0107-21 NY Times Crossword 7 Jan 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Matthew Stock & Sid Sivakumar
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Strike That

Themed answers each include “THAT” as a hidden word. That “THAT” has been STRUCK out, overwritten by letters X:

  • 59A Words of correction … or a hint to 16-, 20-, 36- and 54-Across : STRIKE THAT
  • 16A Cocktail specification : WITH A TWIST
  • 20A “Get your negative energy outta here” : DON’T HATE
  • 36A 2007 black comedy directed by Frank Oz : DEATH AT A FUNERAL
  • 54A Fedoras, e.g. : FELT HATS

Bill’s time: 8m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Java server : URN

Back in 1850, the name “java” was given to a type of coffee grown on the island of Java, and the usage of the term spread from then.

4 Drum typically played with one hand : TABOR

A tabor is a portable snare drum that is played with one hand. The tabor is usually suspended by a strap from one arm, with the other hand free to beat the drum. It is often played as an accompaniment for a fife or other small flutes. The word “tabor” comes from “tabwrdd”, the Welsh word for “drum”.

9 Outfit rarely worn out, for short : PJS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

12 Migration formation : VEE

Apparently, birds that fly in a V-formation do so for a couple of reasons. One is that it makes for efficient flight and conserves energy. The leading bird gets no advantage, but every following bird gets to “slipstream” a little. It has been noted that the lead bird drops to the back of the formation when he/she gets fatigued. It’s also thought that the flock can stick together more easily when in formation, so it is more difficult to lose someone along the way.

13 Big wheels : HUMVEE

“Humvee” and “Hummer” are nicknames for the military vehicle developed by AM General. The full name is High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle i.e. HMMWV, or simply “Humvee”.

16 Cocktail specification : WITH A TWIST

Our word “cocktail” first appeared in the early 1800s. The exact origin of the term is not clear, but it is thought to be a corruption of the French word “coquetier” meaning “egg cup”, a container that was used at that time for serving mixed drinks.

22 Bitter criticism : VITRIOL

We use the term “vitriol” to mean “bitter or abusive feelings”. This usage stems from the original meaning of the term as a corrosive substance, a sulphate of iron that produces sulfuric acid when heated. Sulfuric acid used to be referred to as “oil of vitriol”. The use of the term in chemistry comes from the Latin “vitrium” meaning “glass”, as the iron sulphate sometimes had a glassy appearance.

26 Symbol of freshness : DAISY

The flowers of the daisy plant close tightly at sunset and then open up again in the morning. It is this behavior that led to the name “daisy”, from the Old English for “day’s eye”. So, the daisy could be called a “well-rested” plant. And, someone who is well-rested attacks the day “fresh as a daisy”. Interesting, huh?

27 Brian in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : ENO

Brian Eno started his musical career with Roxy Music. However, Eno’s most oft-played composition (by far!) is Microsoft’s “startup jingle”, the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows operating system is booting up. Eno might have annoyed the Microsoft folks when he stated on a BBC radio show:

I wrote it on a Mac. I’ve never used a PC in my life; I don’t like them.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can be visited on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created in 1983 and started inducting artists in 1986. The Foundation didn’t get a home until the museum was dedicated in Cleveland in 1995. I had the great privilege of visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago and really enjoyed myself. The magnificent building was designed by famed architect I. M. Pei.

28 Rare blood type, for short : B-NEG

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

33 “Thanks for noticing me” character of kid-lit : EEYORE

Eeyore is the donkey character in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”. Eeyore is very lovable, but has a gloomy and pessimistic outlook on life.

35 Volcanologist’s study : LAVA

Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.

36 2007 black comedy directed by Frank Oz : DEATH AT A FUNERAL

“Death at a Funeral” is a 2010 American dark comedy that is a remake of a very successful 2007 British film of the same name. I really didn’t like either, to be honest …

41 Grain-shaped pasta : ORZO

Orzo is pasta that has been formed into granular shapes, much like barley. And indeed, “orzo” is the Italian word for “barley”. Orzo is also called “risoni”, meaning “large rice”.

42 Wetlands waders : IBISES

The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!

43 Twiddles one’s thumbs, say : WAITS

“To twiddle one’s thumbs” is to do nothing, to spend time aimlessly. The phrase originated in the mid-1800s. In the early part of the 19th century, the equivalent phrase was “to twirl one’s thumbs”.

45 Whole lot : SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

52 Magazine with the annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards : ESSENCE

“Essence” is a women’s magazine aimed at the African-American female, covering fashion and beauty. First published in 1970, the magazine’s slogan is “Fierce, Fun and Fabulous”.

