0221-20 NY Times Crossword 21 Feb 20, Friday

Constructed by: Erik Agard & Anne Flinchbaugh
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 10m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17 Land that abuts four oceans : EURASIA

Eurasia is the combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia. It accounts for 36% of the total landmass on the planet, and is home to 71% of the Earth’s population.

18 Obsolescent office desk item : ROLODEX

The brand name “Rolodex” is short for “rolling index”, and applies to a device that was invented back in 1956. Even in today’s world that is run by computers, Rolodexes are still quite popular.

21 Celebrity with a namesake cereal in the ’80s : MR T

Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie “Rocky III”. In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, “No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool”. He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called “I Pity the Fool”, and produced a motivational video called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”.

24 Old Italian V.I.P. : DOGE

Doges were the elected chief magistrates of the former republics of Venice and Genoa.

25 Mount Sinai people: Abbr. : DRS

Mount Sinai Hospital in New York is a large teaching hospital, one of the oldest in the country. It was opened in 1852 and originally called the Jews’ Hospital in the City of New York, with the remit of serving the city’s rapidly growing Jewish immigrant community.

28 Thomas who wrote “Liberty Tree” : PAINE

Thomas Paine was an English author who achieved incredible success with his pamphlet “Common Sense” published in 1776 which advocated independence of colonial America from Britain. Paine had immigrated to the American colonies just two years before his pamphlet was published, and so was just in time to make a major contribution to the American Revolution.

33 The America’s Cup and others : EWERS

The America’s Cup is a trophy that has been awarded for yacht racing since 1851. It was first presented to the winner of a race around the Isle of Wight in England that was won by a schooner called “America”. The trophy was eventually renamed to “The America’s Cup” in honor of that first race winner.

34 Monk in “The Da Vinci Code” : SILAS

In Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code”, Silas is an Opus Dei monk who is an albino. He is a sinister character, someone who self-flagellates and who kills while convinced that he is saving the Catholic Church. In the movie, Silas is played (extremely ably) by English actor Paul Bettany.

35 Sam with clubs : SNEAD

Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. Snead did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball, by teeing off from home plate. Snead’s best-remembered nickname is “Slammin’ Sammy”.

36 Chap : LAD

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

40 Egyptian Nobelman? : SADAT

Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt right up to the time of his assassination in 1981. Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for the role played in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1978 at Camp David. It was this agreement that largely led to Sadat’s assassination three years later.

41 Some camel riders of note : MAGI

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

42 Helpful word in solving cryptograms : THE

In the world of word puzzles, a cryptogram is a short piece of encrypted text that is solved by working out which letters have been substituted for which letters. I think cryptograms are my favorite type of word puzzle, after the crossword of course …

43 A mare might be found in one : LUNAR CRATER

A mare is a large dark area on the moon. “Mare” is the Latin for “sea. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Mare Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility.

45 Bit of road trip entertainment : PODCAST

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

47 Not serious : JOSHING

When the verb “to josh”, meaning “to kid”, was coined in the 1840s as an American slang term, it was written with a capital J. It is likely that the term somehow comes from the proper name “Joshua”, but no one seems to remember why.

48 Big source of political talk : AM RADIO

The radio spectrum is divided into bands based on frequency. “High band” is composed of relatively high frequency values, and “low band” is composed of frequencies that are relatively low. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency (VHF). Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, frequencies in the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF). AM radio uses lower frequencies that fall into the relatively low bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF).

50 G.R.E. sitters, e.g. : TESTEES

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

Down

1 Quarreled (with) : BEEFED

A beef is a complaint or a grievance. It’s not quite clear how “beef” came to have this meaning, but one suggestion is that derives from the habit of soldiers at the end of the 1800s complaining about the quality or availability of beef in their rations.

3 Decks revealing the cards you’ve been dealt : TAROTS

Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.

4 They range from terrible to great : TSARS

The Grand Prince of Moscow, and first Tsar of Russia, Ivan IV became known as “Ivan the Terrible”. The name “terrible” is a translation from Russian, and perhaps creates the wrong impression about the man. The Russian word is “Grozny”, which is more akin to “strict” and “powerful” rather than “cruel” or “abominable”.

Peter the Great (aka “Peter I”) was perhaps the most successful of the Romanov tsars, and was famous for modernizing Russia and expanding the country’s sphere of influence, creating the Russian Empire. He ruled from 1682 until his death in 1725.

5 Daughter of Steve Jobs, after whom an early Apple computer was named : LISA

The Apple Lisa is a personal computer that was released in the early eighties as a cost-effective machine aimed at individual business owners. There was a lot of internal competition within Apple as the Lisa was developed. Steve Jobs was kicked off the project, forcing him to focus on the Apple Macintosh, which effectively killed off the Lisa when it was released in 1984.

10 Neighbor of a pec : DELT

The deltoid “muscle” is actually a group of muscles, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids (delts) are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

11 Nwodim of “S.N.L.” : EGO

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

20 Parts of some ballots : REFERENDA

Today, a ballot is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

27 Bronze : THIRD

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

28 Almost ready to be a butterfly : PUPAL

A pupa is a stage in the life of some insects. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago. Pupae can look like little dolls, hence the name. “Pupa” is the Latin for “doll”.

