1218-23 NY Times Crossword 18 Dec 23, Monday

Constructed by: Joe Marquez
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: QR Code

Themed answers each comprise two words, starting with QR:

  • 17A Preliminary tournament stage : QUALIFYING ROUND
  • 30A Snake oil salesman’s offering : QUACK REMEDY
  • 45A Woman temporarily serving as monarch : QUEEN REGENT
  • 57A Financial statement issued every three months : QUARTERLY REPORT

Bill’s time: 5m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Parishioners’ bench : PEW

A pew is a church bench, usually one with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

4 Spanish “Bye!” : ADIOS!

The term “adiós” is Spanish for “goodbye”. “Adiós” comes from the phrase “a Dios vos acomiendo” meaning “I commend you to God”.

15 Variety show with skits and songs : REVUE

“Revue” is the French word for “review”.

22 1960s soul singer Redding : OTIS

Otis Redding is often referred to as the “King of Soul”, and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.

23 Filipino or Laotian : ASIAN

When the Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos discovered the islands of Leyte and Samar, he called them “Felipinas”, after King Philip II of Spain. Eventually, the name was used for the whole archipelago, becoming what we now call in English, the Philippines.

The present-day nation of Laos can trace its roots back to the historic Lao kingdom of Lan Xang that existed from 1354 to 1707. The full name of the kingdom was “Lan Xang Hom Khao”, which translates as “The Land of a Million Elephants and the White Parasol”.

29 “Spring forward” clock setting: Abbr. : DST

On the other side of the Atlantic, daylight saving time (DST) is known as “summer time”. The idea behind summer/daylight-savings is to move clocks forward an hour in spring (“spring forward”), and backwards in the fall (“fall back”) so that afternoons have more daylight. Here in the US, DST starts on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

30 Snake oil salesman’s offering : QUACK REMEDY

There is actually a real snake oil, a Chinese medicine made of fat extracted from snakes. You can buy snake oil at traditional Chinese pharmacies and it is supposed to be very efficacious in the treatment of joint pain. Snake oil was introduced into the US by Chinese laborers working on the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Medicine salesmen started to ridicule the snake oil as it competed with their own remedies, and in time the term “snake oil” became associated with any cure-all potion.

A quack is a person who pretends to have knowledge that he or she does not in fact possess. The term especially applies to someone fraudulently pretending to have medical skills. Our modern word is an abbreviation of “quacksalver”, an archaic term with Dutch roots that translates as “hawker of salve”, Back in the Middle Ages, quacksalvers would shout out (quack) as they sold their pseudo-medical wares.

34 Got hitched in Vegas, perhaps : ELOPED

Las Vegas is known as the Marriage Capital of the World due to the incredibly high number of weddings that take place there. Historically, the marriage “frenzy” started when it became relatively easy to get a marriage license, and when wedding ceremonies could be performed for a nominal fee.

35 Cause for a produce recall : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

38 Lawyers’ org. : ABA

American Bar Association (ABA)

41 1989’s “Honey, I ___ the Kids” : SHRUNK

“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” is a fun movie from 1989 starring Rick Moranis as a goofy professor who accidentally shrinks his children. The movie was written with Chevy Chase in mind for the starring role, but he was busy filming “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. John Candy was a second choice, but he decided to pass and suggested Rick Moranis instead. I think the final choice was a good one …

43 Wonderland visitor : ALICE

The title character in Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is based on a child named Alice Liddell. Lewis Carroll (real name “Charles Lutwidge Dodgson”) met the Liddell family while he was photographing Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, after which he befriended the Liddells. Carroll told the three Liddell sisters (including Alice) a story about a little girl named Alice and her adventures, in order to entertain the children while on a boating trip on the River Isis in Oxford. He elaborated on the story for the girls on a subsequent boat trip, and agreed to write down the tale as the children loved it so much. Carroll’s writings became a full-fledged manuscript, including the author’s own illustrations. It was first published in 1865, three years after that boat trip.

47 Ice cream amts. : QTS

The quart, the unit of volume, is so called because it is one quarter of a gallon.

