0104-22 NY Times Crossword 4 Jan 22, Tuesday

Constructed by: David Bukszpan
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Margaret Farrar

Themed answers give us an apt quote from MARGARET FARRAR, the first crossword editor for “The New York Times”:

  • 57A First puzzle editor of The New York Times : MARGARET FARRAR
  • 19A Start of an optimistic quote by 57-Across : YOU CAN’T THINK …
  • 29A Part 2 of the quote : … OF YOUR TROUBLES …
  • 35A Part 3 of the quote : … WHILE SOLVING …
  • 54A End of the quote : … A CROSSWORD

Bill’s time: 12m 29s!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Upper-left keyboard button : ESC

On many computer keyboards, the escape key (Esc) is located beside the first function key (F1).

10 Federal loan agcy. : SBA

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency with the mission of assisting small businesses. The SBA doesn’t give loans itself, but it does act as a guarantor under the right circumstances. The SBA was set up in 1953, and isn’t a favorite with fiscal conservatives.

13 Aloe vera product : GEL

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plant’s leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

16 Kitchen gadget brand : OXO

The OXO line of kitchen utensils and housewares is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average household tools. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

17 Spotted wild cat : OCELOT

The ocelot is a wildcat found mainly in South and Central America, although there have been sightings as far north as Arkansas. An ocelot doesn’t look too different from a domestic cat, and some have been kept as pets. Perhaps most famously, Salvador Dali had one that he carried around everywhere with him.

22 Kind of diagram that the Mastercard logo resembles : VENN

Englishman John Venn was an expert in the field of logic, and introduced the Venn diagram in his book “Symbolic Logic” in 1881. Venn diagrams are used in set theory, to illustrate the logical relationships between sets of variables.

Mastercard is a financial services company that is headquartered in Harrison, New York. The company was originally called Master Charge and was set up by a group of California banks to compete with BankAmericard (which later became Visa).

23 School grps. without students : PTAS

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

24 “He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped ___ once”: Steve Jobs on Bill Gates : ACID

Steve Jobs certainly was a business icon in Silicon Valley. I don’t think it is too surprising to learn that the brilliant Jobs didn’t even finish his college education, dropping out of Reed College in Oregon after only one semester. Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976, but in 1985 he was basically fired from his own company during the computer sales slump in the mid-eighties. Jobs then founded NeXT Computer, a company focused on supplying workstations to the higher education and business markets. Apple purchased NeXT in 1996, and that’s how Jobs found himself back with his original company.

Bill Gates is the former CEO of Microsoft, a company that he co-founded with Paul Allen. Gates has been listed as the wealthiest man in the world on several occasions over the past two decades. He now works full-time as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, alongside his wife Melinda. The Gates’ foundation is the largest transparently-operated charitable foundation in the world.

28 Strike from the Bible? : SMITE

To smite is to strike with a firm blow. The term “smite” can also mean “strike down and slay”.

41 Knockoff : PHONY

Something or someone described as phony (sometimes “phoney”) is not genuine or real. There is a suggestion that the term “phony” comes from “fawney”, which was a gold-plated brass ring used by swindlers in place of a one made of pure gold.

44 Cranberry farms : BOGS

When early European settlers came across red berries growing in the bogs of the northern part of America, they felt that the plant’s flower and stem resembled the head and bill of a crane. As such, they called the plant “craneberry”, which evolved into “cranberry”.

45 N.B.A. team with a gorilla mascot, strangely enough : SUNS

The Phoenix Suns NBA team are in the Pacific Division, and are the only team in that division not based in California.

49 Kuwaiti ruler : EMIR

The State of Kuwait sits at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf, sharing a border to the north with Iraq. After WWI, Kuwait was a Protectorate within the British Empire and then gained independence from the UK in 1961. Iraq annexed Kuwait in 1990, which led to the Gulf War of 1990-1991.

