0304-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Mar 17, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mary Lou Guizzo
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 15m 08s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Roma’s Fontana di ___ : TREVI
The Trevi Fountain (“Fontana di Trevi”) is a huge fountain in Rome, the largest constructed in the Baroque style. The tradition is that if one throws a coin in the fountain then one is guaranteed a return visit to the city. Tourists throw in an amazing 3,000 euros (over $4,000) every day. The money is collected and is used to stock a supermarket for the needy of the city.

14. Cotillard won Best Actress for playing her : PIAF
La Môme Piaf (the Little Sparrow) was the nickname of France’s most famous singer, Édith Piaf. What a voice this woman had, and what gorgeous ballads she sang. Édith Piaf lived a life that was not without controversy. She was raised by her mother in a brothel in Normandy, and had a pimp as a boyfriend in her teens. She had one child, while very young, born illegitimately and who died at 2-years-old from meningitis. Her singing career started when she was discovered in the Pigalle area of Paris by nightclub owner Louis Leplée. Leplée was murdered soon after, and Piaf was accused of being an accessory to the murder but was later acquitted. During World War II she was branded a traitor by many as she frequently performed for the German occupying forces, although there are other reports of her supporting the resistance movement. Later in her life she was seriously injured in no less than three, near-fatal car accidents, including one with her friend, Charles Aznavour. While recovering from her injuries she became addicted to pain medication, an addiction that lasted for the rest of her life. When she died in 1963 she was denied a Catholic funeral mass because of her lifestyle, but the crowds that turned out for her funeral procession managed to stop all traffic in Paris, the only time that has happened since the end of WWII.

Marion Cotillard is the French actress who played Édith Piaf in the 2007 movie “La Vie en Rose”. Cotillard won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance, marking the first time that an actress has won a Best Actress Academy Award for a performance in a French language film.

15. Flier with an S-shaped neck : HERON
Herons are birds with long legs that inhabit freshwater and coastal locales. Some herons are routinely referred to as egrets, and others as bitterns. Herons look a lot like storks and cranes, but differ in their appearance in flight. Herons fly with their necks retracted in an S-shape, whereas storks and cranes have their necks extended.

20. He played the “King” opposite Deborah’s Anna : YUL
Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor. Brynner was well known for his great performances, but also for his shaved head and his deep rich voice. He first adopted the “hairstyle” while playing the King of Siam in the stage version of “The King and I”, and he stuck with it.

The lovely Deborah Kerr was a Scottish actress who made a real name for herself on the American stage and in Hollywood movies. Despite all her success, and six nominations for a Best Actress Oscar, Kerr never actually won an Academy Award. In 1967 she appeared in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” at the age of 46, making her oldest Bond Girl of all time.

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

21. Sports item with a sensor : EPEE
The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

22. Like stones in a cairn : HEAPED
A cairn is a man-made pile of stones that can have various uses. A cairn might be a prosaic trail marker, or a distinctive landmark or monument. Our term “cairn” derives from the Gaelic “carn” meaning “rocky hill, heap of stones”.

23. Website offering “mentally stimulating diversions” : SPORCLE
Sporcle.com is a trivia quiz website. The name is derived from the word “oracle” apparently. I like the web site’s mission statement: “We actively and methodically search out new and innovative ways to prevent our users from getting any work done whatsoever.”

26. Moneyed, in Madrid : RICO
Madrid is the largest city in Spain and the capital. Madrid is located very close to the geographical center of the country. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (after London and Paris). People from Madrid called themselves Madrileños.

27. They can be found next to six-packs : PECS
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They are all called a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

28. Lead-in to Pen : EPI-
EpiPen is a brand name of epinephrine auto-injector. An EpiPen delivers a measured dose of epinephrine, usually for the treatment of an allergic reaction.

34. Gone badly? : AWOL
The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

36. Letter in the NATO alphabet : TANGO
The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

37. British thrones? : LOOS
It has been suggested that the British term “loo” comes from Waterloo (water-closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

38. “Draft Dodger Rag” singer : OCHS
Phil Ochs was an American protest singer who was active in the days of the Vietnam War. Sadly, the singer’s mental health declined at the very time the war was winding down. Saigon fell in 1975, and Ochs committed suicide in 1976.

