0316-22 NY Times Crossword 16 Mar 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Joseph Gangi
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Ducks

Themed clues are all “Duck”, or duck-related. And, there’s a duck outlined in black squares in the middle of the grid:

  • 1A Duck : AVOID
  • 9A Duck : SHIRK
  • 17A Duck : TAKE COVER
  • 25A ___ Duck : DONALD
  • 46A Duck, e.g. : BATH TOY
  • 58A “The Duck Variations” playwright : MAMET
  • 60A Duck : STOOP DOWN
  • 65A Duck : DODGE
  • 67A “Duck, duck …” follower : … GOOSE
  • 59D Something a duck lays : EGG
  • 61D Bugs and Daffy in “The Iceman Ducketh,” e.g. : DUO

Bill’s time: 7m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Imaginary ordinal : NTH

Ordinal numbers express a position in a series, i.e. first, second, third etc.

16 Tablecloths and napkins : LINEN

The textile known as linen is made from flax fibers. The name “linen” probably comes from “linum”, which is Latin for both “flax” and “textile made from flax”.

Our word “napkin” dates back to the 1300s, when it had the same meaning as today. The term comes from the old French word “nape” meaning “tablecloth” and the Middle English suffix “-kin” meaning “little”. So, a napkin is a little tablecloth.

23 Cosy “spot” : TEA

I guess the reference here is to the oft-quoted British phrase “a spot of tea”. Mind you, I’ve only ever heard that said in jest …

A tea cozy is an insulated cover for a teapot, something to keep the tea hot. I don’t know what I’d do without my tea cosy/cozy …

24 Mike of “Shrek” : MYERS

In the 2001 animated feature “Shrek”, the title character is voiced by Mike Myers. Eddie Murphy voices Shrek’s sidekick Donkey, and Princess Fiona is voiced by Cameron Diaz.

25 ___ Duck : DONALD

Donald Duck was created in 1934 by Walt Disney Productions, and first appeared in “The Wise Little Hen” in 1934. Donald’s full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck.

30 Heavenly: Prefix : URANO-

“Urano-” comes from the Greek “ouranos” denoting the heavens.

33 Big snarl : RAT’S NEST

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, is credited with popularizing the elaborate hairstyle known as the pouf. The hair was styled using a pomade made from wholesome ingredients such as beef marrow and bear grease. Because of the complexity of the hairstyle, ladies wore it for a week or two, during which time the animal fat would become rancid. It was reported that vermin would be attracted to the hair while sleeping, which apparently led to the phrase “her hair is a rat’s nest”.

37 Print “oopses” : ERRATA

“Errata” is the past participle of the Latin word “errare” meaning “to err”. We use “errata” (singular “erratum”) to describe a list of errors that have been noted in some publication.

42 Wet wood woe : DRY ROT

Dry rot is a fungal infection that causes wood to decay as the fungus digest those parts of the wood giving it strength and structure. Despite the name, dry rot does indeed require the presence of some moisture to thrive. Wet rot is a similar condition, but one requiring a higher moisture content.

43 Largest lake in Ethiopia : TANA

Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia, and is the source of the Blue Nile. The lake has a number of islands of significant size, many of which are home to ancient monasteries.

Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation on the continent (after Nigeria) and, with 90 million inhabitants, the most populous landlocked country in the world. Most anthropologists believe that our Homo sapiens species evolved in the region now called Ethiopia, and from there set out to populate the planet.

51 Cotton gin inventor Whitney : ELI

The term “cotton gin” is a contraction of “cotton eng-ine”. The gin is a machine that mechanically separates cotton fibers from the cotton seed. The modern version of the cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney in 1793.

55 Raphael’s weapon in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” : SAI

The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” started out as a parody of comic book superheroes, first appearing in a self-published comic book in 1984. A couple of years later the characters were picked up by someone who built a whole line of toys around the characters, and then television and movies followed. Do you remember the names of all four of the Turtles? Their names were all taken from Renaissance artists:

  • Leonardo
  • Raphael
  • Michelangelo
  • Donatello

58 “The Duck Variations” playwright : MAMET

David Mamet is best known as a playwright, and indeed won a Pulitzer for his 1984 play “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Mamet is also a successful screenwriter and received Oscar nominations for the films “The Verdict” (1982) and “Wag the Dog” (1997).

62 Mexican pal : AMIGO

In Spanish, an “amigo” is a male friend, and an “amiga” is a female friend.

63 Conger, for one : EEL

Conger eels can grow to be very, very large, perhaps up to 10 feet in length.

64 Swiss author of “Elements of Algebra” : EULER

Leonhard Euler was a brilliant Swiss mathematician and physicist, and a pioneer in the fields of logarithms and graph theory. Euler’s eyesight deteriorated during his working life, and he eventually became almost totally blind.

67 “Duck, duck …” follower : … GOOSE

“Duck, Duck, Goose” is a kid’s game, and not one that I’ve heard of outside of crosswords to be honest …

Down

1 High-rise units: Abbr. : APTS

Apartment (apt.)