53 Big name in the freezer aisle : EDY

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

57 First puzzle editor of The New York Times : MARGARET FARRAR

Margaret Farrar was the first editor of “The New York Times” crossword puzzle, from 1942 to 1968. Earlier in 1920, Farrar had worked for the “New York World” as an assistant to the inventor of the crossword Arthur Wynne, proofreading his puzzles.

62 Anklebones : TALI

The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the ankle are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called “ankle bone”. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

64 Lasers read them from the inside out : 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.

65 Proofreader’s “Actually, don’t delete this” : STET

“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

Down

2 Risqué costume for a holiday party : SEXY ELF

“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb meaning “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.

3 George of “Hail, Caesar!” : CLOONEY

Actor George Clooney’s breakthrough role was playing Dr. Doug Ross on TV’s “ER”, although before that he had a fairly regular role on the sitcom “Roseanne”. George’s aunt was the singer and actress Rosemary Clooney.

4 Foam clog : CROC

Crocs are foam clogs that were originally designed as shoes to be worn at health spas.

6 Bond is a special one : AGENT

The character James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number “007” was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th-century English spy named John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …

7 Island nation south of Sicily : MALTA

The island state of Malta is relatively small (122 square miles), but its large number of inhabitants makes it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Malta’s strategic location has made it a prized possession for the conquering empires of the world. Most recently it was part of the British Empire and was an important fleet headquarters. Malta played a crucial role for the Allies during WWII as it was located very close to the Axis shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942, a prolonged attack by the Italians and Germans on the RAF and Royal Navy, and the people of Malta. When the siege was lifted, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta collectively in recognition of their heroism and devotion to the Allied cause. The George Cross can still be seen on the Maltese flag, even though Britain granted Malta independence in 1964.

8 Schemes : PLOTS

In the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, the “boot” is the mainland of Italy, and the “ball” being kicked by the boot is the island of Sicily.

9 Rogen of “Superbad” and “This Is the End” : SETH

Seth Rogen is a Canadian comedian who got a lot of credit for his supporting role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. That led to him being cast as the lead in the 2007 film “Knocked Up”. Rogen also co-directed and co-starred in “The Interview”, a movie that created a huge ruckus in the North Korean regime.

“Superbad” is a comedy movie released in 2007. The script for the film was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Rogen and Goldberg started work on the script when they were just thirteen years old, with the first draft being completed by the time they were fifteen.

10 Artist’s shortcut : STENCIL

A stencil is a sheet of impervious material with perforations in the shape of letters or a design. The stencil is placed over a surface to be printed and then the printing medium is applied, so that the medium only attaches to the surface beneath the perforations.

12 Like Usain Bolt’s last name : APT

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket, and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

21 Poetic foot with a short and long syllable : IAMB

An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The lines in Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” use four sequential iambs, e.g. “Whose woods / these are / I think / I know”. With that sequence of four iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic tetrameter.

22 Letters on a bottle of brandy : VSO

Brandy is a spirit distilled from wine. The term “brandy” ultimately comes from the Dutch “gebrande wijn” meaning “burnt wine”. The length of this aging of the spirit defines the various grades of brandy:

  • VS: Very Special … at least 2 years storage
  • VSOP: Very Special (or Superior) Old Pale … at least 4 years storage
  • XO: Extra Old … at least 6 years
  • VSO: Very Superior Old … 12-17 years

25 ___ Moines, Iowa : DES

The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

27 Blacken, as a reputation : SULLY

To sully is to stain, tarnish. The term is often used in the context of sullying or tarnishing a reputation.

28 Almost too 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”.

30 Caviar : ROE

Caviar is the roe of a large fish that has been salted and seasoned, and especially the roe of a sturgeon. Beluga caviar comes from the beluga sturgeon, which is found primarily in the Caspian Sea. It is the most expensive type of caviar in the world. 8 ounces of US-farmed beluga caviar can be purchased through Amazon.com for just over $850, in case you’re feeling peckish …

32 ___ Speedwagon : REO

REO Speedwagon is an American rock band that formed in 1967, and is still going strong. The band’s biggest hits are “Keep On Loving You” (1980) and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (1985). The founding members chose the name for the REO Speed Wagon flatbed truck. Note that the band’s name is one word “Speedwagon”, whereas the vehicle’s name uses two words “Speed Wagon”.

