1230-23 NY Times Crossword 30 Dec 23, Saturday

Constructed by: Simeon Seigel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Party Paper

Circled letters in the grid spell out CONFETTI, hinting at a PARTY:

  • 63A Event suggested by this puzzle’s circled squares, read clockwise from the top : PARTY

Bill’s time: 10m 57s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Dad on “Black-ish” : DRE

“Black-ish” is a sitcom starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross that premiered in 2014. The lead actors play Dre and Rainbow Johnson, a married couple leading an upper-middle class black family. The show is noted for tackling tough issues such as racism, police brutality, attitudes toward the LGBT community, and the 2016 US presidential election.

4 Source of intelligence : RECON

A reconnaissance (recon) is a preliminary survey carried out to gather information. The term “reconnaissance” came into English in the early 19th century from French, from which language it translates literally as “recognition”.

8 They work in meters : POETS

The meter of a poem is its rhythmic structure.

12 Bucket of bolts : JUNKER

“Bucket of bolts”, “crate” and “heap” are slang terms for a junky car.

16 Hour at which to sing “Auld Lang Syne” : XII

The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For days of auld lang syne

20 Coat named for a former Irish province : ULSTER

If you’ve watched Victorian dramas, you might have seen the original Ulster coat, which is very distinctive. It is a full-length, heavy coat, with an attached cape made from the same material that hangs down as far as the waist. The cape was dropped in the 20th century, and now an Ulster is a relatively simple, hard-wearing, double-breasted overcoat.

A “former” Irish province? I don’t think so! Ireland is divided into four provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster. “Ulster” is sometimes used as a synonym for “Northern Ireland”, but in fact Ulster comprises the six counties of Northern Ireland and three in the Republic of Ireland, namely Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.

21 Brand with a joystick : ATARI

In an airplane, a joystick is the control device that operates the elevators and the ailerons. The word “joystick” also describes any control stick capable of moving in two or more directions. The term originated as aviator slang in the early 1900s.

28 “Count” in the Blues Hall of Fame : BASIE

“Count” Basie’s real given name was “William”. Count Basie perhaps picked up his love for the piano from his mother, who played and gave him his first lessons. Basie’s first paying job as a musician was in a movie theater, where he learned to improvise a suitable accompaniment for the silent movies that were being shown. Basie was given the nickname “Count” as he became lauded as one of the so-called “Jazz royalty”. Others so honored are Nat “King” Cole and Duke Ellington.

33 Pair of hand drums, in Indian music : TABLA

A tabla is a percussion instrument used mainly in the Indian subcontinent. The tabla consists of a pair of hand drums and is similar to bongos.

35 Speakers in many classrooms, for short : PAS

Public address (PA) system

41 Craft at camp : CANOE

Canoe racing has been featured as a competition sport in the Summer Olympic Games since the 1936 Games in Berlin There are two disciplines of canoeing in competition: slalom and sprint. Slalom is an event in which competitors navigate a course of gates that are placed in a river. Sprint is an event in which competitors race over a fixed distance on a calm body of water.

42 Ref. work that Tolkien contributed to from “waggle” to “wild” : OED

Author J. R. R. Tolkien is best known as the author of the fantasy novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of Rings”. After serving as an officer in the First World War, his first job as a civilian was researching the history and etymology of words for the Oxford English Dictionary. In fact, Tolkien was assigned the words from “waggle” through “warlock”.

43 Aromatic herb : TARRAGON

Tarragon is a herb in the sunflower family that is also known by the name estragon. There are several subspecies, with “French tarragon” being the variety most commonly used for cooking. Other subspecies are known as Russian tarragon, Spanish tarragon and wild tarragon.

53 What may come before further notice? : UNTIL …

Until further notice.

57 Wall Street, e.g. : FINANCIAL CENTER

New York’s famous Wall Street was originally named by the Dutch “Het Cingel” (or “the Belt”). That “belt” was the city “wall”, a wall erected by Dutch colonists to protect them from an attack by the British from the north. The attack by land never came, but the British did mount a successful invasion by sea. The British demolished the wall two decades later, in 1699.

60 Grand ___ Opry : OLE

The Grand Ole Opry started out as a radio show in 1925 originally called the WSM “Barn Dance”. In 1927, the “Barn Dance” radio show was broadcast in a slot after an NBC production called “Musical Appreciation Hour”, a collection of classical works including Grand Opera. In a December show, the host of “Barn Dance” announced, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry'”. That name was used for the radio show from then on.

61 ___ Drogo, Jason Momoa’s character on “Game of Thrones” : KHAL

Jason Momoa is a model and actor who is perhaps best known for playing superhero Aquaman in several DC Comics films. He also played warrior leader Khal Drogo in the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones”. In 2017, Momoa married actress Lisa Bonet, who played Denise Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”.

