1124-23 NY Times Crossword 24 Nov 23, Friday

Constructed by: Rafael Musa
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Lottery game originally played using Chinese characters : KENO

The name of the game keno has French or Latin roots, with the French “quine” being a term describing five winning numbers, and the Latin “quini” meaning “five each”. The game originated in China and was introduced into the West by Chinese immigrants who were working on the first Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.

5 “___ Indahouse” (2002 comedy) : ALI G

Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and comic actor from England. He is perhaps most famous for playing the characters Borat and Ali G on the small and large screens. I’m wasn’t a fan, but I must admit that I really enjoyed 2020’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”.

14 ___ Sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how humankind can have a devastating effect on the environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

15 Word before and after “a” : MANO

“Mano a mano” is Spanish for “hand-to-hand”, and is used in English to mean “face-to-face”.

17 Hackathons and “Star Trek” conventions, say : NERD FESTS

A hackathon is an event in which software developers collaborate intensively on a project, usually for a day or a week. It is a hack marathon, with “hack” in this case being legal, explorative programming. Apparently, the first event described as a hackathon was held by ten American developers who met in Calgary to work on cryptographic software. Calgary was chosen so as to avoid US export regulations relating to software.

24 Fuel-efficient option : PRIUS

The Toyota Prius is still one of the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered cars sold in the US, according to the EPA. The name “Prius” is a Latin word meaning “ahead, leading”. In the US we pronounce the name “pree-us”, but across the Atlantic it’s pronounced “pry-us”. According to Toyota, the plural of “Prius” is “Prii”.

26 Kind of housing aimed at low-income residents, in brief : SRO

Single room occupancy (SRO)

27 Sydney’s home, for short : NSW

New South Wales (NSW) is the most populous state in Australia and is home to Sydney, the most populous city in the country. New South Wales was founded in 1788. When the British took over New Zealand in 1840, New Zealand was actually governed for a while as part of New South Wales.

28 Locale for a lowing herd in Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” : LEA

Perhaps the most famous elegy in the English language is that written by Thomas Gray, which he completed in 1750. His “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is the source of many oft-quoted phrases, including:

  • Celestial fire
  • Far from the Madding Crowd
  • Kindred spirit

32 Actor Mortensen : VIGGO

Viggo Mortensen is a Danish-American actor who is famous for playing Aragorn in “The Lord of the Rings” movies. Mortensen was born in New York City and lived for periods in the US and periods in Denmark when he was younger. He is fluent in English, Danish and also Spanish.

38 Present-day vehicle? : SLEIGH

The notion of Santa landing in his sleigh on the roofs of houses originated in the celebrated 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

39 Half-human/half-bird creature of myth : HARPY

In Greek mythology, a harpy was a winged spirit noted for stealing food from a king called Phineus. Phineas angered the god Zeus and so was punished by being exiled to an island with a buffet of food that he could never eat. Every time he tried to eat, harpies would arrive and steal the food. We use the term today for a shrewish woman or a predatory person.

40 Some “bearded” dogs : COLLIES

The collie isn’t actually a breed of dog, but rather the name given to a group of herding dogs that originated in Scotland and Northern England. An obvious (and wonderful) example would be the border collie. Many dogs classed as collies don’t have the word “collie” in the name of the breed, for example the old English sheepdog and the Shetland sheepdog.

42 Campsite org. : KOA

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) was founded in 1962 by Montana businessman Dave Drum, who opened up his first property along the Yellowstone River. His strategy was to offer a rich package of services including hot showers, restrooms and a store, which he hoped would attract people used to camping in the rough. The original campground was an immediate hit and Drum took on two partners and sold franchises all over the country. There are about 500 KOA sites today.

47 Color akin to “driftwood” : TAUPE

Taupe is a dark, gray-brown color. The word “taupe” comes from the Latin name of the European Mole, which has skin with the same color.

49 Class or order : TAXON

Taxonomy is the classification of organisms into groups or categories known as taxons (plural “taxa”). We are most familiar with the classification of organisms in the major taxonomic ranks (taxa):

  • Life
  • Domain
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus (plural “genera”)
  • Species

51 “___ of Dogs” (hit 2018 animated film) : ISLE

“Isle of Dogs” is a 2018 animated and stop-action film by Wes Anderson. The movie has a science-fiction storyline, and is set in near-future Japan. All dogs are banished to Trash Island after an outbreak of dog flu threatens to cross into the human population. The voice cast of “Isle of Dogs” is very impressive, and includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Yoko Ono and many other A-list names.

55 Omega alternative : SEIKO

Watch manufacturer Seiko was founded as a watch and jewelry shop in Tokyo in 1881. The store was opened by one Kintaro Hattori, who started to produce clocks under the name Seikosha, which can be translated as “House of Exquisite Workmanship”. The first Seiko watches went on sale in 1924, and today the company suggests that the name “Seiko” is Japanese for “exquisite” and “success”.

