1213-18 NY Times Crossword 13 Dec 18, Thursday

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Constructed by: John Westwig
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): X-Word

[Note that my grid is incorrectly numbered in the bottom half. That’s because I solved online, and not with paper.]

There’s a big letter X defined in the center of the grid by black squares. That “X” is used as part of four long answers that start or finish at the center of the grid:

  • 34A. Who said “If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary” : MALCOLM X
  • 37A. Accept the sudden loss of, as an opportunity : KISS GOODBYE
  • 8D. Publishing debut of 1851, with “The” : NEW YORK TIMES
  • 39D. Representative sample of a larger group : CROSS-SECTION

Bill’s time: 15m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Vessel for frying food : SAUTE PAN

“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

15. Word with power or zero : ABSOLUTE …

Absolute zero is a temperature that can be reached theoretically by removing all the “energy” of the test vehicle that is being “frozen”. This temperature is designated as 0 degrees on the Kelvin scale, equivalent to -273.15 degrees centigrade. Scientists try to get as close to absolute zero as possible because matter has weird and wonderful properties at such cold temperatures, such as superconductivity and superfluidity.

19. Lovelace of computing fame : ADA

Ada Lovelace’s real name and title was Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. She was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the poet. Lovelace was fascinated by mathematics and wrote about the work done by Charles Babbage in building his groundbreaking mechanical computer. In some of her notes, she proposed an algorithm for Babbage’s machine to compute Bernoulli numbers. This algorithm is recognized by many as the world’s first computer program and so Lovelace is sometimes called the first “computer programmer”. There is a computer language called “Ada” that was named in her honor. The Ada language was developed from 1977 to 1983 for the US Department of Defense.

20. Some West Point grads : ARMY MEN

West Point is a military reservation in New York State, located north of New York City. West Point was first occupied by the Continental Army way back in 1778, making it the longest, continually-occupied military post in the country. Cadet training has taken place at the garrison since 1794, although Congress funding for a US Military Academy (USMA) didn’t start until 1802. The first female cadets were admitted to West Point in 1976, and today about 15% of all new cadets are women.

22. Non-PC? : MAC

Macintosh (also “Mac”) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Mac was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

26. Genuflect, e.g. : BEND

Our verb “to genuflect” means “to bend the knee, in worship”. The term comes to us via French from the Latin “genu” meaning “knee” and “flectere” meaning “to bend”.

27. Indian state known for its tea : ASSAM

Assam is a state in the very northeast of India, and just south of the Himalayas. Assam is noted for its tea as well as its silk.

31. Two, to Teo : DOS

“Uno, dos, tres” (one, two, three in Spanish)

33. N.F.L. star who was a Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2017 : JJ WATT

J.J. Watt is an American football defensive end who was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2011. Watt was the first player in the NFL to record two 20+ sack seasons in a career. J.J.’s younger brother is Derek Watt, a fullback for the San Diego Chargers.

34. Who said “If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary” : MALCOLM X

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. He told his own life story in the incredibly successful book “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, on which he collaborated with author Alex Haley. Malcolm Little changed his name when he joined the Nation of Islam, choosing “X” to represent the African family name that he could never know.

41. Flute, e.g. : GLASS

The narrow bowl of a champagne flute is preferred over the wide bowl of a champagne coupe as the smaller surface area of the wine helps retain its carbonation.

42. One doing cat scans? : VET

A veterinarian (vet) is a professional who treat animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

49. Mother-of-pearl : NACRE

Nacre is the strong iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells, and it’s also what makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of its body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite that penetrates the shell, and that’s how a pearl is formed.

52. “Here Come the Warm Jets” musician : ENO

“Here Come the Warm Jets” is a 1974 album by Brian Eno. In fact, it was Eno’s first solo album.

55. Lead-in to X, Y or Z : GEN-

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

The Millennial Generation are sometimes referred to as “Generation Y” (Gen-Y). Millennials were born after the “Gen-Xers”, from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

Definitions vary, but it seems that the term “Generation Z” is reserved for the children of “Generation X”, and for the generations that follows the “Millennials” (Generation Y).

58. Classic declaration in Gotham City : I’M BATMAN

“Gotham” had been a nickname for New York City long before it was picked up by comic books as a setting for Batman tales. The term was coined by Washington Irving in a periodical that he published in 1807. Irving was lampooning New York politics and culture, and lifted the name from the village of Gotham in Nottinghamshire, England. The original Gotham was, according to folklore, inhabited by fools.

Down

1. Name that comes from Arabic for “desert” : SAHARA

The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic. The Sahara is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa. That’s almost the size of the United States.

5. Italy’s third-largest island, after Sicily and Sardinia : ELBA

I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on the island of Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is also overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day and we won’t be going back again …

In the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, the “boot” is the mainland of Italy, and the the ball being kicked by the boot is the island of Sicily.

Sardinia is an autonomous region of Italy, an island in the Mediterranean off the west coast of the country. It lies to the south of the French island of Corsica. Sardinia is the second largest island in the whole of the Mediterranean Sea (Sicily is the largest).

7. At the original speed, in music : A TEMPO

“A tempo” is a Italian for “in time”. The phrase is used on a musical score to instruct a performer to return to the main tempo of the piece, perhaps after slowing down or speeding up.

8. Publishing debut of 1851, with “The” : NEW YORK TIMES

“The New York Times” (NYT) has been published since 1851, and is sometimes referred to as “the Gray Lady”. These days a viable alternative to buying the paper is to read the news online. NYTimes.com is the most popular online newspaper website in the country.

