0126-21 NY Times Crossword 26 Jan 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Peter Gordon
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Scrabble

Themed answers are all legal words in Scrabble, but there aren’t enough of the requisite tiles to play them:

  • 60A Game in which the answers to the starred clues are legal plays but cannot be formed even if you have both blanks : SCRABBLE
  • 17A *Having panache : PIZZAZZY
  • 25A *Trinket : KNICKKNACK
  • 35A *State that many people want to get to on vacation? : STRESSLESSNESS
  • 50A *Gaudy display : RAZZMATAZZ

Bill’s time: 6m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Book after the Gospels : ACTS

The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the Christian New Testament. It is believed that the author of the Gospel of Luke was the same person who wrote “Acts”.

14 Some of its members wear P.P.E. : AMA

American Medical Association (AMA)

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

15 Lava, e.g. : SOAP

Lava is a brand of soap that was introduced as a heavy-duty cleanser in 1893. Unlike like soaps that are marketed using a “soft” image, Lava touts the inclusion of ground pumice that is intended to abrade grime off the skin. Pumice is found in certain types of lava ejected from a volcano, hence the name of the soap.

17 *Having panache : PIZZAZZY

Pizazz (also “pizzazz”) is energy, vitality. There’s a kind of cool thing about the “pizzazz” spelling, namely that it is the only 7-letter word in English that cannot be played in Scrabble. You can get close by using the Z-tile with the two blank tiles to get to three of the required four Zs, but there’s no way to get to the fourth Z.

Someone exhibiting panache is showing dash and verve, and perhaps has a swagger. “Panache” is a French word used for a plume of feathers, especially one in a hat.

21 Neighbor of an Arkansawyer : OKIE

“Okies” is a derogatory term used during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for farming families who migrated from Oklahoma (hence the name), Arkansas, Kansas and Texas in search of agricultural jobs in California. The road used by many of these migrant families was Route 66, which is also called “Mother Road”.

23 Eastern “way” : TAO

The name of the Chinese character “tao” translates as “path”, but the concept of Taoism signifies the true nature of the world.

24 Dublin’s land, to natives : EIRE

“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. The related “Erin” is an anglicized version of “Éire” and actually corresponds to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.

The city of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is known as “Baile Átha Cliath” in Irish (“town of the hurdled ford”). The English name “Dublin” is an anglicized form of the older Irish name for the city “Dubh Linn”, meaning “black pool”.

25 *Trinket : KNICKKNACK

Trinkets and baubles are small ornaments, and often pieces of jewelry.

28 File of documents : DOSSIER

A dossier is a collection of papers with information about a person or subject. “Dossier” is a French term meaning “bundle of papers”.

32 Awards for ad agencies : CLIOS

The Clio Awards are the Oscars of the advertising world and are named after Clio, the Greek Muse of History. Clio was also the recorder of great deeds, the proclaimer and celebrator of great accomplishments and a source of inspiration and genius. The Clio Awards were first presented in 1959.

34 Equipment for pentathletes : EPEES

The original pentathlon of the ancient Olympic games consisted of a foot race, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus. When a new pentathlon was created as a sport for the modern Olympic Games, it was given the name the “modern pentathlon”. First introduced in 1912, the modern pentathlon consists of:

  1. pistol shooting
  2. épée fencing
  3. 200m freestyle swimming
  4. show jumping
  5. 3km cross-country running

40 Unadventurous : STAID

Something described as staid is unwavering, fixed. This usage expanded to mean “sober, sedate”. The term dates back to the 16th century, and comes from the verb “to stay”. “Staid” is a rewriting of the past participle “stayed”.

42 Hundredths of a peso : CENTAVOS

“Centavo” is a Spanish and Portuguese word, and is used for the coin that represents 1/100 of the basic monetary unit of quite a few countries, including Cuba. “Centavo” comes from the Latin “centum” meaning “one hundred” and “-avo” meaning “portion, fraction”.

45 Tusked marine creature of the Arctic : NARWHAL

The narwhal is a whale species in which the male has a large tusk. The “tusk” is actually a canine tooth that projects from the jaw through the lip. Usually only one tusk develops, on the left side of the jaw. Occasionally, a second tusk develops as well, on the right side of the jaw. The tusk is unlike a tooth in that it contains many nerves, making it a sensory organ. It is rarely used in an act of aggression.

