0323-20 NY Times Crossword 23 Mar 20, Monday

Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: A House Divided

Themed answers include the letters of the word “HOUSE” DIVIDED between the start and finish:

  • 53A It “cannot stand” per 1-Down … or a hint to 20-, 25- and 47-Across : A HOUSE DIVIDED
  • 20A What a last true believer might believe in : HOPELESS CAUSE
  • 25A “Don’t clap yet” : HOLD THE APPLAUSE
  • 47A “There was no choice but for me to say yes!” : HOW COULD I REFUSE

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Run ___ (go wild) : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

5 Channel for renovators and remodelers : HGTV

HGTV first went on air in 1994 as the “Home, Lawn and Garden Channel”. The name was shortened soon after (the lawn was “cut”!). Nowadays, it’s referred to as HGTV.

9 Flat-bottomed boat : SKIFF

A skiff is a small boat. The name can be used generically and applied to several unrelated styles of vessel, as long as they are relatively small. The term “skiff” comes from “scif”, the Old High German word for “boat” and a term that also gave us our word “ship”.

14 Sleep-inducing pill? : BORE

The term “pill” can be used to describe a boring and disagreeable person, a “bitter pill to swallow”.

15 Smallest Great Lake by volume : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

16 Japanese watch brand : CASIO

Casio is a Japanese manufacturer of mainly electronic products, including calculators, watches and electronic keyboards. It was Casio that produced the first portable and compact all-electric calculator, way back in 1957.

17 Website for craftspeople : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

18 “___ No Mountain High Enough” : AIN’T

The R&B song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was a hit for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967, and then a hit for Diana Ross in 1970. In fact, it was destined to become Diana Ross’s first solo number-one hit.

19 African animal that charges : RHINO

There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, with the smaller Javan Rhino being the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

23 Pantry pests : ANTS

The word “pantry” dates back to 1300, when it came into English from the Old French “panetrie” meaning a “bread room”. Bread is “pain” in French, and “panis” in Latin.

24 “To thine ___ self be true” : OWN

In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, Polonius gives some fatherly advice to his son Laertes before the young man heads off to France. Included among the numerous pearls of wisdom is the oft-quoted “Neither a borrower nor a lender be” and “to thine own self be true”.

Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear ’t that th’ opposèd may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.
Take each man’s censure but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy—rich, not gaudy,
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

35 Bogus : SHAM

A sham is something that is imitation, fake. In the world of bed linens, a sham is also an imitation or fake, in the sense that it is a decorative cover designed to cover up a regular pillow used for sleeping.

Our word “bogus”, meaning “not genuine” was coined (pun!) in the 1830s, when it applied to counterfeit money.

36 Georgia’s capital: Abbr. : ATL

The city of Atlanta, Georgia had its beginnings in the late 1830s when the location was chosen as the terminus for a new railroad to be built connecting Georgia with the Midwestern United States. The city’s name was chosen by the Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad, apparently after the middle name of the daughter of Governor Wilson Lumpkin: “Atalanta”.

37 Founder of the McDonald’s empire : RAY KROC

The original McDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald as a barbecue restaurant. The brothers then moved into fast food hamburgers, eventually selling out to one of their franchise agents, Ray Kroc. It was Ray Kroc who really led the company to its worldwide success. He was played by Michael Keaton in the movie about Ray Kroc’s business life called “The Founder”.

41 Tar Heels’ sch. : UNC

“Tar Heel” is a nickname for anyone living in, or from, the state of North Carolina. As such, it is the nickname for an athlete of the University of North Carolina (UNC). No one seems to know for sure where the term “Tar Heel” originated, but it is thought to be related to the historical importance of the tar, pitch and turpentine industries that thrived in the state due to the presence of vast forests of pine trees.

42 Cuisine featuring drunken noodles : THAI

Drunken noodles is a Thai dish also known as “phat khi mao”. “Khi mao” translates from Thai as “drinkard”. Paradoxically, there is no alcohol in the list of ingredients for drunken noodles. There are suggestions that the meal’s name arose because rice used to be an ingredient, or because whoever created the dish did so when drunk!

44 Home of Montreal: Abbr. : QUE

Québec is the largest province in Canada, and the only one with French as its sole official language. The name “Québec” comes from an Algonquin word “kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs. The province has voted twice in referenda asking whether or not Quebec should become an independent country, once in 1980, and again in 1995. The 1995 result was 49% in favor of sovereignty, up from 40% in 1980.

The original name of Montreal was Ville-Marie, meaning the City of Mary. Ville-Marie is now the name of a borough in the city, the borough which includes the downtown area and “Old Montreal”. The present-day city covers most of the Island of Montreal (in French, “Île de Montréal”) that is located where the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers meet. The name “Montreal” comes from the three-headed hill that dominates the island and is called “Mount Royal”.

45 Teeming throng : HORDE

A horde is a large crowd. “Horde” ultimately derives from the Turkish “ordu” meaning “camp, army”.

