0204-19 NY Times Crossword 4 Feb 19, Monday

Constructed by: Ali Gascoigne
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Inside Info

Themed answers each include the hidden word “INFO”:

  • 56A. Dirt … or what 17-, 25-, 36- and 48-Across all have? : INSIDE INFO
  • 17A. Paranoiac’s headgear : TINFOIL HAT
  • 25A. Present en masse : OUT IN FORCE
  • 36A. “This means trouble, my friend” : YOU’RE IN FOR IT NOW
  • 48A. Blueberries and fatty fish, nutritionists say : BRAIN FOODS

Bill’s time: 5m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Buildings near barns : SILOS

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

10. Stinging insect : WASP

While the wasp is considered to be a nuisance by many, the insect is very important to the agricultural industry. Wasps prey on many pest insects, while having very little impact on crops.

14. Bone alongside the radius : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinkie-side”.

15. Jack in a deck of cards : KNAVE

The playing card known as a jack is also known as a knave. “Knave” was the original term, the same term used for a male servant of a king and queen. The term “jack” came into usage in games played by “common folk” in the 1600s.

17. Paranoiac’s headgear : TINFOIL HAT

Before thin sheets of aluminum metal were available as aluminum foil, thin sheets of tin were used in various applications. Tin foil isn’t a great choice for wrapping food though, as it imparts a tinny taste. On the other side of the pond, aluminum foil has a different name. No, it’s not just the different spelling of aluminum (“aluminium”). We still call it “tin foil”. You see, we live in the past …

25. Present en masse : OUT IN FORCE

“En masse” is a French term, one that best translates as “as a group”

31. Actress Chlumsky of “Veep” : ANNA

“Veep” is a political satire sitcom on HBO that is a remake of the British show “The Thick of It” (Warning: strong language!). “Veep” is set in the office of a fictional Vice President of the United States played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

32. Part of the eye : IRIS

The iris is the colored part of the eye. It has an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

41. Motor oil product : STP

STP is a brand name of automotive lubricants and additives. The name “STP” is an initialism standing for “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

42. Hero fighter pilots : ACES

A flying ace is an aviator who has shot down a number of enemy planes during combat. The qualifying number of kills seems to vary, but five is common. The first use of “ace” was during WWI, when the French newspapers dubbed pilot Adolphe Pegoud “l’as” (French for “the ace”) when he shot down his fifth German plane.

51. Visitors from outer space, for short : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

53. Walled city WNW of Madrid : AVILA

Avila is famous for the walled defenses around the old city, which date back to 1090. They were constructed out of brown granite, and are still in excellent repair. There are nine gateways and eighty-towers in all. Even the cathedral built between the 12th and 14th centuries is part of the city’s defenses, so it looks like an imposing fortress.

Madrid is the largest city in Spain, and is the nation’s capital. Madrid is located very close to the geographical center of the country. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (after London and Paris). People from Madrid called themselves Madrileños.

64. Soup to go with sushi : MISO

Miso is the name of the seasoning that makes miso soup. Basic miso seasoning is made by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans with salt and a fungus to produce a paste. The paste can be added to stock to make miso soup, or perhaps to flavor tofu.

66. Potato, informally : SPUD

The word “spud” is used as a slang term for a potato and was first recorded in the mid-1800s, in New Zealand would you believe?

Down

2. “The Greatest” boxer : ALI

After Muhammad Ali passed away in June 2016, there was a large prayer service and funeral procession in his hometown of Louisville. The pallbearers included actor Will Smith and boxer Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. Eulogies were delivered by Ali’s wife Lonnie, Billy Crystal, Bryant Gumbel and former President Bill Clinton.

4. Tennis great Nadal, to fans : RAFA

Rafael “Rafa” Nadal is a Spanish tennis player. He is noted for his expertise on clay courts, which expertise earned him the nickname “The King of Clay”.

7. Christine of “The Blacklist” : LAHTI

Christine Lahti is an actress probably best known for playing Dr. Kate Austen on the TV medical drama “Chicago Hope”. If you read “The Huffington Post” you might run across her as well, as Lahti is a contributing blogger.

“The Blacklist” is an entertaining, albeit a little formulaic, crime drama TV show starring James Spader and Megan Boone. Spader plays a successful criminal who surrenders to the FBI in order to help catch a “blacklist” of high-profile criminals.

9. Cry between “ready” and “go!” : SET

Ready … set …. Solve!

11. ___ Goldfinger (Bond villain) : AURIC

“Goldfinger” is the Ian Fleming’s seventh James Bond novel, and was first published in 1959. Fleming was in the habit of naming his characters after people in the real world. The novel’s colorful antagonist Auric Goldfinger was named after Hungarian-born British architect Ernő Goldfinger.

