0123-21 NY Times Crossword 23 Jan 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Doug Peterson & Brad Wilber
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 23m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Bands popular in the ’70s : MOOD RINGS

Mood rings were invented relatively recently, in 1975, and became a bit of a fad for a few years. A mood ring is one containing a “stone” that changes color with temperature, although the color change is touted as being dependent on the wearer’s mood. The part of the ring that changes color is actually a liquid crystal that responds to temperature changes.

16 “The Pirates of Penzance” ingénue : MABEL

“The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty” is an operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan. “Pirates” is a comic piece with the most famous song being the “Major-General’s Song”:

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical,
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;

So often in literature, the movies and on stage, there is an innocent woman at the center of the story. Such stock characters came to be known as “ingénues”, a term derived from the French adjective “ingénu” meaning innocent, virtuous, candid and “ingenuous”.

17 Is resolute : STANDS PAT

To stand pat is to resist change. The term comes from the game of poker, in which one stands pat if one keeps one’s hand as is, not drawing any extra cards.

18 Grammy winner with the surname Adkins : ADELE

“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. Her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.

19 National ___ Hall of Fame, in Rochester, N.Y. : TOY

The National Toy Hall of Fame was established in Salem, Oregon in 1998, but was relocated to Rochester, New York in 2002. There were seventeen original inductees, including:

  • Barbie
  • Etch A Sketch
  • Frisbee
  • Hula Hoop
  • Marbles
  • Monopoly

21 Esther of TV’s “Good Times” : ROLLE

Esther Rolle was an actress best known for playing the character Florida Evans on the sitcom “Maude” and on the show’s spinoff “Good Times”.

22 “Breaking Bad” protagonist : WALT

Walter White is the protagonist of the hit TV drama “Breaking Bad”. Played by Bryan Cranston, White is a high school chemistry teacher who resorts to manufacturing high-grade crystal meth in order to ensure his family’s security after his death.

23 Offer sheet? : HIT LIST

To off someone is to take them out, to kill them.

29 Left on deck : APORT

The left side of a ship used to be called the “larboard” side, but this was dropped in favor of “port” as the pronunciation of “larboard” was easily confused with “starboard”, the right side of the vessel. The term “port” was chosen as it was customary to dock a ship, for loading in port, with the left side of the vessel against the dock.

33 Like many Ariz. residents : RETD

Retired (“ret.” or “retd.”)

35 Gubernatorial option : VETO

The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

36 Snow-capped peak of song : OLD SMOKEY

No one seems to be certain if Old Smokey is actually a real place. The peak features in the old folk song “On Top of Old Smokey”. The odds seem to favor Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains, the highest point in Tennessee. Clingman’s Dome used to be called “Smoky Dome” by local Scots-Irish folk.

38 Yellowstone traffic halters : BISON

There are two species of bison left (four species are extinct). We are most familiar with the American bison (commonly called the American buffalo), but there is also a European bison, which is sometimes called a “wisent”.

Yellowstone was the first National Park to be established in the world, when it was designated as such by President Grant in 1872. What a great tradition it started! The American National Parks truly are a treasure.

39 One going paperless in April, say : E-FILER

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

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

41 Once-common mall fixtures : ARCADES

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

43 Nut chewed as a stimulant : KOLA

The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Here in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

50 Star N.F.L. receiver ___ Beckham Jr. : ODELL

Odell Beckham Jr. is a National Football League wide receiver from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 2014, “OBJ” made a much-applauded, one-handed catch while falling backwards to score a touchdown for the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys, a move that some have dubbed the greatest catch ever made.

51 “Stoned Soul Picnic” songwriter : LAURA NYRO

Laura Nyro was a singer-songwriter from the Bronx, New York. Nyro had success with her own recordings, but her songs were even more successful when recorded by other big names. Two of Nyro’s compositions were “Eli’s Coming” recorded by Three Dog Night, and “Stoney End” by Barbra Streisand.

“Stoned Soul Picnic” is a song by singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. Nyro recorded the song herself in 1968, but a cover version recorded the same year by the 5th Dimension is best known.

