0227-19 NY Times Crossword 27 Feb 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Will Nediger
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Pre-answer

Themed answers come in pairs that are side-by-side in the grid. The first answer of each pair is defined by the second answer prefixed by “pre-”:

  • 20A Pre-22-Across : FOREWORD (pre-amble)
  • 22A Go for a stroll : AMBLE
  • 26A Pre-29-Across : AUGURY (pre-diction)
  • 29A Subject in acting school : DICTION
  • 42A Pre-44-Across : DICTATE (pre-scribe)
  • 44A Job in a monastery : SCRIBE
  • 47A Pre-50-Across : EARLY (pre-maturely)
  • 50A How emotionally developed people handle things : MATURELY

Bill’s time: 7m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Phishing scheme, e.g. : SCAM

Phishing is the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PIN numbers etc.”

14 City whose cathedral is the subject of a series of Monet paintings : ROUEN

Rouen is the major city in Normandy in northern France. During the days of Norman Britain, Rouen was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties. Rouen was also where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

Impressionist Claude Monet produced a series of paintings of Rouen Cathedral in the 1890s. Famously, Monet painted the same subject at varying times of the day and times of the year, with the intention of recording the changes in appearance with differing light. He produced over thirty such paintings of Rouen Cathedral over a two-year period, resulting in one of the artist’s most famous and prized series of works.

20 Pre-22-Across : FOREWORD (pre-amble)

A “preface” is a book’s introduction that is written by the author himself or herself. A “foreword” is an introduction written by a different person, and precedes the author’s preface. Note the spelling of “foreword”, as opposed to the spelling of the relative direction “forward”. A book may also have an “afterword”, a commentary that may or may not be written by the author.

23 Indian bread : NAAN

Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.

24 One who gets booked, informally : PERP

Perpetrator (perp)

26 Pre-29-Across : AUGURY (pre-diction)

The verb “to augur” means “to bode”, to serve as an omen. The term comes from the name of religious officials in Ancient Rome called augurs whose job it was to interpret signs and omens.

32 Features of leopards : SPOTS

The four “big cats” are the tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard. The largest of the big cats is the tiger, and the smallest is the leopard.

33 Noted family of German composers : BACHS

Johann Sebastian Bach raised a very large family. He had seven children with his first wife, who died suddenly. He had a further thirteen children with his second wife. Of his twenty youngsters, there were four sons who became famous musicians in their own right:

  • Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (aka “the Halle Bach”)
  • Carl Philipp Bach (aka “the Hamburg Bach”)
  • Johann Christoph Bach (aka “the Buckeburg Bach”)
  • Johann Christian Bach (aka “the London Bach”)

36 Some Craigslist listings: Abbr. : APTS

Apartment (apt.)

Craigslist (usually written as “craiglist”) is an online network of communities that features classified advertisements organized geographically. Craigslist was started by Craig Newmark in 1995, originally as an email distribution list for his friends who lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area.

37 Red Scare epithet : PINKO

The term “pinko” came to us courtesy of “Time” magazine in 1925. Back then, “pinko” was used to describe those who were politically left of center. Red was the color associated with the left going back to the 1800s (how times have changed!), and “pink” was assigned to people who were not aligned with the left politically, but had left-leaning tendencies.

After WWII, the United States went through what was called a “Red Scare”, the fear of communist infiltration in American society and government. Senator Joseph McCarthy became a lightning rod for this movement when he chaired Senate hearings in the fifties designed to root out communist infiltrators. The period (1947-1956) is referred to as the Second Red Scare. The First Red Scare was at its height in 1919-1920, and was a fear of Bolshevism that arose after the Russian Revolution.

39 ’70s rock? : PET

The Pet Rock lives on in history even though the fad really only lasted about 6 months, in 1975. It was enough to make Gary Dahl a millionaire though. His next idea, a “sand farm”, didn’t fly at all.

40 Some Spanish murals : SERTS

José Maria Sert was a painter of murals from Catalan. He was a good friend of fellow-artist Salvador Dali.

41 Bud of baseball : SELIG

Bud Selig was the Commissioner of Baseball for Major League Baseball from 1998 to 2015. Selig became acting commissioner in 1992 after the resignation of Fay Vincent. The team owners searched for a new commissioner for six years, and finally gave the permanent job to Selig in 1998.

