0919-22 NY Times Crossword 19 Sep 22, Monday

Constructed by: Leslie Young & Andrea Carla Michaels
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Down to a Science

Themed answers are all in the DOWN-direction, and end in a kind of SCIENCE:

  • 14D Implementable with expertise and expert ease … or how the starred clues’ answers can be taken? : DOWN TO A SCIENCE
  • 4D *Routine medical checkup : ANNUAL PHYSICAL (giving “physical science”)
  • 7D *Whom one might not marry no matter what! : LAST MAN ON EARTH (giving “earth science”)
  • 13D *”Cool” get-together with cones and scoops : ICE CREAM SOCIAL (giving “social science”)

Bill’s time: 5m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Reference for a geography buff : ATLAS

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas” that is used for a book of maps.

A buff or nut is someone who is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a subject. For example, one might be a movie buff, or perhaps a baseball nut.

6 Pie ___ mode : A LA

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

9 Male turkey : TOM

A male turkey is called a tom, taking its name from “tomcat”. The inference is that, like a tomcat, the male turkey is relatively wild and undomesticated, sexually promiscuous and frequently gets into fights. A female turkey is called a hen.

13 Some nest eggs, for short : IRAS

A nest egg is an amount of money laid down as a reserve. This is the figurative use of “nest egg” that originally described an artificial egg left in a nest to encourage a hen to lay real eggs in that spot. So our financial nest egg is set aside in anticipation of continued growth, more eggs being laid.

15 Tubular pasta variety : PENNE

The pasta known as penne comes in two main types, i.e. penne lisce (which is smooth) and penne rigate (which is furrowed).

18 “In ___ of flowers …” : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

33 Forever and a day, say : EONS

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

35 First-century Roman poet : OVID

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus and so was banished to Tomis, an island in the Black Sea. What led to this disfavor seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

38 About one-third of Hispaniola, area-wise : HAITI

The island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, shared between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, is known in Spanish as “La Española”.

The Republic of Haiti occupies the smaller, western portion of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The rest of the island is taken up by the Dominican Republic. Haiti is one of only two nations in the Americas to have French as an official language, the other being Canada.

39 Navy’s football rival : ARMY

The first Army-Navy football game took place in November 1890. The annual event is most often played in Philadelphia, as the city is about the same distance from the USMA at West Point, New York and the USNA at Anapolis, Maryland. One of the more memorable Army-Navy games (to trivia lovers) was played in 1893. That’s because Navy Midshipman Joseph M. Reeves wore a helmet, marking the first time a helmet was used for protection in a football game.

46 “How sweet it ___ be loved by you” (James Taylor lyric) : IS TO

“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” is a 1964 song written and recorded by Marvin Gaye. James Taylor recorded a very successful cover version in 1975, a version that has been described as “more relaxed” than the original. The title of the song was inspired by the actor and comedian Jackie Gleason’s signature phrase “How Sweet It Is!”

51 Girl in Wonderland : ALICE

The title character in Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is based on a child named Alice Liddell. Lewis Carroll (real name “Charles Lutwidge Dodgson”) met the Liddell family while he was photographing Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, after which he befriended the Liddells. Carroll told the three Liddell sisters (including Alice) a story about a little girl named Alice and her adventures, in order to entertain the children while on a boating trip on the River Isis in Oxford. He elaborated on the story for the girls on a subsequent boat trip, and agreed to write down the tale as the children loved it so much. Carroll’s writings became a full-fledged manuscript, including the author’s own illustrations. It was first published in 1865, three years after that boat trip.

54 The “C” of T.L.C. : CARE

Tender loving care (TLC)

57 Flimflammer : CON ARTIST

A flimflam is a confidence trick. The term “flimflam” has been in use since the 1500s, would you believe?

59 Museum wing, perhaps : ANNEX

The term “museum” comes from the ancient Greek word “mouseion” that denoted a temple dedicated to the “Muses”. The Muses were the patrons of the arts in Greek mythology.

60 ___ eye (glare said to bring bad luck) : EVIL

The evil eye is a curse that is cast by giving a malicious glare.