51 Smog-monitoring org. : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

52 Medieval worker : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

European history is often divided in three major periods: classical antiquity and the modern period, with the Middle Ages in between. Specifically, the Middle Ages are said to have begun in 476 AD, when the last Roman Emperor was deposed by a Germanic chieftain. The end date for the Middle Ages is less specific, but is about 1500 AD. The list of events signalling the end of the Middle Ages includes Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the New World (1492) and the Protestant Reformation (1517). The term “medieval” is used to describe something belonging to the Middle Ages.

59 Poles or Czechs : SLAVS

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians, Croats and Serbs)

61 Israeli submachine guns : UZIS

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

65 What may descend before the moon? : TROU

“Trou” is short for “trousers”.

The first recorded mooning incident took place in 66 AD during the First Roman-Jewish War. Roman soldiers decided to moon Jewish pilgrims as they traveled to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

66 What tree rings represent : YEARS

Growth rings can be seen in a horizontal cross section of a tree trunk. These rings are caused by a change in the rate of growth of a tree that comes with the seasons, so the rings are more easily discerned in trees that grow in regions with marked seasonal changes.

Down

1 President Lincoln, informally : ABE

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located in the Illinois state capital, Springfield. As someone who has visited almost all of the nation’s presidential libraries, I must say that I found the Lincoln Library a little strange. There are some exhibits that use technology that I associate more with a theme park, and so I found them quite “jarring”. Regardless, visiting the library and museum is a wonderful way to learn more about one of America’s greatest presidents.

2 Closet pest that loves wool : MOTH

The larvae of several types of moth are noted for eating fabrics made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton. Many people store woolens in cedar chests believing that the scent of the wood prevents a moth infestation. In fact, the only known effective repellent is the naphthalene found in mothballs, which might be a health concern for humans. One way to kill moth larvae in fabric is to freeze the garment for several days at a temperature below -8 degrees centigrade.

In Old French a “clos” was an enclosure, with the diminutive form “closet” describing a small enclosure or private room. Over time this evolved into our modern usage of “closet”, describing a cabinet or cupboard.

8 Docs for dogs : VETS

A veterinarian (vet) is a professional who treats animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

10 Big cheeses : KAHUNAS

Like many words in Hawaiian, “kahuna” has several English translations, everything from a priest to an expert in some profession. The expression “the Big Kahuna” comes from the 1959 movie “Gidget”. The Big Kahuna was the leader of one of the surfing gangs in the film, and was played by Cliff Robertson.

11 Egyptian goddess of life : ISIS

Isis was the ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility, as well as the protector of the dead and the goddess of children. She was the personification of the pharaoh’s power. The name “Isis” translates as “throne”, and she is usually depicted with a headdress shaped like a throne.

12 Parking ticket penalty : FINE

An early patent for a parking meter, dated 1928, was for a device that required the driver of the parked car to connect the battery of his or her car to the meter in order for it to operate!

13 Rock’s ___ Fighters : FOO

Foo Fighters are described as an alternative rock band, one formed in 1994 by the drummer from Nirvana, Dave Grohl. The term “foo fighters” originally applied to unidentified flying objects reported by allied airmen during WWII. Spooky …

26 Lead-in to -dontist : ORTHO-

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry dealing with the straightening of teeth. The name comes from the Greek “orthos” meaning “straight” and “dontia” meaning “teeth”.

27 1980s-’90s NBC legal drama : LA LAW

“L.A. Law” ran on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and was one of the network’s most successful drama series. It took over from the equally successful “Hill Street Blues” in the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot until, after a six-year run, it was itself replaced by yet another respected drama, “E.R.” The opening credits showed that famous California licence plate. The plate was on a Jaguar XJ for most of the series, but moved onto a Bentley towards the end of the run. For each series the registration sticker was updated, so no laws were being broken.

30 Swahili for “freedom” : UHURU

The Uhuru Movement is an organization that works for the cause of all native Africans and their descendants around the world. While focused mainly on the welfare and development of native Africans on the continent itself, another goal is the release of all African-American prisoners in US prisons. “Uhuru” is the Swahili word for “freedom”.

32 Show host : EMCEE

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

39 Brynner of stage and screen : YUL

Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor. Brynner was well known for his great performances, but also for his shaved head and his deep rich voice. He first adopted the “hairstyle” while playing the King of Siam in the stage version of “The King and I”, and he stuck with it.

48 Grand works : OPUSES

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes also use the plural “opuses” in English.

53 Opposite of aweather, to a sailor : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

55 CPR experts : EMTS

An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

56 Insects, berries and worms, for a robin : DIET

The American robin has a reddish-orange breast. This coloring gave the bird its name, due to the similarity to the European robin. The two species are not in fact related, with the American robin being a thrush, and its European cousin an Old World flycatcher. It is the American robin that famously lays light-blue eggs.

57 Old Testament book next alphabetically after Ezekiel : EZRA

In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Ezra was originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah, with the two being separated in the early days of the Christian Era.

