0429-20 NY Times Crossword 29 Apr 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Joe DiPietro
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Half Off

Themed answers are common phrases comprising a repeating word, but only HALF is given in the grid:

  • 24D Discounted 50% … or a hint to the answers to the starred clues : HALF OFF
  • 5A *”Whaddya know …” : WELL WELL …
  • 16A *In rapid succession, in slang : BANG BANG
  • 18A *Bonkers : CRAY CRAY
  • 35A *”Cheers!” : CHIN CHIN!
  • 37A *Dismiss lightly : POOH POOH
  • 59A *Storied New York prison : SING SING
  • 62A *”On the double!” : CHOP CHOP!
  • 67A *”Amen to that!” : HEAR HEAR!

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 9m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Some stage equipment : AMPS

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

17 Sister channel of HBO and TBS : TRUTV

truTV is a Turner Broadcasting cable network that launched in 1991 as Court TV. The name, and programming, was changed to truTV in 2008.

18 *Bonkers : CRAY CRAY

“Cray” is a slang term meaning “insane”, and is a shortening of “crazy”.

The word “bonkers” meaning “crazy” originated in the fifties. The term might come from navy slang meaning “slightly drunk”, behaving as though one received a “bonk” on the head.

19 Club for drivers : ONE-WOOD

That would be golf.

23 Group without power? : 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.

25 Orthodontist’s recommendation : BRACES

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”.

26 Madison Ave. bigwig : AD EXEC

Madison Avenue became the center of advertising in the US in the twenties, and serves as the backdrop to the great TV drama “Mad Men”. There aren’t many advertising agencies left on Madison Avenue these days though, as most have moved to other parts of New York City. The street takes its name from Madison Square, which is bounded on one side by Madison Avenue. The square in turn takes its name from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.

29 Penne ___ vodka : ALLA

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish with a sauce made of vodka, cream, tomatoes, onions and sausage or bacon.

32 Dwarf friend of Bilbo in “The Hobbit” : BALIN

Balin is a dwarf in the Middle-earth universe created by J. R. R. Tolkien. He is played by Scottish actor Ken Stott in the Peter Jackson film adaptation of “The Hobbit”.

36 What’s found once in a generation? : SOFT G

The letter G at the start of the word “generation” is a soft G.

41 Big oaf : GALOOT

“Galoot” is an insulting term describing an awkward or boorish man, an ape. “Galoot” comes from the nautical world, where it was originally what a sailor might call a soldier or marine.

43 Pageant crown : TIARA

The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.

44 Apr. 15 payment recipient : IRS

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

47 Box office smash, in slang : BOFF

“Boffo” (sometimes “boff”) is show biz slang for “very successful”, and is a term that dates back to the early sixties.

48 Paid-for trip : JUNKET

Nowadays we use the term “junket” for a trip taken by a government official at public expense that has no public benefit. Back in the late 1500s, a junket was a basket for carrying fish. The term was then applied to a feast or banquet, perhaps adopting the notion of a picnic “basket”. From feast or banquet, the term came to mean a pleasure trip, and is now our political junket.

51 Swiss currency : FRANC

Not only is the Swiss Franc legal tender in Switzerland, it is also the money used in Liechtenstein and the Italian exclave of Campione d’Italia.

59 *Storied New York prison : SING SING

Sing Sing is the nickname of the famous prison in Ossining, not far from New York City and “up the river” Hudson.

62 *”On the double!” : CHOP CHOP!

“Chop chop” is Chinese Pidgin English, and is just a reiteration of the word “chop” used in the sense of moving quickly.

63 Diva’s delivery : ARIA

The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

64 “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night …,” for postal workers : CREED

There is no official creed or motto for the US Postal Service (USPS). However, there is the oft-quoted inscription that is posted (pun!) over the entrance to the James Farley Post Office in New York City:

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Down

1 Wandering sort : HOBO

No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums” in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

2 Actor McGregor : EWAN

Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.

5 “The most powerful drug used by mankind”: Rudyard Kipling : WORDS

Rudyard Kipling was a British poet and writer famous for his tales of the British Raj, the rule of the British Empire in India. Kipling was actually born in Bombay, but returned with his family to England when he was very young. After being educated in England, he returned to India and from there traveled the world. Kipling’s most famous works are the stories “The Jungle Book”, “Just So Stories”, “The Man Who Would Be King”, and the poems “Mandalay”, “Gunga Din” and “If-”.

6 Internet address suffix : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

8 Rolling textual coverage of an event : LIVE BLOG

Many folks who visit this website regard it as just that, a website. That is true, but more specifically it is referred to as a blog, as I make regular posts (actually daily posts) that then occupy the “front page” of the site. The blog entries are in reverse chronological order, and one can just look back day-by-day, reading older and older posts. “Blog” is a contraction of the term “web log”.

