0321-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 21 Mar 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Laura Braunstein
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Verbs or Animals?

Themed answers are common phrases in which a leading verb is reinterpreted as a collection of animals:

  • 20A. Why the hunter couldn’t shoot the mallards? : DUCKS OUT OF VIEW
  • 25A. Reason a cow swatted herself? : FLIES IN THE FACE
  • 42A. Circus animals enjoying some chocolate? : SEALS WITH A KISS
  • 47A. Whose conversation might be about shaggy hair and Himalayan peaks? : YAKS ON THE PHONE

Bill’s time: 6m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. Lawn game : BOCCE

The Italian bowling game of “bocce” (often anglicized as “bocci” or “boccie”) is based on a game played in Ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

16. ___-garde : AVANT

Someone or something described as avant-garde is especially innovative. “Avant-garde” is French for “advance guard”.

17. Units of firewood : CORDS

A cord of wood has a volume of 128 cubic feet. More commonly it’s a neat stack measuring 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep.

18. ___ Gatos, Calif. : LOS

The town of Los Gatos is in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The town’s name translates from Spanish to “the Cats” and comes from the old name for the area “Cat’s Corner”. That name is a reference to the cougars that roamed the foothills in which the town is located.

19. “Hawaii ___” : FIVE-O

The cop show “Hawaii Five-O” originally ran from 1968 until 1980, with Jack Lord and James MacArthur playing detectives Steve McGarrett and “Danno” Williams. The famous theme music was composed by Morton Stevens. The show was rebooted as “Hawaii Five-0”, premiering in 2010, with Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan playing Steve McGarrett and “Danno” Williams. Notice the important difference in the titles of the two versions of the show: the former using a capital letter O, and the latter the numeral zero.

20. Why the hunter couldn’t shoot the mallards? : DUCKS OUT OF VIEW

The mallard is perhaps the most recognizable of all ducks and is also known as the Wild Duck. The name “mallard” has the same Latin root as our word “male”, probably reflecting how flamboyant the coloring is of the male of the species relative to the female.

23. “Wailing” instrument : SAX

The saxophone was invented by Belgian Adolphe Sax. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

24. The “she” in the lyric “She’s a good old worker and a good old pal” : SAL

The song “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal” was written in 1905. The lyrics are nostalgic and look back to the days when traffic on the canal was pulled by mules, bemoaning the introduction of the fast-moving engine-powered barges. The first line is “I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal”.

33. AT&T Park team : GIANTS

Today’s San Francisco Giants baseball team was founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams. The team’s name was changed to the Giants in 1885, and the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.

38. Rome’s ___ Fountain : 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.

39. Marathon marking : MILE

The marathon commemorates the legendary messenger-run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens, and is run over 26 miles and 385 yards. The first modern Olympic marathon races were run over a distance that approximated the length of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway, although the actual length of the race varied from games to games. For the 1908 Olympics in London, a course starting at Windsor Castle and ending in front of the Royal Box at White City Stadium was defined. That course was 26 miles and 385 yards, the standard length now used at all Olympic Games. Organizers of subsequent games continued to vary the length of the race, until a decision was made in 1921 to adopt the distance used in London in 1908.

41. His last words were “The rest is silence” : HAMLET

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 …

42. Circus animals enjoying some chocolate? : SEALS WITH A KISS

The Hershey Company produces over 80 million chocolate Kisses each day, and has been making them since 1907.

45. Fig. in annual reports : CEO

Chief executive officer (CEO)

47. Whose conversation might be about shaggy hair and Himalayan peaks? : YAKS ON THE PHONE

The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.

55. Novelist George : ELIOT

“George Eliot” was the pen name of English novelist Mary Anne Evans. As one might think, Evans chose a male pen name in order that her work might be best appreciated in the Victorian era. Eliot wrote seven novels including “Adam Bede” (1859), “The Mill on the Floss” (1860), “Silas Marner” (1861) and “Middlemarch” (1871-72).

57. The end : OMEGA

Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet and is the one that looks like a horseshoe when in uppercase. The lowercase omega looks like a Latin W. The word “omega” literally means “great O” (O-mega). Compare this with the Greek letter Omicron, meaning “little O” (O-micron).

