0929-23 NY Times Crossword 29 Sep 23, Friday

Constructed by: Malaika Handa
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 15m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies


5 God who rides the eight-legged horse Sleipnir : ODIN

Sleipnir is an eight-legged horse of Norse mythology, the steed that was ridden by Odin.

9 Tube feature, with “the” : … GAP

“Mind the gap” is a very famous announcement made in several stations on the London Underground. The announcement is needed as there can be a large gap between the doorways of trains and the platform. This gap arises because the platforms of some stations are quite curved, while the train cars are, of course, straight.

The official name of the London “Underground” rail network is a little deceptive, as over half of the track system-wide is actually “over ground”, with the underground sections reserved for the central areas. It is the oldest subway system in the world, having opened in 1863. It was also the first system to use electric rolling stock, in 1890. “The Tube”, as it is known by Londoners, isn’t the longest subway system in the world though. That honor belongs to the Shanghai Metro. My personal favorite part of the Tube is the Tube map! It is a marvel of design …

12 Illegal product that’s still made? : MOONSHINE

The illegal distilled spirits known as moonshine can also be referred to as white lightning, mountain dew and hooch.

18 Word with bubble or high : … TEA

Bubble tea, sometimes called “boba tea”, is a tea-based drink from Taiwan. The “bubbles” are chewy tapioca balls that are usually added to the drink.

Especially in the UK, high tea is a major meal served in the late afternoon or early evening. Said meal should, of course, include a pot of tea!

20 Brand of ranch dressing? : STETSON

Stetson is a brand of hat manufactured by John B. Stetson Company of St. Joseph, Missouri. The so-called “cowboy hat” that Stetson pioneered was such a success that the company became the largest hat maker in the world, producing over 3.3 million hats per year.

22 Obsolescent kind of drive : CD-ROM

Something described as “obsolescent” is going out of use, becoming “obsolete”.

28 Author who wrote “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance” : AUSTEN

English novelist Jane Austen is best known today for her six major novels, only four of which were published before she died in 1817, at the age of 41:

  1. “Sense and Sensibility” (1811)
  2. “Pride and Prejudice” (1813)
  3. “Mansfield Park” (1814)
  4. “Emma” (1816)
  5. “Northanger Abbey” (1818)
  6. “Persuasion” (1818)

34 Checkout choices : LANES

I say avoid any express checkout lane in a market that is labeled “10 items or less”. It should be “10 items or fewer”. I know, I know … I should calm down … and get a life …

36 QB rushers, collectively : D-LINE

Defensive line (D-line)

48 ___ Coleman, principal on “Abbott Elementary” : AVA

“Abbott Elementary” is a sitcom in the mockumentary genre. The show was created by and stars Quinta Brunson as a cup-half-full second-grade teacher in a Philadelphia public school. The premise of “Abbott Elementary” is that a film crew is making a documentary about the lives of teachers working in underfunded schools.

55 About 20 million people in India : SIKHS

Sikhism is a religion that was founded in the Punjab region, which straddles the India-Pakistan border. Even though Sikhism was established relatively recently, it is now the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Sikhism was founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak.

56 Close associates to be wary of : FRENEMIES

A frenemy is someone who feigns friendship but who is actually an enemy or competitor.

58 Growth that may be treated with salicylic acid : WART

A wart is a small eruption on the skin caused by a localized viral infection. Apparently, the most successful treatment is topical use of salicylic acid, with a cure rate of 75%. I think it’s best to avoid getting them …


3 World capital whose Museum of Islamic Art was designed by I. M. Pei : DOHA

Doha is the capital city of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The name “Doha” translates from Arabic as “the big tree”.

4 ___ Balls : SNO

The Hostess cakes called Sno Balls are usually pink in color, although in its original form each packet of two cakes contained one white and one pink. Around Halloween you can buy Sno Balls in the form of Scary Cakes and Glo Balls that are colored orange and green. and on St. Paddy’s Day there’s a green one available. Yoo hoo!

8 N.B.A. team originally based in New Jersey : NETS

The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets were the New Jersey Nets until 2012, and were based in Newark. Prior to 1977, the team was known as the New York Nets and played in various locations on Long Island. Ten years earlier, the Nets were called the New Jersey Americans and were headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey.

11 Blueprint : PLAN

Blueprints are reproductions of technical or architectural drawings that are contact prints made on light-sensitive sheets. They were introduced in the 1800s and the technology available dictated that the drawings were reproduced with white lines on a blue background, hence the name “blue-print”.

15 Blunt salespeople : POT DEALERS

In the tobacco industry, a blunt is a cigar of medium width that has a rounded rather than a pointed tip. It is the rounded end of the cigar that gives it the name “blunt”. A cigar that has been hollowed out and filled with cannabis is also known as a blunt.

