0223-23 NY Times Crossword 23 Feb 23, Thursday

Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): O, Des …

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as the titles of odes:

  • 18A “Whene’er I need to get a bump / I find it right there at the pump …” : TO GAS
  • 32A “For me, the Super Bowl’s a bore / But watching these is fun galore …” : TO ADS
  • 44A “Exams a must for future docs / Make sure your answers fill the box …” : TO MCATS
  • 47A “A hospital has many specialized places / Where patients recover in bright, cheerful spaces …” : TO WARDS
  • 60A “I don’t have the words / That rightly commend / Cerulean birds / And Harry’s best friend …” : TO RON, TO BLUE JAYS
  • 3D “It is such fun to fool the folks / And make them butts of harmless jokes …” : TO PRANKS
  • 11D “An avid flower lover sees / A fall bouquet that’s full of these …” : TO ASTERS

Bill’s time: 13m 56s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 0s and 1s, in computing : BITS

We use a base-ten numbering system, with ten digits (0 – 9). The binary system, or base-two, uses just two digits (0 & 1). The binary system is used at a fundamental level in computing, because the number 0 and 1 can be represented by microcircuits being switched “on” or “off”.

5 Danny of the N.B.A. : AINGE

Danny Ainge is a retired professional basketball and baseball player. Ainge was an outstanding athlete from an early age, and is the only person to be named a high-school All American in the three sports of football, basketball and baseball.

14 Conversely, in a text : OTOH

On the other hand (OTOH)

17 ___ research (info on a political adversary) : OPPO

In the world of politics, “oppo” is “opposition research”. The idea is to collect information on one’s opponent that can be used against him or her.

18 “Whene’er I need to get a bump / I find it right there at the pump …” : TO GAS

The gas pump was actually around before there were cars on the road. The first gas pump was the invention of one Sylvanus Bowser from Fort Wayne, Indiana. His first pump was designed to pump kerosene for lamps and stoves, and was introduced in 1885. As automobiles became popular, he modified the design to pump gasoline. He introduced the Self-Measuring Gasoline Storage Pump in 1905. He marketed his devices all around the world, and in some parts the name “bowser” is still used sometimes to refer to fuel pumps, and indeed some fuel tankers.

19 Prop for the Riddler or Willy Wonka : CANE

The Riddler is a supervillain from the Batman universe. He first appeared in “Detective Comics” in 1948. The Riddler’s real name is “Edward Nigma”, who became obsessed with solving puzzles and winning prizes by cheating at school. He uses his puzzle-solving skills to cheat customers at a carnival, and eventually dons the guise of the Riddler to take on Batman.

Willy Wonka is the lead character in the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl called “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory”. Willy Wonka has been portrayed on the big screen twice. Gene Wilder was a fabulous Wonka in the 1971 version titled “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, and Johnny Depp played him in the Tim Burton movie from 2005 called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. I’m not too fond of Tim Burton movies, so I haven’t seen that one …

22 Welcome in a yoga class : NAMASTE

In the Hindu tradition, “namaste” is a respectful greeting meaning “I bow to the divine in you”. The greeting usually includes a slight bow made with the palms of the hand pressed together, pointing upwards in front of the body.

25 Guess posted at a gate, in brief : ETD

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

28 Sleep study diagnosis : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

31 Jan. honoree : MLK

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a US Federal holiday taking place on the third Monday of each year. It celebrates the birthday of Dr. King, and was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983, and first observed in 1986. However, some states resisted naming the holiday MLK Day, and gave it alternative names (like “Civil Rights Day”). It was officially celebrated as MLK Day in all 50 states from the year 2000 onwards.

32 “For me, the Super Bowl’s a bore / But watching these is fun galore …” : TO ADS

The Super Bowl is used for high-profile advertising because of the high viewership numbers. For example, Super Bowl XLIX (2015) had an average audience of 114 million viewers, making it the most-watched American TV program in history.

34 Big name in outdoor gear : REI

REI is a sporting goods store, with the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to climb Mount Everest.

35 Holiday marking the Exodus from Egypt : PESACH

Pesach is an alternative name for Passover.

41 Couleur de la Seine : BLEU

In French, “bleu” (blue) is the “couleur de l’océan” (color of the ocean).

43 “Fathers and ___” (Turgenev novel) : SONS

Ivan Turgenev was a Russian novelist and playwright. Turgenev’s most famous works are a collection of short stories called “A Sportsman’s Sketches” (1852) and the novel “Fathers and Sons” (1862).

