0403-24 NY Times Crossword 3 Apr 24, Wednesday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Joel Fagliano

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Sound Letters

Themed clues are each missing some letters. Themed answers each end with a word that sounds like the letters that are missing in the corresponding clues:

  • 17A Lip_on produc_s : INSTANT TEAS (Lipton products)
  • 28A _lum-colored _lants : PURPLE PEAS (Plum-colored plants)
  • 42A _usy _uzzers : BUMBLEBEES (Busy buzzers)
  • 55A Fr_endly fac_al tra_t : SMILING EYES (Friendly facial trait)

Bill’s time: 7m 40s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 ___ acid, essential component of vinegar : ACETIC

Acetic acid has the formula CH3COOH, and is the main component of vinegar.

15 House of cards? : CASINO

The term “casino” originated in the 1700s, then describing a public room for music or dancing. “Casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.

17 Lip_on produc_s : INSTANT TEAS (Lipton products)

Sir Thomas Lipton was a grocer in Glasgow, Scotland. He founded a tea packing company in North America in 1893, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was very successful as his blends of tea became popular in the US. Despite the Lipton roots in the UK, Lipton black tea isn’t available there, so I’ve always thought of it as an American brand.

21 Traveler’s aid : ATLAS

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas” that is used for a book of maps.

24 About half of the books of the New Testament are attributed to him : PAUL

According to the Bible, Saint Paul was an apostle, although he was not one of the original Twelve Apostles. Paul is said to have written 14 of the 27 books in the Christian New Testament.

26 Ho-ho-holiday time? : YULE

Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

30 Longtime residents around the Great Salt Lake : UTE

The Great Salt Lake in Utah is extremely shallow, and so the area of the lake fluctuates greatly with the changing volume of water. Back in 1963, the lake shrunk to 950 square miles, whereas in 1988 the area was measured at a whopping 3,300 square miles.

35 Company that merged with Sprint in 2020 : T-MOBILE

T-Mobile is a German telecommunications company, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Deutsche Telekom has used the “T” prefix for a number of its services, including T-Com, T-Online and T-Home.

The company that we know today as Sprint has a history that is linked with the Southern Pacific railroad company. Southern Pacific developed a microwave communication system for its internal use across its network using rights-of-way associated with the company’s extensive railway lines. In the early seventies, the company laid huge lengths of fiber optic cable in those rights-of-way, alongside the tracks, primarily for internal use. The railroad sold excess fiber capacity to private companies, allowing those companies to operate long distance telephone service outside of AT&T, which at that time had a long-distance monopoly. Southern Pacific took advantage of changing FCC regulations and started offering voice service directly to consumers. That service was offered under the name SPRINT, an acronym that stood for Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Networking Telephony. Very interesting …

39 Granola grain : OAT

The names “Granola” and “Granula” were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

40 Nincompoop, in Nottingham : PRAT

The word “nincompoop”, meaning “fool”, seems to have been around for quite a while. It has been used since the 1670s, but no one appears to know its origins.

Nottingham is a city in the East Midlands of England. To us on this side of the Atlantic, perhaps Nottingham is most famous as a setting for the legend of Robin Hood.

42 _usy _uzzers : BUMBLEBEES (Busy buzzers)

Bumblebees aren’t very aggressive, but they can sting if they deem it necessary. Unlike honey bees, bumblebees survive the stinging action as their stinger has no barb. There are a few misconceptions about bumblebees. One is that a bumblebee should be incapable of flight based on the laws of aerodynamics, but this isn’t true. Another misconception is that the bee’s buzzing sound is caused by the beating of its wings. In fact, the sound comes from the vibration of its flight muscles. The bee can decouple those muscles from its wings, and so can make a buzzing sound without the wings moving at all.

