1122-23 NY Times Crossword 22 Nov 23, Wednesday

Constructed by: Will Pfadenhauer
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Odd Ball

Themed answers are all phrases that might apply to an ODD BALL:

  • 53A Eccentric sort … or a “sport” where one might make the plays at 19-, 27- and 44-Across? : ODDBALL … or ODD BALL
  • 19A Behave uncontrollably : RUN WILD
  • 27A Stagger with unexpected news, maybe : CATCH OFF BALANCE
  • 44A Cause to malfunction : THROW OUT OF WHACK

Bill’s time: 9m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Caterpillar, e.g. : LARVA

Caterpillars are the larval form of butterflies and moths.

9 Paintballs and water balloons, at times : AMMO

The “paint” in paintball isn’t actually paint, but rather a mix of gelatin and food coloring.

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

16 Xenomorph : ALIEN

The antagonists in the “Alien” series of films are extraterrestrials, described at one point in the script as “xenomorphs”. The term “xenomorph” was coined for the screen using the Greek roots “xeno-” (other, strange) and “-morph” (shape).

17 Actress Fisher of “Wedding Crashers” : ISLA

Isla Fisher is an Oman-born, Australian actress who really launched her career with a recurring role on the Australian soap “Home and Away”. She started a career in Hollywood portraying Mary Jane in the 2002 film “Scooby-Doo”. Fisher married English actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in 2010.

Not only does the 2005 romantic comedy “Wedding Crashers” star Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, but if you rent it you’ll see cameos from Democratic pundit James Carville, and Republican Senator John McCain.

25 Kind of bikes for stunt riders : BMX

“BMX” stands for “Bicycle Motocross”. It’s the sport where folks on bicycles race around what is in effect a regular motocross track. Medals were awarded for BMX for the first time at the Beijing Olympics, with a Latvian winning for the men, and a Française winning for the women.

26 “You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an ___, Mr. Grinch” : EEL

The Grinch is the title character in Dr. Seuss’s 1957 children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” He is a grouchy creature who lives as a hermit in a cave outside the town of Whoville. The Grinch’s only companion is his dog Max. Based on Seuss’s hero, we now use the term “grinch” for someone who is opposed to Christmas festivities or who is coarse and greedy in general.

33 Take ___ at (besmirch) : A SHOT

“Besmirch” is a derivative of “smirch”, with both words meaning to “make dirty”. In particular, to besmirch is to sully someone’s reputation.

36 Semiconductor device : DIODE

A diode is a component in a circuit, the most notable characteristic of which is that it will conduct electric current in only one direction. Some of those vacuum tubes we used to see in old radios and television were diodes, but nowadays almost all diodes are semiconductor devices.

38 Croft of the “Tomb Raider” franchise : LARA

Lara Croft was introduced to the world in 1996 as the main character in a pretty cool video game (or so I thought, back then) called “Tomb Raider”. Lara Croft moved to the big screen in 2001 and 2003, in two pretty awful movie adaptations of the game’s storyline. Angelina Jolie played Croft, and she did a very energetic job.

41 Toy shooters : BB GUNS

A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.

49 Manning of ESPN’s “ManningCast” : ELI

“Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli”, also known as “Manningcast”, is an alternate, live broadcast of Monday Night Football hosted by brothers Peyton and Eli Manning. It is produced by Peyton’s production company Omaha Productions. And airs on ESPN2 and ESPN+. The show premiered in 2021, and In its first season averaged 1.1 million viewers, which was more than double the viewership of the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast on ABC. The Manningcast was also the most-watched program on ESPN+ in its first season.

50 Busyness representative? : BEE

A simile is a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things that are unalike. For example, a person might be described as “cute as a kitten” or as “busy as a bee”.

58 13th or 15th days, on the Roman calendar : IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Actually, the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

64 Mardi ___ : GRAS

“Mardi Gras” translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”, and gets its name from the practice of eating rich foods on the eve of the fasting season known as Lent. Lent starts on the next day, called Ash Wednesday.

65 Dance with a series of spins : SALSA

The genre of music called salsa is a modern interpretation of various Cuban traditional music styles.

67 New York Giant known as “Master Melvin” : OTT

I wonder if Mel Ott had any idea that he would turn in crosswords so very often?

