0304-21 NY Times Crossword 4 Mar 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Blake Slonecker
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: NBA Jam

We have a rebus puzzle today, with the letters NBA JAMMED into four squares:

  • 38A With 39-Across, classic sports video game … or a hint to four squares in this puzzle : NBA …
  • 39A See 38-Across : … JAM
  • 18A They’re swaddled and coddled : NEWBORN BABIES
  • 20A Regain, as affection : WIN BACK
  • 57A Some measures championed by the March for Our Lives movement : GUN BANS
  • 58A Co-founder of the women’s rights newspaper The Revolution : SUSAN B ANTHONY
  • 3D Seats that sink : BEAN BAG CHAIRS
  • 9D Beliebers or the Beyhive, for instance : FAN BASE
  • 26D Eggs Benedict component : CANADIAN BACON
  • 53D Bumper-to-bumper activity? : PINBALL

Bill’s time: 10m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Taradiddle : FIB

To fib is to tell a lie. The verb “to fib” likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, with “fibble-fable” coming from “fable”.

4 Russian country house : DACHA

Dachas are usually second homes in Russia and the former Soviet Union that are located outside the city limits in rural areas. Residents/tenants of dachas are often called “dachniks”.

9 Swiss bread : 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.

17 “___ Crossroads” (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony hit that got a Grammy) : THA

“Tha Crossroads” is a song recorded in 1995 by the hip hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The band’s members are Layzie Bone, Flesh-n-Bone, Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone.

18 They’re swaddled and coddled : NEWBORN BABIES

The verb “to coddle”, meaning “to treat tenderly”, was actually coined in 1815 by Jane Austen in her novel “Emma”. At least, that is the first written record we have of the verb’s usage. John Knightley (younger brother of George Knightley) addresses his wife Isabella (elder sister of Emma Woodhouse) with the following words:

“My dear Isabella,” exclaimed he, hastily, “pray do not concern yourself about my looks. Be satisfied with doctoring and coddling yourself and the children, and let me look as I chuse.”

30 Run out of Time? : LAPSE

“Time” magazine was first published in 1923 in New York City, making it the nation’s first weekly news magazine.

33 Birds with S-shaped necks : HERONS

Herons are birds with long legs that inhabit freshwater and coastal locales. Some herons are routinely referred to as egrets, and others as bitterns. Herons look a lot like storks and cranes, but differ in their appearance in flight. Herons fly with their necks retracted in an S-shape, whereas storks and cranes have their necks extended.

35 Male actor with the most Primetime Emmys (7) : ASNER

Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also canceled … on the very same day.

36 Org. for drivers : PGA

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.

38 With 39-Across, classic sports video game … or a hint to four squares in this puzzle : NBA …
39 See 38-Across : … JAM

NBA Jam is an arcade game that was introduced in 1993. It was successful enough to spawn a whole series of NBA Jam video games. Apparently, it became the highest-earning arcade game of all time, and took in over $1 billion dollars in quarters.

42 Retired pugilist Ali : LAILA

Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.

“Pugilism”, another word for “boxing”, comes from the Latin “pugil” meaning “boxer”. In turn, “pugil” derives from “pugnus”, the word for “fist”.

47 14 pounds, in England : STONE

We used pounds and stones in Ireland, for all my life there. However, such measures no longer have any “official” status in the country, as the Irish made the conversion to the metric system. Having said that, many folks still tend to measure body weight in stones and pounds. One stone is equal to fourteen pounds.

49 All alternative : TIDE

Tide is a laundry detergent that has been made by Procter & Gamble since 1946. Back then, Tide was marketed as “America’s Washday Favorite”.

52 Stamp collector? : PASSPORT

As a result of a League of Nations conference in 1920, passports are usually written in French and one other language. French was specified back then as it was deemed the language of diplomacy. US passports use French and English, given that English is the nation’s de facto national language. Spanish was added as a language for US passports in the late nineties, in recognition of Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico.

A visa is usually a stamp in one’s passport, an indication that one is authorized to enter (and less often, to exit) a particular country. The word “visa” comes into English, via French, from the Latin expression “charta visa” meaning “paper that has been seen”, or “verified paper”.

63 Still making cartoons? : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

66 Divisions of a krone : ORE
69 Country that uses the krone: Abbr. : NOR

The Norwegian and Danish krone are divided into 100 öres.