54 Fedoras, e.g. : FELT HATS

A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt, and is similar to a trilby, but has a broader brim. “Fedora” was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to a modern-day fedora. The play led to the women’s fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the fashion …

58 Et ___ : ALII

“Et alii” (et al.) is the equivalent of “et cetera” (etc.), with “et cetera” being used in place of a list of objects, and “et alii” used for a list of names.

68 Main : SEA

When one thinks of the word “main”, in the context of the sea, the Spanish Main usually comes to mind. Indeed, the use of the more general term “main” to mean “sea”, originates from the more specific “Spanish Main”. “Spanish Main” originally referred to land and not water, as it was the name given to the mainland coast around the Caribbean Sea in the days of Spanish domination of the region.

Down

1 Sunburn cause, for short : UV WAVE

At either end of the visible light spectrum are the invisible forms of radiation known as infrared (IR) light and ultraviolet (UV) light. IR light lies just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum, and UV light lies just below the violet end.

6 “Ultimate driving machine,” in ads : BMW

The initialism “BMW” stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

7 Poet who said “Let others praise ancient times. I am glad I was born in these” : OVID

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus and so was banished toTomis, an island in the Black Sea. What led to this disfavor seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

9 Conflict waged on behalf of superpowers : PROXY WAR

Our word “proxy”, meaning “the agency of one who acts instead of another”, comes from the Latin “procurare” meaning “to manage”. So, “proxy” has the same root as our word “procure”.

10 Bring bad luck : JINX

A jinx is a charm or a spell, and the word “jinx” comes from an older word “jyng” from the 17th-century. A “jyng” was another word for the wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

11 Disney henchman with long, white sideburns : SMEE

In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s bosun and right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on a pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

14 Italian stratovolcano : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

17 Gen ___ : XER

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

21 They follow the nus : XIS

The Greek letter xi, despite the name, is not the precursor of our letter X. Our X comes from the Greek letter chi.

23 Animal also called a steinbock : IBEX

“Ibex” is a common name for various species of mountain goat. “Ibex” is a Latin name that was used for wild goats found in the Alps and Apennines in Europe.

24 Dark rock : ONYX

Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it’s the black version that’s used for jewelry. The name “onyx” comes from the Greek word for “fingernail”, as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

25 Pope whose pontificate lasted less than one month in 1605 : LEO XI

Pope Leo XI ascended to the papal throne on April 1, 1605, almost seventy years old at the time. He became sick and died within a month. For obvious reasons he was nicknamed “Papa Lambo”, the Lightning Pope …

31 Actress Mendes : EVA

I am most familiar with actress Eva Mendes as the female lead in the movie “Hitch”, in which she played opposite Will Smith. Mendes started a relationship with fellow actor Ryan Gosling in 2011, and the couple have two children together.

32 Indian lentil dish : DAL

I love dal dishes, which are prepared from various peas or beans (often lentils) that have been stripped of their outer skins and split. Dal is an important part of Indian cuisines. I suppose in Indian terms, split pea soup (another of my favorites) would be called a dal.

34 Return online? : E-FILE

E-file: that’s certainly what I do with my tax return …

36 Blue-chip index : DOW

Charles Dow was a journalist who moved to New York City (from Providence, Rhode Island) in 1880 as he was developing an interest in reporting financial and business news. He teamed up with statistician Edward David Jones, and in 1882, the pair formed the Dow, Jones & Company news agency. The following year, the fledgling company started to publish the “Customers’ Afternoon Letter”, a two-page summary of the day’s financial news. Included in the newsletter was the now celebrated Dow Jones stock average. The two-page “Customers’ Afternoon Letter” evolved into the newspaper that we now call “The Wall Street Journal”, which first appeared in 1889.

A blue chip is stock in a company that has a reputation for providing a solid return of investment in good times and in bad. The term “blue chip” comes from poker, as blue poker chips are traditionally those with the highest value.

37 K’s help it : ERA

In baseball, a strike-out (K) helps improve a pitcher’s earned run average (ERA).

44 Beantown team : SOX

The Boston Red Sox are one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams and so command a large attendance, but only when on the road. The relatively small capacity of Boston’s Fenway Park, the team’s home since 1912, has dictated that every game the Red Sox has played there has been a sell-out from May of 2003 to April 2013. I recently had the pleasure of touring Fenway Park. It’s quite a place …

In the days of sail, the natural trade routes across the Atlantic involved a lot of ships arriving in Boston directly from the West Indies. One of the main cargoes carried by these vessels coming from the West Indies was molasses. An abundance of cheap molasses led to an abundance of baked beans in the port city, and all those baked beans gave rise to Boston’s nickname “Beantown”.

