0323-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 Mar 2018, Friday

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Constructed by: Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Island nation with a cross on its flag : MALTA

The island state of Malta is relatively small (122 square miles), but its large number of inhabitants makes it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Malta’s strategic location has made it a prized possession for the conquering empires of the world. Most recently it was part of the British Empire and was an important fleet headquarters. Malta played a crucial role for the Allies during WWII as it was located very close to the Axis shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942, a prolonged attack by the Italians and Germans on the RAF and Royal Navy, and the people of Malta. When the siege was lifted, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta collectively in recognition of their heroism and devotion to the Allied cause. The George Cross can still be seen on the Maltese flag, even though Britain granted Malta independence in 1964.

9. Unit of energy: Abbr. : FT-LB

The foot-pound (ft-lb) is an imperial unit of work or energy. One foot-pound is the amount of work in applying a one pound-force over a distance of one foot.

16. ssorcA-41? : ROOM

“ssorcA-41” is “14-Across” written backwards. And, “ROOM” is “MOOR” (the answer to 14-Across) written backwards.

17. Edwin of 1960s-’70s R&B : STARR

The most famous recording of the song “War” was by Edwin Starr in 1970. It went to number one at the height of the anti-Vietnam War sentiment in the country, and became the song most associated with Starr. The song has also been recorded by the Temptations and Bruce Springsteen.

24. Part of the English translation of “Notre Dame” : OUR

“Notre Dame” is French for “Our Lady”.

25. Part of Act 4 of “Antony and Cleopatra” in which Antony attempts suicide : SCENE XIV

“Antony and Cleopatra” is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. It tells the story of the relationship between Mark Antony and Cleopatra after the death of Julius Caesar.

28. Islamic spirit : DJINN

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

32. Bollywood actress Mukerji : RANI

“Bollywood” is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay” (the former name of Mumbai), and “Hollywood”.

33. Scottish John : IAN

The name “John” translates into Scottish as “Ian”, into Russian as “Ivan”, into Italian as “Giovanni”, into Spanish as “Juan”, and into Irish as “Seán”.

34. Agricultural commune : KIBBUTZ

A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel. Kibbutzim were traditionally agriculture-based, but now are often centered around high-tech and other industrial enterprises. The first kibbutz was established in 1909 in Palestine under Ottoman rule. This kibbutz is called Degania, which now is in northern Israel.

37. How a package may arrive : COD

Cash on delivery (COD)

38. Lady in Arthurian legend : ENID

Enid is a Welsh name, from “einit” an old Welsh word meaning “purity”. Enid was the wife of Geraint, one of King Arthur’s knights. Enid is described as “the personification of spotless purity”.

40. One with a big mouth in Africa? : NILE

Depending on definition, the Nile is generally regarded as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for the peoples living along its length.

41. Corporate giant named for a mountain : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

54. One for whom a flash in the pan is a good thing : GOLD MINER

When prospectors pan for gold, they do so by mixing soil and water in a pan. Because gold is very dense, gravel and soil can be washed over the side of the pan leaving the heavy precious metal at the bottom. The gold has been “panned out”, and so we often use “pan out” figuratively to mean “turn out, succeed”.

59. Grey Goose competitor : SKYY

Skyy Vodka is produced in the US, although the operation is owned by the Campari Group headquartered in Italy. Skyy first hit the shelves in 1992 when it was created by an entrepreneur from San Francisco, California.

Grey Goose is a vodka that is produced in France. The beverage was developed especially for the American market using resources and expertise available in the French Cognac region.

60. 8-bit game console released in 1985 : NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to to 1995. The NES was the biggest selling gaming console of the era. Nintendo replaced the NES with Wii, which is also the biggest-selling game console in the world.

Down

2. Web developer? : ATTIC

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

3. Something a shepherd may have on : LEASH

The lovely German shepherd breed of dog isn’t one of the older breeds, and only dates back to 1899. German shepherds are the second-most popular breed in the US, after the Labrador retriever.

12. ___ bike : BMX

“BMX” stands for “Bicycle Motocross”. It’s the sport where folks on bicycles race around what is in effect a regular motocross track. Medals were awarded for BMX for the first time at the Beijing Olympics, with a Latvian winning for the men, and a Française winning for the women.

