0121-21 NY Times Crossword 21 Jan 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Daniel Mauer
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Turn Signal

Themed answers take a TURN in the grid, SIGNALED by a circled R (right) or circled L (left):

  • 56A Automotive safety feature represented (and to be followed) eight times in this puzzle : TURN SIGNAL
  • 17A Not radical : MODE/R/ATE
  • 22A Cry from a survivor : I’M A/L/IVE
  • 40A Choose randomly, in a way : CAST /L/OTS
  • 50A Break down chemically : DEG/R/ ADE
  • 5D Feeling on a lo-o-ong car trip : BO/R/EDOM
  • 10D Satan, with “the” : EVI/L/ ONE
  • 29D Long fur scarfs : STO/L/ES
  • 40D Like toreadors, again and again : CHA/R/GED

Bill’s time: 40m 37s!!! (influenced by a couple of drinks during the inauguration)

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Masthead listings, for short : EDS

The masthead is a list often found on the editorial page of a newspaper that gives the members of a newspaper’s editorial board.

15 People calling the shots at the zoo? : VETS

A veterinarian (vet) is a professional who treats animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

19 Drink with a dome-shaped lid : ICEE

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

20 Where to find the Egyptian Temple of Dendur, with “the” : MET

New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (“the Met”) was founded in 1870 by a group of private citizens. The current museum is huge, with 2 million square feet of floor space.

24 Clara in the National Women’s Hall of Fame : BARTON

Clara Barton was deeply disturbed by her experiences caring for the wounded during the Civil War. She dedicated herself after the war towards American recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The American Red Cross was inevitably formed, in 1881, and Barton was installed as its first president.

The National Women’s Hall of Fame is located in Seneca Falls, New York, which was home to the nation’s first women’s rights convention, in 1848. The Hall was established in 1969, when it was hosted by Eisenhower College, which is also in Seneca Falls. The current facility opened for visitors in 1979. I was lucky enough to spend a very uplifting afternoon there several years ago ….

26 Stuffed oneself with, facetiously : ODED ON

Overdose (OD)

27 Newswoman Roberts : COKIE

Cokie Roberts was a great journalist and author, best known for her work with National Public Radio.

28 Recipe amt. : TSP

Teaspoon (tsp.)

35 Investments of a sort, for short : CDS

A certificate of deposit (CD) is like a less-flexible and higher-paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period, one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.

37 Co. with a plant : MFR

Manufacturer (mfr.)

42 Like legs in the days after a marathon : ACHY

The marathon commemorates the legendary messenger-run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens, and is run over 26 miles and 385 yards. The first modern Olympic marathon races were run over a distance that approximated the length of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway, although the actual length of the race varied from games to games. For the 1908 Olympics in London, a course starting at Windsor Castle and ending in front of the Royal Box at White City Stadium was defined. That course was 26 miles and 385 yards, the standard length now used at all Olympic Games. Organizers of subsequent games continued to vary the length of the race, until a decision was made in 1921 to adopt the distance used in London in 1908.

44 “Get ’em!” : SIC!

“Sic ’em” is an attack order given to a dog, one instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.

52 Mo. without a federal holiday : AUG

The US Congress created the first federal holidays in 1870, but only designated four such holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

59 Town, in Scandinavia : STAD

Strictly speaking, Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe that covers the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The broader region that includes Finland and Iceland is referred to locally as “the Nordic countries”.

60 Big Apple? : IMAC

When Apple chose the letter “I” prefix for the iMac in 1998, that letter “I” stood for “Internet”. Steve Jobs and his marketing team followed up with the message that I also stood for “individual, instruct, inform and inspire”.

64 First capital of Alaska : SITKA

The city of Sitka is located on Baranof Island and part of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago off the coast of Alaska. Sitka used to be known as Redoubt Saint Michael and then New Archangel when it was ruled by the Russians. The current city name comes from a local term meaning “People on the Outside of Baranof Island”. Immediately after the purchase of Alaska by the US, Sitka served as the capital of the Alaska Territory until the seat of government was relocated north to Juneau. Sitka is a consolidated city-borough, and so by one definition, Sitka is the largest city in the US. The city-borough covers 2,870 square miles of land, although Urban Sitka covers just 2 square miles of land.

