0312-22 NY Times Crossword 12 Mar 22, Saturday

Constructed by: Natan Last
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 16m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Pinky swear, e.g. : PACT

The use of “pinkie” or “pinky” for the little finger or toe comes into English from “pinkje”, the Dutch word for the same digit. Who knew …?

11 Pause in the middle of a line of poetry : CAESURA

In poetry, a caesura is an audible pause that breaks up a line of verse. An example would be (from Alexander Pope): “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

12 Creature also known as a greenfly : APHID

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in Britain and Ireland where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

20 Last word of the first sentence of Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” : … INSECT

“The Metamorphosis” is a famous novella by Franz Kafka that is regarded by many as one of the greatest pieces of short fiction written in the 20th century. The story tells of the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa into a gigantic insect. His sister Grete Samsa becomes his caregiver.

22 “Don’t Look Up” star, in tabloids : J.LAW

Jennifer Lawrence (sometimes “J.Law” in the press) is an actress from Louisville, Kentucky who really hit the big time when she was cast as Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist in the “Hunger Games” series of films.

24 Country with two official languages – Guaraní and Spanish : PARAGUAY

Paraguay is a landlocked country in South America that is bordered by Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. Paraguay’s capital is Asunción, which is home to almost a third of the nation’s population.

26 Move from side to side, as a ship : YAW

The word “yaw” means to deviate from the line of a course and is used mainly at sea and in the air. “Yaw” is derived from the Old Norse word “jaege” which means “to drive, chase”. As such, “yaw” is etymologically related to our word “yacht”.

27 2000 Sisqó hit with a rhyming title : THONG SONG

“SisQó” is the stage name of R&B singer Mark Andrews. As well as being a solo artist, SisQó is the lead singer of the group Dru Hill.

29 1924 tale of derring-do : BEAU GESTE

“Beau Geste” is a 1924 novel by the British writer P. C. Wren. The hero of the piece is Michael “Beau” Geste, an upper-class Englishman who joins the French Foreign Legion and embarks on a life of adventure and intrigue.

As one might expect, “derring-do” (plural is “derrings-do”) comes from the phrase “daring to do”, which back in the 14th century was written as “dorrying don”.

30 New Jersey’s “unofficial rock theme of our State’s youth” : BORN TO RUN

“Born to Run” is a 1975 Bruce Springsteen song that was the title track of an album of the same name. Springsteen wrote the song, but he wasn’t actually the first to record it. Allan Clarke of the Hollies had that honor, but the release of the Clarke version was delayed until Springsteen’s hit the record shelves. “Born to Run” became Springsteen’s first US Top 40 hit.

31 Something picked up by a silent butler : ASH

A silent butler is a small container with a handle and lid that is used for collecting ash or crumbs from the dinner table.

34 Minions : FLUNKIES

A minion is a servile follower, a yes-man. The term “minion” comes from the French word “mignon” meaning “favorite, darling”.

35 Basic technique in skateboarding : OLLIE

An ollie is a skateboarding trick invented in 1976 by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand. Apparently it’s a way of lifting the board off the ground, while standing on it, without touching the board with one’s hands. Yeah, I could do that …

37 Nitwit, to a Brit : PRAT

“Prat” is a slang term for the buttocks. A “prat-fall” is when someone falls and lands on the buttocks. The term “prat” is also British slang for “contemptible person”.

39 Be plucky? : TWEEZE

Tweezers are small metal pincers used in handling small objects. Back in the 1600s, “tweeze” was the name given to the case in which such an implement was kept, and over time the case gave its name to the device itself. “Tweeze” evolved from “etweese”, the plural of “etwee”, which in turn came from “étui “, the French word for “small case”.

41 Astronaut Jemison : MAE

Mae Jemison was a crew member on the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a 1992 mission, and as such became the first African-American woman to travel in space. She is also a big fan of “Star Trek” and appeared on an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. That made Jemison the first real astronaut to appear on any of the “Star Trek” shows.

46 It might work on a block : DRANO

To clean out drains we might buy Crystal Drano, which is sodium hydroxide (lye) mixed with sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (table salt) and aluminum. The contents of Drano work in concert to clear the clog. The lye reacts with any fats creating soap which may be enough to break up the clog. Also, the finely-divided aluminum reacts with the lye generating hydrogen gas that churns the mixture. Any hair or fibers are cut by the sharp edges of the nitrate and chloride crystals. Having said all that, I find that boiling water poured down the drain quite often does the job …

49 Europe’s oldest capital : ATHENS

Athens is the capital city of Greece and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with a history that goes back around 3,400 years. In its heyday, Classical Athens was a remarkable center for the arts and philosophical debate, and was home to Plato and Aristotle. Athens is often called “the cradle of Western civilization” and “the birthplace of democracy”. The city was named for the Greek goddess Athena.