58 Like Mufasa, but not Nala, in “The Lion King” : MANED

The highly successful stage musical “The Lion King” started out life as a 1994 animated feature film of the same name from the Disney studio. The film is the highest earning traditionally-animated feature of all time. The animated film “Finding Nemo” has made more money, but it was created using computer animation.

61 Fuzzy finish : SUEDE

Suede is leather made from the underside of an animal’s skin, usually the skin from a lamb. As such it is very soft, although not as durable as leather made from the exterior skin. The soft leather was, and is still used for making gloves. Back in 1859 these gloves were called “gants de Suede” in France, or “gloves of Sweden”. So, the name “suede” comes from the French word for Sweden.

62 Brand of cooler : YETI

YETI is a manufacturer of coolers and related products that is based in Austin, Texas. There was a kerfuffle between YETI and the National Rifle Association in 2018, when YETI removed the NRA from its membership discount program. That kerfuffle got quite public when some NRA members published videos of themselves destroying their own YETI products in protest.

63 Hydrogen sulfide has a distinctive one : ODOR

Firedamp is the name given to a number of flammable gases encountered in a coal mine. The most common gas to get the name is methane. The more general “damp” is used for any gas other than air found in a mine, with the term deriving from the German “Dampf” meaning “vapor”. In addition to the flammable firedamp, blackdamp is carbon dioxide, afterdamp is the poisonous carbon monoxide, and stinkdamp is hydrogen sulfide, which has a characteristic odor of rotten eggs.

Down

1 Dwight Eisenhower, for one : KANSAN

Future US president Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas in 1890 and given the name David Dwight, but by the time he made it to the White House he was going by the name Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE). Growing up, his family called him Dwight, and when “Ike” enrolled in West Point he himself reversed the order of his given names.

9 Spot for a shot : ARM

An injection using a hypodermic needle might be termed a “shot” in North America, and a “jab” in Britain and Ireland.

25 Facial hair also known as a “mouche” : SOUL PATCH

A soul patch is a small patch of facial hair worn especially by jazz musicians, located just below the lower lip and above the chin. The actor and comedian Howie Mandel has been sporting a soul patch for many years, I believe.

29 Ivory tower sort : EGGHEAD

Back at the start of the 20th century, the term “egghead” just described someone who was bald. By 1920, the usage had extended to describe someone deemed an intellectual. Adlai Stephenson was labeled an egghead in the 1950s due to the nature of his presidential campaign. When asked what he thought about being labeled the rare intellectual in politics, Adlai replied in Latin, “Via ovicapitum dura est”. That translates as “The way of the egghead is hard”. Clever …

In modern usage, an ivory tower is an environment focused on education and intellectual pursuits while isolated from the practicalities of everyday life. The term is often used to describe academia. “Ivory tower” originated in the Song of Solomon in the Bible with the line “Your neck is like an ivory tower”.

31 Celebration over the end of W.W. II, informally : V-DAY

World War II started on 1 September 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) was celebrated on 8 May 1945, when the German military surrendered in Berlin. V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) was celebrated on 2 September 1945 when the Japanese signed the surrender document aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

32 Colorado ski mecca : VAIL

The Vail Ski Resort in Colorado is the largest single-mountain ski resort in the whole country. The resort was opened in 1962, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was given the name Vail after Vail Pass which runs by the mountain (now also called Vail Mountain). The town of Vail, Colorado was established four years later in 1966, and now has a population of about 5,000.

35 Fictional detective first seen in a 1964 film : CLOUSEAU

Apparently, some people think that the Inspector Clouseau character (played originally by Peter Sellers) is “The Pink Panther”. “Pink Panther” is actually the jewel that was stolen in the original movie. Would you believe there are eleven “Pink Panther” movies in the whole series?

38 Splits : SCHISMS

A schism is a split or division, especially in a religion.

44 “Mr. ___” (1983 Styx hit) : ROBOTO

“Mr. Roboto” is a song on the 1983 album “Kilroy Was Here” by the Chicago band Styx. The first lines of the song are:

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,
Mata ah-oo hima de
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,
Himitsu wo shiri tai

which translates as:

Thank you very much, Mr. Robot
Until the day (we) meet again
Thank you very much, Mr. Robot
I want to know your secret

45 Something “Jeopardy!” gives you : ANSWER

The TV show “Jeopardy!” first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But, it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek was host from 1984 until his sad passing in 2020.

50 Budget alternative : ALAMO

The third-largest car rental company in recent years is Alamo, which was founded in 1974. Alamo made inroads (pun!) into the market by popularizing the idea of “unlimited mileage”.

54 Province in Piedmont : ASTI

Piedmont in the northwest of Italy is one of the nation’s twenty administrative regions. It is a mountainous region that is surrounded on three sides by the Alps. The Italian name for the region, “Piemonte”, translates as “foot of a mountain”. Piedmont’s capital city is Turin.

