0304-19 NY Times Crossword 4 Mar 19, Monday

Constructed by: Ellis Hay
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): A B Puzzle

Themed answers each start with a “B” sound, and each clue starts with the letter B:

  • 20A Bach masterpiece, informally : B-MINOR MASS
  • 32A Betty White co-star on “The Golden Girls” : BEA ARTHUR
  • 40A Benadryl might treat them : BEE STINGS
  • 52A Bit of advice to the insecure : BE YOURSELF

Bill’s time: 9m 01s!!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Bother : MIFF

To miff is to put out, to tee off, and is verb that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word “miffed” as “a women’s phrase”. That should get him a slap, I’d say …

14 Bayer brand : ALEVE

Aleve is a brand name used for the anti-inflammatory drug Naproxen sodium.

15 Bar mitzvah dance : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

A Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become Bar Mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

18 Bills with George Washington’s face : ONES

The nation’s first president, George Washington, is on the US one-dollar bills produced today. When the original one-dollar bill was issued in 1863, it featured a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury.

20 Bach masterpiece, informally : B-MINOR MASS

Perhaps the most famous mass in classical music is J. S. Bach’s “Mass in B minor”, which was completed just before he died. It was one of the last of Bach’s compositions, although much of the music was composed earlier in his life.

22 Bad actors : HAMS

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

24 Big workers’ group : AFL-CIO

The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded in 1886, making it one of the first federations of unions in the country. Over time the AFL became dominated by craft unions, unions representing skilled workers of particular disciplines. In the early thirties, John L. Lewis led a movement within the AFL to organize workers by industry, believing this would be more effective for the members. But the craft unions refused to budge, so Lewis set up a rival federation of unions in 1932, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The two federations became bitter rivals for over two decades until finally merging in 1955 to form the AFL-CIO.

29 Backstreet Boys member ____ Dorough : HOWIE

The Backstreet Boys (BSB) are a male vocal group that formed in 1993 in Orlando, Florida. In fact, the group’s first performance was in SeaWorld Orlando in May of that year. They’ve come a long way since SeaWorld, and have sold more records than any other boy band in history.

32 Betty White co-star on “The Golden Girls” : BEA ARTHUR

Actress Bea Arthur’s most famous roles were on television, as the lead in the “All in the Family” spin-off “Maude” and as Dorothy Zbornak in “The Golden Girls”. Arthur also won a Tony for playing Vera Charles on stage in the original cast of “Mame” in 1966, two years after she played Yente the matchmaker in the original cast of “Fiddler on the Roof”.

Comic actress Betty White has been at the top of her game for decades. White started her television career with an appearance with high school classmates on a local Los Angeles show back in 1939. Her most famous TV run was co-hosting the Tournament of Roses Parade, a gig she had for nineteen years in the sixties and seventies. Given her long career, White holds a number of records in the world of entertainment. For example, she is the oldest person to host “Saturday Night Live” (at 88) and she is the oldest woman to win a Grammy (at 90).

36 “Blemished” fruit : UGLI

An ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine that was first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.

40 Benadryl might treat them : BEE STINGS

A queen bee has a stinger, just like worker bees. When a worker bee stings, it leaves it stinger in its victim. The worker bee dies after losing its stinger as the loss rips out part of its insides. However, a queen bee can sting with impunity as her stinger’s anatomy is different.

ZzzQuil, Benadryl, Unisom and Sominex are all brand names for the antihistamine diphenhydramine, which is a drug that also has sedative properties.

42 Bear in a hit 2012 comedy : TED

“Ted” is a 2012 movie written, directed, produced and starring Seth MacFarlane. In the story, MacFarlane voices a somewhat irreverent teddy bear who is the best friend of a character played by Mark Wahlberg. The audiences liked the film, and “Ted 2” followed in 2015.

47 Bestows 10%, say, in church : TITHES

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

50 Bread in Southern cuisine : PONE

“Pone” is another name for corn bread, and comes from the Powhatan term “apan” meaning “something baked”.

59 Border mountain between Europe and Asia : URAL

The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia and Kazakhstan is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

63 Ballot listing : SLATE

The term “slate” is used for a list of candidates of similar political persuasion who are running for various elected offices. It is often a listing of candidates from the same party.

