0209-24 NY Times Crossword 9 Feb 24, Friday

Constructed by: Christina Iverson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 41s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Sounds of melodrama : SOBS

A melodrama is a play or film that usually pits good against evil, with an obvious hero or heroine vying against an obvious villain. Melodrama has evolved over time, originating in the 18th century as a drama for which there was a musical accompaniment. The term is derived from the Greek “melos” meaning “music” and the French “drame” meaning “drama”.

14 Wind up alone? : FLUTE SOLO

Wind instruments all feature a column of air that is set into vibration by the player blowing into, or over, a mouthpiece. Broadly speaking, there are two families of wind instruments:

  • Brass instruments, e.g. horns, trumpets, tubas
  • Woodwind instruments, e.g. flutes, clarinets, saxophones

15 Mideast capital : SANAA

Sana (also “Sana’a” and “Sanaa”) is the capital city of Yemen. Sitting at an elevation of 7,380 feet, Sana is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.

16 Fuzzy exotic pet : TARANTULA

Tarantulas are spider-like arachnids that are usually quite hairy. The original tarantula was a type of wolf spider found in Europe, found near the southern Italian town called Taranto, hence the name.

17 Performed by the whole ensemble, in music : TUTTI

“Tutti” (singular “tutto”) are pieces of music performed by all the artists in a group, as opposed to “soli” (singular “solo”). “Tutto” is the Italian word for “all”.

21 Word with tie or fly : … ROD

Tie rods are part of a rack and pinion steering mechanism in a car.

28 High-speed commuter option : ACELA

The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, as it gets up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Introduced in 2000, the brand name “Acela” was created to evoke “acceleration” and “excellence”.

30 Court ruling? : LET

That might be tennis.

31 Like the Lilliputians : TINY

The word “lilliputian” meaning “wee” or “very small”, comes from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. In Swift’s tale, Lilliput and Blefuscu are two island nations that are inhabited by tiny people who are under six inches tall.

36 O, on a letter : HUG

In the sequence letter sequence “X-O-X”, the X represents a kiss, and the O a hug. “O-O-O” is a string of hugs, and “X-X-X” a string of kisses. Hugs and kisses …

37 Hall mate? : OATES

Daryl Hall & John Oates are a pop music duo who were most successful in the late seventies and early eighties. They had six number-one hits, including the 1982 release “Maneater”.

39 Stephen Sondheim’s “The Worst ___ in London” : PIES

“Sweeney Todd” was originally a 1936 film, later a 1973 play, then a 1979 musical, and then a movie adaptation of the musical in 2007. After Sweeney Todd has killed his victims, his partner in crime Mrs. Lovett helped him dispose of the bodies by taking the flesh and baking it into meat pies that she sold in her pie shop. Ugh!

Stephen Sondheim won more Tony Awards than any other composer, a total of eight. He had a long list of stage (and big screen) successes including “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, “A Little Night Music”, “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods”. Sondheim was a big fan of crosswords and had a whole series of cryptic crosswords published in “New York” magazine in the sixties.

40 Frequent conspiracy subject : UFO

Disc-shaped flying objects have been reported in the sky since the Middle Ages. In the modern era, the event that launched the term “flying saucer” was a UFO sighting in 1947, which was covered widely in the media. Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine unidentified flying objects in formation near Mount Rainier in Washington. In describing the objects, he repeatedly used the words “saucer”, “disc” and “pie-plate”. Newspapers latched onto the terminology, and we’ve been seeing flying “saucers” ever since.

43 Invention originally used as a yellow dye, in brief : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

47 The Traveling Wilburys or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young : SUPERGROUP

The Traveling Wilburys were a supergroup consisting of Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and George Harrison. The group formed in 1988. The name “Wilbury” came from a line uttered by Harrison to Lynne referring to errors created by faulty equipment during a recording session, i.e. “We’ll bury ‘em in the mix.”

The supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. The band can grow to “CSNY” when the trio is joined by Neil Young. Fans have been known to call the act “C, S, N and sometimes Y”, a play on the expression that names all the vowels, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y”.

57 One-sided dice? : SNAKE EYES

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

Down

5 “___ Explain Things to Me,” influential 2014 essay collection by Rebecca Solnit : MEN

“Men Explain Things to Me” is a 2014 collection of seven essays by American writer Rebecca Solnit. The book’s title is taken from the first essay, a 2008 work that explores the silencing of women, and the concept that men always know better. This essay inspired the use of the term “mansplaining”.

