0323-24 NY Times Crossword 23 Mar 24, Saturday

Constructed by: Sam Ezersky
Edited by: Joel Fagliano

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 33m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 They’re seen around diners : BIBS

The word “bib” comes from the Latin “bibere” meaning “to drink”, as does our word “imbibe”. So, maybe a bib is less about spilling the food, and more about soaking up the booze …

15 Worrisome word from a barber : UH-OH

Our term “barber” comes to us via Anglo-French from the Latin “barba” meaning “beard”. Barbers originally offered a wide range of services, including surgery. Henry VIII restricted barbers to just haircutting … and dentistry!

22 Limerick group : IRISH

Limerick is the fourth-most populous city in Ireland, after Dublin, Belfast and Cork. It is located on the Shannon Estuary, in the west of the country.

28 Standards of purity : KARATS

A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.

34 Grant or Benjamin : LARGE BILL

President Ulysses S. Grant appears on the obverse of the US fifty-dollar bill. There have been two unsuccessful attempts in recent years in Congress to have President Grant’s image replaced with that of President Ronald Reagan.

Benjamin Franklin’s portrait is featured on one side of the hundred-dollar bill (also called a “C-spot, C-note, benjamin”), and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall on the other side. There is a famous error in the image of Independence Hall. If you look closely at the clock face at the top of the building you can see that the “four” is written in Roman numerals as “IV”. However, on the actual clock on Independence Hall, the “four” is denoted by “IIII”, which has been the convention for clock faces for centuries.

43 Way up in the mountains : GONDOLA

The word “gondola” was originally limited to the famous boats that travel along the canals of Venice. When man started to fly through the air in hot air balloons, “gondola” was used for the basket in which the passenger(s) traveled. By extension, the structure carrying passengers and crew under an airship is also called a gondola, as are the cars suspended from a cable at a ski resort.

45 Resort that prohibits snowboarding : ALTA

Alta ski resort actually lies within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area. The first ski lift in the resort was opened way back in 1939. Today, Alta is one of only three ski resorts in the country that prohibits snowboarding (along with Deer Valley, Utah and Mad River Glen, Vermont). The ski resort of Snowbird, located next to Alta, has been in operation since 1971.

48 Rubs the wrong way : GALLS

Today, we use the verb “to gall” to mean “to vex, irritate”. This is a figurative usage of the same verb that arose mid-1400s, when it meant “to make sore by chafing”. Back then, a gall was a sore on the skin caused by rubbing or chafing.

49 Li Mu ___, Chow Yun-fat’s role in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” : BAI

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is a martial arts movie released in 2000. Despite the film’s Mandarin dialogue, it still became a huge international hit. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” grossed well over $100 million in the US alone, and is still the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history.

50 Veteran N.F.L. quarterback whose name anagrams to SOMETHING : GENO SMITH

Geno Smith is an NFL quarterback who was drafted in 2013 by the New York Jets, after having played college football at West Virginia.

52 Modern money kiosk : BITCOIN ATM

Bitcoins are digital units of currency that are used on some Internet sites. They are the most popular alternative currency used on the Web today. More and more reputable online retailers are accepting bitcoins, including Overstock.com, Expedia, Dell and Microsoft.

56 “Off the Court” memoirist, 1981 : ASHE

“Off the Court” is a 1981 autobiography by tennis player Arthur Ashe. The book deals with Ashe’s life off the court, including his involvement in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

57 Venezuela landmark that’s the tallest of its kind in the world (3,212 feet) : ANGEL FALLS

Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, at a height of 3,213 feet. It is named for an American aviator called James Angel, who was the first to fly a plane over the falls.

60 Baby raccoons : KITS

The raccoon is native to North America. In captivity, raccoons can live to over 20 years of age, but in the wild they only live two or three years. The main causes for the shorter lifespan are hunting and road traffic.

Down

1 Taking off the table : BUSSING

A busboy is a person who assists a waiter, mainly by clearing tables. The verb “to bus” arose in the early 1900s and is probably a reference to the wheeled cart that was used to carry dishes.