Down

1 Mufti’s decrees : FATWAS

In the Muslim tradition, a fatwā is a religious opinion issued by an Islamic scholar (a “mufti”) on a matter of Islamic law. There is a common misconception that a fatwā is a death sentence imposed on a person, and although such a drastic directive is a possible component of the opinion, it is a very rare occurrence.

2 All-time single-season hits leader in M.L.B. history (262) : ICHIRO

Ichiro Suzuki holds quite a few batting records including the single-season record for base hits (262), and a record-breaking streak of 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons. Ichiro Suzuki is a huge celebrity in his native-Japan. His agent says that if you address fan mail to “Ichiro Suzuki, Japan”, he’ll get your letter …

4 Counterpart of “Bitte” : DANKE

In “Deutschland” (Germany), a “danke” (thank you) is often met with a “bitte schön” (you’re welcome).

5 Tony Shalhoub’s character on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” : ABE

Actor Tony Shalhoub is probably best known to TV audiences for playing the title role in the comedy-drama detective mystery show “Monk”.

6 Lower? : COW

The cattle are lowing, mooing.

8 Lagoon encirclers : ATOLLS

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring that encloses a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically, an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside inside the circling coral reef.

9 Beliebers or the Beyhive, for instance : FAN BASE

Justin Bieber is a young pop singer from London, Ontario. Bieber was actually discovered on YouTube by talent manager Scooter Brown. Fans of Bieber call themselves “Beliebers”. Personally, I’m no believer in Bieber …

Beyoncé Knowles established herself in the entertainment industry as the lead singer with the R&B group Destiny’s Child. She launched her solo singing career in 2003, two years after making her first appearance as an actor. In 2006 she played the lead in the very successful movie adaptation of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls”. Beyoncé is married to rap star Jay-Z. She is also referred to affectionately as “Queen Bey”, a play on the phrase “the queen bee”. Her fan base goes by the name “Beyhive”.

10 Some Outback entrees : RIBEYES

Outback Steakhouse is a chain of restaurants that was established in 1987, with the first Outback opening in Tampa, Florida. Outback serves largely American food in an Australian-themed dining locale.

11 Shapiro of “All Things Considered” : ARI

Ari Shapiro served very ably as White House correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) for several years. He then became a co-host of network’s drive-time program “All Things Considered” in 2015. When he’s not working, Shapiro likes to sing. He regularly appears as a guest singer with the group Pink Martini, and has appeared on several of the band’s albums.

12 Michelle Obama ___ Robinson : NEE

Michelle Obama née Robinson grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Her brother is Craig Robinson, former coach of men’s basketball at Oregon State University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle Robinson worked as an associate at the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm. Barack Obama joined the firm as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson was assigned to mentor him, and as they say, one thing led to another …

13 Stack on a rack, maybe : CDS

The compact disc (CD) was developed jointly by Philips and Sony as a medium for storing and playing sound recordings. When the first commercial CD was introduced back in 1982, a CD’s storage capacity was far greater than the amount of data that could be stored on the hard drive of personal computers available at that time.

21 Garden item that can be brined, informally : CUKE

Apparently scientists have shown that the inside of a cucumber (“cuke” for short) growing in a field can be up to twenty degrees cooler than the surrounding air. That’s something that was believed by farmers as early as the 1730s, at which time the phrase “cool as a cucumber” was coined.

26 Eggs Benedict component : CANADIAN BACON

What we tend to call “Canadian bacon” in the US, we know as “rashers” in Ireland. One of my uncles worked in the meat trade in Dublin, and his nickname was “Rasher”.

31 Actress de Armas of “Knives Out” : ANA

Ana de Armas is an actress from Cuba. Having attended the National Theater School of Cuba, she moved to Spain at the age of 18. Thre, she made a name for herself in a Spanish TV series called “El Internado”. De Armas moved to Los Angeles in 2014, after which her performance opposite Ryan Gosling in 2017’s “Blade Runner 2049” earned her critical acclaim.

“Knives Out” is an intriguing murder mystery film released in 2019. There’s a great cast including Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette and Christopher Plummer. I really enjoyed this one, partly because it’s a clever, contemporary take on a classic whodunit movie …

34 Subj. in biochemistry : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA. An added complication is that small changes in the sequence of amino acids specified by DNA sometimes takes place in a process known as RNA editing. This RNA editing occurs after the nucleotide sequence has been transcribed from DNA, but before it is translated into protein.