7 “___ and the Good Book” (1958 jazz album) : LOUIS

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1900. Armstrong had a poor upbringing, and only stayed in school until he was 11 years old. The exact origin of Louis’s nickname “Satchmo” seems to be a little unclear. One story is that he used to dance for pennies in New Orleans as a youngster and would hide those pennies in his mouth away from the other kids. For this he earned the nickname “satchel mouth”, which was shortened to “Satchmo”.

8 Monthly with a palindromic name : ELLE

“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.

12 DC Comics weapons, one of which can be seen at the Smithsonian : BATARANGS

A batarang is a bat-shaped boomerang used as a weapon by Batman.

22 It’s a blast : GALE

A gale is a very strong wind, one defined by the Beaufort scale as having wind speeds from 50 to just over 100 kilometers per hour.

29 Bacon or pancetta : CURED PORK

“Bacon” is an Old French word that we imported into English. The term ultimately comes from the Proto-Germanic “bakkon” meaning “back meat”.

Pancetta is a salt-cured meat made from pork belly.

31 One of the Jackson brothers : TITO

Tito Jackson was one of the original members of the Jackson 5 singing group composed of members of the Jackson family. Jackson had three sons, and formed a musical group of their own that they call 3T.

33 “___ pasa?” : QUE

In Spanish, ¿Qué pasa? translates literally as “what’s happening?” It is used to mean “how are things going for you?”.

34 First president to own a car : TAFT

William Howard Taft may have been the 27th President of the United States, but his lifelong ambition was to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The future president had served as dean and professor at the Cincinnati Law School. President Taft was able to realize that dream in 1921, eight years after losing his bid for re-election as president. As Chief Justice, this former US President swore in two new presidents: Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). William Howard Taft is also remembered as the most obese president. In the last year of his presidency, he weighed about 340 pounds (he was 5 feet 11 inches tall). Twelve months after leaving the White House, President Taft had dropped 80 pounds and substantially lowered his blood pressure.

39 Break into bits : PARSE

The verb “to parse” means “to state the parts of speech in a sentence”. “Parse” comes from the Latin word “pars” meaning “part”.

44 Philippine island that’s home to Iloilo : PANAY

When the Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos discovered the islands of Leyte and Samar, he called them “Felipinas”, after King Philip II of Spain. Eventually, the name was used for the whole archipelago, becoming what we now call in English, the Philippines.

45 Scrooge, to Donald Duck : UNCLE

Scrooge McDuck is a rich uncle of Donald Duck. Donald first hit the screens in 1934, and Uncle Scrooge made his debut performance in 1947.

48 Exposure units : RADS

A rad is a unit used to measure radiation levels that is largely obsolete now. The “rad” has been superseded by the “rem”.

49 Lena of “Alias” : OLIN

Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, and someone who has acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin’s breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” released in 1988. Way back in 1974, Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland. Olin’s most famous performance was in “Chocolat” released in 2000, and then she won an Emmy in 2003 for Best Supporting Actress in the TV show “Alias”.

“Alias” is an action show that was aired by ABC from 2001 to 2006. Star of the show is Jennifer Garner. Garner plays a CIA agent named Sydney Bristow who must adopt multiple aliases over the series for her missions, while concealing her real career from family and friends. Sydney’s mother is a former Russian spy played by the marvelous Lena Olin.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Beaming : ALL SMILES
10 Sounds of melodrama : SOBS
14 Wind up alone? : FLUTE SOLO
15 Mideast capital : SANAA
16 Fuzzy exotic pet : TARANTULA
17 Performed by the whole ensemble, in music : TUTTI
18 Ruler often seen in a robe : EMIR
19 Classified in levels : HIERARCHAL
21 Word with tie or fly : … ROD
22 Sign by a highway exit : GAS
23 Hens, but not roosters : LAYERS
24 Big container : VAT
25 Yoga pose with arms extended and legs folded over the head : PLOW
27 Where a flask might be kept : LAB
28 High-speed commuter option : ACELA
30 Court ruling? : LET
31 Like the Lilliputians : TINY
32 Trend for unengaged employees : QUIET-QUITTING
35 Twist : CURL
36 O, on a letter : HUG
37 Hall mate? : OATES
38 Social media influencer Addison ___ : RAE
39 Stephen Sondheim’s “The Worst ___ in London” : PIES
40 Frequent conspiracy subject : UFO
41 Pops : OLD MAN
43 Invention originally used as a yellow dye, in brief : TNT
44 Baby bat : PUP
47 The Traveling Wilburys or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young : SUPERGROUP
50 Track selection : LANE
51 Conceited sorts : SNOTS
52 In concert : ALL AT ONCE
54 Match up : AGREE
55 It makes a spin around a dance floor : DISCO BALL
56 Disdainful sounds : TSKS
57 One-sided dice? : SNAKE EYES