50 *Gaudy display : RAZZMATAZZ

Razzmatazz is a flashy maneuver designed to perhaps deceive or just bedazzle. “Razzmatazz” perhaps came from the similar term “razzle-dazzle”, and has been around since the end of the 19th century.

52 Move like molasses : OOZE

When sugarcane is processed to extract sugar, it is crushed and mashed to produce a juice. The juice is boiled to make a sugary concentrate called cane syrup, from which sugar crystals are extracted. A second boiling of the leftover syrup produces second molasses, from which more sugar crystals can be extracted. A third boiling results in what is called blackstrap molasses.

53 “Hometown proud” supermarket chain : IGA

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

54 Rob of “St. Elmo’s Fire” : LOWE

Actor Rob Lowe is one of the “founding members” of the so-called Brat Pack, having appeared in the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire”. More recently, he played a regular character on the TV show “Parks and Recreation”. My favorite of his roles though, was playing Sam Seaborn on Aaron Sorkin’s great drama series “The West Wing”. When “The West Wing” first aired, Seaborn was billed as the show’s main character, but outstanding performances from the rest of the cast and some great writing meant that Lowe’s role became “one of many”. This led to some dissatisfaction on Lowe’s part, and eventually he quit the show.

“St. Elmo’s Fire” is a 1985 Brat Pack film. The cast includes Brat Pack members Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy. Unlike so many of the Brat Pack films, the critics hated this one. Indeed, Rob Lowe earned himself a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his performance.

55 Carrier of sweatpants and sneakers : GYM BAG

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

57 Everglades mammal : MANATEE

Manatees, also known as “sea cows”, are very large marine mammals that can grow to 12 feet in length. The manatee is believed to have evolved from four-legged land mammals and probably shares a common ancestor with the elephant.

The Everglades are a tropical wetlands that cover much of southern Florida. The area was named “River Glades” by a British surveyor in 1773, and is suggested that poor transcription of the word “river” led to the use of “ever”. The southern 20% of the Everglades is a protected region that we know as Everglades National Park. The park is the third-largest National Park in the lower 48 states, after Death Valley NP (the largest) and Yellowstone NP.

60 Game in which the answers to the starred clues are legal plays but cannot be formed even if you have both blanks : SCRABBLE

The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions in publications like “The New York Times”.

Down

2 Estevez of “St. Elmo’s Fire” : EMILIO

Emilio Estevez is one of the members of Hollywood’s famous “Brat Pack”, having appeared in “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire”. Estevez’s father (and can’t you tell it from looking at him?) is actor Martin Sheen. Estevez decided to keep his father’s real name, and not the stage name of “Sheen”. Charlie Sheen is Emilio’s brother, and Charlie’s real name is Carlos Estevez.

4 Letters of urgency : ASAP

As soon as possible (ASAP)

6 Looney Tunes nickname : TAZ

The “Looney Tunes” character known as the Tasmanian Devil, or “Taz”, first appeared in a cartoon short with Bugs Bunny called “Devil May Care” in 1954.

8 California’s motto : EUREKA

“Eureka” is the Greek for “I have found it”, and is the motto of the state of California. The motto was chosen as a nod to the discovery of gold in the state.

9 Tech school in Troy, N.Y. : RPI

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private school in Troy, New York. The university is named after its founder Stephen Van Rensselaer who set up the school in 1824. The goal of RPI has always been the “application of science to the common purposes of life”, an objective set by the founder. Given that, the name for the school’s sports teams is quite apt: the Engineers.

10 Airer of TV’s “Moesha” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” : UPN

The United Paramount Network (UPN) was a TV channel that launched in 1995, and shut down in 2006. Some of UPN’s programming was moved to the CW channel at the time of UPN’s demise.

“Moesha” is a sitcom that originally aired in the late nineties starring singer Brandy Norwood in the title role, a high school student in LA. “Moesha” may be a sitcom, but it had a reputation for dealing with very real social issues such as teen pregnancy, race relations, and infidelity.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is a TV series that originally aired from 1997 to 2003. “Buffy …” was incredibly successful, especially given that it wasn’t aired on one of the big four networks. The show was created by Joss Whedon and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role.

