0113-23 NY Times Crossword 13 Jan 23, Friday

Constructed by: Brad Wiegmann
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Ominous Answers

Shaded words in the grid depict several common omens:

  • FRIDAY the 13th
  • STEPS on a CRACK
  • Broken MIR-ROR
  • BLACK CAT crossing your PATH
  • WALKS under a LADDER

Bill’s time: 10m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Architect of the Museum of Islamic Art : PEI

Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei was raised in Shanghai. He moved to the US to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Although he transferred soon after to MIT. The list of his designs includes the John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, and the celebrated glass-and-steel pyramid in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

4 Shirley Bassey and Angela Lansbury, for two : DAMES

Shirley Bassey is a much-respected singer from Wales. Here in the US, Bassey is probably best known as the singer of three of the James Bond film theme songs: “Goldfinger”, “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Moonraker”. She is the only artist to have recorded more than one Bond theme song.

Angela Lansbury was a veteran actress and singer from London. When she won her fifth Tony Award in 2009, she equalled the record for the most Tony Awards, held by Julie Harris. My wife and I particularly enjoyed Lansbury’s first film performance, in the 1944 classic film “Gaslight”. Lansbury also played Jessica Fletcher on the small screen in “Murder, She Wrote”.

20 James ___ Award (culinary honor) : BEARD

James Beard was a chef from Portland, Oregon who was noted for popularizing French cooking in the fifties here in North America.

25 Actress Long : NIA

Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

26 Parisian possessive : SES

“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its” when referring to a group of items or individuals.

27 Bakery chain that began as the Saint Louis Bread Co. : PANERA

Panera Bread is a chain of bakery/coffeehouses. A Panera restaurant is a good place to get online while having a cup of coffee. Back in 2006 and 2007, Panera was the largest provider of free Wi-Fi access in the whole of the US.

29 When said three times, 2012 Taylor Swift song : STAY

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.

30 Orbiter until 2001 : MIR

Russia’s Mir space station was a remarkably successful project. It held the record for the longest continuous human presence in space at just under 10 years, until the International Space Station eclipsed that record in 2010. Towards the end of the space station’s life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in 2001. “Mir” is a Russian word meaning “peace” or “world”.

31 Streamlined type of baleen whale : RORQUAL

A baleen whale feeds by taking in massive amounts of water through its open mouth. It then expels that water with the mouth almost closed. There are two plates of bristles hanging down from the upper jaw that filter out small animals, such as krill, that serve as food for the whale. The filtering bristles are made of a substance similar to keratin (found in human hair and nails), and is referred to as “baleen”.

33 Jake’s love interest in “The Sun Also Rises” : BRETT

“The Sun Also Rises” was Ernest Hemingway’s first major novel, published in 1926. Hemingway originally titled the work “Fiesta”, and indeed it was originally published under this title outside of America. At the recommendation of the publisher, Scribner’s, the title was changed to “The Sun Also Rises”, taken from Ecclesiastes 1:5 “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.”

36 Can opener? : LETTER C

The word “can” opens with the letter C.

39 Yahoo : OAF

Yahoos are brutish creatures introduced by Irish author Jonathan Swift in “Gulliver’s Travels”. Their savage, slovenly ways gave rise to the use of “yahoo” in English to describe a lout or neanderthal.

43 They get booted at the office : PCS

The verb “to boot”, as used in the world of computers, comes from the phrase “pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps”. The idea is that the software that has to be loaded before a computer can do anything useful is called a “bootstrap load”.

46 Personal pronoun in Prussia : ICH

Ich is the German for “I”, as in “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner), the famous words of support uttered by President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in 1963 in a speech in West Berlin.

47 Beatle who wrote and sang “Don’t Pass Me By” : STARR

Sir Ringo Starr’s real name is Richard Starkey. Before he joined the Beatles, replacing drummer Pete Best, Starkey played with the Raving Texans. It was with the Raving Texans that he adopted the name “Ringo Starr”, because he wore a lot of rings and he thought it sounded “cowboyish”. Back then his drum solos were billed as “Starr Time”.