9. Lead-in to T, A or X : MODEL …

The Ford Model T was the first really affordable car that was offered for sale, and it was produced from 1908 to 1927. It was the Model T that ushered in the era of assembly line production, which greatly cut down the cost of manufacture. The Model T’s engine was designed to run on petrol, kerosene or ethanol. Ford stated in 1909 that “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”. In actual fact, from 1908 through 1913, the Model T wasn’t available in black, and only grey, green, blue and red. The “black only” strategy applied from 1914.

The Ford Model A was the original car produced by the Ford Motor Company. The first production run lasted from 1903 to 1904, when it was replaced by the Model C. The name “Model A” was brought back in 1927 and used for the successor to the Model T.

The Model X is an all-electric crossover SUV made by Tesla Motors in Fremont, California. The Model X is built on Tesla’s Model S sedan platform.

13. What Gandhi once likened to an ocean : HUMANITY

Mohandas Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader in India in the first part of the 20th century, as the country sought independence from Britain. He was also referred to as “Mahatma”, meaning “great soul”. His remarkable philosophy of nonviolence and living a modest lifestyle was a great inspiration to the Indian people. India (and Pakistan) was granted independence in 1947. Tragically, Gandhi was assassinated the very next year.

30. Oslo setting : FJORD

The Norwegian capital of Oslo is located at the northern end of a fjord known as Oslofjord. The fjord is home to 40 islands that lie within the city’s limits. Oslo also has 343 lakes.

33. LinkedIn listing : JOB

LinkedIn is a website used by professionals wishing to network with other professionals. From what I’ve heard, LinkedIn is mainly used by folks looking for a job, and other folks looking for suitable candidates to hire.

43. ___ l’oeil (illusion) : TROMPE

“Trompe l’oeil” is a technique in art that creates the optical illusion that a drawn object exists in three dimensions. “Trompe-l’oeil” is French for “deceive the eye”.

45. One-named 1950s TV sex symbol : DAGMAR

“Dagmar” was the stage name of American actress Virginia Egnor. Dagmar did a lot of sketch comedy on television during the fifties on the likes of “Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater” and “The Bob Hope Show”. She even recorded a novelty song called “Mama Will Bark” with Frank Sinatra. Dagmar was a busty young lady and as a result she lent her name to the chrome bulges on the front bumpers of some cars in the fifties.

53. Like Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard : BARE

The English nursery rhyme “Old Mother Hubbard” was first printed in 1805:

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

59. Spa offering, briefly : TLC

Tender loving care (TLC)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Vessel for frying food : SAUTE PAN
9. Variety of green tea : MATCHA
15. Word with power or zero : ABSOLUTE …
16. Having win after win : ON A RUN
17. Beer you make yourself : HOME BREW
18. Get cell service? : DO TIME
19. Lovelace of computing fame : ADA
20. Some West Point grads : ARMY MEN
22. Non-PC? : MAC
23. Is an agent for, informally : REPS
25. One end of a kite string : SPOOL
26. Genuflect, e.g. : BEND
27. Indian state known for its tea : ASSAM
29. The moon, e.g. : ORB
30. Book leaf : FOLIO
31. Two, to Teo : DOS
33. N.F.L. star who was a Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2017 : JJ WATT
34. Who said “If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary” : MALCOLM X
37. Accept the sudden loss of, as an opportunity : KISS GOODBYE
38. Children’s author Beverly : CLEARY
40. “Duuuude!” : BRO!
41. Flute, e.g. : GLASS
42. One doing cat scans? : VET
44. “Finished!” : DID IT!
48. Lift : RIDE
49. Mother-of-pearl : NACRE
51. Zippo : NADA
52. “Here Come the Warm Jets” musician : ENO
53. Butts : BOTTOMS
55. Lead-in to X, Y or Z : GEN-
56. Lose fizz : GO FLAT
58. Classic declaration in Gotham City : I’M BATMAN
60. Burning : ON FIRE
61. Not closing before 10 or 11 p.m. : OPEN LATE
62. Back from a vacation, say : RESTED
63. Acceptance from fellow brainiacs, in slang : NERD CRED

Down

1. Name that comes from Arabic for “desert” : SAHARA
2. Dwellings : ABODES
3. Many graphics on election night : US MAPS
4. Use it for kicks : TOE
5. Italy’s third-largest island, after Sicily and Sardinia : ELBA
6. Engine sounds : PURRS
7. At the original speed, in music : A TEMPO
8. Publishing debut of 1851, with “The” : NEW YORK TIMES
9. Lead-in to T, A or X : MODEL …
10. In short order : ANON
11. Bit of ink : TAT
12. What might have a large collection of prints : CRIME LAB
13. What Gandhi once likened to an ocean : HUMANITY
14. Opening of many a speech : ANECDOTE
21. Swarm : MOB
24. Pathetic one : SAD CASE
26. College in Brunswick, Me. : BOWDOIN
28. Ties up, in a way : MOORS
30. Oslo setting : FJORD
32. Furtive : SLY
33. LinkedIn listing : JOB
34. Mixed martial arts champion Conor ___ : MCGREGOR
35. Multipurpose : ALL-IN-ONE
36. First ones to bat : LEAD-OFFS
39. Representative sample of a larger group : CROSS-SECTION
42. Acid holder : VAT
43. ___ l’oeil (illusion) : TROMPE
45. One-named 1950s TV sex symbol : DAGMAR
46. Imagine : IDEATE
47. Back from a vacation, say : TANNED
49. “Gotcha” : NOTED
50. Old flame? : EMBER
53. Like Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard : BARE
54. Smooth : SAND
57. Burning : LIT
59. Spa offering, briefly : TLC