33 Popeye’s Olive : OYL

E. C. Segar’s cartoon character Olive Oyl had quite a large family. Her mother is Nana Oyl, and her father Cole Oyl. Olive’s brother is Castor Oyl, and she has uncles named Otto Oyl and Lubry Kent Oyl (my favorite!).

36 School where students learn to spell? : HOGWARTS

In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded by the four most brilliant witches and wizards of their time: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Each of the founders lent their name to a House in the school, i.e. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

41 Popular sammie : PBJ

Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J or PBJ)

“Sammie” is an informal term meaning “sandwich”.

43 Like some humor and martinis : DRY

The term “martini” probably takes its name from the “Martini & Rossi” brand of dry vermouth, although no one seems to be completely sure. What is clear is that despite the Martini name originating in Italy, the martini drink originated in the US. The original martini was made with gin and sweet vermouth, but someone specifying a “dry” martini was given gin and dry vermouth. Nowadays we use dry vermouth for all martinis, and the term “dry” has become a reference to how little vermouth is included in the drink. Famously, Noël Coward liked his drink very dry and said that a perfect martini is made by “filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy”. The German-American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken referred to the martini as “the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet”.

45 Word after booty or Bermuda : … SHORTS

The short trousers that we now know as Bermuda shorts were introduced by the British Army for wear in tropical climes. When there was a shortage of clothing during WWII in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, some local banks supplied their male employees with pants using the British military design. The employees were also issued knee-length socks to wear with the shorts. To this day, a dress shirt, tie and blazer with Bermuda shorts and knee-length socks is considered as appropriate business attire on the island.

47 Parent company of Lean Cuisine : NESTLE

Nestlé is the world’s largest food company. It was founded in 1905 in Vevey, Switzerland where the company headquarters is to this day. Although the company came into being as the result of a merger, it retains the name of one of the co-founders, German confectioner Henri Nestlé. Henri Nestlé’s real breakthrough product was baby formula.

Lean Cuisine is a brand of frozen dinners that was created in 1981, introduced as a healthy, low-fat and low-calorie alternative to Stouffer’s frozen meals.

51 60 minuti : ORA

In Italian, there are “sessanta minuti” (sixty minutes) in an “ora” (hour).

55 Movie f/x : CGI

Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

“FX” (sometimes “f/x”) is an abbreviation for “effects”, as in “special effects”.

56 B&O and Short Line: Abbr. : RRS

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) was one of the oldest in the country. Construction started on the railroad in 1828 in order to offer a method of transportation inland from Baltimore. This was deemed necessary as Baltimore was losing business to New York City after the completion of the Erie Canal (which cheaply and efficiently moved goods inland).

57 With 58-Down, words before cheese : MAC …
58 See 57-Down : … AND …

Thomas Jefferson’s name is associated with the dish we know today as “mac ‘n’ cheese”. The future president discovered baked macaroni with Parmesan cheese while in Paris and in northern Italy. He started serving the dish to guests in the US, and even had a machine imported to make the macaroni locally. Whether or not Jefferson was the first to bring mac ‘n’ cheese to America isn’t entirely clear, but it has been popular ever since.

