0114-21 NY Times Crossword 14 Jan 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Aimee Lucido & Ella Dershowitz
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Spin the Bottle

Six squares, arranged in a circle in the grid, contain two letters. Starting at the bottom, the first letters spell BOTTLE, and are used in the across-answers. Starting at the top, the second letters also spell BOTTLE, and are used in the down-answers.

  • 38A Classic party game … or a hint to solving the answers that intersect circles : SPIN THE BOTTLE
  • 62A Ancient unit of length : CUBIT
  • 51A Have a Pavlovian response : DROOL
  • 24A Desires : WANTS
  • 18A Relative of a croc : GATOR
  • 27A Awesome time : BLAST
  • 55A Moves like molasses : SEEPS
  • 7D Garage jobs : LUBES
  • 10D Brief appearance : CAMEO
  • 56D Spud : TATER
  • 54D Petrol unit : LITRE
  • 52D Uses a light scalpel on? : LASES
  • 4D What a letter needs : LEASE

Bill’s time: 11m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Missing : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

10 Common baitfish in North American streams : CHUB

There is a whole family of fish called “chubs” including European chubs, lake chubs, hornyhead chub, creek chubs, and a host of others.

18 Relative of a croc : GATOR

Crocodiles and alligators do indeed bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

29 Core features : ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack”, or even a “ten-pack”, in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

31 General with a dish named after him : TSO

General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, and a dish often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

34 Lover of Cesario in “Twelfth Night” : OLIVIA

William Shakespeare wrote his comedy “Twelfth Night” as a Christmas entertainment (Twelfth Night being the end of the Christmas season). The play’s protagonist is a young woman named Viola. The plot calls for Viola to dress as eunuch named Cesario who goes into the service of Duke Orsino. Orsino has Cesario go to Duchess Olivia to express his love for her. But Olivia falls for Cesario, Cesario (Viola) falls for Orsino, and hilarity ensues …

36 Air Force One V.I.P. : POTUS

President of the United States (POTUS)

We usually use the term “Air Force One” for the purpose-built military aircraft that transports the president, although any plane can use the call sign provided the president is aboard. There was an incident in 1953 in which a flight carrying President Eisenhower (flight no. Air Force 8610) flew close to a commercial airliner (flight no. Eastern 8610). The special call sign “Air Force One” was created soon after in order to avoid confusion of flight numbers in the future.

43 How Beyoncé was “crazy,” according to a 2003 #1 hit : IN LOVE

Beyoncé Knowles established herself in the entertainment industry as the lead singer with the R&B group Destiny’s Child. She launched her solo singing career in 2003, two years after making her first appearance as an actor. In 2006 she played the lead in the very successful movie adaptation of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls”. Beyoncé is married to rap star Jay-Z. She is also referred to affectionately as “Queen Bey”, a play on the phrase “the queen bee”. Her fan base goes by the name “Beyhive”.

45 House member with 11+ million Twitter followers, informally : AOC

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a politician who is often referred to by her initials “AOC”. A Democrat, she was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 2018, representing part of the Bronx, Queens and Rikers Island in New York City. When she took office in 2019 at the age of 29, AOC became the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress.

48 Spanish bear : OSO

In Spanish, “osa” is a female bear, and “oso” is a male. An “oso” might be found in “un zoológico” (a zoo).

51 Have a Pavlovian response : DROOL

Ivan Pavlov was studying gastric function in dogs in the 1890s when he observed that his subject dogs started to salivate before he even presented food to them. This “psychic secretion”, as he called it, interested him so much that he changed the direction of his research and studied the reactions of dogs to various stimuli that were associated with the presentation of food. Famously, he discovered that a dog could be conditioned to respond as though he was about to be fed, just by sensing some stimulus that he had come to associate with food. This might be a bell ringing, an electric shock (poor dog!) or perhaps the waving of a hand. Nowadays we might describe someone as “Pavlov’s Dog” if that person responds just the way he/she has been conditioned to respond, rather than applying critical thinking.

53 “90 Day Fiancé” network : TLC

The cable channel known today as TLC started out life as The Learning Channel. Programming on TLC was originally focused on educational content, but today there is an emphasis on reality television.

57 Percussion duos? : HI-HATS

In a drum kit, a hi-hat is a pairing of cymbals that sits on a stand and is played by using a foot pedal. The top cymbal is raised and lowered by the foot, hence creating a crashing sound.