Down

1 Soccer star on a 1999 Wheaties box : HAMM

Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player. She played as a forward on the US national team that won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991. Hamm scored 158 international goals, which was more than any other player in the world, male or female, until the record was broken in 2013. Amazingly, Hamm was born with a clubfoot, and so had to wear corrective shoes when she was growing up.

Wheaties were introduced to the world in 1924, making it the oldest cereal produced by General Mills. The idea of mixing wheat and bran together into a cereal was the result of an accidental spill of wheat bran into a stove. The product was first called Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes, and this was changed to Wheaties after an employee contest to find a better name.

2 Bloblike : AMOEBOID

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

7 Performer with the hit 2006 album “Hip Hop Is Dead” : NAS

Rapper Nas used to go by an earlier stage name “Nasty Nas”, and before that by his real name “Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones”. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001.

9 ___ Beach, Calif. : PISMO

Pismo Beach is a California city located just 15 miles south of San Luis Obispo. The name “Pismo” comes from a Native American word “pismu” meaning “tar”, a reference to tar springs that are located in nearby Price Canyon. The tar was used by the locals to caulk their canoes.

12 Shorthand writers, for short : STENOS

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

18 Cpl. or sgt. : NCO

A non-commissioned officer (NCO) might be a sergeant (sgt.) or a corporal (cpl.).

27 Atlanta-based health org. : CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …

29 Long fur scarfs : STOLES

A stole is a narrow shawl. It can be made of quite light decorative material, but also can be heavier if made of fur.

33 Parisian possessive : SES

“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its”, when referring to a group of items.

34 T or F, e.g.: Abbr. : ANS

An answer (ans.) might be true (T) or false (F).

37 Classic figure killed off in a 2019 Super Bowl ad campaign : MR PEANUT

Planters is the company with the Mr. Peanut icon. Mr. Peanut was the invention of a first-grader named Antonio Gentile, a young man who won a design contest in 1916. A remarkable achievement, I’d say …

40 Like toreadors, again and again : CHARGED

“Toreador” is an old Spanish word meaning “bullfighter”, but it’s a term not used any more in Spain nor in Latin America. In English we use the term “toreador”, but in Spanish a bullfighter is a “torero”. A female bullfighter in a “torera”.

43 Drink served in a snifter : COGNAC

Cognac is a famous variety of brandy named after the commune of Cognac in the very west of France. To be called “cognac”, the brandy must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in very specific French oak barrels.

A brandy snifter is a glass with a short stem, a wide bowl and a narrow top. The bowl is cupped in the hand so that the brandy, whiskey or other spirit is warmed, to facilitate evaporation. The wide bowl gives a large surface area, further encouraging evaporation, and the narrow top traps the aroma in the glass. So, one can easily “sniff” the spirit’s aroma in the “snifter”.

46 Devices rendered obsolescent by smartphones, in brief : PDAS

Personal digital assistant (PDA)

49 Where some things are really hopping?: Abbr. : AUS

The word “kangaroo” comes from the Australian Aborigine term for the animal. There’s an oft-quoted story that the explorer James Cook (later Captain Cook) asked a local native what was the name of this remarkable-looking animal, and the native responded with “Kangaroo”. The story is that the native was actually saying “I don’t understand you”, but as cute as that tale is, it’s just an urban myth.

