0417-24 NY Times Crossword 17 Apr 24, Wednesday

Constructed by: Joseph Gangi
Edited by: Joel Fagliano

Today’s Reveal Answer: One Eye

Themed answers relate to the myth of the ONE-EYED CYCLOPS. And, there is but ONE letter I in the whole grid (and none in the clues) … I CAN SEE it. Can you?

  • 20A Cave dweller of Greek myth : POLYPHEMUS
  • 41A Journey such as the one where 20-Across appears : ODYSSEY
  • 60A 20-Across, by another name : THE CYCLOPS
  • 73A Feature of 20-Across … and, when sounded out, a feature of today’s puzzle (clues and all!) : ONE EYE
  • 18A Cry after a poke : I CAN’T SEE!

Bill’s time: 8m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Groups of plants : FLORAS

The fauna (plural “faunae”) is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora (plural “florae”) is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

16 “We ___ arrant knaves, all”: Hamlet : ARE

The full title of William Shakespeare’s play that we tend to call “Hamlet” is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. It is the most performed of all Shakespeare’s plays and it is also his longest, the only one of his works comprising over 4,000 lines. That’s about a 4-hour sitting in a theater …

20 Cave dweller of Greek myth : POLYPHEMUS
60A 20-Across, by another name : THE CYCLOPS

In Greek mythology, Polyphemus was one of the Cyclopes, a one-eyed creature. Polyphemus features in Homer’s “Odyssey”, as he captures Odysseus and twelve of his crew and starts to devour them one-by-one for his meals. Odysseus manages to plunge a wooden stake into Polyphemus’s eye, blinding him. Then he and his remaining crew tie themselves to the underside of sheep, and the blind Polyphemus lets them escape thinking he is allowing just his sheep to pass.

24 Old Testament queendom : SHEBA

Sheba is referenced in the Bible several times. The Queen of Sheba is mentioned as someone who traveled to Jerusalem to behold the fame of King Solomon. No one knows for sure where the kingdom of Sheba was located, although there is evidence that it was actually the ancient Semitic civilization of Saba. The Sabeans lived in what today is Yemen, on the Arabian Peninsula.

34 Prospector’s locale of the late 1800s : ALASKA

The Nome Gold Rush of 1899-1909 was remarkable in the ease that the precious metal could be gathered. Many prospectors were finding gold lying in beach sand and were making their fortunes without even having to make a claim.

41 Journey such as the one where 20-Across appears : ODYSSEY

“Odyssey” is one of two epic poems from ancient Greece that are attributed to Homer. It is largely a sequel to Homer’s other epic “Iliad”. “Odyssey” centers on the heroic figure Odysseus, and his adventures on his journey home to Greece following the fall of Troy. We now use the term “odyssey” to describe any long series of adventures.

45 Chess “castle” : ROOK

The corner piece in the game of chess is called a “rook”, a word coming from the Persian “rokh” meaning a “chariot”. The rook has also been called, perhaps incorrectly, the castle, tower, marquess and rector.

50 Navy vessel letters : USS

The abbreviation “USS” stands for “United States Ship”. The practice of naming US Navy vessels in a standard format didn’t start until 1907, when President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order that addressed the issue.

67 How Jenga blocks are placed, hopefully : STABLY

Jenga is a relatively simple but entertaining game, one in which one stacks wooden blocks as high as possible until the resulting tower collapses. “Jenga” is the Swahili word for “to build”

68 Coda, e.g. : END

In music, a coda is primarily a passage that brings a movement to a conclusion. “Coda” is Italian for “tail”.

70 Wrap for a monarch? : COCOON

Strictly speaking, the term “cocoon” only applies to the tough outer casing created by moth caterpillars. Butterfly caterpillars protect themselves in a hard outer skin to form a pupa known as a chrysalis. But, butterfly caterpillars don’t go the extra step by spinning a silky cocoon. Famously, silk thread comes from silk cocoons created by silkworms, which mature into silk moths.

The monarch butterfly has very recognizable orange and black wings, and is often seen across North America. The monarch is the state insect of several US states and was even nominated as the national insect in 1990, but that legislation was not enacted.

