0105-24 NY Times Crossword 5 Jan 24, Friday

Constructed by: David P. Williams
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: DNF

Bill’s errors: Too many to count ☹️

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 ___ TV : PLASMA

Plasma televisions are so called because the screen is made up of tiny cells containing electrically charged ionized gases (plasmas). Each of the cells is effectively a tiny fluorescent lamp.

7 What an alley-oop is, essentially : ASSIST

An alley-oop is a play in basketball in which one player lobs the ball close to the basket for a teammate who usually scores with a slam dunk.

13 Business headache : RED TAPE

Back in the days of yore in England, official documents were bound in bundles with red ribbon. So, getting through all the paperwork required “cutting through the red tape”.

15 Joint : REEFER

Marijuana cigarettes have been known as reefers since the twenties. It is thought that the term “reefers” comes from either the Mexican Spanish for a drug addict (“grifo”), or from its resemblance to a rolled sail, i.e. a sail that has been “reefed”.

20 One arriving tomorrow, supposedly : GODOT

“Waiting for Godot” is a play by novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett that premiered in 1953. Irishman Beckett actually wrote the piece in French, under the title “En attendant Godot”. He then translated the play into English himself.

25 Sport whose name means “the gentle way” : JUDO

Judo is a martial art from Japan that developed relatively recently, in 1882. The name “judo” translates as “gentle way”. It was the first martial art to become an Olympic sport. Judo made its debut as an Olympic sport in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which were held in Japan.

27 The brachiocephalic trunk branches from it : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

31 Innovation of the 1920s that’s still spoken of with wonder today : SLICED BREAD

Wonder Bread was introduced in 1921 by the Taggart Baking Company of Indianapolis. Wonder Bread was introduced as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”. The loaves were unsliced back then, with the sliced version being introduced nationally in the 1930s. It was the “wonder” of this sliced bread that eventually led to the idiom “the best thing since sliced bread”.

34 Aqua ___ : VITAE

“Aqua vitae” is Latin for “water of life”. The original use of the term was for a concentrated solution of ethanol. Over time “aqua vitae” became the term used for distilled spirits and wine. “Water of life” translates into Scots Gaelic as “uisge-beatha” and into Irish as “uisce beatha”. These terms give rise to our modern word “whiskey”.

35 “Miracle Workers” airer : TBS

“Miracle Workers” is a comedy show based on a 2012 novel by Simon Rich titled “What in God’s Name”. Rich created the show, which stars Daniel Radcliffe as an angel whose job it is to handle all of the prayers of humanity. Steve Buscemi plays God. I haven’t seen this one yet, but it sounds intriguing …

39 Fashion label founded by Rihanna : FENTY

Singer Rihanna was born and grew up on the island of Barbados and moved to the US when she was 16-years-old to pursue a singing career. “Rihanna” is her stage name, as she was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. The name “Rihanna” is derived from the Welsh name “Rhiannon”. And, Rihanna sometimes goes by the nickname “RiRi”, which is also the name of her line of beauty products.

41 Farm creature : ANT

“Formicary” is another name for “ant nest”, and comes from the Latin “formica” meaning “ant”. The phrase “ant colony” describes the ants living in an ant nest. A formicarium is similar to an aquarium, and used to house an ant colony perhaps for study. The phrase “ant farm” is usually reserved for ant nests built by an ant colony in a formicarium.

42 Blender setting : PUREE

A purée is a food that has been made smooth by straining or blending. “Purée” is a French term, which I believe is now used to mean “pea soup” (more completely written as “purée de pois”). The French verb “purer” means “to strain, clean”, from the Latin “purare” meaning “to purify, clean”.

44 John Deere product : REAPER

John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”. The Deere company that John founded uses the slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and has a leaping deer as its logo.

46 Condiment sometimes mixed with mayonnaise : SRIRACHA

Sriracha hot chili sauce is named for the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where the recipe likely originated. Here in North America, we are most familiar with the Sriracha sold in a red bottle with a green that is made by Huy Fong Foods in the city of Irwindale, California. The manufacturer was founded by Vietnamese refugee David Tran, who escaped from Vietnam in 1978 on a Taiwanese freighter called the Huey Fong, after which he named his new company.

50 Eve ___, playwright who created the activist movement V-Day : ENSLER

Eve Ensler is a playwright whose most famous work is “The Vagina Monologues”. When Ensler was only 23 years of age, she adopted a 15 year old boy. We are familiar with that boy on the big screen these days; actor Dylan McDermott.

Down

4 “___ is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn”: Gore Vidal : STYLE

Gore Vidal was an author and political activist from West Point, New York. Vidal’s most celebrated novel is probably “Myra Breckinridge”. His most controversial work has to be “The City and the Pillar” from 1948, which is cited as one of the first major novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality.

5 Dark side of the moon? : MARE

A mare is a large dark area on the moon. “Mare” is the Latin for “sea”. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Mare Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility.