Down

1 Caption in a comparison ad : AFTER
2 “Me ___ …” (Spanish for “My name is …”) : LLAMO
3 Sensational : LURID
4 Lead : STAR
5 “___ Explain Things to Me,” influential 2014 essay collection by Rebecca Solnit : MEN
6 Question of legitimacy : IS THAT A THING?
7 “___ and the Good Book” (1958 jazz album) : LOUIS
8 Monthly with a palindromic name : ELLE
9 Fly : SOAR
10 Like some teenagers and pasta : SAUCY
11 At stake : ON THE LINE
12 DC Comics weapons, one of which can be seen at the Smithsonian : BATARANGS
13 Passes with ease : SAILS BY
15 Suck it! : STRAW
20 Overwhelming and needing time for consideration : A LOT TO UNPACK
22 It’s a blast : GALE
24 Facial concealer : VEIL
25 Good words, so to speak : PLUGS
26 Natural necklace : LEI
28 These might help people take deep breaths : AQUALUNGS
29 Bacon or pancetta : CURED PORK
31 One of the Jackson brothers : TITO
33 “___ pasa?” : QUE
34 First president to own a car : TAFT
35 Grumpy toward : CROSS AT
39 Break into bits : PARSE
42 Gives (out) : METES
43 Southern city that was once home to Black Wall Street : TULSA
44 Philippine island that’s home to Iloilo : PANAY
45 Scrooge, to Donald Duck : UNCLE
46 Some spa treatments : PEELS
48 Exposure units : RADS
49 Lena of “Alias” : OLIN
50 Place for a ring : LOBE
53 Place for a ring : TOE

6 thoughts on “0209-24 NY Times Crossword 9 Feb 24, Friday”

  1. 46:11, same as BruceB in the NW, particularly because my little brain insisted on putting “hip” where “lab” should be….guess I should quit imbibing, it has boarded my thought process😇

  2. Why autocorrect decided to put “boarded” where I typed “invaded” is beyond me. So is proofreading before hitting “post comment” apparently

  3. 33:13, no errors. I was (not) in the zone today. Same as Bruce and Duncan. NW gave me fits. I also had HIP before LAB.

  4. 24:08, no errors. I did this one very late last night after a frustrating day spent on trying to recreate, on a new Mac Book Air, a FORTRAN programming environment that I last used on an iMac so old that a lot of the standard software no longer works on it, let alone my FORTRAN programs, and I struggled a lot. (I’m embarrassed to admit that it makes me feel a little better to know that others had some trouble with the puzzle, too. Schadenfreude! … 😳)

  5. 32:33. Almost gave up on this one as I just couldn’t get a foothold anywhere, and none of the long answers were coming to me.

    AQUALUNGS and CUREDPORK seemed to open the gates for me.

    QUIET-QUITTING? Huh?? This is what I found when I looked it up:

    “Quiet quitting is when employees continue to put in the minimum amount of effort to keep their jobs, but don’t go the extra mile for their employer. This might mean not speaking up in meetings, not volunteering for tasks, and refusing to work overtime. It might also result in greater absenteeism.”

    Funny – that used to lead to very loud “forced” quitting by the employer. I guess times have changed.

    They made a musical about a guy who kills people and bakes his victims into PIES?

    With our technology today, we can take a detailed photo of an ant’s salivary gland from outer space, but curiously every photo of any UFO is all grainy and indecipherable. Hmmmmm

    I’m babbling today. It must be Friday. Getting ready for a crazy Super Bowl Sunday here in Las Vegas.

    Best –

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