21 Model Holliday : TESS

Tess Holliday is a plus-size model and body-positive activist. She was born Ryann Hoven and changed her name to Tess Munster when she started modeling. That choice was purely because she was a fan of “The Munsters” TV show. In 2015, she adopted the family name of Nick Holliday, the father of her two children.

22 Go into one’s “phone voice,” say : CODE-SWITCH

The linguistic term “code-switching” refers to the practice of a speaker switching between languages or dialects while in the same conversation.

23 Who said “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before” : MAE WEST

Comic actress Mae West can be quoted so easily, as she had so many great lines delivered so well. Here are a few:

  • When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.
  • When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.
  • I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
  • Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.
  • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
  • Why don’t you come on up and see me sometime — when I’ve got nothin’ on but the radio.
  • It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.
  • To err is human, but it feels divine.
  • I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady.
  • I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
  • Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

25 “___ and Janis” (comic strip) : ARLO

The comic strip “Arlo and Janis” is written by Jimmy Johnson. Introduced in 1985, Arlo and Janis are a baby booming couple with an easy approach to life, and who are very much in love.

29 Great Basin people : UTES

The Great Basin is a large region of the US covering most of Nevada, much of Utah and some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and California. The 200,000 square mile area drains internally, with all precipitation sinking underground or flowing into lakes. Most of the lakes in the Great Basin are saline, including the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt Sink.

33 “Queer Eye” co-star Jonathan Van ___ : NESS

Hairdresser Jonathan Van Ness is best known as the grooming expert on the TV show “Queer Eye” (the Netflix revival of the original series). He joined the cast in 2018.

44 Like AB- vis-à-vis other blood types : RARER

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

45 El ___ : PASO

Although there have been human settlements in the El Paso area for thousands of years, the first European settlement was founded in 1659 by the Spanish. That first community was on the south bank of the Rio Grande, and was called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). Most of the urban development under Spanish rule took place on the south side of the river, with El Paso del Norte acting as the center of governance for the Spanish for the territory of New Mexico. The Rio Grande was chosen as the border between Mexico and the US in 1848, so most of the city of El Paso del Norte became part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua (and is now called Ciudad Juárez ). The area north of the river developed as a US military post, eventually becoming the modern city of El Paso, Texas.

46 Office warning letters : NSFW

The abbreviation “NSFW” stands for “not safe/suitable for work”. It’s Internet slang used to describe online content that is best not viewed at work.

53 Italian time unit : ORA

In Italian, there are “sessanta minuti” (sixty minutes) in an “ora” (hour).

Complete List of Clues/Answers


1 Spreads concern? : ODDS
5 God who rides the eight-legged horse Sleipnir : ODIN
9 Tube feature, with “the” : … GAP
12 Illegal product that’s still made? : MOONSHINE
14 Write some letters : SPELL
16 “Seems like a bad idea …” : I SHOULDN’T
17 Baked, in Italian : COTTA
18 Word with bubble or high : … TEA
19 Contacts data: Abbr. : NOS
20 Brand of ranch dressing? : STETSON
22 Obsolescent kind of drive : CD-ROM
24 Finish with : END IN
25 Far from home, say : ABROAD
28 Author who wrote “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance” : AUSTEN
30 Thin : REEDY
31 May to November, in Central America : WET SEASON
34 Checkout choices : LANES
35 Need to pay : OWE
36 QB rushers, collectively : D-LINE
37 Does a better job than at making points : OUTSCORES
39 Gives up : CEDES
40 Clouds : SWARMS
41 Light touch : CARESS
42 Moves a little : STIRS
43 ___ Day of Visibility (March 31 observance) : TRANS
45 Piece of the pie : PORTION
47 Put on : ADD
48 ___ Coleman, principal on “Abbott Elementary” : AVA
51 Protagonist in a long-running Phyllis Reynolds Naylor book series : ALICE
52 Person who might sweep a board game off a table : SORE LOSER
55 About 20 million people in India : SIKHS
56 Close associates to be wary of : FRENEMIES
57 Flattering lines : ODE
58 Growth that may be treated with salicylic acid : WART
59 Be wide open : GAPE


