0309-24 NY Times Crossword 9 Mar 24, Saturday

Constructed by: John Guzzetta
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 They often come in shoeboxes : DIORAMAS

A diorama is a full-scale or small-scale replica of a scene. We mostly see full-size dioramas in museums, whereas our kids might create small-scale dioramas as homework projects. The original diorama was a picture-viewing device that was invented in 1822 by Louis Daguerre and Charles Marie Bouton. These historic dioramas were quite large, and featured scenes that appeared to change as the lighting was manipulated.

9 Key : ISLE

A key (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida “Keys”. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

13 Widespread rumors, in a portmanteau : INFODEMIC

A portmanteau was a large suitcase, one that could be taken apart into two separate pieces. The word “portmanteau” is French for a “traveling bag”, from “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (a coat, cloak). We also use “portmanteau” to mean a word that has been melded together from two parts (just as the suitcase comprised two parts). This usage was introduced to the world by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. He explained to Alice that the nonsense words in the “Jabberwocky” poem were actually portmanteau words. For example “slithy” comes from “slimy” and “lithe”.

15 It’s handled at a bar : STEIN

A stein is a type of beer glass. The term “stein” is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is German for “stone”.

17 Like the second movement of Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony : LARGO

Antonín Dvořák was a composer from Czechoslovakia who spent three years working and composing in the United States. He was the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York from 1892 to 1895. Certainly here in the US, Dvořák’s best known work is his Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”, which is often referred to as “The New World Symphony”. His career was very much helped along by fellow composer Johannes Brahms, who very much appreciated Dvořák’s work.

19 “The ultimate form of free speech,” to Denis Leary : COMEDY

Actor Denis Leary started his career as a standup comedian working in Boston. One of his more famous roles on the big screen was Detective Michael McCann in the 1999 version of “The Thomas Crown Affair”. On the small screen, Leary was co-creator and star of “Rescue Me”, a comedy drama about New York City firefighters that ran from 2004 till 2011.

21 ___ tape : VHS

The VHS video standard is more fully referred to as the Video Home System. VHS was one of many standards touted by various manufacturers in the seventies. The biggest rival to VHS was Betamax, but we all knew which of the two standards won the final round in that fight.

29 Tony Stark or Jack Sparrow feature : GOATEE

A goatee is a beard formed by hair on a man’s chin. The name probably comes from the tuft of hair seen on an adult goat.

Iron Man is another comic book superhero, this one created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. The character is the alter ego of Tony Stark, and has become very famous in recent years since the appearance of the 2008 action movie “Iron Man” starring Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role. Iron Man’s love interest, Pepper Potts, is routinely played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the same series of films.

Captain Jack Sparrow is the protagonist in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of movies, and is played by Johnny Depp. Depp has said that he based his portrayal of Sparrow partly on the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. I could believe that …

34 MacGyvering : JURY-RIGGING

To jury-rig (sometimes “jerry-rig”) is to execute a makeshift repair or to manufacture a temporary contrivance. The term comes from sailing ships in which a jury rig is an improvised mast and yards that are erected as a replacement when the original mast is damaged or lost.

“MacGyver” is an action-adventure TV show that started airing in 2016. It is described as a reboot of the successful show of the same name from the late eighties and early nineties. The title character is an agent with a unique ability to solve problems and jury-rig technical fixes when he is in a bind. Actor Lucas Till plays MacGyver this time round, whereas Richard Dean Anderson played him 25 years ago.

39 Puffed up : SMUG

Someone described as smug is said to have a self-satisfied air. Back in the 1500s, “smug” meant “neat, smart”, and then was used to describe a particularly attractive woman. Our current usage started in the early 1700s.

43 Some records, informally : EPS

An extended-play (EP) record, CD or download contains more music than a single, but less than a long-play (LP) record.

44 Remington of 1980s TV : STEELE

The eighties detective show “Remington Steele” stars Stephanie Zimbalist as a private detective Laura Holt, and Pierce Brosnan as the handsome bad boy Remington Steele, who’s really a good boy. The show successfully melds the detective genre with elements of romantic comedy.

