0131-21 NY Times Crossword 31 Jan 21, Sunday

Constructed by: Jim Hilger
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Product Misplacement

Themed answers are common phrases in which a generic product is replaced with a brand name:

  • 23A Huge celebration after L.A.’s football team wins the Super Bowl? : MONSTER RAM RALLY (from “monster truck rally”)
  • 38A Reason that the prestigious scientific journal refuses articles from President Herbert’s relatives? : NATURE ABHORS A HOOVER (from “nature abhors a vacuum”)
  • 57A Apology from a musician to the other band members? : MY SOLO RUNNETH OVER (from “my cup runneth over”)
  • 79A Volunteered at a nursery? : WORKED FOR PLANTERS (from “worked for nuts”)
  • 97A Adding a historic ship as a deal sweetener? : THROWING IN THE BOUNTY (from “throwing in the towel”)
  • 117A Story about a drinking binge? : TALE OF THE SCOTCH (from “tale of the tape”)

Bill’s time: 20m 57s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Philippine currency : PESO

The writing on bank notes in the Philippines used to be in English, so the national currency was recorded as the “peso”. Since 1967 the language on the notes has been Filipino, and now the name of the currency is written as “piso”.

10 Just open : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

20 Thing with tags : AUTO

Automobile tags are license plates. The informal term “tag” is actually the name of the small sticker that is issued annually to indicate that vehicle registration is current.

21 Fruit salad fruit : KIWI

What we call kiwifruit today (and sometimes just “kiwi”) used to be called a Chinese gooseberry. Marketing folks in the fifties decided to call it a “melonette”, and then New Zealand producers adopted the name “kiwifruit”.

23 Huge celebration after L.A.’s football team wins the Super Bowl? : MONSTER RAM RALLY (from “monster truck rally”)

The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.

Chrysler put ram hood ornaments on all of its Dodge-branded vehicles starting in 1933. When the first line of Dodge trucks and vans were introduced in 1981, they were named “Rams” in honor of that hood ornament.

26 Nice nicety : MERCI

“Thank you” translates to “merci” in French, “gracias” in Spanish, and “danke” in German.

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera. Something described as “à la niçoise” is “of Nice”.

28 Oldest tech sch. in the U.S., founded in 1824 : 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.

29 Bygone royalty : TSAR

The last ruler of Imperial Russia was Tsar Nicholas II (of the House of Romanov). Famously, the Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918 in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, Russia by members of the Bolshevik secret police. The Tsar’s youngest daughter was 16-year-old Anastasia and rumors of her escape have persisted for years. The rumors grew with the help of numerous women who claimed to be Anastasia. In 2009, DNA testing finally proved that the remains of all of the Tsar’s immediate family, including Anastasia, have been found and identified.

31 Oodles and oodles : A TON

It’s thought that the term “oodles”, meaning “a lot”, comes from “kit and caboodle”.

32 Besmirch : SOIL

“Besmirch” is a derivative of “smirch”, with both words meaning to “make dirty”. In particular, to besmirch is to sully someone’s reputation.

35 With 1-Down, address ender : DOT …
(1D See 35-Across : … COM)

The .com domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

37 Schlep : LUG

Our word “schlep” (sometimes “schlepp”) means “carry, drag”. “Schlep” comes from Yiddish, with “shlepen” having the same meaning.

38 Reason that the prestigious scientific journal refuses articles from President Herbert’s relatives? : NATURE ABHORS A HOOVER (from “nature abhors a vacuum”)

President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa, and is the only president to have been born in that state. His birthplace is now a National Landmark, and he and his wife were buried in the grounds of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch. President Hoover died at the age of 90 years old in 1964, outliving his nemesis Franklin Delano Roosevelt by almost 20 years.