Today, a ballot is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

64 British city after which the Big Apple is named : YORK

The city of New Amsterdam was taken over by the English from the Dutch in 1664. the city was promptly renamed to “New York” in honor of the Duke of York, who was destined to become King James II of England.

66 Brecht contemporary in German literature : HESSE

Hermann Hesse was not only a novelist, but also a poet and a painter. His best known work is probably his 1927 novel “Steppenwolf”.

Bertolt Brecht was a poet and playwright from Augsburg in Germany. Brecht’s most famous work here in North America is probably “The Threepenny Opera”, which was a collaboration with Kurt Weill.

Down

3 Beast of the Himalayas : YETI

The yeti, also known as “the abominable snowman”, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

7 Barrett of gossip : RONA

Rona Barrett is a gossip columnist originally from New York City but who plies her trade in Southern California. Barrett started out as with a gossip column that was syndicated in newspapers but then made a successful transition to television. She made regular appearances in news broadcasts and on her entertainment shows in the sixties and seventies.

8 Battle god for the Greeks : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

12 Bomb architect Enrico : FERMI

Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy. Fermi moved to the US just before WWII, largely to escape the anti-Semitic feelings that were developing in Italy under Mussolini. Fermi traveled from Rome to Stockholm in 1938 to receive that year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Instead of returning to Italy, Fermi and his family traveled on to New York City, where they applied for permanent residency. It was Fermi’s work at the University of Chicago that led to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi died at 53 years of age from stomach cancer . Cancer was a prevalent cause of death among the team working on that first nuclear pile.

13 Borgnine’s “big” role in “From Here to Eternity” : FATSO

“Ernest Borgnine” was the stage name of actor Ermes Borgnino from Hamden, Connecticut. One of Borgnine’s most famous roles was Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale in the hit TV series “McHale’s Navy”. Borgnine had himself served in the US Navy from 1935 to 1941. He then re-enlisted after the attack on Pearl Harbor and served until 1945.

“From Here to Eternity” is a 1953 film adaptation of a James Jones novel of the same name. The main characters in the story are three soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the days prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The soldiers are played by Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra. Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed play the love interests. The film (and novel) title is a quotation from the 1892 poem “Gentlemen-Rankers” by Rudyard Kipling:

25 Balsam ___ (tree) : FIR

The Balsam fir is an evergreen tree that is native to eastern and central North America. The Balsam is commonly used as a Christmas tree, especially in the northeastern US.

35 Beaujolais and other wines : REDS

Beaujolais is a red wine made from the Gamay grape that is produced in the Beaujolais historical province that is part of the Burgundy wine-making region.

38 Brooklyn-born Supreme Court justice : GINSBURG

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg serves on the US Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg was the second woman to join the Court, nominated by President Bill Clinton. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During that time she did not miss one day on the bench. In 2009 Justice Ginsburg had surgery for pancreatic cancer, and was back to work 12 days later. She had left-lung lobectomy to remove cancerous nodules in 2018, which forced Justice Ginsburg to miss oral argument in January 2019, for the first time since joining the court 25 years earlier. Much of Ginsburg’s life is recounted in the excellent 2018 movie “On the Basis of Sex”.

41 Bolo ___ (Western wear) : TIE

I’ve never worn a bolo tie, and was surprised to discover that it is a relatively recent invention. The first bolo tie was apparently produced in Wickenburg, Arizona in the late 1940s by a silversmith. The bolo takes its name from the boleadora, an Argentine lariat.

44 Baseball’s Gehrig : LOU

Baseball legend Lou Gehrig was known as a powerhouse. He was a big hitter and just kept on playing. Gehrig broke the record for the most consecutive number of games played, and he stills holds the record for the most career grand slams. His durability earned him the nickname “The Iron Horse”. Sadly, he died in 1941 at 37-years-old suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an illness we now call “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. The New Yankees retired the number four on 4th of July 1939 in his honor, making Lou Gehrig the first baseball player to have a number retired.

