0111-24 NY Times Crossword 11 Jan 24, Thursday

Constructed by: Damon Gulczynski
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Y = X

Themed clues have been “edited”, so we need to replace the letter Y with the letter X for them to match the corresponding answers. Inventive …

  • 69A Basic linear expression with a hint to answering the five starred clues in this puzzle : Y=X
  • 17A *Cause of irritated eyes : BAD BREAKUP (Cause of irritated exes)
  • 26A *Many lovers, e.g. : CAT PEOPLE (Manx lovers)
  • 38A *Mayim of entertainment : THE SHOW MUST GO ON (Maxim of entertainment)
  • 49A *Way down in the nether regions : BRAZILIAN (Wax down in the nether regions)
  • 59A *Book of Mary : DAS KAPITAL (Book of Marx)

Bill’s time: 11m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 ___ Henie, 10-time world champion skater : SONJA

Sonja Henie was a World and Olympic Champion figure skater from Oslo, Norway who competed in the days when “amateur” sports stars were not paid. Henie made up for her lack of income from competing by developing a career in Hollywood. She was one of the highest-paid film stars at the height of her movie career.

20 One out of 100: Abbr. : SEN

The US Senate comprises 100 senators, with each of the fifty states being represented by two popularly elected senators. US senators were appointed by their state legislators from 1798 through 1913, until the Seventeenth Amendment called for popular elections.

21 Inits. of two schools in the Missouri Valley Conference : ISU

Indiana State University (ISU) and Illinois State University (ISU).

26 *Many lovers, e.g. : CAT PEOPLE (Manx lovers)

I’ve seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They’re found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name “Manx”) that is located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have just a stub of a tail, and hence are called “stubbins” by the locals.

35 Company where workers may sleep on the job : 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

44 Card game similar to Crazy Eights : UNO

The card game called Crazy Eights is named for the former military designation “Section 8”. Section 8 referred to a category of discharge from the US military, reserved for personnel deemed mentally unfit for duty.

49 *Way down in the nether regions : BRAZILIAN (Wax down in the nether regions)

Brazilian waxing is the removal of all hair in the pelvic area. The practice took off (pun) relatively recently with the introduction of thong bikinis, especially for the beaches of Brazil. Brazilian waxing was popularized here in the US by J. Sisters International Salon in Manhattan, New York that opened in 1987. The “J Sisters” were seven real sisters from Brazil, named Jocely, Jonice, Joyce, Janea, Jussara, Juracy and Judseia Padilha.

56 D-backs, on scoreboards : ARI

The Arizona Diamondbacks (also “D-backs”) joined Major League Baseball’s National League in 1998. By winning the World Series in 2001, they became the fastest expansion team to do so in Major League history.

58 Part of a Florida flock : IBIS

The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!

59 *Book of Mary : DAS KAPITAL (Book of Marx)

“Das Kapital” (entitled “Capital” in English versions) is a book about political economy written by Karl Marx, first published in 1867. The book is in effect an analysis of capitalism, and proffers the opinion that capitalism relies on the exploitation of workers. Marx concludes that the profits from capitalist concerns come from the underpaying of labor.

64 “Whip It” band : DEVO

Devo is a band from Akron, Ohio formed back in 1973. The band’s biggest hit is “Whip It” released in 1980. Devo have a gimmick: the wearing of red, terraced plastic hats that are referred to as “energy domes”. Why? I have no idea …

Down

2 Subject of a landmark 2012 Supreme Court decision, for short : ACA

The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

4 Reindeer in “Frozen” : SVEN

In the 2013 animated film “Frozen”, Kristoff is a 21-year old iceman who is accompanied by Sven, his reindeer. Kristoff is voiced by Jonathan Groff.

5 Italian time unit : ORA

In Italian, an “ora” (hour) is 1/24 of “un giorno” (a day).

6 Finnish tech giant : NOKIA

I do enjoy classical guitar music, but there isn’t a huge choice on CD. There is one very special piece called “Gran Vals” by Francisco Tárrega, written in 1902. This piece has a unique reputation as it contains a phrase that was once the most listened-to piece of music in the whole world. Just a few bars into the work one can hear the celebrated Nokia ringtone!

