0126-24 NY Times Crossword 26 Jan 24, Friday

Constructed by: Sarah Sinclair & Rafael Musa
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 10m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Record label for Pink, SZA and H.E.R. : RCA

“P!nk” is the stage name of American singer Alecia Beth Moore. I know so little about “modern” music, but I do like the P!nk song “Just Give Me a Reason” …

“SZA” is the stage name of American singer Solána Imani Rowe.

Gabriella Wilson is a singer/songwriter who uses the stage name H.E.R. (pronounced “Her”), which is an acronym standing for “Having Everything Revealed”.

4 The “handsaw” in Hamlet’s “I know a hawk from a handsaw” : HERON

The full title of William Shakespeare’s play that we tend to call “Hamlet” is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. It is the most performed of all Shakespeare’s plays and it is also his longest, the only one of his works comprising over 4,000 lines. That’s about a 4-hour sitting in a theater …

9 Song words preceding “his kiss” : IT’S IN …

“The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” dates back to 1963 when it was written by Rudy Clark. The song was rejected by most singers to whom it was offered including the big “girl band” of the day, the Shirelles. It was first recorded by Merry Clayton, but it took a second recording by Betty Everett to hit the charts. Over in England, the Searchers had some success with the song in 1964, and then the Hollies, Swinging Blue Jeans, Helen Shapiro, Lulu and Sandie Shaw all had a go. Finally, along comes Cher in 1990 and records her version for the 1990 film “Mermaids”, and again it’s a flop. Cher’s version was re-released in the UK in 1991 and it just took off. It stayed at number one for 5 weeks. The public is so fickle …

14 They’re often caving, but not spelunking : PUSHOVERS

“Spelunking” is an American term describing recreational caving, although the word has Latin roots (“spelunca” is the Latin for “cave”). The term originated in the 1940s in New England when it was adopted by a group of men who explored caves in the area.

19 Show of Force? : STAR WARS

The Force is a metaphysical power much cited in all of the “Star Wars” movies. We may even hear someone in real life say “May the Force be with you”. Fans of the movie franchise even celebrate May 4th every year as Star Wars Day, using the pun “May the 4th be with you”!

23 Rutabaga, for one : TUBER

The names of veggies cause me grief sometimes. What’s called a turnip here in the US, we call a swede back in Ireland. An Irishman’s turnip is a rutabaga over here. Thank goodness a potato is a potato, or I’d just give up altogether …

29 Canine protector : ENAMEL

Tooth enamel covers the crowns of our teeth. It is the hardest substance in the human body. It is composed of 96% crystalline calcium phosphate.

32 Stage of metamorphosis : PUPA

A pupa is a stage in the life of some insects. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago. Pupae can look like little dolls, hence the name. “Pupa” is the Latin for “doll”.

33 Syst. in which “Deaf Power” can be indicated by an open palm over one ear and the other hand forming a closed fist in the air : ASL

American Sign Language (ASL)

34 Couches : SETTEES

“Settee” is another word for “couch”. The term comes from the Old English “setl”, which was a long bench with a high back and arms.

38 Toni Morrison title : SULA

“Sula” is a 1973 novel by Toni Morrison. The title character is a young woman who returns to her hometown in Ohio. Sula’s return disrupts the community as she defies social norms.

41 Architectural finish : STUCCO

Stucco is a decorative coating that is applied to walls and ceilings. “Stucco” is the Italian name for the material, and a word that we imported into English.

47 Work through seven stages, say : GRIEVE

Seven? I thought it was five …

Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published a book called “On Death and Dying” in 1969. In this book she proposed a five-step model to describe the emotions experienced by patients after they are given a fatal diagnosis. That same model is often extended to describe the series of emotions experienced by survivors after losing a family member or intimate friend. In this context, the series is referred to as “the five stages of grief”.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

48 Like holographic Pokémon cards : RARE

“Pokémon” is the second-biggest video game franchise in the world, second only to the “Mario” franchise. “Pokémon” is a contraction of “Pocket Monsters”.

58 “The Bachelor” outing : GROUP DATE

“The Bachelor” is an American dating and relationship reality show that debuted in 2002. Its success resulted in several spin-offs including “The Bachelorette”, “Bachelor Pad”, “Bachelor in Paradise”, as well as spawning many international editions of the original “The Bachelor” format.

61 Rubik’s Cube, once : FAD

What was originally called the “Magic Cube” became better known as “Rubik’s Cube”, and was named for its inventor Ernő Rubik. Rubik’s Cube is the world’s biggest selling puzzle game, with over 350 million sold in just over 30 years.

Down

1 World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy, for short : RPGS

Role-playing game (RPG)

“Final Fantasy” is a series of fantasy role-playing video games that is much-respected in the gaming community. The first game was released back in 1987.

