0427-22 NY Times Crossword 27 Apr 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Alex Bajcz
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal: Pinball

There is a note with today’s puzzle:

The circled letters, reading clockwise starting at the bottom, will reveal a hint to this puzzle’s theme.

The circled letters spell out PINBALL. Themed answers each include a word associated with PINBALL:

  • 18A Deals with fries and a beverage, maybe : COMBO MEALS
  • 23A It may lead to a “no catch” ruling : INSTANT REPLAY
  • 36A Fight a needless fight, metaphorically : TILT AT WINDMILLS
  • 44A One with a quintessential McJob : BURGER FLIPPER
  • 53A Extra-bountiful harvest : BUMPER CROP

Our modern game of pinball evolved from an earlier table game called bagatelle that 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.

Bill’s time: 6m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Certain vipers : ASPS

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

The Viperidae are a family of venomous snakes commonly referred to as vipers.

14 Where one may purchase a sectional with a side of meatballs : IKEA

Every IKEA store features a restaurant that serves traditional Swedish food, including Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam. Each store also has a Swedish Food Market where customers can purchase specialty foods from Sweden.

15 Cover story : ALIBI

“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed, I have an ‘alibi’”.

16 “Star Wars” general with the line “If you see our son, bring him home” : LEIA

Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa in the “Star Wars” universe. The character’s birth name was Ben Solo. He was trained as a Jedi knight by his uncle, Luke Skywalker. However, Ben came to embrace the Dark Side, and changed his name to Kylo Ren. Ren is played by actor Adam Driver.

20 Hornswoggle : CON

To hornswoggle is to cheat, to deceive, to bamboozle.

21 County north of the Firth of Forth : FIFE

The historic county of Fife is in the east of Scotland, located between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay. People from the county are known as Fifers. Fife is home to the historic town of St. Andrews, which in turn is home to the famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

22 Three or more on a semi : AXLES

An 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck has eight wheels under the trailer, i.e. four on each of the two rear axles. There are 10 wheels under the tractor unit. Two of the ten wheels are on the front axle, and eight are on the rear two axles that sit under the front of the trailer.

28 Screen, as a potential running mate : VET

The verb “to vet” comes from the term “veterinarian”. The idea is that to vet something is to subject it to careful examination, like a veterinarian checking out an animal.

30 Cygnus constellation, with “the” : SWAN

Cygnus is a constellation in the northern sky, with its name being Latin for “Swan”. Four stars define the main features of the “swan”, namely Albireo (the tip of the beak), Delta and Epsilon Cygnis (the wings) and Deneb (the tail). Deneb is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and is also part of the Northern Cross, which lies within the constellation of Cygnus.

36 Fight a needless fight, metaphorically : TILT AT WINDMILLS

The phrase “tilting at windmills” means “attacking imaginary enemies”. The idiom comes from an episode in the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, in which the hero of the piece charges at windmills that he imagines are giants.

39 Thrill-seeker’s acronymic motto : YOLO

You only live once (YOLO)

41 Ring around a lagoon : ATOLL

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.

A lagoon is a shallow body of water, usually separated from the sea by sandbar or reef. The term “lagoon” comes from the Italian “laguna”, the word for a pond or lake. The original “laguna” is the “Laguna Veneta”, the enclosed bay in the Adriatic Sea on which Venice is located. In 1769, Captain Cook was the first to apply the word “lagoon” to the body of water inside a South Seas atoll.

43 Swings around : SLUES

To slue (also “slew) is to turn sharply, or to rotate on an axis.

44 One with a quintessential McJob : BURGER FLIPPER

“McJob” is a slang term for a low-paying position that offers little chance for advancement. The term comes from front-line jobs at a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant.

In ancient Greece, Aristotle believed that there was a fifth element, beyond the accepted four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. This fifth element he called aether, postulating it was the makeup of celestial bodies. In Middle French in the 14th century, the “fifth element” was called “quinte essence”, coming into English as “quintessence” in the early 15th century. In the late 1500s, “quintessence” came to mean “purest essence” in a more general sense, with “quintessential” meaning “at its finest”.

