0331-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Mar 16, Thursday

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: Ellen Leuschner & Jeff Chen
THEME: Doubles … each of today’s clues is a common phrase in the form “Double x?” The corresponding answers is another common phrase, one that includes two words with the same meaning as x:

17A. Double solitaire? : ONE AND ONLY
21A. Double space? : NULL AND VOID
33A. Double take? : SNATCH AND GRAB
50A. Double life? : VIM AND VIGOR
55A. Double back? : AID AND ABET

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 48s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Big online source for film info : IMDB
The website called the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering question one has about movies and actors.

15. ___ Valley (Utah ski resort) : DEER
Deer Valley is a ski resort in Park City, Utah, one of the sites used in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics held in 2002. Deer Valley is one of the very few ski resorts in the US that still prohibits snowboarding.

16. Fallon predecessor : LENO
Jay Leno was born James Leno in New Rochelle, New York. Jay’s father was the son of Italian immigrants, and his mother was from Scotland. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and actually dropped out of school on the advice of a high school guidance counsellor. However, years later he went to Emerson college and earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. Leno also started a comedy club at Emerson in 1973. Today Jay Leno is a car nut and owns about 200 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website: www.jaylenosgarage.com.

Jimmy Fallon was a cast member for a number of years on “Saturday Night Live” before getting his own talk show in 2009, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”. Fallon took over “The Tonight Show” from Jay Leno in 2014.

17. Double solitaire? : ONE AND ONLY
Double Solitaire is a card game for two players. It is basically two opponents playing the game of solitaire (also called “Klondike”).

19. ___ buco : OSSO
“Osso” is the Italian word for bone as in the name of the dish Osso Buco: braised veal shanks.

24. “And what ___ rare as a day in June?”: Lowell : IS SO
James Russell Lowell was a Romantic poet from Massachusetts. Lowell was also known as one of the Fireside Poets, a group of New England poets who used a simpler style to make their work accessible to the general populace. One his more famous works is the poem that starts, “And what is so rare as a day in June?”

25. Volkswagen model : JETTA
The name Jetta is one in a series of names related to winds that has been used by Volkswagen. Jetta comes from the German for “jet stream””, and the model name Passat comes from the German for “trade wind”.

31. Jet for a jet-setter : CESSNA
The Cessna Aircraft manufacturing company was founded in 1911 by Clyde Cessna, a farmer from Kansas. Cessna is headquartered in Wichita and today has over 8,000 employees.

38. Mass distribution? : WAFERS
The Communion rite is the part of the Mass in the Roman Catholic tradition. The rite involves distribution of the Communion bread (the host, a wafer) to the faithful.

39. Supermodel who married David Bowie : IMAN
Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid is a supermodel from Somalia who goes simply by the name “Iman” these days. “Iman” is an Arabic word for “faith”. Iman is smart cookie. Imam has a degree in Political Science and is fluent in five languages: Somali, Arabic, Italian, French and English. Iman was married to English rock star David Bowie from 1992 until his death in 2016.

46. Supreme Court justice nominated by Bush : ALITO
Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Alito is the second Italian-American to serve on the Supreme Court (Antonin Scalia was the first). Alito studied law at Yale and while in his final year he left the country for the first time in his life, heading to Italy to work on his thesis about the Italian legal system.

49. Zika virus tracker, for short : CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …

The Zika virus causes the disease known as Zika fever, and is mainly spread by the yellow fever mosquito. While the majority of cases of infection result in minor symptoms or even no symptoms at all, Zika virus infections of pregnant women may be linked to newborn microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than normal.

53. Noah’s escape : 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.

57. One of its sources is Lake Tana : NILE
Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia, and is the source of the Blue Nile. The lake has a number of islands of significant size, many of which are home to ancient monasteries.

58. Champagne name : MOET
Moët & Chandon is a French winery, one of the world’s largest producers of champagne. The company was founded by wine trader Claude Moët in 1743. The name was changed to Moët & Chandon in the 1830s when Pierre-Gabriel Chandon, an in-law to the Moët family, was given co-ownership. Moët & Chandon owns the famous Dom Pérignon brand name, honoring the Benedictine monk who did so much to improve the quality of champagne.

