1213-23 NY Times Crossword 13 Dec 23, Wednesday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Water Cycle

Themed answers each start with a kind of WATER. As we descend the grid we go through nature’s WATER CYCLE:

  • 55A Natural process suggested by the starts of 17-, 24-, 26-, 45- and 47-Across : WATER CYCLE
  • 17A Co-op responsible for more than two-thirds of cranberry production in North America : OCEAN SPRAY
  • 24A Tech product that’s promised but never delivered : VAPORWARE
  • 26A Hog heaven : CLOUD NINE
  • 45A Business-generating partner at a law firm : RAINMAKER
  • 47A It might make or break a hand in Texas hold ’em : RIVER CARD

Bill’s time: 8m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 “Macbeth” trio : HAGS

The Three Witches in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” are referred to in the text as the “weird sisters”. They cook up an ugly brew in their cauldron:

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravined salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digged i’ th’ dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat and slips of yew
Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-delivered by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab.
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

14 Emotion indicated by the emoticon <3 : LOVE

The emoticon “<3” represents a heart.

16 London-based cosmetics company : AVON

In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.

17 Co-op responsible for more than two-thirds of cranberry production in North America : OCEAN SPRAY

The Ocean Spray brand is owned by a cooperative of growers in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, growers of cranberries and grapefruit.

19 Hot stuff : LAVA

Lava is a phenomenon that results from the eruption of magma from a volcano. Depending on the type of lava and the volcano it comes from, lava can reach temperatures of up to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 degrees Celsius). That’s hot enough to melt steel …

21 Book of hymns : PSALTER

In the Christian tradition, a psalter is a book devoted primarily to the Bible’s Book of Psalms, with other liturgical material usually included.

23 Beats by ___ (audio brand) : DRE

Beats by Dre is a brand of audio products made by Beats Electronics, a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, the largest acquisition by far in the company’s history.

24 Tech product that’s promised but never delivered : VAPORWARE

Vaporware is hardware or software that is announced but never produced, and never canceled. The term was coined by a Microsoft engineer in 1982 with reference to the company’s Xenix operating system. Xenix was a Unix-based operating system that Microsoft seemed ready to offer to the public in the eighties. Xenix was indeed licensed to the likes of Intel and Tandy, but Microsoft never actually made it available to the general public. Xenix seemed to just fade away, like a vapor.

26 Hog heaven : CLOUD NINE

I don’t think that anyone is really certain of the etymology of the term “on cloud nine” meaning “elated”, but I do like the following explanation. The 1896 “International Cloud-Atlas” was a long-standing reference used to define cloud shapes that was based on a classification created by amateur meteorologist Luke Howard some decades earlier. The biggest and fluffiest of all cloud shapes (and most comfortable-looking to lie on) is cumulonimbus. And you guessed it, of the ten cloud shapes defined in the atlas, cumulonimbus was cloud nine …

30 Pathway for oxygenation : VEIN

Arteries are vessels that carry blood away from the heart, and veins are vessels carrying blood to the heart.

36 “Q” key neighbor : TAB

Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

47 It might make or break a hand in Texas hold ’em : RIVER CARD

In the card game called Texas hold ‘em, two hole cards are dealt to each player, and five community cards are dealt face up on the table. The community cards are dealt in the three stages. The first three cards are dealt in one stage (the flop), then the fourth card is shown (the turn), and finally the fifth card (the river).

49 Suffix with block : -ADE

“Embargo” and “blockade” are two similar yet different terms. An embargo is a legal prohibition of trade with a particular country, whilst a blockade is an act of war, a militarily enforced prevention of the movement of goods and services. The term “embargo” came into English from Spanish, in the late 16th century.

58 Will of “The Waltons” : GEER

Actor Will Geer died in 1978 just after filming the sixth season of “The Waltons”, in which he played Grandpa Zeb Walton. Geer was a noted social activist and was blacklisted in the fifties for refusing to appear before the all-powerful House Committee on Un-American Activities.

