0324-20 NY Times Crossword 24 Mar 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Olivia Mitra Framke
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Professional Gatherings

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as professional gatherings:

  • 17A The sitcom writers met at a … : … TV RECEPTION
  • 28A The mathematicians met at a … : … TRIG FUNCTION
  • 46A The pharmacists met at a … : … MEDICINE BALL
  • 58A The Google employees met at a … : … SEARCH PARTY

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Killer whale : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

11 Dude : BRO

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

15 City that shares an airport with Seattle : TACOMA

Tacoma is a city on Puget Sound in the state of Washington. The city took its name from Mount Rainier that is nearby, as the peak is also known as Tacoma (or “Tahoma”).

Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) is more fully known as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Sea-Tac is the main hub for Alaska Airlines.

20 I.C.U. test, maybe : EEG

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.

21 MSNBC host Melber : ARI

Ari Melber is a television journalist and chief legal correspondent for MSNBC. He has hosted his own daily show called “The Beat with Ari Melber” since 2017.

26 Casual Friday wear : JEANS

Nîmes is a lovely city in the south of France. One of the claims to fame of the city is the invention of denim fabric. The French phrase “de Nîmes” (from Nimes) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Gênes” (blue of Genoa) gives us our word “jeans”.

28 The mathematicians met at a … : … TRIG FUNCTION

Trigonometry (trig) is a branch of mathematics dealing with triangles, and calculations based on the relationship between a triangle’s angles and the lengths of its sides.

35 Spider-Man, for Peter Parker : ALTER EGO

Spider-Man is a creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and first appeared in comics in 1962. Spider-Man was a somewhat groundbreaking character in that his alter ego was a teenage high school student (Peter Parker), which marked the first time that a young person featured front and center as the superhero.

38 Trio in elem. school : RRR

The “three Rs” (RRR) are reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.

39 Neither a believer nor a disbeliever : AGNOSTIC

An agnostic is someone who thinks it is impossible to know if there is a God, or perhaps more loosely, someone who is skeptical about the existence of a God.

53 “The Bells of St. ___” (Bing Crosby film and song) : MARY’S

“Going My Way” is a 1944 musical film starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald as the incoming and outgoing pastors of a New York City parish. The film was so successful that it spawned a sequel called “The Bells of St. Mary’s” that was released the following year, with Crosby starring opposite Ingrid Bergman.

55 Telecom of old : GTE

GTE was a rival to AT&T, the largest of the independent competitors to the Bell System. GTE merged with Bell Atlantic in 2000 to form the company that we know today as Verizon. Verizon made some high-profile acquisitions over the years, including MCI in 2005 and AOL in 2015.

56 Sports tiebreakers, for short : OTS

Overtime (OT)

57 Shocked reaction, online : OMG!

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might care to use …

58 The Google employees met at a … : … SEARCH PARTY

The Google search engine was originally called “BackRub” would you believe? The name was eventually changed to “Google”, an intentional misspelling of the word “googol”. A googol is a pretty big number, 10 to the power of 100. That would be the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros.

63 Place for a sensory deprivation tank : SPA

An isolation tank (also “flotation tank”) was originally devised to test the effect of sensory deprivation. The tank is completely dark, and soundproof. It is also filled with skin-temperature salt water at a concentration chosen so that individuals float easily.

65 Many a TikTok user : TEEN

TikTok is a video-sharing service that is based in China, and is very popular with the younger set. The TikTok mobile app provides tools that facilitate production of sophisticated selfie videos that use special effects.

66 Recipe amt. : TSP

Teaspoon (tsp.)

67 Property in buildings and land : REALTY

The terms “realty” and “real estate” actually date back to the late 1600s. Back then, the terms meant “real possessions, things owned that are tangible and real”.

68 Designer Jacobs : MARC

Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer from New York City with his own line of clothing. He is also the creative director for the French design house, Louis Vuitton.

Down

1 Maids a-milking, e.g. : OCTET

The fabulous Christmas carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

2 Explorer on Mars : ROVER

There have been several rovers sent to Mars from Earth. The Soviet Union’s Mars 2 landed in 1971, and failed. Mars 3 landed the same year, and ceased operation just 20 seconds after landing. NASA’s Sojourner landed in 1997 (what a great day that was!) and operated from July through September. The British rover Beagle 2 was lost six days before its scheduled entry into the Martian atmosphere. NASA’s Spirit landed in 2004, and operated successfully for over six years before getting trapped in sand and eventually ceasing to communicate. NASA’s Opportunity also landed in 2004, and operated for over fourteen years. And then NASA’s Curiosity made a spectacular, hi-tech landing in 2012 and is continuing to explore the planet today.