59. 1890s vice president Stevenson : ADLAI
Adlai Stevenson I served as Vice President of the US from 1893 to 1897 under Grover Cleveland. Stevenson was the grandfather of Adlai Stevenson II, the Democratic candidate for president in 1952 and 1956.

Down
1. Like London’s City Hall : OVOIDAL
London’s City Hall is home to the Mayor of London and an elected 25-member London Assembly, known collectively as the Greater London Authority. The City Hall building opened for business in 2002 and has an unusual and controversial ovoidal shape. It has been compared to Darth Vader’s helmet, and some less complimentary comparisons have also been made.

2. Robert Galbraith and J. K. Rowling : PEN NAMES
Joanne Rowling changed her name to J. K. Rowling at the request of her publisher, who believed that young boys might have shied away from reading the first “Harry Potter” book if they believed the story was written by a woman (this was 1997!). “Jo” Rowling chose J for Joanne, and K for Kathleen after her grandmother (Jo has no middle name to use). Rowling also writes books for adults, using the pen name Robert Galbraith.

3. “Excellent, mon ami” : TRES BIEN
“Very good” is written as “Sehr gut” in German, and as “très bien” in French.

4. “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” heroine : EVA
Eva is the heroine in Richard Wagner’s (long!) opera titled “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg).

5. Comics troublemaker : DENNIS
“Dennis the Menace” is a comic strip that first appeared in 1951, originally drawn by Hank Ketcham. The strip made the jump over the years from the newspaper to television and the silver screen. Dennis’s full name is Dennis Mitchell, and his parents are Henry and Alice (Johnson) Mitchell. Dennis’s nemesis is his neighbor, Mister George Everett Wilson. Hank Ketcham drew his inspiration for the story from his real life. When he introduced the strip, he had a 4-year-old son called Dennis and a wife named Alice.

6. No-nos in Leviticus 26:1 : IDOLS
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

7. Bay Area’s ___ College : MENLO
Menlo College is a private school located in Atherton, California, one of the wealthiest and most expensive cities in the country. Menlo was founded in 1927 as when the existing Menlo School for Boys grew to include a junior college. Today the school specializes in providing four-year business degrees. One of Menlo’s more famous alumni is newspaper heiress and kidnap victim Patty Hearst.

8. Crème-crème filler : DE LA
The “crème de la crème” is the elite, the best of the best. The term is French and translates as “cream of the cream”.

9. Welsh word that starts a noted college name : BRYN
I used to live not far from Bryn-mawr (also “Brynmwar”) in Wales, the town with the highest elevation in the country. Appropriately enough, “bryn mawr” is Welsh for “big hill”. There is also a Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania (note the different capitalization) that is named after its Welsh counterpart. At the Pennsylvania location there’s a Bryn Mawr college, a private women’s school that was the first American university to offer graduate degrees to women.

10. Cole Porter tune sung by Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier : I LOVE PARIS
“I Love Paris” is a song from the Cole Porter musical “Can-Can”.

The Cole Porter musical “Can-Can” was first produced on Broadway, in 1953, where it ran for two years. There was a very successful film adaptation (which I saw recently … it’s good stuff) released in 1960, starring Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier. During filming, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited the set as part of a tour of 20th Century Fox studios. He made a big splash in the media at the time describing what he saw as “depraved” and “pornographic”.

11. Spaniard granted the right to conquer Florida by Charles V : DE SOTO
Hernando de Soto was a Spanish conquistador who led expeditions throughout the southeastern US. De Soto’s travels were unsuccessful in that he failed to bring gold or silver back to Spain, and nor did he found any colonies. What de Soto did achieve was the exposure of local populations to devastating Eurasian diseases. De Soto was the first European to cross the Mississippi River, in 1541. The first European to see the Mississippi (but not cross it) was Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, in 1519.