62 Ancient unit of length : CUBIT

The ancient unit of length called a cubit was chosen as the length of the forearm. In some cultures a cubit was divided into 7 palms, the width of the hand excluding the thumb.

64 Scale amount : TARE

Tare is the weight of a container that is deducted from the gross weight to determine the net weight, the weight of the container’s contents.

66 What matzo doesn’t do : RISE

Matzo is an unleavened bread that is very brittle. The bread is crushed, creating a Matzo meal that is then formed into balls using eggs and oil as a binder. The balls are usually served in a chicken stock.

67 Stephen Curry’s birthplace : AKRON

For much of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fastest-growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron’s growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name “Akron” comes from the Greek word meaning “summit”. Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The city earned the moniker “Rubber Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, as it was home to four major tire companies: Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone and General Tire.

Stephen Curry is a professional basketball player who was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the 2009 draft. Stephen’s father is former NBA player Dell Curry, and his younger brother is current player Seth Curry. Stephen Curry is noted for accuracy in shooting. Curry set the record for three-pointers made in a regular season in 2013, broke that record in 2015, and broke it yet again in 2016.

68 Micro or macro class : ECON

Macroeconomics is the study of economies as a whole, rather than individual markets. Microeconomics is focused on the actions of individual entities like companies or individuals, and how these actions impact specific markets.

69 Docs treating vertigo : ENTS

The branch of medicine known as “ear, nose and throat” (ENT) is more correctly called “otolaryngology”.

“Vertigo” is a Latin word meaning “dizziness”, and has the same meaning in English. The Latin term comes from the Latin verb “vertere”, which means “to turn”.

Down

1 ___ king : A LA

A dish prepared “à la king” (usually chicken or turkey), is prepared in a cream sauce with mushrooms, pimentos, green peppers and sherry.

2 Goes Christmas caroling : WASSAILS

Wassail is ale or mulled wine used for toasting at festivals, especially Christmas. The term “wassail” comes from Old Norse “ves heill” meaning “be healthy”.

6 Power couple from Chicago : OBAMAS

Michelle Obama née Robinson grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Her brother is Craig Robinson, former coach of men’s basketball at Oregon State University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle Robinson worked as an associate at the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm. Barack Obama joined the firm as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson was assigned to mentor him, and as they say, one thing led to another …

9 Manorial worker : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

10 Brief appearance : CAMEO

Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to play himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

21 Olympian with eight gold medals in sprinting : USAIN BOLT

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket, and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

32 Unlikely to crack a smile, say : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

37 Cardinal cap insignia : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

41 Musical role for Madonna and Patti LuPone : EVA PERON

Eva Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón who was in office from 1946 to 1955. The Argentine First Lady was known affectionately by the people as “Evita”, the Spanish language diminutive of “Eva”. “Evita” is also the title of a tremendously successful musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice that is based on the life of Eva Perón.

Madonna’s full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone. Born in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna was destined to become the top-selling female recording artist of all time.

Singer Patti LuPone won Tonys for playing Eva Peron in “Evita ” and Rose in “Gypsy”.

44 Subjects of some conspiracy theories, for short : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

46 (0,0,0) : ORIGIN

When something is plotted on a graph with x- and y-coordinates, the x-coordinate is called the “abscissa”, and the y-coordinate is the “ordinate”. Those same terms are rarely used in 3-dimensional plots. If so, then the z-coordinate is referred to as the “applicate”.

49 Roll call? : ACTION!

I guess that means “Action! Let’s roll!”

52 Uses a light scalpel on? : LASES

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “light oscillation by stimulated emission of radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely “loser”.

54 Petrol unit : LITRE

Petrol is the same thing as gasoline. “Petrol” comes via French from the Latin “petroleum”, itself derived from “petra” meaning “rock” and “oleum” meaning “oil”.

56 Spud : TATER

The word “spud”, used as a slang term for “potato”, was first recorded in the mid-1800s in New Zealand would you believe?

58 “Out, you!” : SCAT!

Our word “scat!” means “get lost!” It comes from a 19th-century expression “quicker than s’cat”, which meant “in a great hurry”. The original phrase probably came from the words “hiss” and “cat”.

60 Listings on a train sched. : STNS

A station (“stn.” or “sta.”) is a railroad (RR) or bus stop.