13. Racing vehicles for Anakin Skywalker : PODS

Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

  • Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
  • Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
  • Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
  • Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

18. Nebraska native tribe : OTOE

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

21. Martini & ___ (brand of sparkling wine) : ROSSI

The company that is today known as Martini & Rossi was started in the mid-1800s in Italy, by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi (and a third partner who sold out years later). From day one it was focused on bottling the fortified wine known as vermouth. Nowadays, the company is also famous for its sparkling wines, and its sponsorship of Grand Prix racing teams. And yes, the famous cocktail is probably named for Mr. Martini.

23. “To be, ___ to be” : OR NOT

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

24. Photo of Marilyn Monroe, once : PINUP

Marilyn Monroe was born in 1926 in LA County Hospital, the child of Gladys Pearl Baker. The young girl was given the name of Norma Jeane Mortenson on her birth certificate, but her mother changed this to Norma Jeane Baker almost immediately. She and her estranged husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, had separated before Baker became pregnant so it is suggested that the Mortensen name was used just to give Norma Jeane “legitimacy”. Norma Jeane married a Jim Dougherty when she 16 years old, and took his name to become Norma Jeane Dougherty in 1932. During WWII she was discovered by a photographer and became quite a successful model. The modelling earned her a screen test, at which time it was suggested that Norma Jeane change her name yet again. The first name chosen for her by studio executives was Carole Lind (after Carole Lombard and Jenny Lind), but then Norma Jeane chose “Jeane Monroe” for herself, using her mother’s maiden name. It didn’t take long before the studio intervened again, suggesting that they had too many “Jeans” already. The name Marilyn Monroe was floated as it had a nice ring to it. Along with the new name, Marilyn changed from a brunette to a blonde, and a star was born …

26. Last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty : NERO

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and he had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old Nero married his step-sister Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

29. Toxic part of cigarettes : TAR

The partially-combusted particulate matter that is produced as a cigarette burns forms a resinous material called “tar”. Cigarette tar is different than the tar used on roads, but is very toxic. Marijuana smoke produces a very similar tar to cigarette smoke, and is just as dangerous.

33. Licoricelike flavoring : ANISE

Liquorice (also “licorice”) and aniseed have similar flavors, but they come from unrelated plants. The liquorice plant is a legume like a bean, and the sweet flavor is an extract from the roots. The flavor mainly comes from an ether compound called anethole, the same substance that gives the distinctive flavor to anise. The seedpods of the anise plant are what we know as “aniseed”. The anise seeds themselves are usually ground to release the flavor.

34. Title character who never arrives in a Beckett play : GODOT

An Irishman I may be, but I have sat through several plays by Samuel Beckett (the Irish dramatist) and I have yet to come away feeling satisfied that I spent my time well. Of course I am in the minority, as Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” was once voted the most significant English language play of the 20th century. Maybe I will give “Waiting for Godot” another chance one day, but I doubt it …

35. Jesse of the Berlin Olympics : OWENS

Jesse Owens is famous for winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936, much to the chagrin of Adolf Hitler. Jesse’s real name was James Cleveland Owens, and he went by “JC” as a child. However, his Alabama accent was misconstrued at school when his family moved to Cleveland, so teachers and classmates called him “Jesse” instead of “JC”, and the name stuck.

37. “___ good in the neighborhood” (restaurant slogan) : EATIN’

The Applebee’s chain of “Neighborhood Bar & Grill” restaurants was founded in 1980, with the first Applebee’s eatery opening in Decatur, Georgia. When it comes to “chain” restaurants, I like Applebee’s …

39. Spongy toy material : NERF

Nerf is soft material used in a whole series of toys designed for “safe” play indoors. The Nerf product is used to make darts, balls and ammunition for toy guns. “NERF” is an acronym, standing for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.

40. First word of every “Friends” episode title : THE …

When the incredibly successful sitcom “Friends” was in development it was given the working title “Insomnia Cafe”. This was changed to “Friends Like Us”, before final going to air as “Friends”.

45. The first “S” in U.S.S.R. : SOVIET

When the former Soviet Union (USSR) dissolved in 1991, it was largely replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The formation of the CIS underscored the new reality, that the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) were now independent states. Most of the 15 former SSRs joined the CIS. Notably, the three Baltic SSRs (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) opted not to join the new commonwealth, and in 2004 joined NATO and the EU.

46. Onetime alias of Sean Combs : P DIDDY

When Sean John Combs started his rapping career, he used the stage name “Puff Daddy”. Then he went with “P. Diddy”, and I think that he is now recording simply as “Diddy”. Having said that, he has to stick with “P. Diddy” in some countries as he lost a legal battle over use of the simpler “Diddy” name as there is another artist called Richard “Diddy” Dearlove.

