0327-19 NY Times Crossword 27 Mar 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Michael Hawkins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Financial Myths

Themed answers are terms from the world of FINANCE that include a MYTHICAL creature:

  • 49A Misconceptions about money … or a loose hint to 20-, 24- and 44-Across? : FINANCIAL MYTHS
  • 20A Success story like Uber or Airbnb : UNICORN STARTUP
  • 24A Institutions propped up with government support : ZOMBIE BANKS
  • 44A One profiting through litigation, not innovation : PATENT TROLL

Bill’s time: 9m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Alternative to Venmo : CASH

Venmo is a smartphone payment app that is now owned by PayPal. The first version of the product was introduced in 2009 by two entrepreneurs who had met as freshman students at the University of Pennsylvania. They sold the company in 2012 for over $26 million, and then PayPal acquired it the following year for a whopping $800 million. I wonder do PayPal ever buy blogs …

14 A3s, A4s and A8s, in the automotive world : AUDIS

In most countries around the world, Audi uses its corporate tagline in advertising, namely “Vorsprung durch Technik” (which translates as “Advancement through Technology”). However, the literal translation from the German was dropped for the US market, in favor of “Truth in Engineering”.

15 Black-and-white item you can consume whole : OREO

How the Oreo cookie came to get its name seems to have been lost in the mists of time. One theory is that it comes from the French “or” meaning “gold”, a reference to the gold color of the original packing. Another suggestion is that the name is the Greek word “oreo” meaning “beautiful, nice, well-done”.

20 Success story like Uber or Airbnb : UNICORN STARTUP

In the world of finance, a unicorn is a privately-held startup company that has a value of over $1 billion. The derivative terms “decacorn” and “hectacorn” refer to companies with valuation of over $10 billion and $100 billion respectively. The use of the term “unicorn” reflects how unlikely are such valuations. Venture capitalist Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” (in this sense) in 2013.

22 “True Detective” and “True Blood” airer : HBO

“True Detective” is a crime drama made by HBO that has an interesting format. Each series has its own narrative and cast. The show seems to be attracting some great actors. The first season was led by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and the second by Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams.

“True Blood” is a television drama made by HBO. The series is based on a series of novels written by Charlaine Harris that describe human and vampires co-existing in a small town in Louisiana. I don’t do vampires …

23 Poehler of “Parks and Recreation” : AMY

Amy Poehler was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 2001 to 2008, notable for appearing in many great sketches, including those where she played Hillary Clinton opposite Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin. Poehler also starred with Fey in the 2008 movie “Baby Mama”. And, Poehler led the cast of the sitcom “Parks and Recreation” for its seven-season run.

“Parks and Recreation” is a sitcom that started airing on NBC in 2009, and is a show that has grown on me. It stars the “Saturday Night Live” alum Amy Poehler. The creators of “Parks and Recreation” are part of the team responsible for the American version of “The Office”, so you’ll notice some similarities in the style of the two shows, and some actors that have appeared in both.

24 Institutions propped up with government support : ZOMBIE BANKS

A zombie bank is a bank that has the ability to keep operating, even though it has a net worth of less than zero. Such banks can repay their debts because their credit is backed by a government. So, the banks remain solvent due to investor confidence in the ability and willingness of that government provide the bank with credit. The term “zombie bank” was coined in 1987 by American economist Edward Kane.

30 When repeated, start of a cheer : HIP

Hip hip hurray!

33 Newton who lent his name to three laws of motion : ISAAC

Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion are the basis of classical mechanics. The three laws define the relationship between a body and the forces acting on that body, and its resulting motion.

35 Da Vinci’s “___ Lisa” : MONA

Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece that we know in English as the “Mona Lisa” is called “La Gioconda” in Italian, the language of the artist. It’s also known as “La Joconde” by the Government of France which owns the painting and displays it in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The title comes from the name of the subject, almost certainly Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Giocondo was a wealthy silk merchant in Florence who commissioned the painting for the couple’s new home to celebrate the birth of their second son.