64 Thrilla in Manila boxer : ALI

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had three memorable fights. The first was billed as the “Fight of the Century” and took place in 1971 in Madison Square Garden. It was a fight between two great boxers, both of whom were undefeated up till that point. Frazier won in a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds. A couple of years later, in 1973, Frazier lost his title to George Foreman. Ali and Frazier had a non-title rematch in 1974, with Ali coming out ahead this time, also in a unanimous decision. Later that year, Ali grabbed back the World Heavyweight Title in “The Rumble in the Jungle”, the famous “rope-a-dope” fight against George Foreman. That set the stage for the third and final fight between Ali and Frazier, “The Thrilla in Manila”. Ali won the early rounds, but Frazier made a comeback in the middle of the fight. Ali took control at the end of the bout, so much so that Frazier wasn’t able to come out of his corner for the 15th and final round. He couldn’t come out of his corner because both of his eyes were swollen shut, giving Ali a victory due to a technical knockout (TKO).

Down

2 “A League of ___ Own” : THEIR

“A League of Their Own” is a comedy drama film released in 1992 that tells a tale about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League active during WWII. The lead actors were Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. The film spawned one of the most famous quotes in movie history: “There’s no crying in baseball!”

6 Many a Yemeni : ARAB

Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, and lies just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office.

8 Pompeii fallout : ASH

The ancient city of Pompeii is situated close to Naples in Italy. Pompeii was destroyed in AD 79 by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. The city was completely lost from that time, and was only rediscovered in 1748. Excavations have uncovered the remarkably well-preserved buildings and roads, and Pompeii now attracts over 2 million visitors annually.

9 “Beloved” author Morrison : TONI

“Beloved” is a 1987 novel by Toni Morrison about a haunted family home in Cincinnati. The disturbing storyline was inspired by real events, and a real person. Margaret Garner was a former slave who escaped from Kuntucky to Ohio. US marshals tried to capture her in accordance with the Fugitive Slave Act, and found her with her dead two-year-old daughter, and attempting to kill her remaining two children and herself. Garner committed those acts rather than see herself and her family returned to slavery. The title character in the novel is supposed to be the spirit of the daughter of a former slave killed by her mother to avoid returning to a life in slavery.

10 Magnum ___ (masterpiece) : OPUS

“Magnum opus” is a Latin term meaning “great work”. The magnum opus of a writer or composer perhaps, is his or her greatest work.

19 ___ de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) : DIA

The “Día de Muertos” (Day of the Dead) is a holiday that originated in Mexico, and is now celebrated around the world. It is traditionally celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, and involves family and friends gathering to remember those who have died. Despite the somber nature, the Day of the Dead usually has a joyful tone, as family remembers the happier events and anecdotes associated with the departed.

22 Casual Friday castoffs : TIES

The practice of dressing down at work on “Casual Fridays” arose at the end of the 20th century. The custom is rooted in the tradition known as “Aloha Friday” that started in Hawaii in 1966. The official designation of Aloha Friday was the result of a successful lobbying campaign by the manufacturing association known as the Hawaiian Fashion Guild.

24 Aliens, in brief : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

27 “We try harder” car rental company : AVIS

Rental car company Avis used the tagline “We Try Harder” for five decades, starting in the early 1960s. The slogan had its roots in a 1962 ad campaign in which the company made brilliant use of its position behind market leader Hertz. The first rendition of the new tagline was “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder. Or else”. Within a year, Avis turned its first profit in over a decade, and within three years, increased the company’s market share from 29% to 36%. Avis eventually moved on to the slogan “It’s Your Space” in 2012.

30 Junk email : SPAM

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

31 Tortoise’s rival in a fable : HARE

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

38 Let-down for Rapunzel? : HAIR

“Rapunzel” is a fairy tale in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. Rapunzel was a maiden who was locked in a tower by an enchantress. The inevitable prince turns up, and he climbs up to Rapunzel using her long, fair hair as a climbing rope.

49 The Met Gala, e.g. : EVENT

The Costume Institute Gala is an annual fundraising event that benefits the Anna Wintour Costume Center in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. The fundraiser is commonly referred to as the “Met Gala” or “Met Ball”, and was established in 1948.

50 Some risqué communiqués : SEXTS

Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article.

“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb meaning “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.

51 Prized blackjack cards : ACES

In the card game blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.

52 Zero, in tennis : LOVE

In tennis the score of zero is designated as “love”. Some people believe that this usage originates from the French “l’oeuf” (meaning “the egg”). The idea is that the written character “0” looks like an egg.

55 Italian vino region : ASTI

Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. It is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine. Moscato d’Asti is produced from the same grape (Moscato Bianco). Moscato is a much sweeter wine with a lower alcohol content, and is usually served as a dessert wine.

