0319-22 NY Times Crossword 19 Mar 22, Saturday

Constructed by: Ryan McCarty
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

12 Sylphlike : LISSOME

“Lissome” is such a lovely word, I think. It applies to something that is easily bent and supple. The term is a variation of “lithesome”.

A sylph (also “sylphid”) is a mythological creature, an invisible and wispy being of the air. We also use the term “sylph” to describe a slender and graceful woman.

17 Comedian John who is said to resemble a love child of Harry Potter and Owl from “Winnie-the-Pooh” : OLIVER

“Last Week Tonight” is a satirical late-night talk show hosted by British comedian John Oliver. The HBO show shares a look and feel with Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”, of which Oliver is an alumnus.

18 Ottawa leader : PONTIAC

Chief Pontiac was a leader of the Ottawa people in the 1700s. He is most famously associated with the fight against the British (called Pontiac’s Rebellion) after they emerged victorious from the French and Indian War. The most noted action during the rebellion was the attack led by Pontiac on Fort Detroit, and the subsequent siege. Although the siege was unsuccessful, it served to unite the local Native American peoples in the fight.

19 Stun gun : TASER

Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

22 Hootenanny : BARN DANCE

Our colloquial word “hootenanny” is now used for a party featuring folk music. The term came into English as a word similar to “thingamajig” or “whatsit”. Out current usage is more akin to its original meaning back in Scotland, i.e. “celebration, party”.

24 Word with gag and ground : … RULE

In a legislative body, for example, a “gag rule” prohibits the tabling or discussion of a particular topic.

25 Headwear for the big game? : SAFARI HAT

Pith helmets were worn by mainly Europeans in the tropics, often on safari or as part of a military uniform. The helmet was light in weight, covered with cloth and made from cork or pith. Pith helmets were also called “safari helmets”, “topees” and “topis”.

33 Stereotypical Silicon Valley types : TECH NERDS

The Santa Clara Valley, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.

44 Influenza : GRIPPE

“Grippe” is an archaic term for influenza, and is the French term for the disease.

45 Some Buddhist mandalas, e.g. : SAND ART

The Sand Mandala is a beautiful creation made with colored sand in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Mandalas are elaborate designs created by monks over many, many hours. Once the design is completed it is immediately destroyed, symbolizing the transitory nature of material life.

48 Schoolmaster for the classroom, e.g. : ANAGRAM

Here are some of my favorite anagrams:

  • “Dormitory” and “dirty room”
  • “Elvis” and “lives”
  • “The eyes” and “they see”
  • “Eleven plus two” and “twelve plus one”
  • “William Shakespeare” and “I’ll make a wise phrase”
  • “Schoolmaster” and “the classroom”

49 Italy’s longest river : THE PO

The Po flows right across northern Italy, and is the longest river in the country. The largest city on the Po is Turin.

50 Spec for a script : MED

“Scrip” (also “script”) is an informal term meaning “prescription”.

51 Atlanta-based network : TBS

The tbs cable television station started out in 1967 as a local broadcast TV station in Atlanta. The station’s first call letters were WJRJ-TV, and this was changed to WTCG in 1970 when it was acquired by Ted Turner (the TCG stood for Turner Communications Group). In 1976, Turner started distributing WTCG via satellite making its programming available in other parts of the country. WTCG was only the second channel to transmit via satellite, following HBO. The difference was that WTCG was broadcast without requiring a premium subscription. The station’s call sign was changed again in 1979 to WTBS, with “TBS” standing for Turner Broadcasting System. In 1981, the channel adopted the moniker “Superstation WTBS”.

Down

3 They’re issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs : US VISAS

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”.

5 House of Saud title : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East in Islamic countries. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world’s largest oil producer, home to the world’s largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring “true” Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saudi family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.

7 Along with the anteater, one of two animals in the order Pilosa : SLOTH

All four of the extant species of three-toed sloths are native to South and Central America. Cousins of the three-toed sloths are the two-toed sloths, of which there are two species still living.

Anteaters tear open ant and termite nests using their sharp claws and then eat up the eggs, larvae and mature ants using their tongues. They have very sticky saliva which coats the tongue hence making the feeding very efficient. The tongue also moves very quickly, flicking in and out of the mouth at about 150 times per minute.

