0312-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Mar 16, Saturday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today’s New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Josh Knapp
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 33m 43s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Shipping quantity : GROSS
The number 144 is also known as a gross. The term comes from the Old French “grosse douzaine” meaning “large dozen”, i.e. a “dozen dozen”.

14. Old-fashioned affair à la “Oklahoma!” : BOX SOCIAL
Here in the US, a “box social” is an event where traditionally women provide a two-person lunch in a decorated cardboard box. Men then bid on the boxes in the hope of sharing the lunch with the lady who provided the box.

“Oklahoma!” was the first musical written by the great duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The storyline comes from a 1931 stage play called “Green Grow the Lilacs”.

16. Big scrap : MELEE
Our word “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

17. “Tonight Show” bandleader with a signature ‘fro : QUESTLOVE
Questlove (also “?uestlove”) is the stage name of musician and DJ Ahmir Khalib Thompson. He is the drummer of hip hop band the Roots. The Roots are the house band “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”.

18. Ancient manuscript : CODEX
A codex is an old book, one in the format of a modern book as opposed to its predecessor which was a scroll. The word “codex” comes from the Latin “caudex” meaning “trunk of a tree”.

19. Jimmy : PRY
“Jimmy” is a variant of the word “jemmy” that is used for a type of crowbar, one associated with burglars back in the 1800s.

A crowbar is a wonderful tool, one that can be used to pry open things, and to remove nails. The claw at one or both ends of the tool aids in that nail removal, and it is likely this “claw” was said to resemble that of a crow, giving us the name “crowbar”. Back in Elizabethan times. the same tool was called an “iron crow”. There’s a line in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” that reads “Get me an iron crow and bring it straight/Unto my cell.”

20. Something a mother wears : HABIT
That would be a mother superior, a nun in a leadership position in a conven …

21. Works on the strip? : INKS
That would inking a comic strip …

22. The world’s largest one is in South Korea, the second-largest in Sweden : IKEA
The world’s largest IKEA furniture store is in Seoul, South Korea. The second-largest is in Stockholm, Sweden. The third-, fourth- and fifth-largest are all located in China.

28. Joint issue : GOUT
Gout is caused by an elevation of the levels of uric acid in the blood. As a result of the high concentrations, the uric acid can crystallize out in tissue causing extreme discomfort. What we tend to call gout occurs when the crystals are deposited in the big toe.

30. Bush junior? : ‘ROO
The name “kangaroo” comes from the Australian Aborigine term for the animal. There’s an oft-quoted story that James Cook (later Captain Cook) asked a local native the name of this remarkable looking animal, and the native responded with “kangaroo”. The story is that the native was actually saying “I don’t understand you”, but as cute as that tale is, it’s just an urban myth.

41. Oakland’s Bill ___ Climate Lab : NYE’S
“Bill Nye’s Climate Lab” is a permanent exhibition at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California. The aim of the exhibit is to make people aware of the effects of climate change on the planet.

51. Grateful Dead bassist Phil : LESH
Phil Lesh is a bass guitar player and is one of the founding members of the rock band, the Grateful Dead. The band’s first names was “the Warlocks”, a name that had to be changed as there was already a band called the Warlocks (although the other Warlocks band had in fact changed its name as well, to Velvet Underground). “The Grateful Dead” was suggested by Jerry Garcia, and was chosen from a dictionary.

52. Robert of “The Girl Who Knew Too Much” : ALDA
Actor Robert Alda was the father of Alan Alda. Robert Alda’s most famous role was probably George Gershwin in the 1945 movie “Rhapsody in Blue”. Robert appeared twice in “M*A*S*H”, alongside his son.

“The Girl Who Knew Too Much” is a 1969 film starring Adam West. It’s a crime thriller, intended as a vehicle to reinvent West as tough guy after playing the title role in TV’s “Batman” from 1966 to 1968.

53. One of the 12 tribes of Israel : ASHER
In the Book of Genesis, Asher was the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, the handmaid to Jacob’s wife Leah. He founded the tribe of Asr, one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

55. Big inits. in podcasting : NPR
National Public Radio (now just called NPR) was launched in 1970 after President Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The intent of the act was to provide funding for radio and television broadcasting that wasn’t simply driven by profit. As a longtime fan of the state-funded BBC in the UK, I’d have to agree with that intent …

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

56. Termagant : SCOLD
A termagant is a quarrelsome woman, a scold.

58. Once-popular free computer download : SHAREWARE
Shareware is software that is distributed for free, although there is usually a request to pay non-compulsory license fee.

60. Sagal of “Married … With Children” : KATEY
Katey Sagal played Peggy Bundy on “Married … with Children”. Later she took over as star of the show “8 Simple Rules” in the middle of its run, when John Ritter passed away unexpectedly in 2003. More recently, Sagal appeared on the FX drama “Sons of Anarchy”. In 2004, she married Kurt Sutter who created the “Sons of Anarchy” series.

62. Twos in the news : ITEMS
An unmarried couple known to be involved with each other might appear in the gossip columns. This appearance as “an item” in the papers, led to the use of “item” to refer to such a couple, but only since the very early seventies.