39. Yosemite’s range : HIGH SIERRA
The American Sierra Nevada range lies in California and Nevada. The Spanish Sierra Nevada range is in Andalusia, with the name meaning “snowy range” in Spanish.

President Abraham Lincoln passed a bill in 1864 creating the Yosemite Grant, which was the first piece of federal legislature that set aside park land for preservation and public use. The Yosemite Grant paved the way for the creation of Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park in 1872.

41. The Eagles, for short : PHI
The Philadelphia Eagles were established in 1933 and joined the National Football League as a replacement for the bankrupt Frankford Yellow Jackets, also from Philadelphia. The “Eagle” name was inspired by the Blue Eagle insignia that was used by companies who were in compliance with the National Industrial Recovery Act that was central to President Roosevelt’s New Deal Program.

42. Cavils : NITS
A cavil is a trivial objection, a nit.

43. Source of chips : SPUD
The word “spud” is used as a slang term for a potato and was first recorded in the mid-1800s, in New Zealand would you believe?

51. South ___ (Polynesia’s locale) : SEAS
The term “Polynesia” was coined in 1756 by the author Charles de Brosses, when he used it to describe all the islands in the Pacific. This was later restricted to what we now refer to as a subregion of Oceania.

52. TV series that spawned an exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry : CSI
The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but seems to have finally wound down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, set in Las Vegas, hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. The youngest show in the series was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two season before being canceled in 2016.

53. First black woman elected to Congress, 1968 : SHIRLEY CHISHOLM
When Shirley Chisholm was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1968, she became the first African-American member of the US Congress. Four years later, Chisholm was the first African-American to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

56. Uffizi Gallery’s river : ARNO
The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, passing through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest art museums in the western world and is housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy. The Palazzo was built in 1560, intended to house the offices of the Florentine magistrates. This original usage gave the gallery its name, as “uffizi” is Italian for “offices”.

58. India with four Grammys : ARIE
India.Arie is an American soul and R&B singer who was born India Arie Simpson in Denver, Colorado.

59. G.I.’s wear : TAGS
The initials “G.I.” stand for “Government Issue”, and not “General Infantry” as is often believed. GI was first used in the military to denote equipment made from Galvanized Iron and during WWI, incoming German shells were nicknamed “GI cans”. Soon after, the term GI came to be associated with “Government Issue” and eventually became an adjective to describe anything associated with the Army.

61. Group of 435 pols : REPS
The number of seats in the US House of Representatives has been 435 since the year 1913, although there was a temporary increase to 437 seats at the time of the admission of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union. The number of representatives assigned to each state is proportional to that state’s population, except that each state is guaranteed a minimum of one delegate by the US Constitution.

Down
1. Fixes : SPAYS
Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

2. Excite : GIN UP
“To gin up” is a slang term meaning “to enliven, excite”. The term probably derives from the older “to ginger up”. Gingering up was the rather nasty practice of putting ginger up inside a horse to make it lively and move with a high tail.

3. Actress on “Orange Is the New Black” : TAYLOR SCHILLING
“Orange Is the New Black” is a very entertaining comedy-drama series made by Netflix about an upper middle-class woman who goes to jail for a drug-related offense committed ten years earlier, in her youth. The series is based on a memoir by Piper Kerman called “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison”.

4. Trans-Pacific flight destination, for short : SFO
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) serves as the main base of operations for Virgin America (recently sold to Alaska Airlines), and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines.

6. Noted Civil War signature : RE LEE
Robert E. Lee is renowned as a southern officer in the Civil War. Lee was a somewhat reluctant participant in the war in that he opposed the secession of his home state of Virginia from the Union. At the beginning of the war, President Lincoln invited Lee to take command of the whole Union Army but he declined, choosing instead to stay loyal to his home state. During the Civil War, Lee’s men referred to him affectionately as “Marse Robert”, with “marse” being slang for “master”.

7. It’s down the lake from Buffalo : ERIE
Erie is a city in the very north of Pennsylvania, right on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city takes its name from the Erie Native American tribe that resided in the area. Erie is nicknamed the Gem City, a reference to the “sparkling” Lake Erie.

