0307-24 NY Times Crossword 7 Mar 24, Thursday

Constructed by: Joe O’Neill
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Frosty Words

Themed answers are an abbreviated version of ROBERT FROST’S lovely poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”:

  • 17A Modern reimagining of a Robert Frost classic, part 1 : I KNOW WHOSE WOODS …
  • 25A Reimagining, part 2 : … THESE ARE. MY HORSE …
  • 44A Reimagining, part 3 : … IS RESTLESS. I HAVE …
  • 56A End of the reimagining : … A LOT TO DO. GIDDY UP!

When I was a schoolkid back in Ireland, Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” was our first introduction to American poetry, and what a lovely introduction it was:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Bill’s time: 10m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Culture setters? : LABS

Our term “laboratory”, often shortened to “lab”, comes from the Medieval Latin word “laboratorium” meaning “place for labor, work”. This in turn comes from the Latin verb “laborare” meaning “to work”.

5 14-Across subfield : MACRO
[14A B-school subject : ECON]

Macroeconomics is the study of economies as a whole, rather than of individual markets. Microeconomics is focused on the actions of individual entities like companies or individuals, and how these actions impact specific markets.

10 Spill the beans : BLAB

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

14 B-school subject : ECON

A B-school is a business school.

15 “___ of wisdom” (“Dalai Lama,” in translation) : OCEAN

The Dalai Lama is a religious leader in the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the office. He has indicated that the next Dalai Lama might be found outside of Tibet for the first time, and may even be female.

16 Protagonist who would “just as soon kiss a Wookiee” : LEIA

Princess Leia is Luke Skywalker’s twin sister in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and was played by Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous “cinnamon bun hairstyle” that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds …

Wookiees are a biped race featured in “Star Wars”. The most notable Wookiee is Chewbacca (aka “Chewie”), the loyal friend and associate of Han Solo who serves as co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

17 Modern reimagining of a Robert Frost classic, part 1 : I KNOW WHOSE WOODS …

The wonderful poet Robert Frost was a native of San Francisco, but lived most of life in New England. He also spent a few years in England, just before WWI. Frost was well recognized for his work during his lifetime, and received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He was also Vermont’s first Poet Laureate, a position that he held from 1961 until his death in 1963.

22 Security camera letters : CCTV

Closed-circuit television (CCTV)

24 Things that Harvard no longer requires : SATS

Today, the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation “SAT”.

Harvard University was founded in 1636 as New College, the college at New Towne. The school was renamed three years later after John Harvard, a deceased clergyman and who donated books and money.

34 ___ Africa (nickname of singer/activist Miriam Makeba) : MAMA

Miriam Makeba was a singer and civil rights activist from Johnannesburg who was nicknamed “Mama Africa”. She moved to the US in the late fifties, and found herself unable to return to her homeland after she became increasingly vocal about the policy of apartheid imposed by the South African government. Makeba eventually did return to South Africa in 1990, just a few months after Nelson Mandela was released from prison by the government of F. W. de Klerk.

37 Like the fruits durian and mangosteen : ASIAN

Durian is a tropical fruit that is native to Southeast Asia. It has a spiky outer shell and a creamy, custard-like flesh that can vary in color from yellow to orange. Durian is known for its strong odor, which has been described as everything from rotten eggs to turpentine. Some people love the smell, while others find it offensive. The smell can be so offensive that it is illegal to carry durian on the Singapore subway system.

41 What a clutch lacks : STRAP

A clutch purse is a handbag with no strap at all. It is designed to be carried in the hand, to be “clutched”.

43 Certain turkey : TOM

A male turkey is called a tom, taking its name from “tomcat”. The inference is that, like a tomcat, the male turkey is relatively wild and undomesticated, sexually promiscuous and frequently gets into fights. A female turkey is called a hen.

50 Bird in an early warning system : CANARY

What we now know as the domestic canary was first brought to Europe from Macaronesia, off the coast of Africa, by Spanish sailors in the 1600s. Macaronesia is a collection of four archipelagos that includes the Canary Islands. The name of the islands comes from the Latin “Insula Canaria” meaning “island of dogs”, a reference to the many large dogs found locally. So, the canary bird is named for the Canary Islands, which in turn are named for dogs.

61 Design deet : SPEC

“Deets” is slang for “details”.

