0130-21 NY Times Crossword 30 Jan 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Nam Jin Yoon
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 17m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies


1 Hero of Philadelphia : HOAGIE

“Hoagy” (sometimes “hoagie”) is another name for a submarine sandwich. The term “hoagy” originated in Philadelphia, and was apparently introduced by Italians working in the shipyards during WWI. The shipyards were located on Hog Island, and the sandwich was first called “the Hog Island”, which morphed into “hoagy”.

7 IG-11 on “The Mandalorian,” e.g. : DROID

“Droid” is short for “android” and is used to describe a robot that resembles a human. The Latin word “androides” was used in English in the 18th century to mean “like a man”. Science fiction writers introduced us to “android” in the early 1950s.

12 Stereotypically arcane subject : ROCKET SCIENCE

Something that is arcane is understood by only a few, something that might be described as mysterious.

19 “Between the World and Me” author, 2015 : COATES

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a journalist and author from Baltimore, Maryland. His 2015 book “Between the World and Me” won that year’s National Book Award for Nonfiction. Coates also made a name for himself in the world of comic books, and is the writer of a “Black Panther” series for Marvel Comics.

40 Rigmarole : ADO

“Rigmarole” is a lovely word, one used for an elaborate and complicated procedure. According to the OED, the term evolved from a medieval game of chance called “Ragman’s Roll”. I guess it was a complicated game …

41 Buck, boomer, jack, flyer or jill, informally : ROO

In Australia, male kangaroos are known by several names including bucks, boomers, jacks or old men. Females are called does, flyers, or jills. There seems to be just the one name for young kangaroos, i.e. joeys. A group of kangaroos might be called a mob, troop or court.

42 One might carry a torch : SCONCE

A sconce is a light fixture that today uses electric bulbs, but in the past used candles and torches. The defining feature of a sconce is that it is supported by a wall and does not have a base that stands on the ground. Usually the light is indirect, projected upwards towards the ceiling.

45 Longtime Sacha Baron Cohen persona : ALI G

Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and comic actor from England. Baron Cohen is perhaps most famous for playing the characters Borat and Ali G on the small and large screens. I’m wasn’t a fan, but I must admit that I really enjoyed 2020’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”.


2 Dos y dos y dos y dos : OCHO

In Spanish, “cuatro” (four) times “dos” (two) is “ocho” (eight).

3 America’s first historically Black sorority, in brief : AKA

Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA)

11 De-frosting? : DETENTE

“Détente” is a French word meaning “loosening, reduction in tension” and in general it is used to describe the easing of strained relations in a political situation. In particular, the policy of détente came to be associated with the improved relations between the US and the Soviet Union in the seventies.

14 Setting of a 1945 conference : YALTA

Yalta is a resort city on the Black Sea on the Crimean Peninsula. The Crimea is very much in the news in recent years as ownership of the territory is in dispute between Russia and the Ukraine. Yalta was also in the news at the end of WWII, as it was the site of the 1945 Yalta Conference between the leaders of the three main Allies.

The Yalta Conference was a wartime meeting between WWII leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Held in February of 1945, the conference is most remembered for decisions made on the post-war organization of Europe. To a large extent, the three leaders made decisions carving up political influence around the world, decisions that have profound implications to this day.

32 Amphibian that Ogden Nash once rhymed with “bottle” : AXOLOTL

An axolotl is a salamander that is native to Central Mexico. The name “axolotl” translates as “water monster”, It’s an ugly little creature …

Ogden Nash was a poet from Rye, New York who is remembered for his light and quirky verse. Nash had over 500 such works published between 1931 and 1972.

33 “Little Women” actress Ronan : SAOIRSE

Saoirse Ronan is an Irish-American actress, having been born in the Bronx, New York and raised in Carlow and Dublin in Ireland. Ronan’s big break came when she was cast in the 2007 film “Atonement” at 12 years of age, a role for which she was nominated for that season’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar. “Saoirse” is the Irish word for “freedom”.

