0125-23 NY Times Crossword 25 Jan 23, Wednesday

Constructed by: Nancy Serrano-Wu
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Themed Clue: Sports Bar Purchases

Themed answers are common SPORTS phrases reinterpreted as PURCHASES in a SPORTS BAR:

  • 20A Sports bar purchases? : FANTASY DRAFTS
  • 33A Sports bar purchases? : PENALTY SHOTS
  • 41A Sports bar purchases? : STAR PITCHERS
  • 56A Sports bar purchases? : TRIPLE-DOUBLES

Bill’s time: 8m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Composer of the piano piece played in the “Tom and Jerry” short “The Cat Concerto” : LISZT

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer and a fabulous pianist. Particularly towards the end of his life, Liszt gained a tremendous reputation as a teacher. While he was in his sixties, his teaching profession demanded that he commute regularly between the cities of Rome, Weimar and Budapest. It is quite remarkable that a man of such an advanced age, and in the 1870s, could do so much annual travel. It is estimated that Liszt journeyed at least 4,000 miles every year!

14 Dancing like a ballerina : ON TOE

“En pointe” is ballet dancing on the tips of the toes, and is a French term. A ballerina wears pointe shoes (sometimes “toe shoes”) to perform this delightful-looking, albeit unhealthy, feat (pun!).

17 Par ___ (by airmail, in French) : AVION

“Par avion” is a French term meaning “by airplane”. We’re used to seeing “par avion” on a blue sticker under the words “Air Mail” on our mail.

18 Word after lo or chow : … MEIN

“Chow mein” has two slightly different meanings on the East and West Coasts of the US. On the East Coast, basic chow mein is a crispy dish, whereas on the West Coast it is a steamed dish that is relatively soft. On the East Coast the steamed dish is available, but under the name “lo mein”. On the West Coast, the crispy dish is also on the menu, as “Hong Kong-style chow mein”.

19 Phaser setting : STUN

A MASER is a device that was around long before LASERs came into the public consciousness. A MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is similar to a LASER, but microwaves are emitted rather than light waves. When the storyline for “Star Trek” was being developed, the writers introduced a weapon called a “phaser”, with the name “phaser” derived from PHoton mASER.

23 Summer setting in Mass. : EDT

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

24 Actor Kingsley : BEN

English actor Ben Kingsley won his Best Actor Oscar for playing the title role in the 1982 epic biographical film “Gandhi”. Kingsley was knighted in 2002, so if you meet him you should address him as “Sir Ben” …

36 Recipient of the inaugural A.T.P. Player of the Year award : ASHE

Arthur Ashe was a professional tennis player from Richmond, Virginia. In his youth, Ashe found himself having to travel great distances to play against Caucasian opponents due to the segregation that still existed in his home state. He was rewarded for his dedication by being selected for the 1963 US Davis Cup team, the first African-American player to be so honored. Ashe continued to run into trouble because of his ethnicity though, and in 1968 was denied entry into South Africa to play in the South African Open. In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack and had bypass surgery, with follow-up surgery four years later during which he contracted HIV from blood transfusions. Ashe passed away in 1993 due to complications from AIDS. Shortly afterwards, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is an organization that looks out for the interests of male tennis professionals. The equivalent organization for women is the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

39 “Chandelier” singer : SIA

“Chandelier” is a 2014 song by Australian singer Sia. I don’t know the song myself, but it sounds like it’s a bit of a downer, dealing with alcoholism, addiction and excessive hedonism.

47 Every which way : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

54 “Better Call Saul” network : AMC

“Better Call Saul” is a spin-off drama series from the hit show “Breaking Bad”. The main character is small-time lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, who featured in the original series. “Better Call Saul” is set six years before Goodman makes an appearance in the “Breaking Bad” storyline. The lawyer’s real name is James Morgan McGill, and his pseudonym is a play on the words “S’all good, man!”

60 Recite the rosary, e.g. : PRAY

The Rosary is a set of prayer beads used in the Roman Catholic tradition. The name “Rosary” comes from the Latin “rosarium”, the word for a “rose garden” or a “garland of roses”. The term is used figuratively, in the sense of a “garden of prayers”.

62 Currency of Portugal : EURO

Portugal is the most westerly country in Europe, and is located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula alongside Spain. The name “Portugal” comes from the Latin “Portus Cale”, the name used by ancient Romans for Porto, now the country’s second largest city. Portugal was a far-reaching power in the 15th and 16th centuries, at the center of the world’s first truly global empire. A legacy of the Portuguese Empire is that today there are more than 240 million Portuguese speakers across the world.

64 Free speech org. : ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War. It grew out of the National Civil Liberties Bureau (CLB) that was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.

65 Hair removal brand : NAIR

Nair is a hair-removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide (“slaked lime”) and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name “Nair” probably comes from combining “no” and “hair”.