The first practical portable vacuum cleaner was invented by James Spangler in 1907. Spangler sold the patent for the design to his cousin’s husband, William Henry Hoover. Hoover then made his fortune from manufacturing and selling vacuum cleaners. Hoover was so successful in my part of the world that back in Ireland we don’t use the verb “to vacuum” and instead say “to hoover”. Also, “hoover” is what we call a vacuum cleaner, regardless of who makes it.

45 Power symbol? : CARET

In typography, an exponent can be represented by a caret, e.g. πr² can be written as πr^2.

47 ___ gras : FOIE

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made from a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

53 It’s symbolized by an elephant, for short : GOP

The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.

55 Theater seating option : LOGE

In most theaters and stadiums today, “loge” is the name given to the front rows of a mezzanine level. Loge can also be used for box seating.

56 Japanese honorific : -SAN

The Japanese honorific “-san” is added to the end of names as a title of respect, and can be translated as “Mr.” or “Ms.” The usage is wider than it is in English, though. Sometimes “-san” is added to the name of a company, for example.

57 Apology from a musician to the other band members? : MY SOLO RUNNETH OVER (from “my cup runneth over”)

The Solo Cup was introduced in 1930, and was the creation of a former employee of the Dixie Company. The first Solo Cup was a paper cone that founder Leo Hulseman made at home and sold to companies that distributed bottled water. Apparently, Solo’s red plastic cups sell very well, and are used by college students playing beer pong.

64 Best Picture winner that was banned in Vietnam : PLATOON

“Platoon” is a 1986 movie written and directed by Oliver Stone. The storyline comes out of Stone’s own experiences in Vietnam as an infantryman. It is gritty stuff, and is Stone’s response to the more “glamorous” movie “Green Berets” starring John Wayne. And that famous piece of classical music included the soundtrack, that is “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber.

66 Lena of “Chocolat” : OLIN

Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, and clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin’s breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” released in 1988. Way back in 1974, Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland. Olin’s most famous performance was in “Chocolat” released in 2000, and then she won an Emmy in 2003 for Best Supporting Actress in the TV show “Alias”.

The movie “Chocolat” released in 2000 is a big screen adaption of the novel of the same name by Joanne Harris. “Chocolat” tells the story of a young mother with a six-year-old daughter who opens up a chocolate shop in a French village. The mother is played by the talented Juliette Binoche.

67 1957 Jimmy Dorsey hit : SO RARE

“So Rare” is a song that first became popular with a recording by Guy Lombardo in 1937. “So Rare” was to be a major hit for Jimmy Dorsey twenty years later, in 1957.

Brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey headed up a studio band in the early thirties and had a lot of success together, including two number one hits. The pair had a very acrimonious relationship though, and split up in 1935, each forming his own band. They did even better after the parting of the ways, with Tommy having seventeen more number one hits, and Jimmy ten.

68 “Lonely Boy” singer, 1959 : ANKA

Canadian-born Paul Anka’s big hit was in 1957, the song entitled “Diana”. Anka was the subject of a much-lauded documentary film in 1962 called “Lonely Boy”.

74 Like writing about how to write : META

In recent decades the prefix “meta-” has been used as a standalone adjective. In this sense “meta” means “self-referential”, describing something that refers to itself. For example, “This sentence starts with the word ‘this’ and ends with the word ‘this’” might be called a meta sentence. A movie that is about the making of the very same movie could also be described as meta.

75 Epitome of herd mentality : LEMMING

Lemmings are small rodents that live in cold climates, usually in or around the Arctic. There is a misconception that lemmings are prone to commit mass suicide. What is true is that like many animal species, lemmings are prone to mass migration, especially when the population in one area gets too great. Lemmings can swim, and will jump into a body of water in order to cross it. However, some lemmings may drown in the attempt. So, the lemmings jump en masse into a body of water to cross it, not to commit suicide. Then there was the famous Disney “White Wilderness” incident. Disney shot footage of lemmings “committing mass suicide” for the 1958 film “White Wilderness”. In fact, the lemmings in the morbid scene were flown to the location of the shoot, and were launched off a cliff using a turntable. Despicable …

79 Volunteered at a nursery? : WORKED FOR PLANTERS (from “worked for nuts”)

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 …

84 Idle of Monty Python : ERIC

Eric Idle is one of the founding members of the Monty Python team. Idle was very much the musician of the bunch, and is an accomplished guitarist. If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Idle, and was indeed written by him. That song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.