9 Fleur de ___ (delicate crust on the surface of seawater) : SEL

Fleur de sel is a form of sea salt that forms as a thin crust on the surface of seawater as it evaporates. It is now used mainly as a finishing salt in the cooking process, meaning that it is sprinkled on the surface of a dish just before it is served. The name “fleur de sel” translates from French as “flower of salt”, which is a reference to the flowery patterns that form in the salty crust as seawater evaporates.

25 Nick, Joe or Kevin of pop : JONAS

The Jonas Brothers Pop rock band comprises brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas. They recorded their first song in 2005, and really achieved fame a few years later due to repeated appearances on the Disney Channel. They split up in 2013, citing “creative differences”, but came back as a trio in 2019.

28 Best, in an idiom : CREME

The crème de la crème are the elite, the best of the best. The term “crème de la crème” is French, and translates as “cream of the cream”.

35 Alan of “Growing Pains” : THICKE

Canadian actor Alan Thicke is best known for portraying the patriarch of the Seaver family on the sitcom “Growing Pains”. He was also quite successful as a composer of TV theme songs. Along with his first wife, Thicke co-wrote the theme songs to the sitcoms “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life”.

42 Name added to a Brazilian dictionary in 2023 as an adjective meaning “incomparable” : 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).

45 Campaigner, informally : POL

Politician (pol)

47 What some smartphones run on : IOS

iOS is what Apple now calls its mobile operating system. Previously, it was known as iPhone OS.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 ___ TV : PLASMA
7 What an alley-oop is, essentially : ASSIST
13 Business headache : RED TAPE
15 Joint : REEFER
16 Breeze for the beach, maybe : EASY READ
18 “Never attribute to ___ that which is adequately explained by stupidity” (Hanlon’s razor) : MALICE
19 Not stiff at all : AGILE
20 One arriving tomorrow, supposedly : GODOT
22 Set piece? : GEM
23 Superficially clever : CUTE
24 Put off : DETER
25 Sport whose name means “the gentle way” : JUDO
26 “Tee” follower : -HEE
27 The brachiocephalic trunk branches from it : AORTA
28 Apple product? : CORER
29 “How about that!” : I’LL BE DARNED!
31 Innovation of the 1920s that’s still spoken of with wonder today : SLICED BREAD
32 They beep when tested : SMOKE ALARMS
33 Tail, maybe : CHASE
34 Aqua ___ : VITAE
35 “Miracle Workers” airer : TBS
38 Verb that becomes its opposite when its first letter is changed to an “f” : HIRE
39 Fashion label founded by Rihanna : FENTY
40 Converse : CHAT
41 Farm creature : ANT
42 Blender setting : PUREE
43 Not fresh : TRITE
44 John Deere product : REAPER
46 Condiment sometimes mixed with mayonnaise : SRIRACHA
48 Break from the band : GO SOLO
49 Snatched up, in slang : YOINKED
50 Eve ___, playwright who created the activist movement V-Day : ENSLER
51 Fleet : SPEEDY

Down

1 “Amen to that!” : PREACH
2 American, for example : LEAGUE
3 Pop-up destination : AD SITE
4 “___ is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn”: Gore Vidal : STYLE
5 Dark side of the moon? : MARE
6 Mimic : APE
7 Heavy coat : ARMOR
8 Goal for some runners : SEAT
9 Fleur de ___ (delicate crust on the surface of seawater) : SEL
10 “That makes sense” : I FIGURED
11 Broke off : SECEDED
12 Earth-shaking event : TREMOR
14 Enthusiastic sort : EAGER BEAVER
17 Common spots for autographs : DOTTED LINES
21 Concern for the 1%? : DEAD BATTERY
24 ___ far niente (pleasant idleness) : DOLCE
25 Nick, Joe or Kevin of pop : JONAS
27 Uniform : ALIKE
28 Best, in an idiom : CREME
29 Remark from one waving a white flag : I LOSE
30 Ordered lineup : ARRAY
31 One clever enough to win every argument … but not clever enough not to : SMARTASS
32 Deceive, especially to avoid responsibility for something : SHINE ON
33 Word with electric or criminal : … CHARGE
35 Alan of “Growing Pains” : THICKE
36 Got clean, in a way : BATHED
37 Fixed : STEADY
39 Red state : FUROR
40 Towering sight at a site for a tower : CRANE
42 Name added to a Brazilian dictionary in 2023 as an adjective meaning “incomparable” : PELE
43 Set off : TRIP
45 Campaigner, informally : POL
47 What some smartphones run on : IOS

24 thoughts on “0105-24 NY Times Crossword 5 Jan 24, Friday”

  1. 43:41, no errors, and I despaired of finishing several times. For me, a very hard puzzle, and, as is sometimes the case, I’m not sure why, given that, once I did finish, all the answers seemed to make perfect sense. (Mind you, I had some advantages: I’d recently seen FENTY in another puzzle, I love SRIRACHA, I’ve become familiar with YOINKED in recent times, and THICKE and ENSLER immediately popped out of my “crossword lizard brain”. All the entries that gave me real trouble were elsewhere. A mystery … 🤨😳.)

  2. DNF after 52:33. Managed to get through all but the NW section. NW section was completely impenetrable to me. Had APE, took wild guesses with 1D I AGREE and 2D CHEESE, which were no help at all.