45 Blitz : ONRUSH

“Blitz”, as it is used in English, means a fast-moving and overwhelming attack. It is a shortened version of the German word “blitzkrieg”. The blitzkrieg was a tactic used by Germany running up to and during WWII. In the original German blitzkrieg, the army and air-force threw everything into a rapid penetration of enemy lines without stopping to reinforce its flanks. The word “blitz” means “lightning” (and “krieg” means “war”).

46 Brand of chocolate : NESTLE

Nestlé is the world’s largest food company. It was founded in 1905 in Vevey, Switzerland where the company headquarters is to this day. Although the company came into being as the result of a merger, it retains the name of one of the co-founders, German confectioner Henri Nestlé. Henri Nestlé’s real breakthrough product was baby formula.

47 Boozed up : TIPSY

The term “tipsy” comes from the verb “to tip” meaning “to overturn, knock over”, and has been meaning “drunk” since the late 1500s.

48 Boise’s state : IDAHO

Boise, Idaho is the largest metropolitan area in the state by far. There are a number of stories pertaining to the etymology of the name “Boise”. One is that French trappers called the tree-lined river that ran through the area “la rivière boisée”, meaning “the wooded river”.

49 Barbershop quartet voice : TENOR

Barbershop music is played in the a cappella style, meaning that it is unaccompanied vocal music. Barbershop music originated in the African-American communities in the South, as gospel quartets often gathered in neighborhood barber shops to sing together.

53 Buffalo’s lake : ERIE

Buffalo is the second most-populous city in the state of New York. The city takes its name from Buffalo Creek that runs through the metropolis (although the waterway is called Buffalo River within the city). The source of the name Buffalo Creek is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear, there were never any bison in the area.

54 Bulldogs’ school in the Ivy League : YALE

The Yale Bulldogs are the athletic teams of Yale University. The Yale school mascot is “Handsome Dan”, the Yale bulldog. The Bulldogs’ logo features a bulldog in front of a letter Y.

56 Badminton do-overs : LETS

The game of badminton was developed in the mid-1700s by British military officers in India. There was already an old game called battledore and shuttlecock, so the creation of badminton was essentially the addition of a net and boundary lines for play. The game was launched officially as a sport in 1873 at Badminton House in Gloucestershire in England, hence the name that we now use.

57 Bingo card’s middle square : FREE

Our game called “Bingo” is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Birthday cake part : LAYER
6 Bundle up : WRAP
10 Bother : MIFF
14 Bayer brand : ALEVE
15 Bar mitzvah dance : HORA
16 Between ports : ASEA
17 Blocked, as sound : MUTED
18 Bills with George Washington’s face : ONES
19 Bakery item with fruit : TART
20 Bach masterpiece, informally : B-MINOR MASS
22 Bad actors : HAMS
23 Break audibly : SNAP
24 Big workers’ group : AFL-CIO
26 Brought out to show, informally : DEMOED
29 Backstreet Boys member ____ Dorough : HOWIE
31 Bustle : ADO
32 Betty White co-star on “The Golden Girls” : BEA ARTHUR
36 “Blemished” fruit : UGLI
38 Ban alcoholic beverages : GO DRY
39 Bed of roses, so to speak : EASE
40 Benadryl might treat them : BEE STINGS
42 Bear in a hit 2012 comedy : TED
43 Bit of color : TINGE
44 Brooding sorts : LONERS
47 Bestows 10%, say, in church : TITHES
50 Bread in Southern cuisine : PONE
51 Brainstorm : IDEA
52 Bit of advice to the insecure : BE YOURSELF
58 Breathe rapidly : PANT
59 Border mountain between Europe and Asia : URAL
60 Blurt out, perhaps : UTTER
61 “Begone!” : SHOO!
62 Bring to anger : RILE
63 Ballot listing : SLATE
64 British city after which the Big Apple is named : YORK
65 Baffled exclamations : GEES
66 Brecht contemporary in German literature : HESSE