1 Cut : OMIT
2 One pill, perhaps : DOSE
3 World capital whose Museum of Islamic Art was designed by I. M. Pei : DOHA
4 ___ Balls : SNO
5 “Goodness …” : OH LORD …
6 Claim in a squabble : DID SO!
7 Lodge : INN
8 N.B.A. team originally based in New Jersey : NETS
9 Seeks shelter : GETS INSIDE
10 ___ B. Parker, Democratic candidate for president in 1904 : ALTON
11 Blueprint : PLAN
13 Feeling of dread before the start of the workweek, in slang : SUNDAY SCARIES
14 Source of a burning odor? : SCENTED CANDLE
15 Blunt salespeople : POT DEALERS
21 Model Holliday : TESS
22 Go into one’s “phone voice,” say : CODE-SWITCH
23 Who said “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before” : MAE WEST
25 “___ and Janis” (comic strip) : ARLO
26 Suitor : BEAU
27 Form of protest for tenants : RENT STRIKE
29 Great Basin people : UTES
31 Creepy-crawly : WORM
32 Singles : ONES
33 “Queer Eye” co-star Jonathan Van ___ : NESS
38 Approximately : OR SO
41 Having rhythm : CADENT
42 Cube, e.g. : SOLID
44 Like AB- vis-à-vis other blood types : RARER
45 El ___ : PASO
46 Office warning letters : NSFW
48 Birthplace of the world’s major religions : ASIA
49 Second-in-command, informally : VEEP
50 Bum : ARSE
53 Italian time unit : ORA
54 [!!!] : OMG!

13 thoughts on “0929-23 NY Times Crossword 29 Sep 23, Friday”

  1. 20:12 – Again faster than my average
    Completely blanked on “moonshine,” so I ended up doing the right side of the puzzle and working my way back
    I didn’t know my Italian, nor my 1904 candidates

  2. 21:45, no errors. Shocked to get the congratulations screen after entering the ‘T’ in STETSON. Blind to the context until I read Bill’s explanation.
    18A: so HIGH Tea comes after second breakfast, elevenses and luncheon?
    45D: after yesterday we also know that it is across the Bridge of the Americas from Juarez.
    23D: can remember a court scene in which the judge accuses Mae West of showing contempt for the court. She replies: I’m doing my best to hide it.

  3. 27:14 after finding and fixing a mess in the upper right that prevented me from getting the “success” screen (and, yes, Nick, I still insist on doing that … and, no, being told that you have at least one error … somewhere … is not a giant advantage when you go off to look for it/them … 🙂). (And, FWIW … feeble excuse … I’ve been more than a little distracted by recent events in Chez Kennison … 😳.)

  4. 17:58. Same time as Bill after I gave him a 2 minute head start.

    Pretty easy Friday except when it wasn’t. Upper right was the toughest for me. I had GoesINSIDE initially which kept me from getting a relative layup in SPELL until I finally figured all that out.

    I knew 23D simply by having read Bill’s blog all these years.

    Salicylic acid is what they use to treat WARTs? That’s aspirin…almost. I guess aspirin is actually acetylsalicylic acid, but close enough.

    Never had a WART in my life, but I chalk that up to a lifetime of clean and virtuous living… It’s a clear day here in Las Vegas; no chance of a lightning strike after that comment…I don’t think.

    Still have 33 puzzles to make up since neither Dave nor Glenn has stepped up to do them for me.

    Best –

  5. 32:13 completed at various stops over a 300 mile road trip, which I think actually helped. Easy by comparison to yesterday where 4 clues just showed a black screen for the clues.

  6. 10:06, no errors. About average for how these have been going.

    I should say I do binge solve puzzles occasionally and happened to do about 33 in the last two days. I’m definitely disappointed in how the calendar puzzles are falling so far, since I really haven’t improved on them since I did them the first time, and in some cases did a lot worse the second time. I am definitely reminded of why I time, as I feel like I’m busy writing the whole time and think I’m doing well but the clock has other ideas.

    I’ll say though the Saturday Stumper reposted today was very good and fun.

    1. @Glenn Re other puzzles, not sure if you did the Sunday 29 Oct. WAPO.
      Out of the gate it seemed it would be a challenging one. By the time I was done I found it a very clever one. Maybe not a skull cracker like the Stumper can be but it did take me 1 hr 10 min. and glad to finish with 0 errors.

      1. I did it just now. I remembered it from back in 2018 when I got into it, but still was a relatively fresh solve. Mainly the only challenge was the trickery behind it, which I’ve definitely grown very tired of the more I’ve done this.

        1. 👍good time.
          AT first I found the gimmick a bit annoying but when I got the blanks gimmick at the end I thought it was clever as gimmicks go. I was bored at work so it killed and hour and was enjoyable.

  7. DNF. Couldn’t get it done in SW corner. EL PASO escaped me. Started with EL NINO then to EL NEPO thinking 55A was PEKOE and 42D was SIDED. All that sent me down a rabbit hole.

    Also had PAT DEALER for 15D… not up on my cannabis trivia so I didn’t know BLUNT was a reference.

  8. Time:29:44;
    I’ve been leaving the mic on in case I have anything to say but I had nothing to say. I can be heard letting one rip at 20:07 but that should not necessarily be taken as a commentary on the puzzle.

  9. My recollection is that Mae West’s “I’m doing my best to hide it” was actually made to a congressman while testifying before a congressional committee (maybe HUAC).

    Q: Madam are you trying to show contempt for this

    A. Sir – I’m doing my . . . .

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