7 Medieval competition : JOUST

“Jousting” and “tilting” are synonyms describing the medieval competition in which two horsemen yielding blunted lances attempt to unseat each other. Such an event has been referred to as “jousting” since the 1300s. At some point, the path of the two charging horsemen was separated by a cloth barrier known as a tilt (“tilt” meant “cloth covering”). The term “tilting” was applied to the sport in the 1500s, although by then the cloth barrier had been upgraded to a wooden fence.

9 One of three for a grand : PIANO LEG

A grand piano is one with the frame supported horizontally on three legs. An upright piano has the frame and strings running vertically. Grand pianos come in many sizes. For example, the length of a concert grand is about 9 feet, a parlor grand is about 7 feet, and a baby grand is about 5 feet.

14 “A Doll’s House” playwright : IBSEN

“A Doll’s House” is probably the most famous play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play deals with the feminist awakening of the lead character, Nora Helmer. “A Doll’s House” is sometimes referred to as the “first true feminist play”.

18 Former “S.N.L.” comic Chris : REDD

Actor and stand-up comedian Chris Redd joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 2017, after a stint with the Second City Touring Company based in Chicago.

23 Third in a group of eight : EARTH

There are several mnemonics used to remember the planets and the order in which they are found in the Solar System. One example is “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets”, but that doesn’t really work since Pluto was relegated from “planethood” in 2006. The oft-quoted mnemonic for the eight planets is “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos”. Given the relegation of Pluto, I kind of like “Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nature”.

24 Japanese beer : ASAHI

Asahi is a Japanese beer, and the name of the brewery that produces it. “Asahi” is Japanese for “morning sun”. Asahi introduced a “dry beer” in 1987, igniting a craze that rocketed the brewery to the number one spot in terms of beer production in Japan, with Sapporo close behind.

25 Like an accomplishment worthy of Guinness : SUPERLATIVE

“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.

27 Steinbeck title starter : EAST …
[67A Steinbeck title ender : … EDEN]

John Steinbeck considered his 1952 novel “East of Eden” to be his magnum opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron Trask, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, after Cain murdered his brother Abel, he fled to the “Land of Nod”. Nod was located “east of Eden” (from which John Steinbeck got the title for his celebrated novel “East of Eden”).

33 Non-___ (label on some organic foods) : GMO

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is one with genetic material that has been altered by genetic engineering. One might argue that the oldest form of genetic engineering is selective breeding, the use of animals or plants with desired traits for the creation of the next generation.

34 “September 1, 1939” poet : AUDEN

“September 1, 1939” is a poem by W. H. Auden, first published in October of 1939. The poem was “inspired” by the outbreak of WWII, which started on September 1, 1939 with the German invasion of Poland.

37 Battery part : ANODE

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

41 Instrument notably featured in George Michael’s 1984 hit “Careless Whisper” : SAX

The 1984 song “Careless Whisper” was the first single issued by George Michael as a solo artist, although he was still performing with Wham! at the time.

48 “Hallelujah!” singers : CHOIR

The interjection “hallelujah!” means “praise ye the Lord!” The term comes from the Hebrew “halălūyāh” meaning “praise ye Yahweh”.

51 Full of cargo : LADEN

Cargo is freight carried by some vehicle. The term “cargo” comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.

53 Mohammed’s third and youngest wife : AISHA

Aisha (also”Ayesha”) was one of the wives of the prophet Muhammad. She was the third of Muhammad’s eleven to thirteen wives, and was said to be his favorite.

57 City sometimes called “The Buckle of the Bible Belt” : WACO

The Texas city of Waco is named for the Wichita people known as the “Waco”, who occupied the area for thousands of years.