47 A to A, say : OCTAVE

I find that terminology in music can be confusing. My way of looking at an octave (my way … don’t shout at me!) is thinking of a piano keyboard. In the key of C, the seven notes of the octave are C, D, E, F, G, A, B (or “do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti”). These are all white keys. Most of these “white notes” are separated by whole tones, so there is room to add a “semitone” in between most of them, and these are the black keys (C-sharp for example). There is room for five black keys in an octave, and 7 + 5 adds up to 12. I assume we use the term “octave” because we often add an eighth note on the end “to bring us back to do” as the song says (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do … or … C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). That eighth note is really the first note in the next octave up.

48 Brand with a three-leaved logo : NESTEA

Nestea is a brand of iced tea made by Nestlé. The name is a portmanteau of “Nestlé” and “tea”.

50 Annual Austin festival, familiarly : SXSW

South by Southwest, also known as “SXSW”, is an annual festival that has been taking place in Austin, Texas since 1987. SXSW is a melded event, combining a music festival, a film festival and an interactive festival.

53 Chow down : EAT

“Chow” is a slang term for “food” that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.

54 Bit of trivia : FACT

Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …

55 Resident at 123 Sesame Street : ELMO

I’m no expert, but I’m not sure that Elmo lives at number 123, but I could be wrong …

The central location in “Sesame Street” is a three-story row house with the address 123 Sesame Street. The first floor of the house is home to Robinson family, and the second story is occupied by the Rodriguez family. Bert and Ernie live in the basement, and Oscar lives in a trash can outside the house’s fence.

56 Hindu honorifics : SRIS

“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

60 Often-mispunctuated word : ITS

The word “it’s” is a contraction for “it is”, as in “it’s a fun crossword”. The spelling “its”, without an apostrophe, is used in all other cases, most commonly as the possessive form of the pronoun “it”. In that sense, “its” is akin to the pronouns his, hers, ours, etc., as in “the newspaper is known for its great crosswords”.

61 Mauna ___ : KEA

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.

62 Suffix with brew or quack : -ERY

A quack is a person who pretends to have knowledge that he or she does not in fact possess. The term especially applies to someone fraudulently pretending to have medical skills. Our modern word is an abbreviation of “quacksalver”, an archaic term with Dutch roots that translates as “hawker of salve”, Back in the Middle Ages, quacksalvers would shout out (quack) as they sold their pseudo-medical wares.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Java server : URN
4 Drum typically played with one hand : TABOR
9 Outfit rarely worn out, for short : PJS
12 Migration formation : VEE
13 Big wheels : HUMVEE
15 Quick haircut : TRIM
16 Cocktail specification : WITH A TWIST
18 Top of the line : A-ONE
19 Chip in, in a way : ANTE
20 “Get your negative energy outta here” : DON’T HATE
22 Bitter criticism : VITRIOL
26 Symbol of freshness : DAISY
27 Brian in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : ENO
28 Rare blood type, for short : B-NEG
30 Worked in a wood shop, say : SAWED
33 “Thanks for noticing me” character of kid-lit : EEYORE
35 Volcanologist’s study : LAVA
36 2007 black comedy directed by Frank Oz : DEATH AT A FUNERAL
41 Grain-shaped pasta : ORZO
42 Wetlands waders : IBISES
43 Twiddles one’s thumbs, say : WAITS
45 Whole lot : SLEW
46 What an electrolyte produces : ION
49 Partner of fast : LOOSE
52 Magazine with the annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards : ESSENCE
54 Fedoras, e.g. : FELT HATS
57 Makes a scene? : ACTS
58 Et ___ : ALII
59 Words of correction … or a hint to 16-, 20-, 36- and 54-Across : STRIKE THAT
63 “Let’s go already!” : C’MON!
64 One whose work is on the books? : WRITER
65 New Year’s ___ : EVE
66 Whole lot : TON
67 Test, as ore : ASSAY
68 Main : SEA