11 Thick soups : POTTAGES

A potage (also “pottage”) is a thick soup or stew, and is named after the Old French word “pottage” meaning “potted dish”.

25 ___ Jenner, Kardashian family matriarch : KRIS

Kris Kardashian is the matriarch of the Kardashian clan. She was married to the lawyer Robert Kardashian who was one of O. J. Simpson’s lawyers in his 1995 murder trial. The couple divorced in 1990 and Kris then married the celebrated decathlete from the 1976 Olympic Games, Bruce Jenner. That marriage ended in divorce as well, in 2015.

29 Cold weather roofing problem : ICE DAM

Ice dams are build-ups of ice along the edge of a roof. The term “dam” is used because the ice can trap water on the roof as snow melts or rain falls. That “dammed” water might get under the shingles and inside the house.

30 Golfer Ernie : ELS

Ernie Els is a South African golfer. He is a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. Els is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).

33 Adage : OLD SAW

A saw is an old saying, one that is often repeated and is very familiar. The term “old saw” is actually a tautology, as by definition a “saw” is “old”.

36 Home of Dar es Salaam : TANZANIA

When the African countries of Zanzibar and Tanganyika merged in 1964, the resulting state was named the United Republic of Tanzania, with “Tanzania” being a portmanteau of “Zanzibar” and “Tanganyika”.

Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania, and sits right on the east coast of Africa. The city’s name is usually translated from Arabic as “Haven of Peace”.

37 Cracker name since 1934 : RITZ

I’ve always liked Ritz crackers. They’ve been around since 1934 when they were introduced by Nabisco. The name Ritz was chosen because the marketing folks felt that the association with Ritz-Carlton would evoke images of wealth and the highlife.

44 Some Siouan speakers : OTOES

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

46 Gestation station? : WOMB

The normal gestation period for humans is 280 days, a little over 9 months. The gestation period can be a little shorter, or longer. Back in 1945, a pregnancy was confirmed at 375 days, which is just over 12 months.

47 Paper tiger? : HOBBES

The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” is still widely syndicated, but hasn’t been written since 1995. The cartoonist Bill Watterson named the character Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian. Hobbes was named for Thomas Hobbes, a 17th century English political philosopher.

48 Georgia’s state wildflower : AZALEA

Azaleas are very toxic to most animals. If you go to Korea, you might come across “Tug Yonju”, which is azalea wine made from the plant’s blossoms. Azaleas are usually grown as shrubs, but are also seen as small trees, and often indoors.

49 Bigfoot or yeti : LEGEND

The sasquatch or bigfoot is our North American equivalent of the yeti, the ape-like creature said to inhabit the Himalayas. Bigfoot is supposedly hiding out mainly in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

58 T.S.A. employee, e.g.: Abbr. : AGT

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

59 With 61-Down, org. once headed by George H. W. Bush : THE …
61 See 59-Down : … CIA

The CIA headquarters is located in Langley, Virginia in a complex called the George Bush Center for Intelligence. The facility was named for former Director of the CIA and US President George H. W. Bush.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Part of a relay race : LEG
4 Book after the Gospels : ACTS
8 Blows one’s top : ERUPTS
14 Some of its members wear P.P.E. : AMA
15 Lava, e.g. : SOAP
16 Be in favor of : SUPPORT
17 *Having panache : PIZZAZZY
19 Computer accessory : PRINTER
20 Feeling ready for bed : SLEEPY
21 Neighbor of an Arkansawyer : OKIE
23 Eastern “way” : TAO
24 Dublin’s land, to natives : EIRE
25 *Trinket : KNICKKNACK
28 File of documents : DOSSIER
31 Fish-eating bird : SEA EAGLE
32 Awards for ad agencies : CLIOS
34 Equipment for pentathletes : EPEES
35 *State that many people want to get to on vacation? : STRESSLESSNESS
40 Unadventurous : STAID
41 Hang : DRAPE
42 Hundredths of a peso : CENTAVOS
45 Tusked marine creature of the Arctic : NARWHAL
50 *Gaudy display : RAZZMATAZZ
52 Move like molasses : OOZE
53 “Hometown proud” supermarket chain : IGA
54 Rob of “St. Elmo’s Fire” : LOWE
55 Carrier of sweatpants and sneakers : GYM BAG
57 Everglades mammal : MANATEE
60 Game in which the answers to the starred clues are legal plays but cannot be formed even if you have both blanks : SCRABBLE
62 Difficult situations : PLIGHTS
63 Cake layer : TIER
64 Poet’s nightfall : E’EN
65 Puts on the schedule : SLATES
66 Action that may be “contagious” : YAWN
67 Dejected : SAD