36 Catherine who married Henry VIII : PARR

Henry VIII was the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry she had been widowed twice, and after Henry died she married once again, racking up four husbands in all.

37 Gives the cold shoulder : SHUNS

To give someone the cold shoulder is to ignore the person deliberately. A little research into the etymology of “cold shoulder” reveals that there’s some dispute over the origin of the phrase. To me, the most credible suggestion is that the term was coined by Sir Walter Scott in his writings, and he simply used the imagery of someone “turning away, coldly”, to suggest the act of ignoring someone. Less credible is the suggestion that unwelcome visitors to a home in days gone by might be offered a “cold shoulder” of mutton, rather than a hot meal.

39 McGregor of the “Star Wars” prequels : EWAN

Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.

41 Verb whose past tense is formed by moving the first letter to the end : EAT

“Eat” and “ate”.

43 Chinese path : TAO

The name of the Chinese character “tao” translates as “path”, but the concept of Taoism signifies the true nature of the world.

44 One profiting through litigation, not innovation : PATENT TROLL

A patent troll is a company that owns patents and focuses on enforcing those patents rather than manufacturing products based on the patents. Patent trolls will often purchase patents speculatively from a bankrupt company, and then attempt to make money by suing another company by claiming patent infringement.

47 Granola ___ : BAR

48 Granola bit : OAT

The names “Granola” and “Granula” were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

58 West African republic : GHANA

The country name “Ghana” translates as “warrior king” in the local language. The British established a colony they called Gold Coast in 1874, later to become Ghana, as part of the scramble by Europeans to settle as much of Africa as they could. One of Ghana’s most famous sons is Kofi Annan, the diplomat who served as General Secretary of the UN for ten years until the beginning of 2007.

60 Something a complainer might raise : CAIN

As Cain was the first murderer according the Bible, he is associated with evil or trouble. The idiom “raise Cain” is the equivalent of “raise Hell” and “raise the Devil”. In all cases, the meaning is to bring back evil or to cause trouble.

62 404 Not Found, e.g. : ERROR

An HTTP 404 error is one of the common errors encountered when browsing the World Wide Web. The error is returned when a user accesses a site successfully, but cannot find the the page that is requested. Usually, this 404 Not Found error is encountered when clicking on a broken or dead link. As an aside, I’d appreciate it if any reader could contact me or leave if a comment if a broken link is encountered on this web site. Thank you!

64 Aussies with deep pockets? : ROOS

The word “kangaroo” comes from the Australian Aborigine term for the animal. There’s an oft-quoted story that the explorer James Cook (later Captain Cook) asked a local native what was the name of this remarkable-looking animal, and the native responded with “Kangaroo”. The story is that the native was actually saying “I don’t understand you”, but as cute as that tale is, it’s just an urban myth.

Down

2 Beach bash : LUAU

The Hawaiian party or feast known as a “luau” really dates back to 1819, when King Kamehameha II removed religious laws that governed the eating of meals. These laws called for women and men to eat separately. At the same time as he changed the laws, the king initiated the luau tradition by symbolically eating with the women who moved in his circle.

3 Ruler of Valhalla : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Valhalla (“hall of the slain”) is a gigantic hall in the world of Asgard. Asgard and Valhalla are ruled by the god Odin, the chief Norse god.

4 1″ version of a 15-Across : MINI
(15A Black-and-white item you can consume whole : OREO)

Bite-sized Oreo cookies were introduced in 1991 under the brand name Mini Oreo. Mini Oreos were dropped in the late nineties, but reintroduced in 2000 as part of a promotion for the Dodge Caravan. They’re still around, and you can now even get a mint version.

7 1978-79 revolution site : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

10 Toyota debut of 1982 : CAMRY

The Toyota Camry takes its name from the Japanese word for “crown”. Toyota management likes the idea of naming their cars after the word “crown”, as they did with the Toyota Crown, followed by the Toyota Corona (Latin for crown) and the Toyota Corolla (Latin for small crown).

12 Classic George Takei role : SULU

Mr. Hikaru Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …

13 Beginning of a link : HTTP

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

19 Orange dish : YAMS

Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the the world than they are in this country, and are especially common in Africa.

