0303-20 NY Times Crossword 3 Mar 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Stars

Themed clues are common types of STAR. The usual meaning associated with each star has been changed to refer to a celebrated character, real or fictional:

  • 17A Shooting star? : ANNIE OAKLEY
  • 37A Morning star? : AL ROKER
  • 59A Gold star? : SIMONE BILES
  • 10D Giant star? : PAUL BUNYAN
  • 29D Pole star? : SANTA CLAUS

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Environmentalist’s subj. : ECOL

Ecology (ecol.) and biology (biol.) are sciences (scis.).

10 Low-ranking G.I.: Abbr. : PVT

The lowest military rank of soldier is often called “private” (pvt.). The term comes from the Middle Ages when “private soldiers” were hired or conscripted by noblemen to form a private army. The more generic usage of “private” started in the 1700s.

17 Shooting star? : ANNIE OAKLEY

Many regard Annie Oakley as the first American female superstar, given her celebrity as a sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. She toured with the show all over Europe, and performed her act for the likes of Queen Victoria of England and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Supposedly, using a .22 caliber rifle from 90 feet away, Oakley could split a playing card edge-on, and shoot five or six holes in the card before it hit the ground!

27 Like neon signs and some lanterns : GASLIT

The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

37 Morning star? : AL ROKER

Al Roker is best known as the weatherman on the “Today” show on NBC. He has successfully branched out from that platform though, and even co-wrote a novel called “The Morning Show Murders”, about a celebrity chef and TV host who gets entangled in mystery. Topical stuff …

41 Focus on the road, e.g.? : AUTO

The Ford Focus compact automobile was introduced in 1998 as a replacement for the very successful Ford Escort.

46 Grossly distorted imitation : TRAVESTY

Back in the 17th century, a travesty was a burlesque or artistic imitation of a serious work, a parody. The term “travesty” has come to mean a distorted representation in general, a sham or a mockery.

48 On pot : STONED

“Potiguaya” is the Mexican-Spanish word for “marijuana leaves”. The slang name “pot” comes from “potiguaya”.

50 Grammy-winning Stefani : GWEN

Gwen Stefani is lead singer with the rock band No Doubt. She joined the band in 1986, focused on a solo career from 2004-2008, but is now back singing and working with No Doubt. She joined the reality show “The Voice” as a coach in 2014, replacing Christina Aguilera. A year later, Stefani announced her relationship Blake Shelton, a fellow coach on “The Voice”.

54 Crumbly Greek cheese : FETA

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

58 DuVernay who directed “A Wrinkle in Time” : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a book by Madeleine L’Engle. Published in 1962, it is described as a science fantasy. Included in the book’s cast of characters are Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, all of whom turn out to be supernatural beings who transport the antagonists through the universe. “A Wrinkle in Time” was adapted into a 2018 movie of the same name starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling as the three “Mrs” characters.

59 Gold star? : SIMONE BILES

Simone Biles holds the record for the most gold medals won by an American gymnast in a single Olympic Games. She achieved the feat at the 2016 games held in Rio.

62 Lucy of “Kill Bill: Volume 1” : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

“Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (I haven’t seen it, as I really don’t do Tarantino). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There has been a lot of talk about making “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.

64 Social outcast : PARIAH

“Pariah” is an anglicized version of the Tamil word “Paraiyar”. The Paraiyar are a social group of about 9 million people found in some Indian states and in Sri Lanka. The term “pariah” came to be a general term for members of the lowest caste in society, outcasts.

65 City railways not at street level : ELS

Elevated railroad (El)

67 Tech-obsessed, say : GEEKY

Originally, a geek was a sideshow performer, perhaps one at a circus. Sometimes the term “geek” is used today for someone regarded as foolish or clumsy, and also for someone who is technically driven and expert, but often socially inept.

Down

1 Ruler in the Romanov line : TSAR

The House of Romanov was the second and last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia, after the Rurik dynasty. The reign of the Romanovs ended when Emperor Nicholas II abdicated following the February Revolution of 1917. Famously, Nicholas II and his immediate family were murdered soon after he stepped down, and other members of the Romanov Dynasty were sent into exile by the Bolsheviks.

2 Active Sicilian peak : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

4 Libya’s capital : TRIPOLI

Tripoli is the capital city of Libya and sits on the Mediterranean Coast. The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC and was originally called Oea.

