0128-20 NY Times Crossword 28 Jan 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Trenton Charlson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Final Four

Themed answers each end with a letter, and together they give us the FINAL FOUR letters of the alphabet:

  • 62A March Madness quartet … or, collectively, the second parts of 17-, 25-, 37- and 51-Across? : FINAL FOUR
  • 17A “The wart stops here” sloganeer : COMPOUND W
  • 25A Civil rights activist with a Harlem thoroughfare named after him : MALCOLM X
  • 37A So-called “millennials” : GENERATION Y
  • 51A Keyboard shortcut for “undo,” on a PC : CONTROL+Z

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Longtime SeaWorld attraction : SHAMU

Shamu was the name of the third orca (aka “killer whale”) ever to be featured in a public exhibition. Shamu starred in a popular SeaWorld show in San Diego in the sixties. After she died in 1971, her name lived on as the “stage name” of orca shows in different SeaWorld parks. That original Shamu was retired after she grabbed and refused to let go of the leg of one of her trainers.

9 University of Florida athlete : GATOR

The Florida Gators are the sports teams of the University of Florida, located in Gainesville. Sometimes the female teams are called the “Lady Gators”, and all of the fans make up the “Gator Nation”.

20 “Cimarron” novelist Ferber : EDNA

Edna Ferber was a novelist and playwright from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ferber won a Pulitzer for her novel “So Big”, which was made into a film a few times, most famously in 1953 starring Jane Wyman. Ferber also wrote “Show Boat”, “Cimarron” and “Giant”, which were adapted successfully for the stage and/or big screen.

“Cimarron” is a 1929 novel by Edna Ferber that was adapted into a film of the same name two years later. The novel is all about the Oklahoma Land Rush. Unsettled land back then was known as Cimarron Territory, a familiar name used by settlers, giving the title to the novel. There is a 1931 film adaptation that won three of that season’s Oscars, including the award for Outstanding Production.

23 Leonardo 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.

Leonardo da Vinci was perhaps the most diversely talented person who ever contributed to society. He was a gifted painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer and writer. Da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper” is the most reproduced work of art in the world.

25 Civil rights activist with a Harlem thoroughfare named after him : MALCOLM X

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. He told his own life story in the incredibly successful book “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, on which he collaborated with author Alex Haley. Malcolm Little changed his name when he joined the Nation of Islam, choosing “X” to represent the African family name that he could never know.

27 Disposable drink receptacle popular at parties : SOLO CUP

The Solo Cup was introduced in 1930, and was the creation of a former employee of the Dixie Company. The first Solo Cup was a paper cone that founder Leo Hulseman made at home and sold to companies that distributed bottled water. Apparently, Solo’s red plastic cup sell very well, and are used by college students playing beer pong.

33 Cutting-edge technology? : LASER

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “light oscillation by stimulated emission of radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely “loser”.

35 Masters of meditation : YOGIS

A yogi is a practitioner of yoga.

In the West, we tend to think of yoga as a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

37 So-called “millennials” : GENERATION Y

The Millennial Generation are sometimes referred to as “Generation Y” (Gen-Y). Millennials were born after the “Gen-Xers”, from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

40 White-feathered wader : EGRET

Egrets are a group of several species of white herons. Many egret species were faced with extinction in the 1800s and early 1900s due to plume hunting, a practice driven by the demand for egret plumes that could be incorporated into hats.

43 New Deal inits. : NRA

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of the first agencies set up under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. On the one hand the NRA help set minimum wages and maximum working hours for workers in industry, and on the other hand it helped set minimum prices for goods produced by companies. The NRA was very popular with the public, and businesses that didn’t opt to participate in the program found themselves boycotted. The NRA didn’t survive for long though, as after two years of operation it was deemed to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and so it ceased operations in 1935.

44 Dungeons & Dragons monster : ORC

Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction as well as in fantasy video games.

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …

54 Ireland, to an Irish poet : ERIN

“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. The related “Erin” is an anglicized version of “Éire” and actually corresponds to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.

55 Stow, as cargo : LADE

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

59 It begins on Ash Wednesday : LENT

In Latin, the Christian season that is now called “Lent” was termed “quadragesima” (meaning “fortieth”), a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term “Lent” was introduced. “Lent” comes from “lenz”, the German word for “spring”.

In the Christian tradition, the first day in the season of Lent is called Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday, Palm Crosses from the prior year’s Palm Sunday are burned. The resulting ashes are mixed with sacred oil and then used to anoint worshipers on the forehead with the shape of a cross.

60 7’1″ Shaquille : O’NEAL

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 shows: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

62 March Madness quartet … or, collectively, the second parts of 17-, 25-, 37- and 51-Across? : FINAL FOUR

In the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship, the teams remaining at various stages of the tournament are known as:

  • The “Sweet Sixteen” (the regional semi-finalists)
  • The “Elite Eight” (the regional finalists)
  • The “Final Four” (the national semi-finalists)

64 Creator of Yertle the Turtle : SEUSS

“Yertle the Turtle” is a story by Dr. Seuss. The book is noted for the inclusion of the word “burp”. Back in 1958 when it was published, “burp” was considered to be vulgar. But, no one seemed to mind!

