0313-20 NY Times Crossword 13 Mar 20, Friday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Panda

Note that answer numbers in my grid (above) are off due to the creative grid art not working with my online solving tool. The clue/answer numbers (below) are as published. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Themed answers each relate to PANDAS. And we have some grid art, the face of a PANDA:

  • 17A National ___ Day (March 16 observance, appropriate to this puzzle) : PANDA
  • 10D Like 17-Across : BLACK AND WHITE
  • 11D Home for some famous 17-Acrosses, informally : WASHINGTON ZOO

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 17m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Opera style using everyday events rather than myth : VERISMO

Verismo is a genre of opera born in the early 1900s that reflected real life as opposed to fanciful diversions. “Verismo” translates from Italian is “realism”.

13 Home to sedges and reeds : FEN

Sedges are a family of plants that resemble grasses and rushes. Sedges are more properly called Cyperaceae.

17 National ___ Day (March 16 observance, appropriate to this puzzle) : PANDA

Taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been a subject of great debate for years, the main question being whether it belongs to the bear or raccoon family. The accepted opinion these days, based on molecular studies, seems to be that the panda is in fact a true bear.

18 It has a lot of competition on TV : ESPN

The initialism “ESPN” stands for Entertainment Sports Programming Network. ESPN is a cable network that broadcasts sports programming 24 hours a day, and was launched back in 1979. ESPN has a lot of ardent fans. Several parents have named their children Espn (usually pronounced “Espen”) in honor of the network.

21 Common recipient of an erroneous apostrophe : ITS

The word “it’s” is a contraction for “it is”, as in “it’s a fun crossword”. The spelling “its”, without an apostrophe, is used in all other cases, most commonly as the possessive form of the pronoun “it”. In that sense, “its” is akin to the pronouns his, hers, ours, etc., as in “the newspaper is known for its great crosswords”.

24 Product whose package has a splash of milk : OREOS

There is an “official” competition involving Oreo cookies, in case anyone is interested in participating. A competitor has to take several steps to finish an OREO Lick Race:

  1. Twist open the cookie.
  2. Lick each half clean of creme.
  3. Show the clean cookie halves to the fellow competitors.
  4. Dunk the cookie halves in a glass of milk.
  5. Eat the cookie halves.
  6. Drink the milk.
  7. Ready, set, go …

27 Title setting for a Hemingway novel, with “the” : SEA

If you’ve read Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man And The Sea” (maybe first at school, like me!) you’ll likely remember it as a quick read as it is a novella, although it might be better described as a “long short story”. It was first published in 1952, the last major work that Hemingway had published in his lifetime. That first publication was as a story in “Life Magazine”, and it was such a hit that the magazine sold 5 million copies in the first two days. “The Old Man and the Sea” won a Pulitzer in 1952 and two years later the title was cited when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

28 Basketball Hall-of-Famer nicknamed “The Answer” : IVERSON

Allen Iverson is a professional basketball player who played in the NBA for several years. Iverson signed up to play for a Turkish basketball team in 2010. He played in Turkey for two seasons and retired from the game in 2013. Iverson is known by the nickname “the Answer”.

39 1909 Physics Nobelist for radio communications : MARCONI

Guglielmo Marconi was an inventor, famous for development of a radio telegraph design that was used across the world. Marconi did a lot of his early radio work in his native Italy, but moved to England as the British government was very interested in supporting his developments.

40 Research complex in Bethesda, Md. : NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) organization is made up of 27 different institutes that coordinate their research and services. Examples of member institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

The community of Bethesda in Maryland lies just northwest of Washington, D.C. The original settlement in the area was called “Darcy’s Store”. a reference to the original store that drew settlers to the location along the toll road between Georgetown and Rockville. The community’s name was changed to Bethesda in 1871 by a local postmaster, after a Presbyterian church called the Bethesda Meeting House. Bethesda is home to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Naval Medical Center. During WWII, Bethesda also hosted the Norwegian Royal Family while their country was occupied by German forces.

41 Aromatic flower from China : TEA ROSE

The first tea roses were so called because they had a fragrance reminiscent of Chinese black tea.

43 Annual hoops event, for short : NIT

National Invitation Tournament (NIT)

46 Strain to recall? : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

47 Princess in L. Frank Baum books : OZMA

L. Frank Baum wrote a whole series of books about the Land of Oz, and Princess Ozma appears in all of them except the one that’s most famous, namely “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.