5 Nickname for the 12-Down in Chicago’s Field Museum : SUE
(12D See 5-Down : T-REX)

The largest and best preserved dinosaur fossil ever found can be seen on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The fossil is a Tyrannosaurus rex that is thought to have weighed over 7 tons when alive. It was discovered in South Dakota in 1990 by paleontologist Sue Hendrickson. The specimen is nicknamed “Sue” after Hendrickson.

6 Fraternal order with an animal emblem : ELKS

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome. The list of US presidents that have been members of the BPOE includes Presidents Eisenhower, Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Ford.

7 Record-setting Ripken : CAL

Cal Ripken played his entire, 20-year professional baseball career for the Baltimore Orioles. Ripken was known as the “Iron Man” because he showed up for work every day, come rain or shine. He played 2,632 straight games, blowing past the previous 2,130-game record held by Lou Gehrig.

10 Giant star? : PAUL BUNYAN

Paul Bunyan is a character of American myth. He is a skilled lumberjack, and has a sidekick called Babe the Blue Ox. Both Bunyan and Babe are gigantic in size.

14 Propose as an explanation : POSIT

To “posit” is to assume as fact, to lay down as a “position”.

23 Blue state? : FUNK

The phrase “in a blue funk” has two different meanings, depending on what side of the Atlantic you are. Her in North America, to be in a blue funk is to be in a state of gloom. Over in Britain and Ireland, it is to be in a state of anxiety.

25 Actress Kunis : MILA

Mila Kunis is a Ukrainian-born, American actress who plays Jackie Burkhart on “That ’70s Show”. Fans of the cartoon series “Family Guy” might recognize her voicing the Meg Griffin character. In ”Black Swan”, Kunis plays a rival ballet dancer to the character played by Natalie Portman. In her personal life, Kunis dated Macaulay Culkin for 8 years, but married Ashton Kutcher, her co-star from “That 70s Show”, in 2015.

29 Pole star? : SANTA CLAUS

If you want to send a note to Santa from Canada, he has his own special postal code: “North Pole, HOH OHO”. The US Postal Service suggests that we send mail for Santa to zip code 99705, which directs it to the city of North Pole, Alaska.

30 Disney dog : GOOFY

Disney’s Goofy first appeared as Dippy Dawg in 1932. Goofy became famous for his “How to …” series of cartoons in the 1940s which dealt with everything from snow skiing to sleeping, and from football to riding a horse. Goofy’s last theatrical appearance was in a 2007 work called “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater”.

42 Like the U.S. president’s office : OVAL

Although there have been several “oval” offices used by US presidents in the White House, the current Oval Office was designed and constructed at the bequest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The room has four doors. One door opens onto the Rose Garden; a second door leads to a small study and dining room; a third opens onto the main corridor running through the West Wing; the fourth door opens to the office of the president’s secretary.

51 Alma mater for many a Supreme Court justice : YALE

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut was founded in 1701, making it the third-oldest university in the US. Originally called the Collegiate School, it was renamed to Yale University in honor of retired merchant Elihu Yale, who made generous contributions to the institution. Yale University’s nickname is “Old Eli”, in a nod to the benefactor.

53 French-founded fragrance firm : COTY

Coty is a producer of beauty products that was founded in 1904 in Paris.

55 Wiesel with a Nobel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

56 Water-resistant furniture wood : TEAK

Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family that is commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia. Teak’s tight grain and high oil content make it very suitable for constructing outdoor furniture, where weather resistance is valued. For the same reason, teak is the wood of choice for wooden decks on boats.

61 Pocketbook : BAG

“Pocketbook”, meaning “woman’s purse”, is a peculiarly American word. I was flabbergasted by the term when I first heard it used, soon after arriving in the US. A pocketbook doesn’t go into a pocket, and there’s no book!

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Many lab procedures : TESTS
6 Environmentalist’s subj. : ECOL
10 Low-ranking G.I.: Abbr. : PVT
13 Rouse : STIR UP
15 Volcanic flow : LAVA
16 Televise : AIR
17 Shooting star? : ANNIE OAKLEY
19 “It’s no ___!” : USE
20 Scratchy voice : RASP
21 Juniors, next year: Abbr. : SRS
22 Involuntary response : REFLEX
24 Leave out : OMIT
26 Bit of landscaping greenery : SHRUB
27 Like neon signs and some lanterns : GASLIT
30 Flips out : GOES NUTS
33 Alternative to a phone call : EMAIL
34 Big pig : BOAR
35 On bended ___ : KNEE
36 Multitude : TON
37 Morning star? : AL ROKER
40 Veer off course, as a ship : YAW
41 Focus on the road, e.g.? : AUTO
43 Dunderheads : OAFS
44 Demean : ABASE
46 Grossly distorted imitation : TRAVESTY
48 On pot : STONED
49 Is concerned : CARES
50 Grammy-winning Stefani : GWEN
51 Loudly berate : YELL AT
53 Stage prompt : CUE
54 Crumbly Greek cheese : FETA
58 DuVernay who directed “A Wrinkle in Time” : AVA
59 Gold star? : SIMONE BILES
62 Lucy of “Kill Bill: Volume 1” : LIU
63 Give off : EMIT
64 Social outcast : PARIAH
65 City railways not at street level : ELS
66 Hot : SEXY
67 Tech-obsessed, say : GEEKY

Down

1 Ruler in the Romanov line : TSAR
2 Active Sicilian peak : ETNA
3 Things confessed in confessionals : SINS
4 Libya’s capital : TRIPOLI
5 Nickname for the 12-Down in Chicago’s Field Museum : SUE
6 Fraternal order with an animal emblem : ELKS
7 Record-setting Ripken : CAL
8 “Psst!” : OVER HERE!
9 Onions have lots of them : LAYERS
10 Giant star? : PAUL BUNYAN
11 Woodworker’s clamp : VISE
12 See 5-Down : T-REX
14 Propose as an explanation : POSIT
18 Works in a gallery : ART
23 Blue state? : FUNK
25 Actress Kunis : MILA
26 Takes a nice long bath : SOAKS
27 Suggest : GET AT
28 Affair of the heart : AMOUR
29 Pole star? : SANTA CLAUS
30 Disney dog : GOOFY
31 Needle mischievously : TEASE
32 Put in stitches : SEWED
34 Little devils : BRATS
38 Move too slowly, as a watch : LOSE TIME
39 Label as PG, say : RATE
42 Like the U.S. president’s office : OVAL
45 Celebratory blaze : BONFIRE
47 Rubs out : ERASES
48 Win overwhelmingly : SWEEP
50 Rev, as an engine : GUN
51 Alma mater for many a Supreme Court justice : YALE
52 Heinous : EVIL
53 French-founded fragrance firm : COTY
55 Wiesel with a Nobel : ELIE
56 Water-resistant furniture wood : TEAK
57 Cinder-covered : ASHY
60 Combine : MIX
61 Pocketbook : BAG

13 thoughts on “0303-20 NY Times Crossword 3 Mar 20, Tuesday”

  1. 13:47 I also had “Ford” before “auto”, and for “Pole star” I was trying to think of famous strippers…..

  2. 8:33. One error because I evidently don’t know how to spell PAUL BUNYuN which made 44A (“Demean”) ABuSE instead of ABASE which interestingly sorta works. At least I didn’t put PAUL Bunion….the giant star with the bad foot.

    Best –

  3. 13:38 no errors…I never follow the olympics so I didn’t know 59A but got it via crosses.
    I took a chance and went to the store this morning and got everything to make a large pot of soup…I won’t go out again for at least a week.

      1. I can’t answer for Jack, but I’m making a kind of slumgullion: meat (probably chicken thighs), potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, a little garlic, salt and pepper. (Nothing fancy, just fuel to keep me going … 😜.)

  4. @Bill—-I also was puzzled by 61-Down, “Pocketbook” being answered with BAG. I am an American and yet this did not sound right to me either. I think of a pocketbook as being something around the size of a coin purse. Somehow I missed out on knowing this. Maybe guys don’t relate to this entry so much.

    1. I don’t know if it is a generational or regional expression, but I remember my mother (in New York City) always referred to her purse as a pocketbook.

  5. 9:26, no errors. I, too, entered FORD before AUTO; SANTA CLAUS put the kibosh on that. Also had POSED before POSIT; and TAUNT before TEASE.

    Wife and I are fortunate to live in a rural area, we go out every morning for a 3 mile walk, and not see another person.

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