65 Key material : EBONY

The traditional materials used for the manufacture of piano keys were ebony (black) and ivory (white). Ebony is still used, but now for both white and black keys. The white keys are made by covering ebony with white plastic.

Down

1 String of islands? : LEI

Leis are traditional Hawaiian garlands that are made from various types of flowers, leaves, and other materials. They were originally worn by ancient Hawaiians as a symbol of their social status and to signify important events such as weddings and funerals.

2 Exclamation from Bill the Cat : ACK!

“Bloom County” is a comic strip that originally ran from 1980 to 1989, and which was drawn by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed. Breathed resurrected the strip in 2015, distributing it via Facebook. The main protagonist in the storyline is Milo Bloom, a 10-year-old newspaper reporter.

3 ___ mot : BON

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

18 Subject of the mnemonic “Divorced, Beheaded, Died. Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” in Broadway’s “Six” : WIVES

Famously, King Henry VIII had six queens consort. There is a rhyme that is commonly used to help remember the fates of each of his wives, which goes:

King Henry the Eighth, to six wives he was wedded. One died, one survived, two divorced, two beheaded.

The use of the term “divorce” isn’t quite accurate though, as in fact Henry had two of his marriages annulled. His wives (and their fates) were:

  1. Catherine of Aragon (Annulled),
  2. Anne Boleyn (Beheaded),
  3. Jane Seymour (Died)
  4. Anne of Cleves (Annulled),
  5. Catherine Howard (Beheaded),
  6. Catherine Parr (Survived).

“Six” is a musical that tells the story of the six wives of King Henry VIII of England written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss when they were both students at Cambridge University. Each of the six wives has her own unique style of music. Anne Boleyn’s songs have a rock and pop feel, while Catherine of Aragon’s songs have a Spanish influence.

25 Andante and largo : TEMPI

The tempo (plural “tempi”) of a piece of music is usually designated with an Italian word on the score. For example, “grave” is slow and solemn, “andante” is at a walking pace, “scherzo” is fast and light-hearted, and “allegro” is fast, quickly and bright.

30 Actor J. B. of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” : SMOOVE

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is an improv comedy show aired by HBO that was created and stars Larry David, the creator of “Seinfeld”. As an aside, Larry David sat a few feet from me at the next table in a Los Angeles restaurant a few years ago. I have such a huge claim to fame …

31 Message on a cake in “Alice in Wonderland” : EAT ME

In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, Alice follows the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds a bottle labeled “DRINK ME”. When she drinks the contents, it causes her to shrink. She also sees a cake adorned with the words “EAT ME” written using currants, and when she eats the cake she grows so big she finds it hard to stand up. After eating the cake, she utters the words, “Curiouser and curiouser”.

38 Lil ___ X : NAS

“Lil Nas X” is the stage name of rapper Montero Lamar Hill. He was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. His first hit was “Old Town Road”, which is classified as country rap.

54 Novelist Jennifer : EGAN

Jennifer Egan is an author who grew up in San Francisco. Egan’s 2010 work “A Visit from the Goon Squad” won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Usually termed a novel, “A Visit from the Goon Squad” is structured in such a way that it is sometimes described as a collection of linked short stories.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Culture setters? : LABS
5 14-Across subfield : MACRO
10 Spill the beans : BLAB
14 B-school subject : ECON
15 “___ of wisdom” (“Dalai Lama,” in translation) : OCEAN
16 Protagonist who would “just as soon kiss a Wookiee” : LEIA
17 Modern reimagining of a Robert Frost classic, part 1 : I KNOW WHOSE WOODS …
20 Loses a lap? : RISES
21 Denigrates : DISSES
22 Security camera letters : CCTV
24 Things that Harvard no longer requires : SATS
25 Reimagining, part 2 : … THESE ARE. MY HORSE …
32 Lo-o-o-ong time : EON
33 Layered rock : SHALE
34 ___ Africa (nickname of singer/activist Miriam Makeba) : MAMA
35 Bit : MITE
37 Like the fruits durian and mangosteen : ASIAN
39 Impudent person : SNOT
40 Rarely the winner in a nature documentary : PREY
41 What a clutch lacks : STRAP
43 Certain turkey : TOM
44 Reimagining, part 3 : … IS RESTLESS. I HAVE …
48 Study, with “over” : PORE …
49 Untimely? : LATE
50 Bird in an early warning system : CANARY
53 Waste’s way away : SEWER
56 End of the reimagining : … A LOT TO DO. GIDDY UP!
61 Design deet : SPEC
62 Like a twangy voice : NASAL
63 Traditional knowledge : LORE
64 “Codswallop!” : TOSH!
65 Key material : EBONY
66 Rapper ___ Gravy : YUNG

