0316-20 NY Times Crossword 16 Mar 20, Monday

Constructed by: Gary Cee
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: It Means a Lot to Me

Themed answers each end with a synonym of “LOT”:

  • 39A “I’m deeply indebted” … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 25-, 51- and 64-Across : IT MEANS A LOT TO ME
  • 17A Junk pile : SCRAPHEAP
  • 25A Triple Crown winner of 1977 : SEATTLE SLEW
  • 51A Power source for an electric vehicle : BATTERY PACK
  • 64A Easter event in Vatican City : PAPAL MASS

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Feeling of anxiety : AGITA

“Agita” is another name for “acid indigestion”, and more generally for “agitation, anxiety”.

14 ___ vera gel : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plants leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

16 “Congrats!” : KUDOS!

Our word “kudos” means “acclaim given for an exceptional achievement”. “Kudos” is both a singular and plural noun, and comes from the Greek “kyddos” meaning “glory, fame”.

20 Bones of the foot : TARSI

The tarsals (also “tarsi”) are the ankle bones, and are equivalent to the carpals in the wrist.

21 University sports org. : NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910. The NCAA has been headquartered in Indianapolis since 1999.

24 Darth Vader’s name as a boy : ANI

Darth Vader is (to me) the most colorful antagonist in the “Star Wars” universe. Born as Anakin “Ani” Skywalker, he was corrupted by the Emperor Palpatine, and turned to “the Dark Side”. In the original films, Darth Vader was portrayed by English bodybuilder David Prowse, and voiced by actor James Earl Jones. Jones asked that he go uncredited for the first two “Star Wars” films, feeling that his contributions were insufficient to warrant recognition. I disagree …

25 Triple Crown winner of 1977 : SEATTLE SLEW

Seattle Slew was a thoroughbred racehorse who won the Triple Crown in 1977. Although Seattle Slew was the tenth to win the Triple Crown, he was the only horse to have done so undefeated.

28 Drummer Ringo : STARR

Sir Ringo Starr’s real name is Richard Starkey. Before he joined the Beatles, replacing drummer Pete Best, Starkey played with the Raving Texans. It was with the Raving Texans that he adopted the name “Ringo Starr”, because he wore a lot of rings and he thought it sounded “cowboyish”. Back then his drum solos were billed as “Starr Time”.

31 Winnie-the-___ : POOH

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

35 Singer ___ Davis Jr. : SAMMY

Singer, actor and comedian Sammy Davis, Jr. started his show business career in vaudeville as a child as a part of a song and dance trio that included his father. After WWII, Davis became friends with Frank Sinatra, and soon found himself a member of the famed Rat Pack. Along with his fellow Rat Packers, he made movies like “Ocean’s 11” (1960) and “Robin and the 7 Hoods” (1964).

43 British W.W. II weapons : STENS

The STEN gun is an iconic armament that was used by the British military. The name STEN is an acronym. The letters S and T come from the name of the gun’s designers, Shepherd and Turpin. The letters EN comes from the Enfield brand name, which in turn comes from the Enfield location where the guns were manufactured for the Royal Small Arms Factory, an enterprise owned by the British government.

45 Coup d’___ : ETAT

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We also use the abbreviated “coup” to mean “sudden, brilliant and successful act”.

49 Undercoat used in sculpture : GESSO

“Gesso” is the Italian word for “chalk” and gives its name to the powdered calcium carbonate that is used as a primer coat under artistic panel paintings. Gesso is mixed with glue and applied to wood so that it acts as an absorbent surface for paint.

58 Very light brown : ECRU

The color ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

64 Easter event in Vatican City : PAPAL MASS

Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.

69 Actress Field with Oscars : SALLY

Actress Sally Field first came to the public’s attention in the sixties with title roles in the TV shows “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun”. She has two Best Actress Oscars: one for “Norma Rae” (1979) and one for “Places in the Heart” (1984).

71 Illuminating gas : NEON

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.

Down

1 Macaroni or rigatoni : PASTA

In many cases, the name given to a type of pasta comes from its shape. However, the name macaroni comes from the type of dough used to make the noodles. Here in the US, macaroni is usually elbow-shaped tubes, but it doesn’t have to be.

Rigatoni is a tubular pasta that is relatively short, and with ridges along its length. The name “rigatoni” comes from the Italian “rigato” meaning “ridged, lined”.