Buffalo is the second most-populous city in the state of New York. The city takes its name from Buffalo Creek that runs through the metropolis (although the waterway is called Buffalo River within the city). The source of the name Buffalo Creek is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear, there were never any bison in the area.

8. “Ara ___ Prec” (T. S. Eliot poetry volume) : VOS
“Ara Vos Prec” is the title of a 1920 collection of poems by T. S. Eliot. The phrase “Ara vos prec” is a phrase from Dante’s “Inferno”.

10. Unesco World Heritage Site on the Arabian Peninsula : SANA’A
Sana (also Sana’a) is the capital city of Yemen. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.

11. Red square : TRIPLE WORD SCORE
That would be the game of Scrabble.

12. Eric of magazine publishing : UTNE
The “Utne Reader” is known for aggregation and republishing of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other sources in the media. The “Utne Reader” was founded in 1984 by Eric Utne, with management taken over by Eric’s wife Nina Rothschild Utne in 1990.

13. Longtime Cotton Bowl home, informally : BIG D
“Big D” is a nickname for the city of Dallas, Texas.

The Cotton Bowl college football game was played from its inception in 1937 until 2009 in Dallas, originally at the Texas State Fair Grounds. The game was moved to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas in 2010.

18. Big maker of candy hearts : NECCO
The forerunner to Sweethearts candy was introduced in 1866, with the famous sayings written on the candy tailored for use at weddings. One of the original expressions was, “Married in pink, he will take a drink”. The original candy was a lot bigger, to fit all those words! The smaller, heart-shaped candy hit the shelves in 1901. We’ve been able to buy Sweethearts with the words “Text me” since 2010.

19. Thought patterns, in brief? : EEGS
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.

24. Places for curlers : RINKS
I think curling is such a cool game (pun!). It’s somewhat like bowls, but played on a sheet of ice. The sport was supposedly invented in medieval Scotland, and is called curling because of the action of the granite stone is it moves across the ice. A player can make the stone take a curved path (“curl”) by causing it to slowly rotate as it slides.

25. ___ Mercer, originator of the palindrome “A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!” : LEIGH
The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

  • Able was I ere I saw Elba
  • A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
  • Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite words is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

30. “Play it, Sam” speaker : ILSA
There is a famous exchange in the movie “Casablanca” that results in the piano player Sam singing “As Time Goes By”.

Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.
Sam: I don’t know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”
Sam: Oh, I can’t remember it, Miss Ilsa. I’m a little rusty on it.
Ilsa: I’ll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum…
Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.

31. “Eat up every moment” sloganeer : IHOP
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests!

32. Part of a dashboard, for short : TACH
The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word “tachos” meaning “speed”. A tachometer measures engine revolutions per minute (rpm).

Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …

33. “Taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase,” per M.L.K. : FAITH
Martin Luther King, Jr’s father was born Michael King. On a trip to Germany in 1934, Michael came to admire Protestant leader Martin Luther and changed his name to Martin Luther King on his return the United States. Famously, he passed on his new name to his son, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

34. Many a Nikolskoye native : ALEUT
The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

42. Deicer formula : NACL
Sodium chloride (NaCl, common salt) is an ionic compound, a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na) ions in between the chlorides.

45. Capital of France : EUROS
The “eurozone” or “euro area” is a monetary and economic union within the European Union that uses the euro as a shared legal tender and sole currency.

47. Neighbor of New York’s Bay Shore : ISLIP
The town of Islip is on the south shore of Long Island. It is home to Islip Airport, now known as Long Island MacArthur Airport, used by many as a viable alternative to JFK and LaGuardia.

50. Dragsters’ grp. : NHRA
The sport of drag racing is administered by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).

Back in the 18th century “drag” was slang for a wagon or buggy, as it was “dragged” along by a horse or horses. In the 1930s, the underworld adopted “drag” as slang for an automobile. This sense of the word was imported into automobile racing in the forties, giving the name to “drag racing”. A drag race is basically a competition between two cars to determine which can accelerate faster from a standstill.