54 Language in which “Hello, how are you?” is “Saluton, kiel vi fartas?” : ESPERANTO

Esperanto is an international language specifically constructed to create some level of harmony between people from different parts of the world. It was created in the late 1800s by an opthamologist from modern-day Poland. Tens of thousands, and maybe even millions of people speak Esperanto, with some being taught it as a native language from birth.

55 Its penultimate line is “Poems are made by fools like me” : TREES

American journalist and poet Joyce Kilmer is primarily known for his 1913 poem titled “Trees”. The original text of the poem is:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Kilmer died a few years after writing “Trees”. He was a casualty of the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31.

56 Franchise with the “Dominating the Deep” DVD set : SHARK WEEK

“Shark Week” is an annual event on the Discovery Channel, and has been so since 1987. The week is full of TV shows and specials that are shown with the stated intent of promoting awareness and respect for sharks.

Down

4 Pressure over a debt : DUN

To dun is to insist on payment of a debt. The etymology of the verb is unclear, but one suggestion is that it dates back to a well-known debt collector in London named Joe Dun.

6 “Life ___” (2014 Roger Ebert documentary) : ITSELF

Roger Ebert co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Siskel and Ebert famously gave their thumbs up or thumbs down to the movies they reviewed. Ebert himself died in 2013.

8 Finance co. rebranded as Ally Financial : GMAC

“GMAC” stands for “General Motors Acceptance Corporation”. General Motors has only a small stake in GMAC now, and indeed the name has been officially changed to Ally Financial. You and I, we are the biggest shareholders in GMAC/Ally today, since the US government gave the bank $12.5 billion to bail it out in 2008-2009.

9 Branch of mathematics that uses “∪” and “∩” : SET THEORY

Georg Cantor was the mathematician who invented set theory in the 1870s, along with Richard Dedekind.

11 Classic film that gave us the term “paparazzi” : LA DOLCE VITA

The title of the celebrated 1960 Federico Fellini film “La Dolce Vita” translates from Italian as “The Good Life”. There is a character in the film called Paparazzo who is a news photographer. It is this character who gives us our word “Paparazzi”, a term used for photographers who make careers out of taking candid shots of celebrities.

14 Unwelcome forecast : SLEET

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

25 Certain paddy crop : 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.

A paddy field is a flooded piece of land used to grow rice, or perhaps taro. The water reduces competition from weeds allowing the rice to thrive. The word “paddy” has nothing to do with us Irish folk, and is an anglicized version of the word “padi”, the Malay name for the rice plant.

26 Car with a lightning bolt logo : OPEL

Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

27 French dessert of soft custard : POT DE CREME

Our word “custard” evolved from the Middle French “croustade” meaning “meat or fruit pie with a crust”. Over time, the letter R fell away from “croustade” leading to “custard”, possibly due to the influence of the other food item “mustard”.

28 Patch growth : BRIER

“Briar” (sometimes “brier”) is a generic name describing several plants that have thorns or prickles, including the rose. Famously, Br’er Rabbit lives in a briar patch.

31 Early educator of George Orwell : ETON

The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including David Cameron who was British prime minister from 2010 to 2016. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington and George Orwell. Author Ian Fleming was also an Eton alumnus, as was Fleming’s iconic character James Bond, although 007 was expelled by the school.

“George Orwell” was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, the famous British author of the classics “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “Animal Farm”.

32 Dijon denials : NONS

Dijon is a city in eastern France in the Burgundy region. Dijon is famous for its mustard, a particularly strong variation of the condiment. The European Union doesn’t protect the name “Dijon” so anyone can use it on a label. That seems fair enough to me, given that 90% of the mustard made in and around Dijon is produced using mustard seed imported from Canada!

34 Course division : HOLE

There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

38 Fortification : BULWARK

A bastion (also called a “bulwark”) is an angular structure that juts out from a fortified wall. Guards inside the bastion can fire along the outside of the wall. We now use the term “bastion” to describe any protection against external danger.