The very successful TV series “The Waltons” aired in the seventies and early eighties. It was based on a 1961 book “Spencer’s Mountain” written by Earl Hamner Jr., the show’s creator. The book was also the basis of a 1963 movie, also called “Spencer’s Mountain”, starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara.

59 Project for the Army Corps of Engineers : LEVEE

A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, that runs along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

63 Get-together, informally : SESH

Session (abbreviated to “sess.” formally, and “sesh” informally)

Down

2 Cray cray : LOCO

In Spanish, if one isn’t “sano” (sane) one might be described as “loco” (crazy).

“Cray” is a slang term meaning “insane”, and is a shortening of “crazy”.

5 Vet’s affliction : PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

8 Foamy iced drink : FRAPPE

A “frappé” is a frozen, fruit-flavored dessert similar to sherbet. “Frappé” is a French word that can mean “chilled”.

11 Hit 2009 film with a hit 2022 sequel : AVATAR

2009’s epic “Avatar” is a science fiction film from James Cameron, who was the director, writer and producer. It was an expensive movie to make and to promote, but was destined to become the highest-grossing film in the history of cinema. 20th Century Fox made a deal with Cameron to produce four “Avatar” sequels.

25 Like the sentiment of a “Drop Acid, Not Bombs” poster : ANTIWAR

Someone taking the drug LSD is often said to be “dropping acid”. The use of the verb “to drop” was popular slang long before LSD came on the scene, and back then applied to the taking of any illegal drug.

26 Résumés, for short : CVS

A curriculum vitae (“CV” or “vita”) is a listing of someone’s work experience and qualifications, and is used mainly in making a job application. The term “curriculum vitae” can be translated from Latin as “course of life”.

27 Strung blossoms : LEI

Leis are traditional Hawaiian garlands that are made from various types of flowers, leaves, and other materials. They were originally worn by ancient Hawaiians as a symbol of their social status and to signify important events such as weddings and funerals.

28 Novgorod negative : NYET

Veliky Novgorod (formerly just “Novgorod”) is located in eastern Russia. It is one of the nation’s oldest cities, and was founded over a thousand years ago. The name “Novgorod” translates as “Newtown”. The term “Veliky” (meaning “Great”) was added to distinguish it from the city of Nizhny Novgorod in central Russian (“Nizhny” translates as “Lower”).

32 Keystone State eponym : PENN

Visually, the thirteen original states formed an arch that stretched up much of the east coast of North America. One might imagine Pennsylvania as the keystone of that visual arch, which explains why Pennsylvania is often referred to as the Keystone State.

34 Big name in combines : DEERE

A combine harvester is a machine that “combines” the work that without it would take three steps, i.e. reaping, binding and threshing.

35 Speakeasy fear : RAID
38 Speakeasy, basically : BAR

A speakeasy is an establishment that sells alcoholic drinks illegally. Speakeasies were very big in the US in the days of Prohibition. The obvious etymology, of a speakeasy owner asking his or her customers to “speak easy” so as not to draw attention to the authorities, is thought to have originated in 1888 in McKeesport just outside Pittsburgh.

41 1979 Robert John hit that repeats “I don’t wanna see you cry” : SAD EYES

Robert John is a singer-songwriter from Brooklyn, New York. John’s biggest hit was “Sad Eyes”, released in 1979.

43 Social dance in 3/4 time : MINUET

A minuet is a dance that originated in France. At some point, the middle section of the minuet was routinely scored for just a trio of instruments. The resulting composition was known as a minuet and trio. In the Classical Era, a minuet and trio was often chosen as the third movement of a symphony.

45 Tennis great Nadal : RAFAEL

Rafael Nadal is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, and he has some superstitions that help him focus on winning. For example, he has a unique pre-match ritual in which he arranges his water bottles in a very specific way. He always places them in a straight line with the labels facing the court, and he adjusts them so that they are perfectly aligned.

