0408-20 NY Times Crossword 8 Apr 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Sam Buchbinder
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Bowling Alley

Themed answers each start with what might result from rolling a ball in a BOWLING ALLEY:

  • 16D Where you might roll the starts of 17-, 31-, 43- and 56-Across : BOWLING ALLEY
  • 17A Quick attack groups : STRIKE FORCES (roll a “strike”)
  • 31A Like many TV news interviews : SPLIT SCREEN (roll a “split”)
  • 43A Producer of jingle-jangle in the pocket : SPARE CHANGE (roll a “spare”)
  • 56A Aid for a Thanksgiving chef : TURKEY BASTER (roll a “turkey”)

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 11m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Tom who created Jack Ryan : CLANCY

Tom Clancy was an incredibly successful novelist who was noted for his technically-detailed military and espionage thrillers. Clancy’s first novel was “The Hunt for Red October”, published in 1984. Although “Red October” was to be his most successful work, I personally preferred his second book “Red Storm Rising”, published in 1986. Clancy passed away in 2013.

13 Shakespearean fairy king : OBERON

Oberon and Titania are the King and Queen of the fairies in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

15 Humorist Ambrose who once defined “alone” as “in bad company” : BIERCE

“The Devil’s Dictionary” is a satirical work by Ambrose Bierce, consisting of a list of common words with some very amusing definitions. First published in 1911, “The Devil’s Dictionary” is a more complete version of Bierce’s 1906 publication “The Cynic’s Word Book”. Here are some of my favorite definitions found therein:

  • Cabbage, n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head.
  • Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
  • Dentist, n. A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.
  • Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
  • Hers, pron. His.
  • Money, n. A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it.
  • Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.
  • Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.
  • Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.
  • Year, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.

24 Tennis star Nadal, to fans : RAFA

Rafael “Rafa” Nadal is a Spanish tennis player. He is noted for his expertise on clay courts, which earned him the nickname “The King of Clay”.

27 Like the leftmost stripe on le drapeau français : BLEU

The French flag (“le drapeau français” in French) is a tricolor of blue, white and red. The blue and red colors in the flag date back to the French Revolution, when the Paris militia that participated in the storming of the Bastille wore a cockade of blue and red. Subsequently, this blue and red was added to white to create a three-color national cockade that was sported by the national militia. The design of the national cockade was absorbed into the national flag that was adopted in 1794.

31 Like many TV news interviews : SPLIT SCREEN (roll a “split”)

In ten pin bowling, a split takes place when the number-one pin (headpin) is knocked down with the first ball and two or more non-adjacent pins are left standing. The most difficult split to deal with is the infamous 7-10 split, where just the rear pins at the extreme right and left remain standing.

35 Emmy nomination number for which Susan Lucci finally won for playing Erica Kane on “All My Children” : NINETEEN

Susan Lucci is perhaps the most famous actor associated with daytime soap operas, and was the highest paid actor in daytime television. Lucci was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series an incredible 21 times for her portrayal of Erica Kane, the vixen in “All My Children”.

37 Little bit : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

38 Comic actress Rudolph : MAYA

Comic actress Maya Rudolph got her break as a regular cast member on “Saturday Night Live”. Rudolph’s mother was singer Minnie Ripperton, who had a big hit in 1975 with the single “Lovin’ You”.

43 Producer of jingle-jangle in the pocket : SPARE CHANGE (roll a “spare”)

In bowling, a spare is recorded on a score sheet with a forward slash mark. A strike is recorded with a large letter X.

50 Coke and RC : COLAS

The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. The first sales were in Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, where a glass of the new beverage sold for five cents. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.

Claude A. Hatcher ran a grocery store in Columbus, Georgia. He decided to develop his own soft drink formula when he balked at the price his store was being charged for Coca-Cola syrup. Hatcher launched the Union Bottling Works in his own grocery store, and introduced Royal Crown Ginger Ale in 1905. The Union Bottling Works was renamed to Chero-Cola in 1910, the Nehi Corporation in 1925, and Royal Crown Company in the mid-fifties. The first RC Cola hit the market in 1934.

53 Mom on “Modern Family” : CLAIRE

“Modern Family” is a marvelous television show shown on ABC since 2009. The show’s format is that of a “mockumentary”, with the cast often addressing the camera directly. In that respect “Modern Family” resembles two other excellent shows: “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”, both of which might also be described as “mockumentaries”.

