0129-24 NY Times Crossword 29 Jan 24, Monday

Constructed by: Garrett Chalfin & Andrew Kingsley
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Palindromes

Once we drop the first and last letters of the themed answers, they become PALINDROMES:

  • 36A What the answers to the starred clues all are when their first and last letters are removed : PALINDROMES
  • 16A *Amorous cartoon skunk : PEPE LE PEW
  • 29A *Impartial court proceeding guaranteed by the Constitution : FAIR TRIAL
  • 43A *”Just a sec!” : ONE MOMENT!
  • 60A *Short-lived store event : FLASH SALE
  • 11D *Platter used to carry glassware : BAR TRAY
  • 40D *Repository of genetic material : DNA BANK

Bill’s time: 5m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Completely enthralled : RAPT

To enthrall is to enchant. An obsolete meaning of the term is “to enslave, to hold as a thrall”. “Thrall” is an old word meaning “serf, slave”. So, to enthrall someone is to make them a slave to one’s charm. Quaint …

5 Cry at the end of the workweek : TGIF!

“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF)

9 Police dept. alerts : APBS

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

13 Purple smoothie fruit : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

16 *Amorous cartoon skunk : PEPE LE PEW

Pepé Le Pew is a cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. He is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe accidentally painted down her back.

18 Towel material : TERRY

Terry cloth is a fabric designed to absorb lots of liquid. The fabric has relatively large loops of thread that improve the absorption properties. The larger the loop, the more thread, the better the absorption.

19 Pioneering journalist ___ B. Wells : IDA

Ida B. Wells was an African-American journalist and leader of the civil rights movement. She published a pamphlet in 1892 called “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases”, which publicized the horrors of lynching of African Americans by white mobs in the South.

22 Home project inits. : DIY

Back in Ireland, we don’t have “hardware stores” as such, but rather “DIY centres” (and that’s the spelling of “centres”). “DIY” is an initialism standing for “do-it-yourself”.

23 Boxing ruling, for short : TKO

Technical knockout (TKO)

36 What the answers to the starred clues all are when their first and last letters are removed : PALINDROMES

The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

  • Able was I ere I saw Elba
  • A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
  • Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite terms is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

41 Phillipa of “Hamilton” : SOO

Phillipa Soo is an actress and singer who is perhaps best known for portraying Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, the title character’s wife in the original Broadway production of “Hamilton”.

50 Source of hardwood : OAK

The oak was named the official National Tree of the US in 2004. It is also the national tree of many countries around the world, including England, France, Germany, Jordan, Poland, Serbia and Wales.

52 Musical set in Oz, with “The” : … WIZ

“The Wiz”, the 1974 musical, was written by Charlie Smalls and is an African-American adaptation of Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The film version of the stage show was released in 1978, starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. I haven’t seen it, though. “The Wizard of Oz” scares me, as the flying monkeys creep me out. There, I’ve admitted it in public …

57 Numbers game : KENO

The name of the game keno has French or Latin roots, with the French “quine” being a term describing five winning numbers, and the Latin “quini” meaning “five each”. The game originated in China and was introduced into the West by Chinese immigrants who were working on the first Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.

59 Zsa Zsa or Eva of old Hollywood : GABOR

Zsa Zsa Gabor was a Hungarian-American actress, born in Budapest as Sári Gábor (the older sister of the actress Eva). Zsa Zsa Gabor was married a whopping nine times, including a 5-year stint with Conrad Hilton and another 5 years with the actor George Sanders. One of Gabor’s famous quips was that she was always a good housekeeper, as after every divorce she kept the house!

Eva Gabor was the youngest of the Gabor sisters, all three of whom were celebrated Hollywood actresses and socialites (her siblings were Zsa-Zsa and Magda). One of Eva’s claims to fame is the unwitting promotion of the game called “Twister”, the sales of which were languishing in 1966. In an appearance on “The Tonight Show” she got on all fours and played the game with Johnny Carson. Sales took off immediately, and Twister became a huge hit.

