0404-20 NY Times Crossword 4 Apr 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Yacob Yonas
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 15m 44s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16 Talking points? : PODIA

“Podium” (plural “podia”) is the Latin word for “raised platform”.

20 Singer with the 2014 hit “Chandelier” : SIA

“Sia” is the stage name of Australian singer Sia Furler from Adelaide. Sia is a cousin of Australian Christian Rock musician Peter Furler.

21 Queen or king maker : SERTA

Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement. Serta advertisements feature the Serta Counting Sheep. Each numbered sheep has a different personality, such as:

  • #1 The Leader of the Flock
  • #½ The Tweener
  • #13 Mr. Bad Luck
  • #53 The Pessimist
  • #86 Benedict Arnold

22 Operate on with a beam : LASE

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “light oscillation by stimulated emission of radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely “loser”.

23 Prefix with marathon : ULTRA-

The term “ultramarathon” describes a race that is longer than the 26.2 miles of a traditional marathon. “Ultra running” falls into two categories. Some races cover a specified distance or route, while others last for a specified time, with the winner covering the most distance in that time.

26 Dir. from Duluth, Minn., to Madison, Wis. : SSE

Duluth, Minnesota lies at the westernmost end of Lake Superior, and as such is the westernmost port of the Great Lakes. One has to travel 2,300 miles of inland waterway to get to the Atlantic Ocean from Duluth. The city of Duluth takes its name from the first European explorer of the region, the Frenchman Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut.

Madison is the second-largest city in Wisconsin (after Milwaukee), and is the state capital. The city was named for President James Madison, who was one of the signers of the US Constitution. Many of Madison’s first streets were named for the 39 other signatories.

29 Weekly show filmed in Studio 8H, for short : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

30 Pioneer in graph theory : EULER

Leonhard Euler was a brilliant Swiss mathematician and physicist, and a pioneer in the fields of logarithms and graph theory. Euler’s eyesight deteriorated during his working life, and eventually became almost totally blind.

31 Covered porch : RAMADA

A ramada is a shelter with a roof and no walls, and is mainly found in the American southwest. Nowadays, the shelter can be temporary or permanent, but originally ramadas were makeshift shelters constructed by aboriginal Indians from branches or bushes.

37 It’s a series of movements : SONATA

A cantata is a piece of music that is sung, as opposed to a sonata, which is a piece that is played on some instrument, often a piano. A sonatina is in effect a sonata that has been labelled as something lighter and shorter.

39 Some online comments, for short : IMS

Even though instant messaging (sending and receiving IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

42 Chocolate ___ : LAB

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s. The name “Labrador Retriever” is simply a reference to the breed’s origin and behavior. Labs originally “retrieved” from the “Labrador Sea”.

51 PIN point : ATM

One enters a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Given that the N in PIN stands for “number”, then “PIN number” is a redundant phrase. And, given that the M in ATM stands for “machine”, then “ATM machine” is a redundant phrase as well. Grr …!

53 Quartz type : AGATE

Agate is a micro-crystalline form of quartz (and so is related to sand/silica). Some agate samples have deposited layers that give a striped appearance, and these are called “banded agate”.

56 Numbskull : MORON

The unsavory term “moron” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with a degree of mental retardation. The term comes from the Greek “moros” meaning “foolish, dull”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

  • “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
  • “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
  • “moron” …IQ of 51-70

Down

1 They can be everything : BAGELS

An everything bagel has everything on it, i.e. a variety of traditional seasonings like poppy seeds, salt, and sesame seeds.

6 Oscar-winning Lee : ANG

Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

7 You might not get it during a power nap : REM SLEEP

“REM” is an acronym standing for “rapid eye movement”. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

8 Brutus, e.g. : TRAITOR

The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

9 College figs. : GPAS

Grade point average (GPA)

15 Pluto, e.g. : DWARF

Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was welcomed as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto is relatively small in size, just one fifth of the mass of our own moon. In the seventies, astronomers began to discover more large objects in the solar system, including Eris, a “scattered disc object” at the outer reaches. Given that Eris is actually bigger than Pluto, and other objects really aren’t that much smaller, Pluto’s status as a planet was drawn into question. In 2006 there was a scientific definition for a “planet” agreed for the first time, resulting in Pluto being relegated to the status of “dwarf planet”, along with Eris.

24 Many ski lodges : A-FRAMES

An A-frame house is one that has a steeply-angled roof, one forming the shape of the letter “A”. The A-frame design is popular in snowy regions, as the roof is so steeply pitched that it does not collect snow.

28 Some Indian wear : SARIS

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that it is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

30 Org. with the Office of Land and Emergency Management : EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up during the Nixon administration and began operation at the end of 1970.

32 One of a couple, say : MRS

“Mr.” is an abbreviation for “mister”, and “Mrs.” is an abbreviation for “mistress”.

33 First of three spinoffs in an acclaimed TV franchise : CSI: MIAMI

I quite enjoyed the “CSI” franchise of television shows, all except “CSI: Miami”. I find the character played by David Caruso to be extremely annoying. “CSI: Miami” was cancelled in 2012. No loss …

34 Pluto, e.g. : ROMAN GOD

In classical mythology, the god of the underworld was named Hades. Over time, “Hades” came to mean the underworld itself and the name for the god became “Pluto”. Pluto’s character was more positive than the god Hades, and he represented a more rewarding afterlife compared to that offered by the darker Hades.

35 Where you might incur charges overseas : ON SAFARI

“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.

36 Pen pal? : CELLMATE

“Pen” is a slang term for “penitentiary”. Back in the early 1400s, a penitentiary was a place to do “penance”, a place of punishment for offences against the church.