4 Like Beth among the March sisters : SHYEST

The “Little Women” in Louisa May Alcott’s classic (1868) novel are all sisters. The names of the five main characters in the book are a mother and her four daughters:

  • Margaret “Marmee” (the mother)
  • Margaret “Meg”
  • Josephine “Jo”
  • Elizabeth “Beth”
  • Amy Curtis

6 Activist “born at 375 p.p.m.,” per her social media bio : THUNBERG

Greta Thunberg is an environmental activist from Sweden who came to national attention in her homeland when she was just 15 years old. In 2018, she went on strike from school and paraded with placards in front of the Swedish parliament to pressure the government to take stronger action to address climate change. She then took part in demonstrations across Europe, and became a regular speaker at such events. She addressed the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit at the UN headquarters, opting to sail to New York from Sweden, rather than fly. When she was named “Time” Person of the Year in 2019 at 16 years old, Thunberg was the youngest person ever to be so honored.

7 Big name in trucks : RYDER

The Ryder company was founded in 1933 in Miami, Florida by James Ryder. It started out as a concrete hauling company, but changed its focus a few years later to the leasing of trucks.

9 Bowlful often served with bean sprouts : PHO

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food. It is often ordered with a side of hanh dam, pickled white onions.

11 Yours, in Torino : TUO

Turin (“Torino” in Italian) is a major city in the north of Italy that sits on the Po River. Back in 1861, when the Kingdom of Italy was formed, Turin was chosen as the first capital of the country.

12 Declaim : ELOCUTE

To declaim is to speak forcefully and passionately, often in a formal setting.

13 Trace of music : ADKINS

Trace Adkins is a country singer who has also appeared in quite a few movies and television shows. Adkins was the winner on the reality show “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2013, after coming in second place to Piers Morgan in 2008.

25 Gloomy atmosphere : PALL

A pall is a cloth used to cover a casket at a funeral. Pallbearers actually carry the coffin, covered by the pall. The phrase “casting a pall over”, meaning to create a dark mood, is a metaphorical use of the “pall” over the casket.

27 Lassitude : TORPOR

“Languor”, “lassitude”, “lethargy” and “listlessness” are such lovely words, all l-words meaning “lack of physical energy, torpor”.

32 Cleveland, e.g.: Abbr. : DEM

Grover Cleveland was the only person to have served as US President in two non-consecutive terms, and is sometimes referred to as our 22nd and 24th president. 49-year-old President Cleveland married 21-year-old Frances Folsom during his first term. This marked the only time that a president has married in the White House. And, that marriage made Frances the youngest wife of any sitting US president.

34 Turkey bacon? : LIRA

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş. In 1927, the Turkish lira replaced the Ottoman lira, which had been in use since 1844.

38 Hill-adjacent field, in brief : POLI-SCI

Political science (poli-sci)

42 Take, as a pointer : DOGNAP

The breed of dog known as a pointer is also known as an English pointer. There are other pointing breeds though, dogs that instinctively “point” by stopping and aiming their muzzles at game when hunting. The list of other pointing breeds includes the English setter and the Irish setter.

44 Fabric named for a Mideast capital : DAMASK

Damask was originally a weaving technique associated with the Byzantine and Islamic weaving centers of the Middle Ages. “Damask” comes from the name of Damascus, which was a major trading city at that time.

47 ___ Street Music Festival (annual May event) : BEALE

Beale Street in downtown Memphis, Tennessee is a major tourist attraction. In 1977, by act of Congress, the street was officially declared the “Home of the Blues” due to its long association with the musical genre. Apparently “Beale” is the name of some forgotten military hero.

51 City of 1+ million near the Russia/Kazakhstan border : OMSK

Omsk is a city in southwest Siberia. It is located over 1400 miles from Moscow and was chosen as the destination for many internal exiles in the mid-1900s. Perhaps the most famous of these exiles was the author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

53 Picture of Pluto, perhaps : CEL

Pluto is Mickey Mouse’s pet dog, as well as a star in his own right. Pluto is an unusual Disney character in that he is portrayed basically as a dog as opposed to a “humanized” version of a dog, as are the other Disney characters.

