0115-21 NY Times Crossword 15 Jan 21, Friday

Constructed by: Josh Knapp
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 28s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Sentimentality : SCHMALTZ

“Schmaltz” is an informal term used to describe things that are excessively sentimental. The word comes from the Yiddish “shmalts”, which means “melted fat”. Indeed, the modern German word for fat or grease is Schmaltz, and it can be used in the same figurative way in that language.

16 Hit Netflix reboot starring the Fab Five : QUEER EYE

“Queer Eye” is a reality TV show that was launched in 2003 as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. Each episode features a panel of gay professional experts in the fields of fashion and design giving a makeover to a straight man.

20 Writers Roald and Sophie : DAHLS

Roald Dahl’s name is Norwegian. Dahl’s parents were from Norway, although Dahl himself was Welsh. Dahl became one of the most successful authors of the twentieth century. Two of his most famous titles are “James and the Giant Peach” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

21 Bottom of an interrobang : DOT

An interrobang is a punctuation mark comprising a question mark superimposed on an exclamation point. As the character is nonstandard, it is often written as with the individual characters side by side, in either order (“!?” & “?!”). The name “interrobang” comes from “interrogative point” (alternative name for a question mark) and the “bang” (printer’s jargon for an exclamation point).

22 Safari’s compass, e.g. : ICON

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.

27 Sticky snack made with a stick : S’MORE

S’mores are treats peculiar to North America that are usually eaten around a campfire. A s’more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!

40 Iowa college : COE

Coe College is a private school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that was founded in 1851. Coe is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.

41 Game that can be played on bicycles or elephants : POLO

The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back then primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

42 Change for some sawbucks, maybe : FINS

The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

“Sawbuck” is slang for “10-dollar bill”. The term was applied to the bill as the Roman numeral X (which used to appear on the reverse) resembles the end of sawhorse.

44 Fantasy monster : ORC

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

47 XXXL : JUMBO

James Anthony Bailey collaborated with P. T. Barnum to establish Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. It was Bailey who negotiated the deal to buy a famous elephant from London Zoo in 1882, the one called “Jumbo”. It was the exposure that Jumbo got in the circus that brought into common usage our term “jumbo” meaning “huge”.

50 Hot streak? : METEOR

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body travelling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

52 Metaphorical incentive : CARROT

There is some debate about the “carrot/stick” metaphor. Some say that a carrot represents an incentive and a stick represents a threat, with the idea being that an incentive is more effective than a threat. Another version of the metaphor is that the carrot is dangled on a stick before a donkey, incentivizing the animal to move forward. There’s no threat, just a reward that never gets any more attainable …

Down

1 Honchos : BIGWIGS

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

4 Actress Julie of “Modern Family” : BOWEN

Actress Julie Bowen is probably best known today for playing Claire Dunphy on the excellent sitcom “Modern Family”.

“Modern Family” is a marvelous television show shown on ABC since 2009. The show’s format is that of a “mockumentary”, with the cast often addressing the camera directly. In that respect “Modern Family” resembles two other excellent shows: “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”, both of which might also be described as “mockumentaries”.

9 Prominent part of a pump : HEEL

A pump is a woman’s shoe that doesn’t have a strap. Such shoes are probably called “pumps” because of the sound they make while walking in them.

10 Rx pickups : MEDS

There seems to be some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

11 Story ___ : ARC

A story arc is a continuing storyline in say a television show that runs through a number of episodes. Story arcs are also found in comics, books, video games, and other forms of media.

12 Honcho : LEADER

“Honcho” is a slang term meaning “leader”. The word comes to us from Japanese military, in which language a “hancho” is a “squad” (han) “leader” (cho).

13 County in Northern Ireland : TYRONE

County Tyrone is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland, that part of the island of Ireland that is included in the United Kingdom. The name “Tyrone” comes from the Irish “Tír Eoghain” meaning “land of Eoghan”. Eoghan (equivalent to the English “Owen”) was the son of one of the Irish kings.

20 Spilled the tea, so to speak : DISHED

To dish the dirt is to talk about someone or something without regard to veracity. The phrase comes from “dish” (in the sense of dishing out food) and “dirt” (in the sense of negative information). To be dishy is to be given to gossip.