38 Like mushrooms and shrimp, often : SAUTEED

“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

43 Melodic passage : ARIOSO

An arioso (plural “ariosi”) is a solo vocal piece in a classical work such as an opera or an oratorio. An arioso’s structure lies somewhere between that of a full-blown aria and speech-like recitative.

50 It may be high for a penthouse : RENT

Originally, the term “penthouse” described a modest building attached to a main structure. In fact, in centuries past, the manger in which Jesus was born was often referred to as a penthouse. The modern, more luxurious connotation dates back to the early twenties.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Barb from the mouth : BLOWDART
9 Tedious work : GRIND
14 Captain of the mathletes, stereotypically : ALPHA NERD
16 Talking points? : PODIA
17 Cavernous opening : GAPING MAW
18 Before: Fr. : AVANT
19 Be expressive, say : EMOTE
20 Singer with the 2014 hit “Chandelier” : SIA
21 Queen or king maker : SERTA
22 Operate on with a beam : LASE
23 Prefix with marathon : ULTRA-
25 Meaningful : DEEP
26 Dir. from Duluth, Minn., to Madison, Wis. : SSE
27 You won’t see them again : ONE-OFFS
29 Weekly show filmed in Studio 8H, for short : SNL
30 Pioneer in graph theory : EULER
31 Covered porch : RAMADA
33 Midriff-revealing wear : CROP TOP
36 “Don’t mind me!” : CARRY ON!
37 It’s a series of movements : SONATA
38 What four quarters make : SEMIS
39 Some online comments, for short : IMS
40 Primary source of revenue for Facebook : AD SALES
42 Chocolate ___ : LAB
45 “After you, ___” : MA’AM
47 People : SOULS
48 Nymph who divulged Jupiter’s affair with Juturna, in Ovid : LARA
49 Derive : INFER
51 PIN point : ATM
52 Sink : BASIN
53 Quartz type : AGATE
54 Certain library fund-raiser : READ-A-THON
56 Numbskull : MORON
57 Reassure : SET AT EASE
58 Numbskull : IDIOT
59 Prison guard in the Harry Potter books : DEMENTOR

Down

1 They can be everything : BAGELS
2 Kids : goats :: crias : ___ : LLAMAS
3 Buck : OPPOSE
4 What you’re usually advised not to wear to someone’s wedding : WHITE
5 Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki or actress Brigitte Nielsen : DANE
6 Oscar-winning Lee : ANG
7 You might not get it during a power nap : REM SLEEP
8 Brutus, e.g. : TRAITOR
9 College figs. : GPAS
10 Went all over : ROVED
11 “My suspicion is …” : I DARE SAY …
12 Company whose name is said to mean “Leave luck to heaven” : NINTENDO
13 Purchase for a smartphone : DATA PLAN
15 Pluto, e.g. : DWARF
23 Dumps : UNLOADS
24 Many ski lodges : A-FRAMES
27 Word with sight or control : OUTTA …
28 Some Indian wear : SARIS
30 Org. with the Office of Land and Emergency Management : EPA
32 One of a couple, say : MRS
33 First of three spinoffs in an acclaimed TV franchise : CSI: MIAMI
34 Pluto, e.g. : ROMAN GOD
35 Where you might incur charges overseas : ON SAFARI
36 Pen pal? : CELLMATE
38 Like mushrooms and shrimp, often : SAUTEED
41 Really takes off : SOARS
42 Attack : LASH AT
43 Melodic passage : ARIOSO
44 Campaign rally decoration : BANNER
46 “I’m with you” : ME TOO
48 Get dark : LATEN
50 It may be high for a penthouse : RENT
52 Lessen : BATE
55 Moat feature : DAM

17 thoughts on “0404-20 NY Times Crossword 4 Apr 20, Saturday”

  1. 18:33, no errors. Finished (laboriously) in the upper left, where a couple of initial missteps cost me several minutes.

  2. 30:13 Southeast was my time consumer….went to bed with it unfinished and for some reason the crossword fairy didn’t finish it for me while I slept. Finally accepted “bate” and “laten” only because I knew “dementor” was correct….

  3. 25:50. Same as Duncan the SE stumped me the most. Finally getting BASIN is what triggered the dominos to fall there.

    I’ll spend the rest of the day trying to think up ways to insert teh word ALPHANERD into a conversation.

    Best –

  4. No errors but not without some rough spots. Needed a long review before I got traction in the south west. Thought the cluing was a bit off-kilter, but it’s Saturday after all.

  5. 31:19, 3 errors: LA(N)A; DEMENT(E)R; A(N)IOS(E). Felt in over my head today, happy to finish. Didn’t help by guessing 8D Brutus as a: SENATOR > PRAETOR > TRAITOR; or 38A Four quarters as a WHOLE.

  6. 58:10 no errors…I didn’t know a moat had a dam among other things I didn’t know in this one.
    Stay safe.

  7. Liked this puzzle and thought it was easier than Saturdays generally are, but didn’t come out of it unscathed. (Ended up similar to @BruceB.)

  8. Don’t know if a most has a dam – doesn’t it circle the castle? And why is SEMIS four quarters? It’s not a semi anything, it’s a whole or a dollar or a whole game.

    1. My interpretation was that, in sports, four teams come out of the four quarterfinal games (i.e ‘the quarters’), and make up the semifinals (‘the semis’).

  9. Re “Moat feature” = “DAM”: That seemed a little off to me, too, but I found this online (see the fifth paragraph):

    https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-did-castles-have-moats

    Re “What four quarters make” = “SEMIS”: All I can think of is that “quarter” suggests “1/4” and “semi” suggests “1/2”, so four “quarters” equals two “semis”. Again, a bit of a stretch, but that’s why they call ‘em “clues” instead of “definitions” … 😜.

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