71 D.C.’s B and A: Abbr. : STS

Famously, the layout of the streets in Washington was designed by French-born American architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant. The L’Enfant Plan called for a grid of east-west and north-south streets. This grid was crisscrossed with diagonal avenues. The avenues and streets met at circles and rectangular plazas. The east-west streets are generally named for letters, while the north-south streets are numbered. Later, many of the diagonal avenues were named for states of the union.

Down

2 Noted brand from Denmark : LEGO

Lego is manufactured by the Lego Group, a privately held company headquartered in Billund, Denmark. The company was founded by a carpenter called Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1934 and the now-famous plastic interlocking blocks were introduced in 1949. The blocks were originally sold under the name “Automatic Binding Bricks” but I think “Lego” is easier to remember! The name “Lego” comes from the Danish term “leg godt” meaning “play well”.

3 Watermelon-shaped : OVAL

The watermelon that we find in the grocery store is actually a berry produced by the flowering, vine-like watermelon plant. Seedless watermelons were developed by Japanese scientists in 1939, and now seedless varieties account for over 80% of watermelon sales in the US.

5 Beth preceder : ALEPH

Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and beth is the second.

6 Skater Cohen : SASHA

Sasha Cohen is an American figure skater from Westwood, California. Cohen’s mother is a former ballet dancer who immigrated here from Ukraine. “Sasha” is a Russian diminutive of Cohen’s birth name of “Alexandra”.

9 Flotsam and jetsam : TRASH

“Flotsam” and “jetsam” are both terms used to describe garbage in the ocean. Flotsam is floating wreckage from a ship or its cargo. Jetsam is similar to flotsam, except that it is part of a ship or cargo that is deliberately cast overboard, perhaps to lighten a vessel.

19 Keep ___ on (watch closely) : TABS

To keep tabs on someone is to watch him or her carefully. Back in the late 1800s, the phrase was written as “keep a tab on”, with “tab” being short for “tablet”, in the sense of a writing tablet. By the way, the name of the diet soda “Tab” was chosen as the drink’s target market was those trying to keep “tabs” on their weight.

21 H, to Homer : ETA

Homer was a famous poet of ancient Greece who is believed to be the author of the two classic epic poems “Iliad” and “Odyssey”. However, some scholars believe that Homer did not actually exist, but rather he is the personification of oral tradition that was passed down through the ages.

27 Eschew the pews, say : ELOPE

“To eschew”, meaning “to avoid, shun”, comes from the Old French word “eschiver” that means the same thing.

30 Mastodon features : TUSKS

Mastodons were large mammals that were related to the modern elephant. Mastodons roamed the forest of North and Central America until they became extinct about 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Their extinction is believed to have come about due to a rapid change in climate.

32 Mournful poem : ELEGY

An elegy is a mournful poem or funeral song, and is also known as a dirge.

35 Land separated at the 38th parallel : KOREA

Korea was occupied by the Japanese military from 1910 until Japan surrendered at the end of WWII in 1945. While the UN was working towards a trusteeship administration for Korea, the Soviet Union managed the Korean Peninsula north of the 38th parallel and the US managed the south. The UN’s plans came to naught as the Cold War dictated the establishment of the two separate states of North Korea and South Korea. North Korea invaded the South in 1950, leading to the Korean War. After three years of fighting, the border between the two states became the demarcation line between the two military forces on the day the Armistice Agreement was signed. That line runs diagonally across the 38th parallel, and is better known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

49 Quest for some athletes : GOLD

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

51 Egg ___ : SAC

An egg sac is a case made of silk that contains the eggs of a female spider.

54 Play, as a ukulele : STRUM

The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

56 Food products wholesaler : SYSCO

It’s hard to drive down any highway in the US without coming across a Sysco truck. It really is a huge company, the largest food service enterprise in the country. “Sysco” is an abbreviation for Systems and Services Company.

61 OK place to be naked, once : EDEN

In the Christian tradition, the “fall of man” took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This went against the bidding of God, and was at the urging of the serpent. As a result, Adam and Eve were banished from Eden to prevent them from becoming immortal by eating from the tree of life. The first humans had transitioned from a state of innocent obedience to a state of guilty disobedience.

