveal tied in with the circled letters.

  3. 10:54, no errors. I generally don’t care for those multi line answers…but today’s was pretty good. I could “see” the eye appeal.😉

  4. 11:30. Once I saw the last line of the reveal, I understood the circled letters. Didn’t help me at all though.

    CHAI is simply the word for “tea” in Russian, Arabic and a few other languages. Somehow we’ve specialized it in English.

    45D is incorrect. There is no edible part of asparagus. Ok, maybe that’s just me. Not a fan.

    Best –

  5. This probably won’t do anyone any good, but, FWIW … I just did tomorrow’s (Thursday’s) puzzle online and there was a mistake in 35-Across. If you can log on to “nytimes.com”, download the “newspaper” version. As of now, it appears to be correct, but the other printable version there is also messed up: it’s missing some crucial things in the theme entries.

    And I like asparagus! … 😜

    1. Just to be clear: You can do that puzzle online; I just found it a bit confusing, because one theme entry wasn’t consistent with the others.

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