56 Aid for a Thanksgiving chef : TURKEY BASTER (roll a “turkey”)

There is a suggestion that the use of the term “turkey” to describe three strikes in a row in bowling arose in the late 1700s. Playing conditions back then made it very difficult to bowl one strike, never mind three. Also, prizes awarded were often items of food. A values prize, particularly around Thanksgiving, was a turkey, and it was awarded for bowling three strikes in a row.

61 Reverse course, slangily : PULL A UEY

Hang a “uey” or “uie”, make a u-turn, make a 180.

65 Cry at a revival : I’M SAVED!

A revival meeting is a service in the Christian tradition that is held to provide inspiration to church members, or to gain converts.

68 Precipitates unpleasantly, in a way : SLEETS

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

Down

2 Dead space? : OBIT

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

4 Exuberant cry south of the border : ARRIBA!

“Arriba” is Spanish for “above”. Speedy Gonzales used to yell out “Arriba!” a lot, meaning “get up!”.

5 Title film character who declares “Nobody owes nobody nothing” : ROCKY

If ever there was a movie that defines a career breakthrough for an actor, it would have to be “Rocky” for Sylvester Stallone. Stallone was a struggling actor in 1975 when a Muhammad Ali fight inspired Stallone to write a screenplay for a boxing movie, which he did in just three days. His efforts to sell the script went well but for the fact that the interested studios wanted a big name for the lead role, and Stallone was determined to be the star himself. Stallone persevered and “Rocky” was eventually made with him playing the title role of Rocky Balboa. The movie won three Oscars, and “Sly” Stallone had arrived …

6 Show obeisance : KNEEL

Obeisance is an attitude of deference usually marked by gestures of respect such as a bow or curtsey.

7 Gator’s cousin : CROC

Crocodiles and alligators do indeed bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

9 Eschewers of military service : AMISH

The Amish are members of a group of Christian churches, and a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

“To eschew”, meaning “to avoid, shun” comes from the Old French word “eschiver” that means the same thing.

10 “Ask Me Another” airer : NPR

“Ask Me Another” is a National Public Radio (NPR) show that features word games, puzzles and trivia. The show is recorded live in front of an audience In New York City, and is hosted by comedian Ophira Eisenberg.

14 Real English county on which Thomas Hardy based the fictional Wessex : DORSET

Dorset is a county on the coast in South West England, with the county town of Dorchester. If you’ve read Thomas Hardy (he was born near Dorchester), you might be familiar with Dorset as he set many of his novels in the county.

Thomas Hardy set most of his novels and short stories in the south and southwest of England, in an area that he called “Wessex”. Even though the name “Wessex” was not used officially during Hardy’s lifetime, Wessex was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed in that part of the island during the Middle Ages. A favorite spot within Hardy’s Wessex is Egdon Heath, a sparsely inhabited moorland that features in the author’s “The Return of the Native”, “The Mayor of Casterbridge” and “The Withered Arm”.

16 Where you might roll the starts of 17-, 31-, 43- and 56-Across : BOWLING ALLEY

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

18 George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” e.g. : FABLE

“Animal Farm” is a 1945 novella written by George Orwell, a satire of life in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Orwell had trouble getting his novel published in his homeland of the UK during WWII, as anti-Soviet literature wasn’t a good thing to publish while the UK and USSR were on the same side of a World War. In fact, one publisher who was willing to distribute the book changed his mind after being warned off by the British Ministry of Information. Given his experiences, I find it interesting that Orwell should write “Nineteen Eighty-Four” a few years later, and introduce the world to Big Brother.

21 Nook, e.g. : E-READER

The Barnes & Noble electronic-book reader is called the Nook. The reader’s name is intended to evoke the usage of “nook” as a familiar place to sit and read quietly.

25 Fish on a sushi menu : AHI

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

31 Bump on a lid : STYE

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

34 GPS suggestion: Abbr. : RTE

A global positioning system (GPS) might point out a route (rte.).

40 10/24 celebration of global cooperation : UN DAY

The Charter of the United Nations was signed by the member states in San Francisco in June 1945 and came into force on 24 October 1945. October 24 was chosen as United Nations Day in 1947. In 1971 the United Nations further resolved to make UN Day a public holiday in all UN member states.

41 Makeup of Elsa’s castle in “Frozen” : ICE

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Spoiler alert: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles seems to be a good guy for most of the film, but turns out to be a baddie in the end. And, a snowman named Olaf provides some comic relief.

43 Kind of fly : SAC

That would be baseball.