21 Queen’s honour, for short : OBE

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry in the UK that was established in 1917 by King George V. There are five classes within the order, which are in descending seniority:

  • Knight Grand Cross (GBE)
  • Knight Commander (KBE)
  • Commander (CBE)
  • Officer (OBE)
  • Member (MBE)

26 Brother of video games : MARIO

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

27 Balladeer : BARD

The original bards were storytellers, poets and composers of music in medieval Britain and Ireland, with the term coming from the Old Celtic word “bardos” that described a poet or singer. I guess the most famous bard was William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon.

28 Less than right : ACUTE

In geometry, there are several classes of angles:

  • Acute (< 90 degrees) 
  • Right (= 90 degrees) 
  • Obtuse (> 90 degrees and < 180 degrees) 
  • Straight (180 degrees) 
  • Reflex (> 180 degrees)

35 Israel’s Golda : MEIR

Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.

42 Chief law officer: Abbr. : ATTY GEN

Attorneys General (AGs) head up the Department of Justice (DOJ). When the office of the Attorney General was created in 1789 it was a part-time job, with no departmental support. The Department of Justice came into being in 1870.

44 “Ugh” reviews : PANS

To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

45 To boot : NO LESS

The noun “boot” was used once to describe something of advantage in trying to accomplish a goal. This obsolete term really only exists in the adverb “to boot” meaning “in addition, over and above”, literally “to advantage”.

46 Scot’s headwear : TAM

A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”) but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of the Robert Burns poem “Tam O’Shanter”.

47 Homes for owls : BARNS

The barn owl is the most common species of owl. It is found everywhere in the world, except in desert and polar regions.

50 Turgenev who wrote “Fathers and Sons” : IVAN

Ivan Turgenev was a Russian novelist and playwright. Turgenev’s most famous works are a collection of short stories called “A Sportsman’s Sketches” (1852) and the novel “Fathers and Sons” (1862).

51 Deutschland turndown : NEIN

The country that we known in English as “Germany” is known as “Deutschland” in German. The name “Germany” comes from “Germania”, which is the Latin name that Julius Caesar gave to the peoples located east of the Rhine. The name “Deutschland” comes from an Old High German word meaning “land belonging to the people”.

52 “Othello” schemer : IAGO

Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.

53 Ship of myth : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

55 Like walnut shells : HARD

Our everyday usage of “nut” is often at odds with the botanical definition of the term. Examples of “true nuts” are acorns, chestnuts and hazelnuts. On the other hand, even though we usually refer to almonds, pecans and walnuts as “nuts”, botanically they are classified as “drupes”. Both drupes and true nuts are fruits, the vehicles that flowering plants use to disseminate seeds. True nuts are examples of a “dry fruit”, a fruit that has no fleshy outer layer. Drupes are examples of a “fleshy fruit”, a fruit with a fleshy outer layer that often makes it desirable for an animal to eat. Familiar examples of drupes are cherries, peaches and plums. We eat the fleshy part of these drupes, and discard the pit inside that contains the seed. Other examples of drupes are walnuts, almonds and pecans. The relatively inedible flashy part of these drupes is usually removed for us before they hit our grocery stores shelves. We crack open the pit inside and eat the seed of these drupes. No wonder we use the term “nuts” to mean “crazy”!