23 Model Boyd who inspired the songs “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” : PATTIE

Pattie Boyd was working as a model when she was cast as a schoolgirl in the Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night”, although she was 20-years-old at the time. While filming, she met George Harrison, and the pair were married in 1966. They separated in 1974, largely due to Harrison’s infidelities, which included an affair with Ringo Starr’s wife. Boyd met Eric Clapton in the late sixties when he and Harrison started working together. Clapton became smitten with Boyd, and wrote the hit song “Layla” as a proclamation of his love for her in 1970. Boyd and Clapton eventually married in 1979, but the pair divorced five years later.

26 Wild : FERAL

“Feral”, meaning “existing in a wild or untamed state”, comes from the Latin word “fera” meaning “wild animal”.

28 Israel’s Dayan : MOSHE

Moshe Dayan had a long and distinguished military career (including command of Israeli forces during the 1956 Suez Crisis). He also played a pivotal, and militarily active, role as Minister for Defense during the Six-Day War of 1967. He was a very recognizable figure with a black patch over his left eye. Dayan received that injury when he was fighting for the Allies in Vichy French Lebanon during WWII. He was using a pair of binoculars that was hit by an enemy bullet, smashing metal and glass fragments into his eye.

30 Ferrari alternative, slangily : LAMBO

Ferruccio Lamborghini was in the business of manufacturing tractors back in the late forties. Almost two decades later, he founded Automobili Lamborghini to produce high-end sports cars. That’s quite a shift in target market …

Enzo Ferrari was an Italian race car driver, and founder of the Ferrari car manufacturing company. Ferrari died in 1988, and in 2003 the company named the Enzo model after its founder.

41 Frost accumulation : POEMS

The wonderful poet Robert Frost was a native of San Francisco, but lived most of life in New England. He also spent a few years in England, just before WWI. Frost was well recognized for his work during his lifetime, and received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He was also Vermont’s first Poet Laureate, a position that he held from 1961 until his death in 1963.

43 Really weird : OUTRE

The word “outré”, meaning “unconventional, bizarre”, comes to us from French, as one might imagine. It is derived from the verb “outrer” meaning “to overdo, exaggerate”. “Outrer” is also the ultimate root of our word “outrage”.

45 Number shown in brackets? : SEED

“Bracketology” is a term used to describe the process of predicting which college basketball teams will advance in a bracket in the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament. President Barack Obama famously participates in an ESPN segment called “Baracketology” in which he predicts the outcome of the tournament, game by game.

46 “Hidden Figures” org. : NASA

“Hidden Figures” is an excellent 2016 film based on a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. Both book and film tell the story of female African-American mathematicians who worked for NASA during the Mercury and Apollo programs in the 1960s.

47 ___ jacket : JEAN

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

49 Baba ghanouj, e.g. : DIP

Baba ganoush (also “baba ghanouj”) is an Arab dish with the main ingredient of mashed eggplant. It is sometimes served as a (delicious) dip.

50 Hosts : MCS

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Ballpark figure : BATBOY
7 Sentimentality : SCHMALTZ
15 Wallet holder since 2015 : IPHONE
16 Hit Netflix reboot starring the Fab Five : QUEER EYE
17 Matured : GREW UP
18 There’s often a lot of them for sale : USED CARS
19 Some office desk clutter : WIRES
20 Writers Roald and Sophie : DAHLS
21 Bottom of an interrobang : DOT
22 Safari’s compass, e.g. : ICON
23 Feel for : PITY
24 Nested layers? : HENS
25 Mass : GOB
26 Breakneck … or something to break : FAST
27 Sticky snack made with a stick : S’MORE
29 Eclipsed everyone else : STOLE THE SHOW
32 One getting fired up for competition? : STARTER PISTOL
35 Shower heads, perhaps : MAID OF HONOR
37 “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” for one : FABLE
39 Mindless : ROTE
40 Iowa college : COE
41 Game that can be played on bicycles or elephants : POLO
42 Change for some sawbucks, maybe : FINS
43 Symbols of strength : OAKS
44 Fantasy monster : ORC
45 Catches : SNAGS
47 XXXL : JUMBO
48 Complete loss of self-identity : EGO DEATH
50 Hot streak? : METEOR
51 Where one might hear a call for action : MOVIE SET
52 Metaphorical incentive : CARROT
53 Members of some blended families : STEPDADS
54 Goes quietly, perhaps : SNEAKS

