0104-24 NY Times Crossword 4 Jan 24, Thursday

Constructed by: Chase Dittrich & Christina Iverson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Bitty Clues

Themed answers are in the format A AND B, where A is hinted at by the clue as is. B is hinted at by the word formed from the underlined letters in the clue. Clever:

  • 17A CAROL BRADY : MOM AND POP (Carol Brady and cola)
  • 26A MOOSE ANTLERS : RACK AND RUIN (Moose antlers and mar)
  • 40A ACTING ROLE : PART AND PARCEL (acting and acre)
  • 51A SACRAMENTO KINGS : PROS AND CONS (Sacramento Kings and scams)
  • 64A TOP ROUND STEAK : CUT AND RUN (Top round steak and trot)

Bill’s time: 13m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Runnin’ ___ (Western N.C.A.A. team) : UTES

The Runnin’ Utes are the basketball team of the University of Utah. The team was given the nickname the Runnin’ Redskins back when Jack Gardner was the head coach from 1953 to 1971. The “Runnin’” part of the name was chosen because Gardner was famous for playing quick offenses. The “Redskins” name was later dropped in favor of the less controversial “Utes”.

14 Tech giant based in New Taipei City : 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 …

15 Beverage brand with a lizard logo : SOBE

The brand name “SoBe” can be found on teas, juices and bottled waters. “SoBe” is an abbreviation for “South Beach”, the neighborhood in Miami Beach, Florida.

16 Writer Jong : ERICA

Author Erica Jong’s most famous work is her first: “Fear of Flying”, a novel published in 1973. Over twenty years later, Jong wrote “Fear of Fifty: a midlife memoir”, published in 1994.

17 CAROL BRADY : MOM AND POP (Carol Brady and cola)

In the TV show “The Brady Bunch”, the mom is Carol Brady, formerly Carol Martin, played by Florence Henderson. The dad is Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed.

20 “The way I see it …,” to texters : IMO …

In my opinion (IMO)

23 ___ Accords (1993 and 1995 pacts) : OSLO

The Oslo Accords grew out of secret negotiations between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel in a residence in Oslo in the early nineties. The delegates shared the same house while they conducted 14 meetings. While eating all their meals together at the same table, the negotiators came to respect one another and apparently, friendships developed.

24 Antitrafficking org. : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today is part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

26 MOOSE ANTLERS : RACK AND RUIN (Moose antlers and mar)

The moose is the largest species in the deer family, and can stand almost at 7 feet at the shoulder. Moose are a little unusual in that they are solitary animals, unlike other deers who tend to move in herds. We use the term “moose” here in North America, but confusingly, the same animal is referred to as “elk” in British English.

32 “Critique of Judgment” writer : KANT

Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century German philosopher. Kant published “Perpetual Peace” in 1795, laying out what he believed were conditions for ending all wars and creating a lasting peace. The good news for us is that one of these conditions was to have a world full of constitutional republics, so it seems we are on the right track here in the US!

37 36:1, for snake eyes : ODDS

“Snake eyes” is a slang term describing a roll of two dice in which one pip turns up on each die.

47 Title of respect : SRI

“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

49 Saint of Ávila : TERESA

St. Teresa of Ávila (also known as St. Teresa of Jesus) was a Carmelite nun living in Spain in the 1500s. She is particularly noted for her writings on Christian meditation and mental prayer.

51 SACRAMENTO KINGS : PROS AND CONS (Sacramento Kings and scams)

The Sacramento Kings are one of the oldest basketball franchises still operating, having been founded way back in 1923 as the Rochester Seagrams. The Kings moved to Sacramento in 1985 from Kansas City, Missouri.

57 Plato’s “P” : RHO

Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle.

68 Bird depicted on a rare penny : EAGLE

The Flying Eagle cent was the first “small-sized” one-cent coin minted in the US, and was produced from 1856 to 1858. The design was a little difficult to produce and the dies used in manufacture had to be replaced quite often. As a result, the Flying Eagle was replaced by the Indian Cent in 1859.