63 Luau strings : UKE

The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

Nowadays, the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of poi, the bulbous underground stems of taro.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Missing : AWOL
5 + and – : POLES
10 Common baitfish in North American streams : CHUB
14 Word with express or through : … LANE
15 ___ of power (common impeachment charge) : ABUSE
16 Superlative : A-ONE
17 Home of Baikal, the world’s deepest lake : ASIA
18 Relative of a croc : GATOR
19 Overwhelms, with “down” : MOWS …
20 “You don’t like what I did? I don’t care” : SO SUE ME
22 Mythical being, old-style : FAERIE
24 Desires : WANTS
25 ___ whole : AS A
27 Awesome time : BLAST
28 Secreted : HID
29 Core features : ABS
31 General with a dish named after him : TSO
33 What a nod may signify : YES
34 Lover of Cesario in “Twelfth Night” : OLIVIA
36 Air Force One V.I.P. : POTUS
38 Classic party game … or a hint to solving the answers that intersect circles : SPIN THE BOTTLE
42 Can’t stomach : ABHOR
43 How Beyoncé was “crazy,” according to a 2003 #1 hit : IN LOVE
45 House member with 11+ million Twitter followers, informally : AOC
48 Spanish bear : OSO
49 Whiz : ACE
50 Posed (for) : SAT
51 Have a Pavlovian response : DROOL
53 “90 Day Fiancé” network : TLC
55 Moves like molasses : SEEPS
57 Percussion duos? : HI-HATS
59 “You can come out now” : IT’S SAFE
61 Common sources of conflict : EGOS
62 Ancient unit of length : CUBIT
64 Scale amount : TARE
66 What matzo doesn’t do : RISE
67 Stephen Curry’s birthplace : AKRON
68 Micro or macro class : ECON
69 Docs treating vertigo : ENTS
70 Years before 2020, informally : TEENS
71 Tear : REND

Down

1 ___ king : A LA
2 Goes Christmas caroling : WASSAILS
3 Tangy chip accompaniment : ONION DIP
4 What a letter needs : LEASE
5 Summon : PAGE
6 Power couple from Chicago : OBAMAS
7 Garage jobs : LUBES
8 That: Sp. : ESO
9 Manorial worker : SERF
10 Brief appearance : CAMEO
11 “We did it!” : HOORAY!
12 Foolish : UNWISE
13 Plagues : BESETS
21 Olympian with eight gold medals in sprinting : USAIN BOLT
23 Relevance of text, in librarian’s lingo : ABOUTNESS
24 “Have I met her?” : WHO?
26 Tiny bit of progress : A TO B
30 Homes for rubber duckies : BATHS
32 Unlikely to crack a smile, say : STOIC
35 Through : VIA
36 Through : PER
37 Cardinal cap insignia : STL
39 It’s a laugh : HOOT
40 Go down in respect : LOSE FACE
41 Musical role for Madonna and Patti LuPone : EVA PERON
44 Subjects of some conspiracy theories, for short : ETS
45 Stick : ADHERE
46 (0,0,0) : ORIGIN
47 Not a single person on an awards show? : CO-HOST
49 Roll call? : ACTION!
52 Uses a light scalpel on? : LASES
54 Petrol unit : LITRE
56 Spud : TATER
58 “Out, you!” : SCAT!
60 Listings on a train sched. : STNS
63 Luau strings : UKE
65 Appropriate answer for this spot in the puzzle : END

6 thoughts on “0114-21 NY Times Crossword 14 Jan 21, Thursday”

    1. Thanks, Harris. I must have hit a stray key while I was in the process of copying the grid while in my crossword app. All fixed now. I appreciate the help.

  1. 13:01, no errors. Understood the gimmick early on, but it took a while to get used to it. I put just the “across” letters in the six special squares and the app was okay with that, but I then had to mentally “spin the bottle” to see if the “down” entries were correct. Now that I’ve seen it, I like Bill’s interpretation of the theme better than mine.

  2. 12:17 I figured there was a rebus but wasn’t sure how to enter it using the iPad. But just entering just one of the two rebus letters in each circle and voila! I got the jingle. Might be my fastest Thurs. since I started using the online version

  3. 15:15. Didn’t see the entire theme until I came here. Pretty clever.

    Supposedly south Florida is the only place on earth where both crocodiles and GATORs co-exist. I heard that once so it must be true.

    Interesting tidbit on the origin of Air Force 1 also.

    Best –

  4. 17:04…I heard the “music of success”, but even after reading multiple sources regarding the gimmick, I still am having a hard time seeing it. I guess I’ll have an adult beverage and continue to contemplate

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