10 Count ___ : CHOCULA

General Mills introduced us to a whole series of monster-themed breakfast cereals, starting in 1971 with Count Chocula and Franken Berry. Then came Boo Berry, Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy.

11 Currency whose name means, literally, “round” : YEN

The Korean won, Chinese yuan, and Japanese yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

16 Silent film star known as the “Man of a Thousand Faces” : LON CHANEY

Lon Chaney, Sr. played a lot of crazed-looking characters in the days of silent movies. He did much of his own make-up work, developing the grotesque appearances that became his trademark, and earning himself the nickname “the man of a thousand faces”. Most famous were his portrayals of the title characters in the films “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) and “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925).

20 Something often seen with trunks : BARE CHEST

Swimming trunks are shorts used, usually by males, when swimming. The term “trunks” is used because centuries ago, people routinely wore underwear that covered the entire “trunk” of the body. Swimming usually involved stripping down to those “trunks”. We’re less modest when swimming nowadays, but the term “trunks” has persisted.

23 British pop star with more “Ed Sullivan Show” appearances than the Beatles : DAVE CLARK

The Dave Clark Five came right on the heels of the Beatles in the British Invasion of the sixties. They had a great hit single “Glad All Over” that knocked the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” off the top of the charts in 1964. My favorite tune of theirs, “Bits and Pieces”, followed later that year, and “I Like it Like That” was a hit in 1965. The band’s popularity waned in the late sixties, as they didn’t follow the Beatles and others into the “psychedelic sound”, and they broke up in 1970.

30 Inits. at a bar : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

32 Summit goal : ENTENTE

An entente cordiale (sometimes just “entente”) is a friendly understanding, usually between two nations. The term, which translates from French as “cordial agreement”, was first used to describe a set of agreements between the UK and France that were put in place in 1904.

38 Can opener : POP TAB

The term “pop top” refers to a whole family of designs for opening the top of a soda can. The oldest method is the “pull tab” or “ring pull”, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived, but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to less injuries and eliminated all those used pull tabs that littered the streets.

40 Cattle-grazing tract : LLANO

Llano is the Spanish word for “plain, flat region”.

46 ___ Taylor-Johnson, director of “Fifty Shades of Grey” : SAM

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is a 2015 erotic drama movie based on a 2011 novle of the same name by E.L. James. Starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, the film was widely panned by critics and won out of six nominations at the season’s Golden Raspberry Awards. Audiences didn’t care, though, and it was a box office smash. It also spawned two sequels: “Fifty Shades Darker” (2017) and “Fifty Shades Freed” (2018).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 It means “father of” in Arabic : ABU
4 Catty remark? : MEW
7 Rated PG-13 or R, say : SPICY
12 Sylphlike : LISSOME
14 Fit out : CLOTHE
15 “Amaaazing!” : LOVED IT!
16 Is a witness : LOOKS ON
17 Comedian John who is said to resemble a love child of Harry Potter and Owl from “Winnie-the-Pooh” : OLIVER
18 Ottawa leader : PONTIAC
19 Stun gun : TASER
20 Like part of a dress affected by static cling, say : BUNCHED UP
22 Hootenanny : BARN DANCE
24 Word with gag and ground : … RULE
25 Headwear for the big game? : SAFARI HAT
27 Levy of “Schitt’s Creek” : DAN
28 Isn’t open about oneself : LIVES A LIE
30 Drink cooler : ICE
33 Stereotypical Silicon Valley types : TECH NERDS
35 Act huffy? : PANT
37 Came out of the blue? : CHEERED UP
39 Launched weapons : ARTILLERY
41 Unwanted autocorrections : TYPOS
43 Bonny young lady : WEE LASS
44 Influenza : GRIPPE
45 Some Buddhist mandalas, e.g. : SAND ART
46 [More details below] : [SEE NOTE]
47 Acknowledgment of a poor performance : I STUNK
48 Schoolmaster for the classroom, e.g. : ANAGRAM
49 Italy’s longest river : THE PO
50 Spec for a script : MED
51 Atlanta-based network : TBS

Down

1 Parcel : ALLOT
2 Place to study cultures : BIOLAB
3 They’re issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs : US VISAS
4 Suit cut between “classic” and “slim” : MODERN FIT
5 House of Saud title : EMIR
6 Like some blankets and bars : WET
7 Along with the anteater, one of two animals in the order Pilosa : SLOTH
8 Less hurried : POKIER
9 “Pfft, this one doesn’t work” : IT’S A DUD
10 Count ___ : CHOCULA
11 Currency whose name means, literally, “round” : YEN
13 More than a couple : SEVERAL
14 Skin-toned cosmetic : CONCEALER
16 Silent film star known as the “Man of a Thousand Faces” : LON CHANEY
18 Disciplinarians, at times : PUNISHERS
20 Something often seen with trunks : BARE CHEST
21 Fold : PEN
23 British pop star with more “Ed Sullivan Show” appearances than the Beatles : DAVE CLARK
26 It gets bald over time : TIRE TREAD
29 Going down the drain, in a way : EDDYING
30 Inits. at a bar : IPA
31 Place to get a wax : CAR WASH
32 Summit goal : ENTENTE
34 Back : SUPPORT
36 Occupied : TIED UP
38 Can opener : POP TAB
40 Cattle-grazing tract : LLANO
42 Looks like : SEEMS
44 Good name for a biologist? : GENE
45 Collect dust : SIT
46 ___ Taylor-Johnson, director of “Fifty Shades of Grey” : SAM

12 thoughts on “0319-22 NY Times Crossword 19 Mar 22, Saturday”

  1. 33:54(!), no errors. I’m not quite sure why this one seemed so difficult to me, but … it did … and partway through it, I was interrupted by a power outage (and then, a few minutes later, I was interrupted by a phone call: “Did your power just go out?”). When I finally got a toe-hold I was absolutely sure of in the puzzle, it was near the bottom, so I solved it from the bottom up, correcting early mistakes as I neared the top. I finished by changing 21-Down from “PLY” to “PEN”, allowing me to guess that Mr. Levy’s first name must be “DAN”, after which I got “RULE” and “CHOCULA” … and went grumpily off to bed … 😜.

  2. 23:57. This seemed more Friday-ish to me. Had a tougher time with yesterday’s puzzle. Had “ibn” before ABU and “Dracula” before CHOCULA, but otherwise a smooth solve.

    Off to Houston for 2 days tomorrow in what I hope is my last time flying with a mask on. Can’t tell you how tired of that I am. This is something like 50 flights (segments) now while wearing a mask. Too many.

    Best –

  3. 20:37, over two sessions separated by 750 miles of road trip. Like @Nonny, I thought this was a hard one. Getting BARE CHEST finally broke it for me.

  4. 32:12 and needed a bit of help. Tough one for me today. Maybe the Hawaii lifestyle is affecting me. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in Alaska in April.

  5. 1:17:25….that’s right, we’ll over an hour and I had to make a couple lookups(so technically a DNF, I guess). And yeah, I wanted to put “ball” in for 24A, so sue me…🤣🤣

  6. @alaskasteve- you’ve been down there long time.

    Tough one for. Had to hurry up. I’m late for a get together. I guess there’s other things to do than Saturday puzzles on Friday night.

    Liked BARECHEST. it got me though. Had CHEST but couldn’t get BARE. looked it up. Amazing how fast things go when you look up a word or two. Ha!

  7. 40 minutes. No errors or look ups. I enjoyed this one. I had Tiber for 49 across for a while till I realize it just did not fit.

    1. If I were asked, “How well do you play the piano?,” I might say, “I stink!” So, if I were asked, “How well did you play last night?”, I might say either, “I stank” or “I stunk”, depending on which of the past-tense forms considered (by some) to be acceptable I chose to use. (Others consider “stank” to be the only acceptable past tense and “stunk” a past participle: I stink, I stank, I have stunk.)

      And, actually, I don’t play the piano at all … 😜.

    1. One (IMO, rather obscure) meaning of “fold” is “an enclosure for sheep”. I think it may survive mostly in a religious context: “returning stray lambs to the fold”.

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