12. As found : IN SITU
“In situ” is a Latin phrase meaning “in the place”, and we use the term to mean “in the original position”.

28. Govt. IDs : SSNS
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an “identity number” to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents “disappeared”.

29. It might be taken before a trip : LSD
LSD (colloquially known as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

31. Jazzman Baker : CHET
The famous jazz trumpeter Chet Baker was noted for his heroin addiction, a problem that nearly put an end to his performing career. He managed a comeback in the late seventies, mainly appearing and recording in Europe. But he never kicked the drug habit and was found dead one day after falling from his hotel room window in Amsterdam.

32. What an otoscope examines : EAR
An otoscope is that instrument that an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT) uses to look into the interior of your ears.

35. Co. money manager : CFO
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

40. Bit of Blues Brothers attire : NECKTIE
The Blues Brothers is a blues band created in 1978 for a Saturday Night Live sketch. The original Blues Brothers were Dan Aykroyd (Elwood Blues) and John Belushi (“Joliet” Jake Blues).

41. Asylums : HAVENS
“Asylum” is a Latin word, meaning “sanctuary”.

42. Pig featured in a series of children’s books : OLIVIA
Olivia is a pig featured in a series of children’s books that is written and illustrated by Ian Falconer. The character was inspired by Falconer’s niece, also named Olivia.

47. Current events? : TIDES
Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

48. 5.5-point type : AGATE
In the world of typography, “agate” is a unit of measure. One agate is is equal to 5.5 points, or about one quarter of an inch. Agate is generally the smallest type size used in newspapers, and is generally restricted to advertisements and market reports in financial publications.

51. One appointed to the Royal Victorian Order : DAME
The Royal Victorian Order was established by Queen Victoria in 1896. Admission to the order is the personal gift of the ruling British monarch.

52. Ancestor of a cello : VIOL
Viols are a family of stringed instruments that resemble the violin family. However, viols have fretted fingerboards like guitars, and have six strings instead of four.

56. Oklahoma city : ADA
Back in 1889, Jeff Reed was hired to carry the mail between the two communities of Stonewall and Center in what was then called the Indian Territory. Reed had moved to the area from Texas and he bought some land in between the two limits of his mail route and built himself a log cabin. Pretty soon other settlers built homes nearby and in 1891 the settlement got its own post office. As postman, Reed got to name the new post office and he called it Ada, after his oldest daughter. Ada is now a county seat in Oklahoma and has over 17,000 residents. One of the sons of the city of Ada was the televangelist Oral Roberts.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Elected : OPTED
6. Big online source for film info : IMDB
10. “Gotcha, dude” : I DIG
14. Pep : VERVE
15. ___ Valley (Utah ski resort) : DEER
16. Fallon predecessor : LENO
17. Double solitaire? : ONE AND ONLY
19. ___ buco : OSSO
20. Entry points : INS
21. Double space? : NULL AND VOID
23. Light touch : DAB
24. “And what ___ rare as a day in June?”: Lowell : IS SO
25. Volkswagen model : JETTA
26. Surrounded by : AMIDST
28. Leave early, say : SLIP OUT
30. Give the stink eye : LEER
31. Jet for a jet-setter : CESSNA
33. Double take? : SNATCH AND GRAB
38. Mass distribution? : WAFERS
39. Supermodel who married David Bowie : IMAN
41. War zone, e.g. : HOTSPOT
44. Benefit : UPSIDE
46. Supreme Court justice nominated by Bush : ALITO
47. Stick with it : TAPE
49. Zika virus tracker, for short : CDC
50. Double life? : VIM AND VIGOR
53. Noah’s escape : ARK
54. “Do I ___!” : EVER
55. Double back? : AID AND ABET
57. One of its sources is Lake Tana : NILE
58. Champagne name : MOET
59. 1890s vice president Stevenson : ADLAI
60. “Who ___?” : SAYS
61. “Who ___?” : ELSE
62. Self-congratulatory words : YAY ME!