55 “___ Girl Isn’t Pretty” (“Funny Girl” song) : IF A

The movie “Funny Girl” stars Barbra Streisand in the title role of Fanny Brice. The real Fanny Brice was a theater and film actress, and “Funny Girl” is very loosely based on her life story. Fanny Brice was born into a Hungarian Jewish family in New York City, with the real name of Fania Borach.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 They’re seen around diners : BIBS
5 “Ambassador” cut : STRIP STEAK
15 Worrisome word from a barber : UH-OH
16 Response akin to “Says who?!” : WHY SHOULD I?
17 Sizzling : SEXY
18 Speaking volumes? : AUDIOBOOKS
19 Extra security : SAFETY NET
21 Lead-in to male or female : CIS-
22 Limerick group : IRISH
23 2022 rom-com with a predominantly L.G.B.T.Q. cast : BROS
25 Easily crushable : PUNY
26 Troy setting, for short : NY STATE
28 Standards of purity : KARATS
30 [Smacks forehead] : [GAH!]
31 “My goodness!” : LORD!
33 ___ cat, holiday creature in Icelandic folklore : YULE
34 Grant or Benjamin : LARGE BILL
36 Slack : LIMP
37 Prefix in some health product names : MEDI-
38 Print source : PAW
41 “End of discussion!” : PERIOD!
43 Way up in the mountains : GONDOLA
45 Resort that prohibits snowboarding : ALTA
46 Bench cover? : ROBE
48 Rubs the wrong way : GALLS
49 Li Mu ___, Chow Yun-fat’s role in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” : BAI
50 Veteran N.F.L. quarterback whose name anagrams to SOMETHING : GENO SMITH
52 Modern money kiosk : BITCOIN ATM
56 “Off the Court” memoirist, 1981 : ASHE
57 Venezuela landmark that’s the tallest of its kind in the world (3,212 feet) : ANGEL FALLS
58 Lastin’ line? : SCAR
59 Looked quickly : STOLE A PEEK
60 Baby raccoons : KITS

Down

1 Taking off the table : BUSSING
2 “Yep, totally feel that” : I HEAR YA
3 Species named for its squarish shape : BOXFISH
4 Like Beth among the March sisters : SHYEST
5 Bring around : SWAY
6 Activist “born at 375 p.p.m.,” per her social media bio : THUNBERG
7 Big name in trucks : RYDER
8 “Would you mind …?” : IS IT OK …?
9 Bowlful often served with bean sprouts : PHO
10 Blue belt? : SOB
11 Yours, in Torino : TUO
12 Declaim : ELOCUTE
13 Trace of music : ADKINS
14 Lovey-dovey, in a way : KISSY
20 Egg-shaped brain structures : THALAMI
24 Get hitched : SAY “I DO”
25 Gloomy atmosphere : PALL
27 Lassitude : TORPOR
29 They may come with opinions : RULINGS
32 Cleveland, e.g.: Abbr. : DEM
34 Turkey bacon? : LIRA
35 “Easy now!” : BE GENTLE!
36 Advice to move on : LET IT GO
38 Hill-adjacent field, in brief : POLI-SCI
39 Legit : ALL THAT
40 Plates for nuts : WASHERS
41 Grievance : PLAINT
42 Take, as a pointer : DOGNAP
44 Fabric named for a Mideast capital : DAMASK
45 Fathers, in Hebrew : ABBAS
47 ___ Street Music Festival (annual May event) : BEALE
51 City of 1+ million near the Russia/Kazakhstan border : OMSK
53 Picture of Pluto, perhaps : CEL
54 Cry of encouragement : OLE!
55 “___ Girl Isn’t Pretty” (“Funny Girl” song) : IF A

7 thoughts on “0323-24 NY Times Crossword 23 Mar 24, Saturday”

  1. 32:22, no errors. Doable, but I struggled in spots. Is it just my imagination or have the NYT puzzles been noticeably harder with Will Shortz on leave?

    1. To be fair, the fact that the constructor is Sam Ezersky confounds things quite a bit. He has a history of constructing grids with clues that only sound smart in his head, even when Shortz was running the show. We’ll know better in due course.

      1. True, but I’ve noticed the trend for several days in a row. Joel Fagliano has been listed as the editor for eleven days now, starting with the 14th.

        I hate to say it, but, after listening to a recording of Will Shortz explaining his recent absence from the Sunday-morning NPR show, I’m not optimistic for his return to his former posts (and I very much hope that I’m mistaken).

  2. Same as Bruce but it was closer to 20 mins in when I just started looking stuff up. I started with “oops” before UHOH. Then things just got worse.

    Is UHOH one word or two? Is “oops” even a word?

    Dave – that thought occurred to me about a week ago. I very seldom DNF, but I’ve had two in 8 days now.

    Maybe I’ll go buy a coloring book so I can feel success at something….

    Best –

  3. 1:01:50, because I still have a mental block with multiple word answers and kept mouthing “polysci” as one word that sounded Polish. I initially had “spar” rather than “scar” for absolutely no good reason. Really hesitated to enter “abbas” thinking he was the leader of Palestine, which especially now seemed more than a bit inappropriate for a Hebrew term.

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