0313-24 NY Times Crossword 13 Mar 24, Wednesday

Constructed by: Drew Schmenner
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Final Four

The FINAL syllable in each themed answer sounds like “FOUR”:

  • 61A March Madness component that’s a phonetic hint to 18-, 23-, 38- and 50-Across : FINAL FOUR
  • 18A Flag-waver’s specialty : SEMAPHORE
  • 23A “When the going gets tough, the early bird gets the worm,” e.g. : MIXED METAPHOR
  • 38A Best Actor nominee for “12 Years a Slave” : CHIWETEL EJIOFOR
  • 50A In an unprecedented manner : AS NEVER BEFORE

Bill’s time: 10m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “___ Lang Syne” : AULD

The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

15 Huntsville’s home: Abbr. : ALA

Huntsville is a city in northern Alabama that was founded in 1805 as a settlement with the name “Twickenham”. One of the early landowners was LeRoy Pope, and he opted for “Twickenham” as that was the name of the town in England where Alexander Pope lived, as Alexander was a distant relative. The settlement was renamed within a few years in honor of John Hunt, another early settler and veteran of the Revolutionary War.

17 “Sex and the City” actress ___ Jessica Parker : SARAH

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker is famous for playing the lead role of Carrie Bradshaw on HBO’s “Sex and the City”. Much earlier in her career, Parker played “Annie” in the musical on Broadway for about a year. She has been married to actor Matthew Broderick since 1997, and the couple spend a lot of time in County Donegal in Ireland where they have their second home.

22 “The Simpsons” neighbor : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer Simpson on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned was married to Maude, with whom he had two children Rod and Todd. Maude died in an accident involving a T-shirt cannon. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

26 What’s needed for a “Who’s on First?” routine : DUO

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made up the comedy duo Abbott and Costello who were immensely popular in the forties and fifties. Even when I was growing up in Ireland and knew nothing about baseball, I was rolling around the floor listening to Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” comedy routine. Can you name all the players?

First Base: Who
Second Base: What
Third Base: I Don’t Know
Left field: Why
Centerfield: Because
Pitcher: Tomorrow
Catcher: Today
Shortstop: I Don’t Care/I Don’t Give a Darn

37 Southwestern wolf : LOBO

The timber wolf is also known as the gray wolf, tundra wolf or lobo.

38 Best Actor nominee for “12 Years a Slave” : CHIWETEL EJIOFOR

British actor Chiwetel Ejiofo is perhaps best known on this side of the Atlantic for his Oscar-winning performance as the lead in 2013’s “12 Years a Slave”.

“12 Years a Slave” is a powerful 2013 film adapted from the memoir “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup. Northup was an African American who was born a free man in Upstate New York where he worked as a farmer and a violinist. He was lured to Washington, D.C. where slavery was legal, and there was kidnapped by slave traders. Northup spent twelve years as a slave in Louisiana before an intermediary made contact with friends and family who were able to obtain his release. The slave trader in Washington who committed the crime was arrested and tried, although he was acquitted, because D.C. law prohibited an African American from testifying against Caucasians.

42 Famed art patron Henry : TATE

The museum known as “the Tate” comprises four separate galleries in England. The original Tate gallery was founded by Sir Henry Tate as the National Gallery of British Art. It is located on Millbank in London, on the site of the old Millbank Prison, and is now called Tate Britain. There is also the Tate Liverpool in the north of England that is located in an old warehouse, and the Tate St. Ives in the west country located in an old gas works. My favorite of the Tate galleries is the Tate Modern which lies on the banks of the Thames in London. It’s a beautiful building, a converted power station that you have to see to believe. As of 2018, the Tate Modern was the most visited art museum in the UK.

43 Houston N.F.L. player : TEXAN

The Houston Texans football team has been in the NFL since 2002. Houston had been home to the Oilers football team, but that franchise moved to Nashville in 1997 to become the Tennessee Titans.

48 Manhattan hoops venue, in brief : MSG

Madison Square Garden (MSG) is an arena in New York City used for a variety of events. In the world of sports it is home to the New York Rangers of the NHL, as well as the New York Knicks of the NBA. “The Garden” is also the third busiest music venue in the world in terms of ticket sales. The current arena is the fourth structure to bear the name, a name taken from the Madison Square location in Manhattan. In turn, the square was named for James Madison, the fourth President of the US.

59 Sealy competitor : SERTA

Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement. Serta advertisements feature the Serta Counting Sheep. Each numbered sheep has a different personality, such as:

  • #1 The Leader of the Flock
  • #½ The Tweener
  • #13 Mr. Bad Luck
  • #53 The Pessimist
  • #86 Benedict Arnold

61 March Madness component that’s a phonetic hint to 18-, 23-, 38- and 50-Across : FINAL FOUR

In the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship, the teams remaining at various stages of the tournament are known as:

  • The “Sweet Sixteen” (the regional semi-finalists)
  • The “Elite Eight” (the regional finalists)
  • The “Final Four” (the national semi-finalists)

“March Madness” is the name given to the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Championship (among others), that is held in the spring each year. Another name is “the Big Dance”.