48 Org. with the highest-circulating mag in the U.S. : AARP

“AARP The Magazine” is mailed to every AARP member, making it the most widely circulated magazine in the country. It was founded back in 1958 as “Modern Maturity”, and was rebranded in 2002.

54 End of “Hedda Gabler,” e.g. : ACT IV

“Hedda Gabler” is a play by the great Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen that was first published in 1890. Considered one of the greatest theater roles, the title character of Hedda Gabler is sometimes referred to as the female Hamlet.

56 Shiny material in some guitars : NACRE

Nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, is the strong iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells, and it’s also what makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of its body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite that penetrates the shell, and that’s how a pearl is formed. Cultured pearls are made by inserting a tissue graft from a donor oyster, around which the nacre is laid down.

Down

1 Last sign : PISCES

The twelfth astrological sign of the zodiac is called Pisces, and is named for the Pisces constellation. “Pisces” is the Latin word for “fish” in the plural (singular “piscis”).

2 It may have one or two sides : ENTREE

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found the ordering of meals to be very confusing when I first came to America!

6 Resident of ancient Crete : MINOAN

The Minoans were a Bronze Age people that lived on the island of Crete from about 270 to 1450 BCE. Evidence of the Minoan civilization was uncovered by the British archaeologist Arthur Evans at the beginning of the 20th century. Evans coined the term “Minoan” after King Minos of myth, who was said to have built the Labyrinth on the island that housed the Minotaur.

9 Carnival music : SAMBA

The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival of Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

The celebration of Carnival comes right before the Lenten period in some Christian traditions. It is thought that Carnival perhaps arose from the need to “eat and drink up” any excess food and drink before the beginning of Lent.

11 Martin Luther King Jr., for one : ATLANTAN

The city of Atlanta, Georgia (A-Town) had its beginnings in the late 1830s when the location was chosen as the terminus for a new railroad to be built connecting Georgia with the Midwestern United States. The city’s name was chosen by the Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad, apparently after the middle name of the daughter of Governor Wilson Lumpkin: “Atalanta”.

Martin Luther King, Jr’s father was born Michael King. On a trip to Germany in 1934, Michael came to admire Protestant leader Martin Luther and changed his name to Martin Luther King on his return to the United States. Famously, he passed on his new name to his son, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr (MLK).

13 With this answer’s number, a hit horror movie franchise : FRIDAY

Can you believe that the “Friday the 13th” franchise of horror movies comprises twelve films (so far)? The bad guy in the series is Jason Voorhees, a boy who drowned at summer camp. “Friday the 13th” is an incredibly successful franchise, something that I just do not understand …

15 Supermarket lines, for short? : UPCS

The initialism “UPC” stands for Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code. The first ever UPC-marked item to get scanned in a store was on June 26, 1974 at 08:01 a.m. at Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum.

23 Sign of a hit : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

24 Bit of dangly jewelry : EARBOB

“Earbob” is an alternative name for an earring, and is a term mainly used in the Southern US.

27 The Panthers of the A.C.C. : PITT

The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) chose the nickname for its sporting teams in 1909, and claims that it was the first team in the country to adopt the name “Panthers”.

28 Onetime N.B.A. star Metta Sandiford-___ : ARTEST

Metta Sandiford-Artest is a retired NBA player. He was born Ronald Artest Jr., and went by the name Ron Artest for much of his life. He legally changed his name to Metta World Peace in 2011, and then in 2020 changed it again, to Metta Sandiford-Artest.

30 “Breaking Bad” drug : METH

“Meth” is a street name used for the drug methamphetamine, which is also called “crank” and “crystal meth”.

