0424-23 NY Times Crossword 24 Apr 23, Monday

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Comedian Margaret : CHO

Margaret Cho is a Korean-American comedian and actress who was born in San Francisco in 1968. As well as performing as a comedian, Cho has also had a successful acting career, appearing in films such as “Face/Off,” “Bam Bam and Celeste,” and “All About Steve,” as well as TV shows such as “Drop Dead Diva” and “30 Rock.”

16 Old Testament book between Daniel and Joel : HOSEA

Hosea was one of the Twelve Prophets of the Hebrew Bible. The Twelve Prophets are also known as the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible.

17 Childhood nickname for Darth Vader : ANI

Darth Vader is (to me) the most colorful antagonist in the “Star Wars” universe. Born as Anakin “Ani” Skywalker, he was corrupted by the Emperor Palpatine and turned to “the Dark Side”. In the original films, Darth Vader was portrayed by English bodybuilder David Prowse, and voiced by actor James Earl Jones. Jones asked that he go uncredited for the first two “Star Wars” films, feeling that his contributions were insufficient to warrant recognition. I disagree …

20 John Philip ___, “The March King” : SOUSA

John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor from Washington, D.C. Sousa was well known for his patriotic marches and earned himself the nickname “The American March King”. He served as a member of the US Marine Band from 1868 to 1875, and after leaving the Marines learned to conduct and compose. One of the Sousa compositions that is well-known around the world is called “The Liberty Bell”, a tune used as the musical theme for BBC Television’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Sousa also wrote “Semper Fidelis”, which is the official march of the US Marine Corps.

23 Benzoyl peroxide targets : PIMPLES

Benzoyl peroxide is used as an acne treatment, as well as for dyeing hair, for whitening teeth and in the preparation of flour.

32 Kitchen brand that could be a losing tic-tac-toe line : OXO

The OXO line of kitchen utensils and housewares is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average household tools. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

33 Once-sacred slitherers : ASPS

The asp is a small to medium-sized snake, typically growing to between 18 and 30 inches in length. It has a distinctive triangular head and a dark, zigzag pattern along its back.

36 Author L. Frank ___ : BAUM

L. Frank Baum (the “L” is for Lyman) is famous for writing “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Writing early in the 20th century, Baum actually described in his books things that had yet to be invented, like television, laptop computers and wireless telephones.

38 Second-largest world religion : ISLAM

Over 50% of the world’s population consider themselves to be adherents of the “big three” Abrahamic religions: Christianity (2-2.2 billion), Islam (1.6-1.7 billion) and Judaism (14-18 million).

40 Item smashed before a ship’s maiden voyage : CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE

Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France that is famous for its sparkling white wine.

43 High-I.Q. society : MENSA

Mensa is a high-IQ society that was founded in Oxford, England in 1946. The founders were two lawyers: Australian Roland Berrill and Englishman Lancelot Ware. Apparently, the elitist founders were unhappy with the development of Mensa, given that most members came from the working and lower classes.

44 Activist Parks : ROSA

Rosa Parks was one of a cadre of brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

47 Meg who played each of the three female leads in “Joe Versus the Volcano” : RYAN

Meg Ryan is the stage name of the actress Margaret Mary Hyra. Ryan’s big break came with the excellent 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally …”, from which she went on to star in some of the most popular romantic comedies ever made.

“Joe Versus the Volcano” is a 1990 romantic comedy film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Hanks plays a man who, after being told he is dying of a rare disease, accepts a financial offer to travel to a South Pacific island and throw himself into a volcano on behalf of the superstitious natives. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with Ryan’s character, the woman captaining the boat taking him to the island.

51 One-act Oscar Wilde tragedy : SALOME

“Salomé” is an 1891, one-act play by Irishman Oscar Wilde that the playwright originally wrote in French. It tells the biblical story of Salome who requested the head of John the Baptist in return for performing the dance of the seven veils. Wilde’s work was adapted by Richard Strauss into an opera of the same name that premiered in Dresden in 1905.

53 Basic bicycle trick : WHEELIE

To pop a wheelie is to lift the front wheels of a vehicle off the ground by accelerating rapidly with the rear wheels.

57 Former House speaker Nancy : PELOSI

Nancy Pelosi first became Speaker of the House in 2007, and was the 60th person to hold that position. Ms. Pelosi represents a district not far from here, which covers most of San Francisco. She was the first Californian, the first Italian-American and the first woman to be Speaker of the House. As Speaker of the House is second-in-line to the presidency, after the Vice President, Nancy Pelosi was for many years the highest-ranking female politician in US history. That was until Kamala Harris became Vice President in 2021.