43 Gene who’s considered “the founding father of the modern drum set” : KRUPA

“The Gene Krupa Story” is a biopic about the life and times of the American bandleader and drummer. Sal Mineo plays Krupa, in a storyline that focuses on Krupa’s music, but also on his abuse of marijuana.

47 10 micronewtons : DYNE

A dyne is a unit of force. The name “dyne” comes from the Greek “dynamis” meaning “power, force”. Ergs and dynes are related to each other in that one erg is the amount of energy needed to move a force of one dyne over a distance of one centimeter.

Newtons are units of force. The newton is named for Sir Isaac Newton, the English physicist and mathematician.

48 Museo contents : ARTE

In Spanish, one sees works of “arte” (art) in “un museo” (a museum).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bands popular in the ’70s : MOOD RINGS
10 Uses a letter opener on : SLITS
15 Later on, when appropriate : IN DUE TIME
16 “The Pirates of Penzance” ingénue : MABEL
17 Is resolute : STANDS PAT
18 Grammy winner with the surname Adkins : ADELE
19 National ___ Hall of Fame, in Rochester, N.Y. : TOY
20 Flip, say : REACT
21 Esther of TV’s “Good Times” : ROLLE
22 “Breaking Bad” protagonist : WALT
23 Offer sheet? : HIT LIST
25 Refresh, in a way : TOP OFF
28 “Quit your bickering!” : BE NICE!
29 Left on deck : APORT
30 Reached the point of no return? : BROKE EVEN
33 Like many Ariz. residents : RETD
34 Fraught with risk : HAIRY
35 Gubernatorial option : VETO
36 Snow-capped peak of song : OLD SMOKEY
38 Yellowstone traffic halters : BISON
39 One going paperless in April, say : E-FILER
40 Gags : PUT-ONS
41 Once-common mall fixtures : ARCADES
43 Nut chewed as a stimulant : KOLA
44 Harshly colorful : LURID
45 Certain computer key : ARROW
47 Face-covering dance move : DAB
50 Star N.F.L. receiver ___ Beckham Jr. : ODELL
51 “Stoned Soul Picnic” songwriter : LAURA NYRO
53 Counterpart of butch : FEMME
54 Language in which “Hello, how are you?” is “Saluton, kiel vi fartas?” : ESPERANTO
55 Its penultimate line is “Poems are made by fools like me” : TREES
56 Franchise with the “Dominating the Deep” DVD set : SHARK WEEK

Down

1 Sight in a produce aisle : MIST
2 “I’m ___ you!” : ONTO
3 Danny ___, ventriloquist dummy for Jimmy Nelson : O’DAY
4 Pressure over a debt : DUN
5 Second or third version : REDRAFT
6 “Life ___” (2014 Roger Ebert documentary) : ITSELF
7 Pester playfully : NIP AT
8 Finance co. rebranded as Ally Financial : GMAC
9 Branch of mathematics that uses “∪” and “∩” : SET THEORY
10 Brain : SMARTIE
11 Classic film that gave us the term “paparazzi” : LA DOLCE VITA
12 “Pretty sure” : I BELIEVE SO
13 Restless movements, maybe : TELLS
14 Unwelcome forecast : SLEET
22 “I … I can’t even” : WORDS FAIL ME
24 Like presses : INKY
25 Certain paddy crop : TARO
26 Car with a lightning bolt logo : OPEL
27 French dessert of soft custard : POT DE CREME
28 Patch growth : BRIER
30 Things that generate a lot of cookie dough? : BAKE SALES
31 Early educator of George Orwell : ETON
32 Dijon denials : NONS
34 Course division : HOLE
37 Some airplane seats : MIDDLES
38 Fortification : BULWARK
40 Traditional wedding vow word : POORER
41 Up : ALOFT
42 Showing less refinement : RUDER
43 Gene who’s considered “the founding father of the modern drum set” : KRUPA
46 Far from deliberate : RASH
47 10 micronewtons : DYNE
48 Museo contents : ARTE
49 Enter into a calendar : BOOK
52 “Thanks anyway, pardner” : NAW

13 thoughts on “0123-21 NY Times Crossword 23 Jan 21, Saturday”

  1. 30:17 Took a while to get going on this one. Initially fell for the “easy” answers to 18A as TRACE vs ADELE; 25D as RICE vs TARO. Should have known better for a Saturday. For 51A I can hear the “Fifth Dimension” surrying down to a Stoned Soul Picnic, but didn’t know Laura Nyro wrote it, or Eli’s Coming. NW corner last to fall as I had 2D as WITH before OVER before ONTO you.