46 Latin singer Anthony : MARC

“Marc Anthony” is the stage name of Marco Antonio Muñiz, a Puerto Rican-American singer. Anthony’s first wife was Dayanara Torres, a former Miss Universe from Puerto Rico. His second wife was quite famous too: singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. He divorced from the latter in 2014.

48 Monastery hoods : COWLS

A cowl is a long garment with a hood that is primarily worn by monks in the Christian tradition. The term “cowl” can also describe the hood itself.

51 Earl ___ tea : GREY

The Earl Grey blend of tea is supposedly named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1830 to 1834. Earl Grey tea has a distinctive flavor that is largely due to the addition of oil from the rind of the bergamot orange.

52 Some 35mm cameras, in brief : SLRS

At the beginning of the 20th century, 35mm was chosen as a standard size for film used in still cameras. 35mm was selected as it was already the standard film size used in motion pictures.

53 Michelle of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” : YEOH

Michelle Yeoh is an actress from Malaysia who appeared in several Hong Kong action films in which she did her own stunts and martial arts scenes. Her most famous action performance was in the 2000 movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, although I best know her for playing opposite Pierce Brosnan in the Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Wearily put one foot in front of the other : PLOD
5 Bosses for T.A.s : PROFS
10 “Macbeth” trio : HAGS
14 Emotion indicated by the emoticon <3 : LOVE
15 Shiny headgear : TIARA
16 London-based cosmetics company : AVON
17 Co-op responsible for more than two-thirds of cranberry production in North America : OCEAN SPRAY
19 Hot stuff : LAVA
20 Phrased : WORDED
21 Book of hymns : PSALTER
23 Beats by ___ (audio brand) : DRE
24 Tech product that’s promised but never delivered : VAPORWARE
26 Hog heaven : CLOUD NINE
29 Makes : EARNS
30 Pathway for oxygenation : VEIN
31 As of now : YET
32 Handle the bill : PAY
33 “Make yourself comfortable!” : SIT!
34 Wants : DESIRES
36 “Q” key neighbor : TAB
39 Put money (on) : BET
40 Pallid : WAN
41 Long, drawn-out story : SAGA
42 Slangy summons : C’MERE!
45 Business-generating partner at a law firm : RAINMAKER
47 It might make or break a hand in Texas hold ’em : RIVER CARD
49 Suffix with block : -ADE
50 Venerating : IN AWE OF
51 Like diner food, stereotypically : GREASY
54 Many an ancient statue : NUDE
55 Natural process suggested by the starts of 17-, 24-, 26-, 45- and 47-Across : WATER CYCLE
58 Will of “The Waltons” : GEER
59 Project for the Army Corps of Engineers : LEVEE
60 Capital of Italy : EURO
61 Online marketplace since 2005 : ETSY
62 In a foxy fashion : SLYLY
63 Get-together, informally : SESH

Down

1 Furrow former : PLOW
2 Cray cray : LOCO
3 Exert oneself until there’s nothing left : OVERDO IT
4 Sprint at top speed : DEAD RUN
5 Vet’s affliction : PTSD
6 Feature of some jeans : RIP
7 Aquatic propeller : OAR
8 Foamy iced drink : FRAPPE
9 Right of approval : SAY-SO
10 Connector of bedrooms : HALLWAY
11 Hit 2009 film with a hit 2022 sequel : AVATAR
12 Rule : GOVERN
13 Traps for the unwary : SNARES
18 “___ I say more?” : NEED
22 Demarcated places : AREAS
24 Makes a play (for) : VIES
25 Like the sentiment of a “Drop Acid, Not Bombs” poster : ANTIWAR
26 Résumés, for short : CVS
27 Strung blossoms : LEI
28 Novgorod negative : NYET
32 Keystone State eponym : PENN
34 Big name in combines : DEERE
35 Speakeasy fear : RAID
36 Act on prompting (from) : TAKE A CUE
37 Number on a birthday card : AGE
38 Speakeasy, basically : BAR
39 Barrel maker : BREWERY
41 1979 Robert John hit that repeats “I don’t wanna see you cry” : SAD EYES
42 [Oooh, that’s embarrassing] : [CRINGE]
43 Social dance in 3/4 time : MINUET
44 Sidesteps : EVADES
45 Tennis great Nadal : RAFAEL
46 Latin singer Anthony : MARC
48 Monastery hoods : COWLS
51 Earl ___ tea : GREY
52 Some 35mm cameras, in brief : SLRS
53 Michelle of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” : YEOH
56 “Sesame Street” rating : TV-Y
57 Slithering swimmer : EEL