45 Actor Fitch of “This Is Us” : NILES

“This Is Us” is a television drama that debuted in 2016. The storyline centers on three siblings Kevin, Kate and Randall Pearson and their parents Jack and Rebecca Pearson. Kevin and Kate are the surviving members of a triplet pregnancy. Jack and Rebecca decide to adopt Randall, a child born on the same day as the surviving siblings. The adopting family is white, and the adopted child is black.

49 Parts of LEDs : DIODES

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a specialized form of semiconductor that when switched on releases photons (light). LEDs were used in early digital watches, and are getting more and more popular even though their use in electronic equipment is fading away. LEDs are used as replacements for the much less-efficient tungsten light bulbs. I replaced all of my tungsten Xmas lights many years ago and saved a lot on my electricity bill.

53 Berkeley, familiarly : CAL

The University of California, Berkeley (Cal) is the most difficult public university to get into in the world. It opened in 1869, and is named for Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley.

62 Saul Bellow’s “The Adventures of ___ March” : AUGIE

“The Adventures of Augie March” is a novel by Saul Bellow published first in 1953. The story tells of a young man growing up during the Great Depression.

63 Beyoncé’s “Dangerously in Love” or John Lennon’s “Imagine” : SOLO ALBUM

John Lennon’s magnus opus is his song “Imagine”, released in 1971. “Imagine” was quite successful at the time of its release, but sadly, it only became a number one hit after Lennon was murdered in 1980. According to Lennon, the message behind the song is very simple: a world without countries or religion would be a peaceful place. Love that song …

64 Gem used in intaglio : ONYX

Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it’s the black version that’s used for jewelry. The name “onyx” comes from the Greek word for “fingernail”, as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

Cameo is a method of carving, often the carving of a gemstone or a piece of jewelry. The resulting image is in relief (sits proud of the background), whereas an engraved image would be produced by the similar carving method known as intaglio. Nowadays, the term “cameo” is used for any piece of oval-shaped jewelry that contains the image of a head, usually in profile (maybe even a photograph).

65 They are felt every April : TAX BITES

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

Down

4 ___ Coleman, eight-time Mr. Olympia : RONNIE

The Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition featured in the 1977 movie “Pumping Iron”. It was this film that gave Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno a start to their acting careers.

6 “Thanks a lot!,” in intentionally butchered French : MERCY BUCKETS!

“Merci beaucoup” is French for “thank you very much”.

7 ___ belt : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

8 Ananda Mahidol became its king at the age of 9, while living in Switzerland : SIAM

Formerly known as Siam, the Kingdom of Thailand has been operating as a military dictatorship since a 2014 coup.

12 Biblical figure said to have died at the age of 905 : ENOS

Enos was the son of Seth, and therefore the grandson of Adam and Eve, and nephew of Cain and Abel. According to the ancient Jewish work called the Book of Jubilees, Enos married his own sister Noam.

14 Sign in front of some bars : CLEF

“Clef” is the French word for “key”. In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on a stave. The bass clef is also known as the F-clef, the alto clef is the C-clef, and the treble clef is the G-clef.

Musical scores are divided into measures, although on the other side of the Atlantic the term “bar” is used instead of “measure”.

23 Lunchbox option, informally : PBJ

Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J or PBJ)

28 Appliance giant founded in England in 1991 : DYSON

Dyson vacuum cleaners do not use a bag to collect dust. James Dyson invented the first vacuum cleaner to use cyclonic separation in 1979, frustrated at the poor performance of his regular vacuum cleaner. As Dyson cleaners do not use bags, they don’t have to deal with collection bags that are blocked with fine dust particles, even after emptying. Cyclonic separation uses high speed spinning of the dust-containing air so that the dust particles are thrown out of the airflow into a collection bin. We have a Dyson now, and should have bought it years ago …

33 Branch of causality that comes from the Greek for “study of the end” : TELEOLOGY

“Telos” is a Greek word for “purpose, goal”. In the world of philosophy, a telos is an end or a purpose, and is a concept that is central to the philosophical method known as teleology.

35 Mortgage deal, for short : REFI

Our word “mortgage” comes from the Old French “mort gaige” which translated as “dead pledge”. Such an arrangement was so called because the “pledge” to repay “dies” when the debt is cleared.