19. Jackie of “Rush Hour” : CHAN

Jackie Chan is an actor from Hong Kong who is noted for his action and martial arts films. When Chan was 17-years-old he featured as a stunt actor in Bruce Lee movies. He also starred in the 1982 Hong Kong action film “Dragon Lord” which includes a fight scene that required an amazing 2900 takes, a record in the movie industry.

21. Letters associated with WNYC and KQED : NPR

National Public Radio (now just called “NPR”) was established in 1970 after President Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The station’s first broadcast took place in April of 1971, and was coverage of the US Senate hearings on the Vietnam War. The intent of the act was to provide funding for radio and television broadcasting that wasn’t simply driven by profit. As a longtime fan of the state-funded BBC in the UK, I’d have to agree with that intent …

25. Shade of black : SABLE

Sables are small mammals about two feet long that are found right across northern Europe and northern Asia. The sable’s black pelt is highly prized in the fur trade. Sable is unique among furs in that it feels smooth no matter which direction it is stroked.

26. Mötley ___ : CRUE

Mötley Crüe is an American rock band, from Los Angeles. They’ve been around since 1981, co-founded by the famous drummer Tommy Lee. Tommy Lee is also known for his two celebrated marriages, the first with Heather Locklear and the second with Pamela Anderson. The name “Mötley Crüe” was chosen as someone once described the band members as a “motley looking crew”. The spelling was made to look a little more exotic, with the umlauts added over the “o” and “u” one day, as the band were drinking bottles of “Löwenbräu” beer!

27. “Livin’ La ___ Loca” : VIDA

“Livin’ la Vida Loca” is a 1999 single recorded by Ricky Martin, the title of which translates as “living the crazy life”.

31. End piece? : OBIT

“Obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”, originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

36. Crease smoothers? : ZAMBONIS

The first ice resurfacing machine was developed in 1949 by one Frank Zamboni. The machine works by simultaneously executing a number of tasks. First, the surface of the ice is scraped off by a sharp blade. Next the ice is “washed” with water sprayed from the front of the Zamboni, and that wash water is vacuumed back up and filtered to remove impurities. Water is then reapplied to the scraped ice by a wet towel dragging behind the machine, forming a new skating surface.

48. Where to get down from? : EIDER

Eiders are large sea ducks. Their down feathers are used to fill pillows and quilts, giving the name to the quilt called an “eiderdown”.

49. One of the Gandhis : RAJIV

Rajiv Gandhi was the oldest son of Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India who was assassinated. Rajiv took over the office of PM when his mother was killed in 1984. In the election that followed soon after the assassination, Rajiv Gandhi led his Congress Party to victory with the biggest margin in Indian history, capturing 411 seats out of 542, an incredible majority. He remained in power until he too was killed, by a suicide bomber while on the campaign trail in 1991.

51. Titular professor in a Nabokov novel : PNIN

“Pnin” is a novel written in English by Vladimir Nabokov, and published in 1957. The title character is Timofey Pnin, a Russian-born professor living in the US. “Pnin” raised some money for Nabokov, as it was published in installments in “The New Yorker” magazine. He needed the money while he worked hard to find someone to publish his more edgy novel, “Lolita”.

52. Rhyming prefix with novela : TELE-

A telenovela is a “television novel”, a form of programming that is very popular in Latin America. A telenovela is somewhat like a soap opera that has an end in sight, and that runs for less than a year. I like this quote from an executive at Telemundo:

A telenovela is all about a couple who wants to kiss and a scriptwriter who stands in their way for 150 episodes.