46 “Around the World in 80 Days” traveler Phileas : FOGG

“Around the World in 80 Days” is a wonderful adventure story written by French author Jules Verne and first published in 1873. There have been some great screen adaptations of the story, including the 1956 movie starring David Niven as the protagonist Phileas Fogg. In almost all adaptations, a balloon is used for part of the journey, and is perhaps the most memorable means of transportation on Fogg’s trip around the world. However, if you read the book, Fogg never uses a balloon at all.

47 Crushed ingredient in “dirt cake” : OREO

Dirt cake (sometimes “dirt pie, dirt pudding”) is a dessert usually made by breaking up Oreo cookies and scattering the pieces over chocolate pudding, and then adding gummy worms on top. Sounds delicious …

59 Christianity’s ___ Creed : NICENE

What is known today in the Christian tradition as the Nicene Creed, was originally adopted by the first ecumenical council when it met in 325 AD. The meeting took place in the city of Nicaea, which gave its name to this particular profession of faith. Nicaea is the Greek name of the city that is now called Iznik, and it lies in the northwest of Turkey.

60 Big name in bidets : TOTO

“Bidet” is a French word that we imported into English. In French, the word “bidet” originally described a small horse or a pony. The bidet bathroom fixture was so called because one straddles it like a horse in order to use it.

62 Demolition hammer : SLEDGE

A sledgehammer is a big hammer, one used to apply a lot of force. The word “sledgehammer” comes from the Anglo-Saxon “Slaegan” meaning “to strike violently”. “Slaegan” is also the root of the words “slag”, “slay” and “slog”.

Down

1 Poke menu option : AHI

Poke is a Native-Hawaiian dish featuring diced raw fish. “Poke” is a Hawaiian word meaning “to slice”.

2 Second-most-used substance in the world, after water : CONCRETE

The terms “cement”, “mortar” and ”concrete” are related, and tend to get confused at times. Cement is a binder that hardens over time and binds other materials together. Cement mixed with a fine aggregate forms mortar, a workable paste used to bind building blocks together. Cement mixed with sand and gravel forms concrete, a pourable slurry that hardens into an extremely robust building material.

4 Nueva York, por ejemplo : ESTADO

In Spanish, examples of an “estado” (state) are “Nueva York” (New York) and “Nuevo Hampshire” (New Hampshire).

7 Chesapeake Bay is one : ESTUARY

An estuary is a body of water that is connected directly to the open sea as well as to one or more rivers. As such, the water in an estuary is “brackish”, less saline than seawater but more saline than freshwater. The list of significant estuaries in North America includes Chesapeake Bay, Delaware bay, the East River and Long Island Sound.

Chesapeake Bay is on the Atlantic coast and is surrounded by the states of Maryland and Virginia. It is the largest estuary in the whole country, with over 150 rivers and streams draining into it, including the Potomac.

9 Celebrity chef Garten : INA

Ina Garten is an author as well as the host of a cooking show on the Food Network called “Barefoot Contessa”. She is a mentee of Martha Stewart, and indeed was touted as a potential “successor” to the TV celebrity when Stewart was incarcerated in 2004 after an insider trading scandal. Garten has no formal training as a chef, and indeed used to work as a nuclear policy analyst at the White House!

10 La ___ Nostra : COSA

Apparently, “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn several members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

11 Fix, as a sneaker’s sole : REGLUE

“Sneaker” is a common name for an athletic shoe, one that is now used as everyday casual wear. The term “sneaker” is used widely across the US. Back in my homeland of Ireland, the terms “trainer” and “tennis shoe” are more common.

12 Savanna grazer : IMPALA

“Impala” is the Zulu word for “gazelle”. When running at a sustained speed, gazelles can move along at 30 miles per hour. If needed, they can accelerate for bursts up to 60 miles per hour.

A savanna (also “savannah”) is a grassland. If there are any trees in a savanna, by definition they are small and widely spaced so that light can get to the grasses allowing them to grow unhindered.

13 Clears the dishes : BUSSES

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.

22 Like laid-back personalities : TYPE-B

The Type-A and Type-B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labeled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type-A personality types are so-called “stress junkies”, whereas Type Bs are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type-A personality and heart problems.