Down

1 Lumbering tool : BANDSAW

A bandsaw has a blade that forms a “band”, a continuous loop that rotates around a pair of wheels positioned one above the other.

3 Musician who helped save Carnegie Hall from demolition : ISAAC STERN

Isaac Stern was Ukrainian-born, and moved with his family to San Francisco at a very young age. He was a wonderful violin virtuoso, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush in 1992. Stern passed away in 2001 at 81 years of age.

The prestigious Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan opened for business in 1891. The magnificent edifice was named after the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who provided the funds for construction.

6 “Against the ___” (Thomas Pynchon novel) : DAY

Thomas Pynchon is an American novelist who won the 1973 National Book Award for Fiction for “Gravity’s Rainbow”. He is a well-known recluse, and is famously shy of dealing with the media. There are remarkably few photographs of Pynchon in the public domain.

7 On equal footing, in Latin : PARI PASSU

“Pari passu” is Latin for “with an equal step” and is used in the sense of “ranking equally” or “without preference”.

9 Tea, in Mandarin : CHA

Mandarin Chinese is a group of dialects that are spoken across northern and southwestern China. If Mandarin is considered as one language, then it has more native speakers than any other language on the planet.

10 Result of a poor audio connection, perhaps : TIME LAG

In Internet terms, lag is a delay in response caused by network latency. We might notice lag when streaming a video, for example.

11 Part of the body first successfully transplanted in 1905 : CORNEA

The cornea is the transparent part of the eye in the front, and the part that covers the iris and the pupil. Even though the cornea is not part of the eye’s lens, it acts as a lens. In fact, the cornea does most of the work focusing light coming in through the eye. It is, in effect, a fixed-focus lens passing on light to the variable-focus lens that is inside the eye.

21 Danced to the music of Carlos Acuña, say : TANGOED

The dramatic dance called the tango originated in the late 1800s in the area along the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires in particular traveled to Europe and beyond in the early twentieth century and brought the tango with them. The tango craze first struck Europe in Paris in the 1910s, and from there spread to London and Berlin, crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1913.

22 “We / Jazz ___” (line in Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool”) : JUNE

Gwendolyn Brooks was a poet from Chicago who was the first African American to win a Pulitzer. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for her book of poetry titled “Annie Allen”.

24 Popular dishes in Québécois cuisine : POUTINES

“Poutine” is a dish that originated in rural Quebec in the late fifties. It is made with french fries covered in a brown gravy sauce, all topped with cheese curds.

28 Record holder for the most M.L.B. All-Star selections : HANK AARON

The great Hank Aaron (“Hammerin’ Hank” or “the Hammer”) has many claims to fame. One notable fact is that he is the last major league baseball player to have also played in the Negro League.

30 Attire at some academies : BLAZERS

A blazer is a less formal version of a suit jacket, usually one with a less formal cut and often metal buttons. The original “blazer” was a red jacket worn by members of the rowing club at Cambridge University in England. The “blazer” is so called because the Cambridge version was “blazing red” in color.

31 Exams for British 18-year-olds : A LEVELS

The UK’s education system was reformed in the fifties with the introduction of the General Certificate of Education (GCE). There were two levels of certification that could be awarded in most subjects. The GCE Ordinary Level (O Level) was a much less rigorous standard of examination than the GCE Advanced Level (A Level). The O Levels have largely been replaced now, but students still sit A Level examinations.

37 Vegan sandwich, for short : PBJ

Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J or PBJ)

