0126-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Jan 16, Tuesday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today’s New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Sam Ezersky
THEME: David Bowie Lyrics First … the first word in each of today’s themed answers give us a famous lyric from the great David Bowie (RIP), i.e. GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM:

35A. With 43-Across, singer of the lyric formed by the first parts of 20-, 24-, 40-, 51- and 58-Across : DAVID
43A. See 35-Across : BOWIE

20A. Results of some unexciting at-bats : GROUNDOUTS
24A. Micromanager, say : CONTROL FREAK
40A. As you like it, in a recipe : TO TASTE
51A. Snafu : MAJOR PROBLEM
58A. High jinks : TOMFOOLERY

56. Starting key of 35-/43-Across’s “Starman” : B-FLAT

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 15s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. “Keep ___ the D.L.” (“Don’t tell anyone”) : IT ON
Something described as “on the down-low” is “secret”. The phrase “on the DL” can mean “on the down-low”. It can also mean “on the disabled list” in sports.

9. Jockey’s attire : SILKS
The colorful silk clothing made from silk that is worn by a jockey is known as “racing silks”. The specific colors and pattern of racing silks are registered to particular owner or trainer.

15. Marathon runner’s stat : PACE
The marathon is run over 26 miles and 385 yards, and of course commemorates the legendary messenger-run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens. The actual distance run today was decided in 1921, and matches the length of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway.

16. Burger King or Costco : CHAIN
The Burger King chain of fast food restaurants was established as Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida in 1953. The chain operates all around the world under the Burger King name except in Australia, where you have to visit Hungry Jack’s.

17. “Little” Dickens girl : NELL
“The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens tells the story of 14-year-old “Little Nell” Trent and her grandfather who live in the Old Curiosity Shop in London. If you visit London, there actually is an “Old Curiosity Shop”, in Westminster. It is an establishment selling odds and ends, old curiosities, and is believed to have been the inspiration for the shop in the Dickens story. The building has been around since the 1500s, but the name “The Old Curiosity Shop” was added after the book was published.

18. Subject of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” : ORCA
“Blackfish” is a 2013 documentary film that examines the dangers of keeping orca in captivity.”Star” of the movie is a killer whale (orca) named Tilikum who was responsible in whole or in part for the deaths of three people. Tilikum was captured in 1983 and has been a “guest” of SeaWorld since 1992. Most recently, Tilikum killed a 40-year old trainer named Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

19. Temporary skin decorator : HENNA
Henna has been used for centuries as a dye, not just for leather and wool, but also for the hair and skin. In modern days, henna is also used for temporary tattoos.

20. Results of some unexciting at-bats : GROUNDOUTS
In baseball, a “groundout” occurs when a batter hits a ground ball to the infield and is put out at first base.

23. Rock band that gets fans charged up? : AC/DC
The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in Australia. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

Anyone with a laptop with an external power supply has an AC/DC converter, that big “block” in the power cord. It converts the AC current from a wall socket into the DC current that is used by the laptop.

31. Pond dweller that can regenerate its eyes : NEWT
The amphibians known as newts have the remarkable ability to regenerate much of their bodies when required. They can grow new limbs, eyes, hearts, intestines and even spinal cords.

35. With 43-Across, singer of the lyric formed by the first parts of 20-, 24-, 40-, 51- and 58-Across : DAVID
43. See 35-Across : BOWIE
In early 1969, the struggling David Bowie recorded a promotional film in an attempt to reach a wider audience. The film called “Love You Till Tuesday” featured seven of Bowie’s songs in what amounted to an extended music video, with one of the tracks being “Space Oddity”. Somebody smart put two and two together later in the year and decided that a fresh version of “Space Oddity” should be released, to coincide with the Apollo moon landings. Sure enough, the BBC snagged the track for their coverage of the landings and gave Bowie huge audiences. And the song still gets an awful lot of air time on the small screen. Famously, Bowie turned down the honor of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000. The British government tried again in 2003, offering a knighthood, but Bowie stuck to his guns and refused that honor too. Bowie did however accept the French title of Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1999.

Major Tom is the central character in David Bowie’s fabulous 1969 hit “Space Oddity”. Bowie brought Major Tom back for two more songs, “Ashes to Ashes” in 1980 and “Hallo Spaceboy” in 1995.

39. N.Y.C. subway overseer : MTA
The MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut). MTA might also refer to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is known as the Metro and sometimes the MTA.