34 Milan ___, author of 1984’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” : KUNDERA

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” is a 1988 big screen adaptation of a 1984 novel of the same name by Milan Kundera. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Lena Olin, the film explores the complicated relationship of two couples living in Prague in 1968. That was the year of the Prague Spring, the brief period of political liberalization under Communist Party leader Alexander Dubček. It was also the year of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact countries in response to Dubček’s reforms.

36 Parting word : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

39 Singing style with African-American roots : DOO-WOP

Doo-wop developed in the 1940s and can be described as a vocal-based R&B music. Even though the style has been around since the forties, the name doo-wop wasn’t introduced until the early sixties.

46 Actress Rowlands : GENA

Gena Rowlands is an actress best known for the films made with her husband, actor and director John Cassavetes. More recently, Rowlands played a lead role opposite James Garner in the weepy, weepy 2004 film “The Notebook”. “The Notebook” was directed by her son, Nick Cassavetes. Rowlands was nominated for Oscars for her performances in two films: “Gloria” (1980) and “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974).

Complete List of Clues/Answers


1 Hero of Philadelphia : HOAGIE
7 IG-11 on “The Mandalorian,” e.g. : DROID
12 Stereotypically arcane subject : ROCKET SCIENCE
14 Wry comment on a sorry situation : YOU HATE TO SEE IT
15 Decline : SAY NO
16 One temporarily donning a cap : GRAD
17 Spent : DONE
18 Decked out : CLAD
19 “Between the World and Me” author, 2015 : COATES
21 Frequently flooded land : FEN
22 Team that infamously blew a 28-3 Super Bowl lead they had late in the third quarter: Abbr. : ATL
23 Doctor’s office, maybe : SUITE
24 Piece of the pie? : CRUST
26 Standard of comparison : BASELINE
28 Lock holder? : MOUSSE
29 Sharp feeling : PANG
30 Smear : DAUB
31 Shell, maybe : CASING
34 Little ball of fur : KITTY-CAT
38 ___ change : EXACT
39 Makes clean … or less clean : DUSTS
40 Rigmarole : ADO
41 Buck, boomer, jack, flyer or jill, informally : ROO
42 One might carry a torch : SCONCE
44 Like some brows and berets : KNIT
45 Longtime Sacha Baron Cohen persona : ALI G
47 Was on : RODE
48 Turns over : CEDES
49 Bit of encouragement for someone’s success : MORE POWER TO YOU
52 “Decision time!” : IT’S NOW OR NEVER!
53 Spike in activity on a sports field? : CLEAT
54 Absolutely trounced : PASTED


1 Dog … or a type of dog : HOUND
2 Dos y dos y dos y dos : OCHO
3 America’s first historically Black sorority, in brief : AKA
4 Set the wheels in motion : GET GOING
5 Continuously improve, in tech-speak : ITERATE
6 Subject of a family feud, maybe : ESTATE
7 Lead-in to belief : DIS-
8 Certain mouthpiece attachment : REED
9 Not with “them” : ONE OF US
10 Frosty air? : ICINESS
11 De-frosting? : DETENTE
12 Queens, e.g. : ROYALS
13 Lines in an application? : CODE
14 Setting of a 1945 conference : YALTA
15 Natural cover : SCAB
19 Holding up the line for? : CUING
20 Workers with talent : SCOUTS
23 Angles : SLANTS
25 Color that comes from the Latin for “red” : RUBY
27 Earth-shattering : EPIC
28 Glossy alternative : MATTE
30 Makes out : DISCERNS
31 Material that artists get all fired up about? : CERAMIC
32 Amphibian that Ogden Nash once rhymed with “bottle” : AXOLOTL
33 “Little Women” actress Ronan : SAOIRSE
34 Milan ___, author of 1984’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” : KUNDERA
35 Openness : CANDOR
36 Parting word : ADIEU
37 Little ‘uns : TOTS
39 Singing style with African-American roots : DOO-WOP
43 Say “Ta-da!,” say : CROW
44 Excited, with “up” : KEYED …
46 Actress Rowlands : GENA
48 Natural recess : COVE
50 Many a 31-Down piece : POT
51 Banh ___ (sticky rice cake) : TET

16 thoughts on “0130-21 NY Times Crossword 30 Jan 21, Saturday”

  1. DNF. 41A, 45A, 33D, and 46D left me 3 open spaces in the SW that I looked up after 19:36. The 41A clue made no sense to me (and even now, knowing the answer, I’d never heard any of those terms for a kangaroo), and the others are a lot of very specialized knowledge in one spot. Oh well. Win some, lose some.

