0313-19 NY Times Crossword 13 Mar 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Oblique Reference

Circled letters in the grid spell out works of REFERENCE. Those REFERENCES run OBLIQUELY through the grid:

  • 60 Indirect comment … or a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters : OBLIQUE REFERENCE
  • THESAURUS
  • DICTIONARY
  • ALMANAC
  • ATLAS

Bill’s time: 9m 28s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Metallic waste : DROSS

When metals are smelted, there is a scum made up of impurities that floats on the surface of the molten metal. This scum is called “dross” and is drawn off and discarded. The term “dross” has come to mean any waste or impure matter.

10 Longtime Syrian leader : ASSAD

Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman.

17 In ___ (developing) : UTERO

“In utero” is a Latin term meaning “in the uterus”. The Latin “uterus” (plural “uteri”) translates as both “womb” and “belly”. The Latin word comes from the Greek “hystera” that also means “womb”, which gives us the words “hysterectomy”, and “hysterical”.

19 Ithaca, to Odysseus : HOME

20 Odysseus, to Ithaca : RULER

Ithaca is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. The island features in Homer’s “Odyssey” as it was the home of the mythological hero Odysseus, who was Ithaca’s king.

21 Les ___-Unis : ETATS

“Les États-Unis” is what French speakers call “the United States”.

24 Lineage-based women’s grp. : DAR

In order to be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), an applicant has to prove that she is a descendant of someone closely associated with, and supportive of, the American Revolution. The DAR maintains an online database of Revolutionary War patriots. The database is searchable, and is known as the Patriot Index.

27 “Star Trek: ___” (syndicated series of the ’80s-’90s) : TNG

When Gene Roddenberry first proposed the science fiction series that became “Star Trek”, he marketed it as “Wagon Train to the Stars”, a pioneer-style Western in outer space. In fact his idea was to produce something more like “Gulliver’s Travels”, as he intended to write episodes that were adventure stories on one level, but morality tales on another. Personally I think that he best achieved this model with the spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (TNG). If you watch individual episodes you will see thinly disguised treatments of moral issues such as racism, homosexuality, genocide etc. For my money, “The Next Generation” is the best of the whole franchise …

29 Draft org. : SSS

The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SSS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).

30 Pizza chain : UNO

The chain of pizza parlors known today as Uno Chicago Grill used to be called Pizzeria Uno, or just “Uno’s”. Apparently, Uno’s created the world’s first deep-dish pizza.

31 Stumblebum : OAF

A stumblebum is a clumsy and incompetent person. The term “stumblebum” particularly applies to a second-rate prizefighter.

33 Rare craps throws : TWOS

If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.

36 Like Mercury among all the planets : INMOST

Mercury is the smallest of the planets in our solar system, and is the nearest to the Sun. Mercury orbits the sun relatively rapidly compared to the other planets, and this fact may have led to it being given the name “Mercury”, the Roman deity who was the speedy messenger to the gods.

41 Legendary Manhattan music club : CBGB

The music club known as CBCG opened in 1973 intending to feature country, bluegrass and blues music (hence the name “CBGB”, Country, BlueGrass and Blues). The club developed an association in the eighties with New York’s underground hardcore punk music.

46 Distance for Captain Nemo : LEAGUE

The Jules Verne sci-fi novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” was first published in 1869-1870 as a serial in a French magazine. Star of the novel (to me) is Captain Nemo’s magnificent submarine called the Nautilus. The “20,000 leagues” in the title is the distance travelled by the Nautilus underwater, and not a depth. 20,000 leagues is about three times the circumference of the Earth.

48 Big name in mortgages? : MAE

The Federal National Mortgage Association is commonly called “Fannie Mae”, a play on the initialism FNMA. Fannie Mae was founded in during the Great Depression as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal.e

Ginnie Mae is the familiar nickname for the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), a government-owned corporation created in 1968 with the objective of promoting home ownership. The “Ginnie Mae” nickname is derived from the GNMA abbreviation.