51 Director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. He was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when he was given the 1998 Academy Honorary Award citing his lifetime achievement in the industry. Kazan also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

52 Bruce on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : LEE

Bruce Lee was born not far from here, in San Francisco, although he was raised in Hong Kong, returning to the US to attend college. Sadly, Bruce Lee died when he was only 32 years old, due to cerebral edema (a swelling of the brain) attributed to adverse reactions to the pain killing drug Equagesic.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a series of sidewalks taking up 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and 3 blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood. The Walk of Fame is an ever-changing monument dedicated to those who have achieved greatness in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. The first stars installed in the sidewalk were a group of eight, officially laid in 1960. That group consisted of:

  • Joanne Woodward (actor)
  • Olive Borden (actor)
  • Ronald Colman (actor)
  • Louise Fazenda (actor)
  • Preston Foster (actor)
  • Burt Lancaster (actor)
  • Edward Sedgwick (director)
  • Ernest Torrence (actor)

56 Two in a two-car garage : BAYS

We imported the word “garage” into English from French, in which language the term historically described a place for storing or sheltering something. Later the term specifically applied to a “shelter” for a car. The verb “garer” is French for “to shelter”, and now also means “to park (a car)”.

57 Singer Rexha : BEBE

Bebe Rexha is a singer-songwriter from New York City. Her given name at birth was “Bleta”, which is Albanian for “bee”. Folks started to use the nickname “Bebe”, which stuck.

58 Community far from a city’s center : EXURB

An extension to the term “suburb”, an exurb is an area beyond the suburbs at the very outskirts of a city. The term “exurbia” is often used to denote an area inhabited by more wealthy people.

59 Playing extra minutes, briefly : IN OT

In overtime (in OT)

61 “___ on the igpay atinlay!” : IXNAY

Pig Latin is in effect a game. One takes the first consonant or consonant cluster of an English word and moves it to the end of the word, and then adds the letters “ay”. So, the Pig Latin for the word “nix” is “ixnay” (ix-n-ay), and for “scram” is “amscray” (am-scr-ay).

62 Heater meas. : BTUS

In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured using the British Thermal Unit (BTU). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.

Down

1 Christina of 1991’s “The Addams Family” : RICCI

Christina Ricci is an American actress who found fame on the big screen at an early age, playing the very young Wednesday Addams in the 1991 movie version of “The Addams Family”.

2 City nicknamed “Rubber Capital of the World” : AKRON, OHIO

For much of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fastest-growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron’s growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name “Akron” comes from the Greek word meaning “summit”. Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The city earned the moniker “Rubber Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, as it was home to four major tire companies: Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone and General Tire.

4 Actress Grier : PAM

Pam Grier is an actress whose most acclaimed performance was in the 1997 Quentin Tarantino film “Jackie Brown”, in which she played the title role.

9 2016 Olympics host, informally : RIO

Even though the 2016 Olympic Games was a summer competition, it was held in Rio de Janeiro in winter. As Rio is in the southern hemisphere, the opening ceremony on 5th August 2016 fell in the local winter season. The 2016 games was also the first to be held in South America, and the first to be hosted by a Portuguese-speaking country.

10 Name often called in a smart home : ALEXA

Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with Amazon Echo smart speakers. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

11 Tuft & Needle competitor : SEALY

The Sealy Corporation makes mattresses. The company name comes from the city where it started out in 1881, namely Sealy, Texas. Sealy Corporation is now headquartered in Trinity, North Carolina.

19 Type of shake : MALT

Walgreens claims to have introduced the malted milkshake, back in 1922.

21 Fruity soda brand : FANTA

The soft drink Fanta has quite an interesting history. As WWII approached, the Coca-Cola plant in Germany had trouble obtaining the ingredients it needed to continue production of the cola beverage, so the plant manager decided to create a new drink from what was available. The new beverage was built around whey (leftover from cheese production) and pomace (left over after juice has been extracted from fruit). The inventor asked his colleagues to use their “imagination” (“Fantasie” in German) and come up with a name for the drink, so they piped up “Fanta!”

26 Be in limbo : PEND

In the Roman Catholic tradition, “Limbo” is a place where souls can remain who cannot enter heaven. For example, infants who have not been baptized are said to reside in Limbo. Limbo is said to be located on the border of Hell. The name was chosen during the Middle Ages from the Latin “limbo” meaning “ornamental border to a fringe”. We use the phrase “in limbo” in contemporary English to mean “in a state of uncertainty”.

29 Place for mucking around : STY
30 29-Down residents : SWINE

Domestic pigs might be referred to as swine or hogs. Males are boars, females are sows, and young pigs are piglets.

33 Potted succulent : ALOE PLANT

Succulent plants are those with thickened stems and/or leaves that have evolved to retain water. As such, succulents are often found where the climate is particularly dry. The term “succulent” comes from the Latin “sucus” meaning “juice, sap”.

35 Cable alternative : DSL

The initialism “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. It is a technology that allows Internet service to be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

38 Onetime presidential daughter with the code name Radiance : MALIA

By tradition, the Secret Service code names used for the US President and family all start with the same letter. For the Obama First Family, that letter is R:

  • Barack Obama: Renegade
  • Michelle Obama: Renaissance
  • Malia Obama: Radiance
  • Sasha Obama: Rosebud

42 Cheeseboard staple : BRIE

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert. Brie is often served baked in puff pastry with fig jam.

44 Thumper’s forest friend : BAMBI

In the 1942 animated feature “Bambi”, the title character is a white-tailed deer. His best friends are a pink-nosed rabbit named Thumper, a skunk named Flower, and another deer named Faline with whom Bambi eventually falls in love.

46 Any “Scrubs” or “Friends” episode, now : RERUN

“Scrubs” is a comedy-drama TV show set in a fictional hospital. The show’s main character is Doctor J. D. Dorian, played by Zach Braff. “Scrubs” originally ran from 2001 to 2010.

When the incredibly successful sitcom “Friends” was in development it was given the working title “Insomnia Cafe”. This was changed to “Friends Like Us”, before finally going to air as “Friends”.

47 Regional greenery : FLORA

The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

54 Big retailer of camping gear : REI

REI is a sporting goods store, with the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to climb Mount Everest.

55 Roman numeral equal to 12% of M : CXX

In Roman numerals, CXX (120) is 12% of M (1,000)

56 Chest protector : BIB

The word “bib” comes from the Latin “bibere” meaning “to drink”, as does our word “imbibe”. So, maybe a bib is less about spilling the food, and more about soaking up the booze …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 One inclined to go in and out : RAMP
5 “Peace out” : LATER
10 Certain vipers : ASPS
14 Where one may purchase a sectional with a side of meatballs : IKEA
15 Cover story : ALIBI
16 “Star Wars” general with the line “If you see our son, bring him home” : LEIA
17 Stuff : CRAM
18 Deals with fries and a beverage, maybe : COMBO MEALS
20 Hornswoggle : CON
21 County north of the Firth of Forth : FIFE
22 Three or more on a semi : AXLES
23 It may lead to a “no catch” ruling : INSTANT REPLAY
27 Not square, in a way : OWING
28 Screen, as a potential running mate : VET
29 What’s often kept undercover? : SHEET
30 Cygnus constellation, with “the” : SWAN
32 Put (down) : LAID
36 Fight a needless fight, metaphorically : TILT AT WINDMILLS
39 Thrill-seeker’s acronymic motto : YOLO
40 Top 40 songs : HITS
41 Ring around a lagoon : ATOLL
42 Hairstyle that sounds edible : BUN
43 Swings around : SLUES
44 One with a quintessential McJob : BURGER FLIPPER
49 “Same with me” : AS AM I
51 Director Kazan : ELIA
52 Bruce on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : LEE
53 Extra-bountiful harvest : BUMPER CROP
56 Two in a two-car garage : BAYS
57 Singer Rexha : BEBE
58 Community far from a city’s center : EXURB
59 Playing extra minutes, briefly : IN OT
60 Parched : ARID
61 “___ on the igpay atinlay!” : IXNAY
62 Heater meas. : BTUS

