0109-24 NY Times Crossword 9 Jan 24, Tuesday

Constructed by: Adam Wagner
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Tuesday

Themed answers include 3-letter abbreviations of days of the week hidden within, in circled letters. Given what day it is today, TUESDAY is spelled out in full, and is an answer by itself:

  • 55A Part of a calendar septet, and a phonetic hint to this puzzle’s theme : TUESDAY
  • 18A Exhibited heliotropism, as a flower : FOLLOWED THE SUN (hiding WED & SUN)
  • 32A Abolitionist who wrote “Twelve Years a Slave” : SOLOMON NORTHUP (hiding MON & THU)
  • 49A Went uneaten, as some groceries : SAT IN THE FRIDGE (hiding SAT & FRI)

Bill’s time: 7m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Lawn game played with a ball known as a pallino : BOCCE

The Italian bowling game of bocce (often anglicized as “bocci” or “boccie”) is based on a game played in ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

17 Neighborhood in lower Manhattan : NOLITA

NoLIta is a neighborhood in Manhattan in New York City. The name “NoLIta” is derived from “North of Little Italy”. One of NoLIta’s most famous sons is the director Martin Scorsese.

18 Exhibited heliotropism, as a flower : FOLLOWED THE SUN

Heliotropism is a phenomenon in which a plant’s growth or movement is influenced by the sun’s direction. Sunflowers are perhaps the most well-known example of a heliotropic plant. As the sun moves across the sky, sunflowers turn their heads to follow it. This maximizes the plant’s exposure to sunlight, which is essential for photosynthesis.

21 Joe’s co-host on “Morning Joe” : MIKA

“Morning Joe” is a show broadcast by MSNBC each weekday morning. It is hosted by Joe Scarborough, and first went on the air in 2007. Given the name of the show, Starbucks was very happy to be the show’s sponsor from 2009 through 2013, and got lots of product placement.

22 Part of a Tolkien army : ORC

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

25 What gives a gin fizz its fizz : SODA

By definition, a cocktail known as a “fizz” includes lemon or lime juice and carbonated water. The most popular of the genre is the gin fizz, made from 3 parts gin, 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part sugar syrup and 5 parts soda water. There is also a variant known as a sloe gin fizz.

26 Novelist Brontë : ANNE

Anne was the youngest of the three sisters in the literary Brontë family. Her older sisters wrote novels that are more recognized, but Anne’s two novels do have a following. “Agnes Grey” is based on her own experiences working as a governess. Her other novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” is written as a long letter from a young man describing the events leading up to his first meeting with his wife-to-be. Anne Brontë’s writing career was cut short in 1849, when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis, at only 29 years of age.

32 Abolitionist who wrote “Twelve Years a Slave” : SOLOMON NORTHUP

“12 Years a Slave” is a powerful 2013 film adapted from the memoir “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup. Northup was an African American who was born a free man in Upstate New York where he worked as a farmer and a violinist. He was lured to Washington, D.C. where slavery was legal, and there was kidnapped by slave traders. Northup spent twelve years as a slave in Louisiana before an intermediary made contact with friends and family who were able to obtain his release. The slave trader in Washington who committed the crime was arrested and tried, although he was acquitted, because D.C. law prohibited an African American from testifying against Caucasians.

37 Fantasy sports scoring standard, informally : ROTO

Rotisserie League Baseball (“Roto”) is a version of fantasy baseball that uses a particular scoring system that was popularized by a group of journalists. The apparently strange name for the league is a reference to the New York restaurant La Rôtisserie Française, where the founders met to first play the game.

44 Cambridge or Oxford, to a Londoner : UNI

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The exact date of the school’s founding is uncertain, although teaching was recorded there as early as 1096. Back in the early 1200s, the authorities from the town of Oxford hanged two Oxford University scholars following the death of a woman. There followed a dispute between the townsfolk and the university that resulted in many academics leaving Oxford. Many ended up in Cambridge, leading to the founding of the University of Cambridge in 1209. The two universities have a similar status today, and are often referred to jointly as “Oxbridge”.

45 Big initials in theaters : AMC

The AMC theater chain used to go by the name American Multi-Cinema Inc., hence the initialism “AMC”.

46 Dip that might be made in a molcajete, informally : GUAC

Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

47 Poor review : PAN

To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

54 Classic Asimov collection : I, ROBOT

Science fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote a marvelous collection of short stories titled “I, Robot” that were first published together in 1950. In the stories, he makes repeated reference to the Three Laws of Robotics, which he introduced in the story “Runaround”, first published in 1942. The three laws are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

55 Part of a calendar septet, and a phonetic hint to this puzzle’s theme : TUESDAY

The days of the week are named for celestial bodies and gods

  • Sunday — Sun’s Day
  • Monday — Moon’s Day
  • Tuesday — Tiu’s day
  • Wednesday — Woden’s day
  • Thursday — Thor’s day
  • Friday — Freya’s day
  • Saturday — Saturn’s day

56 Florida’s “Sunshine City,” for short : ST PETE

St. Petersburg, Florida is often referred to as “St. Pete” by locals and visitors alike. Located on a peninsula lying between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete was founded in 1888 and named for Saint Petersburg in Russia. The co-founders were Russian immigrant Peter Demens and Detroit native John C. Williams. The pair tossed a coin for the privilege of naming the new city, and Demens won. Williams lost, but did get to name the city’s first hostelry “The Detroit Hotel”.