51 Sport in a ring : SUMO

Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

54 Director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

58 Moo goo ___ pan : GAI

Moo goo gai pan is the American version of a traditional Cantonese dish. In Cantonese, “moo goo” means “button mushroom”, “gai” is “chicken” and “pan” is “slices”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Beloved, in Arabic : HABIB
6 [Make it quick!] : [SNAP!]
10 Masthead listings, for short : EDS
13 Italian herbal liqueur : AMARO
14 “Please, please, please?” : CAN I?
15 People calling the shots at the zoo? : VETS
17 Not radical : MODERATE
19 Drink with a dome-shaped lid : ICEE
20 Where to find the Egyptian Temple of Dendur, with “the” : MET
21 Crush, as a test : ACE
22 Cry from a survivor : I’M ALIVE!
24 Clara in the National Women’s Hall of Fame : BARTON
26 Stuffed oneself with, facetiously : ODED ON
27 Newswoman Roberts : COKIE
28 Recipe amt. : TSP
31 Doesn’t stay natural? : DYES
32 Fell off, as laughter : DIED
33 Place : SITUATE
35 Investments of a sort, for short : CDS
36 “Well, which is it?!” : YES OR NO?
37 Co. with a plant : MFR
40 Choose randomly, in a way : CAST LOTS
41 Specialty : AREA
42 Like legs in the days after a marathon : ACHY
44 “Get ’em!” : SIC!
45 Human, ape or kangaroo : BIPED
46 Many celebrity golf events : PRO-AMS
48 Like taxis and Julius Caesar, once : HAILED
50 Break down chemically : DEGRADE
52 Mo. without a federal holiday : AUG
53 Father on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” : ABE
55 Palindromic woman’s name : ANNA
56 Automotive safety feature represented (and to be followed) eight times in this puzzle : TURN SIGNAL
59 Town, in Scandinavia : STAD
60 Big Apple? : IMAC
61 Immunologist Anthony : FAUCI
62 Suffix with coward : ICE
63 “Huh-uh” : NOPE
64 First capital of Alaska : SITKA

Down

1 Soccer star on a 1999 Wheaties box : HAMM
2 Bloblike : AMOEBOID
3 Ill-advised opinions : BAD TAKES
4 Fury : IRE
5 Feeling on a lo-o-ong car trip : BOREDOM
6 Lab workers : SCIENTISTS
7 Performer with the hit 2006 album “Hip Hop Is Dead” : NAS
8 Voting no : ANTI
9 ___ Beach, Calif. : PISMO
10 Satan, with “the” : … EVIL ONE
11 Crack, as a secret message : DECODE
12 Shorthand writers, for short : STENOS
16 Dated : SEEN
18 Cpl. or sgt. : NCO
23 Expand : ADD TO
25 Purge (of) : RID
27 Atlanta-based health org. : CDC
29 Long fur scarfs : STOLES
30 Outcome of a coin flip, e.g. : PURE CHANCE
33 Parisian possessive : SES
34 T or F, e.g.: Abbr. : ANS
36 “I rule!” : YAY ME!
37 Classic figure killed off in a 2019 Super Bowl ad campaign : MR PEANUT
38 Responses : FEEDBACK
39 “Sick, dude!” : RAD!
40 Like toreadors, again and again : CHARGED
41 Feel off : AIL
42 “That’s true about me, right?” : AREN’T I?
43 Drink served in a snifter : COGNAC
45 Worrisome uncertainties : BIG IFS
46 Devices rendered obsolescent by smartphones, in brief : PDAS
47 Become fixed : SET IN
49 Where some things are really hopping?: Abbr. : AUS
51 Sport in a ring : SUMO
54 Director Kazan : ELIA
57 Music whose golden age is said to be from the mid-’80s to mid-’90s : RAP
58 Moo goo ___ pan : GAI

17 thoughts on “0121-21 NY Times Crossword 21 Jan 21, Thursday”

  1. 35:08 with a couple of lookups. Guess @Bill struggled quite a bit as well. After about 15 minutes I grokked the L and R for the turn signals and figured that out on the E side of the puzzle. Just could not make it work on the left 1/3 of the puzzle. Could only think of PELE vs HAMM, BRANDY vs COGNAC. With PELE for 1D then 17A became LIBER and the turn upward was AL to get LIBERAL (not radical – well only in some circles – see what I did with the “circle”??), but I turned the wrong way on that one – in several respects. The SW corner was even more of a jumble for me.

    Also interesting that the left side of the puzzle had the Right turns and the right side had the Left turns.