42. Forest animal : ELK
The elk (also known as the wapiti) is the one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …

45. Paul who sang “Eso Beso” : ANKA
“Eso Beso” is Spanish for “That Kiss”, and is the name of a hit song recorded by Canadian-born singer Paul Anka.

46. German refusal : NEIN
“Nein” is the German for “no”, and “ja” translates as “yes”.

47. Leader who said “Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible” : MAO
Mao Zedong (also “Mao Tse-tung”) was born on December 16, 1893 in the Hunan Province of China. As Mao was the son of a peasant farmer, his prospects for education were limited. Indeed he left school at age 13 to work on the family farm but did eventually get to secondary school in Changsha, the provincial capital. In the years following, Mao continued his education in Beijing and turned down an opportunity to study in France.

49. DVD alternative : BLU-RAY
A CD player reads the information on the disc using a laser beam. The beam is produced by what’s called a laser diode, a device similar to a light-emitting diode (LED) except that a laser beam is emitted. That laser beam is usually red in CD and DVD players. Blu-ray players are so called as they use blue lasers.

51. Snafu : MAJOR PROBLEM
SNAFU is an acronym standing for Situation Normal: All Fouled Up (well, that’s the “polite” version!). As you might imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

57. No longer anonymous, in brief : IDED
Identified (IDed)

58. High jinks : TOMFOOLERY
In Middle English, in the middle of the 14th century, a mentally deficient man might be called a Thom Foole, sort of a nickname. We retain the name today in our word “tomfoolery” meaning “clowning around”.

Our expression “high jinks”, meaning a prank or a frolic, was once the name of an 18th-century Scottish drinking game, would you believe? Roll a bad score on a dice and you had to take a drink or do something undignified.

64. Compton’s state, to hip-hoppers : CALI
Compton is a city located just south of downtown Los Angeles.

65. The duck in “Peter and the Wolf” : OBOE
As is the case for many I am sure, Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” was my introduction to the world of classical music, as it was played for us at school many, many moons ago. Prokofiev wrote the piece as a commissioned work for the Central Children’s Theater in Moscow, in 1936. He loved the idea of the project, and wrote the story and music in just four days!

67. Country between Sudan and Niger : CHAD
The landlocked African country called Chad takes its name from the second largest wetland on the continent, which is known as Lake Chad.

68. ___ pants (earth-toned apparel) : CAMO
Our term “camouflage” evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern applied to the hulls of ships.

70. ___ ‘n Honey (granola bar option) : OATS
The name “Granola” (and “Granula”) were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

Down
1. Positive Chinese principle : YANG
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

2. Competitor of Lyft : UBER
Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft. Personally, I love the service and have had good only experiences …

4. Caribbean island whose capital is Castries : ST LUCIA
The Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia has a population of less than 200,000. Remarkably, Saint Lucia has produced two Nobel Laureates: economist Arthur Lewis and poet Derek Walcott.

5. Product that once bore a click wheel : IPOD NANO
The iPod Nano is the successor to the iPod Mini and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There have been seven versions of the Nano to date and the current Nano as well as playing tunes is an FM player, records voice memos, has a pedometer and can connect with external devices (like a heart monitor, maybe) using Bluetooth technology.

6. Holder of The Hermit, The Devil and The Magician : TAROT
Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future.

9. Colgate, but not Crest: Abbr. : SCH
The Colgate company, of toothpaste fame, was started by Englishman William Colgate in 1806 as a soap and candle factory in New York City. As the Colgate family prospered, they spent decades providing financial support to Madison University in Hamilton, New York. In recognition of this support, the school was renamed in 1890 to Colgate University.

Crest is a Procter and Gamble brand of toothpaste that was introduced in 1953.

13. Twinkies or Pringles : SNACK
The snack cakes called Twinkies have been around since 1930. They were created by a baker called James Dewar, who chose the name from a billboard advertising “Twinkle Toe Shoes”. The original filling in the cake was a banana cream, but this was swapped out as a result of rationing during WWII. The vanilla cream became so popular that the banana recipe was dropped completely.

Pringles snack chips were introduced in 1967 by Procter & Gamble and were first sold as “Pringles Newfangled Potato Chips”.

26. Meat often served with mint jelly : LAMB
Mint jelly is the traditional accompaniment for roast lamb in North America. Back in Ireland we serve mint sauce rather than jelly. Mint sauce is made from finely chopped spearmint leaves soaked in vinegar, with a little sugar added. I love mint sauce …

28. Action in go fish : DRAW
Go Fish a very simple card game, usually played by children.

32. Sched. figure : ETA
Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

37. Heroine princess of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” : ILIA
“Idomeneo” is a Mozart opera first performed in 1781, when Mozart was just 25 years old.