2 ___ Highway (nearly 1,400-mile route that runs through Whitehorse, Yukon Territory) : ALCAN

The Alaska Highway is also known as the Alaska-Canadian Highway or ALCAN Highway. A highway connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska was proposed in the twenties, but the Canadian authorities didn’t believe the project had much merit as the road would be used by very few of its citizens. The perceived importance of the route increased during WWII and President Roosevelt deemed the road a strategic necessity so he made a deal with Canada. The cost of construction would be borne by the US, but the road and related facilities were to be handed over to Canada at the end of the war. The project was accelerated when the Japanese invaded and occupied Kiska and Attu Islands in the Aleutians. The road of course has been improved and is still in use today. The ALCAN Highway forms part of what is popularly known as the Pan-American Highway, which runs from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the south of Argentina or Chile depending on how the route is defined.

Whitehorse is the capital city of Canada’s Yukon Territory. It sits at the head of the Yukon River and its location made it an important supply center during the Klondike Gold Rush.

4 Caribbean and Caspian : SEAS

The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Island Carib people. The Island Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies.

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in South Caucasus.

5 When repeated, a trombone sound : WAH

The brass instrument known as a trombone takes its name from the trumpet. The Italian for trumpet is “tromba”, and the suffix “-one” means “big”. So, “trombone” means “big trumpet”.

9 Org. with a canine registry : AKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the organization that handles registration of purebred dogs The AKC also promotes dog shows around the country, including the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

12 Rich German cake : TORTE

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

18 Leaning Tower city : PISA

The city of Pisa sits right on the Italian coast, at the mouth of the River Arno. The city is perhaps most famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

22 Pub pintful : ALE

A US pint is made from 16 fluid ounces, and an imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces. The term “pint” comes into English via Old French, ultimately from the Latin “picta” meaning “painted”. The name arose from a line painted on the side of a beer glass that marked a full measure of ale.

26 Ireland, in poetry : 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”.

29 Bernard Malamud novel about a baseball phenom : THE NATURAL

Bernard Malamud wrote the novel “The Natural”, published in 1952. It tells the story of a baseball player named Roy Hobbs, who gets shot early in his career and makes a remarkable comeback many years later. Although Roy Hobbs is a fictional character, the story is apparently based on the real-life Phillies player Eddie Waitkus, who was indeed shot in his hotel room by an obsessed fan in 1949. The film adaptation, released in 1984, is an excellent movie starring Robert Redford as “The Natural”.

31 Detectives, informally : PIS

Private investigator (PI)

32 Mel who played at the Polo Grounds : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

The original Polo Grounds in New York city was built in 1876 and as one might expect, it was used to play polo. The property was leased in 1880 by the New York Metropolitans and was converted into a baseball stadium. Over the years, the stadium was replaced, three times in all, but the “Polo Grounds” name was retained.

36 The Indianapolis 500, for one : MOTOR RACE

The Indianapolis 500 race is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The race is run around a 2.5 mile oval, hence requiring 200 laps for completion. The first Indy 500 race was held on Memorial Day in 1911. The winner that day was one Ray Harroun. Harroun had seen someone using a rear view mirror on a horse-drawn vehicle, and decided to fit one on his Marmon “Wasp” motor car. Supposedly, that was the first ever use of a rear view mirror on a motor vehicle.

37 Sport also known as cage fighting, in brief : MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport in which competitors use a variety of techniques from a variety of traditional combat sports and martial arts.

40 Tennis legend Arthur : ASHE

The great American tennis player Arthur Ashe spent the last years of his life writing his memoir called “Days of Grace”. He finished the manuscript just a few days before he passed away, dying from AIDS caused by a tainted blood transfusion.

42 Intl. group of oil producers : OPEC

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

48 Nearsighted people : MYOPES

A myope is someone suffering from myopia, short-sightedness. Far-sightedness or long-sightedness is known as hypermetropia or hyperopia .

50 Scandinavian drinking cry : SKOL!

“Skoal” is a Scandinavian toast that has roots in the old Norse word “skaal” meaning “cup”.

52 Capital of Ghana : ACCRA

Accra sits on Ghana’s coast and is a major seaport as well as the country’s capital city. The name “Accra” comes from a local word “Nkran” meaning “ants”, a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.

53 Appalachian ___ : TRAIL

The Appalachian Mountains in eastern North America were once as tall as the Alps and the Rockies, before submitting to eons of erosion.

54 Philosopher who tutored Aristotle : PLATO

Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle.