41 Word with escape or escalator : … CLAUSE

An escalator clause in a contract is a provision dictating that an amount can change under certain conditions. For example, wage rate might be linked with the cost of living index.

46 ___ Peninsula (Horn of Africa) : SOMALI

The Horn of Africa is that horn-shaped peninsula at the easternmost tip of the continent, containing the countries Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia as well as Somalia. The Horn of Africa is also known as the Somali Peninsula.

48 Rabbit ___ : EARS

Remember rabbit ears television antennas? I don’t recall being told this when I was younger, but to get the best reception the length of the “ears” needs to be set at about one half of the wavelength of the signal of the target channel. If only I had known …

50 “The origin of wisdom,” per René Descartes : DOUBT

Anything pertaining to the philosophy of the great Rene Descartes can be described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

52 Asparagus, essentially : STEMS

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant that is grown mainly for its edible shoots (or “spears”). The shoots must be harvested when they are very young, as they become woody very quickly.

56 Actress Kirke of “Mozart in the Jungle” : LOLA

Lola Kirke is an actress and singer-songwriter who is perhaps best known for playing the lead in the TV show “Mozart in the Jungle”. Although raised in New York City, she was actually born in London.

If you want to read a fun book (almost an “exposé”) about life playing the oboe, you might try “Mozart in the Jungle” by oboist Blair Tindall. Amazon Studios adapted the book into a TV comedy-drama series that first aired in 2014.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 They often come in shoeboxes : DIORAMAS
9 Key : ISLE
13 Widespread rumors, in a portmanteau : INFODEMIC
15 It’s handled at a bar : STEIN
16 Post-crisis baseline : NEW NORMAL
17 Like the second movement of Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony : LARGO
18 Family nickname : GRAN
19 “The ultimate form of free speech,” to Denis Leary : COMEDY
21 ___ tape : VHS
22 Streaked : STRIPY
24 Not sit still : FIDGET
26 Died down : EBBED
29 Tony Stark or Jack Sparrow feature : GOATEE
31 Meet : FIT
34 MacGyvering : JURY-RIGGING
36 Gets less green, say : AGES
38 Mathematical subgroup : COSET
39 Puffed up : SMUG
40 Possible response to “Did you find it?” : NO LUCK SO FAR
43 Some records, informally : EPS
44 Remington of 1980s TV : STEELE
45 Actor Fitch of “This Is Us” : NILES
47 As yet : TO DATE
49 Parts of LEDs : DIODES
53 Berkeley, familiarly : CAL
54 In working order : USABLE
57 ___-Saint-Michel, abbey site in France : MONT
58 Flattens, in a way : IRONS
60 Underlying reason : ROOT CAUSE
62 Saul Bellow’s “The Adventures of ___ March” : AUGIE
63 Beyoncé’s “Dangerously in Love” or John Lennon’s “Imagine” : SOLO ALBUM
64 Gem used in intaglio : ONYX
65 They are felt every April : TAX BITES

Down

1 Slight faults, to a rater : DINGS
2 Reluctant to join? : INERT
3 Words after god or man : … OF WAR
4 ___ Coleman, eight-time Mr. Olympia : RONNIE
5 Kerfuffle : ADO
6 “Thanks a lot!,” in intentionally butchered French : MERCY BUCKETS!
7 ___ belt : AMMO
8 Ananda Mahidol became its king at the age of 9, while living in Switzerland : SIAM
9 Spanish diminutive : -ITA
10 Pay for a crime, say : SERVE TIME
11 “Oh, come on, can’t you take a joke?!” : LIGHTEN UP
12 Biblical figure said to have died at the age of 905 : ENOS
14 Sign in front of some bars : CLEF
15 Trickster : SLY DOG
20 Stepping away from screens : DIGITAL DETOX
23 Lunchbox option, informally : PBJ
25 Silences : GAGS
27 Concupiscent one : EROS
28 Appliance giant founded in England in 1991 : DYSON
30 They’re sometimes replaced by applesauce in vegan recipes : EGGS
31 Strikes out, slangily : FANS
32 “See ya!” : I GOTTA RUN!
33 Branch of causality that comes from the Greek for “study of the end” : TELEOLOGY
35 Mortgage deal, for short : REFI
37 Like many defendants in court : SUED
41 Word with escape or escalator : … CLAUSE
42 Camp-y retailer? : REI
46 ___ Peninsula (Horn of Africa) : SOMALI
48 Rabbit ___ : EARS
50 “The origin of wisdom,” per René Descartes : DOUBT
51 Follow : ENSUE
52 Asparagus, essentially : STEMS
53 “See ya!” : CIAO!
55 Eject : BOOT
56 Actress Kirke of “Mozart in the Jungle” : LOLA
59 Shoot down : NIX
61 One in line at an airport : CAB