52 Last word in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” : TREE

The fabulous Christmas carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

53 Actress ___ Skye : IONE

Ione Skye is an American actress born in London, England. She is best known for portraying the character Diane Court in the 1989 high school romance movie “Say Anything…”, starring opposite John Cusack. Skye is the daughter of the Scottish folk singer Donovan.

62 Railroad property in Monopoly : B AND O

The four railroad (RR) properties in the Monopoly board game are:

  • Reading Railroad
  • Pennsylvania Railroad
  • B&O Railroad
  • Short Line

63 Actress Davis of “Thelma & Louise” : GEENA

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) was one of the oldest in the country. Construction started on the rail network in 1828 in order to offer a method of transportation inland from Baltimore. This was deemed necessary as Baltimore was losing business to New York City after the completion of the Erie Canal (which cheaply and efficiently moved goods inland).

64 20-sided game piece in Dungeons & Dragons : DIE

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D, DnD) is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …

66 Important agent in bread dough and beer fermentation : YEAST

Yeasts are unicellular microorganisms in the kingdom Fungi. The species of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used for centuries in the making of wine and beer, and in breadmaking. Saccharomyces cerevisiae converts carbohydrates into carbon dioxide and alcohol in the process of fermentation. When making beer and wine, the carbon dioxide and alcohol may be captured by the liquid. When making bread, the carbon dioxide and alcohol is driven off by heat.

67 Guinness book suffix : -EST

“The Guinness Book of World Records” holds some records of its own. It is the best-selling, copyrighted series of books of all time and is one of the books most often stolen from public libraries! The book was first published in 1954 by two twins, Norris and Ross McWhirter. The McWhirter twins found themselves with a smash hit, and eventually became very famous in Britain hosting a TV show based on world records.

Down

1 Captain Ahab’s ship in “Moby-Dick” : PEQUOD

The Pequod is the whaling ship that figures in Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby Dick”. The ship is owned by a consortium of the citizens of Nantucket Island, including Captains Ahab, Bildad and Peleg.

2 Shoots lava : ERUPTS

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 …

4 Prima donna’s chance to shine : ARIA

The Italian operatic term “prima donna” is used for the lead female singer in an opera company. “Prima donna” translates from Italian as “first lady”. The lead male singer is known as the “primo uomo”. The term “prima donna assoluta” is reserved for a prima donna who is generally accepted as being an outstanding performer. We tend to use “prima donna” for a female performer who has an inflated ego.

6 Poison ___ (plant) : IVY

Two of the plants that are most painful to humans are poison oak and poison ivy. Poison oak is mainly found west of the Rocky Mountains, and poison ivy to the east.

8 Maurice who wrote “Where the Wild Things Are” : SENDAK

Maurice Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children’s books. Sendak’s best known work is “Where the Wild Things Are”, published in 1963. The “Wild Things” of the tale are beasts conjured up in the imagination of a young boy named Max, after he is sent to bed without supper.

9 Olympic figure skating champion Lipinski : TARA

When American skater Tara Lipinski won the figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, she was only 15 years old. To this day, Lipinski is the youngest person to win an individual gold at the Winter Games.

12 ID with two hyphens : SSN

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts, i.e AAA-GG-SSSS. Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Starting in 1973, the Area Number reflected the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN was the Group Number, and the SSSS number the Serial Number. This is all moot today. Since 2011, SSNs have been assigned randomly. Some random numbers, however, have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

13 TV’s “___ Lasso” : TED

“Ted Lasso” is a marvelous sports-comedy TV show about an American college football coach who moves to the UK to manage an English soccer team. The title character is played very admirably by Jason Sudeikis. Sudeikis first played Lasso in a series of TV commercials commissioned to promote NBC’s coverage of the British Premier League. The character became so popular that he inspired a whole TV series. Great stuff, and highly recommended …

18 The “L” of U.C.L.A. : LOS

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) gets more applications from potential students than any other university in the country. UCLA also has more students enrolled than any other university in the state.