59 Kerfuffle : ADO

“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Upper-left keyboard button : ESC
4 Hinders, as one’s style : CRAMPS
10 Federal loan agcy. : SBA
13 Aloe vera product : GEL
14 Entertain lavishly : REGALE
15 #1 : TOP
16 Kitchen gadget brand : OXO
17 Spotted wild cat : OCELOT
18 Screenplay abbr. indicating “outside” : EXT
19 Start of an optimistic quote by 57-Across : YOU CAN’T THINK …
22 Kind of diagram that the Mastercard logo resembles : VENN
23 School grps. without students : PTAS
24 “He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped ___ once”: Steve Jobs on Bill Gates : ACID
26 Snow day toys : SLEDS
28 Strike from the Bible? : SMITE
29 Part 2 of the quote : … OF YOUR TROUBLES …
34 “Smooches!” : LOVE YA!
35 Part 3 of the quote : … WHILE SOLVING …
41 Knockoff : PHONY
42 Virtual holiday greeting : E-CARD
44 Cranberry farms : BOGS
45 N.B.A. team with a gorilla mascot, strangely enough : SUNS
49 Kuwaiti ruler : EMIR
50 Shoot the breeze : JAW
51 “Spiffy!” : OH NEAT!
53 Big name in the freezer aisle : EDY
54 End of the quote : … A CROSSWORD
57 First puzzle editor of The New York Times : MARGARET FARRAR
61 Like a thumbs-down vote : ANTI
62 Anklebones : TALI
63 With 66-Across, fizzy drink : SODA
64 Lasers read them from the inside out : CDS
65 Proofreader’s “Actually, don’t delete this” : STET
66 See 63-Across : POP

Down

1 Lead-in to mania : EGO-
2 Risqué costume for a holiday party : SEXY ELF
3 George of “Hail, Caesar!” : CLOONEY
4 Foam clog : CROC
5 Make a long story short? : RECAP
6 Bond is a special one : AGENT
7 Island nation south of Sicily : MALTA
8 Schemes : PLOTS
9 Rogen of “Superbad” and “This Is the End” : SETH
10 Artist’s shortcut : STENCIL
11 Airborne toy with no tail : BOX KITE
12 Like Usain Bolt’s last name : APT
20 Edit menu option : UNDO
21 Poetic foot with a short and long syllable : IAMB
22 Letters on a bottle of brandy : VSO
25 ___ Moines, Iowa : DES
27 Blacken, as a reputation : SULLY
28 Almost too smooth : SUAVE
30 Caviar : ROE
31 Sports bar array : TVS
32 ___ Speedwagon : REO
33 Popeye’s Olive : OYL
35 “Mind. Blown.” : WHOA!
36 School where students learn to spell? : HOGWARTS
37 Ones with access : INS
38 It makes a “clink” in a drink : ICE
39 Make it well known that you know someone well-known well : NAME-DROP
40 Many a city street layout : GRID
41 Popular sammie : PBJ
43 Like some humor and martinis : DRY
45 Word after booty or Bermuda : … SHORTS
46 Remove from office : UNSEAT
47 Parent company of Lean Cuisine : NESTLE
48 Considered it right (to) : SAW FIT
51 60 minuti : ORA
52 Ode title starter : TO A …
55 Movie f/x : CGI
56 B&O and Short Line: Abbr. : RRS
57 With 58-Down, words before cheese : MAC …
58 See 57-Down : … AND …
59 Kerfuffle : ADO
60 Bust a rhyme : RAP

6 thoughts on “0104-22 NY Times Crossword 4 Jan 22, Tuesday”

  1. 10:13, no errors. Googling turned up several interesting articles about the theme quote. Apparently, it was part of a letter that brought Ms. Farrar to the attention of the NYT and helped make her the editor of the crossword puzzles. (I also find it very appropriate for these unsettled times … 😳.)

  2. 13:30, no errors. Margaret showed up recently in this blog…and I actually remembered her name! What are the chances of that? This one was a challenging Tuesday puzzle.

  3. 14:39. Nice Wednesday puzzle albeit on a Tuesday. Not even sure the theme is correct. I have troubles enter my head all the time doing these things. Maybe that’s my problem?

    SEXY ELF?? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    Best –

  4. 9:48. Same as @Alaska Steve – I actually remembered the name as well. After the blog post a week ago I went and looked up Ms. Farrar on Wikipedia and I think that gave me a better chance of remembering her name. Otherwise I’m not a fan of the Quote Part 1… Part X type of puzzle. Seems that we all thought it was a bit tough for a Tues. Also note that it has mirror symmetry and is 14×16 puzzle.

  5. Well, all I can say is … I told you Margaret was turning over in her grave! … (And she’s making her presence felt!) … 😳😳🤪.

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