Down

3 Orange smoothie fruit : PAPAYA

The papaya (also “papaw”) tropical fruit is native to Mexico and South America. When cultivating papaya trees, only female plants are used. Female plants produce just one, high-quality fruit per tree. Male plants produce several fruit per tree, but they are very poor quality.

5 Bounce one’s booty on the dance floor : TWERK

Twerking is a dancing move in which someone (usually a woman) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.

10 Summer meteor shower : PERSEIDS

The two most famous meteor showers are the Perseids and Leonids. The Perseid meteor shower is most visible around August 12th each year, and the Leonid meteor shower is most notable around November 17th. The Perseids appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus, and the Leonids from the constellation Leo (hence the names “Perseids” and “Leonids”).

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body traveling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

17 “___ Weapon” (buddy cop film) : LETHAL

The “Lethal Weapon” series of films features Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the lead roles as Sergeants Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. All four films in the series were directed by Richard Donner.

21 Sauron’s realm in “The Lord of the Rings” : MORDOR

Mordor is a fictional land in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. It is a place of great danger, but also home to the volcano Mount Doom. Mount. Mount Doom is the only place where the One Ring can be destroyed, and so it is the destination of the Fellowship of the Ring in their quest to save Middle-earth.

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”, Sauron is the actual “Lord of the Rings”. Sauron was the Dark Lord Morgoth’s trusted lieutenant.

26 Gore and Green, for two : ALS

Al Gore was born in Washington DC, and is the son of Al Gore, Sr., then a US Representative for the state of Tennessee. After deferring his military service in order to attend Harvard, the younger Gore became eligible for the draft on graduation. Many of his classmates found ways of avoiding the draft, but Gore decided to serve and even took the “tougher” option of joining the army as an enlisted man. Actor Tommy Lee Jones shared a house with Gore in college and says that his buddy told him that even if he could find a way around the draft, someone with less options than him would have to go in his place and that was just wrong.

Al Green is a gospel and soul music singer. He was born in Arkansas, where he started out as a gospel singer and moved into R&B. In 1974, Green was assaulted by a girlfriend who burned him badly on much of his body by pouring boiling grits over him (and then she committed suicide). The incident changed Green’s life and he turned to the church, becoming a pastor in Memphis in 1976. He continued to record music, but never really enjoyed the same success that he had in the early seventies with hits like “Let’s Stay Together” and “I’m Still In Love With You”.

38 Bread at a seder : MATZOH

Matzo is an unleavened flatbread used in Jewish cuisine, and which plays a central role in the Seder ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover.

39 Winning tic-tac-toe line : O-O-O

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

56 ___ Patch Kids (gummy candy) : SOUR

57 Bauhaus artist Paul : KLEE

Artist Paul Klee was born in Switzerland, but studied art in Munich in Germany. We can see many of Klee’s works in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. If you get to Bern in Switzerland, even more of them can be seen at the Zentrum Paul Klee that was opened in 2005. Klee’s most celebrated work is his pointillist painting from 1932 called “Ad Parnassum”, which is owned by the Kunstmuseum, also located in Bern.

The literal translation to the term “Bauhaus” is “House of Building”. It was a school (i.e. education establishment) that operated from 1919 to 1933. It became famous for its approach to design across many disciplines, everything from art to typography.

59 Dog tag wearers, in brief : GIS

The identification tags worn by soldiers are often called “dog tags”, simply because they do resemble tags worn by dogs. US military personnel are required to wear dog tags when in the field. Each soldier wears either two tags or a special tag that breaks easily into two identical pieces. The idea is that if a soldier is killed, then one half can be removed for notification and the remaining half stays with the body. Each tag contains basics such as name and ID number, medical information like blood type, and possibly a religious preference.

