1210-22 NY Times Crossword 10 Dec 22, Saturday

Constructed by: Sid Sivakumar
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 16m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Eye exam you need to pass? : IRIS SCAN

An iris scan is a method of biometric identification. It relies on the fact that the complex patterns in the irises are unique to an individual. Note that an iris scan differs from a retinal scan. The latter uses technology that scans the unique pattern of blood vessels in an individual’s retina.

13 Cricketer’s 100-run streaks : CENTURIES

Cricket is the national game of England. The term “cricket” apparently comes from the Old French word “criquet” meaning “goalpost, stick”.

15 Weapon with a point d’arrêt : EPEE

The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

18 Flour ground in a chakki : ATTA

Atta is a whole-wheat flour used to make flatbreads in South Asian cuisine, such as chapati and naan. “Atta” is the Hindi or Urdu word for “dough”.

Chakki are grinding stones used to grind spices and grains for Indian cuisine.

24 Heads of staffs? : ORBS

A scepter (“sceptre” in Britain and Ireland) is a ceremonial staff, one often held by a monarch.

26 Stephen of the Field Day Theatre Company : REA

Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.

28 G, in C : SOL

Solfège (also “sol-fa”) is a teaching method used in the world of music. The technique involves the use of the sol-fa syllables for each note, and associating each syllable with a specific pitch.

31 Passage in a cemetery : EPITAPH

Our word “epitaph” ultimately comes from the Greek “epitaphion”, which translates as “funeral oration”.

35 “___ dead, Jim” : HE’S

“He’s dead, Jim” is a line often spoken by medical officer “Bones” McCoy to Captain James T. Kirk on the original “Star Trek” TV show.

Actor DeForest Kelley is best known for playing Bones McCoy in the original “Star Trek” cast. The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, originally offered Kelley the role of Spock, but Kelly refused it and so was given the part of the ship’s medical officer.

36 [See fine print] : [STAR]

The name of the typographical symbol “asterisk” comes from the Greek word “asteriskos” meaning “little star”. The original use of the asterisk was by printers of family trees in feudal times. Back then it was a symbol indicating the date of birth.

37 Mathematician Terence who won a Fields Medal at age 31 : TAO

The Fields Medal is a prize in mathematics that is awarded by the International Mathematical Union every four years. The official name of the award is the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics. The unofficial name is in honor of Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields who founded the award.

38 Rock-forming mineral that makes up over half of the earth’s crust : FELDSPAR

The minerals known as feldspars are found in many types of rocks, and in fact make up about 60% of the earth’s crust. As a former ceramic engineer (for my sins), I can appreciate how important feldspars are in the manufacture of ceramics. Feldspars melt at relatively low temperatures and form essential glass phases in the final ceramic product.

43 Mug shot subject? : LATTE ART

“Latte art” is the name given to the designs that can be drawn on the surface of coffee drinks. Some of those designs can be quite intricate.

45 Like the habitat for camels : ARID

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of a camel is the large deposit of fatty tissue on its back. The dromedary is the most common camel, and has one hump of fatty tissue on its back. The Bactrian camel has two humps, and makes up just 6% of the world’s camel population. Those fatty humps are useful if no food or water is available, as fat can be broken down into water and energy.

46 Became smitten : FELL IN LOVE

“Smitten” is the past participle of “to smite”, meaning “to inflict a heavy blow”. We tend to use “smitten” to mean “affected by love, love-struck”.

48 Plain protuberance : MESA

“Mesa” is the Spanish for “table” and is how we get the term “mesa” that describes the geographic feature. A mesa is similar to a butte. Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide.

Down

4 Preakness or Belmont : STAKES

The Preakness Stakes is a thoroughbred horse race that’s run at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore in May of each year. The Preakness is the second most popular horse race in the US in terms of attendance, after the Kentucky Derby. The race was given its name by former Maryland Governor Oden Bowie in honor of the racehorse named Preakness. Preakness won the inaugural Dixie Stakes that was run at Pimlico in 1870.