27 Pet name for José : PEPE

“José” is the Spanish word for “Joseph”. Friends might also refer to José as “Pepe”. Both José and Pepe derive from Saint Joseph, the father of Jesus. Saint Joseph is sometimes referred to as “padre putativo” meaning “presumed father”. The initialism “PP”, standing for “padre putativo”, led to the name “Pepe”.

28 Gulf of ___ (waters off the coast of Yemen) : ADEN

The Gulf of Aden is the body of water that lies south of the Red Sea, and just north of the Horn of Africa.

30 Anthony who played Zorba in “Zorba the Greek” : QUINN

Anthony Quinn was a Mexican-born American actor who is perhaps best known for playing the title role in the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek”. Off the screen, Quinn was an accomplished artist, with his works being exhibited both domestically and internationally.

The film “Zorba the Greek” and the musical “Zorba” are adaptations of the 1952 novel “Zorba the Greek” by Nikos Kazantzakis. The 1964 film version stars Anthony Quinn in the title role, and Alan Bates. The movie is set and was filmed on location on the island of Crete, the home of author Kazantzakis.

35 Lawyer’s title: Abbr. : ESQ

The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So, a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank, say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.

39 Opposite of aweather, to a sailor : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather. The sheltered side of an island, for example, might be referred to as the “lee” side.

42 Coin of Denmark : KRONE

“Krone” translates into English as “crown”, and was the name given to coins that bore the image of the monarch in several countries. Today, the krone is the name given to the currency of Norway, and of Denmark. Some of the Norwegian and Danish kroner have holes in the middle, giving them a “doughnut” or “torus” shape.

47 Scannable black-and-white square … or a hint to 17-, 30-, 45- and 57-Across : QR CODE

A QR Code (for “Quick Response Code”) is a two-dimensional barcode that is favored over UPC barcodes as it can read more quickly and can store much more information. The QR Code comprises black squares within a square grid on a white background.

48 Video game with falling blocks : TETRIS

Tetris is a very addictive video game that was developed in the Soviet Union in 1984. The name Tetris comes from a melding of the prefix “tetra-” (as all the game pieces have four segments) and “tennis” (a favorite sport played by the developer). Since 2005 there have been more than 100 million copies of the game installed on cell phones alone.

49 Six lines in a sonnet : SESTET

A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry. It is similar to a quatrain, a group of four lines.

A sonnet is a 14-line poem with a specific structure and rhyming scheme. A popular rhyming scheme for what is known as the Italian sonnet is ABBA, ABBA, CDECDE. Compare this with the Shakespearean sonnet which rhymes as ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG.

58 Dubai’s country, for short : UAE

Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy.

59 ___ Arbor, Mich. : ANN

Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Supposedly, Allen and Rumsey originally used the name “Annsarbour” in recognition of stands of bur oak that were on the land they had purchased and in recognition of their wives, both of whom were called “Ann” (i.e. Anns’ Arbor)

60 Stan who co-created the Marvel Universe : LEE

Stan Lee was an American comic book writer, editor, publisher, and producer, who is best known for co-creating many of Marvel Comics’ most iconic superheroes, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, and Black Panther.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Parishioners’ bench : PEW
4 Spanish “Bye!” : ADIOS!
9 Unexpected plot development : TWIST
14 Before, in poetry : ERE
15 Variety show with skits and songs : REVUE
16 Got out of bed : AROSE
17 Preliminary tournament stage : QUALIFYING ROUND
20 Commotion : UPROAR
21 Campus figure with a “list” : DEAN
22 1960s soul singer Redding : OTIS
23 Filipino or Laotian : ASIAN
26 Fig. on a college transcript : GPA
29 “Spring forward” clock setting: Abbr. : DST
30 Snake oil salesman’s offering : QUACK REMEDY
33 Move just a little : BUDGE
34 Got hitched in Vegas, perhaps : ELOPED
35 Cause for a produce recall : E COLI
38 Lawyers’ org. : ABA
40 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. : EVENS
41 1989’s “Honey, I ___ the Kids” : SHRUNK
43 Wonderland visitor : ALICE
45 Woman temporarily serving as monarch : QUEEN REGENT
47 Ice cream amts. : QTS
50 Disorderly bunch : MOB
51 Beginning phase : ONSET
52 Last word in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” : TREE
53 Actress ___ Skye : IONE
55 Passes into law : ENACTS
57 Financial statement issued every three months : QUARTERLY REPORT
62 Railroad property in Monopoly : B AND O
63 Actress Davis of “Thelma & Louise” : GEENA
64 20-sided game piece in Dungeons & Dragons : DIE
65 Intelligence : SENSE
66 Important agent in bread dough and beer fermentation : YEAST
67 Guinness book suffix : -EST