The zany comedy show called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” first aired in 1969 on the BBC. The show ran for four seasons and finished up soon after John Cleese decided to leave the team and move onto other projects.

85 ___ Lou Who of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” : STU

The Grinch is the title character in Dr. Seuss’s 1957 children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” He is a grouchy creature who lives as a hermit in a cave outside the town of Whoville. The Grinch’s only companion is his dog Max. Based on Seuss’s hero, we now use the term “grinch” for someone who is opposed to Christmas festivities or who is coarse and greedy in general.

86 Elton John or Mick Jagger : SIR

Elton John’s real name is Reginald Dwight. Sir Elton was knighted in 1998, not for his music per se, but for his charitable work. He founded his own Elton John AIDS Foundation back in 1992.

The Rolling Stones lead singer’s full name is Sir Michael Philip Jagger. “Mick” was knighted for his services to popular music in 2003.

87 District on Hawaii’s west coast : KONA

The Kona district on the Big Island of Hawaii is on the western side of the island. The largest town in Kona is Kailua-Kona. Kailua-Kona is often incorrectly referred to as “Kona”. The term “kona” translates as “leeward side of the island” in Hawaiian.

88 Volcanic substance : BASALT

Basalt is a volcanic rock that is created when lava cools rapidly at the earth’s surface.

91 Person fluent in Quechua : INCA

Quechua was the Native-American language adopted by the Incan Empire and favored over other dialects. Today, Quechua is one of the official languages in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, alongside Spanish.

94 Et ___ (footnote abbr.) : SEQ

The Latin phrase “et sequens” or “et sequentia” is used in English to mean “and following”, and is abbreviated to “et seq.”

97 Adding a historic ship as a deal sweetener? : THROWING IN THE BOUNTY (from “throwing in the towel”)

HMS Bounty, of mutiny fame, was originally a collier named Bethia. The relatively small ship was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1787, and was refitted and renamed HMS Bounty. The Bounty was purpose built for one mission, to acquire breadfruit plants in Tahiti and deliver them to the West Indies. The shameful purpose of the mission was to introduce breadfruit to the West Indies as a cheap source of food for slaves. After the infamous mutiny, the Bounty ended up on Pitcairn Island where the mutineers remained undetected for 18 years. The band avoided detection partly by burning their ship, in what is now known as Bounty Bay. The remains of the Bounty were discovered off Pitcairn Island in 1957.

Bounty is a brand of paper towel made by Procter & Gamble.

101 Campaign guru : POL

Politician (pol)

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

107 Hiker’s snack : GORP

“Gorp” is a name sometimes used for trail mix, particularly by hikers. It’s not really known for sure how this name came about, but some say it stands for “good old raisins and peanuts” or perhaps “gobs of raw protein”.

110 Article from U.C.L.A.? : LOS

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) gets more applications from potential students than any other university in the country. UCLA also has more students enrolled than any other university in the state.

112 Vatican ambassador : NUNCIO

The Latin word for “envoy” is “nuntius”. The Vatican used “nuntius” for the title of Papal Nuncio, or more correctly “Apostolic Nuncio”, a permanent representative of the Holy See to a particular state or even to an international organization. In 1961, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations declared that a Papal Nuncio is an ambassador like those from any other country, and affords them the same rights and privileges.

117 Story about a drinking binge? : TALE OF THE SCOTCH (from “tale of the tape”)

In the world of boxing, the phrase “tale of the tape” describes the objective comparison of the pre-fight measurements of the contestants. The use of the term “tape” suggests that the focus is on such measurements as length of reach and height. More comprehensively, the tale of the tape includes the boxers’ weights.