35 Brazilian soccer team that Pelé played for : SANTOS

“Pelé” is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name “Pelé” for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been a member of three World Cup winning squads (1958, 1962 and 1970), and is a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames is “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).

38 Some somber music : DIRGES

A dirge is a slow and mournful piece of music, like perhaps a funeral hymn.

40 “Calvin and Hobbes” girl : SUSIE

In the “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoon strip, Calvin has a love/hate relationship with his classmate Susie Derkins. Susie is a strong female character. She often plays imaginary games in which she is a lawyer or politician, and Calvin is her househusband. The strip’s creator Bill Watterson has confessed that Susie’s character represents the type of woman that he himself found attractive, and indeed married.

41 Palace, in Hindi : MAHAL

I don’t speak either Hindi or Urdu, but my reading suggests that “mahal” is an Urdu word, and not a Hindi word.

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

43 Fill the hold, say : LADE

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

44 “Let me know if you’re coming” : RSVP

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Caseload? : BOTTLES
8 Not the main action : SIDE BET
15 Like someone who answers a question with a question : EVASIVE
16 Time for warm-up shots, in more ways than one : PREGAME
17 Land that abuts four oceans : EURASIA
18 Obsolescent office desk item : ROLODEX
19 Common Hawaiian shirt design : FLORAL PRINT
21 Celebrity with a namesake cereal in the ’80s : MR T
22 Gets down : EATS
23 Hidden valleys : GLENS
24 Old Italian V.I.P. : DOGE
25 Mount Sinai people: Abbr. : DRS
26 Make by hand : CRAFT
27 Got in line : TRUED
28 Thomas who wrote “Liberty Tree” : PAINE
29 Attempts to befriend, with “up” : CHATS …
30 It’s a rush, appropriately enough : RUNNER’S HIGH
32 Prayers : HOPES
33 The America’s Cup and others : EWERS
34 Monk in “The Da Vinci Code” : SILAS
35 Sam with clubs : SNEAD
36 Chap : LAD
39 “___ pass” : IT’LL
40 Egyptian Nobelman? : SADAT
41 Some camel riders of note : MAGI
42 Helpful word in solving cryptograms : THE
43 A mare might be found in one : LUNAR CRATER
45 Bit of road trip entertainment : PODCAST
47 Not serious : JOSHING
48 Big source of political talk : AM RADIO
49 Part of a book deal : ADVANCE
50 G.R.E. sitters, e.g. : TESTEES
51 Sportscast staples : REPLAYS

Down

1 Quarreled (with) : BEEFED
2 Egglike : OVULAR
3 Decks revealing the cards you’ve been dealt : TAROTS
4 They range from terrible to great : TSARS
5 Daughter of Steve Jobs, after whom an early Apple computer was named : LISA
6 Dastardly looks : EVIL GRINS
7 It doesn’t have to land on land : SEAPLANE
8 Dash : SPRINT
9 Smooths : IRONS
10 Neighbor of a pec : DELT
11 Nwodim of “S.N.L.” : EGO
12 Trash : BAD-MOUTH
13 Comes out of one’s shell : EMERGES
14 Like emojis : TEXTED
20 Parts of some ballots : REFERENDA
24 Party poopers : DRAGS
26 Lean on them : CANES
27 Bronze : THIRD
28 Almost ready to be a butterfly : PUPAL
29 Secret for video gamers : CHEAT CODE
30 Noted feature of Spanish pronunciation : ROLLED RS
31 Recipient of a lot of #@&! money : SWEAR JAR
32 Tug at one’s heartstrings, say : HIT HOME
34 Not take any action : SIT PAT
35 Brazilian soccer team that Pelé played for : SANTOS
36 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, e.g. : LATINA
37 Word with federal or insurance : … AGENCY
38 Some somber music : DIRGES
40 “Calvin and Hobbes” girl : SUSIE
41 Palace, in Hindi : MAHAL
43 Fill the hold, say : LADE
44 “Let me know if you’re coming” : RSVP
46 Object of veneration in ancient Egypt : CAT

10 thoughts on “0221-20 NY Times Crossword 21 Feb 20, Friday”

  1. 18:26. Indeed easy for an Agard. It still took me a few minutes to get any traction anywhere, but once I did, the grid filled in pretty quickly. Had to back out of ROLLingR to get to ROLLED RS and “asp” before CAT. Nice clue for TSARS.

    Best –

  2. I saw Mr T once on an airplane, wearing all of his jewelry I wonder how the heck did he get through the metal detector. Talked with him briefly, he was a cool guy.

  3. Refreshing finish after a couple of one-square-miss Fridays. No errors but I stared at the south east for a bit before it untangled itself.

  4. Needed some help with this one, though I agree that it is RELATIVELY easy for a Friday. “Mare” in a LUNAR CRATER crossed by the #@&! SWEAR JAR was a tough patch, though the swearing part was clear enough.

  5. SW corner got me.. 4 misses down there. Even after I got PODCAST, AMRADIO and TESTEES. Just couldn’t get the right combo. PUPAE instead of PUPAL, SATPAT instead of SITPAT,… yadda yadda yadda… Like a car stuck in the mud..

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