0104-21 NY Times Crossword 4 Jan 21, Monday

Constructed by: Kathy Wienberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Wonder Woman

Themed answers each refer to the iconic superhero WONDER WOMAN:

  • 61A Co-founder of the Justice League : WONDER WOMAN
  • 17A Identity of 61-Across : DIANA PRINCE
  • 30A Originator of 61-Across : DC COMICS
  • 36A Television portrayer of 61-Across : LYNDA CARTER
  • 44A Film portrayer of 61-Across : GAL GADOT

Bill’s time: 4m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 The Lone Star State : TEXAS

The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the “lone star” on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single white star on a blue background symbolizes Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.

11 Place to recover one’s health : SPA

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

14 Native Alaskan : ALEUT

The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

16 Arctic diving bird : AUK

Auks are penguin-like sea birds that live in colder northern waters including the Arctic. Like penguins, auks are great swimmers, but unlike penguins, auks can fly.

17 Identity of 61-Across : DIANA PRINCE

Superhero Wonder Woman first appeared in print in 1941, in a publication from DC Comics. As she was created during WWII, Wonder Woman’s first foes were the axis powers. In the less realistic world her biggest foe was and still is Ares, a “baddie” named after the Greek mythological figure. Wonder Woman had several signature expressions, including “Merciful Minerva!”, “Suffering Sappho!” and “Great Hera!”. She also has several devices that she uses in her quest for justice, e.g. the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets and a tiara that can be used as a deadly projectile. Wonder Woman uses the name “Diana Prince” when “out of uniform”.

19 “The X-Files” agcy. : FBI

“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that originally aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history. An “X-Files” reboot started airing in 2016 with Duchovny and Anderson reprising their starring roles.

21 Blacktop : ASPHALT

The asphalt surface on roads (or basketball courts) is more properly called asphaltic concrete because asphalt itself (also known as “bitumen”) is just a sticky black liquid that comes from crude petroleum. Asphalt is used as a binder with aggregate to form asphaltic concrete.

26 Something a diva may sing : ARIA

The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

27 Overhaul, as a show : REVAMP

The vamp is that part of a shoe upper that extends from behind the toe to the back of the heel. Prior to the 1650s, the verb “new-vamp” was used to describe the replacement of the vamp, in order to extend the life of a show. After 1650, the verb evolved into “revamp”. We now use “revamp” figuratively, to mean “remake, renovate”.

30 Originator of 61-Across : DC COMICS

DC Comics takes its name from what used to be a highly popular series called “Detective Comics”. The main competitor to DC Comics is Marvel Comics, and between the two companies, they command 80% of comic sales in the US market. Nowadays of course, a lot of company income comes from movies that use the most popular characters from the original comics.

35 Rapper Shakur : TUPAC

Rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur adopted the inventive stage name “2Pac”. He was a hard man, spending eleven months in prison for sexual assault. He was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas at only 25 years of age.

36 Television portrayer of 61-Across : LYNDA CARTER

Lynda Carter is perhaps best known for playing the title role in the TV show “Wonder Woman” that originally aired in the 1970s. Prior to landing the part, Carter had won the Miss World USA beauty pageant in 1972, representing her home state of Arizona.

40 Singers Bareilles and Evans : SARAS

Sara Bareilles achieved success with her 2007 “Love Song” with the help of the iTunes online store. In one week in June of that year, iTunes offered the song as “free single of the week” and it quickly became the most downloaded song in the store, and from there climbed to the number spot in the charts.

Sara Evans is a country singer/songwriter from Boonville, MIssouri. Evans was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006, but left the show after about a month. Evans had filed for divorce from her husband on the same day she left the show. It turned out to be a very messy divorce. Sad …

44 Film portrayer of 61-Across : GAL GADOT

Gal Gadot is an actress and former Miss Israel. She played Gisele Yashar in the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, and then began portraying Wonder Woman in superhero movies.

49 Lead-in to “man” in superhero-dom : AQUA-

Aquaman is a comic book superhero who first appeared in 1941. Aquaman was inspired by a character in a Russian science-fiction novel named “Amphibian Man”.

53 Pain in the lower back : LUMBAGO

Lumbago is a pain in the lower back. “lumbago” is a Late Latin term describing a “weakness of the loins and lower back” that comes from Latin “lumbus” meaning “loin”.

