1209-22 NY Times Crossword 9 Dec 22, Friday

Constructed by: Brooke Husic and Hoang-Kim Vu
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 10m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Huge pop star? : SUPERNOVA

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

16 Natural rubber : LOOFA

The loofah (also “loofa”, “lufah” and “luffa”, all Arabic words) is a vine, with fruit that’s very popular in Asia and Africa. If the fruit is allowed to mature, it can be processed to remove everything but the more rigid xylem structure (remember your high school botany class?) leaving a soft, sponge-like mass that is used as a skin polisher.

18 Bone also called the incus : ANVIL

The middle ear is the portion of the ear immediately behind the eardrum. The middle ear contains three small bones called the ossicles, the three smallest bones in the human body. The ossicles’ job is to transmit sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. The shape of the bones gives rise to their names: the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus) and stirrup (stapes).

19 “We ___ the loudest when we ___ to ourselves”: Eric Hoffer : LIE

Eric Hoffer was a philosopher from the Bronx in New York, and the author of the much respected 1951 book “The True Believer”. The book examines the rise of totalitarian governments, such as those of Adolf Hitler in Germany and Joseph Stalin in Russia, and discusses how such regimes may have arisen and prospered in societies.

22 “Odi et ___” (start of an old Latin poem) : AMO

Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet active in the days of the Roman Republic. Here is the text of the poem “Catullus 85” that the Latin poet Catullus wrote for his lover “Lesbia” (a pseudonym):

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
Nescio. sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

These lines translate from Latin into English as:

I hate and I love. Why I do this, perhaps you ask.
I know not, but I feel it happening and I am tortured.

26 Bird that can recognize itself in a mirror : MAGPIE

The bird known as a “jay” is sometimes called a “magpie”, although the terms are not completely interchangeable.

40 Fruit in some agua fresca : GUAVA

The name “guava” applies to several tropical fruit species. The most frequently eaten species is the apple guava (also “common guava”). Almost half of the world’s guava is produced by India.

An agua fresca is a blended drink made with sugar and water flavored with fruit, cereal, flowers or seeds. Traditional aguas frescas are sold by street vendors, especially in Mexico and the American Southwest. Common flavorings are hibiscus and tamarind.

48 What’s past due? : TRE

In Italian, “uno” (one) plus “due” (two) makes “tre” (three).

49 Tool in a mixologist’s set : PEELER

A mixologist is someone who is well versed in the mixing of cocktails, said he, reaching for the shaker …

52 “Knowing is half the battle” spot, in brief : PSA

Public service announcement (PSA)

53 Online forum V.I.P.s : MODS

Moderator (mod)

54 One may have a name in Italian, German and French : ALP

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

61 Mes del Día de los Reyes Magos : ENERO

In Spanish, “enero” (January) is “el primer mes” (the first month).

The holiday in the Christian tradition known as the Epiphany falls on January 6th. In some Spanish-speaking countries, the Epiphany is known as “Día de los Reyes”, and in others as “Día de Reyes” (Day of Kings).

62 Sacred symbol : TOTEM

“Totem” is a word used to describe any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature, and often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.

63 Move-y trailers? : RVS

Recreational vehicle (RV)

64 Home inspection concern : RADON

The element radon (Rn) is a radioactive gas, and a byproduct produced when uranium decays naturally in the earth. Radon gas can collect and accumulate in buildings and rooms that are particularly well insulated with very little air exchange. The danger is very real, as radon is listed as the second most frequent cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke.

65 “Il Trovatore,” for one : OPERA

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Il trovatore” is known in English as “The Troubadour”. It is one of the few operas with more than one version written by the same composer. Verdi wrote a French translation, with some revisions to the score, which goes by the name “Le trouvère”.

66 Stand for a shot : TEE

A tee is a small device on which, say, a golf ball is placed before striking it. The term “tee” comes from the Scottish “teaz”, which described little heaps of sand used to elevate a golf ball for the purpose of getting a clean hit with a club.

Down

1 Abbr. at a pump : PSI

Pounds per square inch (PSI) is a measure of pressure.