Down
1. Like London’s City Hall : OVOIDAL
2. Robert Galbraith and J. K. Rowling : PEN NAMES
3. “Excellent, mon ami” : TRES BIEN
4. “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” heroine : EVA
5. Comics troublemaker : DENNIS
6. No-nos in Leviticus 26:1 : IDOLS
7. Bay Area’s ___ College : MENLO
8. Crème-crème filler : DE LA
9. Welsh word that starts a noted college name : BRYN
10. Cole Porter tune sung by Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier : I LOVE PARIS
11. Spaniard granted the right to conquer Florida by Charles V : DE SOTO
12. As found : IN SITU
13. Proficient with : GOOD AT
18. Attic buildup : DUST
22. Activity for some wedding hires : DJING
27. Make a scene, say : DRAW STARES
28. Govt. IDs : SSNS
29. It might be taken before a trip : LSD
31. Jazzman Baker : CHET
32. What an otoscope examines : EAR
34. Lightly touch, as a shoulder : TAP ON
35. Co. money manager : CFO
36. How conflicts are best resolved : AMICABLY
37. Nightmare : BAD DREAM
40. Bit of Blues Brothers attire : NECKTIE
41. Asylums : HAVENS
42. Pig featured in a series of children’s books : OLIVIA
43. On-schedule : TIMELY
44. Knowing all about : UP ON
45. Like some parking garage rates : PER DAY
47. Current events? : TIDES
48. 5.5-point type : AGATE
51. One appointed to the Royal Victorian Order : DAME
52. Ancestor of a cello : VIOL
56. Oklahoma city : ADA

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6 thoughts on “0331-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Mar 16, Thursday”

  1. I like the way this puzzle calls attention to an odd characteristic (that I had never thought about) of five very familiar phrases. Another such phrase might be "part and parcel"; I wonder how many others we could come up with.

    Today, I found myself musing further about yesterday's puzzle, which I think gave insight into the mind of a New York Times puzzle setter. I suspect that, for such a person, the phrase "climate change" couldn't help but cause mental wheels to begin turning. His or her initial thought would probably be, "How many anagrams of the word CLIMATE can one find?" Ignoring CLI-MATE, which is a brand of dehumidifier, I found nine: ACTIMEL is the brand name of a French probiotic supplement. CIMATEL is the name of a business in Brazil. ELMATIC is a rap album. LIMECAT refers to an internet picture of a rather angry-looking cat wearing a sort of helmet that appears to have been made from the peel of a lime. MALETIC is a common last name in parts of the former Yugoslavia. MELTICA is either the name of a music group or the "Conqueror of Orgrimmar" (in some game or other). METICAL is the unit of currency of Mozambique. METLICA is a Croatian place name. And T(out) C(apable) ELIMA is the partly-French name of a Congolese soccer club. At this point, I imagine our hypothetical setter hears in his or her "mind's ear" the cries of outrage from potential solvers upon encountering such entries, so he or she thinks, "How else can this theme be worked into a puzzle?" As it stands, the final puzzle seemed to be a very elegant solution …

  2. No errors. I'm getting lots better at completing Thursday puzzles. Today's theme helped immensely. Even just knowing that the word AND was going to appear tipped the scale enough to make the fill.

  3. 22:48, no errors. My time should be comforting to anyone daunted by Bill's 11 minute effort. Took me a while to catch on to theme.

    @Dave: I'm torn between congratulating you on going the extra mile, or teasing about having waaaay too much time on your hands. I'll go with 'nice post', thank you. 😉

  4. Theme and answers were easy. Some of the fill was not. OVOIDAL, OSSO, DJING(?), and last to go, IDMB. Crosses, as usually happens, made them gettable. I expected the Thursday puzzle to be a bit trickier and not as dependent on relatively obscure or questionable (that DJING thing) fill.

  5. Quite the challenge, but at least they didn't stoop to the usual Thursday trickery, so kudos on that.

    24 mins 58 sec, and oddly enough no errors, although I nearly tripped on OVOIDAL…

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