0404-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Apr 17, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Timothy Polin
THEME: Pinocchio
Each of today’s themed answers includes four circled letters that spell out the word NOSE. And, Pinocchio must been LYING, because that NOSE is growing in length as we progress down the grid:

58A. Disney character hinted at by the circled letters : PINOCCHIO
48D. What causes the circled letters to grow? : LYING

17A. What zero bars on a cellphone indicates : NO SERVICE
23A. Viking tales, e.g. : NORSE LITERATURE
37A. Experts on the brain : NEUROSCIENTISTS
46A. Baseball, in America : NATIONAL PASTIME

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 04s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Defunct gridiron org. : XFL
The XFL was an American Football league that only survived for one season. The intention of the league was to provide football fans with something to watch in the off-season, but the fans didn’t bother. There was discussion when the league was founded that “XFL” would stand for “Extreme” Football League, but the decision was made to let the “X” stand for nothing at all.

9. Rather conservative : STAID
Something described as “staid” is unwavering, fixed. This usage expanded to mean “sober, sedate”. The term dates back to the 16th century, and comes from verb “to stay”. “Staid” is a rewriting of the past participle “stayed”.

16. Pink cocktail, informally : COSMO
Like so many famous cocktails, the actual origins of the cosmopolitan are disputed. It is a nice drink though. One of the standard recipes is 4 parts citrus vodka, 1.5 parts Cointreau, 1.5 parts lime juice and 3 parts cranberry juice.

19. Synthetic fabric : RAYON
Rayon is a little unusual in the textile industry in that it is not truly a synthetic fiber, but nor can it be called a natural fiber. Rayon is produced from naturally occurring cellulose that is dissolved and then reformed into fibers.

20. Old-fashioned theaters : ODEA
In Ancient Greece an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning a “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

21. “Memoirs of a Geisha” accessory : OBI
“Memoirs of a Geisha” is a novel by American writer Arthur Golden that recounts the life of a geisha working in Kyoto, Japan before, during and after WWII. Golden was helped in his research by a retired geisha called Mineko Iwasaki who claimed that she provided assistance on condition of anonymity. When her name was published in the book, Iwasaki sued and ended up with an undisclosed settlement. There was a 2005 movie adaption of the novel, which also led to some criticism in Japan. The concern was that Chinese actresses were used for the main female roles instead of Japanese actresses.

22. Bit of dinero : PESO
The coin called a “peso” is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.

“Dinero” is the Spanish word for money, as well as a slang term for money here in the US.

23. Viking tales, e.g. : NORSE LITERATURE
The Vikings were a Germanic people from northern Europe who were noted as great seafarers. Key to the success of the Vikings was the design of their famous “longships”. Made from wood, the longship was long and narrow with a shallow hull, It was also light, so that the crew would actually carry it small distances over land and around obstacles. Longships were designed to be propelled both by sail and by oars.

30. Opposite of wane : WAX
The phases of the moon have been given the following names, in order:

  • New moon
  • Waxing crescent moon
  • First quarter moon
  • Waxing gibbous moon
  • Full moon
  • Waning gibbous moon
  • Third quarter moon
  • Waning crescent moon
  • Dark moon

41. Sour milk product : CURD
When milk curdles it separates into two parts, the solid curds and the liquid whey.

43. Surgery locales, for short : ORS
Surgery (surg.) is usually performed in an operating room (OR).

56. Wisecracks : JAPES
To jape means “to joke or quip”. The exact origins of “jape” are unclear, but it does seem to come from Old French. In the mid-1600’s “to jape” was a slang term meaning “to have sex with”. No joke!

58. Disney character hinted at by the circled letters : PINOCCHIO
1940’s “Pinocchio” was the second animated feature produced by Walt Disney, following the success of 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. “Pinocchio” was the first animated feature to win a competitive Oscar, winning for Best Original Score and for Best Original Song “When You Wish upon a Star”.

62. Flood refuge : ARK
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

65. ___ chi : TAI
More correctly called tai chi chuan, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.

Down
1. Fifth member in a noble line : XENON
The noble gases (also “rare gases”) are those elements over on the extreme right of the Periodic Table. Because of their “full” complement of electrons, noble gases are very unreactive. The six noble gases that occur naturally are helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon.

2. Tolkien hero : FRODO
Frodo Baggins is a principal character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. Frodo is a Hobbit, and is charged with the quest of destroying Sauron’s Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

6. “I was at the movies – nowhere near the crime,” e.g. : ALIBI
“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.

9. 1996 horror movie with four sequels : SCREAM
I don’t do horror films, so I haven’t seen any of the “Scream” movies …

12. Texter’s qualifier : IMO
In my opinion (IMO)

18. Old airline with the slogan “We have to earn our wings every day” : EASTERN
Eastern Air Lines was around from 1926 until 1991. The company was purchased in 1938 by Eddie Rickenbacker, who was a WWI flying ace. Under Rickenbacker’s leadership, Eastern were very successful. However, the airline couldn’t cope with a strike, high fuel prices and deregulation in the nineties, so Eastern went bankrupt in 1991.

24. Modern prefix with skeptic : EURO-
“Euroscepticism” is a criticism of the European Union, usually based on the belief that integration weakens the nation state.

25. Urged (on) : EGGED
The verb “edge” has been used to mean to incite, to urge on, from the 16th century. Somewhere along the way “edge” was mistakenly replaced with “egg”, giving us our term “to egg on” meaning “to goad”.

32. Stiller’s longtime wife and comedy partner : MEARA
Anne Meara married fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. The couple’s children are actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spinoff from “All in the Family”.

34. Recreational device that holds 35-Down : SCUBA
35. See 34-Down : AIR
The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.

44. Renaissance Faire events : JOUSTS
Jousting can involve the use of a number of different weapons, but when lances are used the competition is called “tilting”.