The AMC drama “Breaking Bad” is a well-written show about a high school teacher stricken by lung cancer who turns to a life of crime to make money. It turns out that the teacher has a talent for making high-quality crystal meth. The show was created by Vince Gilligan who had spent many years as a producer and writer of “The X-Files”. There is a “Breaking Bad” spin-off show running on AMC called “Better Call Saul” that focuses on the life of lawyer Saul Goodman. If I’m honest, I enjoyed “Better Call Saul” even more than the original show …

32 Jetty : QUAY

A jetty is a pier that juts out into a body of water. “Jetty” derives from the French verb “jeter” meaning “to throw”, the idea being that a jetty is a structure that is “thrown” out past the edge of the land surrounding the body of water.

33 Edgar Allan Poe story, with “The” : … BLACK CAT

“The Black Cat” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that was first published in 1843. It is a dark tale about a man who murders his wife and is taunted by the couple’s black cat.

34 Fix, as the roof of a hut : RETHATCH

Thatch is a dried vegetation used as a roofing material. The choice of vegetation depends on what is growing locally. Common thatching materials are straw, rushes, heather and palm branches.

37 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.

38 They help you focus : CORNEAS

The cornea is the transparent part of the eye in the front, and the part that covers the iris and the pupil. Even though the cornea is not part of the eye’s lens, it acts as a lens. In fact, the cornea does most of the work focusing light coming in through the eye. It is, in effect, a fixed-focus lens passing on light to the variable-focus lens that is inside the eye.

40 Leonardo ___ (Fibonacci alias) : PISANO

Leonardo of Pisa was a famous and respected Italian mathematician, also known as simply “Fibonacci”. He is remembered for writing about a number sequence (although he didn’t “discover” it) that later was given the name “Fibonacci sequence”. He wrote about the series of numbers in his book called “Liber Abaci”, a celebrated work that introduced Arabic numerals (i.e. 0-9) to the Western world.

43 Instruction to a kayaker : PADDLE

There is a type of boat used by Inuit people called a “kayak”. The term “kayak” means “man’s boat”, whereas “umiak” means “woman’s boat”.

45 Like the population of Greenland : SPARSE

Greenland is the largest island on the planet. Geographically, Greenland is part of the continent of North America, but culturally and politically is considered part of Europe. The island became a Danish colony in 1815, and joined the European Economic Community (EEC) with Denmark. Greenland withdrew from the EEC after a referendum in 1983. Since 2009, Greenland has been relatively autonomous, with the Danish government retaining control of foreign affairs, defense and the judicial system.

48 2000 Tony-winning title role for Heather Headley : AIDA

The rock musical “Aida” is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s original opera. It premiered in 1998 and is still performed today. Music is by Elton John and lyrics are by Tim Rice.

Heather Headley is a singer and actress who was born in Trinidad and who moved with her family to the US when she was in her teens. Headley won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2000 for playing the title role in Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida”.

52 Downwind : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather. The sheltered side of an island, for example, might be referred to as the “lee” side.

53 Fancy marbles : TAWS

In the game of marbles, the taw is the shooting marble. It is shot at the ducks.

55 Spanish title: Abbr. : SRA

In Spanish, a “dama” (lady) might be referred to as “Señora” (Mrs.).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Architect of the Museum of Islamic Art : PEI
4 Shirley Bassey and Angela Lansbury, for two : DAMES
9 It can come up to your neck in the winter : SCARF
14 When the moment is right : IN DUE TIME
16 Modify : ALTER
17 Shakes a leg : STEPS ON IT
18 Prefix with media : MULTI-
19 Kooky, as a scheme : CRACKPOT
20 James ___ Award (culinary honor) : BEARD
21 Symbols of slipperiness : EELS
22 Bewildered : AT SEA
25 Actress Long : NIA
26 Parisian possessive : SES
27 Bakery chain that began as the Saint Louis Bread Co. : PANERA
29 When said three times, 2012 Taylor Swift song : STAY
30 Orbiter until 2001 : MIR
31 Streamlined type of baleen whale : RORQUAL
33 Jake’s love interest in “The Sun Also Rises” : BRETT
35 Overcooks, and then some : BURNS
36 Can opener? : LETTER C
39 Yahoo : OAF
40 Way to go : PATH
41 Puffed-up : SNOBBY
43 They get booted at the office : PCS
46 Personal pronoun in Prussia : ICH
47 Beatle who wrote and sang “Don’t Pass Me By” : STARR
48 Org. with the highest-circulating mag in the U.S. : AARP
49 Travel across the pond, perhaps : SKATE
51 “That just might work!” : NEAT IDEA
54 End of “Hedda Gabler,” e.g. : ACT IV
55 Dive boat feature : SEA LADDER
56 Shiny material in some guitars : NACRE
57 Takes steps to compete? : RACE-WALKS
58 The ___ day : OTHER
59 Result of a firing? : ASHES
60 Language suffix : -ESE