49 TV host Ryan : SEACREST

Radio and television personality Ryan Seacrest is best known as the host of the talent show “American Idol”. Seacrest has also been hosting “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” on ABC since 2005, and co-hosting “Live with Kelly and Ryan” since 2017. He is also a producer, and is the man behind the show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Ryan has a lot to answer for …

51 Singer Carly ___ Jepsen : RAE

Carly Rae Jepsen is a singer/songwriter from Mission, British Columbia. Jepsen got her start on TV’s “Canadian Idol” when she placed third in the show’s fifth season.

54 Place to go to swim, informally : THE Y

The YMCA (the “Y”) is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There, in 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of “a healthy spirit, mind and body”. The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.

55 Mythical figure known for ribaldry : SATYR

The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the “rude” male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.

57 Writer Edgar ___ Poe : ALLAN

The celebrated American writer Edgar Allan Poe was born “Edgar Poe” in 1809 in Boston. Poe’s father abandoned Edgar and his two siblings after the death of their mother. As a result, Edgar was taken into the home of the Allan family in Richmond Virginia. His foster parents gave the future author the name “Edgar Allan Poe”.

66 Org. for students in uniform : ROTC

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

67 Danish money : KRONER

“Krone” translates into English as “crown”, and was the name given to coins that bore the image of the monarch in several countries. Today, the krone is the name given to the currency of Norway and of Denmark. Some of the Norwegian and Danish kroner have holes in the middle, giving them a “doughnut” or “torus” shape.

68 Blackberrys, e.g., for short : PDAS

The PDA known as a BlackBerry was given its name because the keyboard on the original device resembled the surface on the fruit of a blackberry.

69 Spread in a spread : BRIE

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert.

70 27 Chopin works : ETUDES

An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

Frédéric Chopin was a Polish composer who spent most of his life in France. He was most famous for his piano works in the Romantic style. Chopin was a sickly man and died quite young, at 39. For many of his final years he had a celebrated and tempestuous relationship with the French author George Sand (the nom de plume of the Baroness Dudevant). Those years with Sand may have been turbulent, but they were very productive in terms of musical composition.

74 Indulged to excess, with “on” : OD’ED

Overdose (OD)

Down

2 Vaquero’s item : RIATA

A riata is a lariat or a lasso. “Riata” comes from “reata”, the Spanish word for lasso.

The Spanish suffix “-ero” can be added to a noun to describe someone who works with that “noun”. Examples would be a “vaquero” (a cowboy working with a “vaca”, a cow) and a “torero” (a bullfighter fighting a “toro”, a bull).

3 Award for Washington and Lee : OSCAR

Denzel Washington is an actor from Mount Vernon, just outside New York City. Washington’s big break came with a TV role, playing Dr. Philip Chandler on “St. Elsewhere” from 1982 to 1988.

Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

6 Garden pest : APHID

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

7 Dummkopf : CLOD

“Dummkopf” is a German word that translates literally as “dumb head”.

11 Bit of theater detritus : STUB

Detritus is the loose material that results from the process of erosion. The usage of the term has evolved to man any accumulated material or debris. “Detritus” is Latin for “a wearing away”.

12 Tennis Hall-of-Famer with a palindromic name : SELES

Monica Seles has a Hungarian name as she was born to Hungarian parents in former Yugoslavia. Seles was the World No. 1 professional tennis player in 1991 and 1992 before being forced from the sport when she was stabbed by a spectator at a match in 1993. She did return to the game two years later, but never achieved the same level of success.

26 Pictorial fabric : TOILE

Toile fabric can be used as upholstery, as wallpaper, or even as a fabric for clothing. The name “toile” comes from the French word for “canvas, linen cloth”.

30 Grp. that gets the show on the road : USO

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

32 Recipient of media complaints, for short : FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been around since 1934, when it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.