World of Warcraft is an online role-playing game (RPG). My son informs me that the game is not that great. Like I would know …

4 Starts off-key? : HOT-WIRES

To hot-wire a vehicle is to start it by bypassing the keyed ignition.

5 ___-les-Bains, spa town on Lake Geneva : EVIAN

Évian-les-Bains (or simply “Évian”) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. Personally, I can’t stand the distinctive taste of Évian water …

7 Some Minecraft blocks : ORES

Minecraft is a video game that was released in 2011. It is the most popular video game of all time, with well over 200 million units sold.

8 Org. that advises on ransomware risk mitigation : NSA

Ransomware is a piece of software used to extort money from computer users ranging from individuals to complete enterprises. The ransomware usually encrypts the victim’s data, and presents a message demanding a payment in exchange for the key needed to decrypt the data. One famous example is the WannaCry ransomware attack that was launched in May of 2017. Almost a quarter of a million computers were affected in over 150 countries. Actual ransom payments made by victims (to bitcoin accounts) amounted to over $130,000. The attackers have never been brought to justice.

10 Simple skating jump : TOE LOOP

A toe loop is a relatively simple jump in figure skating (not that I could do one!). In a toe loop, the skater uses the toe pick on the skate to lift off on a backward outside edge, landing on the same backward outside edge.

13 Many a Comic-Con attendee : NERD

San Diego’s Comic-Con was founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. Held over four days each summer, I hear it is the largest show in North America.

15 ___ Renaissance : HARLEM

“Harlem Renaissance” is the term used to describe a cultural movement in the 1920s that was known at the time as the “New Negro Movement”. The movement involved new cultural expression by African Americans that was centered mainly in urban areas in the northeast and midwest, and that was especially vibrant in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.

24 Pandemic health worker, say : UNSUNG HERO

A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease over a large area, such as a whole country or perhaps even the whole world. I wonder will we ever experience one …?

30 Some Best Buy offerings : LED TVS

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a specialized form of semiconductor that when switched on releases photons (light). LEDs were used in early digital watches, and are getting more and more popular even though their use in electronic equipment is fading away. LEDs are used as replacements for the much less-efficient tungsten light bulbs. I replaced all of my tungsten Xmas lights many years ago and saved a lot on my electricity bill.

36 High-value ones are called “unicorns” : START-UPS

In the world of finance, a unicorn is a privately-held startup company that has a value of over $1 billion. The derivative terms “decacorn” and “hectacorn” refer to companies with valuation of over $10 billion and $100 billion respectively. The use of the term “unicorn” reflects how unlikely such valuations are.

45 Bugles alternative : FRITOS

The Frito Corporation was started in 1932 by Elmer Doolin, basically in his mother’s kitchen. Doolin paid $100 for a corn chip recipe from a local restaurant and started producing Fritos at the rate of 10 pounds per day.

Bugles corn chips are fried in coconut oil, making them high in saturated fat relative to other fried snack foods. That’s not a good thing …

51 Bilingual girl of TV and film : DORA

“Dora the Explorer” is a cartoon series shown on Nickelodeon. Part of Dora’s remit is to introduce the show’s young viewers to some Spanish words and phrases. Dora’s constant companion is an anthropomorphic monkey named “Boots”, because he always wears red boots. She also hangs out with Isa, an iguana.

52 “Frozen” figure : OLAF

In the 2013 animated film “Frozen”, Olaf is a happy-go-lucky snowman who provides a lot of comic relief in the movie. He is voiced by actor and comedian Josh Gad.

53 Princess in “A Bug’s Life” : ATTA

“A Bug’s Life” is a 1998 animated feature film from Pixar. The storyline is based on the film “The Seven Samurai” and the fable of “The Ant and the Grasshopper”.

56 Many a humanitarian effort, in brief : NGO

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Record label for Pink, SZA and H.E.R. : RCA
4 The “handsaw” in Hamlet’s “I know a hawk from a handsaw” : HERON
9 Song words preceding “his kiss” : IT’S IN …
14 They’re often caving, but not spelunking : PUSHOVERS
16 Everybody’s opposite : NO ONE
17 “That’s genius!” : GREAT IDEA!
18 Put off : DEFER
19 Show of Force? : STAR WARS
20 Attacked in a snowball fight : PELTED
21 A popular nightclub might have one : LINE
22 Take risks : BE BOLD
23 Rutabaga, for one : TUBER
26 “It’s all over for us!” : WE’RE TOAST
29 Canine protector : ENAMEL
31 ___ system : NAV
32 Stage of metamorphosis : PUPA
33 Syst. in which “Deaf Power” can be indicated by an open palm over one ear and the other hand forming a closed fist in the air : ASL
34 Couches : SETTEES
37 Hound : NAG
38 Toni Morrison title : SULA
40 Andre Young a.k.a. Dr. ___ : DRE
41 Architectural finish : STUCCO
43 Foe-run land? : ENEMY TURF
46 Unnaturally white : ASHEN
47 Work through seven stages, say : GRIEVE
48 Like holographic Pokémon cards : RARE
50 Takes it easy : CHILLS
51 Passage that might be a mess after a rainstorm : DIRT ROAD
55 Kidney-related : RENAL
56 Exonerating words : NOT GUILTY
57 Stand and deliver? : ORATE
58 “The Bachelor” outing : GROUP DATE
59 Not natural, in a way : POSED
60 Havens : OASES
61 Rubik’s Cube, once : FAD