61 Co-founder of the Justice League : WONDER WOMAN

The Justice League is a team of superheroes in the DC Comics universe. The team first appeared in 1960, as the Justice league of America. Membership of the league changed over the years, but the original lineup was:

  • Aquaman
  • Batman
  • The Flash
  • Green Lantern
  • Martian Manhunter
  • Superman
  • Wonder Woman

64 Humdingers : LULUS

We call a remarkable thing or a person a lulu. The term “lulu” was coined in honor of Lulu Hurst, the Georgia Wonder, who was a stage magician active in the 1880s.

A humdinger or pip is someone or something outstanding. “Humdinger” is American slang dating back to the early 1900s, and was originally used to describe a particularly attractive woman.

67 Ocular inflammations : STYES

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

Down

2 Property recipient, in law : ALIENEE

An alienee is one to whom ownership of property is transferred, is “alienated”.

7 Inventor Whitney : ELI

Inventor Eli Whitney is best known for inventing the cotton gin. Whitney also came up with the important concept of “interchangeable parts”. Parts that are interchangeable can be swapped out of equipment or perhaps used in related designs.

8 “Hercules” character who got her own show : XENA

The Xena character, played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role. The fictional Xena supposedly came from the “non-fictional” Greek city of Amphipolis.

9 Rainbows, for example : ARCS

Sunlight reflected by airborne water droplets can produce rainbows. The water droplets act as little prisms, dispersing the white light into its constituent colors. Sometimes we see double rainbows. If we look carefully, we can see that the order of the colors in the first and second arcs is reversed.

11 Mac browser : SAFARI

Safari is Apple’s flagship Internet browser, one that is used on its Mac line of computers. A mobile version of Safari is included with all iPhones.

13 Japanese dogs : AKITAS

The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, Akita Prefecture in Japan. When Helen Keller visited Japan in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. The following year the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog. Supposedly Keller’s dogs were the first members of the breed to be introduced into the US.

18 “I don’t want to hear a ___ out of you!” : PEEP

Nor do I …

28 Adams who played Lois Lane in “Man of Steel” : AMY

Amy Adams is an American actress, although she was actually born in Vicenza, Italy while her father was a US serviceman stationed on an Italian base. My favorite Amy Adams film so far is the outstanding “Julie & Julia” in which she acted alongside Meryl Streep. I highly recommend this truly delightful movie.

“Man of Steel” is a 2013 reboot of the “Superman” series of films, starring Henry Cavill in the title role and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

29 Brainy bunch : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

31 Tax return pros : CPAS

Certified public accountant (CPA)

32 Batmobile, e.g. : CAR

The Batmobile was introduced in the world of comic books in 1939. It started out as a simple, red convertible, with nothing special to recommend it. Over the years though, the car evolved and became more and more sophisticated. The Batmobile always had pride of place in the Batman tales, but once in a while Batman would take the Batplane, Batboat and Batcycle out for a spin.

35 Poi ingredient : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish (which I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

37 Mid-June honoree : DAD

Father’s Day was added as an official holiday in 1972, although bills to create the holiday had been with Congress since 1913. By rights, the holiday should be called “Fathers’ Day” (note the punctuation), but the bill that was introduced in 1913 used the “Father’s Day” spelling, and that’s the one that has stuck.

38 Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” : EVA

Eva Longoria is a fashion model and actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives”, playing Gabrielle Solis.

The TV drama “Desperate Housewives” ran for eight seasons. During pre-production, the show was called “Wisteria Lane” and then “The Secret Lives of Housewives”. The “desperate housewives” lived on the fictional Wisteria Lane in the fictional town of Fairview in the fictional Eagle State. That’s a lot of fiction …

42 Weather map lines : ISOBARS

An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.

43 Easing of international tensions : DETENTE

“Détente” is a French word meaning “loosening, reduction in tension” and in general it is used to describe the easing of strained relations in a political situation. In particular, the policy of détente came to be associated with the improved relations between the US and the Soviet Union in the seventies.

45 Eagle constellation : AQUILA

The name of the constellation Aquila is Latin for “eagle”. The brightest star in Aquila is Altair. The name “Altair” comes from the Arabic “al-nasr al-tair” meaning “the flying eagle”.