  2. 31:15 after spending at least 15 minutes in finding and fixing an error: early on, I had somehow entered HAMS instead of HAMM and the “Temple of Dendur” was no help in changing the resulting SET (a shortened form of the name of an Egyptian pharaoh, maybe?) to MET. So, a slightly frustrating end to an otherwise excellent day.

    I would point out that this puzzle comes close to violating the construction “rule” that there should be at least two clues for each grid square to be filled. There’s really only one clue for the last five letters of MODERNISTS, the last three letters of EVIL EYE, the last letter of STOLI, and the last three letters of DEGREES. Of course, the fact that each is a clue-able entry in its own right somewhat makes up for the “violation” of the “rule”, and the resulting construction is satisfyingly clever, and … well … sometimes … rules are made to be broken … 😜.

  3. 26:15, but…that was with several lookups. Figured out the left and right turns although they were backwards. Perhaps that was because Australia is “down under.”

  4. 28:43. Went after the reveal and saw what was going on. I kept looking for meaning in the actual across answers which contained the L or R and found none. There was probably a way to work that into the cluing somehow. Sorta agree with Nonny about that.

    I had no idea they killed off MR PEANUT. It might take me a few days to get over this.

    Best –

  5. 42:12 what threw me off was the NE, where my simple brain thought “evil” could have gone in any of three directions…”evil one, evil eye, evil am I”….so I fixated on all the answers working the same way, obviously they didn’t. Got the reveal early on, but as you can tell, missed the L/R paths…

  6. This might be as good a time as any to post a mini-rant: Every so often, I see posts (usually from syndicated-time posters) like this one:

    “Namely, solving online is a lot easier. Little notices like ‘almost there’ give a huge advantage over the pencil-and-paper solver.”

    What such a post tells me is that the poster either 1) has never solved a puzzle online at all or 2) is, at most, acquainted with a particular online app on a particular platform. I would say that such a person needs to acquire an iPad Mini like mine (or, even worse, I assume, an iPhone or the equivalent), download the NYT app, turn off all error checking (if any), and, without the benefit of an external keyboard or an electronic stylus, solve the NYT puzzles for a week or two using it. My prediction is that they would never again write a post like the one above.

    Almost five years ago, I began using the NYT app as described above and it took me many weeks to get used to it. At the same time, I tried to switch to other online apps for all the other puzzles I do and I eventually gave up on all of them. I still use the NYT app, but only because I like the record-keeping aspects of it (and I can take the iPad with me on trips).

    Problems:

    The tiny keyboard on my iPad Mini leads to what I call fat-finger errors and they’re hard to catch because I only have one set of eyes, which have to time-share between watching my typing finger and watching the grid.

    On all but the easiest puzzles, I frequently need to switch between “across” and “down” entries and the procedure I use to set the cursor position and direction of fill are similarly error-prone, requiring me to center my finger on particular grid squares. (On 21×21 Sunday grids, that becomes even more difficult.)

    I constantly have to monitor the current cursor position and direction-of-fill setting; occasionally, I begin entering an answer, only to find that it is going in the wrong squares, and havoc results.

    On paper, all the clues are in front of me and they stay put, making it relatively easy to check crossing entries as I go along. Online, at best, I see a few of the “across” clues and a few of the “down” clues, and they move around, so that a big part of my mental bandwidth goes into finding the clues that I need to check crossing entries. (I should note that, at 77, I do not operate at quite as high a mental bandwidth as I once did 😜.)

    About that “almost there” message: It (or some equivalent of it) only appears when I have filled every square on the grid. What it tells me is that I have an error … somewhere. It doesn’t give me any hint as to where the error might be or when I put it in and the timer keeps running while I’m trying to find it. (That’s why my time on today’s puzzle was embarrassingly large: early on, I made an error – not quite a typo, but a small mental lapse – and had to repeatedly recheck every entry – some of which, due to the theme, were a bit more difficult than usual to read – in order to find it.)

    So … end of rant … 🤪.