9 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.

10 Percussion instrument often used in calypso music : MARACA

Maracas are percussion instruments that are native to Latin America. They are constructed from a dried shell, like that of a coconut, to which a handle is attached. The shell is filled with dried seeds or beans, and shaken.

The musical style known as calypso originated in Trinidad and Tobago, but there seems to be some debate about which influences were most important as the genre developed. It is generally agreed that the music was imported by African slaves from their homeland, but others emphasize influences of the medieval French troubadours. To me it sounds more African in nature. Calypso reached the masses when it was first recorded in 1912, and it spread around the world in the thirties and forties. It reached its pinnacle with the release of the famous “Banana Boat Song” by Harry Belafonte.

11 Typewriter roller : PLATEN

The original platens were flat plates used to press paper against inked type to create an impression in the process of letterpress printing. The term was then used with newer printing machines and typewriters, describing the rollers that pressed paper against printing media.

14 Zeno, for one : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

20 Eclipse, for some : OMEN

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into the shadow cast by the Earth from the light of the Sun, in other words when the Earth is positioned directly between the Sun and the Moon. The more spectacular solar eclipse takes place when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, so that the Earth falls into the shadow cast by the Moon.

26 Network that aired “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley” : ABC

On the late-seventies and early-eighties sitcom “Laverne & Shirley”, Penny Marshall played Laverne (De Fazio) , and Cindy Williams played Shirley (Feeney). The show was a spin-off of “Happy Days”, in which Laverne and Shirley were friends of the Fonz.

27 Morse code unit : DAH

Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

28 QB Manning : ELI

Eli Manning is a retired footballer who played quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning retired from football as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2015. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback. Eli, Peyton and Archie co-authored a book for children titled “Family Huddle” in 2009. It describes the Mannings playing football together as young boys.

30 Former Mississippi senator Trent : LOTT

Trent Lott is a political figure who first went to Washington to work as an administrative assistant to Representative William M. Colmer, from Mississippi. After four years working for Colmer, Lott ran for the House seat that Colmer was to leave vacant on his retirement. Colmer endorsed Lott in that election, even though Colmer was a Democrat and Lott ran as a Republican. Lott won the race very handily, launching a 35-year career representing his home state of Mississippi in both the House and the Senate. Lott eventually ran into trouble for remarks he made that were interpreted as being racially motivated, and ended up resigning in 2007.

38 Imparter of flavor to cabernet sauvignon wines : OAK

The cabernet sauvignon (often just “cab”) grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

43 Fish sometimes served tartare : TUNA

Steak tartare was first served in French restaurants in the early 1900s. Back then, the dish went by the name “steak à l’Americaine”, would you believe? It was basically raw, seasoned beef mixed with egg yolk. A later version of l’Americaine, without the egg yolk and with tartar sauce served on the side, was dubbed “steak tartare”. Over time the two versions became one, and the steak tartare moniker won out. By the way, if you order steak tartare in Switzerland, I believe you are served horse meat. There are now similar “tartare” dishes made with raw salmon, or raw tuna.

48 Feeling “been there, done that,” say : JADED

Our term “jaded”, meaning tired and feeling a little “ho-hum”, comes from the noun “jade” which in the 14th century was an old, worn-out horse.

56 Greeting at sea : AHOY!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

58 ___ piece : OP-ED

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

61 Big funder of cultural orgs. : NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Nether regions : HELL
5 *”Whaddya know …” : WELL WELL …
9 Some stage equipment : AMPS
13 Toddler’s boo-boo : OWIE
14 “Same here” : SO DO I
15 Not raise or fold : CALL
16 *In rapid succession, in slang : BANG BANG
17 Sister channel of HBO and TBS : TRUTV
18 *Bonkers : CRAY CRAY
19 Club for drivers : ONE-WOOD
21 Predetermined cost : SET RATE
23 Group without power? : AMISH
25 Orthodontist’s recommendation : BRACES
26 Madison Ave. bigwig : AD EXEC
29 Penne ___ vodka : ALLA
31 Resident of a hobby farm : ANT
32 Dwarf friend of Bilbo in “The Hobbit” : BALIN
33 Thick, liquidy servings : GLOOPS
35 *”Cheers!” : CHIN CHIN!
36 What’s found once in a generation? : SOFT G
37 *Dismiss lightly : POOH-POOH
41 Big oaf : GALOOT
43 Pageant crown : TIARA
44 Apr. 15 payment recipient : IRS
47 Box office smash, in slang : BOFF
48 Paid-for trip : JUNKET
49 Gets ready to drive : TEES UP
51 Swiss currency : FRANC
53 Worry too much : SWEAT IT
55 In the very recent past : A DAY AGO
59 *Storied New York prison : SING SING
60 Little bit of color : TINGE
62 *”On the double!” : CHOP CHOP!
63 Diva’s delivery : ARIA
64 “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night …,” for postal workers : CREED
65 Sole : LONE
66 Cub Scout units : DENS
67 *”Amen to that!” : HEAR HEAR!
68 Checked out : EYED