56 “Intimations of Immortality,” for one : ODE

“Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” is a 1804 poem by English poet William Wordsworth. That said, the first part of the poem was written in 1802, completed in 1804, and then first published in 1807.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lottery game originally played using Chinese characters : KENO
5 “___ Indahouse” (2002 comedy) : ALI G
9 Bad lighting? : ARSON
14 ___ Sea : ARAL
15 Word before and after “a” : MANO
16 Back in : RETRO
17 Hackathons and “Star Trek” conventions, say : NERD FESTS
19 Had in mind : MEANT
20 Trial that might involve a monologue : SCREEN TEST
22 Love, they say : DRUG
23 When some people meet for lunch : AT ONE
24 Fuel-efficient option : PRIUS
26 Kind of housing aimed at low-income residents, in brief : SRO
27 Sydney’s home, for short : NSW
28 Locale for a lowing herd in Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” : LEA
30 Part that may be contracted : PROVISO
32 Actor Mortensen : VIGGO
34 Double-texted, say : NUDGED
35 “Actually, this is what we’re doing now …” : CHANGE OF PLANS …
38 Present-day vehicle? : SLEIGH
39 Half-human/half-bird creature of myth : HARPY
40 Some “bearded” dogs : COLLIES
42 Campsite org. : KOA
43 Bygone ___ : ERA
46 Drill sound : HUP!
47 Color akin to “driftwood” : TAUPE
49 Class or order : TAXON
51 “___ of Dogs” (hit 2018 animated film) : ISLE
53 Kids acting out? : DRAMA CLUBS
55 Omega alternative : SEIKO
57 What might cover a lid : EYE SHADOW
58 Like Mufasa, but not Nala, in “The Lion King” : MANED
59 What a kid drinks from : TEAT
60 Apportion : METE
61 Fuzzy finish : SUEDE
62 Brand of cooler : YETI
63 Hydrogen sulfide has a distinctive one : ODOR

Down

1 Dwight Eisenhower, for one : KANSAN
2 Puts up : ERECTS
3 Come to a point? : NARROW
4 Like days long past : OLDEN
5 “Couldn’t agree more!” : AMEN!
6 Where a whodunit may reveal “who done it” : LAST PAGE
7 Bury : INTER
8 Spill it! : GOSSIP!
9 Spot for a shot : ARM
10 Easily swayed person, metaphorically : REED
11 Something a birthdate determines : STAR SIGN
12 Workers who must maintain a sterile environment, in brief : OR NURSES
13 “Uh-oh” : NOT GOOD
18 Vibing with something : FEELING IT
21 Go into the majors, say : TURN PRO
25 Facial hair also known as a “mouche” : SOUL PATCH
29 Ivory tower sort : EGGHEAD
31 Celebration over the end of W.W. II, informally : V-DAY
32 Colorado ski mecca : VAIL
33 “Whoa!” : OOH!
35 Fictional detective first seen in a 1964 film : CLOUSEAU
36 A counselor may be at the end of one : HELPLINE
37 Option for a vegetarian : FAKE MEAT
38 Splits : SCHISMS
41 Feeling of conviction : SURETY
43 Gave off : EXUDED
44 “Mr. ___” (1983 Styx hit) : ROBOTO
45 Something “Jeopardy!” gives you : ANSWER
48 Part of a check list? : PAYEE
50 Budget alternative : ALAMO
52 Just made, with “out” : EKED …
54 Province in Piedmont : ASTI
56 “Intimations of Immortality,” for one : ODE

9 thoughts on “1124-23 NY Times Crossword 24 Nov 23, Friday”

  1. 26:47. Struggled throughout.

    I was in Russia for V-E Day in 1995 – the 50th anniversary of it. Over there it’s celebrated on May 9th rather than the 8th because of the time difference, I suppose.

    EGGHEAD is generally a derisive term whereas an “Ivory Tower sort” is usually descriptive so I had a hard time with this one. An Ivory Tower sort can be an academic or a high-powered administrator like a university president. I just don’t see either of those as quite the same as an EGGHEAD. Just my $0.02

    Nice to see something other than a Standing Room Only clue for SRO.

    Best –

  2. Almost 5 minutes more solving fun than Jeff, with a 31:25. As usual, no major issues, I’m just slow…or maybe maximizing the return on my app investment….

  3. If you play the syndicated NYT at the Seattle Times, note they messed up the puzzle with an extra C/R in the 11-Down clue.

    1. Hi Glenn. The Seattle Times also messed up many of the down clues to totally ruin this puzzle. A year or so ago, the person who composes this puzzle to place on line, liked to call the clues verticaal and horizontaal for some unknown reason. There were a number of mistakes back then also, so maybe they need to change the person who does the data entry? Bill

      1. Indeed. I can’t think it’d be that hard to check their work and fix these kinds of errors. Worst part is that they never get fixed even after 24 hours, and thinking they’d have other people doing these things and reporting the problems. It’s just obvious that no one cares about what’s going on over there.

  4. Struggled for about 15 minutes with the down clues. The Seattle Times mis-numbered the down clues starting with 11D. … “birthdate determines” became 12D. Then all the ensuing numbers were off…

    Helped to know which clues went where but didn’t help me in not knowing that “SOULPATCH” was a kin of mustache… did not know TAXON either.

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