  7. Nonny, I chose to go with the NYT app for the convenience of having a puzzle at my fingertips whenever I choose to solve one. My local paper became a joke, replacing the local section with a portion of the USA Today, half of another section was obituaries, sports became a review of high school activities. I feel badly for abandoning the local paper, but the abandonment went both ways… I solve on an IPhone 6S(maybe that’s why I’m slower than half of humanity 🙂 ) but I genuinely don’t feel I’m at an advantage over analog solving other than getting the “music of success” when I have successfully solved. I guess my point is that I agree with the point of your rant…just on an even smaller keyboard

    1. Thanks, Duncan. I think we’re on the same page … 😜.

      I still subscribe to on online version of a local paper, but I’m afraid that may be about to end. We’ll see.

      And I admire you for being able to do the puzzles on an iPhone (particularly the Sunday puzzles). I’ve made my peace with the iPad Mini, but my error rate on it is a lot higher than I’m used to on pen-and-paper solves. (It’s possible that I could improve the way I do things on it – particularly the positioning of the cursor – but I’d have to work at it.)

  8. I’ll spare my comments on the puzzle, which won’t be positive…

    As far as the rant in the comments, I will note that a lot of commenters that make that observation are doing it with good reason. Online solving is very different from paper solving (I routinely do both, though exclusively paper with the NYT). Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, which should be readily evident to those who have solved both ways.

    To that end, I find the advantages of online solving heavily outweigh any disadvantages or the advantages found within paper solving. One of the big advantages is the auto-positioning of clues, versus having to scan and read them, eliminating a lot of time. “Almost there” is another advantage, which really can not be turned off on any solving platform. (Full disclosure: A lot of what I post on Bill’s other blog, error-wise, is just a result of ignoring that and calling it done, where I actually *could* search for the error.)

    Notably, another is not having to position a writing device and being sure you write in the proper boxes each time. This leads into what has been said in the comments here. One factor on either is the skill of data entry. I’ve written on that before with the hand-writing end of it (and detailed all the work I’ve put in trying to improve that), but if you can type reasonably well (or otherwise do data entry on a iX device), you can always go faster than most can write. Stenography exists for a reason…

    As a result, online solving is several levels easier. I will note that on my parallel experiments that I’m anywhere from 2 minutes on these dailies to upwards of 30 minutes (on 21x21s) faster solving online than I am hand-writing a puzzle. I try to do both because I have learned that each is a quite different game requiring quite different skill sets (and even my mind set is different).

    1. @Glenn …

      You seem to have misunderstood my point. The phrase “online solve” has meaning only with respect to a particular combination of device, app, and solver. IMO, it is therefore not correct to make the blanket statement that online solving is always easier than pen-and-paper solving.

  9. Pen and paper the only way to go, Been doing it for over 30 years, doing 3 puzzles a day, usually in the morning with my coffee and checking emails.

  10. Never have used the app, but who uses which method is somewhere below Robert’s Rules of Order on my list of important information. Never saw a gripe, can’t imagine what folks do with the rest of their days if this is a concern. I’m impressed by anyone who can consitently solve these puzzles in 4 minutes or 4 days. And oh yeah, this was a hard puzzle.

  11. 25:39, no errors. Essentially solved as a themeless. Just accepted words like MODERNISTS/BORATE, without understanding. Much more impressed with the construction after knowing the theme.

  12. I think I’m supposed to use the best tool for each job.

    The crossword was designed to be done with pencil on newspaper
    and that’s what I do. I’ve tried a couple of web page crosswords and never got past the negatives mentioned above in spite of having a
    full computer keyboard and a 24-inch monitor.

    Sudoku doesn’t work on paper for me. There’s never enough space
    to write notes, possibilities etc. etc. etc. Go to http://www.sudoku247.com, pick the difficulty level your happy with and give it a go. I think
    you’ll agree the computer is the job for this. (Again I’m use a full
    keyboard and monitor). I don’t have a tablet and don’t think a cell
    phone keyboard and screen are big enough for anything beyond
    the most rudimentary thought processes.

    I’ve heard that a sea otter will bring up rock from the bottom, float on his back with the rock on his chest and slam a clam or mussel against the rock trying to break it open. If it doesn’t work he tries another shellfish. After three or four won’t open he tries another rock. I’d like to think that I’m a least as smart as an otter.

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