36 When repeated, start of an old antacid slogan : PLOP

The antacid known as Alka-Seltzer used an animated character called Speedy in its adverts from 1951 to 1964. Speedy had an Alka-Seltzer tablet as a body and another as a hat, and sang a jingle with the words “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz”. Speedy’s job was to get out the message that Alka-Seltzer provided speedy relief.

40 Violinist Leopold : AUER

Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, as well as a conductor and composer. Auer wrote a small number of works for the violin, the most famous of which is the “Rhapsodie Hongroise” written for violin and piano.

43 Electric guitar pioneer : LES PAUL

Les Paul was a guitarist, songwriter and inventor. When he was 33 years old, Paul was involved in a near-fatal car crash that left his right arm and elbow shattered. Surgeons offered him the choice of amputation or a rebuilding of the limb that would leave him unable to bend his elbow. He told them to set his arm at just under 90 degrees so that he could at least hold his guitar and perhaps play it.

44 Random criticism : POTSHOT

When firing a gun, a “potshot” is a “shot” taken purely to get the prey into the “pot” for cooking. The term “potshot” was coined in the 1830s, hence distinguishing between a shot taken for sport or marksmanship and a shot taken while hunting for game.

45 Words immediately after Casca cries “Speak, hands, for me!” : ET TU …?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

50 Bread : DINERO

“Dinero” is a Spanish word meaning “money”, as well as a slang term for money here in the US.

51 Eve of “The Vagina Monologues” : ENSLER

Eve Ensler is a playwright whose most famous work is “The Vagina Monologues”. When Ensler was only 23 years of age, she adopted a 15 year old boy. We are familiar with that boy on the big screen these days; actor Dylan McDermott.

53 Bumper-to-bumper activity? : PINBALL

Our modern game of pinball evolved from an earlier table game called bagatelle which used balls, pins and holes (and I remember playing bagatelle as a boy in a pub in Ireland). The first pinball machine was made by a British inventor who settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. He modified the game of bagatelle, adding a coiled spring and a plunger to introduce balls at the end of the table, a device that is still in use today. From there, manufacturers developed coin-operated versions of pinball, which became popular during the depression as they provided a little entertainment for a few pennies. One distributor of the coin-operated pinball machines started manufacturing them himself as he couldn’t source new games fast enough. He called his pinball game Ballyhoo, and eventually named his company Bally, a brand name well known in the gambling industry to this day.

59 Space oddity : UFO

Unidentified flying object (UFO)

60 Not worth a ___ : SOU

A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “an almost worthless amount”.

61 Nail polish brand : OPI

Opi (originally “Odontorium Products Inc.”) is a manufacturer of nail polish based in North Hollywood, California. One of Opi’s marketing coups was the introduction of a line of Legally Blonde 2 polishes, which featured in the film.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Taradiddle : FIB
4 Russian country house : DACHA
9 Swiss bread : FRANC
14 Nail : ACE
15 Out and ___ : ABOUT
16 Out now, in a way : AIRED
17 “___ Crossroads” (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony hit that got a Grammy) : THA
18 They’re swaddled and coddled : NEWBORN BABIES
20 Regain, as affection : WIN BACK
22 Like games decided by buzzer beaters : CLOSE
23 Contests : ARGUES
25 City stray : ALLEY CAT
29 One of a pair that often goes missing : SOCK
30 Run out of Time? : LAPSE
32 Spot for an icicle : EAVE
33 Birds with S-shaped necks : HERONS
35 Male actor with the most Primetime Emmys (7) : ASNER
36 Org. for drivers : PGA
38 With 39-Across, classic sports video game … or a hint to four squares in this puzzle : NBA …
39 See 38-Across : … JAM
41 Something to take on a date? : ARM
42 Retired pugilist Ali : LAILA
44 Gave a bit of lip? : POUTED
46 Folklore fiend : OGRE
47 14 pounds, in England : STONE
49 All alternative : TIDE
52 Stamp collector? : PASSPORT
54 Not forget : RETAIN
56 Devout : PIOUS
57 Some measures championed by the March for Our Lives movement : GUN BANS
58 Co-founder of the women’s rights newspaper The Revolution : SUSAN B ANTHONY
63 Still making cartoons? : CEL
64 Bad way to run : AFOUL
65 Supercharge : HOP UP
66 Divisions of a krone : ORE
67 “___ thank me later” : YOU’LL
68 Tour of duty : STINT
69 Country that uses the krone: Abbr. : NOR