4 Monster called Miche in Tibetan : YETI

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

5 Mononymous artist who designed dresses at age 6 : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian-born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. “Erté” is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

6 Bio class subject : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

7 Like some stream banks : MOSSY

There is a traditionally-held belief that in the northern hemisphere there is a heavier growth of moss on the north-facing side of trees. The assumption is that the sun creates a drier environment on the south side of the tree, an environment that is less conducive to the growth of moss.

9 Nickname for singer Swift : TAYTAY

Singer Taylor Swift had one of her first gigs at the US Open tennis tournament when she was in her early teens. There she sang the national anthem and received a lot of favorable attention for the performance.

12 Flick : MOVIE

The slang term “flick” meaning “movie” came into use in the mid-1920s. It comes from the “flickering” appearance of films back then.

14 Some Starbucks orders : TALLS

Starbucks introduced us to coffee drinks in a whole range of volumes:

  • Demi … 3 fl oz
  • Short … 8 fl oz
  • Tall … 12 fl oz
  • Grande … 16 fl oz (Italian for “large”)
  • Venti … 20 fl oz (Italian for “twenty”)
  • Trenta … 30 fl oz (Italian for “thirty”)

22 Limits : AMBIT

An ambit is an outer boundary or limit, a circumference. The term “ambit” can also be used to mean the sphere or scope of influence. “Ambit” comes from the Latin “ambire” meaning “to go around”.

23 Hawaiian mountain : MAUNA

“Mauna” is a Hawaiian word meaning “mountain”, as in “Mauna Loa” and “Mauna Kea”.

27 Part of a flower’s gynoecium : PISTIL

The stamen is the male reproductive organ of a flower. The part of the stamen known as the anther sits on a stalk called the filament that carries the pollen. The pollen is picked up by insects, especially bees, who then transfer pollen from flower to flower. The pistil is the female reproductive organ, and it accepts the pollen.

The ovary of a flowering plant is part of the female reproductive organ, the gynoecium. When pollen lands on the gynoecium, it germinates and grows down into the ovary to fertilize an individual ovule within that ovary and form a seed.

28 Bank earnings: Abbr. : INT

A bank account (acct.) usually earns interest (int.)

33 Store for a short time : POP-UP SHOP

A pop-up store is one that is temporary. The idea is that a pop-up store opens in empty retail space for a limited period of time, often to meet the needs of a particular season or holiday. Examples of the genre might be Halloween stores or Christmas stores.

39 It’s right on a map : RED STATE

On political maps, red states are usually Republican and blue states usually Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

45 Tony-winning actress Gwen : VERDON

Gwen Verdon was one of Broadway’s biggest stars, and an actress, singer and dancer. She is also famous for playing Lola in the 1958 movie adaptation of “Damn Yankees”, in which she sings the unforgettable “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets”. Verdon’s second marriage was to celebrated choreographer Bob Fosse.

47 ___ Island : EASTER

“Rapa Nui” is the Polynesian name for what we are more likely to call “Easter Island”. The European name was coined by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in the year 1722. Chilean-owned Easter Island is inhabited and is a location that is remarkably distant from neighboring civilization. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, which is almost 1300 miles away.

50 Italian author Ferrante, who wrote the “Neapolitan Novels” : ELENA

Elena Ferrante is an Italian author, best known for her 4-part series known as the “Neapolitan Novels”. What is very interesting about “Ferrante” is that the moniker is a pseudonym, and no one seems to know the author’s real name. There is some speculation that “Elena” is in fact a man.

51 Li’l joey, for one : ROO

A male kangaroo is known as a buck, jack or boomer. A female is called a jill, flyer or doe. A young kangaroo is a joey, and a group of kangaroos is a mob or troop.