14 thoughts on “1213-23 NY Times Crossword 13 Dec 23, Wednesday”

  1. 10:11, no errors. I’d never heard of a “river card”. (Many years ago, I played a bit of poker, but I never got into “Texas Hold’em”.)

    And … @Bill … on my iPad, that “emoticon” in 14-Across is messing up the formatting for the following “Across” clues.

    Actually, the clue for 14-Across was messed up in the NYT puzzle app, as well: the “emoticon” (a “less-than” symbol followed by a “3”) was simply missing.

    1. Thx, Dave. Sometimes I forget to encode those less-than and greater-than symbols. They really can mess up the HTML in the page. All fixed now.

    2. FYI: I just discovered the first three Buranelli, Hartswick, and Petherbridge books are up on Project Gutenberg if you want some solve fodder.

  2. 14:32 Dave K and I are on the same wavelength today. Never played poker, much less Texas Hold ‘Em, so “River card” was new. The app on my IPhone also omitted the actual emoticon, so “thank you, down clues”.

    1. @Glenn – thanks for the bold. It helped a little.
      I found if I go to “Settings” and un-check “Zoom Text Only” the entire puzzle zooms. But … then it only show part of the puzzle (top/bottom).

      However, I noticed that in the top left I can see the clue you’re currently working on. Not the whole puzzle, but far better than nothing.

      Thanks!

      Be Well.

  3. Wow a rare appearance from Godot as I refer to the blog moderator.

    Re Lou Lu’s comment yesterday, I also noticed if I look at Glenn’s youtube vids on my phone , I can’t zoom in using a the 2 finger pinch to stretch it out hence they are hard to see, even in full screen mode. But I did find a fix for that. If I go to my android phone app settings, tap on youtube and tap on force stop, I can then use the 2 finger zoom pinch on youtube videos.

  4. No errors..SW corner slowed me down.
    As I age I find myself misreading more and more clues…today I read 28D as native until NYet filled in via crosses😥😥
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens🏈🏈

  5. Shameless plug: I found another Wednesday puzzle , in a Toronto Star someone left at a lunch table today, , and posted a copy , in case any interest in one of those puzzles not available online, to my knowledge. It’s sort of a quaint artifact, maybe, to me at least.

    (Spoiler alert) solve , just under 10 min. not sure if correct.

    1. I checked and didn’t see it online myself. Printed out the first image and did it (7:11 – definitely a lot slower on paper, but doing better than I was). Didn’t see anything questionable that makes me think I could have been wrong. Something like 14A and 16A was weird, but all the crosses looked okay.

      Looking at the second one regarding my comment above, I’m reminded that I couldn’t write very well at all when I started doing crosswords (20 years of only writing to sign my checks will do that), had to rest for pain sometimes, and watch that I didn’t mess up a letter (C versus E for instance) The ACPT play-at-home was kind of a stressful thing past the puzzles in making sure what I sent off was legible enough. My writing is definitely a lot more legible now.

  6. That’s funny that the second one reminded you “couldn’t write very well at all when I started doing crosswords.”
    My handwriting is atrocious. That’s actually neater than usual.
    I did not doubt 14a ague but did pause on16a and still don’t get it.
    Anyway I had not done that puzzle in ages. In hindsight it was half-decent. They had a big one Saturdays which was enjoyable but I believe like the weekday version cannot be found online. So I thought I’d throw it out there as a curiosity though I guess there must be plenty of other print only puzzles in other major daily newspapers in North America.

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