Down

1 Mufti’s decrees : FATWAS
2 All-time single-season hits leader in M.L.B. history (262) : ICHIRO
3 Seats that sink : BEAN BAG CHAIRS
4 Counterpart of “Bitte” : DANKE
5 Tony Shalhoub’s character on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” : ABE
6 Lower? : COW
7 Where some car logos appear : HUBCAPS
8 Lagoon encirclers : ATOLLS
9 Beliebers or the Beyhive, for instance : FAN BASE
10 Some Outback entrees : RIBEYES
11 Shapiro of “All Things Considered” : ARI
12 Michelle Obama ___ Robinson : NEE
13 Stack on a rack, maybe : CDS
19 Part : ROLE
21 Garden item that can be brined, informally : CUKE
24 Annoying roommate, maybe : SLOB
26 Eggs Benedict component : CANADIAN BACON
27 State : AVER
28 Word with paper or limit : TERM …
31 Actress de Armas of “Knives Out” : ANA
34 Subj. in biochemistry : RNA
35 Qty. : AMT
36 When repeated, start of an old antacid slogan : PLOP
37 Very enthusiastic : GAGA
39 Georgia senator Ossoff : JON
40 Violinist Leopold : AUER
43 Electric guitar pioneer : LES PAUL
44 Random criticism : POTSHOT
45 Words immediately after Casca cries “Speak, hands, for me!” : ET TU …?
47 Any day now : SOON
48 Tough pills to swallow, at times : TRUTHS
50 Bread : DINERO
51 Eve of “The Vagina Monologues” : ENSLER
53 Bumper-to-bumper activity? : PINBALL
55 Origin of water clock technology : EGYPT
58 For instance : SAY
59 Space oddity : UFO
60 Not worth a ___ : SOU
61 Nail polish brand : OPI
62 “Sister of God” : NUN

16 thoughts on “0304-21 NY Times Crossword 4 Mar 21, Thursday”

  1. 23:04 Did not know 39A; And then for 44A I had SASSED, then PURSED, then POUTED as I was trying to guess at 39D. I know Ossoff has been in the news, but just couldn’t come up with his first name. Finally, I had so many fat fingers that like 30A – Time, it was e-lapsing.

  2. BILL: your comment for 6D is a duplicate of the comment for 5D and needs to be changed. (sorry if this is a duplicate message, but not sure if my first one went through.)

  3. 8:33. Got 1D and 2D right away, which made the rebus nature of the theme pretty evident. Smooth solve.

  4. 17:53, no errors. Took forever to finish tha upper left corner, starting with “Taradiddle”. (For “FIB”?! Really? No lie? Oops. I mean … no taradiddle? … 😜)

    Seriously, though I might have heard the word before, I don’t think I ever knew what it meant.

  5. 15:52. Took me a few minutes to get the theme. FANBASE was the aha moment.

    For anyone who cares, the Russian word DACHA comes from the Russian word meaning “given” as DACHAS were usually given as gifts from the Tsars.

    Best –

  6. I figured out the theme but I put the BNA NBA in the wrong squares in two places and got stuck. I was off by a aquare.. plus I couldn’t get the crosses in those two places. ICHIRO and GUNBANS. I had ETTU for 45D but thought it was wrong.. then I couldn’t get POUTED.. Definitely didn’t know AUER so I was stuck.
    It was fun for awhile.

  7. 16:54, no errors. Bogged down in a lot of places. Made me think about how many different places car logos could be located. Are cars sold with HUBCAPS any more?

  8. This was a lot of fun tho it took me hours, as usual. But darn it…now that stupid jingle is stuck in my head…plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a relief it is….

  9. Lots of equally challenging spots, but no blood inducing head scratchers.
    Learned some nifty new nouns.
    I can tell my wife that I “taradiddled” – she will assume I need the men’s room.

  10. FYI in case you ever wondered why the English are weighed in “stones”: We (my husband was career US Air Force) had the wonderful opportunity to live in the beautiful Cotswolds of Oxfordshire for four years as one of his assignments. A few centuries ago, the Cotswolds was the center of the wool industry. The wool was sold in bales that weighed fourteen pounds. When the wool seller took the bales to market, he carried a stone that weighed fourteen pounds. The wool buyer also had a stone that weighed fourteen pounds. They would put the two stones on the scales together to check the weight, then the seller would take his stone off and put the bale of wool on the scale.

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