65 Treasure cache : TROVE

The term “treasure trove” comes from the Anglo-French “tresor trové “ meaning “found treasure”.

66 General at Gettysburg : LEE

Robert E. Lee was perhaps the most famous southern officer in the Civil War. Lee was a somewhat reluctant participant in the war in that he opposed the secession of his home state of Virginia from the Union. At the beginning of the war, President Lincoln invited Lee to take command of the whole Union Army but he declined, choosing instead to stay loyal to his home state. During the Civil War, Lee’s men referred to him affectionately as “Marse Robert”, with “marse” being slang for “master”.

The Gettysburg Campaign was a series of battles fought in June and July of 1863 during the American Civil War. The campaign started with Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia invading Maryland and Pennsylvania, and ended with Lee’s escape back to Virginia after being defeated by Union troops led by Major General George G. Meade at the Battle of Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg, fought between July 1st and July 3rd, is recognized by many historians as the turning point in the war.

Down

2 Jinx : HOODOO

Hoodoo is a traditional African-American folk magic and spirituality that has West African, Native American and European roots. Hoodoo is sometimes confused with Voodoo, especially as they both have West African connections. However, the two practices are very different.

A jinx is a charm or a spell, and the word “jinx” comes from an older word “jyng” from the 17th-century. A “jyng” was another word for the wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

3 Book with psalms : HYMNAL

The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.

4 Sign indicating a sold-out performance : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

6 Actress Hathaway : ANNE

Actress Anne Hathaway is a favorite of mine, I must say. She starred in “The Devil Wears Prada” in 2006 and in 2007’s “Becoming Jane”, a film that I particularly enjoyed.

7 Internet connection device : MODEM

A modem is a device that is used to facilitate the transmission of a digital signal over an analog line. At one end of the line, a modem is used to “modulate” an analog carrier signal to encode digital information. At the other end of the line, a modem is used to “demodulate” the analog carrier signal and so reproduce the original digital information. This modulation-demodulation gives the device its name: a MOdulator-DEModulator, or “modem”.

10 San Antonio mission : ALAMO

The famous Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission was founded in 1718 and was the first mission established in the city. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, a thirteen-day siege by the Mexican Army led by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Only two people defending the Alamo Mission survived the onslaught. One month later, the Texian army got its revenge by attacking and defeating the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp, many of the Texian soldiers were heard to cry “Remember the Alamo!”.

11 Branch of mathematics concerned with Möbius strips and Klein bottles : TOPOLOGY

A Möbius strip is a surface that has only one side. One is easily made by taking a strip of paper and joining the ends together, but with a twist so that it isn’t a regular “band”.

12 Body scan for a claustrophobe : OPEN MRI

MRI scans can be daunting for many people as they usually involve the patient lying inside a tube with the imaging magnet surrounding the body. Additionally, the scan can take up to 40 minutes in some cases. There are some open MRI scanners available that help prevent a feeling of claustrophobia. However, the image produced by open scanners are of lower quality as they operate at lower magnetic fields.

18 One with a shortened sentence : PAROLEE

The term “parole” is a French word that we use in English, with the French “parole” meaning “word, speech”. Of particular interest is the French phrase “parole d’honneur” which translates as “word of honor”. In the early 1600s we started using “parole” to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his “word of honor” not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.

22 Camera type, in brief : SLR

Single-lens reflex camera (SLR)

26 State animal of South Dakota : COYOTE

The coyote is a canine found in most of Central and North America. The name “coyote” is Mexican Spanish, in which language it means “trickster”. Coyotes can sometimes mate with domestic dogs, creating hybrid animals known as “coydogs”. Coyotes can also mate with wolves, creating a “coywolf”. South Dakota named the coyote its state animal in 1949.

28 Synagogue singer : CANTOR

“Canto” is the Latin word for “singer”. In some religious traditions, a “cantor” is the person assigned to lead the singing of ecclesiastical music.

30 ___ capita : PER

“Per capita” is a Latin term used to mean “per person, per unit of population”. The literal translation of the term is “by heads”.

38 Parlor ink, for short : TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

41 Awful pun : GROANER

Here are some of my favorite puns:

  • A man died today when a pile of books fell on him. He only had his shelf to blame.
  • I hate negative numbers and will stop at nothing to avoid them.
  • I wasn’t going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.
  • I should have been sad when my flashlight batteries died, but I was delighted.

48 Colored part of the iris : AREOLA

An areola (sometimes “areole”) in anatomy is a small ring of color, as in the areola surrounding the nipple, and the areola surrounding the pupil of the eye. “Areola” (plural “areolae”) comes from Latin, meaning “small open space”, and is a diminutive of the Latin word “area”, meaning “open space”.

49 Ballroom dance that originated in France : MINUET

A minuet is a dance that originated in France. At some point, the middle section of the minuet was routinely scored for just a trio of instruments. The resulting composition was known as a minuet and trio. In the Classical Era, a minuet and trio was often chosen as the third movement of a symphony.