54. Gloomy one : GUS

The original “Gloomy Gus” was a pessimistic character in newspaper comics in the early 1900s, who was introduced to the public by illustrator Frederick Burr.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Island nation with a cross on its flag : MALTA
6. Series installments, for short : EPS
9. Unit of energy: Abbr. : FT-LB
13. Had, as food : ATE OF
14. Secure : MOOR
16. ssorcA-41? : ROOM
17. Edwin of 1960s-’70s R&B : STARR
18. Cop’s station in England : POLICE BOX
20. Sweet farewell : KISS ON THE CHEEK
22. Given to picking fights : CHIPPY
23. States of confusion : HAZES
24. Part of the English translation of “Notre Dame” : OUR
25. Part of Act 4 of “Antony and Cleopatra” in which Antony attempts suicide : SCENE XIV
28. Islamic spirit : DJINN
31. Things rested on, metaphorically : OARS
32. Bollywood actress Mukerji : RANI
33. Scottish John : IAN
34. Agricultural commune : KIBBUTZ
37. How a package may arrive : COD
38. Lady in Arthurian legend : ENID
40. One with a big mouth in Africa? : NILE
41. Corporate giant named for a mountain : AETNA
43. Make some definite plans : SET A DATE
45. “Interesting …” : HMM …
46. Spares, maybe : TIRES
47. Dishonest sort : FIBBER
50. Beauty lesson : MAKEUP TUTORIAL
54. One for whom a flash in the pan is a good thing : GOLD MINER
55. Title woman of a classic 1928 André Breton novel : NADJA
56. Ronald Reagan ___ Medical Center : UCLA
57. Where bills pile up : TILL
58. Trap until it gets warmer, say : ICE IN
59. Grey Goose competitor : SKYY
60. 8-bit game console released in 1985 : NES
61. Wait on : SERVE

Down

1. Hide : MASK
2. Web developer? : ATTIC
3. Something a shepherd may have on : LEASH
4. Twisting effect : TORSION
5. Alternative music subgenre : AFROPUNK
6. Like some tanks and promises : EMPTY
7. “Oh, baloney!” : POOH!
8. One and only : SOLE
9. Ice cream holder : FREEZER
10. Precisely : TO BE EXACT
11. Monitors : LOOKS IN ON
12. ___ bike : BMX
15. Superlative for a cake : RICHEST
19. Jackie of “Rush Hour” : CHAN
21. Letters associated with WNYC and KQED : NPR
25. Shade of black : SABLE
26. Mötley ___ : CRUE
27. “Livin’ La ___ Loca” : VIDA
28. Is mortified, so to speak : DIES
29. Transgender rights activist and best-selling author of “Redefining Realness” : JANET MOCK
30. At the outset : INITIALLY
31. End piece? : OBIT
35. Dressed up, maybe : IN A SUIT
36. Crease smoothers? : ZAMBONIS
39. Trying time : DARK DAY
42. Warmly welcome : EMBRACE
44. Judge : DEEM
45. Search engine result : HIT
47. Rolls up : FURLS
48. Where to get down from? : EIDER
49. One of the Gandhis : RAJIV
51. Titular professor in a Nabokov novel : PNIN
52. Rhyming prefix with novela : TELE-
53. “Stay in your ___” : LANE
54. Gloomy one : GUS

9 thoughts on “0323-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 Mar 2018, Friday”

  1. 19:37, no errors. I’m ashamed to say that, even after I got the answer through crosses, I thought the clue for 16A was some kind of misprint. Duh. A cool puzzle from another of the up-and-coming whiz kids … ?

  2. 39:19. Tough puzzle. Didn’t understand 16A ROOM at all until I came to the blog. When I got MAKE UP TUTORIAL, I thought it was some kind of play on words, but as it turns out it’s really a thing. FTLB for “energy”…I always think of it as a unit of work, but work is really just a specific type of energy transference so I’ll let it pass…

    @Bill
    Good luck this weekend at the ACPT!

    Best –

    1. Thanks, Jeff.

      I arrived here in Stamford, Connecticut after “Amtrak-ing” it across the country with my brother from Ireland, and then spending the week of Saint Paddy’s Day in Boston. To say that I am “under the weather” right now, is somewhat of an understatement. But, no excuses. Crossword puzzles await!

  3. 27:39 Didn’t have much trouble except in the upper left. Didn’t know the R&B singer and it just took me awhile to get everything else. I thought web developer was “coder” for several minutes and ATEOF sounds weird to me so it took a while to get. Overall I liked it.

  4. 31:38, 9 errors in the top left quadrant, plus PNIN/NES at the bottom center. This was a mix of easy and fiendishly hard. 16 Across is almost impossible to forgive as a clue!! A “mirrored” clue? Come ON!!!! ATE OF for 13A is quite a bit…. precious, don’t you think? Sounds like that puffy, ostentatious Bible prose. DJINN was also a pretty arcane usage, as most people would think “genie”.

    This is a good example of “manufactured difficulty”; hard to rate this kind of fare positively.

  5. 4 errors in SE corner but happy to finish. I loved 16A because it made me look at something I have done a thousand times from a different angle. At my age anytime I can work the gray cells like that I am happy. Great job Erik Agard!

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