Down

1 Variety of Indian tea : ASSAM

Assam, located in northeastern India, is the largest tea-producing state in the country. It is also famous for its silk production, particularly the golden muga silk.

2 Eel, at a sushi restaurant : UNAGI

“Unagi” is the Japanese term for” freshwater eel”, and “anago” is the term for “saltwater eel”.

3 Literary character who cries “You’re glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed!” : LORAX

“””The Lorax”” is a 1971 children’s book written by Dr. Seuss. It is an allegorical work questioning the problems created by industrialization, and in particular its impact on the environment. At one point in the story, the Lorax “speaks for the trees, for the trees have no tongues”. “The Lorax” was adapted into an animated film that was released in 2012, with Danny DeVito voicing the title character.

He was shortish, and oldish, and brownish and mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy.

7 American ___ : SAMOA

American Samoa is a US territory in the South Pacific located southeast of the nation of Samoa. Home to about 55,000 people, it is the southernmost American territory. American Samoa’s capital is the busy port city Pago Pago.

8 Lyric poet from Lesbos : SAPPHO

Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet born on the Greek island of Lesbos. Sappho was much admired for her work, although very little of it survives today. She was renowned for writing erotic and romantic verse that dealt with the love of women as well as men. It was because of this poetry that the word “lesbian” (someone from Lesbos) is used to describe a gay woman.

10 Overhead features on sports cars : MOONROOFS

A sunroof is a panel in the roof of a car that can be pulled back to let in light and air. A moonroof is similar, but in a moonroof there is an option to slide back a fabric-covered panel to expose a glass panel that allows in light, but not air.

14 Jeff Bridges’s “Big Lebowski” stoner role, familiarly : THE DUDE

“The Big Lebowski” is a 1998 comedy directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring Jeff Bridges in the title role. The film’s script is loosely based on the Raymond Chandler novel “The Big Sleep”. I thought “The Big Lebowski” was just “okay” though …

Jeff Bridges has acting in his blood, as the son of Lloyd and Dorothy Bridges, and younger brother of Beau Bridges. Jeff and Beau used to appear occasionally with their father in the TV show “Sea Hunt” in the late fifties and early sixties. Jeff’s breakthrough role came with the 1971 film “The Last Picture Show”, for which he was nominated for an Oscar (at only 22 years of age). He had to wait until he was 60 years old to win an Oscar though, for his performance in 2009’s “Crazy Heart”. Off the screen, Jeff Bridges is an accomplished photographer. I have a fine book of photographs that he shot on and off film sets over the years …

19 Circuitry units : AMPS

The unit of electric current is the ampere, which is abbreviated correctly to “A” rather than “amp”. It is named after French physicist André-Marie Ampère, one of the main scientists responsible for the discovery of electromagnetism.

24 Unworthy of debate : MOOT

To moot is to bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. So, something that is moot is open to debate. Something that is no longer moot, is no longer worth debating. We don’t seem to be able to get that right, which drives me crazy …

25 City with 40 islands and nearly 350 lakes within its limits : OSLO

The Norwegian capital of Oslo is located at the northern end of a fjord known as Oslofjord. The fjord is home to 40 islands that lie within the city’s limits. Oslo also has 343 lakes.

28 “O,” in W.W. II radio lingo : OBOE

The Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet was introduced in 1941 and used by all branches of the US military until they transitioned to what’s usually referred to as the NATO phonetic alphabet. The Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet starts with Able, Baker, Charlie and ends with X-ray, Yoke, Zebra.

29 Screenwriter Ephron : NORA

Nora Ephron had many talents, including writing film scripts and novels. Many of the movies that she wrote, she also directed. These would include some of my favorite movies of all time like “Sleepless in Seattle”, “You’ve Got Mail” and most recently, the wonderful “Julie & Julia”. And, did you know that Nora Ephron’s second marriage was to journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame? She wrote an autobiographical novel based on her life with Bernstein, which deals in particular with Bernstein’s affair with the daughter of British Prime Minister James Callaghan.

31 Variety of Indian tea : CHAI

Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.

35 ___ Miss : OLE

“Ole Miss” is the nickname for the University of Mississippi located in Oxford, Mississippi. The name “Ole Miss” dates back to 1897, the first year a student yearbook was published. The graduating class held a competition to name the yearbook and “Ole Miss” emerged as the winner. The name stuck to the yearbook, and also as a nickname for the school itself. The University of Mississippi sports teams have been known as the Rebels since 1936. Prior to 1936, they were known as the Mississippi Flood.

40 Doorway feature : JAMB

A door jamb or window jamb is the vertical portion of the frame. The term “jamb” comes from the French word “jambe” meaning “leg”.

46 Eve who wrote “The Vagina Monologues” : ENSLER

Eve Ensler is a playwright whose most famous work is “The Vagina Monologues”. When Ensler was only 23 years of age, she adopted a 15 year old boy. We are familiar with that boy on the big screen these days: actor Dylan McDermott.