    My solving on this one was like the clue for 46D – “Far from Deliberate”, which is typical for a Sat.

  2. 22:19. This was a pretty tough one. Never heard of LAURA NYRO and forgot DYNE from college physics of long ago. NW also gave me some problems until MOOD RINGS came to me, which broke it.

  3. 16:25, no errors. For me, POT DE CREME was a “never-heard-of”, but the crosses were solid. The lower right corner was a real cliff-hanger, though, what with DAB for a “Face-covering dance move” (?!?!), LAURA NYRO (who?), and SHARK WEEK (really?), all of which my crossword lizard brain finally okayed, but only because ESPERANTO was solid and the crossing “down” entries all seemed to work. One of those puzzles that end up being done quickly, but could very well have taken forever. So … once more … AWTEW! … 😜!

  4. This morning, I woke up with a phrase running through my head: “just between you and me and the tree” (used to say that what one is about to reveal is confidential). That didn’t sound quite right, so I checked with Dr. Google and was reminded of both “just between you and me and the bedpost” and “just between you and me and the lamppost” (for use, I assume, when bedpost would be inappropriately intimate). So, has anyone else here heard my early-morning version with “tree” or is that just something my mind invented (maybe because it rhymes with “me”)?

    1. I’ve only heard lamppost as well. Of course, that makes me think of the Herman’s Hermits’ song “Leaning on the Lamppost”, which for some reason about 2/3 of the lyrics are entrenched in my brain.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R91VZ5Im5Q0

      Also – this morning my post showed up immediately instead of the 3 hr. lag time – first time that has happened in months.

  5. 1:04:00 This is what happens when you misspell “Nyro”, use the current tense of “break even”(reread the clue, dummy!)instead of the correct “broke even”, couldn’t accept “aport”(why not just “port”?), and went through 2/3 of the alphabet trying to figure out “retd”…. put many bullet holes in my foot solving this one.

    Nonny, sample size of one: I’ve only heard the phrase with “lamppost”, but don’t let that stop you from divulging confidential information in a forest 🙂

  6. 30:51. Tough one. I felt engaged just about every second of that 30:51. I was going to write that this was more like a Saturday than a Friday, but then I realized….. It’s been that sort of week.

    MOOD RINGS and pet rocks are reminders that people will buy anything if they think it’s the “in” thing to do.

    I got ADELE because it’s always ADELE.

    The TOY HOF is now on my to do list next time I’m in Rochester. Then again, next time I’m in Rochester will be my first time ever in Rochester. They moved this hall of fame from Salem, OR to Rochester for what? Convenience??

    Good one. All puzzle should be like this one.

    Best –

  7. Basically a DNF for me.. just between you,, me,, and the “fencepost” (a nod to @nonnymuss) my lack of cultural refinement really stood out on this one. French desserts, Penzance ingenue, unknown song writers,.. I made a mess of things. Extremely educational puzzle for me today. Thanks Doug and Brad?

  8. No errors today after yesterday’s stumble. Needed to change BRIAR to BRIER and VIDA to VITA to correct the crosses but cruised after that.
    Enjoyable morning.

  9. 49:20, no errors. Definite challenge for me today. NW was last to fall, having to back away from 17A STEADFAST; 7D TEASE; 2D WITH/INTO. Also initially went with SCARY before HAIRY; and BASTION before BULWARK.

    27D the ‘R’ in ‘croustade’ apparently did not fall away, it simple went ‘abaft’.

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