1220-23 NY Times Crossword 20 Dec 23, Wednesday

Constructed by: Brad Wiegmann
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): Dear Abby

Themed answers hint at the advice column DEAR ABBY, as well as pointing at the related column ASK ANN LANDERS (all words also appearing in the grid):

  • 66A With 67-Across, one of two pen names punnily hinted at by 20-, 37- and 52-Across (can you find the other one?) : DEAR …
  • 67A See 66-Across : … ABBY
  • 59A “Apologies for bothering you …” : I HATE TO ASK
  • 24A Author Patchett : ANN
  • 27A Components of Mars’s Viking and Pathfinder : LANDERS
  • 20A Female scholars : WOMEN OF LETTERS
  • 37A Where turn signals are found : STEERING COLUMNS
  • 52A Grammy winners for “Jump (for My Love)” (1984) : POINTER SISTERS

Bill’s time: 10m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Quartet that reunited in 2022 to “perform” as holograms : ABBA

I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA’s music. ABBA was the Swedish group who topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid. Early in their careers, the four fell in love and formed two married couples: Agnetha and Bjorn, and Benny and Anni-Frid. However, at the height of their success, the relationships became strained and both couples divorced.

14 Croc, for one : CLOG

Clogs are shoes made from wood, at least in part. The clog originated as a protective item of footwear for use by farm, factory and mine workers.

Crocs are foam clogs that were originally designed as shoes to be worn at health spas. I recently bought my first pair of crocs, and now my kids won’t talk to me …

15 Big name in bubbly : MOET

Moët & Chandon is a French winery, and one of the world’s largest producers of champagne. The company was founded by wine trader Claude Moët in 1743. The name was changed to Moët & Chandon in the 1830s when Pierre-Gabriel Chandon, an in-law to the Moët family, was given co-ownership. Moët & Chandon owns the famous Dom Pérignon brand name, honoring the Benedictine monk who did so much to improve the quality of champagne.

16 Condition linked with grinding teeth : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

17 District on the western coast of Hawaii : KONA

The Kona district on the Big Island of Hawaii is on the western side of the island. The largest town in Kona is Kailua-Kona. Kailua-Kona is often incorrectly referred to as “Kona”. The term “kona” translates as “leeward side of the island” in Hawaiian.

18 Craisin brand : OCEAN SPRAY

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

“Craisin” is a registered trademark owned by Ocean Spray, and is used to describe dried cranberries, cranberries that look like raisins.

22 Lead-in to zone : EURO-

The eurozone (also “euro area”) is a monetary and economic union within the European Union that uses the euro as a shared legal tender and sole currency.

24 Author Patchett : ANN

Ann Patchett is an author who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Her most famous work is probably her novel “Bel Canto”, published in 2001. In 2012, “Time” included Patchett in the magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world.

33 Fabric whose name is French for “cloth” : TOILE

Toile fabric can be used as upholstery, as wallpaper, or even as a fabric for clothing. The name “toile” comes from the French word for “canvas, linen cloth”.

35 Hirsute cousin of old TV : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family has a frequent visitor named Cousin Itt. He is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

“Hirsute” means “hairy”. The term comes from the Latin “hirsutus” meaning “rough, shaggy”.

36 Gooey addition to a charcuterie board : BRIE

In French, a “charcutier” is a pork butcher, although the term “charcuterie” has come to describe a genre of cooking focused on prepared meats such as bacon, ham, sausage and pâté. Although these meats often feature pork, it is not exclusively so. The word “charcuterie” comes from the French “chair” meaning “flesh” and “cuit” meaning “cooked”.

43 Speechless expression : EMOJI

An emoji is a character found on many cell phones that is much like an emoticon, but is more elaborate. The use of emojis originated in 1997 on mobile phones in Japan, and within a few years spread around the world. “Emoji” is a Japanese word meaning “picture word”.

45 Bach composition : CANTATA

A cantata is a piece of music that is sung, as opposed to a sonata, which is a piece that is played on some instrument, often a piano. A sonatina is in effect a sonata that has been labeled as something lighter and shorter.

50 N.B.A.’s Westbrook, to fans : RUSS

Russell Westbrook is an NBA basketball player who was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics just 6 days before the team relocated and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.