70 Maggie Smith’s title : DAME

Dame Maggie Smith is a wonderful, wonderful actress from England. Although Smith has had an extensive stage career, she is perhaps best known outside of Britain as a film and television actress. She has won two Oscars, including Best Actress for playing the title character in 1969’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. TV audiences today know her best as the Dowager Countess on “Downton Abbey”. I saw her recently in the movie “The Second Best Marigold Hotel”, a movie that I wholeheartedly recommend …

72 Academic acronym : STEM

The acronym “STEM” stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. An alternative acronym with a similar meaning is MINT, standing for mathematics, information sciences, natural sciences and technology. The acronym STEAM adds (liberal) arts to the STEM curriculum.

Down

5 Currency exchange inits. : USD

The dollar sign ($) was first used for the Spanish-American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become a model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the dollar sign.

8 Philadelphia train system : SEPTA

Public transportation in and around Philadelphia is managed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

11 “Simply sharp” brand : GINSU

Ginsu knives are more famous for their hard-sell television ads than they are for their efficacy in the kitchen. The Ginsu phenomenon took off in the seventies when two brothers found a set of knives called “Eversharp” that were being manufactured in Ohio. The brothers changed the brand name to something more exotic, and Japanese in particular (Ginsu), and then produced ads that made references to Japanese martial arts. I think they made a fortune …

12 Reason for a recall : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

18 Sushi restaurant supply : NORI

Nori is an edible seaweed that we used to know as “laver” when we were living in Wales. Nori is usually dried into thin sheets. Here in the US, we are most familiar with nori as the seaweed used as a wrap for sushi.

22 Fire ___ : ANT

Fire ants are stinging ants, and many species are known as red ants. Most stinging ants bite their prey and then spray acid on the wound. The fire ant, however, bites to hold on and then injects an alkaloid venom from its abdomen, creating a burning sensation in humans who have been nipped.

24 Peachy : A-OK

Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose at NASA in the sixties during the space program.

25 Big name in family singers : TRAPP

The von Trapps portrayed in the musical “The Sound of Music” were a real family, as is well known. In the musical and film, the eldest daughter is Liesl, although in real life her name was Agathe. Agathe came with her family to the US in 1938, and operated a private kindergarten in Baltimore, Maryland for 35 years. Agathe passed away in 2010. Agathe/Liesl was the daughter who was “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”.

28 Christian of note : DIOR

Christian Dior was a highly influential fashion designer who is widely credited with revolutionizing women’s fashion in the post-World War II era. Before he became a fashion designer, Dior worked as an art dealer, and he even ran his own art gallery for a time. There, he and a friend sold works by Pablo Picasso and others.

34 Otoscope user, for short : ENT

An ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) uses an otoscope to look into the interior of one’s ears.

38 Rodent in an arid environment : DESERT RAT

Most species of gerbil are native to arid regions, and in fact used to be called “desert rats”. They make popular household pets because they are very social and friendly by nature. As desert natives, they also have specially adapted kidneys that produce a very small amount of waste so that bodily fluids are preserved.

39 Mark of Zorro? : SLASH

“Zorro” is a 2005 novel by Chilean author Isabel Allende. The title character comes from a series of stories and pulp fiction from the early 1900s by American author Johnston McCulley. Allende’s work is presented as a biography of Don Diego de la Vega, and an origin story of his alter ego “El Zorro” (The Fox). I’ve put this one on my reading list …

41 Actress Reid of “Sharknado” : TARA

Tara Reid is an actress known for roles she played on television and the big screen. My guess is that her best-known performances were in the “American Pie” series of movies in which she played Vicky. Sadly, Reid succumbed to the pressure to alter her looks with plastic surgery. In interviews, she has shared that her first experience under the knife “went wrong” leading to more surgeries in attempts to rectify the resulting deformity.