59. Big Swiss chocolatier : LINDT

The delicious Swiss chocolate sold under the Lindt brand name has its origins in a small confectionery store in Zurich in the 1840s. Lindt purchased our local chocolate company here in San Francisco (Ghirardelli) back in 1998.

62. Annual math celebration : PI DAY

The first three digits of the mathematical constant pi are 3.14. Pi Day has been celebrated on March 14th (3/14) every year since 1988, when it was inaugurated at the San Francisco Exploratorium. In countries where the day is usually written before the month, Pi Day is July 22nd, reflecting the more accurate approximation of pi as 22/7. Interestingly, March 14th is also Albert Einstein’s birthday.

64. Forest moon of the Ewoks : ENDOR

The Ewoks are creatures who live on the moon of Endor in the “Star Wars” universe. First appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”, they’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

Down

3. Wedding dress shade : ECRU

The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

4. “Highway to Hell” band : AC/DC

The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in Australia. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

6. “___ Blues” (Neil Simon play) : BILOXI

Neil Simon is one of my favorite playwrights. Simon has written over thirty plays and about thirty screenplays. He has received more nominations for Oscars and Tony Awards than any other writer. My favorite play penned by Simon has to be “Brighton Beach Memoirs”, but the list of his great stage works seems endless and includes “Barefoot in the Park”, “The Odd Couple”, “Sweet Charity”, “Plaza Suite”, “California Suite”, “Biloxi Blues” and “The Goodbye Girl”.

7. Baseball family name : ALOU

Moisés Alou played Major League Baseball, as did his father Felipe and his uncles Matty and Jesús.

10. Tel ___ : AVIV

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. “Tel Aviv” translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.

11. Sitarist Shankar : RAVI

Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous virtuoso (to us Westerners) from the world of Indian classical music, and was noted for his sitar playing. Also, Shankar was the father of the beautiful pop singer Norah Jones.

25. Many a single-gear bicycle : FIXIE

A fixed-gear bicycle (sometimes “fixie”) is a bike with a drivetrain that lacks a freewheel mechanism. A freewheel mechanism allows coasting without movement of the pedals, but does not allow slowing using the pedals. Fixed-gear bicycles have become popular again with cyclists in cities and towns who appreciate the simplicity of the design.

26. “The Greatest” daughter? : LAILA

Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.

27. “Experience what’s inside” sloganeer : INTEL

Intel is the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips. The company was founded in 1968, and the name “Intel” is a derived from the term “int(egrated) el(ectronics)”. Recognition of the Intel brand has been greatly helped by the success of the “Intel Inside” campaign that started back in 1991.

29. Physicist Enrico : FERMI

Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy. Fermi moved to the US just before WWII, largely to escape the anti-Semitic feelings that were developing in Italy under Mussolini. It was Fermi’s work at the University of Chicago that led to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi died at 53 years of age from stomach cancer . Cancer was a prevalent cause of death among the team working on that first nuclear pile.

30. Skating leaps : AXELS

An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.

31. Places for Neanderthals : CAVES

The literal translation of “Homo sapiens” from Latin is “wise or knowing man”. The Homo genus includes the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

37. Boob tube : IDIOT BOX

“Idiot box” and “boob tube” are nicknames for television.

40. Wilson of “The Royal Tenenbaums” : OWEN

The actor Owen Wilson was nominated for an Oscar, but not for his acting. He was nominated for co-writing the screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums” along with Wes Anderson.

41. Relative of a zither : HARP

The zither is a stringed instrument, one in which the strings do not extend beyond the bounds of the sounding box. That means that the instrument has no neck, unlike a guitar say.

43. Who was instructed to “Beam me up” on old TV : SCOTTY

In the “Star Trek” series on television and in the movies, the colorful character named Scotty was played by the Canadian actor James Doohan. Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery at the start of WWII, and participated in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. After surviving the landing, that same day Doohan was shot by one of his own men in a tragic mishap. Doohan was hit six times, with a bullet to his chest stopped by a silver cigarette case he was carrying. One of Doohan’s fingers was shot off in the incident. He managed to conceal that injury during his acting career.

There’s a story (not sure if it’s really true) about an Irishman who was being sentenced in the dock in a Dublin courtroom years ago. When asked by the judge, “Do you have anything to say before I pass sentence?”, the convicted man took out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, flipped open the cardboard lid and brought the pack to his lips. He then said, “Beam me up, Scotty”.