23 Chow : GRUB

“Chow” is a slang term for “food” that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.

25 Relatives of vicuñas and guanacos : LLAMAS

The vicuña is a South American camelid that lives in the Andes. It produces very little wool, and that wool can only be collected every three years. So, vicuña wool is very expensive due to the shortage of supply. And, the vicuña is the national animal of Peru.

Similar to the llama, the guanaco is a camelid that is native to South America. The wool of the guanaco is valued for its soft feel, and is even more highly prized that the wool of the llama.

29 Showbiz award quadfecta : EGOT

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards.

34 Metal worker? : ROBOT

Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1921 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

35 Annual growth indicator : TREE RING

Growth rings can be seen in a horizontal cross section of a tree trunk. These rings are caused by a change in the rate of growth of a tree that comes with the seasons, so the rings are more easily discerned in trees that grow in regions with marked seasonal changes.

36 Valentine line : I LOVE YOU

Saint Valentine’s Day was introduced by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to honor various martyrs with the name Valentine. However, the saint’s day was dropped by the Roman Catholic church in 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Try telling that to Hallmark though …

37 Purchases that are assembled brick by brick : LEGO SETS

Lego produces some wonderful specialized sets with which you can build models of celebrated structures, including:

  • The Statue of Liberty (2,882 pieces)
  • The Sydney Opera House (2,989 pieces)
  • The Eiffel Tower (3,428 pieces)
  • Tower Bridge (4,295 pieces)
  • The Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces)

43 Debonair : URBANE

We use “urbane” today to describe something courteous or refined. Back in the 1500s, the term was used in the same way that we now use “urban”. Those townsfolk thought they were more sophisticated than the country folk, and so the usage evolved.

Someone described as debonair is very courteous and gracious. The term comes into English via the French “debonaire”, which itself is derived from “de bon’ aire” meaning “of good race”, a phrase that originally applied to the breeding of hawks.

45 Anheuser-Busch product whose ads once featured a penguin : BUD ICE

The American beer Budweiser (often shortened to “Bud”) is named for the Czech town of Budweis (“České Budějovice” in Czech). The name is the subject of a dispute as here is an original Czech beer with a similar name, Budweiser Budvar. American Budweiser is sold in most European countries as “Bud”.

Adolphus Busch was born in Mainz in Germany. He emigrated with three of his brothers from Germany, to St. Louis in 1857. Still a young man, he met a married Lilly Anheuser, whose father owned a local brewery. When Busch’s own father died, he received a sizable inheritance, which he used to buy a substantial share in his father-in-law’s brewery. When Lilly’s father died, the brewery was renamed to Anheuser Busch.

46 Choice cuts : FILETS

A fillet is a boneless cut of meat or fish. The term “fillet” comes from the Old French “filet” meaning “small thread, filament”. Apparently, we applied the term to food because the piece of fish or meat was tied up with string after it was boned. Here in the US, we tend to use the French spelling “filet”.

49 Spot for a bar code, maybe : TAG

There are two types of barcode widely used today:

  1. Linear, or one-dimensional, barcodes usually comprise vertical black and white lines (“bars”) of varying thickness.
  2. Matrix, or two-dimensional, evolved from linear barcodes. They are often square in shape, and are usually made up of an array of rectangles, dots, hexagons and other shapes. A common example is a QR code.

56 1,000 G’s : MIL

One “G” is a thousand dollars, and 1,000 G’s make up a cool million (mil).