2 ___ parmigiana : VEAL

Veal is the meat from calves, whereas beef is the meat from mature cattle. Most veal comes from male calves, as the females can be more valuable as producers of cow’s milk. Historically, veal production has been one of the most controversial practices in animal farming. Some farmers restricted the movement of veal calves by confining them in crates for the whole of their short lives in order to produce paler and more tender meat.

Parmigiana (familiarly “parm”) is a dish from southern Italy. The original parmigiana was made with an aubergine (eggplant) filling, with cheese and tomato layers and then baked. Versions originating outside of Italy have replaced the aubergine with breaded cutlets of chicken or veal.

3 Like many a barrel-aged wine : OAKY

Oak barrels are sometimes used to store wine during fermentation and aging. The oak wood has a profound effect, usually changing the wine’s color, flavor and texture. If the wine is stored in stainless steel barrels, then a similar effect can be achieved by adding oak chips or staves to the liquid.

4 “Rocks” in a tumbler : ICE

A tumbler is a glass. Back in the 1660s a tumbler was a glass with a rounded or pointed base so that it could not be put down without spilling its contents, as it would “tumble” over. The idea was that one had to drink up before putting the glass down.

6 “Henceforth I ___ will be Romeo” : NEVER

In the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Juliet utters the famous line:

O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?

Every school kid must have commented with a giggle “he’s down in the garden!” Of course, “wherefore” isn’t an archaic word for “where”, but rather an old way of saying “why”. So Juliet is asking, “Why art thou Romeo, a Montague, and hence a sworn enemy of the Capulets?”

8 No ___, no foul : HARM

Chick Hearn was the play-by-play announcer for the LA Lakers for 36 years, from 1965 until 2001. Hearn coined, or at least popularized, phrases such as “slam dunk”, “air ball” and “no harm, no foul”.

10 What a flat “b” palm facing a nearby fellow stands for, in A.S.L. : HIS

American Sign Language (ASL)

11 Pic-sharing app, informally : INSTA

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

12 The second “R” in J. R. R. Tolkien : REUEL

J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien was an English author best known by far for his fantasy novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”. Although Tolkien lived in England and was a professor at Oxford, he served for many years as an external examiner at my old school, University College Dublin in Ireland.

24 Butterfly also called a common tiger or wanderer : MONARCH

The monarch butterfly has very recognizable orange and black wings, and is often seen across North America. The monarch is the state insect of several US states and was even nominated as the national insect in 1990, but that legislation was not enacted.

28 What to call a man in Mannheim : HERR

Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. The city is a little unusual in that it has streets and avenues laid out in a grid pattern, rather like an American city. For this reason, Mannheim has the nickname “die Quadratestadt” (city of the squares).

31 Tampa Bay pro : RAY

The Tampa Bay Rays are a relatively young franchise, having been formed in 1998. The initial name of the franchise was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. While known as the Devil Rays, the team finished last in the league almost every year. The name was changed to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, and I am told the Rays started into a streak of winning seasons soon after.

36 Opening on Christmas Eve? : ‘TWAS …

The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously in 1823, and is better known today by its first line “‘Twas the night before Christmas”. Most scholars believe that the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore, a theologian from New York City. Others say that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr., a poet from Upstate New York.

47 Mission to remember in San Antonio : ALAMO

The San Antonio mission known as the Alamo may have been named for a grove of nearby cottonwood trees. “Álamo” is the Spanish name for the cottonwood.

49 Sís and das : YESES

In German, one might answer “ja” (yes) or “nein” (no).

“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.

50 Scene of pandemonium : ZOO

The word “pandemonium” was coined in 1667 by John Milton in his epic poem “Paradise Lost”. It is the name he invented for the capital of Hell, “the High Capital, of Satan and his Peers”.

53 Editor’s “Forget I wrote that” : 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.

56 Flabbergasts or gobsmacks : AWES

“Gobsmack” is slang from Britain and Ireland. “Gob” is also slang, for “mouth”. So someone who is gobsmacked has received a smack in the “mouth”, is stunned.

61 Bugs and Daffy in “The Iceman Ducketh,” e.g. : DUO

Bugs Bunny first said “What’s up, Doc?” in the 1940 cartoon short “A Wild Hare”, while addressing the hunter Elmer Fudd.