47. ___ of Wight : ISLE

The Isle of Wight is the largest island in England, and lies about five miles off the south coast of the country.

48. Thin Russian pancakes : BLINI

A blintz (also “blintze”, and “blin”, plural “blini”) is a thin pancake similar to a crêpe although unlike a crêpe, a blintz may contain yeast.

50. Desert stop for camels : OASIS

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

56. Cousin in the Addams family : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

57. Arms-loving grp. : NRA

National Rifle Association (NRA)

59. Bug mostly seen in winter : FLU

Influenza (the “flu”) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Two of a kind : PAIR
5. Buildings near barns : SILOS
10. Stinging insect : WASP
14. Bone alongside the radius : ULNA
15. Jack in a deck of cards : KNAVE
16. Camera setting for amateur photographers : AUTO
17. Paranoiac’s headgear : TINFOIL HAT
19. Walked (on) : TROD
20. Up, in baseball : AT BAT
21. Straps for an equestrian : REINS
22. Soak (up) : SOP
25. Present en masse : OUT IN FORCE
28. Pen pal’s plea : WRITE ME!
30. Like a Monday crossword, typically : EASY
31. Actress Chlumsky of “Veep” : ANNA
32. Part of the eye : IRIS
33. In the past : AGO
36. “This means trouble, my friend” : YOU’RE IN FOR IT NOW
41. Motor oil product : STP
42. Hero fighter pilots : ACES
43. Partner of “go seek” : HIDE
44. Celebrity : STAR
45. Keeps under surveillance : SPIES ON
48. Blueberries and fatty fish, nutritionists say : BRAIN FOODS
51. Visitors from outer space, for short : ETS
52. Without toppings : PLAIN
53. Walled city WNW of Madrid : AVILA
55. Watermelon waste : RIND
56. Dirt … or what 17-, 25-, 36- and 48-Across all have? : INSIDE INFO
61. Gives a tattoo to : INKS
62. ___ and true : TRIED
63. Not spicy : MILD
64. Soup to go with sushi : MISO
65. Delicious : TASTY
66. Potato, informally : SPUD

Down

1. “___ ‘er there!” : PUT
2. “The Greatest” boxer : ALI
3. Lodging for the night : INN
4. Tennis great Nadal, to fans : RAFA
5. One who’s always looking for a lift? : SKI BUM
6. What a worker who oversleeps will be : IN LATE
7. Christine of “The Blacklist” : LAHTI
8. Eggs in a lab : OVA
9. Cry between “ready” and “go!” : SET
10. Diluted, as a drink : WATERY
11. ___ Goldfinger (Bond villain) : AURIC
12. Something skipped across a pond : STONE
13. Racing vehicles for Anakin Skywalker : PODS
18. Nebraska native tribe : OTOE
21. Martini & ___ (brand of sparkling wine) : ROSSI
22. Rocks from side to side : SWAYS
23. “To be, ___ to be” : OR NOT
24. Photo of Marilyn Monroe, once : PINUP
26. Last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty : NERO
27. Not foul, as a baseball hit : FAIR
29. Toxic part of cigarettes : TAR
32. Uncertainties : IFS
33. Licoricelike flavoring : ANISE
34. Title character who never arrives in a Beckett play : GODOT
35. Jesse of the Berlin Olympics : OWENS
37. “___ good in the neighborhood” (restaurant slogan) : EATIN’
38. Volunteer’s words : I CAN
39. Spongy toy material : NERF
40. First word of every “Friends” episode title : THE …
44. Declared : SAID SO
45. The first “S” in U.S.S.R. : SOVIET
46. Onetime alias of Sean Combs : P DIDDY
47. ___ of Wight : ISLE
48. Thin Russian pancakes : BLINI
49. Places in order of preference : RANKS
50. Desert stop for camels : OASIS
52. ___ and proper : PRIM
54. Prepares to shoot : AIMS
56. Cousin in the Addams family : ITT
57. Arms-loving grp. : NRA
58. Little bite : NIP
59. Bug mostly seen in winter : FLU
60. Peculiar : ODD

7 thoughts on “0204-19 NY Times Crossword 4 Feb 19, Monday”

  1. Very easy. Knowing that INFO was going to appear in all of the theme answers made it even easier.

    Mr. Goldfinger’s first name gave me pause. But I did know that “Au” is the chemical symbol for the element gold. Knowing the tendency of fictional writers to slip in subtle meanings in proper names, AURIC became the logical choice for 11-Down.

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