Down

1 Ran out, as a subscription : LAPSED
2 Estevez of “St. Elmo’s Fire” : EMILIO
3 Crystal ___ (some prognosticators) : GAZERS
4 Letters of urgency : ASAP
5 Warm and snug : COZY
6 Looney Tunes nickname : TAZ
7 Watch surreptitiously : SPY ON
8 California’s motto : EUREKA
9 Tech school in Troy, N.Y. : RPI
10 Airer of TV’s “Moesha” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” : UPN
11 Thick soups : POTTAGES
12 Thick syrups : TREACLES
13 Four, on a par 4 hole : STROKES
16 Paprika or pepper : SPICE
18 Snoring symbols : ZEES
22 Face, in slang : KISSER
25 ___ Jenner, Kardashian family matriarch : KRIS
26 More eager : KEENER
27 Back of the neck : NAPE
29 Cold weather roofing problem : ICE DAM
30 Golfer Ernie : ELS
33 Adage : OLD SAW
35 Glass-___ (1933 banking legislation, informally) : STEAGALL
36 Home of Dar es Salaam : TANZANIA
37 Cracker name since 1934 : RITZ
38 “S.N.L.” alum Horatio : SANZ
39 Place for a mud bath : SPA
40 Economizes : SCRIMPS
43 Drivers who rarely have passengers : VALETS
44 Some Siouan speakers : OTOES
46 Gestation station? : WOMB
47 Paper tiger? : HOBBES
48 Georgia’s state wildflower : AZALEA
49 Bigfoot or yeti : LEGEND
51 Having some kick : ZESTY
55 Got bigger : GREW
56 Kitten’s plaything : YARN
58 T.S.A. employee, e.g.: Abbr. : AGT
59 With 61-Down, org. once headed by George H. W. Bush : THE …
61 See 59-Down : … CIA

19 thoughts on “0126-21 NY Times Crossword 26 Jan 21, Tuesday”

  1. 8:15, no errors. A curious theme.

    My ex and I used to play a lot of Scrabble, but I haven’t had much chance to play since the split. I think I had the larger vocabulary, but we allowed any spelling that was to be found in any dictionary in the house and, clever lady that she was (and is), she was a lot better at guessing what might possibly be in the OED (darn it all! … 😜).

  2. 13:10. Another slow day. All was well until I got to the SW and my brain shut down for about 5 minutes. Luckily it finally some up.

  3. 16:10 I thought “pizzazzy” was a bit of a stretch with the “y” ending…and I had always heard an extra syllable in “razz-a-matazz”. Still neat to have a puzzle with so many “z”s

  4. 15:10. I seemed to trip all over myself doing this one. I don’t play Scrabble so this was just a themeless puzzle to me.

    Would cryptocryptozoology be the study of whether cryptozoology really exists or not?

    Best –

      1. Actually after having given it more thought (which in itself is a bit disturbing), I think that would be cryptocryptozoologyology

  5. Wasn’t Peter Gordon the famed batman/Gotham city lawyer and he could have come up with all those batman verbs BAM, POW, KAPOW, KABOOM, BLAM. His inspiration for this puzzle??

  6. Bigfoot, or any other version, is remarkable in that it never dies as no remains have ever been found. It also never poops as no scat has ever been found. It is always reported as huge, 8 feet tall, yet no evidence of its feeding, such as large areas of vegetation being stripped. Despite all of this, some continue to prattle on about alleged sightings, etc. while others go around in the woods searching.

  7. Bruce Jenner has changed back! He is writing a book about his experience , I believe it is tiled “Been Her”

  8. I love all these comments. Sometimes the comments are better than the puzzle.

    The SW was slow going although I finally got it okay. I had not pictured MANATEES swimming around within the Everglades but indeed they do.

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