Down

1 Wandering sort : HOBO
2 Actor McGregor : EWAN
3 Betting odds : LINE
4 Certain hair removal technique : LEG-WAXING
5 “The most powerful drug used by mankind”: Rudyard Kipling : WORDS
6 Internet address suffix : EDU
7 A whole bunch : LOTS
8 Rolling textual coverage of an event : LIVE BLOG
9 Capital of Ghana : ACCRA
10 Percussion instrument often used in calypso music : MARACA
11 Typewriter roller : PLATEN
12 Most cunning : SLYEST
14 Zeno, for one : STOIC
20 Eclipse, for some : OMEN
22 Setup for a police sting : TRAP
24 Discounted 50% … or a hint to the answers to the starred clues : HALF OFF
26 Network that aired “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley” : ABC
27 Morse code unit : DAH
28 QB Manning : ELI
30 Former Mississippi senator Trent : LOTT
33 Slip-up : GOOF
34 Last part of a machine wash : SPIN CYCLE
36 Softball designation : SLO PITCH
38 Imparter of flavor to cabernet sauvignon wines : OAK
39 Certain freight car cargo : ORE
40 Makeshift donation receptacle : HAT
42 Border on : ABUT
43 Fish sometimes served tartare : TUNA
44 “So tragic” : IT’S SAD
45 Give an electrical overhaul : REWIRE
46 Escorted out of the rain, say : SEEN IN
48 Feeling “been there, done that,” say : JADED
50 Heroic tales : SAGAS
52 Wild party : RAGER
54 Pit stop replacement, often : TIRE
56 Greeting at sea : AHOY!
57 Vanished : GONE
58 ___ piece : OP-ED
61 Big funder of cultural orgs. : NEA

14 thoughts on “0429-20 NY Times Crossword 29 Apr 20, Wednesday”

  1. 26:51 and hey, I actually used the reveal to solve the puzzle…but since I initially try all the acrosses, then the downs, it took a while to get the the reveal. That said, I’ve never heard “chin chin” and never expected to see “cray cray” in a puzzle.

  2. 11:43, no errors, and Duncan stole my line about “chin chin” and “cray cray”: I had exactly the same reaction …

  3. 20:11, no errors. I got the “half off” pretty early and it helped a lot. I never heard of chin chin either. For some odd reason the middle top was the last to fall for me.

  4. 14:31. Ditto above. Got the reveal/theme early. CHIN CHIN and CRAY CRAY are not expressions you see every day. That said, I tried to think of other similar phrases and came up with nothing. Maybe Chitty Chitty to go with BANG Bang? Tora, Tora, Tora? Tora would be 66.67% off…

    Best –

  5. No errors. Easy for a Wednesday til I got to NE corner.. I’ve only heard “CRAY CRAY” in crosswords. Must be a east coast thing..

  6. Like everyone else, had never heard “chin, chin”, so I looked it up. Dated British, meaning to your health, from the Italian,
    cin, cin. From The Godfather movies, I remember hearing
    “Cent Ana” as a toast, meaning “ a hundred years.”

  7. 33:34 no errors….same as everyone else with the chin chin and cray cray and everywhere I checked 33A was spelled with one O not two…I guess the rule for setters is “whatever it takes”.
    Stay safe.

    1. gloop (ɡluːp) or glop
      n
      informal any messy sticky fluid or substance
      [C20: of uncertain origin]
      ˈgloopy, ˈgloppy adj

  8. A good puzzle, though perpetuating the all-too-common misperception that ad execs are, in fact, high-ranking advertising pros. The term ‘account executive’ applies even to junior account servicing people/client liaisons. The ‘executive’ part is not like an ‘executive’ in other businesses. In general, agency creative staff are paid more.

  9. I made one big mistake on HEAR HEAR. I spelled it as HERE HERE. I simply always thought that that was what was being said. They are, of course, homonyms. I looked this up and found that the two different spellings are often confused. HERE HERE has even reached some degree of acceptance. But I was very glad to learn this lesson.

    My mistake made two other entries incorrect for a total of three GOOFS.

  10. 15:19, experience similar to previous posters. Also have heard boffo, but not BOFF. Spent a lot of time sorting out the center, ALLA being unknown, GLOOP being unfamiliar, and soft T before SOFT G.

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