Down

1 World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy, for short : RPGS
2 Terse : CURT
3 Offshore : ASEA
4 Starts off-key? : HOT-WIRES
5 ___-les-Bains, spa town on Lake Geneva : EVIAN
6 Amended, as a map : REDREW
7 Some Minecraft blocks : ORES
8 Org. that advises on ransomware risk mitigation : NSA
9 Taking too much credit, say : IN DEBT
10 Simple skating jump : TOE LOOP
11 Release of a new product to a limited audience : SOFT LAUNCH
12 “This relationship has been a bit overwhelming” : I NEED SPACE
13 Many a Comic-Con attendee : NERD
15 ___ Renaissance : HARLEM
20 Vexes : PEEVES
22 Skara ___, Scottish site of Europe’s most complete Neolithic village : BRAE
23 Ride : TEASE
24 Pandemic health worker, say : UNSUNG HERO
25 Ones whose careers have turning points? : BALLERINAS
27 “The door’s open!” : ENTER!
28 Attach : TAG ON
30 Some Best Buy offerings : LED TVS
35 “Fair point” : TRUE
36 High-value ones are called “unicorns” : START-UPS
39 “Has the meeting already begun?” : AM I LATE?
42 Account recovery need : USER ID
44 Gave a hoot : YELLED
45 Bugles alternative : FRITOS
49 Lock horns : ARGUE
50 Cut down to size, maybe : CROP
51 Bilingual girl of TV and film : DORA
52 “Frozen” figure : OLAF
53 Princess in “A Bug’s Life” : ATTA
54 Not natural, in a way : DYED
56 Many a humanitarian effort, in brief : NGO

7 thoughts on “0126-24 NY Times Crossword 26 Jan 24, Friday”

  1. 14:13, no errors. At the end, I paused for some time over “HERON”, which seemed to fit, wondering what in heck a heron has to do with a handsaw. I finally went with it and then trundled dutifully off to Google for an explanation. I’d summarize here, but the full explanation is a tad long. (Basically, it’s all the fault of an Englishman named Bill who wrote a bunch of stuff and indulged in some subtle wordplay. I guess I should have paid more attention in my high school literature classes, huh? … 🙂)

  2. 17:22, no errors. Same as @DuncanR. Sweet solve after Thursday’s debacle. Almost 8 minutes faster than my Friday average. I’ll probably pay for it tomorrow.

  3. 25:08 with one mindless error. Took me a long time to get started. This was very difficult for me until it wasn’t.

    I first learned the word “spelunking” from a “Gilligan’s Island” episode.

    I think Bill is too harsh towards EVIAN water. I happen to like it..although I seldom pay for water of any kind. I’ve been drinking tap water or filtered tap water my entire life.

    Regarding the coconut oil in Bugles – The new paradigm is that coconut oil is now considered one of the oils that fights inflammation rather than promotes it. Therefore, some are recommending it again. Remember when they banned coconut oil in movie theater popcorn (circa 1990)? What’s “good for us” has changed about 700 times in my lifetime, but our bodies haven’t changed at all. Go figure.

    Good puzzle, but there were no beer clues which should always be included in a Friday puzzle.

    Best –

  4. 26:08, no errors. Wasn’t going to comment further, but after reading the interesting earlier comments:

    5D: Always find it amusing watching people lecture the world on the use of plastics and the waste of energy by importing things available locally. While sitting at a dais drinking water shipped halfway around the world in little plastic bottles.

    Agree with Jeff’s observation regarding coconut oil. I recall the saga of eggs. Creatures have been eating eggs for as long as creatures have been laying eggs. In the early 1900’s scientists discovered proteins and amino acids, abundant in eggs, and declared eggs to be ‘Nature’s perfect food’. Then came the discovery of cholesterol, also abundant in eggs. The mantra then became ‘Don’t eat eggs, but if you must, limit them to one egg a week. Then came the discovery of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ cholesterol. Eggs are now back on the good list.

  5. DNF. HERON got me.
    Had PUSH–RS, GREATIDEA, STAR–RS and –RON..

    couldn’t finish…

    A sitting for four hours of HAMLET reminds me of my daughter’s dance recitals…. 4 hours!! No air conditioning! I was good dad dam-it!

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