64 “Auld Lang ___” : SYNE

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”.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For days of auld lang syne

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Groups of plants : FLORAS
7 Mental ___ : MATH
11 Escape vessel : POD
14 Bottom floor of a 46-Across, perhaps : LEVEL A
15 Farmland measure : ACRE
16 “We ___ arrant knaves, all”: Hamlet : ARE
17 Banded gemstones : AGATES
18 Cry after a poke : I CAN’T SEE!
20 Cave dweller of Greek myth : POLYPHEMUS
22 Over : ATOP
23 Cool, ’90s-style : PHAT
24 Old Testament queendom : SHEBA
26 Just : MERE
29 Had a meal : ATE
31 Valuable property : ASSET
34 Prospector’s locale of the late 1800s : ALASKA
37 Some Google search results : URLS
39 Styled after : A LA
40 Put on : DON
41 Journey such as the one where 20-Across appears : ODYSSEY
43 Pro wrestler ___ Luger : LEX
44 Copy : APE
45 Chess “castle” : ROOK
46 Spot to park : GARAGE
48 Enter a busy freeway : MERGE
50 Navy vessel letters : USS
52 Dreyer’s, on the East Coast : EDY’S
53 Bash for laughs : ROAST
55 “Pronto!” : ASAP!
58 Face-to-face, as an exam : ORAL
60 20-Across, by another name : THE CYCLOPS
65 Took the long way home, say : WANDERED
67 How Jenga blocks are placed, hopefully : STABLY
68 Coda, e.g. : END
69 Unadulterated : PURE
70 Wrap for a monarch? : COCOON
71 D.C.’s B and A: Abbr. : STS
72 “Well put!” : AMEN!
73 Feature of 20-Across … and, when sounded out, a feature of today’s puzzle (clues and all!) : ONE EYE

Down

1 Try to fly : FLAP
2 Noted brand from Denmark : LEGO
3 Watermelon-shaped : OVAL
4 Corrects, as keystrokes : RETYPES
5 Beth preceder : ALEPH
6 Skater Cohen : SASHA
7 Hurt badly : MAIM
8 They may take the stand : ACCUSERS
9 Flotsam and jetsam : TRASH
10 Egg producer : HEN
11 Potluck staple : PASTA SALAD
12 Stackable snack : OREO
13 Profound : DEEP
19 Keep ___ on (watch closely) : TABS
21 H, to Homer : ETA
25 Course that’s a breeze : EASY A
26 Oft-contracted address : MADAM
27 Eschew the pews, say : ELOPE
28 Performed some weekend tasks : RAN ERRANDS
30 Mastodon features : TUSKS
32 Mournful poem : ELEGY
33 Takes a toll on : TAXES
35 Land separated at the 38th parallel : KOREA
36 Trouble : ADO
38 Relay race part : LEG
42 “Psst, hey!” : YOU THERE!
47 Swap out : REPLACE
49 Quest for some athletes : GOLD
51 Egg ___ : SAC
54 Play, as a ukulele : STRUM
56 Food products wholesaler : SYSCO
57 Follow, as a lead : ACT ON
58 Doesn’t have enough : OWES
59 Go on and on : RANT
61 OK place to be naked, once : EDEN
62 Orchestra part : OBOE
63 Sneaky maneuver : PLOY
64 “Auld Lang ___” : SYNE
66 Lead regulator, for short : EPA

7 thoughts on “0417-24 NY Times Crossword 17 Apr 24, Wednesday”

  1. 10:49, no errors. Understood the theme. Meant to check all the clues for i’s, and forgot (until now). Surprised to finish with no errors, given that I was pretty error-prone in everything else I tried to do yesterday … 😳.

  2. 13:12, no errors. Thanks for the explanation, Bill. There was a lot going on behind the curtain today. Outside of the Greek mythology bits, the constraint to create a puzzle that contains the letter ‘I’ only once was beyond me.
    70A clue: shouldn’t Monarch have been capitalized?

  3. 13:18. Interesting theme. I didn’t know one of THE CYCLOPS had a real name.

    A HEN is just an egg’s way of making another egg…..

    Best –

  4. I have a theory that says if you take enough math, science and engineering classes in college you inadvertently learn the Greek alphabet.

    Today the Hebrew alphabet. A few weeks ago something about the Cyrillic alphabet.

    These are beyond the scope of my education. Maybe it’s time to quit.

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