Down

1 Christina of 1991’s “The Addams Family” : RICCI
2 City nicknamed “Rubber Capital of the World” : AKRON, OHIO
3 Has the best intentions : MEANS WELL
4 Actress Grier : PAM
5 Pretty trim : LACING
6 Up in the air : ALOFT
7 Hourglass, e.g. : TIMER
8 Flow back : EBB
9 2016 Olympics host, informally : RIO
10 Name often called in a smart home : ALEXA
11 Tuft & Needle competitor : SEALY
12 Stack : PILE
13 ‘Tude : SASS
19 Type of shake : MALT
21 Fruity soda brand : FANTA
24 Hook up with : TIE TO
25 Jazz pianist Bill : EVANS
26 Be in limbo : PEND
29 Place for mucking around : STY
30 29-Down residents : SWINE
31 Drollery : WIT
32 Like festive houses during the holidays : LIT UP
33 Potted succulent : ALOE PLANT
34 “Until we meet again” : I’LL SEE YOU
35 Cable alternative : DSL
37 Rap’s Young ___ : THUG
38 Onetime presidential daughter with the code name Radiance : MALIA
42 Cheeseboard staple : BRIE
43 Evade capture : SLIP BY
44 Thumper’s forest friend : BAMBI
45 Cried foul? : UMPED
46 Any “Scrubs” or “Friends” episode, now : RERUN
47 Regional greenery : FLORA
48 Takes time off : RESTS
49 Group with the tribute band Björn Again : ABBA
50 One alleging injury, perhaps : SUER
54 Big retailer of camping gear : REI
55 Roman numeral equal to 12% of M : CXX
56 Chest protector : BIB

13 thoughts on “0427-22 NY Times Crossword 27 Apr 22, Wednesday”

  1. 8:16, no errors. Spaced the theme (as is, all too often, my wont … 😳).

    Yesterday, after getting my second Covid booster, I took myself out to eat at a local Applebee’s. A family (father, mother, two young daughters, and a son) were seated near me. The son (who, I would guess, was nine or ten) was, I think, autistic. He was non-verbal (though he seemed to understand what was said to him), and he exhibited various odd behaviors – strange faces and repetitive gestures. All in all, a sad situation, but I was sympathetic. At one point, however, he began picking up the plastic jar of catsup and squirting it into his mouth. His parents did nothing to stop him. I’m pretty sure the waitress saw what was happening and also did nothing. So … I did nothing. And now I’m wondering: what should I have done?

    IMHO, my life has been bizarre enough for the last few years; I didn’t need to add this to it … 😳.

    1. Just my 2 cents: On my way out (or after the family left) I would have informed the waitress, so she could replace the condiment dispensers before seating someone else at that table. Surprised to see a restaurant still using these bottles, most have gone to individual serving packets.

      1. I thought of that, but it seemed to me that the waitress ought to be able to come up with the idea on her own. All in all, it was a slightly surreal experience … 😳.

    2. The server might have been waiting until the family leaves before replacing it. I wondered too if the staff are familiar with the family. We parents of autistic children tend to return regularly to businesses that don’t react harshly to odd behavior! On the other hand, I was surprised that the restaurant had returned to using the squirt bottles. Bad idea…

  2. 9:53. Still refining my NYT app strategies.
    54D: Briefly met Jim Whittaker several years ago. He established a couple businesses in Ashford, WA: Whittaker Mountaineering and Whittaker’s Bunkhouse. He was very active in providing guide services for climbing Mount Rainier.
    44D: under the category of extreme trivia, Glidden Co. has a wall paint which matches the rabbit’s fur in Bambi. The color is called Thumper.

  3. 13:13 (Mockingbird Lane). That was the Munster’s address in the TV show.

    Interesting history of pinball. I love the game and always have. I’d take pinball over any video game anyday. Maybe I’m just showing my age.

    Best –

  4. I really messed up on 36A. I have never heard “TILT AT WINDMILLS”.
    I had “TILT AT VUNDHILLS”. I messed up on 31D. Had RUT. Messed up 30D. Had OVINE. Lastly, I had HALIA for 38D. What a mess.

  5. 23:45 and I had RIB for 56D and didn’t understand RAYS for 56A…now I know why🤪🤪
    Stay safe😀

  6. Interesting coincidence: My local paper had an article today about a recently discovered Picasso painting of Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

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