63. All but the outer columns, typically : WEEKDAYS
Those would be the columns on a calendar …

Down
1. Where dogs may be put in the backyard : BBQ PIT
It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

A hot dog is a sausage served in a split roll. The term “hot dog” dates back to the 19th-century and is thought to reflect a commonly-held opinion that the sausages contained dog meat.

2. Golden Globe winner for “The Wrestler” : ROURKE
The actor Mickey Rourke had trained as a boxer before his acting career took off. He turned to professional boxing when he lost his love for acting. Rourke took a lot of punishment in the ring in the nineties, resulting in a lot of damage to his face. He admits that the problems with his appearance were aggravated by some botched plastic surgery.

“The Wrestler” is a really hard, gritty movie from 2008, a comeback film for actor Mickey Rourke. Rourke stars as an over-the-hill professional wrestler, with Marisa Tomei playing a faded stripper, the love interest. The film received really strong reviews, but I found it to be a tough movie to sit through.

3. Bright yellow bouquet : OXEYES
Oxeyes are plants in the daisy family.

5. “The fool ___ think he is wise”: Shak. : DOTH
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” is a line from William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It”.

“As You Like It” is one of Shakespeare’s comedies, the tale of Rosalind fleeing from her Uncle’s court along with her cousin Celia and the court jester Touchstone. Rosalind lives in exile in the Forest of Arden, disguised as a male shepherd called Ganymede. The play is perhaps most memorable for an oft-quoted monologue that starts with:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players …

6. Acclaim : ECLAT
“Éclat” can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

7. Personification of Turkey’s Weeping Rock : NIOBE
In Greek mythology, when her children were killed, Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus where she was turned into stone and wept for eternity. There is in fact a Niobe’s Rock on Mount Sipylus (in modern-day Turkey) that resembles a female face, and so is known as “The Weeping Rock”.

8. Piggy bank contents : SAVINGS
The word “pig” can be used for earthenware, or an earthenware shard. From this usage there evolved the term “pig jar” that described an earthenware pot that could be filled with water for use as a bed-warmer. Crockery pots were also used to collect coins and these were also termed “pig jars”. By the 1700s, these pig jars had evolved into the first “piggy banks”.

9. Canyon maker : GMC
The Chevrolet Colorado is a midsize pickup truck that is also sold as the GMC Canyon.

11. Source of the word “saga” : OLD NORSE
“Saga” is an Old Norse word for a long and elaborate story, and a word that we’ve been using in English only since the early 1700s.

13. Once-common Times Square establishment : SEX SHOP
Times Square in New York City isn’t a square at all, but rather a triangle. When the New York Times newspaper opened new headquarters in the area in 1904, the city agreed to the name “Times Square”, changing it from Longacre Square. Business in Times Square grew dramatically after WWI, with theaters, music halls and ritzy hotels opening up. The famous advertising signs really took off in the Roaring Twenties, but by the end of the decade the area became a hotbed for crime and corruption. Against this background, Times Square became home to many go-go bars and sex shops in from the sixties through the nineties. Mayor Giuliani led a clean-up effort in the mid-1990s, and the area has flourished ever since.

27. Dome of the Rock, e.g. : SHRINE
The Dome of the Rock is a beautiful Islamic mosque located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The golden dome, which gives the structure its name, was refurbished in 1993 using $8.2 million gifted by King Hussein of Jordan. Apparently King Hussein sold one of his houses in London in order to fund the 80 kg of gold required for the project.

34. Alpine region : TYROL
The Austrian state of Tyrol has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially if you love the mountains. It is in the very west of the country, just south of Bavaria in Germany. The capital city is the famous Innsbruck.

35. Target of a trap-neuter-return program : FERAL CAT
“Feral”, meaning existing in a wild or untamed state, comes from the Latin word “fera” meaning “a wild animal”.

38. Make a flying jump in the winter : PARA-SKI
Para-skiing is skiing across snowy terrain pulled along by a parachute.

39. Morale booster on base : USO SHOW
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

43. “No problemo” : DE NADA
“Nada” is the Spanish word for “nothing”. “De nada” translates literally from the Spanish as “of nothing”, and is used to mean “you’re welcome” or “don’t mention it”. The French have the same expression “de rien”, also translating to “of nothing” and used the same way.

44. Keen-eyed fisher : OSPREY
The Osprey is also known as the sea hawk or fish eagle.

47. Home of the real-life House of the Seven Gables : SALEM
Salem is a seaport on the Massachusetts coast. It is noted as the location of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, an event that the city commemorates during the run-up to Halloween every year in October.

I had the pleasure of visiting the charming House of Seven Gables a few years ago in Salem, Massachusetts. The core of the house was built in 1668, for one Captain John Turner, and overlooks Salem Harbor. After a couple of generations, the house had to be sold by the Turners and it was purchased by the Ingersoll family. The author Nathaniel Hawthorne was a relative of the Ingersolls and often visited the house growing up. It was this house that gave Hawthorn the title for his famous Gothic novel “The House of the Seven Gables”.