51. ___ work (tedious tasks) : SCUT
“Scutwork” is monotonous work, tasks that need to be done in order to complete a larger project. “Scut” is an informal term that describes a contemptible person.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Figs. in many police procedurals : SGTS
5. Roma’s Fontana di ___ : TREVI
10. Split ticket? : STUB
14. Cotillard won Best Actress for playing her : PIAF
15. Flier with an S-shaped neck : HERON
16. Where lines are drawn? : ART I
17. “Is this thing on?” : ANYONE LISTENING?
20. He played the “King” opposite Deborah’s Anna : YUL
21. Sports item with a sensor : EPEE
22. Like stones in a cairn : HEAPED
23. Website offering “mentally stimulating diversions” : SPORCLE
25. Corporate department : LEGAL
26. Moneyed, in Madrid : RICO
27. They can be found next to six-packs : PECS
28. Lead-in to Pen : EPI-
31. “That’s cheating!” : IT’S NOT FAIR!
34. Gone badly? : AWOL
35. Untalented writer : HACK
36. Letter in the NATO alphabet : TANGO
37. British thrones? : LOOS
38. “Draft Dodger Rag” singer : OCHS
39. Yosemite’s range : HIGH SIERRA
41. The Eagles, for short : PHI
42. Cavils : NITS
43. Source of chips : SPUD
44. Drain away : LEACH
46. “I’ve had enough!” : THAT’S IT!
49. Fortunate : IN LUCK
51. South ___ (Polynesia’s locale) : SEAS
52. TV series that spawned an exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry : CSI
53. First black woman elected to Congress, 1968 : SHIRLEY CHISHOLM
56. Uffizi Gallery’s river : ARNO
57. Manuel ___, German soccer star called a “sweeper-keeper” : NEUER
58. India with four Grammys : ARIE
59. G.I.’s wear : TAGS
60. Fulfills : SATES
61. Group of 435 pols : REPS

Down
1. Fixes : SPAYS
2. Excite : GIN UP
3. Actress on “Orange Is the New Black” : TAYLOR SCHILLING
4. Trans-Pacific flight destination, for short : SFO
5. Exclamation after more information is revealed : THE PLOT THICKENS!
6. Noted Civil War signature : RE LEE
7. It’s down the lake from Buffalo : ERIE
8. “Ara ___ Prec” (T. S. Eliot poetry volume) : VOS
9. Targeted : IN THE CROSSHAIRS
10. Unesco World Heritage Site on the Arabian Peninsula : SANA’A
11. Red square : TRIPLE WORD SCORE
12. Eric of magazine publishing : UTNE
13. Longtime Cotton Bowl home, informally : BIG D
18. Big maker of candy hearts : NECCO
19. Thought patterns, in brief? : EEGS
24. Places for curlers : RINKS
25. ___ Mercer, originator of the palindrome “A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!” : LEIGH
27. Fast results? : PANGS
29. Lame : POOR
30. “Play it, Sam” speaker : ILSA
31. “Eat up every moment” sloganeer : IHOP
32. Part of a dashboard, for short : TACH
33. “Taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase,” per M.L.K. : FAITH
34. Many a Nikolskoye native : ALEUT
40. Bridge call : I PASS
42. Deicer formula : NACL
45. Capital of France : EUROS
46. Laughter sound : TEHEE
47. Neighbor of New York’s Bay Shore : ISLIP
48. x : TIMES
49. Attends : IS AT
50. Dragsters’ grp. : NHRA
51. ___ work (tedious tasks) : SCUT
54. Senate affirmation : YEA
55. Laughter sound : HAR

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6 thoughts on “0304-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Mar 17, Saturday”

  1. Thought I had this one, thanks mainly to the long downs and acrosses, but tripped up at two crossings: SPORCLE/NECCO (chose k instead of C) and AHRA/TAGS (chose o instead of A). Considered the alternatives and guessed wrongly.

  2. 21:25, no errors. So many things out of my ken, so many work arounds. Fortunately five of the six full grid answers popped into my head. The U in SCUT/NEUER was a complete guess, that worked out.

  3. 59 minutes, 0 errors. Surprising to me, and another mystery of mine. I looked at this for 22 minutes and only got a small handful of answers, and then put it away. Finally did the entire rest of the puzzle afterwards. Makes me wonder why I can't see things some times and readily see them other times. Funny in a way.

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