Down

1 Sunburn cause, for short : UV WAVE
2 Curtail : REIN IN
3 Abutting : NEXT TO
4 Texter’s message of appreciation : THX
5 Kind of TV cable: Abbr. : AUX
6 “Ultimate driving machine,” in ads : BMW
7 Poet who said “Let others praise ancient times. I am glad I was born in these” : OVID
8 Do a landscaper’s job on : RESOD
9 Conflict waged on behalf of superpowers : PROXY WAR
10 Bring bad luck : JINX
11 Disney henchman with long, white sideburns : SMEE
14 Italian stratovolcano : ETNA
15 Results of some foreclosures : TAX SALES
17 Gen ___ : XER
21 They follow the nus : XIS
23 Animal also called a steinbock : IBEX
24 Dark rock : ONYX
25 Pope whose pontificate lasted less than one month in 1605 : LEO XI
29 Apt rhyme of “nabs” : GRABS
31 Actress Mendes : EVA
32 Indian lentil dish : DAL
33 Harmful bacterial secretion : EXOTOXIN
34 Return online? : E-FILE
36 Blue-chip index : DOW
37 K’s help it : ERA
38 More than can be imagined : A ZILLION
39 Exercises : USES
40 What’s happening : NEWS
44 Beantown team : SOX
46 Marks of a ruler : INCHES
47 A to A, say : OCTAVE
48 Brand with a three-leaved logo : NESTEA
50 Annual Austin festival, familiarly : SXSW
51 What’s more : EXTRA
53 Chow down : EAT
54 Bit of trivia : FACT
55 Resident at 123 Sesame Street : ELMO
56 Hindu honorifics : SRIS
60 Often-mispunctuated word : ITS
61 Mauna ___ : KEA
62 Suffix with brew or quack : -ERY

14 thoughts on “0107-21 NY Times Crossword 7 Jan 21, Thursday”

  1. 23:50 with one lookup. It should have been easier. I kept drawing blanks in the area around 33D, 36D, 37D, 38D. I had the revealer at 39A but in one place I had only 3 Xs and I confused myself. Wanted 43A to be IDLES and kept thinking of 36D as IBM, but that’s a blue-chip stock, not an index. And the answer for 37D made no sense to me for a long while until I realized it was about baseball –

  2. 15:32, no errors, but it took me a long time to understand the gimmick. One of those xxxx would have been better done from the bottom up! … 😜

  3. 22:06. I’m humbled. Started with 2 Xs, went to 3, and finally to 4 Xs for the win! Top middle was the last to fall. I’m very impressed with @Bill’s time.

  4. You may all thank me now for my dominating command of last place with 45:30. Had “strikeouts”, which led me to think there would be 3 x’s and not 4. Had “idles” and “DJI” for a while, obviously that didn’t work….but hey, I finished….

  5. 14:02. A little late to post as I’m in Houston this week on business. Interesting idea for a theme. I got it in pieces, but I went for the reveal and figured it out at that point.

    Interesting origin of the word VITRIOL. I may just substitute the word “sulfuric acid” for VITRIOL in a conversation and watch the reaction…pardon the pun.

    Best –

  6. No errors.. like others, struggled a bit with 33D. Now I know there is a EXOTOXIN. I would not have gotten it without figuring out the gimmick. Had 2 XX’s for awhile, until I did 59A. Then there was an AHA moment..

    Nice ..

  7. 54:27 no errors…once I got the theme it opened up and that’s rare for me…it took a while to convince myself that UVRAYS was wrong at 1D.
    @Duncan…as long as I am around you don’t stand a chance of domineering last place.
    Stay safe😀

  8. Got bogged down early with
    UVRAYS for 1D and bounced all over trying to get a foothold, felt (pun) great about FELTHATS for
    54A until nothing around it worked. 33D had to be some sort of toxin. I hate the MAUNA clue ‘cause it’s always going to LOA or KEA . I figured EDITORS work with books, so LOA worked there
    ‘til it didn’t. On and on. Even after filling STRIKE THAT, didn’t grasp the theme until the very end.

  9. I wrote UVRAYS for 1 down. When I got to 16 across I changed the
    R to M so “cocktail specification” would be MIXsomething.
    Never went back to question the M so I DNF-ed with 1 down as
    UVMAV?

  10. 18:11, no errors. Didn’t catch on to the theme until the last themed entry. Similar to JRH, I entered AUTHOR for 64A, and went down the same ‘LOA’ rabbit hole.

  11. I am always happy just to finish Thursday puzzles without any errors. I’m usually tempted to jump down to find the theme, but find it more satisfying to pick away at it, just to see how “clever“ I am. I think I’ve only posted to this site twice now, the first time being a few years ago to compliment Bill’s efforts. I am neither super fast nor super slow, but I know I’ll never catch him in a race!

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