45 Pawned : HOCKED

The phrase “in hock” is an American invention. Back in the mid-19th century “in hock” meant both “in debt” and “in prison”. The word “hock” comes from the Dutch “hok” meaning “jail”.

I remember the bad old days growing up in Dublin, Ireland, when my mother had to go to the pawnshop (bad times!). I’d wait outside with my brother, looking up at the pawnbroker’s sign, three gold balls hanging down from a metal bar. This traditional sign used by pawnbrokers is said to date back to the Medici family as the sign had symbolic meaning in the province of Lombardy where the Medici family reigned supreme. Because of this connection, pawnshop banking was originally called Lombard banking.

51 Part of some encyclopedias : ATLAS

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas” that is used for a book of maps.

An encyclopedia is a compendium reference work containing summary information about a branch of knowledge, or about all knowledge. The word “encyclopedia” comes from the Greek “enkyklios paideia” meaning “general education”, or literally “general rearing of a child”.

52 Smooth : SUAVE

The Latin word “suavis” translates as “agreeable, pleasant to the senses”. “Sauvis” is the root of the English word “suave” that describes someone who is gracious and sophisticated, and perhaps somewhat superficial. “Sauvis” also gave us the English word “sweet” meaning “pleasing to the taste”.

55 Get tangled up : RAVEL

While “to ravel” can mean “to get tangled up”, the term is usually used to mean “to unravel, disentangle”. Yep, “ravel” and “unravel” mean the same thing!

58 ___ Modern : TATE

The museum known as “the Tate” is actually made up of four separate galleries in England. The original Tate gallery was founded by Sir Henry Tate as the National Gallery of British Art. It is located on Millbank in London, on the site of the old Millbank Prison, and is now called Tate Britain. There is also the Tate Liverpool in the north of England that is located in an old warehouse, and the Tate St. Ives in the west country located in an old gas works. My favorite of the Tate galleries is the Tate Modern which lies on the banks of the Thames in London. It’s a beautiful building, a converted power station that you have to see to believe.

59 Division politique : ETAT

In French, an “état” (state) is a “division politique” (political division).

61 One of 21 on a die : PIP

A pip is a dot on a die or a domino, or a mark on a playing card.

62 Actress Thurman : UMA

Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in the movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.

63 Sch. whose newspaper is The Daily Reveille : LSU

LSU’s full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, and is located in Baton Rouge. LSU was founded in 1860 as a military academy, with then-Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Not be heard from anymore : GO DARK
7 Tom who created Jack Ryan : CLANCY
13 Shakespearean fairy king : OBERON
14 Something to practice percussion on : DRUM PAD
15 Humorist Ambrose who once defined “alone” as “in bad company” : BIERCE
16 Fans that jeer the home team, informally : BOOBIRDS
17 Quick attack groups : STRIKE FORCES (roll a “strike”)
19 Club booklet : BYLAWS
20 Blind followers : SHEEP
24 Tennis star Nadal, to fans : RAFA
27 Like the leftmost stripe on le drapeau français : BLEU
29 Deli loaf : RYE
30 “THERE you are!” : AHA!
31 Like many TV news interviews : SPLIT SCREEN (roll a “split”)
35 Emmy nomination number for which Susan Lucci finally won for playing Erica Kane on “All My Children” : NINETEEN
37 Little bit : IOTA
38 Comic actress Rudolph : MAYA
39 Went 0 to 60, say : GUNNED IT
43 Producer of jingle-jangle in the pocket : SPARE CHANGE (roll a “spare”)
46 “Good for the earth” prefix : ECO-
47 Horror film director Aster : ARI
48 Grasp : HOLD
49 Coffee or beer, informally : BREW
50 Coke and RC : COLAS
53 Mom on “Modern Family” : CLAIRE
56 Aid for a Thanksgiving chef : TURKEY BASTER (roll a “turkey”)
61 Reverse course, slangily : PULL A UEY
64 Wing it? : AVIATE
65 Cry at a revival : I’M SAVED!
66 Kind of sale : RED-TAG
67 Clicked the double vertical bar on a YouTube video : PAUSED
68 Precipitates unpleasantly, in a way : SLEETS