47. Crowdsourced review site : YELP

yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”.

Crowdsourcing is mainly an online phenomenon, and is the solicitation of perhaps services, ideas or content from a large group of people. “Crowdsourcing” is a portmanteau of “crowd” and “outsourcing”. An example of crowdsourcing is crowdfunding, where an individual solicits many small contributions from a large number of people to fund a project.

54. Frozen waffle brand : EGGO

Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.

58. ___ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline called Ryanair.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. In front : AHEAD
6. Where a person in charge is making the rounds? : BAR
9. Shouts, as an order : BARKS
14. Lawn game : BOCCE
15. Suffix with project : -ILE
16. ___-garde : AVANT
17. Units of firewood : CORDS
18. ___ Gatos, Calif. : LOS
19. “Hawaii ___” : FIVE-O
20. Why the hunter couldn’t shoot the mallards? : DUCKS OUT OF VIEW
23. “Wailing” instrument : SAX
24. The “she” in the lyric “She’s a good old worker and a good old pal” : SAL
25. Reason a cow swatted herself? : FLIES IN THE FACE
33. AT&T Park team : GIANTS
34. Who’s doing this crossword : YOU
35. Appropriate rhyme for “cram” : EXAM
36. Leaves : EXITS
37. Prankster : IMP
38. Rome’s ___ Fountain : TREVI
39. Marathon marking : MILE
40. Words of tribute : ODE
41. His last words were “The rest is silence” : HAMLET
42. Circus animals enjoying some chocolate? : SEALS WITH A KISS
45. Fig. in annual reports : CEO
46. Lead-in to long : ERE …
47. Whose conversation might be about shaggy hair and Himalayan peaks? : YAKS ON THE PHONE
55. Novelist George : ELIOT
56. Spoiled : BAD
57. The end : OMEGA
59. Big Swiss chocolatier : LINDT
60. Stadium cheer : OLE!
61. Become one : MERGE
62. Annual math celebration : PI DAY
63. Checked off : X’ED
64. Forest moon of the Ewoks : ENDOR

Down

1. “Black-ish” network : ABC
2. Home turf : HOOD
3. Wedding dress shade : ECRU
4. “Highway to Hell” band : AC/DC
5. Combo office accessories : DESK SETS
6. “___ Blues” (Neil Simon play) : BILOXI
7. Baseball family name : ALOU
8. Traveler’s convenience : REST STOP
9. Confound : BAFFLE
10. Tel ___ : AVIV
11. Sitarist Shankar : RAVI
12. Word with high or hole : KNEE-
13. Put away : STOW
21. Reason for a parental reprimand : SASS
22. Setting for 19-Across : OAHU
25. Many a single-gear bicycle : FIXIE
26. “The Greatest” daughter? : LAILA
27. “Experience what’s inside” sloganeer : INTEL
28. N.L.’er wearing blue and orange : NY MET
29. Physicist Enrico : FERMI
30. Skating leaps : AXELS
31. Places for Neanderthals : CAVES
32. Give off : EMIT
33. Crown inlays : GEMS
37. Boob tube : IDIOT BOX
38. Not-so-intimidating sort of test : TAKE-HOME
40. Wilson of “The Royal Tenenbaums” : OWEN
41. Relative of a zither : HARP
43. Who was instructed to “Beam me up” on old TV : SCOTTY
44. Obeyed : HEEDED
47. Crowdsourced review site : YELP
48. Et ___ (and others) : ALII
49. Tenderhearted : KIND
50. Common mixer : SODA
51. In good shape : HALE
52. Unsettling dream, maybe : OMEN
53. Put-down that nowadays may be worn as a badge of honor : NERD
54. Frozen waffle brand : EGGO
58. ___ Lingus : AER

17 thoughts on “0321-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 21 Mar 2018, Wednesday”

  1. 15:17. Good theme. FIXIE sounds very British to me; I’ve never heard the term before this puzzle.

    I also didn’t know the 22/7 pi day in other countries. Interesting. You know the day has become a commercial success when a local pizza chain sends you special “Pi Day” offers to your inbox. That actually happened to me last week.