47 Destination for scuba divers : REEF

The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.

49 Sensation on a roller coaster : G-FORCE

The force of gravity (g-force) that we all feel is referred to as “one G”. As gravity is an accelerating force, acceleration is measured relative to that force of gravity. So, if we are sitting in a vehicle that accelerates at 3G, then we are experiencing a force that is three times that which we feel from the gravitational pull of the earth. Zero G is weightlessness that is experienced when in space, and outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.

52 Practice piece : ETUDE

An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

54 N.B.A. great nicknamed “Diesel” : O’NEAL

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality shows: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

55 Derrières : REARS

“Derrière” is a French term meaning “back part, rear”.

56 Cosmetics mogul Lauder : ESTEE

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales “volume” …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “___ Lang Syne” : AULD
5 Played the role of : WAS
8 Sights at overnight rest stops : SEMIS
13 [That’s hilarious!] : [SNORT!]
15 Huntsville’s home: Abbr. : ALA
16 Make amends : ATONE
17 “Sex and the City” actress ___ Jessica Parker : SARAH
18 Flag-waver’s specialty : SEMAPHORE
20 Visibly in awe : AGAPE
21 Walk loudly : TROMP
22 “The Simpsons” neighbor : NED
23 “When the going gets tough, the early bird gets the worm,” e.g. : MIXED METAPHOR
26 What’s needed for a “Who’s on First?” routine : DUO
27 “Why are you in such a rush?” : SO SOON?
30 “Darn!,” in Germany : ACH!
33 Listing near a museum door, perhaps : DONOR
37 Southwestern wolf : LOBO
38 Best Actor nominee for “12 Years a Slave” : CHIWETEL EJIOFOR
42 Famed art patron Henry : TATE
43 Houston N.F.L. player : TEXAN
44 Whatever floats your boat! : SEA
45 Word with soul or sob : … SISTER
48 Manhattan hoops venue, in brief : MSG
50 In an unprecedented manner : AS NEVER BEFORE
57 What some online blockers block : ADS
59 Sealy competitor : SERTA
60 Some traffic directors : CONES
61 March Madness component that’s a phonetic hint to 18-, 23-, 38- and 50-Across : FINAL FOUR
63 “My ___” (“Put your money away”) : TREAT
64 Escape : EVADE
65 Work whose name comes from the Greek for “sing” : ODE
66 Close call : SCARE
67 Amount at stake : WAGER
68 Kind of school : MED
69 “Anything ___?” : ELSE

Down

1 Variety of Indian tea : ASSAM
2 Eel, at a sushi restaurant : UNAGI
3 Literary character who cries “You’re glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed!” : LORAX
4 Hung loosely : DRAPED
5 Garbage : WASTE
6 Wide-awake : ALERT
7 American ___ : SAMOA
8 Lyric poet from Lesbos : SAPPHO
9 Biblical verb ending : -ETH
10 Overhead features on sports cars : MOONROOFS
11 Memo heading : IN RE
12 What the stone is in a stone fruit : SEED
14 Jeff Bridges’s “Big Lebowski” stoner role, familiarly : THE DUDE
19 Circuitry units : AMPS
24 Unworthy of debate : MOOT
25 City with 40 islands and nearly 350 lakes within its limits : OSLO
28 “O,” in W.W. II radio lingo : OBOE
29 Screenwriter Ephron : NORA
30 Doesn’t hesitate : ACTS
31 Variety of Indian tea : CHAI
32 Suddenly encounters trouble : HITS A SNAG
34 “Interwebs” : NET
35 ___ Miss : OLE
36 “Vivat ___!” (“Long live the king!”) : REX
39 Dampens : WETS
40 Doorway feature : JAMB
41 Web attachments? : INSECTS
46 Eve who wrote “The Vagina Monologues” : ENSLER
47 Destination for scuba divers : REEF
49 Sensation on a roller coaster : G-FORCE
51 Sound of a roar, maybe : VROOM!
52 Practice piece : ETUDE
53 Stood on hind legs, with “up” : RARED …
54 N.B.A. great nicknamed “Diesel” : O’NEAL
55 Derrières : REARS
56 Cosmetics mogul Lauder : ESTEE
57 Several : A FEW
58 Go full ___ (make a big deal of things, in modern slang) : DIVA
62 Ending with lime or orange : -ADE

5 thoughts on “0313-24 NY Times Crossword 13 Mar 24, Wednesday”

  1. 10:52, no errors. Wasn’t sure what “Interwebs” for “NET” was all about. (I guess it’s kind of a joke.)

    1. Yes. It’s a humorous/sarcastic poke at someone who talks about the Internet/Web without really understanding what they are talking about.

  2. 8:55. Went quickly, but getting CHIWETEL EJIOFOR via crosses was like climbing Everest. I’ve probably seen that name a few dozen times, but I still can’t remember it.

    How long before they start cluing MSG with something pertaining to the new MSG Sphere in Las Vegas?

    Best –

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