60 First president to appear on television, familiarly : FDR

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the only child of Sara Delano and James Roosevelt Sr. The Delano family history in America goes back to the pilgrim Philippe de Lannoy, an immigrant of Flemish descent who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The family name “de Lannoy” was anglicized here in the US, to “Delano”. Franklin was to marry Eleanor Roosevelt, and apparently the relationship between Sara and her daughter-in-law was very “strained”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Completely enthralled : RAPT
5 Cry at the end of the workweek : TGIF!
9 Police dept. alerts : APBS
13 Purple smoothie fruit : ACAI
14 Used a loom : WOVE
15 “Don’t ___ the small stuff” : SWEAT
16 *Amorous cartoon skunk : PEPE LE PEW
18 Towel material : TERRY
19 Pioneering journalist ___ B. Wells : IDA
20 Cupid’s Greek counterpart : EROS
21 Central position : MIDST
22 Home project inits. : DIY
23 Boxing ruling, for short : TKO
24 [I’m cracking up as I type this!] : [LOL!]
25 Historic period : ERA
27 Secret supply : STASH
29 *Impartial court proceeding guaranteed by the Constitution : FAIR TRIAL
32 Rocket launch site : PAD
34 Family guy : DAD
35 Ice cream brand : EDY’S
36 What the answers to the starred clues all are when their first and last letters are removed : PALINDROMES
39 Poetic tributes : ODES
41 Phillipa of “Hamilton” : SOO
42 “Gnarly!” : RAD!
43 *”Just a sec!” : ONE MOMENT!
46 Their are too in this clue : TYPOS
50 Source of hardwood : OAK
51 Bud : PAL
52 Musical set in Oz, with “The” : … WIZ
54 Regret : RUE
55 Relating to the bottom layer : BASAL
57 Numbers game : KENO
58 And so on: Abbr. : ETC
59 Zsa Zsa or Eva of old Hollywood : GABOR
60 *Short-lived store event : FLASH SALE
62 Two-way, as doors : IN/OUT
63 Hockey feint : DEKE
64 Something people trip on : ACID
65 Hershey toffee bar : SKOR
66 Take five : REST
67 “What fun!” : WHEE!

Down

1 Dangerous (and thrilling!) part of a river, to canoeists : RAPIDS
2 Nailed the exam : ACED IT
3 Orange smoothie fruit : PAPAYA
4 50-50, e.g. : TIE
5 Bounce one’s booty on the dance floor : TWERK
6 Disappear like magic : GO POOF
7 St. ___ (skin care brand) : IVES
8 Hardly any : FEW
9 Wonderstruck : AWED
10 Summer meteor shower : PERSEIDS
11 *Platter used to carry glassware : BAR TRAY
12 Pig’s place : STY
15 It helps a clown stand tall : STILT
17 “___ Weapon” (buddy cop film) : LETHAL
21 Sauron’s realm in “The Lord of the Rings” : MORDOR
24 “A ___ ought to have a good memory”: Quintilian : LIAR
26 Gore and Green, for two : ALS
28 Involuntary muscle contraction : SPASM
30 Bonus : ADD-ON
31 Thin, as a voice : REEDY
33 Dreary : DISMAL
36 Game that involves covering one’s eyes : PEEKABOO
37 Christmas : NOEL
38 Bread at a seder : MATZOH
39 Winning tic-tac-toe line : O-O-O
40 *Repository of genetic material : DNA BANK
44 Images that give the illusion of movement : OP ART
45 Fine-tunes : TWEAKS
47 What ministers do : PREACH
48 Extend beyond : OUTLIE
49 Withdraw formally : SECEDE
53 Map enlargement : INSET
56 ___ Patch Kids (gummy candy) : SOUR
57 Bauhaus artist Paul : KLEE
59 Dog tag wearers, in brief : GIS
60 First president to appear on television, familiarly : FDR
61 Lumberjack’s tool : SAW

5 thoughts on “0129-24 NY Times Crossword 29 Jan 24, Monday”

  1. 7:22. One error. ADD iN/SOi rather than ADD ON/SOO. Oh well, what do I know? Very impressive theme construction.

    Best part of this puzzle is with the clue “Used a loom” and the answer WOVE, I now have a better understanding of how the name Fruit of the Loom underwear came about…

    Best –

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