Down

1 Baby sheep : LAMB
2 Bill Clinton vis-à-vis Georgetown and 54-Down : ALUM
3 Beast of the Himalayas : YETI
4 “But still …” : EVEN SO …
5 Brand-new-looking : REDONE
6 Beat badly : WHOMP
7 Barrett of gossip : RONA
8 Battle god for the Greeks : ARES
9 Buy the farm, so to speak : PASS AWAY
10 Brainiac in a certain high school competition : MATHLETE
11 Biblical father of Jacob : ISAAC
12 Bomb architect Enrico : FERMI
13 Borgnine’s “big” role in “From Here to Eternity” : FATSO
21 “Brilliant, dude!” : RAD
25 Balsam ___ (tree) : FIR
26 Besmear, as a canvas : DAUB
27 Border : EDGE
28 Beauty mark : MOLE
29 Betting strategy that reduces risk : HEDGE
30 Boaters’ implements : OARS
32 Beer ___ (frat party item) : BONG
33 Bad blood : HATE
34 Buyer of drugs, e.g. : USER
35 Beaujolais and other wines : REDS
37 “Bother you at all?” : IS THAT OK?
38 Brooklyn-born Supreme Court justice : GINSBURG
41 Bolo ___ (Western wear) : TIE
44 Baseball’s Gehrig : LOU
45 Blitz : ONRUSH
46 Brand of chocolate : NESTLE
47 Boozed up : TIPSY
48 Boise’s state : IDAHO
49 Barbershop quartet voice : TENOR
50 Battery’s + and – : POLES
53 Buffalo’s lake : ERIE
54 Bulldogs’ school in the Ivy League : YALE
55 Brief announcements from pilots? : ETAS
56 Badminton do-overs : LETS
57 Bingo card’s middle square : FREE

21 thoughts on “0304-19 NY Times Crossword 4 Mar 19, Monday”

  1. Tried doing downs first and was looking at a mostly empty grid. Persevered until finally done with no errors after putting it aside many times.

  2. @BruceB … A while back, you brought up the issue of setters indulging in intentional misdirection. Today’s BEQ puzzle (“BEQ” for “Brendan Emmett Quigley”, who has been known to indulge in that kind of thing) has an entry that made me think of it (though, for various reasons, it isn’t the best example): The clue was “Roll back?” and the entry was “ELS” instead of “EBB” (which I wrote in and then had to correct). Obviously, I should have been tipped off by the presence of that question mark … 😜.

    1. Forgot a link: BEQ’s puzzle is here, in case you’re interested. (It’s not easy, but it’s also not as hard as some of his puzzles.)

    2. @Dave Kennison—-Speaking of question marks…today’s puzzle had one that I believe should not have been there. It is on the clue for 55-Down, “Brief announcements from pilots?”. The answer ETAS is straightforward without the question mark. Some may say that it is no big deal. But I do not want to see the implicit meaning of the question mark as used in crosswords watered down. Do you agree?

      1. @Dale … I’m getting ready for a trip, so I’m a bit distracted, but … the question mark on that clue apparently didn’t bother me too much when I encountered it five weeks ago and I’m not too disturbed by it now, though I agree that it’s not really necessary and I don’t know if they had a reason for putting it there. If I had more time, I might put more thought into it …

      2. “Stay tuned for a brief announcement”

        That was my take on the clue. A little play on words, as the pilot never just gives the ETA. Usually the weather, etc.

  3. No errors but much harder than the typical Monday. I notice that Bill clocked in at 9 minutes and 1 second. He follows his posting with two exclamation points. I am assuming that Bill also was in disbelief on how much time this took him.

    I really have to wonder what Shultz and his assistants are saying to each other as they make their decision on what puzzles will be appropriate for what day. Are they saying, perhaps, “We are being too easy on Mondays. Let’s make them harder from now on.”???

  4. 9:48, no errors. Agree with previous posters that this was unusually difficult for a Monday. On the whole, I am always impressed with the way NYT calibrates puzzle difficulty through the week.

      1. Bill’s Mom died recently. In March I believe, but those of us who get the syndicated version of the puzzle didn’t get the news until yesterday.

  5. @Bill—-I am sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. I am sure that it has been a hard thing for you to endure. I am sure that she was a wonderful mom judging by the times that you have mentioned her. My sympathy goes out to you and your family.

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