50 Rivers of New York City : JOAN

Joan Rivers was a comedian from Brooklyn, New York who got her big break on “The Tonight Show”, on which she was first a guest in 1965. She became the first woman to host a late night talk show in 1986 when she hosted “The Late Show with Joan Rivers”. Rivers passed away following routine throat surgery in September of 2014.

51 Some census info : SEX

The original census was taken during the days of the Roman Republic, and was a reckoning of all adult males who were fit for military service. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and was conducted by federal marshals.

52 G, in the key of C : SOL

The sol-fa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

Down

2 H : ETA

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

3 Jousting venue, informally : REN FAIRE

Renaissance faire (ren faire)

“Jousting” and “tilting” are synonyms describing the medieval competition in which two horsemen yielding blunted lances attempt to unseat each other. Such an event has been referred to as “jousting” since the 1300s. At some point, the path of the two charging horsemen was separated by a cloth barrier known as a tilt (“tilt” meant “cloth covering”). The term “tilting” was applied to the sport in the 1500s, although by then the cloth barrier had been upgraded to a wooden fence.

4 Tab key, e.g. : INDENTER

Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

7 “Puss in Boots” villain : OGRE

“Puss in Boots” is a fairy tale from Europe, the earliest recording of which is in a collection of stories by Giovanni Francesco Straparola that dates back to the 1550s. The title character has been used in subsequent works; he makes an appearance in Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Sleeping Beauty”, and more recently in the “Shrek” series of animated films.

9 Bad place for a long run : HOSE

The word “hose” meaning “covering for the leg” has the same roots as the contemporary German word “Hose” meaning “trousers, pants”.

16 Tony-winning actress for “Miss Saigon” : LEA SALONGA

Lea Salonga is a singer and actress from the Philippines who is known for originating the lead role in the musical “Miss Saigon” in both the West End and on Broadway. Salonga also provided the singing voice for the Disney princesses Jasmine (in “Aladdin”) and Fa Mulan (in “Mulan”). She was the first Asian woman to win a Tony Award, for her performance in “Miss Saigon”.

“Miss Saigon” is a musical that premiered in London in 1989, and one that is based on Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly”. “Miss Saigon” was written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, the duo responsible for “Les Misérables”. We saw both shows in London during their heyday, and I much preferred “Miss Saigon”. Back then the big thing was to have a big “special effect” in a stage musical, and for “Miss Saigon” this is the landing of a life-size helicopter on the stage. At the performance we attended there was an announcement that “the helicopter was broken”, so we had a fun time watching actors running around pretending there was a helicopter in that climactic scene …

19 Kind of ice cream : NEAPOLITAN

Neapolitan ice cream is made up of blocks of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Perhaps stating the obvious, Neapolitan ice cream is assumed to be of Italian origin, from the city of Naples …

28 Like xenon : INERT

The element xenon was the first of the noble gases to be made into a compound, which was somewhat remarkable in that the noble gases were thought by many to be completely inert, unreactive.

29 Like la nuit : NOIRE

In French, “la nuit” (the night) is “noire” (dark).

34 Foreign policy advisory grp. : NSC

The National Security Council (NSC) was created by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. The NSC is chaired by the sitting president and meets in the White House Situation Room.

39 Noted Marilyn Monroe feature : MOLE

Marilyn Monroe was born in 1926 in LA County Hospital, the child of Gladys Pearl Baker. The young girl was given the name of Norma Jeane Mortenson on her birth certificate, but her mother changed this to Norma Jeane Baker almost immediately. She and her estranged husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, had separated before Baker became pregnant so it is suggested that the Mortensen name was used just to give Norma Jeane “legitimacy”. Norma Jeane married a Jim Dougherty when she 16 years old, and took his name to become Norma Jeane Dougherty in 1932. During WWII she was discovered by a photographer and became quite a successful model. The modelling earned her a screen test, at which time it was suggested that Norma Jeane change her name yet again. The first name chosen for her by studio executives was Carole Lind (after Carole Lombard and Jenny Lind), but then Norma Jeane chose “Jeane Monroe” for herself, using her mother’s maiden name. It didn’t take long before the studio intervened again, suggesting that they had too many “Jeans” already. The name Marilyn Monroe was floated as it had a nice ring to it. Along with the new name, Marilyn changed from a brunette to a blonde, and a star was born …

42 Pal of Piglet : ROO

In A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” collection of stories, Pooh has many friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. Besides Christopher Robin, who doesn’t actually live in the wood, the list includes Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Tigger and Owl.