52 Grammy winners for “Jump (for My Love)” (1984) : POINTER SISTERS

The Pointer Sisters started out in 1969 as a duo, June and Bonnie Pointer. They grew to a quartet when sisters Anita and Ruth joined the lineup. Bonnie left the group to go solo, and the Pointer Sisters achieved their greatest success as a trio.

60 Massage deeply : ROLF

Rolfing is a trademarked massage technique developed by Ida Pauline Rolf in the fifties.

62 Mosquito, by nature : BITER

“Mosquito” is Spanish for “little fly”. The female mosquito actually has to have a “blood meal” before she is able to lay her eggs. Mosquitoes are sometimes referred to as “skeeters”.

64 Ski lift : T-BAR

A T-bar is a ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of a T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, which is a similar device but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

65 Dutch settlers of South Africa : BOERS

“Boer” is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for “farmer”, and a word that was used to describe the Dutch-speaking people who settled parts of South Africa during the 1700s.

66 With 67-Across, one of two pen names punnily hinted at by 20-, 37- and 52-Across (can you find the other one?) : DEAR …
67 See 66-Across : … ABBY

The advice column “Dear Abby” first appeared in 1956. Pauline Phillips was Abby back then, but now the column is written by Jeanne Phillips, her daughter. The full name of the “Abby” pen name is Abigail Van Buren, which Pauline Phillips came up with by combining “Abigail” from the biblical Book of Samuel, and “Van Buren” after the former US president. “Dear Abby” was also a radio show in the sixties and seventies.

Down

3 Pro ___ : BONO

The Latin term “pro bono publico” means “for the public good”, and is usually shortened to “pro bono”. The term applies to professional work that is done for free or at a reduced fee as a service to the public.

5 Egyptian sun god : AMON-RA

Amun-Ra (also “Amon, Amen”) was a god in Egyptian mythology. Amun lends his name to our word “ammonia”. This is because the Romans called the ammonium chloride that they collected near the Temple of Jupiter Amun, “sal ammoniacus” (salt of Amun).

6 Result of some spinning : COCOON

Strictly speaking, the term “cocoon” only applies to the tough outer casing created by moth caterpillars. Butterfly caterpillars protect themselves in a hard outer skin to form a pupa known as a chrysalis. But, butterfly caterpillars don’t go the extra step by spinning a silky cocoon. Famously, silk thread comes from silk cocoons created by silkworms, which mature into silk moths.

7 Danger for a mariner : REEF

A reef is a ridge of stable material lying beneath the surface of a body of water. They can be made up of sand or rock, and also of coral. The largest coral reef on the planet is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which stretches over 1,400 miles.

9 They might be served carbonara or puttanesca : PASTAS

A carbonara pasta dish includes a sauce made with eggs, cheese, bacon and black pepper. Apparently, the name of the dish is derived from “carbonaro”, the Italian for “charcoal burner”. One suggestion is that it was first made for Italian charcoal workers in the mid-1900s.

Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a pasta dish from Naples in which the sauce’s main ingredients are tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers and garlic.

12 Vanguard’s opposite : REAR

The word “vanguard” comes to us from French, and describes the foremost position in an advancing army or navy. The term derives from “avant-garde” meaning “advance guard”. “Vanguard” is sometimes shortened to “van”, as in “in the van” meaning “in the lead”.

13 “Survey ___ …” (“Family Feud” catchphrase) : SAYS

“Family Feud” is an American game show that has been remade in countries all over the world. We even have a version in Ireland that we call “Family Fortunes”.

21 Swiss mathematician who introduced functional notation : EULER

Leonhard Euler was a brilliant Swiss mathematician and physicist, and a pioneer in the fields of logarithms and graph theory. Euler’s eyesight deteriorated during his working life, and he eventually became almost totally blind.

26 Physicist Bohr : NIELS

Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who won his 1922 Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics and atomic structure. Later in his life, Bohr was part of the team working on the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bomb. Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein had a series of public debates and disputes in the twenties and thirties. Although the two respected each other very highly, they held very different views on quantum theory, different views on the laws of physics at the atomic level. The passage of time has shown that Bohr was on the right side of those debates.

31 Strong, silent type? : NINJA

The ninjas were around in Japan at the time of the samurai, but were a very different type of warrior. The ninjas were covert operatives, specializing in the use of stealth to accomplish their missions. As they were a secretive cadre they took on a mystical reputation with the public, who believed they had the ability to become invisible or perhaps walk on water. We now use the term “ninja” figuratively, to describe anyone highly-skilled in a specific field.