3 Welsh dog breed : CORGI

The Welsh corgi is a herding dog that originated in Britain, with two recognized breeds: the Pembroke and Cardigan. Corgis aren’t fast enough to do their job by running around livestock like collies, and instead nip at the heels. “Corgi” is Welsh for “dwarf dog”.

4 Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE

The brand most closely associated with ginger ale is Canada Dry. “Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale” was first formulated in 1904 by a Canadian chemist called John McLoughlin from Ontario. Prohibition in the United States helped sales of the drink as it was particularly effective in masking the taste of illegally-produced, homemade liquor.

8 Informal “you,” en français : TOI

“En français” (in French)

9 “As I would say,” in a text : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

10 Bushnell who wrote “Sex and the City” : CANDACE

The HBO show “Sex and the City” is based on a book of the same name by Candace Bushnell. Bushnell created the book by compiling columns that she wrote for the “New York Observer”. The lead character Carrie Bradshaw is really Bushnell’s alter ego (note that the initials CB apply both to author and character).

11 Garment with a French name : BRASSIERE

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

12 Billiards accessory : RACK

The name of the game billiards comes from the French word “billiard” that originally described the wooden cue stick. The Old French “bille” translates as “stick of wood”.

18 Group of officers : CADRE

A cadre is most commonly a group of experienced personnel at the core of a larger organization that the small group trains or heavily influences. “Cadre” is a French word meaning “frame”. We use it in the sense that a cadre is a group that provides a “framework” for the larger organization.

23 ___’acte : ENTR

The term “entr’acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval “entre deux actes” (between two acts) of a theatrical performance. The term often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.

26 Part of the calendar named for Caesar : JULY

Our contemporary calendar has its roots in the old Roman calendar, which originally had ten months and was attributed to Romulus:

  1. March (Month of Mars)
  2. April (Month of Apru/Aphrodite)
  3. May (Month of Maia)
  4. June (Month of Juno)
  5. Quintilis (Fifth Month)
  6. Sextilis (Sixth Month)
  7. September (Seventh Month)
  8. October (Eighth Month)
  9. November (Ninth Month)
  10. December (Tenth Month)

Julius Caesar order the calendar realigned, adding two months at the beginning of the year (our “January” and “February”). Subsequently, the former “fifth” month of Quintilis was renamed in honor of Julius Caesar giving our “July”, and then the former “sixth” Month of Sextilis was renamed in honor of Augustus Caesar giving our “August”.

27 “The Lord of the Rings” tree creature : ENT

Ents are tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth in his series of books “The Lord of the Rings”. “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.

29 Wacky comedy : FARCE

A farce is a comedy play that features an exaggerated and improbable storyline, with lots of physical humor. I love a good farce …

30 Dungeons & Dragons monster : OGRE

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 …

32 Setting for “The King and I” : SIAM

Formerly known as Siam, the Kingdom of Thailand is operating as a military dictatorship following a 2014 coup.

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

33 “Picnic” playwright William : INGE

Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge’s most celebrated work of that time is the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman. Many of Inge’s works are set in the American heartland and so he became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest”.

42 Palindromic bird : TIT

The birds known as chickadees or titmice in North America, are usually called simply “tits” in the rest of the English-speaking world.

45 That special touch, for short : TLC

Tender loving care (TLC)

50 Pyongyang’s peninsula : KOREA

Pyongyang is North Korea’s capital, and the nation’s largest city. During the early 1900s, the city earned the nickname “Jerusalem of the East”, as it was the epicenter of a Protestant revival led by missionaries from the West.

51 River frolicker : OTTER

Male and female otters are known as dogs and bitches, with the offspring called pups. Males and females are sometimes referred to as boars and sows. A collection of otters is a bevy, family, lodge or perhaps a romp. When in water, a collection of otters can be called a raft.

52 Boy band with the 2000 hit “Bye Bye Bye” : NSYNC

“Bye Bye Bye” is a 2000 hit song recorded by the boy band NSYNC. It was originally written for another boy band, the English group 5ive, but they passed on it.

54 Roadies’ equipment : AMPS

A “roadie” is someone who loads, unloads and sets up equipment for musicians on tour, on the “road”.

60 Mathematician Lovelace : ADA

Ada Lovelace’s real name and title was Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. She was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the poet. Lovelace was fascinated by mathematics and wrote about the work done by Charles Babbage in building his groundbreaking mechanical computer. In some of her notes, she proposed an algorithm for Babbage’s machine to compute Bernoulli numbers. This algorithm is recognized by many as the world’s first computer program and so Lovelace is sometimes called the first “computer programmer”. There is a computer language called “Ada” that was named in her honor. The Ada language was developed from 1977 to 1983 for the US Department of Defense.