58 Pending, on a sched. : TBA

Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised/announced (TBA).

59 Venomous serpent in “Antony and Cleopatra” : ASP

In William Shakespeare’s play “Antony and Cleopatra”, the heroine of the piece addresses the asp as she uses the snake to commit suicide:

Come, thou mortal wretch,
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool,
Be angry, and dispatch.

Later she says:

Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Reference for a geography buff : ATLAS
6 Pie ___ mode : A LA
9 Male turkey : TOM
12 Landline, e.g. : PHONE
13 Some nest eggs, for short : IRAS
14 Chucklehead : DOPE
15 Tubular pasta variety : PENNE
16 Profit-sharing reward, perhaps : CASH BONUS
18 “In ___ of flowers …” : LIEU
19 “Outstanding” obligation : DEBT
20 “If only!” : I WISH!
21 Unpredictable : ERRATIC
23 Signify : MEAN
25 Make-up specialist? : LIAR
26 Being risked, as in a gambler’s bet : AT STAKE
30 Circle or hexagon : SHAPE
33 Forever and a day, say : EONS
35 First-century Roman poet : OVID
36 Hiking trails : PATHS
37 Fuss and fanfare : ADO
38 About one-third of Hispaniola, area-wise : HAITI
39 Navy’s football rival : ARMY
40 Spine-tingling sign of things to come : OMEN
41 Liability’s opposite : ASSET
42 Oopsies : MESS-UPS
44 Heroic saga : EPIC
46 “How sweet it ___ be loved by you” (James Taylor lyric) : IS TO
47 Comes through the door : ARRIVES
51 Girl in Wonderland : ALICE
54 The “C” of T.L.C. : CARE
56 Where outdoor Christmas lights may be hung : EAVE
57 Flimflammer : CON ARTIST
59 Museum wing, perhaps : ANNEX
60 ___ eye (glare said to bring bad luck) : EVIL
61 Rubber ducky’s domain : BATH
62 What the nose knows : SCENT
63 Cry between “ready” and “go” : … SET …
64 Thrilla in Manila boxer : ALI
65 Brats and gnats : PESTS

Down

1 Orchard fruit : APPLE
2 “A League of ___ Own” : THEIR
3 Solitary sort : LONER
4 *Routine medical checkup : ANNUAL PHYSICAL (giving “physical science”)
5 “Get it?” : SEE?
6 Many a Yemeni : ARAB
7 *Whom one might not marry no matter what! : LAST MAN ON EARTH (giving “earth science”)
8 Pompeii fallout : ASH
9 “Beloved” author Morrison : TONI
10 Magnum ___ (masterpiece) : OPUS
11 Fit together, as gearwheel teeth : MESH
13 *”Cool” get-together with cones and scoops : ICE CREAM SOCIAL (giving “social science”)
14 Implementable with expertise and expert ease … or how the starred clues’ answers can be taken? : DOWN TO A SCIENCE
17 Lack of objectivity : BIAS
19 ___ de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) : DIA
22 Casual Friday castoffs : TIES
24 Aliens, in brief : ETS
27 “We try harder” car rental company : AVIS
28 High-flying toy : KITE
29 One way to reduce one’s sentence? : EDIT
30 Junk email : SPAM
31 Tortoise’s rival in a fable : HARE
32 Banking conveniences, for short : ATMS
34 Poem of exaltation : ODE
38 Let-down for Rapunzel? : HAIR
40 Make a choice : OPT
43 Tech support seeker, typically : USER
45 Lead-in to fix or fabricate : PRE-
48 Barn toppers : VANES
49 The Met Gala, e.g. : EVENT
50 Some risqué communiqués : SEXTS
51 Prized blackjack cards : ACES
52 Zero, in tennis : LOVE
53 Not out of the running : IN IT
55 Italian vino region : ASTI
58 Pending, on a sched. : TBA
59 Venomous serpent in “Antony and Cleopatra” : ASP

4 thoughts on “0919-22 NY Times Crossword 19 Sep 22, Monday”

  1. 5:25. Another Monday puzzle out of the way.

    I only sensed the theme as I did this. Obviously I didn’t get it at first as I put ICE CREAM Sundae before SOCIAL. Like the getting together of scoops of ice cream? I’ll admit there are no cones, however, in a sundae.

    Best –

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