Down

1 Captain Ahab’s ship in “Moby-Dick” : PEQUOD
2 Shoots lava : ERUPTS
3 What to do “if the shoe fits” : WEAR IT
4 Prima donna’s chance to shine : ARIA
5 Swindle : DEFRAUD
6 Poison ___ (plant) : IVY
7 French assent : OUI
8 Maurice who wrote “Where the Wild Things Are” : SENDAK
9 Olympic figure skating champion Lipinski : TARA
10 Ill-advised maneuver : WRONG MOVE
11 Debtor’s note : IOU
12 ID with two hyphens : SSN
13 TV’s “___ Lasso” : TED
18 The “L” of U.C.L.A. : LOS
19 Sci-fi or romance : GENRE
24 Story that spans generations : SAGA
25 Swelling reducers for sprains : ICE BAGS
27 Pet name for José : PEPE
28 Gulf of ___ (waters off the coast of Yemen) : ADEN
30 Anthony who played Zorba in “Zorba the Greek” : QUINN
31 Put into power : ELECT
32 Football distances: Abbr. : YDS
33 Colorful symbols of hope and happiness : BLUEBIRDS
35 Lawyer’s title: Abbr. : ESQ
36 Pal : CHUM
37 Cookie in cookies and cream : OREO
39 Opposite of aweather, to a sailor : ALEE
42 Coin of Denmark : KRONE
44 Summer office workers : INTERNS
46 Pep : ENERGY
47 Scannable black-and-white square … or a hint to 17-, 30-, 45- and 57-Across : QR CODE
48 Video game with falling blocks : TETRIS
49 Six lines in a sonnet : SESTET
52 Percussive dance style : TAP
54 Great Plains tribe : OTOE
56 “Super-cool!” : NEAT!
57 Over half of all Super Bowl M.V.P.s, for short : QBS
58 Dubai’s country, for short : UAE
59 ___ Arbor, Mich. : ANN
60 Stan who co-created the Marvel Universe : LEE
61 Vote of support : YEA

8 thoughts on “1218-23 NY Times Crossword 18 Dec 23, Monday”

  1. 5:40, no errors. What Bruce said. When I finally got to 47-Down, I filled in “Q_CODE” and thought, “Now, what is that second letter? I ought to remember this.” Duh … 😳. (Luckily, I did remember it correctly … 🙂.)

  2. 6:18. First puzzle after nine days in the tropics. I’ll take it.

    Wow – had no idea of the origin of the Jose – PEPE connection.

    After traveling so much over the past 4 months, what do I do when I need a break?……travel some more?? Back home now…for 5 days until I go see the fam for xmas. Sheesh.

    Best –

  3. 7:47 welcome back Jeff. DNF’d Saturday, blew through Sunday at 0100 Monday morning, just finished this one at 0020 Tuesday. Been fighting the flu for the last five days, finally feeling human again

  4. Hmm 8 + min. for a Monday, not all that quick off the draw, yet 17+ and 19 + min. for Fri./Sat.
    If it doesn’t make sense, it may not be true. That’s an example of why I no longer post any stats here just in case.

  5. No errors…the theme prompted me to change 47A from PTS TO QTS😀
    Stay safe😀
    Ravens 34 Texans 10🏈🏈😀

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