The Belmont Stakes is a horse race held in June each year, at Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont, New York. The Belmont Stakes is the last of the US Triple Crown races, following the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

8 Website with adoptable virtual creatures : NEOPETS

Neopets.com is a website where one can own a virtual pet. I wouldn’t bother if I were you …

11 Its symbol is WOOF on Nasdaq : PETCO

Petco is a chain of retail stores that sells live animals and pet supplies. The Petco logo includes the two company mascots, Red Ruff the dog and Blue Mews the cat.

12 Geographical heptad : SEAS

The phrase “the seven seas” has been used for centuries by many different peoples. The actual definition of what constitutes the collection of seven has varied depending on the period and the culture. Nowadays we consider the seven largest bodies of water as the seven seas, namely:

  • The North Pacific Ocean
  • The South Pacific Ocean
  • The North Atlantic Ocean
  • The South Atlantic Ocean
  • The Indian Ocean
  • The Southern Ocean
  • The Arctic Ocean

14 Flat bottoms : SOLES

Flats are shoes with a very thin heel, or no neel at all.

21 ___-faire : SAVOIR

“Savoir-faire” is a French term that literally means “to know (how) to do”. There’s a similar term in French that we haven’t absorbed into English, i.e. “savoir-vivre” meaning “to know how to live”. “Savoir-vivre” describes the ability to acquit oneself well in the world, in society.

23 Sunday parking spots? : PEWS

A pew is a church bench, usually one with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

27 Postpone : SHELVE

These “tabling” and “shelving” idioms drive me crazy, because they are often misused. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” and put “on the table” for discussion. I know that language evolves, but I think that it should at least make sense …

31 Gate postings, briefly : ETAS

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

33 Time to read the Haggadah : PASSOVER

The Haggadah is an ancient Jewish text that is traditionally read aloud at the Passover seder. The Haggadah (“telling” in Hebrew) acts as a guide to the seder ritual, which commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt.

38 Foot ___ : FETISH

At the beginning of the 19th century, fetishism was the worship of “fetishes”. Back then, a fetish was an object that was revered and considered to have mysterious powers. A few decades later, the usage of the term “fetish” was extended, probably by New England Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, to describe an object of blind devotion. The concept of sexual fetishism arose at the end of the 19th century.

39 Whit : SHRED

Both “whit” and “fig” are used to describe a trivial amount, a mere trifle.

42 Part of an epic verse : CANTO

A canto is a section of a long poem. “Canto” is the Italian for “song”, and is a term first used by the Italian poet Dante.

43 Bhikkhu’s teacher : LAMA

In the Buddhist tradition, a bhikkhuni is a female monk. The male equivalent is a bhikkhu.

47 Head : LAV

Our word “lavatory” (sometimes “lav”) originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s, “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

In old sailing ships, the toilet area for the regular sailors was located in the forward part (the head) of the ship. As a result, the term “head” has been used since then for any toilet on board a boat.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Eye exam you need to pass? : IRIS SCAN
9 Soaks (up) : SOPS
13 Cricketer’s 100-run streaks : CENTURIES
15 Weapon with a point d’arrêt : EPEE
16 Where making a hasty exit is encouraged : ESCAPE ROOM
18 Flour ground in a chakki : ATTA
19 Pumped : STOKED
20 The Father of ___, moniker for inventor Leo Baekeland : PLASTICS
22 Not as adventurous : TAMER
23 Game that helps teach object permanence : PEEKABOO
24 Heads of staffs? : ORBS
25 Pays someone back : GETS EVEN
26 Stephen of the Field Day Theatre Company : REA
27 Spreads out in a bed? : SOWS
28 G, in C : SOL
29 Exact hits : MATCHES
31 Passage in a cemetery : EPITAPH
35 “___ dead, Jim” : HE’S
36 [See fine print] : [STAR]
37 Mathematician Terence who won a Fields Medal at age 31 : TAO
38 Rock-forming mineral that makes up over half of the earth’s crust : FELDSPAR
40 Big affair : FEST
41 Ejections : HEAVE-HOS
42 Necklace closure : CLASP
43 Mug shot subject? : LATTE ART
44 Mildred D. ___, author of “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,” 1977 : TAYLOR
45 Like the habitat for camels : ARID
46 Became smitten : FELL IN LOVE
48 Plain protuberance : MESA
49 Evidence of one’s hang-ups? : DIAL TONES
50 Descriptor for gray-blond hair : ASHY
51 They make waves for viewers : TV TOWERS