Scotch Tape is a brand of adhesive tape made by 3M. “Scotch Tape” is one of those brand names that has become a generic term for the product. The equivalent brand name of product that we use over in Ireland is Sellotape. This British brand also has become a generic term, and so is our equivalent to “Scotch tape”.

121 Frost lines? : POEMS

The wonderful poet Robert Frost was a native of San Francisco, but lived most of life in New England. He also spent a few years in England, just before WWI. Frost was well recognized for his work during his lifetime, and received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He was also Vermont’s first Poet Laureate, a position that he held from 1961 until his death in 1963.

122 Awards feat, for short : EGOT

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards.

123 Puccini piece : ARIA

Giacomo Puccini was an Italian composer who was famous for his operas that are so often performed all over the world. Included in the list of his works are “La bohème”, “Tosca”, “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot”. Puccini died in Brussels, Belgium in 1924 having suffered from throat cancer. An audience attending a performance of “La bohème” in Rome heard of the composer’s death in the middle of the performance. At the news, the opera was stopped, and the orchestra instead played Chopin’s “Funeral March”.

125 Ed of “Elf” : ASNER

Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also canceled … on the very same day.

“Elf” is a comedy movie that was released for the 2003 Christmas season. “Elf” was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Will Ferrell in the title role, with James Caan supporting and Ed Asner playing Santa Claus. It’s all about one of Santa’s elves who finds out he is human and goes to meet his father in New York City.

126 Movement based on deliberate irrationality : DADA

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

Down

2 Uber and Lyft had theirs in 2019, for short : IPOS

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

3 Tarzan’s transport : VINE

Liana (also “liane”) is a vine that generally grows in moist areas such as rain forests. Lianas grow using the trees in the forest as structural support. My bet is that Tarzan swung from tree to tree on liana vines …

6 On a Seder plate, it represents the arrival of springtime : PARSLEY

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

7 Port. is part of it : EUR

Portugal is the most westerly country in Europe, and is located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula alongside Spain. The name “Portugal” comes from the Latin “Portus Cale”, the name used by ancient Romans for Porto, now the country’s second largest city. Portugal was a far-reaching power in the 15th and 16th centuries, at the center of the world’s first truly global empire. A legacy of the Portuguese Empire is that today there are more than 240 million Portuguese speakers across the world.

8 State symbol : STAR

Legend has it that Betsy Ross made the first American flag for General George Washington. However, this story only surfaced during the centennial celebrations of 1876, and although Betsy Ross was indeed one of several flag makers in Philadelphia in the days of George Washington, sadly there’s no definitive evidence that Ross provided that first Stars and Stripes.

10 Pseudonym lead-in : AKA …

Also known as (aka)

11 Ditch at the last moment : JILT

To jilt someone with whom you have a relationship is to drop them suddenly or callously. “Jilt” is an obsolete noun that used to mean “harlot, loose woman”.

12 Leatherwork tools : AWLS

An awl is a pointed tool used for marking a surface or for piercing small holes. The earliest awls were used to pierce ears, apparently. The tool then became very much associated with shoemakers.

13 Largest city on the Arabian peninsula : RIYADH

Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia, and is located near the center of the country. The name “Riyadh” translates from Arabic as “the gardens”.

The Arabian Peninsula (also “Arabia”) is part of Western Asia that is located just north-east of Africa. The peninsula is bordered to the west by the Red Sea, to the northeast by the Persian Gulf, and to the southeast by the Indian Ocean. Most of the Arabian Peninsula is taken up by Saudi Arabia, but also included are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. And, it’s the largest peninsula in the world, covering about 1¼ million square miles.

14 “Lionized” studio : MGM

There has been a lion in the logo of the MGM studio since 1924. The original was an Irishman (!), a lion named Slats who was born in Dublin Zoo in 1919. However, it wasn’t until Jackie took over from Slats in 1928 that the roar was heard, as the era of silent movies was coming to an end. The current lion is called Leo, and he has been around since 1957.