“Sharknado” is a 2013 tongue-in-cheek disaster movie that was made for the Syfy television channel. The basis of the plot is a freak hurricane that hits Los Angeles, resulting in a flood that leaves man-eating sharks roaming the city. I don’t think so …

46 Kung ___ : PAO

Kung Pao chicken is a Sichuan stir-fry dish that includes chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers. The name “Kung Pao” is thought to come from a governor of the Sichuan province whose title was “Gongbao”, meaning “Palace Guardian”.

48 Days ___ : INN

The Days Inn hotel chain was founded in 1970 by a real estate developer called Cecil B. Day. One of the features of a Days Inn hotel in those early days was an on-site gas pump, which dispensed gasoline at discount prices.

50 “30 for 30” airer : ESPN

“30 for 30” is a series of ESPN documentary films that has aired since 2009. The series originated as a celebration of ESPN’s 30th birthday. To recognize that anniversary, the network commissioned 30 filmmakers to make 30 one-hour films covering the big stories in ESPN’s 30-year history. The series was so well received that ESPN continues to make similar documentaries using the “30 for 30” umbrella title.

52 Home of Morocco’s Royal Palace : RABAT

Rabat is the capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco. After WWII, the United States maintained a major Air Force Base in Rabat, part of Strategic Air Command (SAC). Responding to pressure from the Moroccan government of King Mohammed V, the USAF pulled out in 1963.

53 Longtime watch brand for James Bond : OMEGA

The Seamaster is a line of watches that Omega has produced since 1948. The Seamaster name arose because the original design was based on watches made for the Royal Navy during WWII. On the silver screen, James Bond has been wearing an Omega Seamaster since 1995.

63 Brooks, for one : MEL

Mel Brooks’ real name is Melvin Kaminsky. Brooks is one of relatively few entertainers who have won the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam” i.e. an Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy (EGOT). He is in good company, as the list also includes the likes of Richard Rogers, Sir John Gielgud, Marvin Hamlisch and Audrey Hepburn.

66 Actress Thurman : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s moll Mia in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from acting from 1998 until 2002 following the birth of her first child. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Gag : JEST
5 Runnin’ ___ (Western N.C.A.A. team) : UTES
9 They’re connected to the spine : PAGES
14 Tech giant based in New Taipei City : ACER
15 Beverage brand with a lizard logo : SOBE
16 Writer Jong : ERICA
17 CAROL BRADY : MOM AND POP (Carol Brady and cola)
19 Childish retort : AM NOT!
20 “The way I see it …,” to texters : IMO …
21 Smidgen : IOTA
23 ___ Accords (1993 and 1995 pacts) : OSLO
24 Antitrafficking org. : ATF
26 MOOSE ANTLERS : RACK AND RUIN (Moose antlers and mar)
29 “Are you sure about that?” : OR IS IT?
31 Something broken after regulation, say : TIE
32 “Critique of Judgment” writer : KANT
33 They might be blended : TEAS
37 36:1, for snake eyes : ODDS
40 ACTING ROLE : PART AND PARCEL (acting and acre)
43 Heartfelt request : PLEA
44 Suckling site : TEAT
45 “Quickly!” : ASAP!
47 Title of respect : SRI
49 Saint of Ávila : TERESA
51 SACRAMENTO KINGS : PROS AND CONS (Sacramento Kings and scams)
57 Plato’s “P” : RHO
58 Meat in some chops : LAMB
59 Palindromic time : NOON
60 Reward for a dog : PAT
62 Skyscraper support : I-BEAM
64 TOP ROUND STEAK : CUT AND RUN (Top round steak and trot)
68 Bird depicted on a rare penny : EAGLE
69 Bump on a log : KNOT
70 Maggie Smith’s title : DAME
71 Buy time : STALL
72 Academic acronym : STEM
73 “Quickly!” : STAT!