68 Big hotel chain : HYATT

The Hyatt hotel chain takes its name from the first hotel in the group, i.e. Hyatt House at the Los Angeles International Airport that was purchased in 1957. Among other things, Hyatt is famous for designing the world’s first atrium hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.

Down

1 One spewing hogwash : LIAR

“Hogwash” means “rubbish, of little value”. “Hogwash” was originally the name of swill fed to pigs.

2 “Because freedom can’t protect itself” 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”.

7 Went off-script : AD-LIBBED

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad-lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad-lib is very familiar.

11 Full-bodied red wine : MALBEC

Malbec is a red wine grape that used to be mainly associated with Bordeaux. A frost killed off much of the crop in Bordeaux in the fifties, and today Malbec wines are more closely linked to Argentina and California. I must admit to being a fan of Malbec blends …

20 Constellation whose mane and shoulders are known as “the Sickle” : LEO

The constellation named Leo can be said to resemble a lion. Others say that it resembles a bent coat hanger. “Leo” is the Latin for “lion”, but I’m not sure how to translate “coat hanger” into Latin …

22 Rod in a hot rod : AXLE

A hot rod is an American car that has been modified for speed by installing a larger than normal engine. A street rod is generally a more comfortable type of hot rod, with the emphasis less on the engine and more on custom paint jobs and interiors. By definition, a street rod must be based on an automobile design that originated prior to 1949.

27 Edgar Allan Poe owned a black one, appropriately : CAT

Edgar Allan Poe (EAP) lived a life of many firsts. Poe is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn’t really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious and in dire need of medical help. Poe died a few days later in hospital at 40 years of age.

29 Team with a sausage race at every home game : THE BREWERS

The official mascot of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team is Bernie Brewer. He is a cheerful fellow with a big mustache, and was introduced to the crowds in 1973 as a tribute to ardent Brewers fan Milt Mason. 69-year-old Mason decided to live in a trailer atop the scoreboard in 1970, and to stay there until the struggling Brewers team attracted a sell-out crowd. It took 40 days to achieve the required 40,000 attendees, and Mason was able to leave his perch by sliding down a rope. In honor of that stunt, Bernie Brewer slides down a plastic yellow slide into a giant mug of beer every time the Brewers score a home run.

31 Poet who taught at Amherst College : FROST

The wonderful poet Robert Frost was a native of San Francisco, but lived most of life in New England. He also spent a few years in England, just before WWI. Frost was well recognized for his work during his lifetime, and received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He was also Vermont’s first Poet Laureate, a position that he held from 1961 until his death in 1963.

36 Learning app with an owl mascot : DUOLINGO

Duolingo is a language-learning app that can be used for free, or with no ads for a premium price. The app was launched to the public in 2012, and 2013 was chosen by Apple as its iPhone App of the Year. Duolingo has a mascot, a green cartoon owl named “Duo”.

39 “Parks and ___” (NBC sitcom, to fans) : REC

“Parks and Recreation” (sometimes just “Parks and Rec”) is a sitcom that started airing on NBC in 2009, and is a show that has grown on me. It stars the “Saturday Night Live” alum Amy Poehler. The creators of “Parks and Recreation” are part of the team responsible for the American version of “The Office”, so you’ll notice some similarities in the style of the two shows, and some actors that have appeared in both.

40 Sanctuary against extinction : ARK

The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

42 Singer Stefani : GWEN

Gwen Stefani is lead singer with the rock band No Doubt. She joined the band in 1986, focused on a solo career from 2004-2008, but is now back singing and working with No Doubt. She joined the reality show “The Voice” as a coach in 2014, replacing Christina Aguilera. A year later, Stefani announced a relationship with Blake Shelton, a fellow coach on “The Voice”.

43 Like krona coins : SWEDISH

“Krona” (plural “kronor”) translates in English as “crown”, and is the currency of Sweden. As a member of the European Union, Sweden is required to adopt the euro as its official currency. Such a move isn’t really popular in Sweden and so the Swedish government has been using a legal loophole to allow the country to retain the krona.

55 Penne ___ vodka : ALLA

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish with a sauce made of vodka, cream, tomatoes, onions and sausage or bacon.