    Best –

  2. Other observations about pi day:

    It’s my three-year-old granddaughter’s birthday ?!

    It’s also the day on which Stephen Hawking died ?.

    On a far-out (or a rapidly revolving) planet with an appropriate calendar, pi day could be the 113th day of the 355th month (or the 355th day of the 113th month), because 355/113=3.1415929 … , which approximates pi to six places after the decimal.

    The approximate value of pi is 3.1415926 (breathe!) 5358979323846 …

    For one million digits of pi, see “ http://www.piday.org/million/ “.

    But several trillion digits of pi are now known …

    1. I meant to write “rotating”, rather than “revolving” (so as to fit enough days into the planet’s year to have that many months and that many days in a month) … silliness squared … ?

  3. 10:11. No real problems and I liked the puzzle. Biggest hold up was FIXIE. I thought the answer to “leaves” at 36A was EmITS which doesn’t really make sense but it seemed right at the time. So much so that when I got to 32D I said “it can’t be EMIT, that’s already in the grid”. Took a bit to fix everything but finally got it.

  4. My grandmother (born circa 1880) taught us (to the melody of Turkey in the straw):
    We have an old mule and her name was Sal
    She’s a real hard worker an a good ol’ gal
    Every day she leaves the corral
    And tows us nine miles on the Erie Canal

    Her chorus was much simpler than the published version:
    Low bridge everybody down
    Low bridge we’re comin’ to a town
    Low bridge duck your head pal
    Low bridge on the Erie Canal

  5. No errors. Nice one. I did not make any sense out of 12-Down. “Word with high or hole” and the answer being KNEE. “Knee-high” I get. But “knee hole”? or “hole knee”? Neither seems plausible. Could someone explain?

  6. 11 mins 14 sec. No errors. Had similar, “Huh??” moment with KNEE (hole) and with FIXIE. I sometimes wonder which language the setters are speaking, but more often I figure they’re using convenient fills that they can find a reference to…

  7. Liked this one a lot, despite its dependence on an unusual amount of crosswardese fill. Question (rhetorical): Does LINDT make chocolate KISSES, too?

    1. I am pretty certain, @Tom M., that Lindt does not make any product called a “kiss”. The nearest thing they have is called a “truffle”. Hershey has for a long time had a trademark on the name Kisses although at first it was considered to be a generic term. So, technically, the crossword entry is a little flawed unless you harken back to the days before Hershey got the trademark registration.

  8. 9:32, no errors. Sign me up to the club that has never heard of a single gear bicycle referred to as a ‘FIXIE’. It was simply called a bike. A multiple geared bike was referred to as a ‘3 speed’ or ’10 speed’, etc. FIXIE does sound very British.

    My 2 cents on the Pi conversation: it could be noted that on March 14, 2015 at 9:26:53.58979323846 … seconds, the exact value of Pi (whatever it is) was reflected.

  9. Dale and Allen — Isn’t a kneehole the space under a desk where your knees go? I’ve always heard that.

    Anonymous — The version I know of the Erie Canal is a little longer than yours, and to a different tune —

    I’ve got a mule, her name is Sal
    15 miles on the Erie Canal.
    She’s a good ol’ worker and a good ol’ pal
    15 miles on the Erie Canal.

    We’ve hauled some barges in our day
    Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
    And we know every inch of the way
    From Albany to Buffalo.

    Low bridge, everybody down,
    Low bridge, for we’re going through a town.
    You’ll always know your neighbor,
    You’ll always know your pal
    If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

    Sorry to be so long, but that’s always been a kind of favorite of mine.

    1. Thank you, @Sandra. You certainly must be correct that the constructor of today’s puzzle was looking for “kneehole desk”. I made a quick Google and it became obvious by what the desk looked like. I had, of course, seen such desks many times but just did not know the name for them.

      Also, your recollection of “Erie Canal” is the same one I know. The song is usually done in a minor key which gives it a sort of melancholic quality.

  10. When I was a young boy, any bicycle with more than one gear was referred to as “an English racer”. None of us had one; much too exotic. All of our single speed bikes were of the freewheel variety. We would have contests to see who could coast the furthest distance.

  11. PeteInAK — and that’s another old song too — I’m My Own Grandma — ancient! (How old am I getting, anyway?!)

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