65 Foldable part of a Twister game : MAT

Twister is a game requiring a lot of physical dexterity and flexibility. It involves players placing specific hands and feet onto colored pads on a mat, as directed by a spinning arrow on a board. Sales of the game got a great boost in 1966, when Eva Gabor played Twister with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show”.

66 Major blood vessel : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

71 Formerly known as : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, Melania Trump née Knavs, and Jill Biden née Jacobs.

Down

2 Capital of Vietnam : HANOI

Hanoi (“Hà Nội” in Vietnamese) was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is located in the delta of the Red River, and is just over 50 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.

3 Illicit poppy product : OPIUM

The opium poppy produces a latex that can be dried, producing the drug known as opium. The drug has been used since ancient times, and was usually absorbed by smoking it. The latex contains several alkaloids that have a profound effect on human metabolism, including morphine and codeine. Opium’s morphine is particularly significant for the illegal drug trade. The morphine can be extracted from the opium and converted to heroin.

6 Nobles above viscounts : EARLS

In the British peerage system, a viscount ranks below an earl and above a baron. The term “viscount” basically means “deputy of a count”, i.e. “vice-count”.

7 With 25-Across, digital magazine with the slogan “Cure ignorance” : UTNE … [25A See 7-Down : … READER]

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

9 Humanoid robot who appears in all nine “Star Wars” episodes, informally : THREEPIO

C-3PO (or “Threepio”) is the protocol droid that appears in the “Star Wars” movie franchise.

10 Pilot and Civic manufacturer : HONDA

The Honda Pilot is a mid-size crossover SUV that was introduced in 2002. The luxury version of the vehicle is sold as the Acura MDX.

Introduced in 1972, the Honda Civic is the second-oldest brand of Japanese car made for the US today (only the Toyota Corolla has been around longer). Today’s Civic is a compact car, but the original was smaller, and classed as a sub-compact. The first design had a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel drive to save on space, copying the configuration introduced with the British Mini.

11 One of many for a Swiss Army knife : USE

Swiss Army knives are multi-tools made by the Swiss company Victorinox. The device was first produced in 1891 when Victorinox’s predecessor company was awarded the contract to supply the knife to the Swiss Army. The name “Swiss Army knife” was actually an American invention as it was the term used by American GIs during and after WWII as an alternative to pronouncing the more difficult German “Schweizer Offiziersmesser” (Swiss Officer Knife).

12 Brooks who has won the four EGOT awards : MEL

Mel Brooks’ real name is Melvin Kaminsky. Brooks is one of relatively few entertainers who have won the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam” i.e. an Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy (EGOT). He is in good company, as the list also includes the likes of Richard Rogers, Sir John Gielgud, Marvin Hamlisch and Audrey Hepburn.

13 Faux ___ : PAS

The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

24 “The Wire” actor Idris : ELBA

English actor Idris Elba played the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and played the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally appears as a disk jockey using the name “DJ Big Driis”.

28 Leonardo DiCaprio role in a 1996 Shakespeare adaptation : ROMEO

Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio is from Los Angeles, California. DiCaprio’s mother was visiting a museum in Italy when she was pregnant and felt the first kick of her unborn child. At the moment of that first kick, Mama DiCaprio was looking at a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and so named her son Leonardo.

30 Yammerer’s sentence type : RUN-ON

A “run-on sentence” is one in which two separate clauses are linked without appropriate conjugation. Two examples would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, I can’t finish.

More acceptable sentences would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough. I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough; I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, so I can’t finish.

31 Iowa college town : AMES

The Iowa city of Ames was founded as a stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad in 1864. It was named for US Congressman Oakes Ames from the state of Massachusetts in honor of the role that Ames played in the building of the transcontinental railroad.

34 Comic book superheroine whose name is an anagram of SHARE : SHE-RA

“Masters of the Universe” is a sword-and-sorcery multimedia franchise that was introduced by Mattel in the 1980s. The main characters in the storyline are superhero He-Man, who battles against Skeletor on the planet Eternia, and He-Man’s sister She-Ra, who rebels against the Horde on the planet Etheria.

37 Taj Mahal locale : AGRA

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is a magnificent marble mausoleum. It was built in the mid-17th century by the fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to her 14th child in 1631. When Shah Jahan himself died in 1666, he was buried in the Taj Mahal, alongside his wife.

41 Freshly grated cheese at a trattoria : PARMESAN

Genuine Parmesan cheese is made in and around the province of Parma in northern Italy, which province gives the cheese its name.