44 “Exams a must for future docs / Make sure your answers fill the box …” : TO MCATS

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

51 De Armas who played Marilyn Monroe : ANA

Ana de Armas is an actress from Cuba. Having attended the National Theater School of Cuba, she moved to Spain at the age of 18. Thre, she made a name for herself in a Spanish TV series called “El Internado”. De Armas moved to Los Angeles in 2014, after which her performance opposite Ryan Gosling in 2017’s “Blade Runner 2049” earned her critical acclaim.

“Blonde” is a 2022 biographical film about Marilyn Monroe. It is a fictionalized account of the actress’ life, and is based on Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel of the same name. Monroe is played by Ana de Armas.

55 Actress Christina : RICCI

Christina Ricci is an American actress who found fame on the big screen at an early age, She played the very young Wednesday Addams in the 1991 movie version of “The Addams Family”.

57 Berkeley’s Bears, in brief : CAL

The California Golden Bears are the athletic teams of the University of California, Berkeley. The University of California, Berkeley (Cal) is the most difficult public university to get into in the world. It opened in 1869 and is named for Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley.

58 Dark force : SATAN

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

60 “I don’t have the words / That rightly commend / Cerulean birds / And Harry’s best friend …” : TO RON, TO BLUE JAYS

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are the principal characters in the “Harry Potter” series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling. The three are the best of friends. As the stories progress, the friendship between Ron and Hermione developed to the point that they became husband and wife and had two children together.

The blue jay is a perching bird that is native to eastern North America. They can be extremely aggressive to other birds, often raiding their nests. If a fight breaks out, the blue jay has been known to decapitate its opponent.

65 Former education secretary Duncan : ARNE

Long before Arne Duncan became Secretary of Education, he was a professional basketball player, but not in the NBA. Duncan played for the National Basketball League of Australia, with the Eastside Spectres in Melbourne.

66 Finance inits. : NYSE

The roots of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) go back to 1792 when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement. Today, the NYSE is located in a National Historic Landmark building with the address 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

Down

1 Basic training : BOOT CAMP

“Boot camp” is US Marine slang that dates back to WWII. “Boot” was a slang term for a recruit that dates back further, to the Spanish-American War. “Boots” were the leggings worn by American sailors.

4 Beginning to end? : SHORT E

The beginning of the word “end” is a short letter E.

5 Sweet Italian bubbly : ASTI

Asti is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy that is named for the town of Asti around which the wine is produced. The wine used to be called Asti Spumante, and it had a very bad reputation as a “poor man’s champagne”. The “Spumante” was dropped in a marketing attempt at rebranding associated with a reduction in the amount of residual sugar in the wine.

9 “Frozen” sister : ELSA

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Spoiler alert: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles seems to be a good guy for most of the film, but turns out to be a baddie in the end. And, a snowman named Olaf provides some comic relief.

10 Mysterious : ARCANE

Something that is arcane is understood by only a few, is something that might be described as mysterious.

11 “An avid flower lover sees / A fall bouquet that’s full of these …” : TO ASTERS

Apparently, most aster species and cultivars bloom relatively late in the year, usually in the fall. The name “aster” comes into English via Latin from the Greek word “astéri” meaning “star”, a reference to the arrangement of the petals of the flower.

26 Madre’s hermana : TIA

In Spanish, a “tia” (aunt) is the “hermana del padre o de la madre” (sister of the father or the mother).

32 Symbol for an angle in math : THETA

The Greek letter theta is commonly used in geometry to represent the angle between two lines (say at a corner of a triangle).

36 Robin Roberts’s network : ABC

Robin Roberts became anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America” (GMA) in 2005, prior to which she was a sportscaster on ESPN for 15 years.

40 Wanders around an airport, in brief? : TSA

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

42 Navy vessel in 2000 headlines : USS COLE

The USS Cole is a guided missile destroyer with a homeport in Norfolk, Virginia. The Cole fell victim to a suicide attack in 2000 by Al-Qaeda bombers who detonated an explosion on a boat close to the navy vessel while it was at anchor in Aden. 17 of the Cole’s crew members were killed in the attack, which blew a hole in the port side of the ship.

43 “Seinfeld” actor Jerry : STILLER

Jerry Stiller is an actor and comedian, most associated with the role of Frank Costanza on “Seinfeld”. For many years he was part of the comedy team Stiller and Meara along with his wife, Anne Meara. Stiller and Meara’s children are the actors Ben Stiller and Amy Stiller.

44 Pattern that represents a clan : TARTAN

“Tartan” is sometimes called “plaid” over here in the US, and is a word not used in the same sense outside of this country. In Scotland, a plaid is a blanket or a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder.