57 Exam for a future A.G. : LSAT

Attorneys General (AGs) head up the Department of Justice (DOJ). When the office of the Attorney General was created in 1789 it was a part-time job, with no departmental support. The Department of Justice came into being in 1870.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Caterpillar, e.g. : LARVA
6 Owns : HAS
9 Paintballs and water balloons, at times : AMMO
13 Seal the win, so to speak : ICE IT
14 Tuck away : HIDE
15 Bank offering : LOAN
16 Xenomorph : ALIEN
17 Actress Fisher of “Wedding Crashers” : ISLA
18 Sorry situations : ILLS
19 Behave uncontrollably : RUN WILD
21 “Give ___ rest!” : IT A
23 Not yet determined: Abbr. : TBA
24 Exclamation of mild surprise : GEE!
25 Kind of bikes for stunt riders : BMX
26 “You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an ___, Mr. Grinch” : EEL
27 Stagger with unexpected news, maybe : CATCH OFF BALANCE
33 Take ___ at (besmirch) : A SHOT
34 Share again, as a story : RETELL
35 Gender-neutral pronoun : THEM
36 Semiconductor device : DIODE
38 Croft of the “Tomb Raider” franchise : LARA
41 Toy shooters : BB GUNS
43 Word after life or time : -SAVER
44 Cause to malfunction : THROW OUT OF WHACK
48 Gardener’s tool : HOE
49 Manning of ESPN’s “ManningCast” : ELI
50 Busyness representative? : BEE
51 Creation (and rhyme) of 48-Across : ROW
52 ___ to pick : NIT
53 Eccentric sort … or a “sport” where one might make the plays at 19-, 27- and 44-Across? : ODDBALL … or ODD BALL
58 13th or 15th days, on the Roman calendar : IDES
60 John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, for one : NAME
62 Sits and waits : IDLES
63 Drive : FIRE
64 Mardi ___ : GRAS
65 Dance with a series of spins : SALSA
66 The “T” of 57-Down : TEST
67 New York Giant known as “Master Melvin” : OTT
68 Big hotel chain : HYATT

Down

1 One spewing hogwash : LIAR
2 “Because freedom can’t protect itself” org. : ACLU
3 Pull (in) : REIN
4 YouTube unit : VIEW
5 When Santa and the tooth fairy are most active : AT NIGHT
6 What’s-___-face : HIS
7 Went off-script : AD-LIBBED
8 Someone with an equal claim to your armrest, perhaps : SEATMATE
9 Wepner’s 1975 opponent in the ring : ALI
10 Progressive rock? : MOLTEN LAVA
11 Full-bodied red wine : MALBEC
12 Like Christmas lights after December 25, often : ON SALE
14 Digitally crisp, informally : HI-DEF
20 Constellation whose mane and shoulders are known as “the Sickle” : LEO
22 Rod in a hot rod : AXLE
27 Edgar Allan Poe owned a black one, appropriately : CAT
28 Wood once used for hockey sticks : ASH
29 Team with a sausage race at every home game : THE BREWERS
30 Burger, fries and a drink at a special price, e.g. : COMBO
31 Poet who taught at Amherst College : FROST
32 God, in Islam : ALLAH
36 Learning app with an owl mascot : DUOLINGO
37 Walrus ivory is one traditional medium for it : INUIT ART
39 “Parks and ___” (NBC sitcom, to fans) : REC
40 Sanctuary against extinction : ARK
42 Singer Stefani : GWEN
43 Like krona coins : SWEDISH
44 Prudence with money : THRIFT
45 Article of cool-weather wear : HOODIE
46 Orchestral group pitched to C : OBOES
47 Stoked : FED
54 Candle-lighting occasion, in brief : B-DAY
55 Penne ___ vodka : ALLA
56 In case : LEST
57 Exam for a future A.G. : LSAT
59 Solidify : SET
61 It might say “Welcome” : MAT

7 thoughts on “1122-23 NY Times Crossword 22 Nov 23, Wednesday”

  1. 12:00, no errors.
    9A: the clue on my NYT app is “Rifle filler”. Perhaps New York City and the Bay Area have outlawed even metaphorical guns.

  2. To add to what Bruce said: In the NYT crossword app and in both versions of the puzzle that I just downloaded from the NYT site, the clue for 9-Across is “Rifle filler” instead of “Paintballs and water balloons, at times”. Also, the clue for 8-Down is “One sharing an armrest” instead of “Someone with an equal claim to your armrest, perhaps”.

    Odd. Perhaps Bill somehow gets an advance copy of the puzzles and they sometimes change a bit before they come out in the paper?

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