Down

1 String of islands? : LEI
2 Exclamation from Bill the Cat : ACK!
3 ___ mot : BON
4 Some barnyard sounds : SNORTS
5 Makes shorter, in a way : MOWS
6 Long : ACHE
7 Org. chart figures : CEOS
8 ___ Tafari : RAS
9 Sooner or later : ONE DAY
10 Opens up, in a way : BLOSSOMS
11 Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, astrologically : LEOS
12 Help around the House : AIDE
13 Lowest of the low? : BASS
18 Subject of the mnemonic “Divorced, Beheaded, Died. Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” in Broadway’s “Six” : WIVES
19 Featuring : WITH
22 Some church assemblies : CHOIRS
23 Athlete who snaps : CENTER
24 Features of a dirty campaign : SMEARS
25 Andante and largo : TEMPI
26 Seeing sound? : AHA!
27 Get into it, rustically : RASSLE
28 High-class : ELITE
29 Go off on : RANT AT
30 Actor J. B. of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” : SMOOVE
31 Message on a cake in “Alice in Wonderland” : EAT ME
36 Pirate costume staple : EYE PATCH
38 Lil ___ X : NAS
42 Like clothes in a hamper : PILED
45 Variety : SORT
46 Sampler suggestion : TRY ONE
47 “Fat chance!” : HARDLY!
50 Throw : CAST
51 Prime Cuts brand : ALPO
52 Brushoffs : NOES
53 Meh : SO-SO
54 Novelist Jennifer : EGAN
55 Cunning : WILY
57 Smidge : DAB
58 Word often shortened to its last letter by texters : YOU
59 Vessel with a tap : URN
60 Throw : PEG

13 thoughts on “0307-24 NY Times Crossword 7 Mar 24, Thursday”

  1. I loved this! This is one of the few poems I’ve memorized over the years and the retelling is hilarious.
    It reminds me of a cassette I once had called “Ten Classics in Ten Minutes” where a very fast talking man gives a one-minute summary of The Grapes of Wrath, Moby Dick, Gone With the Wind, etc, etc.

  2. 28:24, no errors. Spent a lot of time going through the alphabet trying to figure out the cross of MAMA/SMOOVE.

  3. 19:09, no errors, and I also spent a lot of time at the intersection of MAMA and SMOOVE. (A, B, C, D, … 🙂.)

  4. 25:33. Not a huge fan of this kind of theme, but as long as some people like it, I’ll keep it to myself. Oops. Too late for that.

    KEG before URN which tells you the weekend is getting near.

    Big fan of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” so I knew JB SMOOVE right away. It helps to have idle time sometimes…

    On that note, a sad RIP to Richard Lewis who is a regular on that show. He passed away a few days ago after a long illness. I always enjoyed his work.

    Remind me never to try durian.

    Best –

  5. I would rate this around an easy to medium level for a Thursday puzzle, say a 4, where 1 is very easy and 10 very hard. Could’ve been harder but there were gifts along the way that broke it open, like ‘pirate costumes staple.’
    To its credit, there wasn’t a lot of little crosswordey filler words, except maybe the overused ‘eon.’
    X-words 4 fun

  6. I cannot believe this.

    No errors.

    I’ve never heard of the poem,.. not into poetry and I was sure I was going to bleed. NADA. when I got done, I figured it had something to do with a horse in the woods.

    I can’t believe it.

    I didn’t know SMOOVE, or YUNG or ACK (the cartoon animal?) or MAMA .

    certainly didn’t have poetry in the public school I went to…

    I’m just stunned.

  7. I too know nothing of poetry and still got everything but 5 & 15A which left me with a DNF but I still feel like it was a win.
    Stay safe😀

    1. Baseball term – “peg” someone out might mean an accurate throw from the outfield to (let’s say) a catcher who “pegs” or tags the runner out.

      If you’re not into baseball you might not have heard of it.

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