50 Menu selection : ENTREE

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found the ordering of meals to be very confusing when I first came to America!

53 Kinshasa’s country, formerly : ZAIRE

The African nation once called Zaire is a neighbor of Rwanda. The genocide and war in Rwanda spilled over into Zaire in 1996, with the conflict escalating into what is now called the First Congo War. As part of the war’s fallout there was a regime change, and in 1997 Zaire became the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kinshasa is the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city was formerly known as Léopoldville. Kinshasa is the third largest city in Africa, after Cairo in Egypt and Lagos in Nigeria.

57 Fort ___ (gold depository) : KNOX

Fort Knox is actually a US Army base, but it lends its name to the adjacent facility that is more correctly called the United States Bullion Depository. Most of the US gold reserves are in “Fort Knox”, although it isn’t the biggest gold repository in the US. That honor goes to the vault under the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan. Most of the gold stored in the New York vault belongs to foreign nations and banks.

61 You’ll trip if you drop it : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Sigh of satisfaction : AHH!
4 Longtime SeaWorld attraction : SHAMU
9 University of Florida athlete : GATOR
14 Less than forthcoming : COY
15 Yakked and yakked : RAN ON
16 Get hitched hastily : ELOPE
17 “The wart stops here” sloganeer : COMPOUND W
19 Suit coat feature : LAPEL
20 “Cimarron” novelist Ferber : EDNA
21 Impolite looks : LEERS
23 Leonardo da Vinci’s “___ Lisa” : MONA
24 Zoom up : SOAR
25 Civil rights activist with a Harlem thoroughfare named after him : MALCOLM X
27 Disposable drink receptacle popular at parties : SOLO CUP
31 For : PRO
32 Mine cart contents : ORE
33 Cutting-edge technology? : LASER
35 Masters of meditation : YOGIS
37 So-called “millennials” : GENERATION Y
40 White-feathered wader : EGRET
42 Squander : WASTE
43 New Deal inits. : NRA
44 Dungeons & Dragons monster : ORC
47 Copycat’s drink order : THE SAME
51 Keyboard shortcut for “undo,” on a PC : CONTROL+Z
54 Ireland, to an Irish poet : ERIN
55 Stow, as cargo : LADE
56 Birds’ bills : BEAKS
59 It begins on Ash Wednesday : LENT
60 7’1″ Shaquille : O’NEAL
62 March Madness quartet … or, collectively, the second parts of 17-, 25-, 37- and 51-Across? : FINAL FOUR
64 Creator of Yertle the Turtle : SEUSS
65 Treasure cache : TROVE
66 General at Gettysburg : LEE
67 Made a mistake : ERRED
68 Health teacher’s subject, informally : SEX-ED
69 Consumed : ATE

Down

1 What a keycard provides : ACCESS
2 Jinx : HOODOO
3 Book with psalms : HYMNAL
4 Sign indicating a sold-out performance : SRO
5 Transport by truck : HAUL
6 Actress Hathaway : ANNE
7 Internet connection device : MODEM
8 Do a Christmas morning activity : UNWRAP
9 Solidify : GEL
10 San Antonio mission : ALAMO
11 Branch of mathematics concerned with Möbius strips and Klein bottles : TOPOLOGY
12 Body scan for a claustrophobe : OPEN MRI
13 Takes a breather : RELAXES
18 One with a shortened sentence : PAROLEE
22 Camera type, in brief : SLR
26 State animal of South Dakota : COYOTE
28 Synagogue singer : CANTOR
29 Function : USE
30 ___ capita : PER
34 Like most vegetables at a salad bar : RAW
36 Personal identity : ONESELF
37 Majesty : GRANDEUR
38 Parlor ink, for short : TAT
39 Suffix meaning “approximately” : -ISH
40 Fence off : ENCLOSE
41 Awful pun : GROANER
45 Stick up : ROB
46 Chin dimples : CLEFTS
48 Colored part of the iris : AREOLA
49 Ballroom dance that originated in France : MINUET
50 Menu selection : ENTREE
52 Poke fun at : TEASE
53 Kinshasa’s country, formerly : ZAIRE
57 Fort ___ (gold depository) : KNOX
58 Put money in the bank : SAVE
61 You’ll trip if you drop it : LSD
63 Took the reins : LED

11 thoughts on “0128-20 NY Times Crossword 28 Jan 20, Tuesday”

  1. 6:46. I’ve had several MRI’s in my life, but only one was an OPEN MRI. It really isn’t all that open, and doctors say the imagery isn’t nearly as good as a regular MRI. I guess they use them when they have no choice. MRI’s make you feel claustrophobic even if you aren’t normally. I hate being in one of those things…

    Best –

  2. 7:04, no errors. Easier for me than Monday’s puzzle. After using personal computers for pretty much as long as they have been in existence, learned that Ctrl-Z is the ‘undo’ shortcut.

    I understand the claustrophobia people feel during MRI’s. Having a couple of them myself, and many similar body scans, my technique is to tell myself that I have an opportunity to completely relax for the duration, close my eyes and imagine myself laying on my favorite beach. I have dozed off a couple times.

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