  2. 25:29 with one lookup for 32D, which I had no “clue” on. Still unfamiliar with the answer. Had to tinker with the spelling of SAOIRSE. Saw her on SNL a few years back and she had a cute opening skit about the spelling of her name. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xCr6IQtYqk

    Had ENACT vs EXACT for 38A and only know of the BORAT character, not ALI G. At first didn’t think 11D would be DETENTE since the clue begins with “de” – what do I know?? Got 34D via crosses.

  3. 45:32 Had to look up the answer for 45A, and even then “ALIG” made no sense…then I read Ron’s comments… ahhhh, Ali G. I remembered it after reading it, but would never have come up with it on my own.

  4. 36:22 with one lookup. I knew I was in trouble with 15 mins at the halfway point. Difficult for me after the Friday “easy” puzzle.

  5. 23:57. Some good educated guesses or I’d have never finished. Easy puzzle except when it wasn’t. SAOIRSE next to AXOLOTL is downright cruel. KUNDERA was no picnic either. Glad to get out of this one unscathed.

    Best –

  6. Two sessions (breakfast, then a short afternoon session), had one square wrong. Had ENACT for 38 Across, and had no idea for 32 Down.

  7. 38:41, no errors. Can’t complain as much about this one as yesterday, but still some highly questionable stuff in this one.

  8. My 3 errors started with 41A. Never heard those references to kangaroos so I guessed with RIG. SAOIRSE next to AXOLOT was no help.

  9. I can’t be the only one with Malta conference? Couldn’t make sense of course with 14 across, but still. Is this a frequent crossword trick. Both took place in 1945.

  10. One letter. Had ALEG for 45 across as there was no help coming from 33 down. Lots of luck and guesses to complete the rest. A moral victory as I thought I had no shot after my initial review.

  11. 1:21:50 and through no fault of mine no errors…32 & 33D being side by side was very cruel…I was ready to call it a DNF but my stubbornness prevailed.
    Stay safe 😀

  12. 25:50, no errors. This puzzle drew more out of me than I realized that I had. Looked like a DNF for about 3/4’s of the way through. Completely blank on all the proper names, filled entirely by crosses.

    To JMG: no you were not the only one with the MALTA/YALTA problem. Didn’t those people think about the problems they would cause future crossword solvers??

    I only knew the word AXOLOTL because I was avid reader of Mad magazine in the 1960’s. At that time, the magazine had a recurring theme regarding AXOLOTLs.

  13. I was a devoted reader of Mad magazine in the late 1950’s. In 1957, when I was 14, I took one along with me on a family trip to Canada and my 67-year-old paternal grandmother, who, to say the least, had a somewhat different view of the world than I did, got hold of it. Next day, in the car, she broached the topic, opening with the line, “Do you know what it says in Nonny’s magazine?” and proceeded to tell us about some monstrous event that was about to happen (something that was, of course, meant as satire and that she had taken literally). To give him credit, my dad responded to his mother’s comments and explained the nature of the magazine in a way that she would accept.

    My grandmother had failed to make her son into a minister or to make my 9-years-older-than-me brother into one. I think, at that point, she had notions of working on me next and the Mad magazine episode helped her give up on the idea … 😜.

    (And maybe I also have Mad magazine to thank for teaching me the word AXOLOTL! … 😜)

  14. I, too, got AXOLOTL out of the fog because of Mad Magazine. My mother, to her everlasting credit, used to buy used copies for me from the used book shops which she frequented.

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