58 Designer Christian : DIOR

Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. As WWII approached, Dior was called up by the French military, drawing a temporary halt to his career in fashion. He left the army in 1942 and for the duration of the war designed clothes for wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. After the war his designs became so popular that he helped to re-establish Paris as the fashion center of the world.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Run ___ (go wild) : AMOK
5 Channel for renovators and remodelers : HGTV
9 Flat-bottomed boat : SKIFF
14 Sleep-inducing pill? : BORE
15 Smallest Great Lake by volume : ERIE
16 Japanese watch brand : CASIO
17 Website for craftspeople : ETSY
18 “___ No Mountain High Enough” : AIN’T
19 African animal that charges : RHINO
20 What a last true believer might believe in : HOPELESS CAUSE
23 Pantry pests : ANTS
24 “To thine ___ self be true” : OWN
25 “Don’t clap yet” : HOLD THE APPLAUSE
33 Get rid of, as pencil marks : ERASE
34 Took a chair : SAT
35 Bogus : SHAM
36 Georgia’s capital: Abbr. : ATL
37 Founder of the McDonald’s empire : RAY KROC
41 Tar Heels’ sch. : UNC
42 Cuisine featuring drunken noodles : THAI
44 Home of Montreal: Abbr. : QUE
45 Teeming throng : HORDE
47 “There was no choice but for me to say yes!” : HOW COULD I REFUSE
51 Smog-monitoring org. : EPA
52 Medieval worker : SERF
53 It “cannot stand” per 1-Down … or a hint to 20-, 25- and 47-Across : A HOUSE DIVIDED
59 Poles or Czechs : SLAVS
60 Dress that ends above the knee : MINI
61 Israeli submachine guns : UZIS
63 [So funny!] : [TE-HEE]
64 Head: Fr. : TETE
65 What may descend before the moon? : TROU
66 What tree rings represent : YEARS
67 Put in a plane’s overhead compartment, say : STOW
68 Ball that might attract a cat : YARN

Down

1 President Lincoln, informally : ABE
2 Closet pest that loves wool : MOTH
3 Approximately : OR SO
4 Features of touch-tone phones and A.T.M.s : KEYPADS
5 Physical well-being : HEALTH
6 Dolphins Hall-of-Fame QB Bob : GRIESE
7 Metal food containers : TINS
8 Docs for dogs : VETS
9 Illegible writing : SCRAWL
10 Big cheeses : KAHUNAS
11 Egyptian goddess of life : ISIS
12 Parking ticket penalty : FINE
13 Rock’s ___ Fighters : FOO
21 Input, as data : ENTER
22 Acknowledge as true : COP TO
25 ___ bar (Hershey toffee confection) : HEATH
26 Lead-in to -dontist : ORTHO-
27 1980s-’90s NBC legal drama : LA LAW
28 Popped the question : ASKED
29 Four, on many a golf hole : PAR
30 Swahili for “freedom” : UHURU
31 Smooths the surface of, as wood : SANDS
32 Show host : EMCEE
38 Light blue shades : AQUAS
39 Brynner of stage and screen : YUL
40 Dear: Fr. : CHERI
43 Freeze, as a pond : ICE OVER
46 Not on the clock : OFF DUTY
48 Grand works : OPUSES
49 Really digs : IS INTO
50 Go over again, as notes : REVIEW
53 Opposite of aweather, to a sailor : ALEE
54 [So funny!] : [HA HA!]
55 CPR experts : EMTS
56 Insects, berries and worms, for a robin : DIET
57 Old Testament book next alphabetically after Ezekiel : EZRA
58 Designer Christian : DIOR
59 Where pigs wallow : STY
62 Center of the solar system : SUN

12 thoughts on “0323-20 NY Times Crossword 23 Mar 20, Monday”

  1. 6:33. Very good theme. The clue for TROU wins the prize for the day.

    The full quote from Lincoln was :

    “Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

    “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

    So – particularly relevant these days. I think both sided of the aisle could benefit from heeding those words.

    Best –

  2. 7:12 Totally missed the reference connecting “trou” and “moon”….initially had “Seiko” before the downs led me to “Casio”… Monday’s almost make me feel competent at this, then along comes Thursday….and Friday….and Saturday 🙂

  3. Also mine. Like Gord, I thought there was some tricky business afoot, but couldn’t figure out what. I wonder what happened?

  4. 7:34, no errors. On puzzles like this, I usually ignore the theme. After stopping the timer, I actually looked over the puzzle and found the divided houses.

  5. Sorry to hear that so many solvers today had mixed up clues in their papers. I have never seen such a thing happen with my local paper. I have a feeling that blame for this must be laid at the feet of local editors who are simply not paying attention to what they have on their pages.

    Really enjoyed today’s puzzle. So many interesting entries to explore. My cup of tea.

  6. This puzzle’s clues are printed incorrectly. I get the Baltimore Sun. The puzzles always appear several wks late – this one we received on April 27th, ’20. Kept trying to find some crazy theme.

  7. I get the NYT Crossword in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette–they print all of the week’s daily puzzles in the Sunday edition each week (this week’s were Nos. 0323-0328). My clues for Monday #0323 were the same clues for Friday #0327. Glad to hear that SOMEBODY had fun solving the puzzle….

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