32 Norse pantheon : AESIR

The gods and goddesses of Norse mythology generally belong to either the Aesir tribe or the Vanir tribe. Most of the Norse gods with which we are familiar belong to Aesir, including Odin, Thor, Frigg and Tyr. Examples of the Vanir gods are Freya and Njord. The Aesir live in Asgard, and the Vanir in Vanaheim. The Aesir and Vanir eventually united into one pantheon after the Aesir-Vanir War.

34 Paul for whom a guitar is named : LES

Les Paul was a guitarist, songwriter and inventor. When he was 33 years old, Paul was involved in a near-fatal car crash that left his right arm and elbow shattered. Surgeons offered him the choice of amputation or a rebuilding of the limb that would leave him unable to bend his elbow. He told them to set his arm at just under 90 degrees so that he could at least hold his guitar and perhaps play it.

38 Turkish inn : IMARET

Imarets were inns or hostels used by pilgrims throughout the Ottoman Empire. The network of imarets was set up to provide food to anyone in need, so they also served as soup kitchens, as it were.

40 “He is richest who is content with the ___”: Socrates : LEAST

In ancient Greece, Socrates was a respected thinker of his day. One of Socrates’ most clever students was Plato, who spent much of life espousing the work and thinking of his mentor and teacher. In later life, Plato himself had a student who built on the work of both Socrates and Plato. That second-generation student was Aristotle. Socrates fell out of favor with the political leaders in Athens who put him on trial on trumped-up charges. He was found guilty of corrupting the youth of the city-state and of not believing in the gods of the state. The sentence levied was death by drinking hemlock.

45 Supplies, as a soiree : CATERS

“Soir” is the French word for “evening” and a soirée is an evening party. The French word “soirée” has an acute accent over the first “e”, but we tend to drop this when using the word in English.

46 Stiff bristle, botanically : ARISTA

An arista is a stiff bristle found on some plants. The bristles seen on some grasses and cereals are called awns, and awns are a specific type of arista.

47 Elephant or warthog, e.g. : TUSKER

Tusks are the front teeth of certain animals that grow continuously. The tusks piggs, hippo and walruses are elongated canine teeth. The tusks of elephants are elongated incisors.

51 Company with Counting Sheep commercials : SERTA

Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement. Serta advertisements feature the Serta Counting Sheep. Each numbered sheep has a different personality, such as:

  • #1 The Leader of the Flock
  • #½ The Tweener
  • #13 Mr. Bad Luck
  • #53 The Pessimist
  • #86 Benedict Arnold

52 Last name in soft drinks : PIBB

The soft drink on the market today called Pibb Xtra used to be known as Mr Pibb, and before that was called Peppo. Peppo was introduced in 1972 as a direct competitor to Dr Pepper.

53 Reds state : OHIO

When the Cincinnati Reds were a dominating force in the National League in the seventies, the team was given the nickname “the Big Red Machine”.

55 Word with “Revolutionary” or “Tobacco,” in book titles : … ROAD

“Revolutionary Road” is a 2008 movie based on a novel of the same name by Richard Yates that was published in 1961. The film stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, who had last played opposite each other in “Titanic” nine years earlier.

“Tobacco Road” is a 1932 novel penned by Erskine Caldwell. The novel was adapted into an extremely successful stage play that opened in 1933 on Broadway. The play ran for over 3,000 performances, a record in its day. “Tobacco Road” is still the second longest-running non-musical ever to be produced on Broadway (eventually being beaten out by “Life with Father” in the sixties).

57 ___ Stark, Lord Eddard’s eldest on “Game of Thrones” : ROBB

Robb Stark is a prominent character in the George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, and in the TV adaption of the books “Game of Thrones”. He is portrayed by Scottish actor Richard Madden in the show.