45 Inauguration recitation : OATH

Inauguration Day is on January 20th in the year following the November election of a US President. This date is called out in the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution, which was ratified by the states in 1933.

56 Douglas ___, author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” : ADAMS

The English writer and dramatist Douglas Adams is best known for “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” started out life as a comedy series on BBC radio in 1978, but it certainly had legs. It was adapted into stage shows, five books, a television series, computer game and a 2005 film.

58 ___ boots : GO-GO

The original go-go boot from the sixties comes to the knee and has a low heel. Prior to the sixties, boots really weren’t worn much by women other than as protection against bad weather. Now they are a fashion statement.

59 Pod creature : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

60 Regal maker : BUICK

The Regal was a mid-size Buick made from 1973 to 2004. The Regal was relaunched in 2011 as a sports sedan.

63 Skunk’s defense : SPRAY

Skunks have anal scent glands that can be used as defensive weapons. The glands produce sulfur-containing chemicals that have a really awful smell and that can irritate the eyes and skin.

Down

3 Anise-flavored liqueur : OUZO

Ouzo is an apéritif from Greece that is colorless and flavored with anise. Ouzo is similar to French pastis and Italian sambuca.

4 Bar snack : BEER NUTS

“Beer Nuts” is the brand name for a snack consisting of peanuts in a sweet-and-salty glaze. There’s no beer in the recipe, just the suggestion that the snack goes well with beer.

6 Long-beaked bird : HERON

Herons are birds with long legs that inhabit freshwater and coastal locales. Some herons are routinely referred to as egrets, and others as bitterns. Herons look a lot like storks and cranes, but differ in their appearance in flight. Herons fly with their necks retracted in an S-shape, whereas storks and cranes have their necks extended.

7 Soup thickener : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science, it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

10 Dish that can give you garlic breath : SCAMPI

The Italian dish known as “scampi” is a serving of shrimp in garlic butter and dry white wine.

11 Park place? : CURB

“Curb” is another of those words that I had to learn when I came to the US. We park by the “kerb” on the other side of the Atlantic. Oh, and the “pavement”, that’s what we call the “footpath” (because the footpath is “paved”!). It’s very confusing when you arrive in this country from Ireland, and a little dangerous when one has been taught to “walk on the pavement” …

12 Ferrara who directed “King of New York” : ABEL

Abel Ferrara is a screenwriter and film director noted for his work on independent movies. Ferrara’s best-known film is probably the 1990 crime drama “King of New York” starring Christopher Walken.

28 The Teflon Don : GOTTI

John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family from 1985. Gotti was known as the “Teflon Don” and took over leadership of the family from Paul Castellano when he was gunned down, allegedly on Gotti’s orders. Gotti remained head of the New York family until he was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. Gotti died of throat cancer after ten years behind bars.

29 Virgil’s fellow traveler : DANTE

In Dante’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy”, the poet journeys through the three realms of the dead. The Roman poet Virgil guides Dante through Hell and Purgatory. Dante is guided through Heaven by Beatrice, the poet’s ideal of womanhood Beatrice

30 Eyelike openings : OCULI

“Oculus” (plural “oculi”) is the Latin word for “eye”, and is a term used in architecture for a circular window.

31 Desert in southern Africa : NAMIB

The Namib Desert is in Namibia, as one might expect, and and also stretches into part of Angola. It is thought to be the oldest desert in the world, having been arid for over 55 million years.

33 Prominent Gorbachev feature : BIRTHMARK

Mikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until the USSR dissolved in 1991. As well being associated with the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev’s name is linked with the policies of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”. “Perestroika” (meaning “restructuring”) was his political and economic initiative to make socialism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of consumers. “Glasnost” (meaning “publicity, openness”) was Gorbachev’s policy of increased transparency of government in order to reduce levels of corruption in the Communist Party and government.

41 Pharaonic symbols : SCARABS

Scarabs were amulets in ancient Egypt. Scarabs were modelled on the dung beetle, as it was viewed as a symbol of the cycle of life.

44 Tiny amount : SOU

A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “an almost worthless amount”.