33 Some turkeys : TOMS

A male turkey is called a “tom”, taking its name from a “tomcat”. The inference is that like a tomcat, the male turkey is relatively wild and undomesticated, sexually promiscuous and frequently gets into fights. A female turkey is called a “hen”.

38 Eponymous physicist Ernst : MACH

The Mach number of a moving object (like say an airplane) is its speed relative to the speed of sound. A plane travelling at Mach 2, for example, is moving at twice the speed of sound. The term “Mach” takes its name from the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach who published a groundbreaking paper in 1877 that even predicted the “sonic boom”.

40 Chop ___ : SUEY

Many believe that the Chinese dish known as chop suey was invented in America, by Chinese immigrants. In fact, by the time it showed up in the US it already existed in the Taishan district of Guangdong in southeast China, the origin of many of those immigrants. “Chop suey” translates as “assorted pieces”, and is made up of some meat and eggs quickly cooked with vegetables in a thickened sauce.

49 N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer with four rap albums, informally : SHAQ

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality show: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

50 “The Tale of ___ Saltan” (Rimsky-Korsakov opera) : TSAR

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was one of the great Russian composers from the Romantic Era. His most famous works are probably “Capriccio Espagnol” and “Scheherazade”. While he was composing, Rimsky-Korsakov spent much of his working life as an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy.

56 City under siege from 2012 to ’16 : ALEPPO

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and is located not far from Damascus, the nation’s capital. Aleppo owes it size and history of prosperity to its location at the end of the Silk Road, the trade route that linked Asia to Europe (and other locations). The Suez Canal was opened up in 1869 bringing a new route for transport of goods, and so Aleppo’s prosperity declined over the past one hundred years or so. The city’s population has suffered terribly since the start of the Syrian Civil War, with the Battle of Aleppo raging from 2012 to 2016.

59 Page 2, 4 or 6, generally : VERSO

The left and right pages of a book or magazine are known in publishing circles as verso and recto. Recto comes from the Latin for “right”, and verso comes from the Latin word for “turned”. The idea is that the left side of the page is “turned” and is the reverse of the recto/right side.

61 Art Deco notable : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian-born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

62 Dissolute man : ROUE

“Roue” is a lovely word, I think, one used to describe a less than lovely man, someone of loose morals. “Roue” comes from the French word “rouer” meaning “to break on a wheel”. This describes the ancient form of capital punishment where a poor soul was lashed to a wheel and then beaten to death with cudgels and bars. I guess the suggestion is that a roue, with his loose morals, deserves such a punishment.

Someone described as “dissolute” lacks ethical restraint, has loose morals. The term comes from the Latin verb “dissolvere” meaning “to loosen up”.

64 “Dogs” : FEET

“Dogs” is a slang term meaning “feet”. I couldn’t unearth the etymology though …

65 Abbr. on a brewery sign : ESTD

Established (“est.” or “estd.”)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Metallic waste : DROSS
6 Isn’t a bystander : ACTS
10 Longtime Syrian leader : ASSAD
15 Preferred seating request : AISLE
16 Get ready for planting : PLOW
17 In ___ (developing) : UTERO
18 Understood : TACIT
19 Ithaca, to Odysseus : HOME
20 Odysseus, to Ithaca : RULER
21 Les ___-Unis : ETATS
22 Patent preceder : IDEA
23 Girder type : I-BEAM
24 Lineage-based women’s grp. : DAR
25 “___ be my pleasure!” : IT’D
27 “Star Trek: ___” (syndicated series of the ’80s-’90s) : TNG
29 Draft org. : SSS
30 Pizza chain : UNO
31 Stumblebum : OAF
33 Rare craps throws : TWOS
36 Like Mercury among all the planets : INMOST
41 Legendary Manhattan music club : CBGB
45 “Here comes trouble!” : OH NO!
46 Distance for Captain Nemo : LEAGUE
47 ___ package : CARE
48 Big name in mortgages? : MAE
49 TV host Ryan : SEACREST
51 Singer Carly ___ Jepsen : RAE
52 Hide away : STASH
54 Place to go to swim, informally : THE Y
55 Mythical figure known for ribaldry : SATYR
57 Writer Edgar ___ Poe : ALLAN
59 Places where streams flow : VALES
60 Indirect comment … or a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters : OBLIQUE REFERENCE
66 Org. for students in uniform : ROTC
67 Danish money : KRONER
68 Blackberrys, e.g., for short : PDAS
69 Spread in a spread : BRIE
70 27 Chopin works : ETUDES
71 Bombard : PELT
72 Acorn, essentially : SEED
73 Deals with : SEES TO
74 Indulged to excess, with “on” : OD’ED