Down

1 Woe for winter travelers : ICE STORM
2 Pull-off : REST AREA
3 Fighting : IN COMBAT
4 Preakness or Belmont : STAKES
5 “All right!” : SUPER!
6 Rep : CRED
7 Word with pocket or bag : AIR …
8 Website with adoptable virtual creatures : NEOPETS
9 Icon for airplane passengers : SEAT BELT
10 Choice : OPTION
11 Its symbol is WOOF on Nasdaq : PETCO
12 Geographical heptad : SEAS
14 Flat bottoms : SOLES
17 Meets expectations, in a way : MAKES PAR
21 ___-faire : SAVOIR
23 Sunday parking spots? : PEWS
25 Develops hearing loss : GOES DEAF
27 Postpone : SHELVE
30 Let-them-eat-cake occasion? : CHEAT DAY
31 Gate postings, briefly : ETAS
32 Had a solo dinner “date” : ATE ALONE
33 Time to read the Haggadah : PASSOVER
34 Machine that gives paper a smooth finish : HOT PRESS
36 Focused attention on : SPOTLIT
38 Foot ___ : FETISH
39 Whit : SHRED
40 Move so as to evade detection, in a way : FLY LOW
41 Jack rabbits, but not rabbits : HARES
42 Part of an epic verse : CANTO
43 Bhikkhu’s teacher : LAMA
44 Set askew : TILT
47 Head : LAV

7 thoughts on “1210-22 NY Times Crossword 10 Dec 22, Saturday”

  1. 28:45. Seemed easier, but I really got bogged down in the lower right. TVtunERS before TV TOWERS, EPIthet before EPITAPH (you could make an argument that both work), fete before FEST. SPOTted before SPOTLIT, loo before LAV…Sheesh…Frustrating area.

    Cannot believe a website like NEOPETS can stay in business. Who does that??

    Best –

  2. 33:43, no errors. This one looked like a ‘could not start’ until reaching the bottom third. Made many wild guesses, hoping that something would stick: ie. 20A ROBOTICS before PLASTICS & 49A FOLD LINES before DIAL TONES. Also LOO before LAV and ZOOPETS before NEOPETS.
    Happy to finish with no errors.

  3. 10:46. Just for kicks and giggles, I’ve been going back and doing some of the archival Friday and Saturday puzzles from 2000, which was about a year before I started doing any crosswords at all. It is amazing how much harder they are–but also how much less enjoyable (to me anyway), since both the clues and the fill were still rich with obscure words and references to people who were probably not well known even then (of course this is to say nothing of how much esoteric knowledge was required before Shortz took over). I know the pop culture references in the current puzzles fluster my mother (79 and still puzzling strong) but she still manages, and for me the Friday and Saturday puzzles are usually rewarding solves rather than chores. That is all.

  4. No errors.. no cheats.. felt good.

    Learned about FELDSPAR and once again, amazed at the many talents of Bill. A ceramic engineer??? Jeepers Krauts Bill!

  5. Well I did it. It’s been a while since I had a perfect solve on Saturday (or on Friday for that matter). I almost always complete the grid but with an error or two. FRUSTRATING. To paraphrase Stevie Wonder “Solvers keep on solving “

  6. My wife has a hard time believing I can work on a puzzle for 20 minutes and not have much more than a couple of squares filled in. But I persevered and aced this one.

    I understand the absurdity of neo pets, however, I am making a fine living as a virtual dog walker. Don’t hate. Don’t shame. 😁😁😁

  7. Sometimes even after filling in an answer, I have to figure out what the clue means. I finally figured that “STAR” for 36 across meant that once an actor becomes a star, they get to see “fine” meaning “good ” print in fan magazines.
    I think its a better reason than the real one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *