0317-23 NY Times Crossword 17 Mar 23, Friday

Constructed by: Carter Cobb
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day, everyone!

Bill’s time: 15m 45s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 Commoner : PLEB

In ancient Rome, the patricians were the members of the families in the ruling classes. Those Romans who were not patricians by birth were known as plebs.

15 Pest so named because it was originally found in royal tombs : PHARAOH ANT

The now-ubiquitous pharaoh ant is a tropical species that thrives indoors all over the world. They are especially troublesome in hospitals where they can even access wounds due to their tiny size.

16 Rocker Grohl : DAVE

Foo Fighters are described as an alternative rock band, one formed in 1994 by the drummer from Nirvana, Dave Grohl. The term “foo fighters” originally applied to unidentified flying objects reported by allied airmen during WWII. Spooky …

17 Join a boxer rebellion? : GO COMMANDO

“To go commando”is a slang term meaning “to wear no underwear”.

19 1967 song by the Monkees : SHE

The Monkees pop group was assembled in 1966 specifically for a planned television series called “The Monkees”. The show aired from 1966 to 1968, and the band continued to perform in concerts until 1970. 20 years after the band was formed, there was a revival in interest for both the show and the band’s music, so the Monkees got together for several reunion tours. The lead singer of the group was Englishman Davy Jones, who passed away in February 2012.

22 Game from Africa : GNU

The gnu is also known as the wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is a Dutch word meaning “wild beast”.

23 Gel-ocity maker : BIC

Société Bic is a company based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced, more than fifty years ago, was the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen that is still produced today. Bic also makes other disposable products such as lighters and razors.

35 Tech giant once known as Multitech : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

37 Four-time Emmy winner Woodard : ALFRE

Alfre Woodard is an actress from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Woodard was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the 1983 film “Cross Creek”. Off the stage and screen, she is very active in the Democratic Party.

39 Bit of film : ALGA

When algae growth takes over a body of water, it is known as an “algal bloom”. When this happens, the water gets very discolored and the algae suck up the oxygen in the water, basically asphyxiating other life forms.

40 Ones calling across the ocean? : BLUE WHALES

The blue whale is an enormous mammal, one that can weigh about 190 tons at maturity. Not only is the blue whale the largest mammal on the planet, it is the largest animal that ever existed.

42 Colorless bodily fluid : LYMPH

Lymph is a fluid that exists alongside blood in the body that is transported through lymph vessels. One of the functions of the system is to pick up bacteria in the body, transporting them to lymph nodes where they are destroyed by lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). Lymph can also carry metastatic cancer cells that can lodge in lymph nodes, making lymph nodes a common site where tumors may be found growing.

46 Unimaginative : PROSAIC

Back in the mid-17th century, something prosaic was prose-related (as opposed to poetry). A century later, the “prosaic” was used to describe writing that had the feeling of prose, as opposed to the feeling of poetry. This meaning gradually extended to “ordinary, lacking imagination or beauty”.

48 It’s just past due : TRE

“One, two, three” in Italian is “uno, due, tre”.

58 One fearful of crowded places : AGORAPHOBE

In early Greece, an agora was a place of assembly. The assemblies held there were often quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a marketplace. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

61 Flew over seas? : PARASAILED

Parasailing is hanging below a tethered parachute that is towed by a boat.

Down

1 Alternatives to GIFs : JPGS

The JPEG image file format (also “.jpg”) was created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), hence the name.

3 Garam masala spice : MACE

The fruit of the nutmeg tree yields two very different spices. What we call “nutmeg” comes from the seed of the tree. “Mace” is the dried covering of the seed.

“Masala” is a Hindi word meaning “mixture”, and describes a mixture of spices. A dish named “masala” uses the spices incorporated into a sauce that includes garlic, ginger, onions and chili paste. Who doesn’t love Indian cuisine? Yum …

6 “Cathy” or “Luann” : COMIC

“Cathy” is a comic strip drawn by Cathy Guisewite. The strip was largely based on Guisewite’s own life experiences. For decades, cartoon Cathy was a single woman dealing with food, love, family and work. Cathy married her longtime boyfriend Irving in 2005, and the strip ended its run in 2010 with the revelation that Cathy was expecting a baby girl.

“Luann” is a newspaper comic strip written and drawn by Greg Evans. The strip centers on the suburban adventures of teenager Luann DeGroot.

11 Locking lips by the lockers, e.g., for short : PDA

Public display of affection (PDA)

23 Alternatives to GIFs : BITMAPS

A bitmap is an image file format used to store digital images. Basically, each pixel in a bitmap file is stored as a “bit” of information, hence the name “bitmap”. In 1987, CompuServe introduced a new type of image file called the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). A GIF image takes the same information as a bitmap and then compresses it, resulting in a smaller file size. However, during compression the image may lose some resolution. The GIF format also handles short video clips, usually animations.

25 Some china : TEAWARE

The ceramic known as “porcelain” can be referred to as “china” or “fine china”, as porcelain was developed in China.

26 Possible souvenir from a surgery : METAL PLATE

A souvenir is a memento, a token of remembrance. We imported “souvenir” from French, in which language it has the same meaning. The term comes from the Latin “subvenire” meaning “to come to mind”, or literally “to come up”.