61 Seminary subj. : REL

Originally, a seminary was where plants were raised from seeds, as “semen” is the Latin for “seed”. The first schools labeled as seminaries were established in the late 1500s. Those first schools were more likely to be academies for young ladies back then, rather than for trainee priests.

62 Dough dispenser : ATM

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Killer whale : ORCA
5 Radio noise : STATIC
11 Dude : BRO
14 “Awesome!” : COOL!
15 City that shares an airport with Seattle : TACOMA
16 Uncooked : RAW
17 The sitcom writers met at a … : … TV RECEPTION
19 Point of no return? : ACE
20 I.C.U. test, maybe : EEG
21 MSNBC host Melber : ARI
22 Office or schoolroom furniture : DESKS
24 Tested, as 26-Across : TRIED ON
26 Casual Friday wear : JEANS
28 The mathematicians met at a … : … TRIG FUNCTION
32 Expressed exasperation … or relief : SIGHED
35 Spider-Man, for Peter Parker : ALTER EGO
36 Suffix with serpent : -INE
37 Like some humor : WRY
38 Trio in elem. school : RRR
39 Neither a believer nor a disbeliever : AGNOSTIC
43 Value highly : ESTEEM
46 The pharmacists met at a … : … MEDICINE BALL
48 Top-notch : ELITE
49 “Methinks” : I RECKON
53 “The Bells of St. ___” (Bing Crosby film and song) : MARY’S
55 Telecom of old : GTE
56 Sports tiebreakers, for short : OTS
57 Shocked reaction, online : OMG!
58 The Google employees met at a … : … SEARCH PARTY
63 Place for a sensory deprivation tank : SPA
64 Trying experience : ORDEAL
65 Many a TikTok user : TEEN
66 Recipe amt. : TSP
67 Property in buildings and land : REALTY
68 Designer Jacobs : MARC

Down

1 Maids a-milking, e.g. : OCTET
2 Explorer on Mars : ROVER
3 Welsh dog breed : CORGI
4 Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE
5 Many an anti-inflammatory medication : STEROID
6 Radio studio session : TAPING
7 Not just stand there : ACT
8 Informal “you,” en français : TOI
9 “As I would say,” in a text : IMO
10 Bushnell who wrote “Sex and the City” : CANDACE
11 Garment with a French name : BRASSIERE
12 Billiards accessory : RACK
13 Is shy, in a way : OWES
18 Group of officers : CADRE
23 ___’acte : ENTR
25 Biblical verb ending : -ETH
26 Part of the calendar named for Caesar : JULY
27 “The Lord of the Rings” tree creature : ENT
29 Wacky comedy : FARCE
30 Dungeons & Dragons monster : OGRE
31 Societal expectation : NORM
32 Setting for “The King and I” : SIAM
33 “Picnic” playwright William : INGE
34 Male/female pay differential, e.g. : GENDER GAP
37 “A constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy,” per Benjamin Franklin : WINE
40 Lubricated : OILY
41 Word with kick or cut : SCISSOR …
42 Palindromic bird : TIT
43 Terrestrial : EARTHLY
44 Undercover activity? : SLEEP
45 That special touch, for short : TLC
47 Lion or tiger : BIG CAT
50 Pyongyang’s peninsula : KOREA
51 River frolicker : OTTER
52 Boy band with the 2000 hit “Bye Bye Bye” : NSYNC
53 ___ likely to succeed : MOST
54 Roadies’ equipment : AMPS
59 Bard’s “before” : ERE
60 Mathematician Lovelace : ADA
61 Seminary subj. : REL
62 Dough dispenser : ATM

7 thoughts on “0324-20 NY Times Crossword 24 Mar 20, Tuesday”

  1. 9:43 after correcting an error (by changing “DRY” to “WRY”) and getting the happy music. Should have noticed that “DINE” made no sense. Distracted … 😳

  2. 9:31. Same as A NONNY MUSS, “dry”‘ before WRY, and when I made the change I got the music as well.

    I have a better understanding of the word FARCE now. What I thought was a FARCE is actually the fourth definition “An empty or patently ridiculous act, proceeding, or situation.” The first definition is actually a type of stuffing. The verb to farce means to stuff. In a literary sense the verb means to improve or expand as if by stuffing.

    All news to me.

    Best –

  3. 9:24, no errors. Same dilemma as others re: WRY/DRY. Trying to move quickly, I just entered ‘RY’ and eventually got around to the Franklin quote. Vaguely remember seeing the quote hanging on a wall.

  4. No errors. A puzzle like this one is a bit of a trying experience. The long across theme answers require down crosses as a prerequisite. Yet the downs do not come easily either. It all worked out in the end but it took a fair amount of mental focus. Nice Tuesday nevertheless.

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