Daffy Duck first appeared on the screen in “Porky’s Duck Hunt” in 1937. In the original cartoon, Daffy was just meant to have a small role, but he was a big hit as he had so much sass. Even back then, Daffy was voiced by the ubiquitous Mel Blanc.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Duck : AVOID
6 Imaginary ordinal : NTH
9 Duck : SHIRK
14 Word of leave-taking : PEACE
15 Swing ___ (1933-47) : ERA
16 Tablecloths and napkins : LINEN
17 Duck : TAKE COVER
19 It could be a problem : ISSUE
20 Strategically evasive : SLY
21 Handout for a walking tour : AREA MAP
23 Cosy “spot” : TEA
24 Mike of “Shrek” : MYERS
25 ___ Duck : DONALD
27 Total disarray : CHAOS
30 Heavenly: Prefix : URANO-
32 Attachment for a bit : REIN
33 Big snarl : RAT’S NEST
37 Print “oopses” : ERRATA
40 Examine : EYE
41 Be in a mood and brood : STEW
42 Wet wood woe : DRY ROT
43 Largest lake in Ethiopia : TANA
44 Average mark : CEE
45 Has in hand : HOLDS
46 Duck, e.g. : BATH TOY
50 Lightning strike : ZAP
51 Cotton gin inventor Whitney : ELI
52 A chance of a lifetime, say : ONE SHOT
55 Raphael’s weapon in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” : SAI
58 “The Duck Variations” playwright : MAMET
60 Duck : STOOP DOWN
62 Mexican pal : AMIGO
63 Conger, for one : EEL
64 Swiss author of “Elements of Algebra” : EULER
65 Duck : DODGE
66 Pigpen : STY
67 “Duck, duck …” follower : … GOOSE

Down

1 High-rise units: Abbr. : APTS
2 ___ parmigiana : VEAL
3 Like many a barrel-aged wine : OAKY
4 “Rocks” in a tumbler : ICE
5 Molds, e.g. : DECAYS
6 “Henceforth I ___ will be Romeo” : NEVER
7 Keep close to one’s heart : TREASURE
8 No ___, no foul : HARM
9 Laceless shoes : SLIP-ONS
10 What a flat “b” palm facing a nearby fellow stands for, in A.S.L. : HIS
11 Pic-sharing app, informally : INSTA
12 The second “R” in J. R. R. Tolkien : REUEL
13 Prepare to proof, in baking : KNEAD
18 It’s mined, all mined! : ORE
22 “It’s ___!” (“We’re on!”) : A DATE
24 Butterfly also called a common tiger or wanderer : MONARCH
26 Perpetual : NONSTOP
27 Street ___ (rep) : CRED
28 What to call a man in Mannheim : HERR
29 Like cheese puffs and rice cakes : AIRY
31 Tampa Bay pro : RAY
34 List ender: Abbr. : ET AL
35 Transmit : SEND
36 Opening on Christmas Eve? : ‘TWAS …
38 In direct confrontation : TOE-TO-TOE
39 Used as a dining surface : ATE ON
45 Coatroom fixture : HAT PEG
46 “Fine, stay angry then!” : BE MAD!
47 Mission to remember in San Antonio : ALAMO
48 Skittish : TIMID
49 Sís and das : YESES
50 Scene of pandemonium : ZOO
53 Editor’s “Forget I wrote that” : STET
54 Sanctified : HOLY
55 Musician’s chance to shine, perhaps : SOLO
56 Flabbergasts or gobsmacks : AWES
57 Memo subject header : IN RE
59 Something a duck lays : EGG
61 Bugs and Daffy in “The Iceman Ducketh,” e.g. : DUO

12 thoughts on “0316-22 NY Times Crossword 16 Mar 22, Wednesday”

  1. 9:12, no errors. This puzzle reminded me of the phrase “duck and cover”. Or was it recent events that reminded me of it? … 😳

    I did Tim Croce’s latest puzzle before going to sleep last night. By some miracle, I finished with no cheats and no errors, but there’s one clue/answer combo in it that I can’t explain: “Like L, u, r…!” for “BENT”. Is the clue some kind of internet slang for “the hell you are”? And how does that relate to the answer? Or am I simply being obtuse and missing something “totes obvi”? Suggestions welcome … 🤨.

    1. Glenn has helpfully pointed out to me (over on the other blog) that the letters “L”, “u”, and “r” are indeed bent. My inner child wants to respond, “What letters aren’t bent?” But I’ll veto that and just crawl into the nearest corner to nurse my wounded ego in private … 😜.

      We all have blind spots, I guess … 🤨.

      1. That might be the case, but it doesn’t really explain the exclamation point in the clue. There is also the “…” at the end of the clue indicating more to follow – perhaps more bent letters?

        That may very well be the right thought process, but it doesn’t set well with me either.

          1. Aha! So do I! However, I could imagine either (or both) version(s) being the one(s) in Tim Croce’s mind. I love his puzzles, but his cluing sometimes wanders off the path from merely inscrutable to very nearly impossible … 😜.

  2. 16:39. Did this on a tired brain. Seemed hard for a Wednesday.

    If you’re ever in San Antonio, I’d highly recommend going to see the ALAMO. It’s downtown right off of the Riverwalk.

    Best –

  3. No errors.. thought the layout of the grid was odd. You have to duck your way around corners…???
    Oh wait!!! There’s a DUCK in the middle of the grid!!!!!

    1. The sai (Japanese: 釵, lit. ‘Hairpin’; Chinese: 鐵尺, lit. ‘Iron Ruler’) is a traditional Asian melee weapon used for striking and blocking. It is most famously used in ninjutsu and kobujutsu, but also in southern Chinese martial arts. The basic form of the weapon is that of a sharp metal prong with two curved sideprongs (yoku) projecting from the handle(tsuka).

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