57 Message communicated as “short-short-short, long-long-long, short-short-short” : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lot unit : ACRE
5 ___ acid, essential component of vinegar : ACETIC
11 Piece of an edible “rack” : RIB
14 Things hung upside down in some toolsheds : HOES
15 House of cards? : CASINO
16 Animal opposite a kangaroo on Australia’s coat of arms : EMU
17 Lip_on produc_s : INSTANT TEAS (Lipton products)
19 Traveler’s aid, in brief : GPS
20 Stately country homes : CHATEAUS
21 Traveler’s aid : ATLAS
23 Do some work as a teaching assistant, maybe : GRADE
24 About half of the books of the New Testament are attributed to him : PAUL
26 Ho-ho-holiday time? : YULE
27 Auto takeback : REPO
28 _lum-colored _lants : PURPLE PEAS (Plum-colored plants)
30 Longtime residents around the Great Salt Lake : UTE
31 Lean (on) : RELY
32 “Count your ___ by friends, not years” (greeting card sentiment) : AGE
33 Recuperative recommendation : BED REST
35 Company that merged with Sprint in 2020 : T-MOBILE
39 Granola grain : OAT
40 Nincompoop, in Nottingham : PRAT
41 Thanksgiving meal choice : LEG
42 _usy _uzzers : BUMBLEBEES (Busy buzzers)
46 “Around the World in 80 Days” traveler Phileas : FOGG
47 Crushed ingredient in “dirt cake” : OREO
48 Lacking manners : RUDE
49 VCR successors : TIVOS
50 Aids in wrongdoing : ABETS
52 Brews made with heavily roasted malt : DARK ALES
54 Hit hard : RAM
55 Fr_endly fac_al tra_t : SMILING EYES (Friendly facial trait)
58 Paternity proof, in brief : DNA
59 Christianity’s ___ Creed : NICENE
60 Big name in bidets : TOTO
61 String together? : SEW
62 Demolition hammer : SLEDGE
63 Figure (out) : SUSS

Down

1 Poke menu option : AHI
2 Second-most-used substance in the world, after water : CONCRETE
3 Gave a new form : RESHAPED
4 Nueva York, por ejemplo : ESTADO
5 Cutaneous condition : ACNE
6 Onetime threat to a castle’s walls : CATAPULT
7 Chesapeake Bay is one : ESTUARY
8 Evens, as the score : TIES UP
9 Celebrity chef Garten : INA
10 La ___ Nostra : COSA
11 Fix, as a sneaker’s sole : REGLUE
12 Savanna grazer : IMPALA
13 Clears the dishes : BUSSES
18 Cleared the dishes? : ATE
22 Like laid-back personalities : TYPE-B
23 Chow : GRUB
25 Relatives of vicuñas and guanacos : LLAMAS
28 Bug : PESTER
29 Showbiz award quadfecta : EGOT
31 Not fantastic : REAL
34 Metal worker? : ROBOT
35 Annual growth indicator : TREE RING
36 Valentine line : I LOVE YOU
37 Purchases that are assembled brick by brick : LEGO SETS
38 Animal crackers? : EGGS
40 Powered a unicycle, e.g. : PEDALED
42 Medical licensing exams : BOARDS
43 Debonair : URBANE
44 Granny, in Southern dialect : MEEMAW
45 Anheuser-Busch product whose ads once featured a penguin : BUD ICE
46 Choice cuts : FILETS
49 Spot for a bar code, maybe : TAG
51 IDs with multiple hyphens : SSNS
53 A proposal might be done on one : KNEE
56 1,000 G’s : MIL
57 Message communicated as “short-short-short, long-long-long, short-short-short” : SOS

4 thoughts on “0403-24 NY Times Crossword 3 Apr 24, Wednesday”

  1. 10:43, no errors. Live and learn, all these years I thought the character was Phineas FOGG, instead of Phileas.

  2. 11:50. Really appreciated the theme. That would have been a hard one to construct. Probably deserves Thursday status if the fill was more difficult.

    I tried thinking up one of my own, but I kept coming back to DOUBLE D’S so I stopped….

    So many of my posts have failed to make it up lately. Hope this one does. I’m starting to take it personally. And all this time I thought I was Bill’s favorite… (not really).

    I wonder if St. PAUL still gets 14/27ths of a royalty every time a Bible is sold??

    Off to the tropics for 10 days. My longest vacation is years, although I still can’t compete with Alaska Steve’s breaks that he measures in months.

    Best –

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