Down

1 Last sign : PISCES
2 It may have one or two sides : ENTREE
3 Things to live up to : IDEALS
4 Something to work on : DESK
5 Crowning : ATOP
6 Resident of ancient Crete : MINOAN
7 Pollution source, say : EMITTER
8 Harden : SET
9 Carnival music : SAMBA
10 One may be left at the scene of a crime : CLUE
11 Martin Luther King Jr., for one : ATLANTAN
12 What follows certain deadlocks : RETRIALS
13 With this answer’s number, a hit horror movie franchise : FRIDAY
15 Supermarket lines, for short? : UPCS
23 Sign of a hit : SRO
24 Bit of dangly jewelry : EARBOB
27 The Panthers of the A.C.C. : PITT
28 Onetime N.B.A. star Metta Sandiford-___ : ARTEST
29 Word with crowd or channel : … SURF
30 “Breaking Bad” drug : METH
32 Jetty : QUAY
33 Edgar Allan Poe story, with “The” : … BLACK CAT
34 Fix, as the roof of a hut : RETHATCH
37 Bio class subject : RNA
38 They help you focus : CORNEAS
40 Leonardo ___ (Fibonacci alias) : PISANO
42 Violate, as etiquette : BREACH
43 Instruction to a kayaker : PADDLE
44 Spots for tadpoles : CREEKS
45 Like the population of Greenland : SPARSE
47 Divide : SEVER
48 2000 Tony-winning title role for Heather Headley : AIDA
50 Lose steam : TIRE
52 Downwind : ALEE
53 Fancy marbles : TAWS
55 Spanish title: Abbr. : SRA

10 thoughts on “0113-23 NY Times Crossword 13 Jan 23, Friday”

  1. I think it would be “steps on a crack” to be consistent with the other items of bad luck. “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” Stepping *over* a crack would avert the bad luck.

  2. 21:19, no errors. Upper half seemed very easy for a Friday. Then came RORQUAL crossing EAR BOB; ICH crossing PISANO; entering 38D GLASSES before CORNEA. Quickly dropped to the back of the pack.

  3. 9:17, quick breezy Friday solve; I guess I had good luck with it… I presume STEPS on a CRACK is designed to match WALKS under a LADDER.

  4. 24:28. Fun Friday. I usually look forward to the themeless puzzles, but I’ll admit I liked this one. Should this have been a Thursday?

    RORQUAL was a first for me. We used to go to the St Louis Bread Company in Kirkwood (a suburb of St Louis) all the time. I couldn’t believe it when I found out PANERA Bread sprung from that little store.

    Best –

    1. As my mom (who lives in StL, where I grew up) has on many occasions told me, apparently Panera was an eastern chain with a very different business model, and when they bought out St. Louis Bread Co they liked their model a lot more and changed over.

  5. A lot quicker than I thought it was going to be.

    When EARBOB fell, I saw RORQUAL.
    not that I really knew it as much as I’ve heard it. Gray stuff in my head.

  6. Knew 38D right off, having had a corneal transplant. Surgery was five months ago and I have yet to regain focus in that eye. My doctor says be patient.

  7. Theme was tougher for me since my paper (Long Beach Press-
    Telegram runs the puzzles about 4&1/2 weeks later. Didn’t
    notice that the original publication date was a Friday the 13th.

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