38. Big Apple fashion inits. : DKNY
Donna Karan is an American fashion designer, creator of the Donna Karan New York (DKNY) clothing label. Karan was very much raised in the fashion industry, as her mother was a model and her stepfather a tailor.

41. Papers covered with dirt? : TABLOIDS
“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, applied to newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

44. Antidiarrheal brand : IMODIUM
Imodium is a brand name for the medication loperamide that is used to treat diarrhea.

50. Shortest zodiac sign, lexically : LEO
Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

A lexicon was originally just a dictionary, but we tend nowadays to use the term more to mean a vocabulary that relates to some specific area of activity.

53. Easy-to-digest dessert : JELLO
If you like Jell-O, then you want to stop by LeRoy, New York where you can visit the only Jell-O museum in the world. While at the museum, you can walk along the Jell-O Brick Road …

54. Son of Madonna and Guy Ritchie : ROCCO
Guy Ritchie is an English screenwriter and movie director, best known for directing films like “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” (1998) and the two “Sherlock Holmes” films. Famously, Ritchie was married to the singer Madonna for several years. Ritchie and Madonna have two children together: Rocco born 2000, and David adopted in Malawi in 2006.

55. City NE of Lincoln : OMAHA
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

56. Starting key of 35-/43-Across’s “Starman” : B-FLAT
“Starman” is a fabulous song released by David Bowie in 1972, included on the famous album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.

59. Abba of Israel : EBAN
Abba Eban was an Israeli diplomat and politician, born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban in Cape Town, South Africa. While working at the United Nations after WWII, Eban changed his given name to “Abba”, the Hebrew word for “father”. He made this change as reportedly as he could see himself as the father of the nation of Israel.

60. “When in ___ …” : ROME
The proverb “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” probably dates back to the days of St. Augustine. St. Augustine wrote a letter around 390 AD in which he states:
When I go to Rome, I fast on Saturday, but here [Milan] I do not. Do you also follow the custom of whatever church you attend, if you do not want to give or receive scandal?

63. Mind reader’s skill, for short : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Hearty har-hars : YUKS
5. “Keep ___ the D.L.” (“Don’t tell anyone”) : IT ON
9. Jockey’s attire : SILKS
14. Slightly : A BIT
15. Marathon runner’s stat : PACE
16. Burger King or Costco : CHAIN
17. “Little” Dickens girl : NELL
18. Subject of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” : ORCA
19. Temporary skin decorator : HENNA
20. Results of some unexciting at-bats : GROUNDOUTS
23. Rock band that gets fans charged up? : AC/DC
24. Micromanager, say : CONTROL FREAK
26. “Well, aren’t you something!” : LA-DI-DA!
29. Celebratory cry : YAY!
30. Natural radiation? : AURA
31. Pond dweller that can regenerate its eyes : NEWT
35. With 43-Across, singer of the lyric formed by the first parts of 20-, 24-, 40-, 51- and 58-Across : DAVID
39. N.Y.C. subway overseer : MTA
40. As you like it, in a recipe : TO TASTE
42. Forest animal : ELK
43. See 35-Across : BOWIE
45. Paul who sang “Eso Beso” : ANKA
46. German refusal : NEIN
47. Leader who said “Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible” : MAO
49. DVD alternative : BLU-RAY
51. Snafu : MAJOR PROBLEM
57. No longer anonymous, in brief : IDED
58. High jinks : TOMFOOLERY
62. “Dead serious!” : NO LIE!
64. Compton’s state, to hip-hoppers : CALI
65. The duck in “Peter and the Wolf” : OBOE
66. It’s just below C level : D-PLUS
67. Country between Sudan and Niger : CHAD
68. ___ pants (earth-toned apparel) : CAMO
69. Really put one’s foot down : STOMP
70. ___ ‘n Honey (granola bar option) : OATS
71. Didn’t just guess : KNEW