49. Companion of the Niña and Santa Maria : PINTA
Famously, Christopher Columbus used three ships in his first voyage across the Atlantic: the Santa Maria, the Niña and the Pinta. The Pinta was the fastest of the three, and it was from the Pinta that the New World was first spotted, by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana who was a lookout on the fateful day. Pinta was a nickname for the ship that translated as “the painted one”. The Pinta’s real name has been lost in mists of time.

50. Apple’s former instant-messaging program : ICHAT
iChat was introduced in 2002, and was Apple’s “instant messaging” application that integrated with the Mac Operating System. iChat was replaced by Messages.

51. “On the Beach” heroine : MOIRA
“On the Beach” is a wonderful novel by Nevil Shute that was first published in 1957. The famous story is about the ending of the human race as nuclear fallout spreads south from the northern hemisphere after WWIII. The novel was adapted into a great 1959 movie starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and even Fred Astaire.

52. Gourmet mushroom : ENOKI
Enokitake (also known as enoki) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.

56. Boeing product : JET
The Boeing Company was founded in Seattle in 1916 by aviation pioneer William Boeing, with the enterprise’s first name being “Pacific Aero Products Co.” Boeing had worked in the timber industry and set up his aircraft company in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of the local supply of spruce wood.

58. ___ mater (brain cover) : PIA
“Pia mater” is Latin, and means “tender mother”. It is the name given to the mesh-like envelope that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The pia mater brings blood to some of the exterior parts of the brain, and provides physical support for larger blood vessels passing over the brain’s surface.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Defunct gridiron org. : XFL
4. Fireplace holder : GRATE
9. Rather conservative : STAID
14. Chapter in history : ERA
15. Race with batons : RELAY
16. Pink cocktail, informally : COSMO
17. What zero bars on a cellphone indicates : NO SERVICE
19. Synthetic fabric : RAYON
20. Old-fashioned theaters : ODEA
21. “Memoirs of a Geisha” accessory : OBI
22. Bit of dinero : PESO
23. Viking tales, e.g. : NORSE LITERATURE
28. “Shame on you!” : TUT!
29. Ring decoration : GEM
30. Opposite of wane : WAX
31. Glowing coal : EMBER
34. Like advice worth listening to : SAGE
36. Leg-revealing item of apparel : MINI
37. Experts on the brain : NEUROSCIENTISTS
40. “Shoot!” : DARN!
41. Sour milk product : CURD
42. “Someone turn on a fan!” : IM HOT!
43. Surgery locales, for short : ORS
44. Quick hit : JAB
45. Notch shape : VEE
46. Baseball, in America : NATIONAL PASTIME
53. Cross to bear : ONUS
54. Puppy’s plaint : YIP
55. Desktop image : ICON
56. Wisecracks : JAPES
58. Disney character hinted at by the circled letters : PINOCCHIO
60. Apply, as pressure : EXERT
61. Opening remarks : INTRO
62. Flood refuge : ARK
63. Refugee camp sights : TENTS
64. Visibly stunned : AGASP
65. ___ chi : TAI

Down
1. Fifth member in a noble line : XENON
2. Tolkien hero : FRODO
3. Futuristic weapon : LASER
4. Canine warning : GRR!
5. Uprising : REVOLT
6. “I was at the movies – nowhere near the crime,” e.g. : ALIBI
7. Understood : TACIT
8. Look over : EYE
9. 1996 horror movie with four sequels : SCREAM
10. Done for : TOAST
11. “Sure, go ahead” : AS YOU WISH
12. Texter’s qualifier : IMO
13. Mafia V.I.P. : DON
18. Old airline with the slogan “We have to earn our wings every day” : EASTERN
22. Fuss over oneself : PREEN
24. Modern prefix with skeptic : EURO-
25. Urged (on) : EGGED
26. Totaled, as a bill : RAN TO
27. Have life : EXIST
31. Conclude with : END ON
32. Stiller’s longtime wife and comedy partner : MEARA
33. Explode : BURST OPEN
34. Recreational device that holds 35-Down : SCUBA
35. See 34-Down : AIR
36. Imitative : MIMETIC
38. Reads carefully : SCANS
39. Gets even with? : TIES
44. Renaissance Faire events : JOUSTS
45. Steam and such : VAPORS
47. Sluggish : INERT
48. What causes the circled letters to grow? : LYING
49. Companion of the Niña and Santa Maria : PINTA
50. Apple’s former instant-messaging program : ICHAT
51. “On the Beach” heroine : MOIRA
52. Gourmet mushroom : ENOKI
56. Boeing product : JET
57. Hacker, but not on a computer : AXE
58. ___ mater (brain cover) : PIA
59. Admit (to) : COP

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7 thoughts on “0404-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Apr 17, Tuesday”

  1. Tougher than a lot of Tuesday puzzles. Good theme.
    I always thought of a COSMOpolitan as more red than pink. I don't drink them so I'll pay more attention next time I see one.

    Best –

  2. I actually used the theme to solve it. Several things I didn't know, though didn't Google – COSMO, ICHAT, MOIRA ENOKI. Had PRimp before PREEN.

    Did not agree that SCANS means reads carefully.

  3. Nice, easy-clever Tuesday. NOSE led pretty directly to the PINOCCHIO theme, so it was helpful all the way.

  4. RE: SCANS–Merriam-Webster says that "scans" can mean EITHER glancing over OR thoroughly checking something out. I tend to be more with the former usage, but know of the latter as well. English is a funny language.

  5. 10:05, no errors. Amazed that Bill was a full minute behind!!!

    Liked the theme. Having the letters expand as the nose grows was definitely clever!!

    Also agree (or disagree) with the "definition" of SCAN. Could have been avoided with more careful **editing**.

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