Down

1 Apt shoe for a bread maker? : LOAFER

The loafer slip-on shoe dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by Fortnum and Mason’s store in London. The derivative term “penny loafer” arose in the late fifties or early sixties, although the exact etymology seems unclear.

2 What the aliens do in “The War of the Worlds” : INVADE

In the 1895 novella by H. G. Wells titled “The Time Machine”, the author never actually names the antagonist, and refers to him as “the Time Traveller”. In the famous 1960 movie adaption, also called “The Time Machine”, Rod Taylor plays the Time Traveller, and is given the name “George”. Perceptive viewers of the movie might catch sight of a plaque on the side of the time machine that elaborates on the Time Traveller’s name, naming him “H. George Wells”, a homage to the author.

4 ___ suit : ZOOT

A zoot suit has pants that are fairly loose fitting, except around the cuff at the bottom of the leg. The pants also have a high waist. The jacket of the suit has wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. Zoot suits were popular in the US in the thirties and forties, and were often associated with the African American, Latino American and Italian American ethnic groups. Over in the UK, the zoot suit was worn by the “Teddy boys” of the fifties and sixties. “Zoot” is probably just a slang iteration of the word “suit”.

5 Not ridiculous, as an argument : TENABLE

Something tenable can be maintained or defended. The term “tenable” comes from the Latin verb “tenere” meaning “to hold, keep”.

6 Persons who identify as female, in an alternative spelling : WOMYN

Some feminists use an alternative spelling for the word “women”, including “womyn” and “womban”.

9 Tang, for one : DYNASTY

The Tang dynasty of China lasted from 618 to 907 CE.

10 App with “Stories,” informally : INSTA

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”, or “IG”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

11 Bee’s knees : CAT’S MEOW

Something described as “the cat’s meow” is particularly fine, the best. The term was popularized and perhaps coined by Tad Dorgan, a cartoonist who was active in the early 20th century.

There was a whole series of phrases involving animals that developed in the 1920s, with all designed to indicate a superlative. Some are still around today, such as “the cat’s pajamas” and “the bee’s knees”. Others didn’t last too long, e.g. “the eel’s ankle” and “the snake’s hip”.

12 Outback bird : EMU

In Australia, the land outside of urban areas is referred to as the outback or the bush. That said, I think that the term “outback” is sometimes reserved for the more remote parts of the bush.

27 Loch ___ : NESS

Loch Ness is one of the two most famous lakes in Scotland. Loch Ness is famous for its “monster”, and Loch Lomond is famous for the lovely song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”. Oh, ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road …

31 Home of the Sundance Film Festival : UTAH

The Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film event in the country, and takes place every year around the Sundance Resort near Provo, Utah. The festival has its roots in the Utah/US Film Festival which started in Salt Lake City in 1978. Management of the festival was taken over by Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in 1985. The festival has become a bit of a media feeding frenzy in recent years, as a lot of A-list celebrities attend. The Festival organizers introduced a “Focus on Film” campaign in 2007 in an attempt to offset some of the madness.

34 Apropos of : AS TO

“Apropos”, meaning “relevant, opportune”, comes into English directly from French, in which language “à propos” means “to the purpose”. Note that we use the term as one word (apropos), whereas the original French is two words (à propos).

35 Zoom meeting leader : HOST

Zoom is a videoconferencing app that became remarkably popular in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The market deemed Zoom to be the easiest to use of the free videoconferencing apps. I’ve been using it, but really prefer Google’s Meet offering …

36 Lickety-split : ASAP

“Lickety-split” is the latest in a line of terms that come from the word “lick”, which was used in the sense of a “fast sprint in a race” back in the early 1800s. From “lick” there evolved “licketie”, “lickety-click”, “lickety-cut” and finally “lickety-split”, all just colorful ways to say “fast”.

37 Ruckus : STIR

The word “ruckus” is used to mean “commotion”, and has been around since the late 1800s. “Ruckus” is possibly a melding of the words “ruction” and “rumpus”.

49 Oman’s ruler, e.g. : SULTAN

Qaboos bin Said al Said was Sultan of Oman, until his death in 2020, after coming to power in a coup in 1970 by deposing his own father. Qaboos had no children, and no agreed heir. After his death, the country’s Defense Council opened a letter left by Qaboos that named his successor, his cousin Haitham bin Tariq.

50 Agita : UNEASE

“Agita” is another name for “acid indigestion”, and more generally for “agitation, anxiety”.

53 Symbol of poison on a warning label : MR YUK

Mr. Yuk is a graphic image used to label poisonous substances, as an alternative to the more traditional skull and crossbones. The Mr. Yuk symbol was created by the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as a more appropriate warning for children.

57 Feast with poi : LUAU

Nowadays, the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of poi, the bulbous underground stems of taro.