Down

1 Oodles : GOBS
2 Dead space? : OBIT
3 Howl : wolf :: bell : ___ : DEER
4 Exuberant cry south of the border : ARRIBA!
5 Title film character who declares “Nobody owes nobody nothing” : ROCKY
6 Show obeisance : KNEEL
7 Gator’s cousin : CROC
8 Some garage jobs : LUBES
9 Eschewers of military service : AMISH
10 “Ask Me Another” airer : NPR
11 Scoundrel : CAD
12 Fabric measures: Abbr. : YDS
14 Real English county on which Thomas Hardy based the fictional Wessex : DORSET
16 Where you might roll the starts of 17-, 31-, 43- and 56-Across : BOWLING ALLEY
18 George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” e.g. : FABLE
21 Nook, e.g. : E-READER
22 One of eight on most spiders : EYE
23 Part of an animal farm : PEN
24 Was in charge of : RAN
25 Fish on a sushi menu : AHI
26 Gushing letters : FAN MAIL
28 On drugs, say : USING
31 Bump on a lid : STYE
32 Beaut : PEACH
33 Driving test obstacle : CONE
34 GPS suggestion: Abbr. : RTE
36 What may have a ring to it? : EAR
40 10/24 celebration of global cooperation : UN DAY
41 Makeup of Elsa’s castle in “Frozen” : ICE
42 Drag : TOW
43 Kind of fly : SAC
44 Whiz : PRO
45 Pawned : HOCKED
49 Next to : BESIDE
51 Part of some encyclopedias : ATLAS
52 Smooth : SUAVE
54 Certain building beams : I-BARS
55 Get tangled up : RAVEL
57 Had some second thoughts about : RUED
58 ___ Modern : TATE
59 Division politique : ETAT
60 Rules and ___ : REGS
61 One of 21 on a die : PIP
62 Actress Thurman : UMA
63 Sch. whose newspaper is The Daily Reveille : LSU

14 thoughts on “0408-20 NY Times Crossword 8 Apr 20, Wednesday”

    1. @Alec …

      I just found this definition of “bell” on “dictionary.com”: “the cry of a rutting stag or hunting dog”. I assume one may also use it as a verb. So a wolf may howl and a deer may bell.

      I think I’ve seen the term before, but I could be fooling myself. In any case, I think it’s a word not many will know.

  1. 10:19, no errors. I’m a huge fan of Ambrose Bierce, so I was pleased to see Bill’s selection of quotes above … 😜.

  2. 32:21 Northwest corner did me in, not knowing “Bierce” and “Oberon”, putting in “tons” for “gobs”…took half my time sorting and guessing…but hey, I got the theme early!

  3. 21:48 with no errors. Had a hard time getting started. Then most of it fell into place. NW corner was the last to fall. Still less than twice Bill’s time. w00t.

  4. 18:22 Didn’t we just have a bowling theme like this a couple of weeks ago? Oh well, I liked it anyway especially with the BOWLING ALLEY visually down the center of the grid.

    I had PEArl before PEACH for “Beaut” and DRUMset before DRUMPAD, but otherwise a smooth solve.

    Best –

  5. 15:10. Not being particularly musical, I didn’t know drum pad. Thought it was drum set. Got it with the verticals.

  6. 32:00 with 1 error…I had Pierce for Bierce.
    For as long as I can remember my dad was a bowling alley manager and I was a “pin boy” until the machines took over and then I was a “pin jammer” so the theme came easy to me for a change and really helped.
    Sta safe

  7. Don’t enjoy coming up short on Wednesday but I couldn’t think my way out of the north west tangle. I knew OBERON so tried TONS and LOTS for 1-D. Didn’t know BIERCE. Doomed.

  8. 15:49, no errors. Some of the same issues as previous posters: TONS & LOTS before GOBS; EEL before AHI; LOOSE CHANGE before SPARE CHANGE.

  9. I had heard of elk belling, not deer, so tried elks first — but was pretty sure of Bierce and Oberon, so that didn’t last long.
    Got the theme fast, because my mother was in a bowling league and I spent some time there, but was never any good.

  10. No errors. This puzzle would have been very difficult for me if it had not been for the theme. I got BOWLING ALLEY very early and that gave me a whole bunch of letters to work with as well as a strong hint about bowling terminology. From there on it went smoothly.

    Like many others, the NW corner was the most difficult for me. I knew BIERCE (although the I and the E placement had to wait for some crosses). OBERON came to me not as a Shakespearean character but as the name of a well known, twentieth century actress named Merle Oberon. Oberon, however, was not her real name and I do not know just how she came by it.

  11. Will echo some others about the BOWLING ALLEY, which helped in getting off to a good start and eventually solving the puzzle. Took more time than expected, but I liked the challenge.

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