42 Shindig : BASH

“Shindig” is such a lovely word, I think. It describes a party that usually includes some dancing. Although its origin isn’t really clear, the term perhaps comes from “shinty”, a Scottish game that’s similar to field hockey.

48 Alternative to Google Reviews : 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”.

56 Lauder of cosmetics : ESTEE

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

58 Klutz’s cry : OOPS!

A klutz is an awkward individual, with the term “klutz” coming from Yiddish. The Yiddish word for a clumsy person is “klots”.

64 Certain nest egg, in brief : IRA

A nest egg is an amount of money laid down as a reserve. This is the figurative use of “nest egg” that originally described an artificial egg left in a nest to encourage a hen to lay real eggs in that spot. So our financial nest egg is set aside in anticipation of continued growth, more eggs being laid.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Comedian Margaret : CHO
4 Do slightly better than : ONE-UP
9 Beat by a lot, informally : THUMP
14 Drink like a cat … or a place for a cat : LAP
15 “Way cool!” : NEATO!
16 Old Testament book between Daniel and Joel : HOSEA
17 Childhood nickname for Darth Vader : ANI
18 Edible parts of an ear : CORN KERNELS
20 John Philip ___, “The March King” : SOUSA
22 Looked sleazily : LEERED
23 Benzoyl peroxide targets : PIMPLES
25 See 7-Down : … READER
29 ___ or nothing : ALL
30 Speak hoarsely : RASP
32 Kitchen brand that could be a losing tic-tac-toe line : OXO
33 Once-sacred slitherers : ASPS
36 Author L. Frank ___ : BAUM
38 Second-largest world religion : ISLAM
40 Item smashed before a ship’s maiden voyage : CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE
43 High-I.Q. society : MENSA
44 Activist Parks : ROSA
45 Regarding : AS TO
46 Palindromic preposition in poems : ERE
47 Meg who played each of the three female leads in “Joe Versus the Volcano” : RYAN
49 Pig’s pad : STY
51 One-act Oscar Wilde tragedy : SALOME
53 Basic bicycle trick : WHEELIE
57 Former House speaker Nancy : PELOSI
60 Perfect places : EDENS
61 Slangy question of greeting … or a hint to 18-, 23-, 40- and 53-Across : WHAT’S POPPIN’?
65 Foldable part of a Twister game : MAT
66 Major blood vessel : AORTA
67 Docking locales : PIERS
68 Be in debt : OWE
69 Speed ___ (fast driver) : DEMON
70 Many a pet shelter pet, at one point : STRAY
71 Formerly known as : NEE

Down

1 Jewelry fastener : CLASP
2 Capital of Vietnam : HANOI
3 Illicit poppy product : OPIUM
4 Ready to respond, as a doctor : ON CALL
5 Prefix with natal : NEO-
6 Nobles above viscounts : EARLS
7 With 25-Across, digital magazine with the slogan “Cure ignorance” : UTNE …
8 “Don’t ___ the bear” : POKE
9 Humanoid robot who appears in all nine “Star Wars” episodes, informally : THREEPIO
10 Pilot and Civic manufacturer : HONDA
11 One of many for a Swiss Army knife : USE
12 Brooks who has won the four EGOT awards : MEL
13 Faux ___ : PAS
19 Goofs up : ERRS
21 Involuntary muscle contractions : SPASMS
24 “The Wire” actor Idris : ELBA
26 Blockheads : DOLTS
27 Praise to the skies : EXALT
28 Leonardo DiCaprio role in a 1996 Shakespeare adaptation : ROMEO
30 Yammerer’s sentence type : RUN-ON
31 Iowa college town : AMES
33 High points : ACMES
34 Comic book superheroine whose name is an anagram of SHARE : SHE-RA
35 Group of experts at a discussion : PANEL
37 Taj Mahal locale : AGRA
39 Didn’t leave : STAYED
41 Freshly grated cheese at a trattoria : PARMESAN
42 Shindig : BASH
48 Alternative to Google Reviews : YELP
50 Itty-bitty : TEENSY
52 Decide one will : OPT TO
53 Windshield clearer : WIPER
54 Common iced tea garnish : LEMON
55 Amazed : IN AWE
56 Lauder of cosmetics : ESTEE
58 Klutz’s cry : OOPS!
59 Crackle, as a fire : SPIT
61 Chunk of cash : WAD
62 Long-handled garden tool : HOE
63 Word before rest or wrestle : ARM-
64 Certain nest egg, in brief : IRA


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