63 Supervillain Luthor : LEX

Lex Luthor is the nemesis of Superman in comics. Luthor has been portrayed in a number of guises in the comic world as well in movies and on the small screen. For example, he appeared as Atom Man in the 1950 film series “Atom Man vs. Superman”, and was played by actor Lyle Talbot, opposite Kirk Alyn’s Superman.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Talk, talk, talk : JAW
4 ___ Henie, 10-time world champion skater : SONJA
9 Desk jarful : PENS
13 Kind of palm : ACAI
15 Engine sound : VROOM!
16 “You sure about that?” : IS IT?
17 *Cause of irritated eyes : BAD BREAKUP (Cause of irritated exes)
19 Feeling the effects of a tough workout, say : ACHY
20 One out of 100: Abbr. : SEN
21 Inits. of two schools in the Missouri Valley Conference : ISU
22 Catch dead to rights : NAIL
23 Alleviated : EASED
26 *Many lovers, e.g. : CAT PEOPLE (Manx lovers)
28 How something can be torn : ASUNDER
30 Hoppy medium? : ALE
31 Top 40 genre : RAP
32 Ginormous : MEGA
35 Company where workers may sleep on the job : SERTA
38 *Mayim of entertainment : THE SHOW MUST GO ON (Maxim of entertainment)
42 Office newbie : HIREE
43 Pop : SODA
44 Card game similar to Crazy Eights : UNO
45 Common name starter in 31-Across : LIL’
46 Drew forcibly (from) : EXACTED
49 *Way down in the nether regions : BRAZILIAN (Wax down in the nether regions)
54 Word said while pointing : THERE
55 From memory only : ROTE
56 D-backs, on scoreboards : ARI
57 Try to see? : WOO
58 Part of a Florida flock : IBIS
59 *Book of Mary : DAS KAPITAL (Book of Marx)
64 “Whip It” band : DEVO
65 Guiding principles : ETHIC
66 Flower girl? : ROSE
67 Steinbeck title ender : … EDEN
68 “Swell!” : NEATO!
69 Basic linear expression with a hint to answering the five starred clues in this puzzle : Y=X

Down

1 Quick blow : JAB
2 Subject of a landmark 2012 Supreme Court decision, for short : ACA
3 Crumpled mass : WAD
4 Reindeer in “Frozen” : SVEN
5 Italian time unit : ORA
6 Finnish tech giant : NOKIA
7 Medieval competition : JOUST
8 Boost : AMP UP
9 One of three for a grand : PIANO LEG
10 Good thing to map out before a risky endeavor : ESCAPE ROUTE
11 Nothing: Lat. : NIHIL
12 Editor’s concern : STYLE
14 “A Doll’s House” playwright : IBSEN
18 Former “S.N.L.” comic Chris : REDD
23 Third in a group of eight : EARTH
24 Japanese beer : ASAHI
25 Like an accomplishment worthy of Guinness : SUPERLATIVE
26 Groups of hands : CREWS
27 Steinbeck title starter : EAST …
29 Alternative genre : EMO
33 Non-___ (label on some organic foods) : GMO
34 “September 1, 1939” poet : AUDEN
36 Skin-care product : TONER
37 Battery part : ANODE
39 Eagerly takes advantage of : SEIZES ON
40 Lead-in to port or pad : HELI-
41 Instrument notably featured in George Michael’s 1984 hit “Careless Whisper” : SAX
47 On : ATOP
48 “Hallelujah!” singers : CHOIR
49 One joining a union? : BRIDE
50 Like 48-Down members, often : ROBED
51 Full of cargo : LADEN
52 Hopping mad : IRATE
53 Mohammed’s third and youngest wife : AISHA
57 City sometimes called “The Buckle of the Bible Belt” : WACO
60 Tool set : KIT
61 Mess (with) : TOY
62 How peers should be treated : AS = (as equals)
63 Supervillain Luthor : LEX

6 thoughts on “0111-24 NY Times Crossword 11 Jan 24, Thursday”

  1. 22:01, no errors. Did this way too early in the morning at the Cancun airport waiting for my flight back to Alaska. Got the y=x at the bottom but needed Bill’s explanation to make sense of it.

  2. 29:23 it went relatively quickly(for me)once I accepted the rebus for “Y equals X”, which in my case, I spelled out “equals”

  3. 15:31, no errors. I got all the theme entries from crosses and/or logical guesses. The “=” square was the last to go (and, like Duncan, I put in “equals”); before filling it, I checked all the theme clues and answers and finally understood the gimmick. Very clever … 😜.

  4. 16:28. Very similar to Dave’s experience. Someday I’ll learn to seek out the reveal on Thursdays….or maybe I never will. Got the theme but only after it was too late to help me. I was very confused until the end.

    Best –

  5. Got the theme in fine fashion.

    Messed up on STYLE and ACHY.
    Had STELE and ACHE…

    I’ll take it for a Thursday.

  6. Had difficulty because of the misleading clue for 69 across. The clue said it was a “basic linear expression “ but the answer turned out to be an equation instead. Had it said “equation” in the clue I think I would not have been so confused as I already had most of the starred answers before 69 across.

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