45 Occupation of Leo Bloom in “The Producers,” for short : CPA

“The Producers” is a 1968 satirical movie written and directed by Mel Brooks, and was indeed the first film he ever directed. Brooks adapted the movie into a hugely successful Broadway musical that won a record 12 Tony Awards. The original leads in the stage show, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, then appeared in a 2005 movie adaptation of the musical version of the original film.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Paid off : BRIBED
7 Pinky swear, e.g. : PACT
11 Pause in the middle of a line of poetry : CAESURA
12 Creature also known as a greenfly : APHID
14 Substitute for coffee : NON-DAIRY CREAMER
17 Baptisms by fire : ORDEALS
18 Palmed, say : HID
19 Prefix with consciousness : ECO-
20 Last word of the first sentence of Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” : … INSECT
21 Pick : TAP
22 “Don’t Look Up” star, in tabloids : J.LAW
23 Parts of baseballs and mines : SEAMS
24 Country with two official languages – Guaraní and Spanish : PARAGUAY
26 Move from side to side, as a ship : YAW
27 2000 Sisqó hit with a rhyming title : THONG SONG
29 1924 tale of derring-do : BEAU GESTE
30 New Jersey’s “unofficial rock theme of our State’s youth” : BORN TO RUN
31 Something picked up by a silent butler : ASH
34 Minions : FLUNKIES
35 Basic technique in skateboarding : OLLIE
37 Nitwit, to a Brit : PRAT
38 “What do you want me to do about it?” : AND?
39 Be plucky? : TWEEZE
40 Hollywood, with “the” : … BIZ
41 Astronaut Jemison : MAE
42 Didn’t cause trouble : BEHAVED
43 “Golly!” : JEEPERS CREEPERS!
46 It might work on a block : DRANO
47 They might work on a block : PATROLS
48 Floor : STUN
49 Europe’s oldest capital : ATHENS

Down

1 Lumbering tool : BANDSAW
2 Turn in : REDEEM
3 Musician who helped save Carnegie Hall from demolition : ISAAC STERN
4 Put up : BUILT
5 Muffs : ERRS
6 “Against the ___” (Thomas Pynchon novel) : DAY
7 On equal footing, in Latin : PARI PASSU
8 Mirrored : APED
9 Tea, in Mandarin : CHA
10 Result of a poor audio connection, perhaps : TIME LAG
11 Part of the body first successfully transplanted in 1905 : CORNEA
13 Exponential ___ (function in physics) : DECAY
14 Like many street-level apartments : NOISY
15 Juice boxes? : CHARGERS
16 Rumpus : ROW
21 Danced to the music of Carlos Acuña, say : TANGOED
22 “We / Jazz ___” (line in Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool”) : JUNE
24 Popular dishes in Québécois cuisine : POUTINES
25 Went round and round in circles : GOT NOWHERE
28 Record holder for the most M.L.B. All-Star selections : HANK AARON
29 Spell : BOUT
30 Attire at some academies : BLAZERS
31 Exams for British 18-year-olds : A LEVELS
32 Jewelry store tools : SIZERS
33 Minds : HEEDS
34 Mentally worn out : FRIED
36 Mount with facility : LEAP ON
37 Vegan sandwich, for short : PBJ
39 Enforcement mechanisms, metaphorically : TEETH
41 Where to pick sides? : MENU
42 Handful, say : BRAT
44 Overly rehearsed : PAT
45 Occupation of Leo Bloom in “The Producers,” for short : CPA

12 thoughts on “0312-22 NY Times Crossword 12 Mar 22, Saturday”

  1. 21:22, no errors (by some miracle, considering the number of things I had to guess at and/or rack my aging brain to remember … 😜).

  2. 21:14 With a lookup after I was all done. Bugaboo was SE corner. For 31D I had _LEVE_S, so I made it ELEVENS (kind of thinking like our eleventh grade. That gave 47A as PATRONS, which half-heartedly made sense. But then I didn’t really have a good answer for 31A. I’ve not heard of a “silent butler”. And completely unfamiliar with 7D as well.

    Crosswords are interesting because they give you all these clues, but some days I feel like “I don’t have a clue!!”

  3. 26:03. A few missteps such as “oath” before PACT. I guess I picked the wrong crosswordese there.

    A CAESURA is an audible pause or one might call it an audible silence. So isn’t that an oxymoron?

    I would never have guessed that the words TWEEZE and etui were related.

    Canadians go crazy over POUTINE. For me, I can handle about two or three bites before I’m full. It is very rich, indeed.

    Best –

    1. Pretty disgustingly pathetic all the way around.

      Does this comment refer to the puzzle or to your performance on it? In either cas

    2. Well, as I was about to say when I so rudely interrupted myself …

      In either case, it would seem to express an unjustifiable emotional reaction. Neither the puzzle, nor you, deserve that.

      (As always … IMHO … 🙂)

  4. Technically DNF. 2 lookups. All in NW corner. Just no foothold.

    @jeff -thx for the “swim” thing. I didn’t see that.

  5. tat for tap and jlow for jlaw. So 2 wrong letters equals 4 wrong words. 90 of 94 correct answers. I’m thinking that’s a passing grade.

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