62 “Seinfeld” role : ELAINE

The character Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.

63 Event suggested by this puzzle’s circled squares, read clockwise from the top : PARTY

The word “confetti” is related to “confection”. The original confetti were small candies thrown during carnivals in Italy. This custom migrated to England, and eventually evolved into the practice of tossing small pieces of paper instead of confections.

64 Cabinet resignee of 1988 : MEESE

Ed Meese was born in Oakland, California and spent 24 years in the office of the Treasurer of Alameda County, the county in which I used to live. After military service, Meese earned himself a law degree at UC Berkeley. Later, as chief of staff for President Reagan, he was instrumental in a famous decision to crack down on student protesters at Berkeley which resulted in one protester dying and a two-week occupation of the city by the California National Guard.

Down

2 Street in Strasbourg : RUE

Strasbourg is a beautiful city in the Grand Est region of France that I had the privilege to visit some years ago. Strasbourg is home to many international organizations, including the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament.

4 Letters of endorsement, in brief : RECS

Recommendation (rec.)

5 African who lives along the coast of the Red Sea : ERITREAN

Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, and surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.

13 Attire for many bagpipe players : KILTS

Bagpipes have been played for centuries all across Europe, in parts of Asia and North Africa, and in the Persian Gulf. However, the most famous versions of the instrument today are the Scottish Great Highland bagpipe and the Irish uilleann pipes (my personal favorite; I’m biased!). The bag in the Scottish version is inflated by blowing into it, whereas the Irish version uses a bellows under the arm.

23 Longtime diplomat Abba : EBAN

Abba Eban was an Israeli diplomat and politician. He was born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban in Cape Town, South Africa. While working at the United Nations after WWII, Eban changed his given name to “Abba”, the Hebrew word for “father”. Reportedly, he made this change as Eban saw himself as the father of the nation of Israel.

29 Turner autobiography : I, TINA

“I, Tina” is a 1986 autobiography by Tina Turner. The book was so successful it was adapted into a movie called “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” The film version was released in 1993 and stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner. The first chapter of the biography is called “Nut Bush”, a reference to the small farming community of Nutbush, Tennessee where Turner was born (as Anna Mae Bullock).

31 Foil alternatives : EPEES

The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. It is similar to a foil and saber, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

32 Terra ___ : COTTA

In the history of ceramic materials, earthenware (also “terra cotta”) is a relatively old material. It is porous, and needs a ceramic glaze to make it impervious to liquids. Stoneware was developed later, and is impervious to liquids in its own right due to the higher firing temperature. Porcelain came later still, and is fired at even higher temperatures to produce a stronger, harder and finer material.

34 Strips in a club? : BACON

The club sandwich is a double-decker affair with three layers of bread and two layers of filling. This style of sandwich has been around since the end of the 19th century, and some say it was invented at an exclusive gambling “club” in Saratoga Springs, New York.

37 Goofs in proofs : ERRATA

“Errata” is the past participle of the Latin word “errare” meaning “to err”. We use “errata” (singular “erratum”) to describe a list of errors that have been noted in some publication.

44 Eagle constellation : AQUILA

The name of the constellation Aquila is Latin for “eagle”. The brightest star in Aquila is Altair. The name “Altair” comes from the Arabic “al-nasr al-tair” meaning “the flying eagle”.

47 “The Faerie Queene” woman whose name means “peace” : IRENA

“The Faerie Queene” is an epic poem by Edmund Spenser. It is one of the longest poems written in the English language.

50 Goethe’s “The ___-King” : ERL

“Der Erlkönig” (“The Erl King”) is a poem by the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The poem tells of the death of a child attacked by the Erl King, a supernatural being. The Austrian composer Franz Schubert made a musical adaptation of Goethe’s poem using the same title.

52 Violinist Zimbalist : EFREM

Efrem Zimbalist was a prominent concert violinist from Russia. Zimbalist was married to the famous American soprano Alma Gluck. The couple had a son called Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. who became a well-known actor (co-star on “77 Sunset Strip”). Zimbalist, Sr. was therefore also the grandfather of actress Stephanie Zimbalist (co-star on “Remington Steele”).

56 Soccer legend who played for both sides in his final match in 1977 : PELE

“Pelé” was the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who used the name “Pelé” for most of his life. For my money, Pelé was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He was the only person to have been a member of three World Cup winning squads (1958, 1962 and 1970), and was a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames was “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).