Down

1 Like the slang “da bomb” and “tubular, man!” : DATED
2 Vaquero’s item : RIATA
3 Award for Washington and Lee : OSCAR
4 Pupil of a lizard, e.g. : SLIT
5 Becomes established : SETS IN
6 Garden pest : APHID
7 Dummkopf : CLOD
8 “Personally …” : TO ME …
9 Worry about, informally : SWEAT
10 The Charioteer constellation : AURIGA
11 Bit of theater detritus : STUB
12 Tennis Hall-of-Famer with a palindromic name : SELES
13 Arts and hard sciences, e.g. : AREAS
14 Sides of some quads : DORMS
26 Pictorial fabric : TOILE
28 Studying aid : NOTES
30 Grp. that gets the show on the road : USO
32 Recipient of media complaints, for short : FCC
33 Some turkeys : TOMS
34 [Yawn!] : WHAT A BORE!
35 1-1 : ONE-ALL TIE
37 Well-organized : NEAT
38 Eponymous physicist Ernst : MACH
39 Horrid sort : OGRE
40 Chop ___ : SUEY
42 Made the rounds, say? : BARTENDED
43 It varies from black to white : GRAYSCALE
44 Ballpark purchase : BEER
49 N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer with four rap albums, informally : SHAQ
50 “The Tale of ___ Saltan” (Rimsky-Korsakov opera) : TSAR
53 Like some golf shots and most bread : SLICED
56 City under siege from 2012 to ’16 : ALEPPO
58 “No ___” (bumper sticker) : NUKES
59 Page 2, 4 or 6, generally : VERSO
60 Space balls : ORBS
61 Art Deco notable : ERTE
62 Dissolute man : ROUE
63 Butts : ENDS
64 “Dogs” : FEET
65 Abbr. on a brewery sign : ESTD

10 thoughts on “0313-19 NY Times Crossword 13 Mar 19, Wednesday”

  1. 20:25. I’m not sure if I’d have finished this one without the theme either. It helped a lot.

    FWIW I found two explanations for dogs=feet. One is that it originated from something called “rhyming slang”. In this case dog’s meat = feet. I assume that means they just find something that rhymes with a word and substitute that word or phrase for the word.

    The second explanation seems less likely, but it’s a better story. Apparently Hush Puppy shoes were the start of it. The owner of what were going to be called “Laser” shoes was in the south dining with his local sales manager. They were eating hush puppies (deep fried cornbread), and he asked where the name came from. The man said the little balls were used to throw to the dogs to keep them quiet. The Hush Puppies name for shoes was born as was the usage of dogs for feet..or so the legend goes.

    Best –

  2. Hard. Got stuck on They– the Y –duh–and Manhattan night club. Never got how to read the circled letters until puzzle completed.

  3. No errors. This was a slow, methodical grind for me but it ended successfully. The theme helped in getting several letters that I would not have known otherwise.

    This Cockney rhyming dialect as the source of dogs meat=feet fascinates me. I would love to hear some of this stuff being actually spoken. But I doubt that I will ever make it to London again.

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