46 Shortcuts for some repetitive tasks : MACROS

A macroinstruction (usually shortened to “macro”) is a set of instructions in a computer program that are abbreviated to one simple command.

48 Traffic circle : ROTARY

There are more traffic circles in France than in any other country in the world. However, the UK has more traffic circles per mile of road than any other nation. The term “traffic circle” is generally used in the US, while “roundabout” is commonly used in Britain and Ireland.

49 Actor Johnson a.k.a. The Rock : DWAYNE

Dwayne Johnson is a former professional wrestler whose ring name was “the Rock”. He has used his success as a character in the ring, to cross over into television and movies. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as getting the highest payment for a first starring role, an incredible $5.5 million.

59 Not quite closed : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

62 Longtime Fiat model : UNO

Fiat is the largest car manufacturer in Italy, and is headquartered in Turin in the Piedmont region in the north of the country. Fiat was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli, when the company’s name was “Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino” (FIAT). A few years ago, Fiat became the majority shareholder in Chrysler.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 0s and 1s, in computing : BITS
5 Danny of the N.B.A. : AINGE
10 Drive-thru conveniences : ATMS
14 Conversely, in a text : OTOH
15 Hair problem : SNARL
16 Disturb : ROIL
17 ___ research (info on a political adversary) : OPPO
18 “Whene’er I need to get a bump / I find it right there at the pump …” : TO GAS
19 Prop for the Riddler or Willy Wonka : CANE
20 Lay of the land : TERRAIN
22 Welcome in a yoga class : NAMASTE
24 Nail polish applications : COATS
25 Guess posted at a gate, in brief : ETD
27 Leading : ON TOP
28 Sleep study diagnosis : APNEA
29 “___, mi dicon venal” (Puccini aria) : GIA
30 Draft picks? : BEERS
31 Jan. honoree : MLK
32 “For me, the Super Bowl’s a bore / But watching these is fun galore …” : TO ADS
34 Big name in outdoor gear : REI
35 Holiday marking the Exodus from Egypt : PESACH
38 Dons : PUTS ON
41 Couleur de la Seine : BLEU
43 “Fathers and ___” (Turgenev novel) : SONS
44 “Exams a must for future docs / Make sure your answers fill the box …” : TO MCATS
47 “A hospital has many specialized places / Where patients recover in bright, cheerful spaces …” : TO WARDS
51 De Armas who played Marilyn Monroe : ANA
52 Colorful garment : DASHIKI
54 Be behind, in a way : OWE
55 Actress Christina : RICCI
57 Berkeley’s Bears, in brief : CAL
58 Dark force : SATAN
60 “I don’t have the words / That rightly commend / Cerulean birds / And Harry’s best friend …” : TO RON, TO BLUE JAYS
63 Source of many an ode, in brief : ANON
64 Beyond strange : ALIEN
65 Former education secretary Duncan : ARNE
66 Finance inits. : NYSE
67 In again : RETRO
68 Some bar stock : RYES

Down

1 Basic training : BOOT CAMP
2 Providers of assistance after a crash, informally : IT PEOPLE
3 “It is such fun to fool the folks / And make them butts of harmless jokes …” : TO PRANKS
4 Beginning to end? : SHORT E
5 Sweet Italian bubbly : ASTI
6 Without a pause : IN ONE GO
7 Badger : NAG
8 Family man : GRANDAD
9 “Frozen” sister : ELSA
10 Mysterious : ARCANE
11 “An avid flower lover sees / A fall bouquet that’s full of these …” : TO ASTERS
12 Snack item that’s green in the middle : MINT OREO
13 Enjoys a leisurely weekend morning, say : SLEEPS IN
21 “___ rule …” : AS A
23 Rowdy crowd : MOB
26 Madre’s hermana : TIA
32 Symbol for an angle in math : THETA
33 Unnerve : SPOOK
36 Robin Roberts’s network : ABC
37 Wearing : CLAD IN
39 Shortsighted, say : UNWISE
40 Wanders around an airport, in brief? : TSA
42 Navy vessel in 2000 headlines : USS COLE
43 “Seinfeld” actor Jerry : STILLER
44 Pattern that represents a clan : TARTAN
45 Like the German cake Zwiebelkuchen : ONIONY
46 Shortcuts for some repetitive tasks : MACROS
48 Traffic circle : ROTARY
49 Actor Johnson a.k.a. The Rock : DWAYNE
50 Faculties : SENSES
53 Something it might be good to break : HABIT
56 Drumstick part : CONE
59 Not quite closed : AJAR
61 Pitch : TAR
62 Longtime Fiat model : UNO

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