Down
1. Positive Chinese principle : YANG
2. Competitor of Lyft : UBER
3. Drug bust quantity, casually : KILO
4. Caribbean island whose capital is Castries : ST LUCIA
5. Product that once bore a click wheel : IPOD NANO
6. Holder of The Hermit, The Devil and The Magician : TAROT
7. Befall : OCCUR
8. Quaint cousin of “Suh-weet!” : NEATO!
9. Colgate, but not Crest: Abbr. : SCH
10. “Yep, that’s clear” : I HEAR YA
11. Weapon held on horseback : LANCE
12. “Yes ‘n no” : KINDA
13. Twinkies or Pringles : SNACK
21. Silent assent : NOD
22. Like some winks : SLY
25. Lose vividness : FADE
26. Meat often served with mint jelly : LAMB
27. Prefix with complete : AUTO-
28. Action in go fish : DRAW
32. Sched. figure : ETA
33. Sickly-looking : WAN
34. “That’s bad!” : TSK!
36. Zig or zag : VEER
37. Heroine princess of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” : ILIA
38. Big Apple fashion inits. : DKNY
40. Rip : TEAR
41. Papers covered with dirt? : TABLOIDS
44. Antidiarrheal brand : IMODIUM
46. Key near the upper-right corner of a PC keyboard : NUM LOCK
48. Go (for) : OPT
50. Shortest zodiac sign, lexically : LEO
51. They may be blown by a magician : MINDS
52. Ratify : ADOPT
53. Easy-to-digest dessert : JELLO
54. Son of Madonna and Guy Ritchie : ROCCO
55. City NE of Lincoln : OMAHA
56. Starting key of 35-/43-Across’s “Starman” : B-FLAT
59. Abba of Israel : EBAN
60. “When in ___ …” : ROME
61. “That HURT!” : YEOW!
63. Mind reader’s skill, for short : ESP

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7 thoughts on “0126-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Jan 16, Tuesday”

  1. Got through it OK with no errors. Had to take it slow and methodical. This was tougher than the typical Tuesday. Knew very little about David Bowie. Don't know what all the fuss was about over his death. Millions of good but unknown people die every day and nobody cares.

  2. 11:48, no errors. For me, this one was a bit harder than an average Tuesday puzzle, with lots of references to my weakest area, which is music. Still, it was all doable. In the end, my only (educated) guess was the letter "C" at the intersection of ROCCO and CALI.

  3. I forgot to mention that I will soon be spending a week in London. I shall have to look for the Old Curosity Shop!

    Also, a (perhaps obvious) word about “guessing”: Even if you allow yourself to use reference works like Google (which I don’t), you would inevitably have to guess at some puzzle entries, but the guesses are based on a lifetime of exposure to various information streams. In a recent crossword, I found the clue “An old Turkish coin”, for which I had “ASPE_”, intersecting “Photographer Cartier-Bresson”, for which I had “HEN_I”. I know essentially no Turkish, having seen only a few words of it here and there, so the first clue was unhelpful, but a minimal acquaintance with French told me that the second clue suggested a French first name. Going through the alphabet (HENAI, HENBI,…), the only logical choice, with a high degree of probability, was “HENRI”, which I used. So I would say that ASPER was an outright guess (and correct), while HENRI was an educated guess (also correct). For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of doing crosswords in general (and the New York Times crosswords in particular) is how often, as guesses click into place to form an interlocking block, the probability that the whole is correct begins to greatly exceed the probabilities for any of the individual parts.

  4. 10:11, no errors. Excellent explanation @Dave.

    When I started doing these puzzles regularly, about 12 years ago, Google was one of my tools. As I gained experience, I eliminated the use of references while solving the puzzle. These days, part of the challenge is to solve the puzzles using only what's inside my head. I suspect this is true for many of the posters on this blog. If I don't finish, so be it, and I come here to learn what I didn't know.

    In many cases, the clue/answer link cannot be looked up. One can look up the singer of a song (45A), the originator of a quote (46A) or the subject of a movie (18A). However you just have to know that minds can be blown by a magician (51D) or 'TO TASTE' means as you like it, in a recipe; these can't really be looked up. In addition, setters often use clues which are deliberately misleading. Looking for the noun form of a word which is almost always used a verb, for example. These challenges are what sets the Times crosswords apart from the others, and what keeps me coming back day after day.

  5. No. No references while solving. I'll look only if I've conceded that I didn't finish the puzzle. As others mention, you either have to guess completely, or rely on crossfills to increase your odds.

    The worst situation is where a crossing of words has both out of your ken, and you really just have to pick one and hope you get it right.

    9:23, no errors, and much respect for the late Ziggy Stardust.

  6. I set my own rules for working crosswords and one of those rules is no looking at any reference of any kind until I have finished the puzzle (or given up in some cases). I either have it in my brain or I do not. Although I do not time myself I take personal pride in doing the puzzle with no erasures or at least a minimum of erasures. I did time myself for a while but stopped when I decided that it was ruining the enjoyment of the puzzle for me. Honesty with oneself is the most important thing.

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