58 Blarney Stone locale : ERIN

Blarney is a town in County Cork in the south of Ireland. Blarney is home to Blarney Castle, and inside the castle is the legendary Blarney Stone. “Kissing the Blarney Stone” is a ritual engaged in by many, many tourists (indeed, I’ve done it myself!), but it’s not a simple process. The stone is embedded in the wall of the castle, and in order to kiss it you have to sit on the edge of the parapet and lean way backwards so that your head is some two feet below your body. There is a staff member there to help you and make sure you don’t fall. The Blarney Stone has been referred to as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction! But once you’ve kissed it, supposedly you are endowed with the “gift of the gab”, the ability to talk eloquently and perhaps deceptively without offending. The term “blarney” has come to mean flattering and deceptive talk.

60 Fido’s foot : PAW

“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.

61 Record label that released the first 45 r.p.m. single (1949) : RCA

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Composer of the piano piece played in the “Tom and Jerry” short “The Cat Concerto” : LISZT
6 Fuse : WELD
10 Sugarcoated, in a way : ICED
14 Dancing like a ballerina : ON TOE
15 “Sounds good!” : OKAY!
16 First line on a form, often : NAME
17 Par ___ (by airmail, in French) : AVION
18 Word after lo or chow : … MEIN
19 Phaser setting : STUN
20 Sports bar purchases? : FANTASY DRAFTS
23 Summer setting in Mass. : EDT
24 Actor Kingsley : BEN
25 Guy in a crew : SEAMAN
28 Do a cobbler’s job on : RESOLE
30 Like a kitten cuddling with a puppy : CUTE
32 Before, in poetry : ERE
33 Sports bar purchases? : PENALTY SHOTS
36 Recipient of the inaugural A.T.P. Player of the Year award : ASHE
39 “Chandelier” singer : SIA
40 Has a student loan, say : OWES
41 Sports bar purchases? : STAR PITCHERS
46 Assistance : AID
47 Every which way : AMOK
48 Relents : LETS UP
52 Gets the hair just right, say : PRIMPS
54 “Better Call Saul” network : AMC
55 Spanish article : UNA
56 Sports bar purchases? : TRIPLE-DOUBLES
60 Recite the rosary, e.g. : PRAY
62 Currency of Portugal : EURO
63 Occupied, as a desk : SAT AT
64 Free speech org. : ACLU
65 Hair removal brand : NAIR
66 Cut down to size : ABASE
67 “Golf is a good ___ spoiled” : WALK
68 Fix because of flatness, say : TUNE
69 Some are for passing : LANES

Down

1 Apt shoe for a bread maker? : LOAFER
2 What the aliens do in “The War of the Worlds” : INVADE
3 Work assignments : STINTS
4 ___ suit : ZOOT
5 Not ridiculous, as an argument : TENABLE
6 Persons who identify as female, in an alternative spelling : WOMYN
7 Scraped together, with “out” : EKED …
8 Hideout : LAIR
9 Tang, for one : DYNASTY
10 App with “Stories,” informally : INSTA
11 Bee’s knees : CAT’S MEOW
12 Outback bird : EMU
13 Hideout : DEN
21 In view : SEEN
22 Brokers’ charges : FEES
26 Fotografía, por ejemplo : ARTE
27 Loch ___ : NESS
29 Abbr. above “0” : OPER
30 Quickly form a friendship (with) : CLICK
31 Home of the Sundance Film Festival : UTAH
34 Apropos of : AS TO
35 Zoom meeting leader : HOST
36 Lickety-split : ASAP
37 Ruckus : STIR
38 Wanted for nothing : HAD IT ALL
42 Daddy, in Spanish : PAPI
43 “Whew! That was exhausting!” : I’M SPENT!
44 Muppet who speaks in a falsetto : ELMO
45 Withdrawal to avoid a conflict of interest : RECUSAL
49 Oman’s ruler, e.g. : SULTAN
50 Agita : UNEASE
51 Presses Ctrl-V on a PC : PASTES
53 Symbol of poison on a warning label : MR YUK
54 Treasure : ADORE
57 Feast with poi : LUAU
58 Blarney Stone locale : ERIN
59 Dad, in Chinese : BABA
60 Fido’s foot : PAW
61 Record label that released the first 45 r.p.m. single (1949) : RCA

5 thoughts on “0125-23 NY Times Crossword 25 Jan 23, Wednesday”

  1. 14:32. Probably made this one a little harder than it actually was. Some easy answers just didn’t click at first.

    I was going through the NYT crossword archives looking to see how many puzzles I’d missed/skipped recently. There were just a handful in January of 2020 and none after that.

    Then I looked at 2019. Yikes. I have 90 puzzles I didn’t do – mostly in the first half of 2019. I guess that’s when I made the transition from the LA Times xword and started doing the NYT full time. I still think it was a good decision.

    Best –

  2. Yeoman before seaman.

    In my day penny loafers were shoes with a slit in the leather
    across the arch. You were supposed to put a penny in each slot.
    I have no idea why.

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