56 Smooch, in Britspeak : SNOG

“Snogging” is British slang of unknown origin that dates back to the end of WWII. The term is used for “kissing and cuddling”, what we call “making out” over here in the US.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Walk in big boots, say : CLOMP
6 Practically : NIGH
10 Alternative to Venmo : CASH
14 A3s, A4s and A8s, in the automotive world : AUDIS
15 Black-and-white item you can consume whole : OREO
16 Adjoin : ABUT
17 Like galoshes weather : RAINY
18 Ground beef sandwich with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions : PATTY MELT
20 Success story like Uber or Airbnb : UNICORN STARTUP
22 “True Detective” and “True Blood” airer : HBO
23 Poehler of “Parks and Recreation” : AMY
24 Institutions propped up with government support : ZOMBIE BANKS
30 When repeated, start of a cheer : HIP
33 Newton who lent his name to three laws of motion : ISAAC
34 “That’s my ___!” : CUE
35 Da Vinci’s “___ Lisa” : MONA
36 Catherine who married Henry VIII : PARR
37 Gives the cold shoulder : SHUNS
39 McGregor of the “Star Wars” prequels : EWAN
40 “Just joshin’!” : I KID
41 Verb whose past tense is formed by moving the first letter to the end : EAT
42 Matrimonial path : AISLE
43 Chinese path : TAO
44 One profiting through litigation, not innovation : PATENT TROLL
47 Granola ___ : BAR
48 Granola bit : OAT
49 Misconceptions about money … or a loose hint to 20-, 24- and 44-Across? : FINANCIAL MYTHS
57 Discuss one’s toilet habits, for example : OVERSHARE
58 West African republic : GHANA
60 Something a complainer might raise : CAIN
61 Easter basketful : EGGS
62 404 Not Found, e.g. : ERROR
63 Lodgings : INNS
64 Aussies with deep pockets? : ROOS
65 Poke : NUDGE

Down

1 “Wheels” : CAR
2 Beach bash : LUAU
3 Ruler of Valhalla : ODIN
4 1″ version of a 15-Across : MINI
5 Mind reader : PSYCHIC
6 “Didn’t bother me at all” : NO PROB
7 1978-79 revolution site : IRAN
8 Trips up : GETS
9 Provocative comments on current events : HOT TAKES
10 Toyota debut of 1982 : CAMRY
11 Help the offense? : ABET
12 Classic George Takei role : SULU
13 Beginning of a link : HTTP
19 Orange dish : YAMS
21 Queen’s honour, for short : OBE
24 “That’s enough out of you!” : ZIP IT!
25 Universal Studios Japan site : OSAKA
26 Brother of video games : MARIO
27 Balladeer : BARD
28 Less than right : ACUTE
29 Sister : NUN
30 “Why do you think that?” : HOW SO?
31 Totally : IN ALL
32 Group of talking heads : PANEL
35 Israel’s Golda : MEIR
37 Role in hide-and-seek : SEARCHER
38 It’s over your head : HAT
42 Chief law officer: Abbr. : ATTY GEN
44 “Ugh” reviews : PANS
45 To boot : NO LESS
46 Scot’s headwear : TAM
47 Homes for owls : BARNS
49 Hubs : FOCI
50 Turgenev who wrote “Fathers and Sons” : IVAN
51 Deutschland turndown : NEIN
52 “Othello” schemer : IAGO
53 Ship of myth : ARGO
54 Drive-___ window : THRU
55 Like walnut shells : HARD
56 Smooch, in Britspeak : SNOG
59 “___ we finished now?” : ARE

10 thoughts on “0327-19 NY Times Crossword 27 Mar 19, Wednesday”

  1. 23:22. I got bogged down in 2 or 3 different areas. I couldn’t think of a role aside from “hider” or “seeker” until SEARCHER revealed itself. I also wanted to put OVERScARE rather than OVERSHARE. Both would work actually….

    Best –

  2. 18:13 no errors…….I must live under a rock or something because I have never heard of any of the theme expressions

  3. I got this one with no errors but thought that it was pretty difficult. My main hindrance was the fact that I did not know any of the theme answers (although I was certainly glad to learn them). That left me with depending almost exclusively on the crosses for help. Overall, however, it was quite brilliantly constructed and an invigorating challenge.

  4. Bill’s explanation of “snog” brought this to mind:
    “Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.”
    Groucho Marx

    1. Robert –
      I’ve also heard “Whoever named it ‘near beer’ was a poor judge of distance”…referring to non-alcoholic beer during prohibition.

  5. Yes, themers and revealer were unfamiliar, but filled in with some convenient crosses and a little guesswork. Enjoyed it.

  6. 10:00, no errors. In the same boat as previous posters, had not heard of any of the theme answers until today.

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