54. Fetor : REEK
A “fetor” is a powerful and offensive smell. The Latin verb “fetere” translates as “to have a bad spell”.

59. One of the 63-Across: Abbr. : WED
(63A. All but the outer columns, typically : WEEKDAYS)
“Wotan” is an alternative (High German) spelling of the name Woden, the Anglo-Saxon version of the Norse god Odin. Wotan is the head god in the pagan tradition, but as paganism was gradually replaced by Christianity in the 7th and 8th centuries, Wotan moved from his place in religion and into the realm of folklore. Indeed, he is a precursor of our modern day Father Christmas. Wotan (Woden) also gave his name to Wednesday, Woden’s Day …

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Spreads : BROADENS
9. Shipping quantity : GROSS
14. Old-fashioned affair à la “Oklahoma!” : BOX SOCIAL
16. Big scrap : MELEE
17. “Tonight Show” bandleader with a signature ‘fro : QUESTLOVE
18. Ancient manuscript : CODEX
19. Jimmy : PRY
20. Something a mother wears : HABIT
21. Works on the strip? : INKS
22. The world’s largest one is in South Korea, the second-largest in Sweden : IKEA
24. See to : TEND
25. Sound of moving water : SLOSH
26. Pushes to the limit : TESTS
28. Joint issue : GOUT
30. Bush junior? : ‘ROO
31. “Hell, yeah!” : THAT’S WHAT’S UP!
35. Kind of : FAIRLY
37. “Hang on, hang on” : NOT YET
38. Office drudge : PENCIL PUSHER
40. Something off the wall? : ART
41. Oakland’s Bill ___ Climate Lab : NYE’S
42. Dummies : DODOS
46. Up : RAISE
48. Not be free : COST
51. Grateful Dead bassist Phil : LESH
52. Robert of “The Girl Who Knew Too Much” : ALDA
53. One of the 12 tribes of Israel : ASHER
55. Big inits. in podcasting : NPR
56. Termagant : SCOLD
58. Once-popular free computer download : SHAREWARE
60. Sagal of “Married … With Children” : KATEY
61. #1 going in : TOP-SEEDED
62. Twos in the news : ITEMS
63. All but the outer columns, typically : WEEKDAYS

Down
1. Where dogs may be put in the backyard : BBQ PIT
2. Golden Globe winner for “The Wrestler” : ROURKE
3. Bright yellow bouquet : OXEYES
4. Jerk : ASS
5. “The fool ___ think he is wise”: Shak. : DOTH
6. Acclaim : ECLAT
7. Personification of Turkey’s Weeping Rock : NIOBE
8. Piggy bank contents : SAVINGS
9. Canyon maker : GMC
10. Keep lubed, say : REOIL
11. Source of the word “saga” : OLD NORSE
12. Targets on a hunt : SEEKS OUT
13. Once-common Times Square establishment : SEX SHOP
15. Bummers : LETDOWNS
23. Horror movie locale : ATTIC
25. Aforementioned : STATED
27. Dome of the Rock, e.g. : SHRINE
29. “Eeep!” : UH-OH!
32. Get together : ALLY
33. Not having many different parts? : TYPECAST
34. Alpine region : TYROL
35. Target of a trap-neuter-return program : FERAL CAT
36. Vial that a villain might withhold : ANTIDOTE
38. Make a flying jump in the winter : PARA-SKI
39. Morale booster on base : USO SHOW
43. “No problemo” : DE NADA
44. Keen-eyed fisher : OSPREY
45. Does a virtuoso guitar solo, slangily : SHREDS
47. Home of the real-life House of the Seven Gables : SALEM
49. Condition : SHAPE
50. Like the answer “No.” : TERSE
54. Fetor : REEK
57. Start to function? : DYS-
59. One of the 63-Across: Abbr. : WED

Return to top of page

9 thoughts on “0312-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Mar 16, Saturday”

  1. My gut reaction is that since DE NADA is proper Spanish, the clue should be "No problema." Isn't "problemo" an Americanized colloquialism at best and, at worst, inaccurate?

  2. 35:56, no errors. This is the second puzzle I've done "for real" on my iPad instead of on paper and I found the process a bit easier even though I thought the puzzle itself was intrinsically harder. I'm beginning to think I could actually get used to this … 🙂

  3. 37:24, no errors. Never really comfortable with this one today. A lot of misdirection, eg. Bush junior?. Had Jeb in there for quite a while.

    Also included my pet peeve of requiring foreign language knowledge. 50-50 chance for me as to whether 43D was DE NADA or DI NADA; no help that I had no idea who the Grateful Dead bassist was (LESH or LISH).

    Getting SEX SHOP for 13D was also a stretch for me. As a teenager, in the '60s, we used to go to Times Square for the penny arcades, and the Automat eatery was also a big attraction. The SEX SHOP's were either well hidden, or hadn't sprung up yet.

  4. 27:39, could only finish about half. Too many things I either didn't know, or were so vaguely clued as to be unguessable. I suppose that's what passes for standard on a Saturday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.