58 Philly basketball player : SIXER

The Philadelphia 76ers basketball team is one of the oldest franchises in the NBA. The “Sixers” were formed in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals. The team moved to Philadelphia in 1963, and the name 76er was chosen in a fan contest, a name that honors the men who fought for the country’s independence in 1776.

Down

1 Bully in “Back to the Future” : BIFF

Biff Tannen (and variants) is the bully character in the “Back to Future” trilogy of movies. He is played by Thomas F. Wilson.

2 Home for the artist Edvard Munch : OSLO

Edvard Munch was a Norwegian expressionist, and most famous for his painting “The Scream”, painted in 1893. What a wonderful work that is, a true representation of expressionism. The Munch Museum in Oslo is dedicated to his work and life. In 2004, two of Munch’s paintings, “The Scream” and “Madonna”, were stolen from the Munch Museum by armed robbers who subdued the museum guards. The paintings were missing for two years, but recovered in 2006.

3 Spicy ramen condiment : CHILI OIL

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

4 Monte ___ : CARLO

Monte Carlo is an administrative area in the Principality of Monaco that covers just under a quarter of a square mile. The area is known in particular as the location of the famous Monte Carlo Casino. “Monte Carlo” translates as “Mount Charles”, and was named in 1866 for Charles III of Monaco who was ruling the principality at the time.

5 John who sang “Bennie and the Jets” : ELTON

“Bennie and the Jets” was a big hit for Elton John in 1974 and was first released the year before on his famous “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album. “Benny” or “Bennie”, that is the question! The spelling “Bennie” was used on the label of the 1973 album’s vinyl disk, but “Benny” was used on the album’s track listing and on the sleeve of the single released the following year.

7 Lei man’s term? : ALOHA

The Hawaiian word “aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently, “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

8 Rank’s counterpart, on a chessboard : FILE

At the end of the 16th century, a group of soldiers marching in formation were divided into ranks and files. The ranks in the formation were the “horizontal” lines, and the files the “vertical” lines. The phrase “rank and file” was then used for “common soldiers”, and eventually “common people”.

9 New Jersey city named for its most famous former resident : EDISON

The township of Edison, New Jersey was established as Raritan Township in 1870, but changed its name to Edison in 1954. That change was in honor of inventor Thomas Edison who worked in the Menlo Park section of the township. The motto appearing on the town seal is “Let There be Light”.

12 ___ Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, formerly) : LEW

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s name at birth was Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor. Alcindor changed his name when he converted to Islam.

16 First phase of a home reno : DEMO

“Reno” is short for renovation.

25 Track-and-field athlete with a strong arm : SHOT-PUTTER

Shot put, or events like shot put, have been around for millennia, but the first events that truly resemble today’s track and field event had to come with the invention of the cannonball. Soldiers would “put” (throw) cannonballs as far as possible in attempts to outperform each other. Shot put has been in the modern Olympic Games since day-one, with American Robert Garrett winning the gold in the first games in 1896.

26 Pretentiously avant-garde : ARTY

Someone or something described as avant-garde is especially innovative. “Avant-garde” is French for “advance guard”.

28 Dweeb : DORK

I consider “dork” and “adorkable” to be pretty offensive slang. “Dork” originated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.

“Dweeb” is relatively recent American slang that came out of college life in the late sixties. Dweeb, squarepants, nerd; they’re all not-nice terms that mean the same thing, i.e. someone excessively studious and socially inept.

33 Jazz singer Jones : NORAH

The beguiling Norah Jones is the daughter of famed sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, and is one of my favorite singers. If you haven’t heard Jones singing her song “Come Away with Me”, you just haven’t lived …

34 Elvis hit that was the B-side of “Don’t Be Cruel” : HOUND DOG

The Elvis Presley classic “Hound Dog” was a big hit, but his wasn’t the first version of the song to make it to number one in the charts. Presley released “Hound Dog” in 1956, but Big Mama Thornton had brought the song to the top spot back in 1953.

36 Smallest Canadian province, for short : PEI

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is a maritime Canadian province. The island at the center of the province was named for Prince Edward, the fourth son of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria. PEI is the smallest Canadian province, both in terms of land area and population.

