0120-24 NY Times Crossword 20 Jan 24, Saturday

Constructed by: Caitlin Reid & Matthew Stock
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Gardener’s item that breaks down a lot : COMPOST BIN

Composting is the process of decomposing organic matter to make the soil conditioner known as “compost”. The term “compost” ultimately comes from the Latin “com” (together) and “ponere” (to place). Compost is best made by “putting together” green waste that is rich in nitrogen, with brown waste that is rich in carbon, all in the presence of water and air.

11 Any member of the order Chiroptera : BAT

Bats are the only mammals that are capable of sustained flight. There are many, many different kinds of bats, and indeed they make up about 20% of all mammalian species.

15 Mélange : HASH

“Mélange” is the French word for “mixture”.

16 “America’s Got Talent” precursor : STAR SEARCH

“Star Search” is a TV show hosted by Ed McMahon that ran from 1983 to 1995. It was an audition show and an opportunity for performers in many genres of entertainment to get some exposure. Included in the list of “Star Search” competitors who later made it into the big time are:

  • Adam Sandler
  • Beyoncé
  • Brad Garrett
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Drew Carey
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Rosie O’Donnell
  • Sharon Stone
  • Usher

18 Actress Blanchett : CATE

Cate Blanchett is a great actress from Australia, and a winner of an Academy Award for playing Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator”. Winning for that role made Blanchett the first person to win an Academy Award for playing an actor (Hepburn) who had also won an Oscar. Now that is trivial information …

19 Subject for a museum curator : ART HISTORY

The term “curator” is Latin and applies to a manager, guardian or overseer. In English, the original curators were the guardians and overseers of minors and those with mental disease. Today, we use the term “curator” particularly for someone in charge of a museum, zoo or other exhibition.

31 Beverage with an oxymoronic name : FIREWATER

Firewater is any strong alcoholic liquor.

33 Stentorian : LOUD

Stentor was a figure in Greek mythology, a Greek herald during the Trojan War. He was noted for having a powerful voice, so today we describe someone with such a characteristic as “stentorian”. The original Stentor supposedly died after being defeated by Hermes in a shouting contest.

42 Sweet ___ : PEA

The sweet pea is a fragrant, flowering climbing plant in the legume family, hence the name.

51 Paul who was People’s 2021 Sexiest Man Alive : RUDD

I think Paul Rudd is a very talented actor. He has played a variety of roles in movies but is probably best known on television for playing Phoebe Buffay’s boyfriend, and then husband, on the sitcom “Friends”.

Down

1 Fortune 100 company whose name is the last two syllables of the city near where it was founded : CISCO

Cisco is a company that I really admire (in terms of innovation and management). Headquartered in San Jose, California, Cisco develops and sells products and services in the communications sector. The name “Cisco” was taken from the name of the city San Francisco.

3 Exams for some science majors : MCATS

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

5 Rap pioneers, slangily : OGS

Original gangsta (OG)

8 Line along the Embarcadero, in brief : BART

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a commuter rail system serving the San Francisco Bay Area.

11 Nonkosher Wendy’s offering : BACONATOR

The Wendy’s chain of fast food restaurants was founded by Dave Thomas, in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio. Dave named his establishment after his fourth child, Melinda Lou “Wendy” Thomas.

12 Initialism for a pleasant tingling on the scalp or back of the neck : ASMR

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR ) is a tingling sensation that some people experience in response to certain stimuli, such as soft sounds, gentle whispering, or slow movements. It is often described as a feeling of relaxation and well-being. Although there is no consensus on what causes ASMR, one suggestion is that it may be related to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. There are a wide variety of ASMR videos available, including videos of people whispering, tapping on objects, or performing other gentle actions.

15 View with disdain : HATE-WATCH

“To hate-watch” a particular TV show is to watch it even though you actually hate its content.

28 Montana neighbor: Abbr. : ALB

Alberta (Alta.) is a big province, one about the size of Texas. It is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Princess Louise also donated her name to Lake Louise, the large glacial lake in the province, now within the bounds of Banff National Park.

30 Greek who originated the expression “Leave no stone unturned” : EURIPIDES

Euripides was a celebrated playwright of ancient Greece and someone renowned for his tragedies. Euripides was one of the three great writers of tragedy of classical Athens, alongside Aeschylus and Sophocles.

The phrase “to leave no stone unturned” has been used at least since the mid-16th century to mean “to make every possible effort”, although the literal use of the phrase apparently dates back to Ancient Greek playwright Euripides. The older reference is to the legend of a Theban seeking a long lost treasure supposedly buried in the ground, and advice from the Oracle of Delphi to “leave no stone unturned” in his quest.