49 Italian word with a grave accent that becomes a brand name with an acute accent : RAGU

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

51 With the bow, in music : ARCO

“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

53 Gay anthem of 1978 : YMCA

“YMCA” was released in 1978 by Village People and has been adopted as an anthem by the gay community. The song was written by Victor Willis, a straight member of the mostly gay band, and he clarifies that the lyrics are extolling the virtues of the “YMCA” as a source of recreation for black urban youth. I think he might have been winking when he said that …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Do some digging : PROBE
6 “Good joke!” : HA HA!
10 Phishing scheme, e.g. : SCAM
14 City whose cathedral is the subject of a series of Monet paintings : ROUEN
15 “Good gravy!” : EGAD!
16 Target of the U.S.-backed Radio Martí : CUBA
17 Exuded : OOZED
18 Was afraid of losing : RAN SCARED
20 Pre-22-Across : FOREWORD (pre-amble)
22 Go for a stroll : AMBLE
23 Indian bread : NAAN
24 One who gets booked, informally : PERP
26 Pre-29-Across : AUGURY (pre-diction)
29 Subject in acting school : DICTION
32 Features of leopards : SPOTS
33 Noted family of German composers : BACHS
34 Ceiling : CAP
36 Some Craigslist listings: Abbr. : APTS
37 Red Scare epithet : PINKO
38 Animal also called a Nittany lion : PUMA
39 ’70s rock? : PET
40 Some Spanish murals : SERTS
41 Bud of baseball : SELIG
42 Pre-44-Across : DICTATE (pre-scribe)
44 Job in a monastery : SCRIBE
45 Inauguration recitation : OATH
46 Enjoy a nice long bath : SOAK
47 Pre-50-Across : EARLY (pre-maturely)
50 How emotionally developed people handle things : MATURELY
54 One cabinet in a kitchen, typically : GLASSWARE
56 Douglas ___, author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” : ADAMS
58 ___ boots : GO-GO
59 Pod creature : ORCA
60 Regal maker : BUICK
61 Flabbergast : STUN
62 “All right already!” : OK OK!
63 Skunk’s defense : SPRAY

Down

1 Positive : PRO
2 Thatcher’s creation : ROOF
3 Anise-flavored liqueur : OUZO
4 Bar snack : BEER NUTS
5 Causes (oneself) to be cherished : ENDEARS
6 Long-beaked bird : HERON
7 Soup thickener : AGAR
8 Doesn’t just choose randomly : HANDPICKS
9 Autoplaying annoyances, sometimes : ADS
10 Dish that can give you garlic breath : SCAMPI
11 Park place? : CURB
12 Ferrara who directed “King of New York” : ABEL
13 Wasn’t late for : MADE
19 Supermarket aids : CARTS
21 Extremely, informally : WAY
25 Auto-reply? : ECHO
26 “Stat!” : ASAP!
27 Increased : UPPED
28 The Teflon Don : GOTTI
29 Virgil’s fellow traveler : DANTE
30 Eyelike openings : OCULI
31 Desert in southern Africa : NAMIB
33 Prominent Gorbachev feature : BIRTHMARK
35 Part of a website : PAGE
37 Scotch flavorer : PEAT
38 Suddenly got excited : PERKED UP
40 Hotel sojourns : STAYS
41 Pharaonic symbols : SCARABS
43 ___ Whitehead, author of the 2017 Pulitzer-winning novel “The Underground Railroad” : COLSON
44 Tiny amount : SOU
46 Brunch partner of 47-Down : STEAK
47 Brunch partner of 46-Down : EGGS
48 Very often : A LOT
49 Italian word with a grave accent that becomes a brand name with an acute accent : RAGU
51 With the bow, in music : ARCO
52 Where a supervillain schemes : LAIR
53 Gay anthem of 1978 : YMCA
55 Romantically pursue : WOO
57 Where a telescope points : SKY

8 thoughts on “0227-19 NY Times Crossword 27 Feb 19, Wednesday”

  1. I attacked the theme entries as I love to do but could not make sense of the “pre” business. So I bore down on the “pre” s partners and it finally emerged.
    Love the puzzles within puzzles.
    45 minutes with pencil.

  2. 15:00, no errors. Back in the saddle after 3 days of no paper delivery. As much as I have enjoyed reading an old fashioned newspaper, and as much as I want to support the local business people who deliver it, and am reluctantly switching to digital for a fraction of the cost, and greater reliability.

  3. ~1 hour and two errors. Liked the theme. Just learned we get the nyt crossword in the Wednesday paper – very excited!

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