59 Musician Brian : ENO

Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the genre of ambient music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, which was the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks, somewhat inventively, 1/1, 1/2, 2/1 and 2/2.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Dad on “Black-ish” : DRE
4 Source of intelligence : RECON
8 They work in meters : POETS
12 Bucket of bolts : JUNKER
14 Concealer : VEIL
16 Hour at which to sing “Auld Lang Syne” : XII
17 It might have a small bulb : MEDICINE DROPPER
20 Coat named for a former Irish province : ULSTER
21 Brand with a joystick : ATARI
22 Letter of completion, in brief : CERT
24 Post-op program : REHAB
26 Took a turn : WENT
28 “Count” in the Blues Hall of Fame : BASIE
30 Uncertain affirmation : I GUESS SO
32 Boot : CAN
33 Pair of hand drums, in Indian music : TABLA
35 Speakers in many classrooms, for short : PAS
36 Rarer than rare : ONCE IN A LIFETIME
40 Directional suffix : -ERN
41 Craft at camp : CANOE
42 Ref. work that Tolkien contributed to from “waggle” to “wild” : OED
43 Aromatic herb : TARRAGON
46 Exhausting : USING
48 Shade by the pool? : AQUA
49 Anesthetized, so to speak : UNDER
51 “All ___” (court order) : RISE
53 What may come before further notice? : UNTIL …
55 They hang around the house : DRAPES
57 Wall Street, e.g. : FINANCIAL CENTER
60 Grand ___ Opry : OLE
61 ___ Drogo, Jason Momoa’s character on “Game of Thrones” : KHAL
62 “Seinfeld” role : ELAINE
63 Event suggested by this puzzle’s circled squares, read clockwise from the top : PARTY
64 Cabinet resignee of 1988 : MEESE
65 End of nearly half of all website addresses : COM

Down

1 Part of a turntablist’s headgear, for short : DJ MIC
2 Street in Strasbourg : RUE
3 Participant in an ultramarathon : ENDURANCE RUNNER
4 Letters of endorsement, in brief : RECS
5 African who lives along the coast of the Red Sea : ERITREAN
6 Across a wide expanse of rural land : OVER HILL AND DALE
7 Nickname for Edward : NED
8 Twists can thicken it : PLOT
9 Like art conveying emotion rather than realism : EXPRESSIONISTIC
10 Some merchandising opportunities : TIE-INS
11 “Dear” man : SIR
13 Attire for many bagpipe players : KILTS
15 Onetime Yankees pitcher Hideki : IRABU
18 Previously known as : NEE
19 Handles clumsily : PAWS AT
23 Longtime diplomat Abba : EBAN
25 “Tonight’s another chance to start ___” (lyric from “It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve”) : AGAIN
27 Fit : TONED
29 Turner autobiography : I, TINA
31 Foil alternatives : EPEES
32 Terra ___ : COTTA
34 Strips in a club? : BACON
37 Goofs in proofs : ERRATA
38 Very good hand to be dealt in poker : FOUR ACES
39 Gig components : MEGS
44 Eagle constellation : AQUILA
45 Relative of a slot canyon : GULCH
47 “The Faerie Queene” woman whose name means “peace” : IRENA
50 Goethe’s “The ___-King” : ERL
52 Violinist Zimbalist : EFREM
54 Completely black, as the sky : INKY
56 Soccer legend who played for both sides in his final match in 1977 : PELE
57 Fashionable dresser : FOP
58 “Do you know who ___?” : I AM
59 Musician Brian : ENO

9 thoughts on “1230-23 NY Times Crossword 30 Dec 23, Saturday”

  1. 31:29 only downfall is that once the puzzle is completed on my IPhone app, the circled letters turn into pieces of confetti, so I had no time to figure out what the “party” answer was directing me to.

    Yep, completed the puzzle at 0400 hrs EST, because the stomsch bug has completely wrecked my sleep schedule 🙁

  2. 18:13, no errors. For some reason, I had a hard time starting this one. I finally broke into it on the bottom row and then found it strangely easy to work my way up to the top. (I did it on a break from tackling an insanely difficult Tim Croce puzzle that eventually occupied me for more than five hours, so maybe that was the real problem.)

    @DuncanR … Sounds like you’ve had more than your share of troubles recently. Here’s hoping the New Year treats you better!

  3. 17:55, no errors. One of my better weeks, 10:27 faster than my average for a Saturday. @DuncanR, on my android tablet, the confetti was in the black squares. @Dave, I had a hard time starting this one, too. I just bounced around the grid willy-nilly. Heading out to dive in Cozumel tonight so I may not be puzzling for the next 2 weeks.

  4. Should have been some fast times for this grid. Seemed like a tuesday or a wednesday. Certainly didn’t seem like a saturday.

    1. Average time (XWStats) was 21:59, yesterday’s average was 13:53, though both were cast as “Easy”. I do definitely get very surprised sometimes after I finish some of these things, and definitely was very surprised the last couple of days seeing what others have posted. Not so much for competition but trying to get an idea of what the puzzle was, overall.

  5. I finished a Saturday puzzle with no errors and was pretty happy about it until I read some of the comments here😥
    Stay safe😀

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