48 Trucker who relays “bear traps” : CBER

A CB’er is someone who operates a Citizens Band (CB) radio. In 1945, the FCC set aside certain radio frequencies for the personal use of citizens. The use of the Citizens Band increased throughout the seventies as advances in electronics brought down the size of transceivers and their cost. There aren’t many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.

In the world of CB radio, a bear trap is a speed trap operated by the police.

55 Joint malady : GOUT

Gout is caused by an elevation of the levels of uric acid in the blood. As a result of the high concentrations, the uric acid can crystallize out in tissue causing extreme discomfort. What we tend to call gout occurs when the crystals are deposited in the big toe. Gout is sometimes referred to as “the disease of kings” or “the rich man’s disease”, as it is associated with a traditionally opulent diet.

58 “Terrible” time for tykes : TWOS

“Tyke” has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902 For centuries before that, a tyke was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Has a long shelf life : LASTS
6 The Lone Star State : TEXAS
11 Place to recover one’s health : SPA
14 Native Alaskan : ALEUT
15 Vigilant : ALERT
16 Arctic diving bird : AUK
17 Identity of 61-Across : DIANA PRINCE
19 “The X-Files” agcy. : FBI
20 Like some reactions and flights during storms : DELAYED
21 Blacktop : ASPHALT
23 Opposite of WSW : ENE
24 Part of a needle : EYE
26 Something a diva may sing : ARIA
27 Overhaul, as a show : REVAMP
30 Originator of 61-Across : DC COMICS
34 Teacher’s note accompanying a bad grade, maybe : SEE ME
35 Rapper Shakur : TUPAC
36 Television portrayer of 61-Across : LYNDA CARTER
40 Singers Bareilles and Evans : SARAS
41 Steer clear of : AVOID
44 Film portrayer of 61-Across : GAL GADOT
48 Contract stipulation : CLAUSE
49 Lead-in to “man” in superhero-dom : AQUA-
50 Flow out, as the tide : EBB
52 Youngster : TOT
53 Pain in the lower back : LUMBAGO
57 “Just leave!” : LET ME BE!
60 Back talk : LIP
61 Co-founder of the Justice League : WONDER WOMAN
63 Bullring cheer : OLE!
64 Humdingers : LULUS
65 Plainly visible : OVERT
66 Something to write on or crash in : PAD
67 Ocular inflammations : STYES
68 Smell or taste : SENSE

Down

1 Corporate hierarchies, figuratively : LADDERS
2 Property recipient, in law : ALIENEE
3 Rising concern? : SEA LEVEL
4 ___ fish sandwich : TUNA
5 Linger : STAY
6 Late in arriving : TARDY
7 Inventor Whitney : ELI
8 “Hercules” character who got her own show : XENA
9 Rainbows, for example : ARCS
10 Part of an assembly instruction : STEP
11 Mac browser : SAFARI
12 Go ___ (become listed on a stock exchange) : PUBLIC
13 Japanese dogs : AKITAS
18 “I don’t want to hear a ___ out of you!” : PEEP
22 Meat in many an omelet : HAM
25 Teach : EDUCATE
28 Adams who played Lois Lane in “Man of Steel” : AMY
29 Brainy bunch : MENSA
31 Tax return pros : CPAS
32 Batmobile, e.g. : CAR
33 Eight-related : OCTAL
35 Poi ingredient : TARO
37 Mid-June honoree : DAD
38 Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” : EVA
39 Some delivery people : ROUTEMEN
42 Weather map lines : ISOBARS
43 Easing of international tensions : DETENTE
44 Racehorse’s gait : GALLOP
45 Eagle constellation : AQUILA
46 Thrown (together) : LUMPED
47 Shoot the breeze : GAB
48 Trucker who relays “bear traps” : CBER
51 Confer divine favor on : BLESS
54 Leather-punching tools : AWLS
55 Joint malady : GOUT
56 Just : ONLY
58 “Terrible” time for tykes : TWOS
59 Relocate : MOVE
62 Payment ___ : DUE

7 thoughts on “0104-21 NY Times Crossword 4 Jan 21, Monday”

  1. 10:31. Ouch. Solved like a themeless for me as I knew none of the theme answers. In fact I still don’t as I paid little attention to them.

    Long day today. Hence the late post and the attitude.

    Best –

  2. Easy going. The word ALIENEE was new to me but it is good to learn of it. I knew all of the references to superheroes except for the fact that Lynda Carter spells her first name with a Y. The AMY cross helped for me to get it right.

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