  3. Same as Bill and others, finally gave up on this. Finished the lower left and right, and a few scattered answers elsewhere, but the upper half was hopeless. Too many clues that could have been anything, and when Across and Down clues are all like that, it’s difficult to get a foothold.
    Very poor editing job.

  4. 1:21:43 if only I could remember how to spell “Godot”, “sriracha”, and was familiar with “yoinked”, “Hanlon’s razor”, and a cast of thousands. Obviously a tough one with 3 or 4 lookups.

  5. The kind of puzzle that I just trash – even after seeing the answers it was not at all interesting. Bad clues, not even superficially clever

  6. The kind of puzzle that I just trash – even after seeing the answers it was not at all interesting. Bad clues, not even superficially clever

  7. Out of my league.
    DNF

    I ran across a NY TIMES crossword segment on jan 4th about this grid. David Williams is a bit of a cruciverbalist and is intending to make identical 66 word grids over 13 puzzles as a tribute to a poem by Wallace Stevens.???

    Maybe some of you that are subscribed to NY TIMES know about this.

    1. Aw don’t be bitter.

      In my case I have a video of mine as shared above. Seattle Times has no “Almost There” helper screen; not to imply anyone used it for their solve but in my case if anyone wanted to, they could view every keystroke, not that anyone would want to.

    1. Well Dave you guys raised doubts yourselves by references to look-ups, correcting errors after completing the grid, etc.
      You’re on record stating you “abhor” my comment that “look-ups are like cheating at solitaire.”

      Your retort is always in effect, “if we cheat we’ll tell you up front, just trust us” but how do we know you all do so every time?

      You and the NYT club could clear the air if you wanted by posting a recording of all your solves every day for a month, to dispel the skepticism you and other NYTers raised with your own comments. That would be a good faith way to shut any skeptics up if that bothers you.

      1. Sorry wrong Dave but the challenge still is valid to anyone doing it on a computer who is concerned about being doubted, it’s not hard to record it.
        I directed it more to those who in my view invited doubts with previous comments e.g. lookups or post-completion error correction etc.

        1. I would observe that your recordings of your solves prove absolutely nothing. How are we to know that you are doing a given puzzle for the first time, with no cheat sheet next to your computer and with no prior review of the clues?

          See? We could indulge in ridiculous bits of innuendo as much as you do … 😳.

          And you’re not the first newbie solver here to indulge his or her suspicions regarding the abilities of other solvers … 😳.

          1. Dave K.:

            I may not be the only reader of this blog who’d like to see Mr. Crossword himself in action. Why not put your $ where your mouth is if you have nothing to hide? You are probably are accurate in what you report but I think some of us would like to see what’s really happening with , among other things, that “dreaded”, as you called it, Almost There screen.

            Just for a month, daily.

            As for your rebuttal, looked at from the point of view of an objective by-stander, I have almost 400 recordings in a period of around 6 months posted to my video journal ,and the rules I follow for every puzzle are posted to the channel. If anyone were interested they could look at my evidence and decide if it’s all an act. If they think they’re wrong, but I at least I have evidence. You have lot of bombast but as far as evidence, zilch.

            BTW I”m not a newbie and not a Glenn either. I would call myself intermediate but you calling me that is pretty typical of your patronizing attitude.

  8. I for one couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks I’m doing. I put up what I did, and whatever anyone thinks of that or how ever they want to label it, is fine with me.

    In fact, if there is anyone on this board who lies daily and never even looks at the puzzles, that too is not a concern of mine. That’s their problem. I don’t believe that to be the case – just making a point.

    I come here for pleasant conversation about crossword PUZZLES for crying out loud. That’s what this board USED to be.

    I find no reason to worry about what other people are or are not doing. Life’s too short.

  9. If you want a private crossword chat club you could always form one. This blog is open to anyone and they may not like what you have to say. Tough. I only got drawn into commenting on other people’s claims when I saw lookups mentioned which I was shocked to see in forum for advanced or expert solvers.

    1. … blog is open to anyone …

      I agree.

      … forum for advanced or expert solvers …

      Where in Bill’s blog does it say anything like that?

      The point I’ve repeatedly tried to make is that the posters here are a mixed bag. They do not all follow your rules. If you read what they have to say from day to day, you can get a pretty good sense of who does what.

      You persist in treating all this as a competition. Others here take a more relaxed view.

      And no, I do not intend to post any of what you yourself described as “paint-drying videos”. I cannot prove to you that I am solving the puzzles honestly, just as you and Glenn cannot prove to me that you are solving them honestly.

      For the record: I was impressed that you solved this puzzle without errors, however long it took. That says you are definitely past the “newbie” stage in terms of solving, but you do have a typically “newbie” view of what may be possible for other solvers.

      Can we please just drop this issue?

  10. This was a tough one. Had doubts whether I’d finish with no errors but, eventually, it came together with just paper and erasable pen. Lots of satisfaction getting this puzzle correctly. What broke it open for me was “league” in the “American” clue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *