0329-19 NY Times Crossword 29 Mar 19, Friday

Constructed by: Martin Ashwood-Smith
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 15m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Sub-Saharan predator : MAMBA

Mambas, and most famously black mambas, are highly venomous snakes that used to be responsible for a great number of fatalities before anti-venoms became available. Mamba venom is a deadly mix of neurotoxins that attack the nervous system and cardiotoxins that attack the heart. A bite, if left untreated, causes the lungs and the heart to shut down.

6 Important figure in a student’s education : SAT SCORE

Today, the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation “SAT”.

14 Apotheosis : IDEAL

The apotheosis is the ideal example, the epitome. The term is originally Greek, from “apo” meaning “here” and “theos” meaning “god”.

15 Laser alternative : DOT MATRIX

A dot matrix printer works somewhat like an old typewriter. The printer head runs back and forth across the stage striking the paper through an inked ribbon, creating the printed characters from small dots.

The key features of a laser printer (or copier) are that it uses plain paper and produces quality text at high speed. Laser printers work by projecting a laser image of the printed page onto a rotating drum that is coated with photoconductors (material that becomes conductive when exposed to light). The areas of the drum exposed to the laser carry a different charge than the unexposed areas. Dry ink (toner) sticks to the exposed areas due to electrostatic charge. The toner is then transferred to paper by contact and is fused into the paper by the application of heat. So, that explains why paper coming out of a laser printer is warm, and sometimes powdery.

18 Man in Mannheim : HERR

Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. The city is a little unusual in that it has streets and avenues laid out in a grid pattern, rather like an American city. For this reason, Mannheim has the nickname “die Quadratestadt” (city of the squares).

19 Pop nickname that was the title of a 2001 4x platinum album : J.LO

“J.Lo” is the nickname of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. “J.Lo” is also the title of her second studio album, one released in 2001.

21 Cafeteria loads : TRAYFULS

“Cafeteria” is a Mexican-Spanish word meaning “coffee store” that we imported into American English around 1840. Somehow, that coffee store became a self-service dining establishment in the 1890s.

23 Combination in the card game bezique : MELD

Bezique is a French card game that is almost identical to pinochle. Future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill learned to play Bezique while working as a war correspondent during the Boer War. Churchill did like his card games. In 1946 he lost quite bit of money to President Harry Truman while playing poker.

27 End of a counting-out rhyme : MOE

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

31 New Orleans entertainment : DIXIELAND JAZZ

“Dixie” is a nickname sometimes used for the American South, and often specifically for the original 11 states that seceded from the Union just prior to the Civil War. It’s apparently not certain how the name “Dixie” came about. One theory is that it comes from the term “dixie” which was used for currency issued by banks in Louisiana. The 10-dollar bills had the word “dix” on the reverse side, the French for “ten”. From the banknote, the French speaking area around New Orleans came to be known as Dixieland, and from there “Dixie” came to apply to the South in general.

34 City that was the first capital of French Louisiana : MOBILE, ALABAMA

Mobile, Alabama was founded in 1702, and the first capital of French Colonial Louisiana. The city takes its name from the Mobilian tribe of Native Americans who lived in that area.

36 B.C. neighbor : ALB

Alberta (Alta.) is a big province, one about the size of Texas. Alberta is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Princess Louise also donated her name to Lake Louise, the large glacial lake in the province, now within the bounds of Banff National Park.

The Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) is in the Pacific Northwest. The British referred to the territory drained by the Columbia River as the “Columbia District”. Queen Victoria chose the name “British Columbia” for that section of the Columbia District that fell under British control. The remainder of the Columbia District was referred to as “American Columbia” or “Southern Columbia”, which became the Oregon Territory in 1848.

45 Order : FIAT

A fiat is an arbitrary rule that is imposed, and is the Latin for “let it be done”.

48 Selfie stick, e.g. : ROD

Selfie sticks; oh, how I hate selfie sticks. A walk down the Strip in Vegas is an enlightening exercise in what’s wrong with contemporary photography …

49 Journalist Logan : LARA

Lara Logan is a South African newswoman, and is currently the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for CBS News. CBS placed Logan on a forced leave of absence at the end of 2013 for comments that she made about the US Government’s culpability in the Benghazi attack and for inaccuracies in her reporting of the story.

50 Dramatic musical effects : GLISSANDI

In music, a glissando (plural “glissandi”), is a “glide” from one pitch to another, a rapid “slide” through a series of consecutive notes. On a piano, this can be accomplished by swiping a finger across the keys. On a harp, the effect is achieved with a similar action across the strings.

53 Barre hops? : JETES

A jeté is a leap in ballet, with the term “jeté” coming from the French word “jeter” meaning “to throw”. A “jeté en avant” is a “leap to the front”, towards the audience. A “grand jeté” is a long horizontal jump, a split in the air, leaping from one foot to the other.

A barre is a handrail used by ballet dancers for warm-up exercises and to provide support when practicing certain moves.

56 It offers a variety of views : OP-ED PAGE

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

57 Preoccupied with arcane details : WONKY

A wonk is an overly studious person. It is an American slang term that has been around at least since 1954. More recently, “wonk” has acquired an air of respectability as it has come to mean someone who has studies a topic thoroughly and become somewhat expert.

Down

3 Funny Anne : MEARA

Anne Meara married fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. The couple’s children are actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spin-off from “All in the Family”.

5 Schooner filler : ALE

A schooner is a glass of varying capacity, depending on where its used. Over in Britain, a schooner is a large sherry glass. The smaller sherry glass is known as as a clipper, with both names apparently referring to the size of of shops that brought sherry over from Spain. Here in the US, a schooner is usually a beer glass that’s rounded, with a short stem. The size can be anything from 18 oz. to 32 oz.

7 N.L. East city : ATL

The Atlanta Braves are the only team to have won baseball’s World Series in three different home cities. They won as the Boston Braves in 1914, the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and the Atlanta Braves in 1995.

8 Speakeasy investigator, informally : T-MAN

A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury (T stands for “Treasury”).

A speakeasy is an establishment that sells alcoholic drinks illegally. Speakeasies were very big in the US in the days of Prohibition. The obvious etymology, of a speakeasy owner asking his or her customers to “speak easy” so as not to draw attention to the authorities, is thought to have originated in 1888 in McKeesport just outside Pittsburgh.

9 Fill : SATE

“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

10 Third-stringers : C-TEAM

We’ve been using the phrases “first string” and “second string” in athletics since the mid-19th century. The expressions come from archery, in which a competitor would carry a second bowstring in case the first bowstring broke.

12 ___ de veau (veal dish) : RIS

Ris de veau is the French term for a dish made from calf sweetbreads. Sweetbreads are usually made from the thymus or pancreas.

13 PC file suffix : EXE

In the Windows operating system, a file with the extension .exe is an “executable” file.

15 Pickle flavorers : DILL SEEDS

Often, a dill pickle is actually a pickled gherkin, as the gherkin and cucumber are different cultivars within the same species. Here in the US, dill is commonly added to the pickling vinegar or brine, but this wasn’t the case when I used to eat them back in Ireland (I can’t stand dill!). You might see jars labeled as “cornichons”, but they’re gherkins. “Cornichon” is just the French word for “gherkin”.

27 Bungling : MALADROIT

The French for “to the right” is “à droit”, from which we get our word “adroit”. The original meaning of “adroit” was “rightly, properly”, but it has come to mean dexterous and skillful. Someone described as “maladroit” is unskilled and awkward.

29 Winner of six Grand Slam men’s singles titles from 1985 to 1992 : EDBERG

Stefan Edberg is a Swedish tennis player, and former world number one. Sadly, one part of Edberg’s legacy is his involvement in a freak accident at the 1983 US Open. A ball struck by Edberg hit one of the linesmen causing him to topple off his chair, fracturing his skull as he hit the ground. That injury was fatal.

To win the Grand Slam of tennis, a player must win the four major tournaments in the same season:

  • The Australian Open (in mid-January, played on hard courts)
  • The French Open (in May/June, played on clay)
  • Wimbledon (in June/July, played on grass)
  • The US Open (in August/September, played on hard courts)

31 Mrs. of film : DOUBTFIRE

The 1993 comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire” is based on a 1987 novel called “Madame Doubtfire” by Anne Fine. The movie is set and was filmed in San Francisco. The title role is played by Robin Williams, who spent most of the movie dressed as the female Mrs. Doubtfire. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the movie won the Oscar for Best Makeup.

32 Ka ___ (southernmost Hawaiian point) : LAE

The most southerly state in the US is Hawaii, and the most northerly is Alaska. Alaska is also the most westerly state, and believe it or not, it is also the most easterly state. That’s because Alaska’s Aleutian Islands stretch across the 180-degree of longitude into the Eastern Hemisphere.

33 Onetime teen idol who went on to win the 2013 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor : JARED LETO

Jared Leto is an actor and musician. In the world of music, Leto is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. In the film world, one of his most critically acclaimed role was that of a heroin addict in “Requiem for a Dream”. He also appeared in “American Psycho”, “Panic Room” and “Lord of War”. Leto won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club”, which he portraying a transgender woman.

35 Bit of code : DAH

Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

41 Rapper with the multiplatinum albums “The Chronic” and “2001” : DR DRE

“Dr. Dre” is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

46 Job order : ASAP

As soon as possible (ASAP)

47 Spanish appetizer : TAPA

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

50 1964 Pontiac debut : GTO

The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later founded the DeLorean Motor Company.

52 Badger : NAG

To badger is to harass. The verb “to badger” comes from the cruel practice of badger-baiting, which dates back to medieval times. Badger-baiting is a blood sport in which a dog is used as bait for a badger in its den, to draw it out into the open. The den is an artificial structure built to resemble a natural badgers’ den, complete with a tunnel entrance. The dog is sent down the tunnel causing the badger and dog to lock their jaws on each other. The badger and dog are then removed from the den by pulling on the dog’s tale. Horrible …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Sub-Saharan predator : MAMBA
6 Important figure in a student’s education : SAT SCORE
14 Apotheosis : IDEAL
15 Laser alternative : DOT MATRIX
16 Oppressive public attention : GLARE
17 Uncomfortable : ILL AT EASE
18 Man in Mannheim : HERR
19 Pop nickname that was the title of a 2001 4x platinum album : J.LO
20 Comic Brennan : NEAL
21 Cafeteria loads : TRAYFULS
23 Combination in the card game bezique : MELD
26 A ton : GOBS
27 End of a counting-out rhyme : MOE
30 Number on a sundial : XII
31 New Orleans entertainment : DIXIELAND JAZZ
34 City that was the first capital of French Louisiana : MOBILE, ALABAMA
35 Cheats : DOUBLE-DEALERS
36 B.C. neighbor : ALB
37 “By all means” : YES
38 In dat place : DERE
39 Provider of a good picture : HDTV
41 Severely burden : DRAG DOWN
45 Order : FIAT
48 Selfie stick, e.g. : ROD
49 Journalist Logan : LARA
50 Dramatic musical effects : GLISSANDI
53 Barre hops? : JETES
54 Criticized severely : TORE APART
55 Weighed on : ATE AT
56 It offers a variety of views : OP-ED PAGE
57 Preoccupied with arcane details : WONKY

Down

1 Strength : MIGHT
2 Reformer Felix : ADLER
3 Funny Anne : MEARA
4 Only songwriter in history to write four consecutive #1 hits (1978) : BARRY GIBB
5 Schooner filler : ALE
6 Goes it alone : SOLOS
7 N.L. East city : ATL
8 Speakeasy investigator, informally : T-MAN
9 Fill : SATE
10 Third-stringers : C-TEAM
11 Things doctors need to take : ORAL EXAMS
12 ___ de veau (veal dish) : RIS
13 PC file suffix : EXE
15 Pickle flavorers : DILL SEEDS
19 Golden time : JUBILEE
22 In a sly way : FOXILY
24 Gershwin title girl : LIZA
25 Baseball’s Dean, to fans : DIZ
27 Bungling : MALADROIT
28 Leashed : ON A LEAD
29 Winner of six Grand Slam men’s singles titles from 1985 to 1992 : EDBERG
31 Mrs. of film : DOUBTFIRE
32 Ka ___ (southernmost Hawaiian point) : LAE
33 Onetime teen idol who went on to win the 2013 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor : JARED LETO
34 Shape : MOLD
35 Bit of code : DAH
40 Tightly gripped : VISED
41 Rapper with the multiplatinum albums “The Chronic” and “2001” : DR DRE
42 Like some straw : OATEN
43 Unleash : WREAK
44 Repugnant : NASTY
46 Job order : ASAP
47 Spanish appetizer : TAPA
50 1964 Pontiac debut : GTO
51 Cut (off) : LOP
52 Badger : NAG
53 Something that may be dropped in shock : JAW

16 thoughts on “0329-19 NY Times Crossword 29 Mar 19, Friday”

  1. Slow start, then picked up speed. Thought I had it but had SIMBA instead of MAMBA which gave me SIGHT for strength and IDLER for Adler, never having heard of him. Rats.

  2. 1:06:31 no errors….spent a lot of time in the lower right corner and got words like glissandi with crosses.
    You guys say this was easy? Not IMO

  3. Another theory is that it’s called Dixie or Dixieland because
    it’s what’s south of the Mason-Dixon line.

  4. …except the 2013 Oscar winner for supporting actor was Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained.” Whoops.

    1. According to Wikipedia for ‘Best Supporting Actor’: “In the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, and generally correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County; the ceremonies are always held the following year.”

  5. 22:08, 2 errors: 56A OPE(N) PAGE; 40D VISE(N). Poor proofreading, on my part. Should have caught the 40D error, but filled OPEN first.

  6. 57A is just WRONG. “Wonky” refers to something that is “off” or “not quite right”. It has nothing to do with details or preoccupation with anything.

    That lower right corner is a *killer*.

  7. Allen — except for (usually) policy wonks like Rachel Maddow, or Bill Clinton was often referred to as a policy wonk… .

    1. @Sandra … It has been my observation that Allen’s dictionary resides solely in Allen’s head and trumps all others … 😜.

      1. I tend to agree with Allen somewhat. I lived in England for four years and wonky is a common term to describe something that was not quite right. i.e. your TV is not working: you have a wonky telly. I’m surprised Bill did not mention it.

        1. Our quarrel was not with Allen’s opinion that “wonky” has the meaning you describe, but his opinion that it does not have the meaning to which the puzzle referred. It does, in fact, have both meanings …

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