40 Once-popular big box stores : KMARTS

Kmart was once the third-largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. The company was founded by S. S. Kresge in 1899, with the first outlets known as S. S. Kresge stores. The first “Kmart” stores opened in 1962, with the “K” standing for “Kresge”. Kmart was famous for its promotions known as “blue light specials”, a program first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991. I remember being in a Kmart store soon after coming to live in the US. That evening an employee installed a light stand an aisle away from me, switched on a flashing blue light and there was some unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker system. I had no idea what was going on …

41 Ocean creatures with nearly triple the neural wiring of humans : OCTOPI

The term “octopus” comes from the Greek for “eight-footed”. The most common plural used is “octopuses”, although the Greek plural form “octopodes” is also quite correct. The plural “octopi” isn’t really correct as the inference is that “octopus” is like a second-declension Latin noun, which it isn’t. That said, dictionaries are now citing “octopi” as an acceptable plural. Language does evolve, even though it drives me crazy …

43 Rapper whose name sounds like a beverage : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be tired of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

46 Thousand-dollar bill, slangily : G-NOTE

“G”, “G-note”, “K” and “thou” are slang terms used for a thousand dollars.

50 Mountain goat : IBEX

“Ibex” is a common name for various species of mountain goat. “Ibex” is a Latin name that was used for wild goats found in the Alps and Apennines in Europe.

53 Parts of the “Mona Lisa” that seem to follow you around : EYES

Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece that we know in English as the “Mona Lisa” is called “La Gioconda” in Italian, the language of the artist. It’s also known as “La Joconde” by the Government of France which owns the painting and displays it in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The title comes from the name of the subject, almost certainly Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Giocondo was a wealthy silk merchant in Florence who commissioned the painting for the couple’s new home to celebrate the birth of their second son.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lawn game played with a ball known as a pallino : BOCCE
6 Thin snack : WAFER
11 Formal words of commitment : I SHALL
13 Omitted, as a syllable : ELIDED
15 Toyed (with) : FLIRTED
17 Neighborhood in lower Manhattan : NOLITA
18 Exhibited heliotropism, as a flower : FOLLOWED THE SUN
20 Plus-or-minus one? : ION
21 Joe’s co-host on “Morning Joe” : MIKA
22 Part of a Tolkien army : ORC
23 Big fuss : ADO
25 What gives a gin fizz its fizz : SODA
26 Novelist Brontë : ANNE
27 Prepared for an oral exam? : SAID “AH”
30 Construction beam : I-BAR
32 Abolitionist who wrote “Twelve Years a Slave” : SOLOMON NORTHUP
37 Fantasy sports scoring standard, informally : ROTO
38 Bygone phrase for “gone by” : OF YORE
39 “Enough! I get it!” : OK! OK!
42 Overly proper : PRIM
44 Cambridge or Oxford, to a Londoner : UNI
45 Big initials in theaters : AMC
46 Dip that might be made in a molcajete, informally : GUAC
47 Poor review : PAN
49 Went uneaten, as some groceries : SAT IN THE FRIDGE
54 Classic Asimov collection : I, ROBOT
55 Part of a calendar septet, and a phonetic hint to this puzzle’s theme : TUESDAY
56 Florida’s “Sunshine City,” for short : ST PETE
57 Futile : NO HOPE
58 Philly basketball player : SIXER
59 Leafs (through) : PAGES

Down

1 Bully in “Back to the Future” : BIFF
2 Home for the artist Edvard Munch : OSLO
3 Spicy ramen condiment : CHILI OIL
4 Monte ___ : CARLO
5 John who sang “Bennie and the Jets” : ELTON
6 Exploded : WENT KABOOM
7 Lei man’s term? : ALOHA
8 Rank’s counterpart, on a chessboard : FILE
9 New Jersey city named for its most famous former resident : EDISON
10 Come back : RETURN
12 ___ Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, formerly) : LEW
14 Ballet or ballroom, e.g. : DANCE
16 First phase of a home reno : DEMO
19 Finished off : DID IN
23 Word after kick or bad : -ASS
24 “The Way,” in Chinese Pinyin : DAO
25 Track-and-field athlete with a strong arm : SHOT-PUTTER
26 Pretentiously avant-garde : ARTY
28 Dweeb : DORK
29 Te ___ (“I love you,” in Spanish) : AMO
31 Yap from a lap? : ARF!
33 Jazz singer Jones : NORAH
34 Elvis hit that was the B-side of “Don’t Be Cruel” : HOUND DOG
35 Caterer’s container : URN
36 Smallest Canadian province, for short : PEI
39 Stop in a desert : OASIS
40 Once-popular big box stores : KMARTS
41 Ocean creatures with nearly triple the neural wiring of humans : OCTOPI
43 Rapper whose name sounds like a beverage : ICE-T
46 Thousand-dollar bill, slangily : G-NOTE
47 Before surgery, informally : PRE-OP
48 Writer/podcaster Harris : AISHA
50 Mountain goat : IBEX
51 A good time : FUN
52 Be wide-open : GAPE
53 Parts of the “Mona Lisa” that seem to follow you around : EYES

5 thoughts on “0109-24 NY Times Crossword 9 Jan 24, Tuesday”

    1. Each of the theme answers contains two abbreviations referring to days of the week, so you’re seeing them “two by two’, “two at a time”, “by twos”. Kind of a stretch, but it makes some sense, I guess … 🙂.

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