61 Fish hatchlings : FRY

Juvenile fish that have just grown to the point where they can feed themselves are known as “fry”. By the end of the 17th century, the phrase “small fry” was common, when referring to such fish. More recently, the phrase was applied figuratively to insignificant people, and then to little children.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Quartet that reunited in 2022 to “perform” as holograms : ABBA
5 Hell’s Half ___ (Wyoming landmark) : ACRE
9 Chromosomes come in them : PAIRS
14 Croc, for one : CLOG
15 Big name in bubbly : MOET
16 Condition linked with grinding teeth : APNEA
17 District on the western coast of Hawaii : KONA
18 Craisin brand : OCEAN SPRAY
20 Female scholars : WOMEN OF LETTERS
22 Lead-in to zone : EURO-
23 Smallish batteries : AAS
24 Author Patchett : ANN
27 Components of Mars’s Viking and Pathfinder : LANDERS
30 Intrinsic makeup : DNA
33 Fabric whose name is French for “cloth” : TOILE
35 Hirsute cousin of old TV : ITT
36 Gooey addition to a charcuterie board : BRIE
37 Where turn signals are found : STEERING COLUMNS
41 Delicacies for which Aveiro, Portugal, is known : EELS
42 “Surely you don’t mean me!?” : MOI?!
43 Speechless expression : EMOJI
44 Showstoppers? : ADS
45 Bach composition : CANTATA
48 Scratch, say : MAR
49 It might be cocked or bent : EAR
50 N.B.A.’s Westbrook, to fans : RUSS
52 Grammy winners for “Jump (for My Love)” (1984) : POINTER SISTERS
59 “Apologies for bothering you …” : I HATE TO ASK …
60 Massage deeply : ROLF
62 Mosquito, by nature : BITER
63 Chip in : ANTE
64 Ski lift : T-BAR
65 Dutch settlers of South Africa : BOERS
66 With 67-Across, one of two pen names punnily hinted at by 20-, 37- and 52-Across (can you find the other one?) : DEAR …
67 See 66-Across : … ABBY

Down

1 “Oh, no!” : ACK!
2 Explode : BLOW
3 Pro ___ : BONO
4 Best effort : A-GAME
5 Egyptian sun god : AMON-RA
6 Result of some spinning : COCOON
7 Danger for a mariner : REEF
8 Abbreviated abbreviation : ET AL
9 They might be served carbonara or puttanesca : PASTAS
10 Datebook data: Abbr. : APPTS
11 About, on a memo : IN RE
12 Vanguard’s opposite : REAR
13 “Survey ___ …” (“Family Feud” catchphrase) : SAYS
19 Almost adjoining : NEAR TO
21 Swiss mathematician who introduced functional notation : EULER
24 Totally confused : AT SEA
25 Prominent : NOTED
26 Physicist Bohr : NIELS
28 You can count on it : DIGIT
29 Abbreviated abbreviation : ETC
30 Amateur pediatrician, informally : DR MOM
31 Strong, silent type? : NINJA
32 Norse pantheon : AESIR
34 Paul for whom a guitar is named : LES
36 Backside : BUM
38 Turkish inn : IMARET
39 Prefix with apology or denial : NON-
40 “He is richest who is content with the ___”: Socrates : LEAST
45 Supplies, as a soiree : CATERS
46 Stiff bristle, botanically : ARISTA
47 Elephant or warthog, e.g. : TUSKER
49 Put in : ENTER
51 Company with Counting Sheep commercials : SERTA
52 Last name in soft drinks : PIBB
53 Reds state : OHIO
54 “Not hungry yet, but thanks anyway” : I ATE
55 Word with “Revolutionary” or “Tobacco,” in book titles : … ROAD
56 In one’s right mind : SANE
57 ___ Stark, Lord Eddard’s eldest on “Game of Thrones” : ROBB
58 Unit of meat or marble : SLAB
61 Fish hatchlings : FRY

7 thoughts on “1220-23 NY Times Crossword 20 Dec 23, Wednesday”

  1. 9:53, no errors. At the end, I found “ANN LANDERS”, but failed to notice that “I HATE TO ASK” was another part of the theme. Very clever (puzzle) … 😜.

  2. 18:44, no errors. Got bogged down in the area of ARISTA, TUSKER. In Junior High School, I was a member of the ARISTA honor society. Guess that implies that I am a stiff bristle?

  3. 17:45, and spent a lot of time on the right middle section. I guess it would have gone better if I hadn’t misspelled EMOJI.

  4. Probably about 15 minutes.

    Did not know that about FRY. Makes sense now.

    But I do like a good fish fry once in while!! 😋

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