27 thoughts on “0309-24 NY Times Crossword 9 Mar 24, Saturday”

  1. 33:47, three errors: (T)I(P); (T)ANS; (P)ELEOLOGY. I guess I need to brush up on my archaic, middle English vocabulary.

  2. 34:50. Spent a lot of time feeling 40A. 20 mins in I had very little filled in. Finally got a foothold in the SE and I was off to the races.

    Best-

  3. 50:57 with “tax bills” then “tax blues” before figuring out “tax bites”. Dennis Leary recorded a song, the name of which I won’t type here. Suffice it to say I was driving to Buffalo, listening to CFNY out of Toronto, and they played it by request on a Sunday morning and I was laughing so hard I had to pull over to catch my breath😇

  4. 20:06, no errors. One of those that might have seemed a lot harder if it had hit me on another day … 🙂.

    At the moment, comments on Bill’s blogs are turned off on all pages for puzzles with dates two weeks or more in the past. That would seem to shut out syndicated NYT solvers … 🤨🧐😳.

    1. I should have said “… commenting on Bill’s blogs is turned off …”. Comments made during the two-week window after the puzzle appeared in the NYT are still there.

    2. Apologies. I’ve moved out that shutoff date, so that should be fixed. I had to put a shutoff window in place in order to save on the cost of spam protection. The amount of spam has just skyrocketed in the past few months.

      1. Ah, I understand … and I can relate (in a small way): of late, I’ve begun feeling overwhelmed by the amount of junk email I receive every day … 😳.

  5. Way easier than Friday hence, you could say, arse † backwards. Friday should have been Saturday.
    Finished clean in less than 1/2 the time.
    Rex Parker called this “medium potentially skewing to hard”. Personally (it’s all relative), compared with Friday I’d delete “potentially skewing to hard” and leave it at “medium.”
    Like: Mercy Buckets.
    Dislike: Stripy?
    X-words 4 fun

    † had to change it to that as it appears the American version of the British term is blocked.

    1. Meant to comment also re 31 down, ‘Strikes out, slangily’ FANS. I don’t think I’ve heard “fan” used in that sense in baseball play by play commentary. Also it’s transitive verb “(of a pitcher) to retire (someone) by a strikeout.” (Websters doesn’t label it slang.) I figured it meant to strike out (as a batter) intransitively because the term IS used in hockey play by play commentary as in “he fanned on his shot” i.e. when a player misses the puck while attempting a shot.

  6. It took me about 60 minutes, but I finished with 2 errors.

    Couldn’t get to FIT . had FIE. 62A was AUTIE. so 33d was EELEOLOTY!!!!

    TELEOLOGY did me in.

  7. Another Saturday DNF for a NYT puzzle.
    When you don’t even understand half of the clue words you’re pretty much dead in the 💦
    Stay safe😀

    1. Yes, but … Merriam-Webster says that “meet”, as an adjective, is an “archaic & dialectal British” term meaning “precisely adapted to a particular situation, need, or circumstance; very proper” and provides a quote from Joseph Conrad: “… their ghosts … haunt the fires by which sit armed men, as is meet for the spirits of fearless warriors who died in battle.” I’d say that “fitting” is a closer synonym for it than just “fit”; nevertheless, however obscure, it works for me.

      I would not be surprised to learn that “meet” is used with this meaning in the Bible, but I could be wrong. (I learned it somewhere, so it is meet that I should post this … 🙂.)