57 German industrial city : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

61 F.B.I. agent, in old slang : G-MAN

The nickname “G-men” is short for “government men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

65 In the style of, in cookery : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated as “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 What cats clean themselves with : PAWS
5 Had on : WORE
9 Feeling of anxiety : AGITA
14 ___ vera gel : ALOE
15 Highest point : APEX
16 “Congrats!” : KUDOS!
17 Junk pile : SCRAPHEAP
19 Firm hand? : CLERK
20 Bones of the foot : TARSI
21 University sports org. : NCAA
23 Destiny : FATE
24 Darth Vader’s name as a boy : ANI
25 Triple Crown winner of 1977 : SEATTLE SLEW
28 Drummer Ringo : STARR
30 “Have a ___” (request in a waiting room) : SEAT
31 Winnie-the-___ : POOH
33 Little rascal : IMP
35 Singer ___ Davis Jr. : SAMMY
39 “I’m deeply indebted” … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 25-, 51- and 64-Across : IT MEANS A LOT TO ME
43 British W.W. II weapons : STENS
44 “Uh-huh!” : YEP!
45 Coup d’___ : ETAT
46 “If I may interject …” : AHEM
49 Undercoat used in sculpture : GESSO
51 Power source for an electric vehicle : BATTERY PACK
55 Dark loaf : RYE
58 Very light brown : ECRU
59 “Heads will ___!” : ROLL
60 Folklore monsters : OGRES
62 Reminders of past fights : SCARS
64 Easter event in Vatican City : PAPAL MASS
66 Courtroom proceeding : TRIAL
67 And others, in a list : ET AL
68 Pimples : ACNE
69 Actress Field with Oscars : SALLY
70 Word after club, cream or caustic : … SODA
71 Illuminating gas : NEON

Down

1 Macaroni or rigatoni : PASTA
2 ___ Highway (nearly 1,400-mile route that runs through Whitehorse, Yukon Territory) : ALCAN
3 Disquieting : WORRISOME
4 Caribbean and Caspian : SEAS
5 When repeated, a trombone sound : WAH
6 A warm welcome : OPEN ARMS
7 Blink or flinch, say : REACT
8 Americans living abroad, informally : EXPATS
9 Org. with a canine registry : AKC
10 Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida : GULF STATES
11 Perfect : IDEAL
12 Rich German cake : TORTE
13 Out of alignment : ASKEW
18 Leaning Tower city : PISA
22 Pub pintful : ALE
26 Ireland, in poetry : ERIN
27 Toward sunrise : EAST
29 Bernard Malamud novel about a baseball phenom : THE NATURAL
31 Detectives, informally : PIS
32 Mel who played at the Polo Grounds : OTT
34 “You’ll ___ for this!” : PAY
36 The Indianapolis 500, for one : MOTOR RACE
37 Sport also known as cage fighting, in brief : MMA
38 Nonetheless : YET
40 Tennis legend Arthur : ASHE
41 Notepaper that’s usually yellow : LEGAL PAD
42 Intl. group of oil producers : OPEC
47 Mess up : ERR
48 Nearsighted people : MYOPES
50 Scandinavian drinking cry : SKOL!
51 One-ups : BESTS
52 Capital of Ghana : ACCRA
53 Appalachian ___ : TRAIL
54 Philosopher who tutored Aristotle : PLATO
56 Kind of question you have a 50% chance of guessing correctly : YES/NO
57 German industrial city : ESSEN
61 F.B.I. agent, in old slang : G-MAN
63 ___ as a fox : SLY
65 In the style of, in cookery : A LA

12 thoughts on “0316-20 NY Times Crossword 16 Mar 20, Monday”

  1. 8:48. I had a typo in IT MEANS A LOT TO ME with the T’s and O’s that messed up that entire part of the grid until I realized what I had done.

    Nice to know our entire system of liquid measurements came about because we wanted to make sure we measured our beer correctly. Priorities.

    Best –

      1. Steve – I started with the LAT puzzles at 50. I’ve only been doing the NYT 2 or 3 years. In fact, the NYT app says I’ve completed 838 puzzles to date. So I’ve done it that long…plus a few weeks of travel, laziness etc. thrown in there.

        Best –

  2. No Errors. About 20 mins as I stared at the empty NE, and one blank square for the A (that I took an educated guess) for ALCAN/TARSI. Seems others tripped up in the NE too, for pretty much the same reason. Crossed my fingers on AGITA. Also guessed SLEW, but all the downs in that region looked right-on and SLEW fit with the theme.

  3. No errors. Not the usual Monday cakewalk.

    2-Down was misleading, I thought. No one really uses the name ALCAN anymore. It is now called “the Alaska Highway” by both Alaskans and Canadians. “Alcan” was used during and for a few years after World War II but then faded away in favor of the official designation.

    The clue was written in the present tense when it really probably should not have been.

    1. @Joe
      Not to quibble, but several of us long time Alaskans still refer to the road that connects us to the lower 48 as the ALCAN. 😉

  4. 6:43, no errors. After quaffing an ale, I would much rather say ‘SKOL’ rather than ‘swarm’. But that is just my preference. 😉

  5. About the Alaska Highway, @Anonymous is right, too. Old-timers in Alaska and likely Canada, too, may refer to it as the ALCAN. But it is pretty passé.

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