Down

1 Honchos : BIGWIGS
2 Fruits that are the basis of Marillenschnaps : APRICOTS
3 Dance with jerky movements : THE ROBOT
4 Actress Julie of “Modern Family” : BOWEN
5 Cross to bear : ONUS
6 Casual agreement : YEP
7 Topic in property law, colloquially : SQUATTERS RIGHTS
8 Like a good job, maybe : CUSHY
9 Prominent part of a pump : HEEL
10 Rx pickups : MEDS
11 Story ___ : ARC
12 Honcho : LEADER
13 County in Northern Ireland : TYRONE
14 Peels off? : ZESTS
20 Spilled the tea, so to speak : DISHED
23 Model Boyd who inspired the songs “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” : PATTIE
24 Kind of manual : HOW-TO
26 Wild : FERAL
27 Uses a manual, say : SHIFTS
28 Israel’s Dayan : MOSHE
30 Ferrari alternative, slangily : LAMBO
31 Percussion in some folk music that may be improvised : SPOONS
33 Captured, in a way : ON CAMERA
34 Fashion designer’s portfolio : LOOKBOOK
36 Employs as a backup plan, with “to” : RESORTS …
37 Blanked on : FORGOT
38 Recess : ALCOVE
41 Frost accumulation : POEMS
42 Written in the stars : FATED
43 Really weird : OUTRE
45 Number shown in brackets? : SEED
46 “Hidden Figures” org. : NASA
47 ___ jacket : JEAN
49 Baba ghanouj, e.g. : DIP
50 Hosts : MCS

18 thoughts on “0115-21 NY Times Crossword 15 Jan 21, Friday”

  1. 25:36 with one lookup for 3D. Kept thinking of files as the answer for 19A and just couldn’t break the logjam of that section w/o a lookup. Impressed with @Bill’s time

  2. 15:36, no errors. I also got hung up for quite a while with “FILES” for 19A. Strangely enough, I finally guessed that 3D had to be “THE ROBOT” (a dance this two-left-footer had not been aware of), at which point “WIRES” came to mind, followed by “BIGWIGS”, and the game was finally up … 😜.

  3. 35:47. Bringing up the rear and doing so 2 days late. Great combo. I did this right after Sunday’s puzzle so maybe my brain was tired. Same as Alaska – never felt comfortable with this one.

    Best –

  4. Like others NE corner got me flustered.. SCHMALTZ I wasn’t sure but I liked the odd answer ZESTS for the odd clue PEELS OFF and oddly enough that was the odd answer.

    It’s Friday and I liked the puzzle.

    1. To each their own. As long as the poster is honest and transparent about how they solved the puzzle my kudos to them.

    2. @Dano … This isn’t a contest. People here report honestly how they solved the puzzle. Sixty-five or seventy years ago, essentially all my finishes involved looking things up and, sometimes, in spite of looking things up, I left puzzles unfinished. I still look a lot of things up after I have finished a puzzle and, once in a long while, I look something up in order to finish one. I even find one or two puzzles a year that I can’t finish at all. If any of that applies to a puzzle that I talk about here, I report exactly what happened.

      Insisting that others use the stupid initialism DNF when, in fact, in plain English, they did finish, is, IMHO, inappropriate one upmanship.

  5. 56:30 no errors…for me it was the NW corner to fall last…this is another that I thought would be a DNF but SURPRISE SURPRISE.
    Stay safe 😀

    1. Me too. There’s no shame in a D.N.F. I have them from time to time. I come here for the ones I missed, but I’d never claim I finished, otherwise I could finish in a certain time with innumerable look-ups.

  6. Stalled a bit in the north east but luckily a few answers emerged from the fog so I was able to finish clean. Also needed to change ABES to FINS before moving on. Pattie Boyd in 1964? Oh, man….

  7. 23:31, no errors. Fell into the same FILES/WIRES rabbit hole as others. Tried to come up with something akin to BIG FISH in 1D, even though I was sure STOLE THE SHOW wouldn’t allow it. Puzzle was just challenging enough.

  8. Finished this one with no errors.

    Yes, the north east corner was a head scratcher, but I finally reached gray matter.

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