    2. It occurred to me to wonder whether Abraham Lincoln used the word “meet” in the Gettysburg Address, so I looked it up, and … no, he didn’t. Instead, he said, “It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.” A pity, but perhaps it was meet that he should eschew a usage with which some might have quarreled … 😜.

      1. Yeah.
        I don’t think it’s necessarily referring to the archaic term.

        Actually the other Dave (K), though he talks as though he’s sure, is confusing the predicative use of meet (“it is meet that”) , as in the Conrad quote he provided, which means “fitting” , with the adjectivial use, “meet” which means “fit.”
        They are actually two distinct uses.
        Example of adjectivial use from OED:

        1914 Some things I say are not meet for an audience.
        W. Owen, Letter 15 June (1967) 260

        The clue was “fit” not “fitting.”
        So your explanation isn’t quite right Dave K. If you doubt it check the OED.

        At any rate, I agree with Dave. I didn’t have to resort to the archaic meaning for it to make sense, though maybe it was a bit of a stretch.

        1. Or rather the answer was “fit” not the clue. I had that arse backwards.
          Not sure what’s so bad about a$$ that it’s blocked. It appears in NYT puzzles.

    1. And I forgot to reiterate that the Conrad quote I mentioned came from a section of Merriam-Webster’s entry for “meet” as an adjective.

    2. And, Nick, if you go back to your OED and look at the entry for “fit” as an adjective, you will find the definition “Befitting the person or the circumstances, agreeable to decorum … Now only in predicative use, as It is fit that …

      Well, I think we’ve beat this issue to death … 😜.

  8. Yeah I know where you got the quote.
    I never said it’s not an adjective. You didn’t get it.

    You said, ‘ “I’d say that “fitting” is a closer synonym for it than just “fit” ‘.

    You were confusing the predicative use (defined as 2b in the OED) with the non-predicative use (defined as 2a in the OED).

    If you’re going to speak like you’re an authority of British archaic terms, get your definitions straight from the proper source (OED) rather than a casual reference to Websters.

    Anyway if someone wants to opine that fit does not mean meet, even if they may be wrong you don’t have to be such a brown-noser and quote chapter and verse at them. Just wanted to inform you you’re not as learned as you think you are.

    1. See my comment above.

      Your constant name-calling is inappropriate. The anonymous poster that started all this asked for an explanation of an entry and I did my best to answer.

      1. Anonymous said “in no world does meet = fit” , a fair comment and you had to respond with a lecture on archaic British English when, as Dan pointed out, it was not necessarily the constructor’s intent. I found that pompous and officious.

        Here are the OED refs, straight from the horse’s mouth:

        2.a. c1385–   Suitable, fit, proper for some purpose or occasion, expressed or implied. 

        2.b. a1400–   In predicative use, of an action: fitting, becoming, proper. Chiefly in it is meet that (also with infinitive), occasionally as (also than) is meet.

        Your Conrad quote is the 2 b meaning. If the clue was referring to the archaic meaning of “meet” it was was referring to 2a.
        QED.

      2. BTW.

        “constant name-calling”
        Lie.

        “The anonymous poster that started all this asked for an explanation”
        Lie.

        1. Whatever my reasons for responding to a demonstrably false claim (which I am entitled to do), you will note that, rather than just posting a contrary opinion, I presented dictionary evidence for anyone who was interested to read.

          It appears that you have not gone back to the OED and looked at the entry for “fit”, which, as I said above, mentions the usage “it is fit that …” with exactly the same meaning as “it is meet that …”.

        2. So …

          My original suggestion (“it is meet” => “it is fit”, treating both words as predicate adjectives) is, in fact supported by the OED.

          Dan’s suggestion (“fit requirements” => “meet requirements”, treating both as words as verbs) is appealing, but a bit awkward.

          Nick’s suggestion (“fit for an audience” => “meet for an audience”) is the best, though it may not satisfy the anonymous poster who kicked off all this nonsense, since that meaning of “meet” is not in common usage.

          And, for the record, I find “brownnoser”, “pompous”, and “officious” more than a little rude.

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