28 Queen with a protégé : DRAG MOTHER

We use the term “protégé” for someone whose career is helped along and guided by a more experienced person, a mentor. “Protégé” is French for “protected”.

33 “Q” neighbor : TAB

Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

51 Lead-in to cast or castle : FORE-

The forecastle (usually abbreviated to “fo’c’sle”) is the forward part of a ship where the sailors’ sleeping quarters are located. The term is also used to describe the upper deck, forward of the foremost mast. The related phrase “before the mast” is used to describe anything related to a ship’s enlisted men, those sailors who are not officers.

54 Modern ride : UBER

The rideshare service Uber takes its name from the English colloquial word “uber” meaning “super, topmost”, which in turn comes from the German “über” meaning “above”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Staples of horror movies : JUMP SCARES
11 Commoner : PLEB
15 Pest so named because it was originally found in royal tombs : PHARAOH ANT
16 Rocker Grohl : DAVE
17 Join a boxer rebellion? : GO COMMANDO
18 Spot : AREA
19 1967 song by the Monkees : SHE
20 Learning opportunity, so to speak : MISTAKE
22 Game from Africa : GNU
23 Gel-ocity maker : BIC
24 Superlatively swell : NEATEST
26 First aid provider : MEDIC
29 Carriage with its horse : RIG
31 Easily put out : TESTY
32 Browns, e.g. : EARTH TONES
35 Tech giant once known as Multitech : ACER
36 Ride at some amusement parks : TRAM
37 Four-time Emmy winner Woodard : ALFRE
38 It can mean hello or goodbye : WAVE
39 Bit of film : ALGA
40 Ones calling across the ocean? : BLUE WHALES
42 Colorless bodily fluid : LYMPH
44 Moreover : AND
45 Isn’t for you? : AREN’T
46 Unimaginative : PROSAIC
48 It’s just past due : TRE
49 English ___ : LIT
50 Examined, as a dog might : SNIFFED
53 Pivotal part of a revolution : HUB
56 Pallid : ASHY
58 One fearful of crowded places : AGORAPHOBE
60 Ready to be driven : TEED
61 Flew over seas? : PARASAILED
62 Mixes things up, say : ERRS
63 Wannabes : PRETENDERS

Down

1 Alternatives to GIFs : JPGS
2 [Gulp!] : [UH-OH!]
3 Garam masala spice : MACE
4 Follower of all or turn : … PRO
5 Slangy lunch fare : SAMMICH
6 “Cathy” or “Luann” : COMIC
7 Moments of clarity : AHAS
8 Go off : RANT
9 At serious risk : ENDANGERED
10 Feed : STOKE
11 Locking lips by the lockers, e.g., for short : PDA
12 Epic : LARGE SCALE
13 Neck and neck : EVEN STEVEN
14 Retirement plan whose prospects are looking good? : BEAUTY REST
21 Not fast : EAT
23 Alternatives to GIFs : BITMAPS
25 Some china : TEAWARE
26 Possible souvenir from a surgery : METAL PLATE
27 One seeing stars upon waking, perhaps : EARLY RISER
28 Queen with a protégé : DRAG MOTHER
29 Prepare some leaves for burning? : ROLL A CIGAR
30 Just for kicks and giggles : IN FUN
33 “Q” neighbor : TAB
34 Patch, e.g. : SEW
41 Dense buildup in makeup powder containers : HARDPAN
43 Entertains, with “over” : HAS …
47 Like some online purchases : IN-APP
48 Give hints about, but not more : TEASE
51 Lead-in to cast or castle : FORE-
52 School group, informally : FRAT
53 Well, essentially : HOLE
54 Modern ride : UBER
55 Hotel capacity : BEDS
57 N.F.L. divisions : YDS
59 Didn’t seek, say : HID

10 thoughts on “0317-23 NY Times Crossword 17 Mar 23, Friday”

  1. 32:42, no errors. Smooth sailing except for the NE quadrant. Guessing PEON before PLEB made the three long verticals difficult.
    37A: Oscar nominated Hollywood actor active in the Democratic Party? I’m stunned.
    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. Erin go bragh!

  2. 31:19. A few missteps but mostly just had to slog my way through this one.

    A BLUE WHALE weighing 190 tons is almost inconceivable. That’s almost 400,000 lbs. Amazing how huge that is. To put that in perspective, a T-rex maxed out at about 15,000 lbs. My car weighs about 4300 lbs….I just looked that up.

    Agree with Bruce about the shock of a Democratic activist being embraced by Hollywood.

    March Madness in Vegas this weekend. I was on the strip last night and couldn’t believe the crowds. I think I’ll stay in and hide the rest of the weekend.

    Best –

  3. Couldn’t finish without a lookup.
    DNF

    I got hung up on 33D. Went from RST to TEE then finally TAB .. not until BLUE WHALES appeared. ALFRE wasn’t on my list of WOODARDs but she’s been in so many crosswords and movies, I should have remembered.

    TGIF?

  4. No errors, but not without a struggle. Cluing was cryptic, but very clever in hindsight. I grind up my own garam masala but, oddly enough, it contains no mace. I suspect it’s like curry which has no specific recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *