0128-21 NY Times Crossword 28 Jan 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Steve Mossberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Clever Expression-ily

Themed answers look like common phrases with “-ILY” added to the end. They actually describe the corresponding clue, and the way it is written:

  • 20A Something directly following a penultimate position — that is to say, diametrically opposed to a primary one : THE LAST, WORDILY (“The last”, written “wordily”)
  • 34A L iKe aN Ov eN : HOT, MESSILY (“Hot”, written “messily”)
  • 39A Golden blades that may be tenderly chew’d by equine or bovine beings : HAY, LOFTILY (“hay”, written “loftily”)
  • 53A The cat’s meow, baby. Dig? : ALL THAT, JAZZILY (“All that”, written “jazzily”)

Bill’s time: 11m 42s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • AT-AT (AH-AT)
  • TARTT (Hartt)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Singer Del Rey : LANA

“Lana Del Rey” is the stage name of singer/songwriter Elizabeth Grant. Del Rey calls herself a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra”. Nice …

5 Giant walking combat vehicle in “Star Wars” films : AT-AT

You might recall the huge walking vehicles that first appeared in the 1980 “Star Wars” movie “The Empire Strikes Back”. The proper name for such a walker is an All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT).

9 Stuffs : SATES

“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

15 Blue shade : NAVY

Navy blue is a dark blue shade that was named for the color of uniforms worn by officers in the British Royal Navy as early as 1748. When the color’s name first took on the association with uniforms in the early 1800s, it was known as “marine blue”, but soon changed to “navy blue”.

17 Poppycock : TOSH

“Tosh” is British slang for “foolish nonsense”, and is likely a combination of “trash” and “bosh”.

It is thought that the relatively gentle term “poppycock”, meaning “nonsense”, comes from a Dutch word for “dung” combined with a Latin word for “excrete”. Not so gentle after all …

25 Girl group with the 1999 #1 album “FanMail” : TLC

The girl band called TLC is from Atlanta, Georgia. The band’s name comes from the trio’s original members:

  • Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins
  • Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
  • Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas

38 Female kangaroo : DOE

A male kangaroo is known as a buck, jack or boomer. A female is called a jill, flyer or doe. A young kangaroo is a joey, and a group of kangaroos is a mob or troop.

44 None of it is good, as the saying goes : NEWS

No news is good news.

53 The cat’s meow, baby. Dig? : ALL THAT, JAZZILY (“All that”, written “jazzily”)

Something described as “the cat’s meow” is particularly fine, the best. The term was popularized and perhaps coined by Tad Dorgan, a cartoonist who was active in the early 20th century.

57 Follower of pigs or cows : E-I-E-I-O

There was an old American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O) that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the older US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

61 Black-and-white swimmer : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

63 Shipment : CARGO

Cargo is freight carried by some vehicle. The term “cargo” comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.

64 Actor Damon : MATT

Matt Damon is an actor and screenwriter from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Damon’s big break came with the 1997 movie “Good Will Hunting”, in which he starred. He co-wrote the screenplay with his childhood friend Ben Affleck.

65 Till section : ONES

What we usually call a cash register here in North America, we mostly call a “till” in Ireland and the UK. I haven’t heard the word “till” used much here in that sense …

Down

1 Drink from a machine : LATTE

The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

4 Figure skater, for one : ATHLETE

Figure skating started out as a sport in which a skater demonstrated skill at carving out specific patterns into the ice (a figure-8, for example). Over time, the sport placed greater influence on free skating. Compulsory figures were dropped completely from most international competitions in the 1990s, but the name “figure skating” has been retained.

6 Donna ___, 2014 Pulitzer winner for “The Goldfinch” : TARTT

Novelist Donna Tartt won a Pulitzer for her 2013 novel “The Goldfinch”. That same novel was adapted into a 2019 film, which sadly bombed at the box office.

10 North African capital : ALGIERS

Algeria is a huge country, the second largest in Africa (only Sudan is larger), and the largest country on the Mediterranean. The capital of Algeria is Algiers, and the country takes its name from the city.

12 “That most odious and antisocial of all passions”: John Stuart Mill : ENVY

John Stuart Mill was a philosopher from Britain who is particularly remembered for defining liberty as the freedom of the individual.

21 Pioneering I.S.P. : AOL

AOL was a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the 1980s and 1990s. The company does still provide dial-up access to the Internet for some subscribers, but most users now access AOL using faster, non-AOL ISPs.

27 Human rights lawyer Clooney : AMAL

Amal Alamuddin married celebrated Hollywood actor George Clooney in 2014. Alamuddin was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved with her family to London when she was a toddler. She is a lawyer specializing in international law, with one of her more renowned clients being the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.

31 ___ Men (one-hit wonder group of 2000) : BAHA

The Baha Men are so called because they hail from the Bahamas. Their big hit was “Who Let the Dogs Out?” That song once ranked third in a list of the world’s most annoying songs!

Here’s a 2002 list of one-hit wonders that VH1 dubbed the top-10 greatest of all time:

  1. “Macarena” – Los del Río (1996)
  2. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell (1982)
  3. “Come on Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)
  4. “I’m Too Sexy” – Right Said Fred (1991)
  5. “Mickey” – Toni Basil (1982)
  6. “Who Let the Dogs Out?” – Baha Men (2000)
  7. “Ice Ice Baby” – Vanilla Ice (1990)
  8. “Take On Me” – A-ha (1985)
  9. “Rico Suave” – Gerardo (1990)
  10. “99 Luftballons” – Nena (1984)

32 Food thickener : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science, it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

33 Janitor’s janglers : KEYS

A janitor is someone who takes care of the maintenance or cleaning of a building. An older definition of the term is “doorman”. Our word comes from the Latin “ianitor” meaning “doorkeeper”.

42 Source of some omega-3s : FISH

Fish oils are noted for containing omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits including the reduction of inflammation. Like so many essential nutrients that we get from animals, the only reason the animal has them is that it feeds on plants. In this case, fish cannot manufacture omega-3 fatty acids, and instead absorb them from algae. Omega-3 fatty acids are also readily found in other plant oils such as flaxseed oil.

44 Competitor of 21-Down : NETZERO
(21D Pioneering I.S.P. : AOL)

NetZero was launched in 1998 and was the first free Internet Service Provider. NetZero’s idea was to provide targeted advertising to users, based on what users liked to view online. It’s a little like Google’s business model, providing advertising based on Internet surfing patterns.

47 Cartoonist Chast : ROZ

Roz Chast had her first cartoon published in “The New Yorker” in 1978, and has had more than 800 published since then.

50 Torn asunder : RIVEN

To rive is to tear apart, and is a verb that we’ve been using since about 1300. The term “rive” comes from the Old Norse word “rifa” that also means to tear apart.

51 TV producer Chaiken : ILENE

Ilene Chaiken was the executive producer for the Showtime drama series “The L Word”. The show deals with lesbian, bisexual and transgender people living in West Hollywood. The title refers to “the L word”: lesbian.

53 Classic name in audio equipment : AIWA

Aiwa was a Japanese company that produced consumer electronics, mainly audio and video equipment. Sony bought Aiwa in 2002 and eventually discontinued the brand in 2006. The Aiwa trademark was acquired by a Chicago-based consumer electronics company in 2015.

54 Shakespeare character who says “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is / To have a thankless child!” : LEAR

Shakespeare was inspired to write his famous drama “King Lear” by the legend of “Leir of Britain”, the story of a mythological Celtic king.

56 Computing prefix : TERA-

The prefix “tera-” signifies a trillion, and comes from the Greek word “teras” meaning “monster”.

57 Alternative to an ellipsis : ETC

An ellipsis is a series of dots (usually three) used to indicate an omission in some text. The term comes from the Greek word “élleipsis”, which means “omission”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Singer Del Rey : LANA
5 Giant walking combat vehicle in “Star Wars” films : ATAT
9 Stuffs : SATES
14 Not just occasionally : A LOT
15 Blue shade : NAVY
16 Without backup : ALONE
17 Poppycock : TOSH
18 Release, as a song, in modern lingo : DROP
19 “OK, you win” : I GIVE
20 Something directly following a penultimate position — that is to say, diametrically opposed to a primary one : THE LAST, WORDILY (“The last”, written “wordily”)
23 Gracefully send away : EASE OUT
24 Passing comment? : AYE
25 Girl group with the 1999 #1 album “FanMail” : TLC
26 90s, say : A-AVERAGE
31 Lie in the sun : BAKE
34 L iKe aN Ov eN : HOT, MESSILY (“Hot”, written “messily”)
36 Demographic figure : AGE
37 “Bullet” in a food fight : PEA
38 Female kangaroo : DOE
39 Golden blades that may be tenderly chew’d by equine or bovine beings : HAY, LOFTILY (“hay”, written “loftily”)
44 None of it is good, as the saying goes : NEWS
45 One committing insurance fraud, maybe : ARSONIST
46 Prospector’s find : ORE
48 ___ Halles (central food market in Paris, once) : LES
49 It may end with a reality check : EGO TRIP
53 The cat’s meow, baby. Dig? : ALL THAT, JAZZILY (“All that”, written “jazzily”)
57 Follower of pigs or cows : E-I-E-I-O
58 Be plentiful : TEEM
59 In perpetuity : EVER
60 Country sound : TWANG
61 Black-and-white swimmer : ORCA
62 Name meaning “born again” : RENE
63 Shipment : CARGO
64 Actor Damon : MATT
65 Till section : ONES

Down

1 Drink from a machine : LATTE
2 Colorful kind of shirt : ALOHA
3 Common congestion points : NOSES
4 Figure skater, for one : ATHLETE
5 With more of the same sort : AND SUCH
6 Donna ___, 2014 Pulitzer winner for “The Goldfinch” : TARTT
7 Confess openly : AVOW
8 Mistakke, of a sort? : TYPO
9 Agreed to tie the knot : SAID YES
10 North African capital : ALGIERS
11 Work : TOIL
12 “That most odious and antisocial of all passions”: John Stuart Mill : ENVY
13 Date : SEE
21 Pioneering I.S.P. : AOL
22 Four-star : RAVE
26 Wiped out : ATE IT
27 Human rights lawyer Clooney : AMAL
28 Number two : AIDE
29 What crystal jellies do when disturbed : GLOW
30 Views : EYES
31 ___ Men (one-hit wonder group of 2000) : BAHA
32 Food thickener : AGAR
33 Janitor’s janglers : KEYS
35 Decides : OPTS
40 Not doing a darn thing : LOLLING
41 Cry toward the end of a list : ONE TO GO!
42 Source of some omega-3s : FISH
43 It may be rolled out for exercise : YOGA MAT
44 Competitor of 21-Down : NETZERO
47 Cartoonist Chast : ROZ
49 Tape recorder button : EJECT
50 Torn asunder : RIVEN
51 TV producer Chaiken : ILENE
52 Funerary burners : PYRES
53 Classic name in audio equipment : AIWA
54 Shakespeare character who says “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is / To have a thankless child!” : LEAR
55 Model in a science classroom : ATOM
56 Computing prefix : TERA-
57 Alternative to an ellipsis : ETC

13 thoughts on “0128-21 NY Times Crossword 28 Jan 21, Thursday”

  1. 17:09. Same errors as @Bill plus a few more – IRENE vs. ILENE; BAJA vs. BAHA; SPENT vs. ATEIT; NODES vs. NOSES. Didn’t really get the theme, just thought it was ILY added to the end of common phrases. Bill’s explanation makes more sense – I 13D it now.

  2. 15:01, no errors. (In other words, might be said that I did it RIGHT, HANDILY? … 😜)

    And I think (given the existence of an internet acronym that I came across only yesterday) a good title for this puzzle would be “And I Love You” … 😜.

    (For the record: after I finished the puzzle, it took me another three or four minutes to actually understand the theme! Duh!)

  3. 36:39 Took me three trips re-reading Fearless Leader’s explanation of the theme before I went “ooooooohhhh…okaaaaaay”…

    Nonny moving into Jeff humor territory… 👍👍👍

  4. 28:33. I made almost every mistake Ron did, and those took me a while to back out of. If I had done this puzzle with pen and paper, it would have been a mess(ily?).

    Just cheated and did an alphabet run to get the last letter – ATAT/TARTT as I didn’t know either.

    Best –

  5. I don’t get it.. the theme, the puzzle, the clues, several words..

    Very contrived in my opinion.

  6. 32 minutes. No errors etc. A challenging and clever puzzle although I also thought the ILY seemed to be a pointless add on.

  7. 47:00 with 3 errors all in 26D…I had SPENT for ATE IT…for me this was a drag from the start.
    Stay safe😀

  8. 23:06, no errors. Surprised AT-AT doesn’t make more puzzle appearances; seems like a natural. Several initial wrong guesses: 9D SAID I DO; 26D SPENT; 53D BOSE.

    “If you want me, I shall be in the attic,” Tom said, loftily.

  9. It’s not unusual for me to understand the theme, but stumble on the solution. It’s not unusual for me to solve the puzzle and need the theme explained. Solving the puzzle and not understanding the theme even with an explanation, that’s a new one.

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