Down

1 Predicament : JAM
2 ___-warrior (environmentalist) : ECO
3 Next-to-last : SEMIFINAL
4 Theme park transport : TRAM
5 Currency exchange inits. : USD
6 Something to talk about : TOPIC
7 Novel format : E-BOOK
8 Philadelphia train system : SEPTA
9 Split bit, say : PEA
10 Moving target in a heist film : ARMORED CAR
11 “Simply sharp” brand : GINSU
12 Reason for a recall : E COLI
13 Squelched : SAT ON
18 Sushi restaurant supply : NORI
22 Fire ___ : ANT
24 Peachy : A-OK
25 Big name in family singers : TRAPP
27 Whole-grain wheat flour : ATTA
28 Christian of note : DIOR
30 Squishy desktop item : STRESS BALL
34 Otoscope user, for short : ENT
35 Drink additive? : -ADE
36 Place with scrubs : SPA
38 Rodent in an arid environment : DESERT RAT
39 Mark of Zorro? : SLASH
41 Actress Reid of “Sharknado” : TARA
42 Envelope abbr. : ATTN
46 Kung ___ : PAO
48 Days ___ : INN
50 “30 for 30” airer : ESPN
51 Uses : PLIES
52 Home of Morocco’s Royal Palace : RABAT
53 Longtime watch brand for James Bond : OMEGA
54 Deducts from : DOCKS
55 Go from 0 to 60, say : COUNT
56 En pointe : ON TOE
61 Tosses in : ADDS
63 Brooks, for one : MEL
65 Balance provider, in brief : ATM
66 Actress Thurman : UMA
67 Bit of fishing gear : NET

14 thoughts on “0104-24 NY Times Crossword 4 Jan 24, Thursday”

  1. 10:41, no errors. In the NYT crossword app, the underlines were missing, and I spent/wasted a lot of time (after finishing the puzzle) trying to understand the rationale for the “B” parts of the “A and B” answers. I even logged on and downloaded a copy of the puzzle from the NYT website, but it didn’t help, as the underlines were also missing from it. Just now, I downloaded the “as published in the paper” version and finally found the missing underlines. So, I’m a tad peeved (but I still refuse to use the four-letter word that some here would have me use in situations like this … 🙂).

    Note to self (for future reference): when a puzzle gimmick doesn’t quite seem to work, download the newspaper version! (And perhaps a letter to the puzzle editors is in order … 🙂.)

  2. 18:03, no errors. 5A initial thought was Runnin’ REBS of UNLV, before UTES. Also had to change SOBA to SOBE (no idea what the Philly train system is called). Expected 53D to be ROLEX.
    For me, the NYT app used parentheses and upper/lower case letters for differentiation. For example the clue for 17A was (C)ar(O)(L) br(A)dy.

    1. Interesting! I had thought that there was basically only one “NYT crossword app”, but apparently the situation is more complicated than that. Further investigation is in order … 🧐.

      FWIW: out of curiosity, I finally ended up creating my own private version of the puzzle, with “understars” replacing “underscores”. (I simply couldn’t create underscores that looked halfway decent.) The “understars” look okay, but my favorite tool for creating a well-formatted PDF from a PUZ (written by a guy named Nam Jin Yoon) simply removes them.

      Special characters in puzzles are almost always a problem … 😳.

  3. 25:57, same observation as Dave K., the app on my phone showed no underlines or parentheses, so I was even more clueless than usual. Add to that my trying to enter “getaway” car instead of “armored car” didn’t help either… :- )

  4. No errors.
    If elected President my first bit of legislation before Congress will be to ban two setter crosswords and I think I could get pi partisan support for that measure👍👍
    Stay safe😀

  5. Same issue as others: in my newspaper’s presentation there was no differentiation of the letters in the theme clues by capitalization or punctuation.

  6. Unable to see the virtually nonexistent underlines and presuming the theme to be anagrams, I came up with different Part B clues for three of the theme answers: CARTON for PARCEL, INMATES for CONS and STREAK for RUN.

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