45 Put the kibosh on : NIX

A kibosh is something that constrains or checks. “Kibosh” looks like a Yiddish word but it isn’t, and is more likely English slang from the early 1800s.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Opera style using everyday events rather than myth : VERISMO
8 Less than required : NOT ENOUGH
10 Something drawn for sport : BOW AND ARROW
12 Pro : PLUS
13 Home to sedges and reeds : FEN
14 Those: Sp. : ESAS
16 Rawboned : LEAN
17 National ___ Day (March 16 observance, appropriate to this puzzle) : PANDA
18 It has a lot of competition on TV : ESPN
20 Ctrl-Shift-___ (shortcut for a force-quit) : ESC
21 Common recipient of an erroneous apostrophe : ITS
22 Fly : HIE
23 “Yikes!” : ACK!
24 Product whose package has a splash of milk : OREOS
26 Good name for a financial adviser : IRA
27 Title setting for a Hemingway novel, with “the” : SEA
28 Basketball Hall-of-Famer nicknamed “The Answer” : IVERSON
30 Little drink : NIP
31 When many workdays begin : AT NINE
33 Wish one could : LONG TO
35 League standings format : LADDER
36 Situated away from the point of origin : DISTAL
37 Possibly not even that : OR WORSE
39 1909 Physics Nobelist for radio communications : MARCONI
40 Research complex in Bethesda, Md. : NIH
41 Aromatic flower from China : TEA ROSE
43 Annual hoops event, for short : NIT
44 Put on : GAIN
46 Strain to recall? : E COLI
47 Princess in L. Frank Baum books : OZMA
48 Not pro : ANTI
49 Collection at the entrance to a mosque : SHOES
50 Rivers of New York City : JOAN
51 Some census info : SEX
52 G, in the key of C : SOL

Down

1 Wedding words : VOWS
2 H : ETA
3 Jousting venue, informally : REN FAIRE
4 Tab key, e.g. : INDENTER
5 Dastards : SO-AND-SOS
6 Wall: Fr. : MUR
7 “Puss in Boots” villain : OGRE
8 You name it : NOUN
9 Bad place for a long run : HOSE
10 Like 17-Across : BLACK AND WHITE
11 Home for some famous 17-Acrosses, informally : WASHINGTON ZOO
12 People who do not eat meat but do eat fish : PESCETARIANS
15 Representation of one’s personality in the natural world : SPIRIT ANIMAL
16 Tony-winning actress for “Miss Saigon” : LEA SALONGA
19 Kind of ice cream : NEAPOLITAN
24 Manages : OVERSEES
25 Opposite of returnable : SOLD AS IS
28 Like xenon : INERT
29 Like la nuit : NOIRE
32 Wedding words : I DO
34 Foreign policy advisory grp. : NSC
38 Per : EACH
39 Noted Marilyn Monroe feature : MOLE
42 Pal of Piglet : ROO
45 Put the kibosh on : NIX
47 Brunch beverages, informally : OJ’S

12 thoughts on “0313-20 NY Times Crossword 13 Mar 20, Friday”

  1. 17:47, no errors. This would have taken me longer if I had done the final check I intended to do, but I accidentally filled in the last square and got the “thumbs up” message! Two things I wasn’t sure of turned out to be correct: “SEA” seemed solid, but I’d never heard of “LEA SALONGA” and I wasn’t sure about the spelling of “PESCETARIANS”.

    1. Interesting. The square numbers from 1 to 17 are assigned correctly, but number 18 is assigned to the square containing the final “A” of “PANDA”, and the rest of the numbers are off by one. What appears to have happened is that the grid art has forced two violations of the rule that no “down” entry should have fewer than three letters and that has apparently caused whatever tool Bill used to draw the filled grid to assign a number to the second of those entries.

  2. 31:30. I really had fits with this one the entire way. I think ROO was the first thing I was able to fill in. I originally had nOSE for 9D “Bad place for a long run”. As usual, I like my answer better.

    Getting LEA SALONGA entirely via crosses was nothing short of a miracle for me.

    Best –

  3. 51:24 (paper and pencil) somehow no errors…I didn’t like this puzzle from the start…a blue collar guy like me isn’t up on things like 12 or 4D etc and it took several references to my notes from previous puzzles for several answers…for 10A you don’t draw a bow and arrow you just draw an arrow…anyhow I’m glad this one is over. END OF RANT
    Stay safe you all.

  4. I, too, had TUR. Bad deal to cross an obscure (to me) opera term with a french word so a one letter miss for me today. Happy to get that far, actually.

  5. DNF-ed. Didn’t know the first and last letters of P-AND-A
    and there were no crosses to get them from. Does that mean
    this wasn’t a real “crossword”?

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