53 Umami flavor enhancement : MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

56 Palindromic name : OTTO

The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

  • Able was I ere I saw Elba
  • A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
  • Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite terms is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

59 Cheap ticket spec : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

60 Physicians’ grp. : AMA

American Medical Association (AMA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Something faithfully rolled out : PRAYER MAT
10 Take in : ADMIT
15 Huge pop star? : SUPERNOVA
16 Natural rubber : LOOFA
17 “Just can’t keep quiet on this one …” : I GOTTA SAY …
18 Bone also called the incus : ANVIL
19 “We ___ the loudest when we ___ to ourselves”: Eric Hoffer : LIE
20 Doesn’t move : SITS STILL
22 “Odi et ___” (start of an old Latin poem) : AMO
24 Internal regulation : BYLAW
25 Sets : GELS
26 Bird that can recognize itself in a mirror : MAGPIE
29 Alma mater for Henry Louis Gates Jr. : YALE
31 Monopolizing, in a way : BUYING UP
34 Root : BOTTOM
38 Dazed : IN A STUPOR
40 Fruit in some agua fresca : GUAVA
41 Keeping quiet at the right time, say : TACT
42 Hit 2022 film … or a possible response to whether you’ve seen it : NOPE
43 Decided : OPTED
44 Kind of engr. : CIV
46 Options in some eye shadow palettes : NUDES
48 What’s past due? : TRE
49 Tool in a mixologist’s set : PEELER
52 “Knowing is half the battle” spot, in brief : PSA
53 Online forum V.I.P.s : MODS
54 One may have a name in Italian, German and French : ALP
55 Settles for the night : ROOSTS
57 Ticked off : SORE
58 Excited shout after a thrill ride : LET’S DO THAT AGAIN!
61 Mes del Día de los Reyes Magos : ENERO
62 Sacred symbol : TOTEM
63 Move-y trailers? : RVS
64 Home inspection concern : RADON
65 “Il Trovatore,” for one : OPERA
66 Stand for a shot : TEE

Down

1 Abbr. at a pump : PSI
2 Runner, e.g. : RUG
3 Statement in a closing argument? : APOLOGY ACCEPTED
4 Monster called Miche in Tibetan : YETI
5 Mononymous artist who designed dresses at age 6 : ERTE
6 Bio class subject : RNA
7 Like some stream banks : MOSSY
8 Benefit : AVAIL
9 Nickname for singer Swift : TAYTAY
10 “Sad to say” : ALAS
11 “Stay put, I can take care of this myself” : DON’T GET UP
12 Flick : MOVIE
13 Lawyer/voting rights activist Sherrilyn : IFILL
14 Some Starbucks orders : TALLS
21 Makeup corrector : SWAB
22 Limits : AMBIT
23 Hawaiian mountain : MAUNA
24 Started : BEGUN
27 Part of a flower’s gynoecium : PISTIL
28 Bank earnings: Abbr. : INT
30 Greek for “word” : LOGOS
32 Knowing all about : UPON
33 Store for a short time : POP-UP SHOP
35 Wall décor in some parlors : TATTOO ART
36 High gear : OVERDRIVE
37 Clicked : MADE SENSE
39 It’s right on a map : RED STATE
45 Tony-winning actress Gwen : VERDON
47 ___ Island : EASTER
49 More fair : PALER
50 Italian author Ferrante, who wrote the “Neapolitan Novels” : ELENA
51 Li’l joey, for one : ROO
53 Umami flavor enhancement : MSG
56 Palindromic name : OTTO
59 Cheap ticket spec : SRO
60 Physicians’ grp. : AMA

8 thoughts on “1209-22 NY Times Crossword 9 Dec 22, Friday”

  1. 27:12, no errors. Jumped down several rabbit holes. Entered 1A RED CARPET & 1D REG before PRAYER MAT & PSI; 16A entered LATEX before LOOFA; among others.
    Interesting diagonal symmetry today.

  2. 28:39. I found the left side of this puzzle much more troublesome than the right side for whatever reason. Same issues as Bruce – pretty much identical. Also had “shaker” before PEELER…probably because it’s Friday.

    How on earth do they know if a MAGPIE recognizes itself in a mirror? Do they interview the MAGPIE after putting it in front of a mirror? Does it preen and fix it’s hair and makeup while looking into the mirror? Does it take selfies in a mirror?

    Best –

  3. Messed up on 22A ALO instead of AMO.

    did not know Taylor swift had a nickname of TAYTAY..good for her!
    I don’t think she needs one as she does alright all by herself.

  4. This took me a long, long time to find a foothold. Persevered and finished with no errors. Lots and lots of unknowns here. Happy to ace this test, but it does not bode well for tonight‘s poker tournament.😝

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