44 Nautical direction : AVAST

“Avast” is a nautical term used to tell someone to stop or desist from what they are doing. The word comes from the Dutch “hou vast” meaning “hold fast”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Gardener’s item that breaks down a lot : COMPOST BIN
11 Any member of the order Chiroptera : BAT
14 Plant-based protein brand : INCOGMEATO
15 Mélange : HASH
16 “America’s Got Talent” precursor : STAR SEARCH
17 Top : ACME
18 Actress Blanchett : CATE
19 Subject for a museum curator : ART HISTORY
21 Photo finish? : -OPS
22 “Goooooooooool!,” e.g. : CRY
23 Not now! : THEN!
24 Points the finger at : IDS
25 “Good goin’!” : ATTA WAY!
28 Plans a getaway for, perhaps : ABETS
31 Beverage with an oxymoronic name : FIREWATER
33 Stentorian : LOUD
34 Something that may be hard to drink? : CIDER
35 ___ bag : TOTE
36 Lacking bells and whistles : BARE-BONES
38 Like the smell of burned rubber : ACRID
39 Got ready : RIPENED
40 “It’s a secret” : SHH
41 Signature items : PENS
42 Sweet ___ : PEA
43 Tried to take a seat? : RAN
46 Dead-tree edition : PRINT ISSUE
50 It’s on the house : EAVE
51 Paul who was People’s 2021 Sexiest Man Alive : RUDD
52 Bad drawing? : SHORT STRAW
54 Brewery stock : ALES
55 “Frankly …” : TO BE HONEST …
56 “You got it” : YES
57 Extra bits and pieces : SPARE PARTS

Down

1 Fortune 100 company whose name is the last two syllables of the city near where it was founded : CISCO
2 Readily available : ON TAP
3 Exams for some science majors : MCATS
4 One might be cleansed with a strip : PORE
5 Rap pioneers, slangily : OGS
6 Colors outside the lines? : SMEARS
7 Visibly emotional : TEARY
8 Line along the Embarcadero, in brief : BART
9 Yearning : ITCH
10 It’s not often seen on a diamond : NO-HITTER
11 Nonkosher Wendy’s offering : BACONATOR
12 Initialism for a pleasant tingling on the scalp or back of the neck : ASMR
13 “___ say …” : THEY
15 View with disdain : HATE-WATCH
20 Jazz trumpeter Woody : SHAW
22 Things that were once commonly stored in towers : CDS
24 “Well, maybe …” : IT DEPENDS …
25 Served as a wingman : AIDED
26 Number of Reyes Magos, in Spanish tradition : TRES
27 Legendary creature : YETI
28 Montana neighbor: Abbr. : ALB
29 Onetime source of toothbrush bristles : BOAR
30 Greek who originated the expression “Leave no stone unturned” : EURIPIDES
31 Like some hair : FINE
32 Like the hair of 1-2% of the world’s population : RED
34 Is made up : CONSISTS
37 Bowed : BENT
38 “That’s it!” : AHA!
40 Be steamed : SEETHE
42 More golden, say : PURER
43 More golden, say : RARER
44 Nautical direction : AVAST
45 Cousins of sirens : NEWTS
46 Put your hands together, perhaps : PRAY
47 “I ___!” (shout of exultation) : RULE
48 See what’s in store? : SHOP
49 Buckwheat noodle : SOBA
50 ___ Marathon (annual mountain bike race that’s said to be “a volcanic challenge”) : ETNA
53 Saturate : SOP

8 thoughts on “0120-24 NY Times Crossword 20 Jan 24, Saturday”

  1. 30:31, took a while for me to accept “ASMR”, but had to trust the across clues. Initially had “attaboy” but then went to the non gender specific “attaway” …

  2. 25:45, no errors. At the end, I stared at INCO_MEATO and O_S for some time before deciding that “G” was the only letter that would work at the intersection, even though I’d never heard of either one. I guess the first speaks for itself in a punny kind of way and Google tells me that the second stands for “Old Gangstas”. Good puzzle … 🙂.

  3. 21:51. Upper right was last to fall. Had HA and finally thought of HASH for melange and was able to finish.

    Big problem not knowing what an ARTHI-STOne was. One of my most embarrassing moments in a while. Also had ATTAboy before ATTAWAY.

    ASMR. Huh? Never heard of it, and I don’t THINK I’ve ever experienced it – at least not how it’s described. What am I missing?

    Best –

    1. Hi, Anonymous — If you’re the same Anonymous who posted a similar opinion yesterday, you seem to have an ongoing problem with Bill’s commentary.
      The thing is, he’s not explaining. He’s discussing. If you want an explanation, you can always google it.

  4. Had couple of errors.

    Could not get ONCOGMEATO??? whatever that is.

    Didn’t know OGS.

    guessed ONS. So that left me with ONCONMEATO???

    I’ll take it for a saturday.

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