16 Gift in “The 12 Days of Christmas” : TURTLE DOVE

The fabulous Christmas carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

18 Trap, of a sort : STING

A sting operation often involves a law enforcement officer operating undercover, and is designed to catch a person in the act of committing a crime.

24 Sheik’s peer : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East in Islamic countries. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

“Sheikh” is an Arabic title used by the head of a family or by the head of a Muslim religious order. The term arose in the 16th century and came from the Arabic word “shaykh”, meaning “chief, old man”.

30 Aussie animals : ROOS

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.

34 Medal above plata : ORO

“Oro, plata, bronce” is “gold, silver, bronze” in Spanish.

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

43 Units in the life span of a galaxy : AEONS

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

45 Brink of transition : CUSP

The word “cusp” comes from the Latin “cuspis” meaning “spear, point”. In the world of astrology, a cusp is an imaginary line separating two signs of the zodiac. For example, some whose birthday is between April 16 and April 26 is said to have been born “on the cusp” between the signs Aries and Taurus.

54 Magazine whose crossword is always accompanied by a photograph : PEOPLE

There used to be a “People” page in each issue of “Time” magazine. This page was spun-off in 1974 as a publication of its own, which we now call “People” magazine. “People” is noted for its annual special editions with features such as “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The “Sexiest Man Alive” edition now appears at the end of November each year. The first choice for “Sexiest Man” was Mel Gibson, in 1985.

57 Rigged card game : MONTE

Three-card monte is a confidence trick in which someone is goaded into betting money on the assumption that he or she can find the “money card” (usually a queen) among three cards placed face down. The “mark” who is being duped has all sorts of ways to lose and there are usually several people in on the scam, including others playing who seem to be winning.

58 Hooked up, as oxen : YOKED

A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of animals so that they are forced to work together.

59 Wolfs (down) : SNARFS

To snarf down is to gobble up, to eat voraciously. “Snarf” is a slang term that is probably related to “scarf”, which has the same meaning.

60 Supergiant in Orion : RIGEL

Rigel is the sixth brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest star in the constellation of Orion. If you can imagine the stars in Orion laid out, Rigel is at his left foot. The name “Rigel” is an abbreviated version of the Arabic term for “Left Foot of the Central One”.

61 Hall-of-Fame quarterback for the Colts : UNITAS

Footballer Johnny Unitas was nicknamed “the Golden Arm” as well as “Johnny U”. Unitas played in the fifties through the seventies, mainly for the Baltimore Colts. He held the record for throwing touchdown passes in consecutive games (47 games) for 52 years, until it was surpassed in 2012 by Drew Brees.

70 Bakery buy : DANISH

The Danish pastry that we know so well over here in the US is indeed a Danish specialty, although the recipe was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers. A “Danish” is called “Viennese bread” in Denmark.

72 Cloth woven from flax fibre : IRISH LINEN

Flax is mainly grown for its seeds (to make oil) and for its fibers. Flax fibers have been used to make linen for centuries, certainly back as far as the days of the ancient Egyptians. Flax fibers are soft and shiny, resembling blond hair, hence the term “flaxen hair”.

77 Female goat : NANNY

Male goats are bucks or billies, although castrated males are known as wethers. Female goats are does or nannies, and young goats are referred to as kids.

79 Place to surf : WEB

In essence, the World Wide Web (WWW) is a vast collection of documents that is accessible using the Internet, with each document containing hyperlinks which point to other documents in the collection. So the “Web” is different from the Internet, although the terms are often used interchangeably. The Web is a collection of documents, and the Internet is a global network of computers on which the documents reside. The Web was effectively the invention of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The key to Berner-Lee’s invention was bringing together two technologies that already existed: hypertext and the Internet. I, for one, am very grateful …

80 Haydn’s “The Creation” and others : ORATORIOS

“The Creation” is an oratorio by composer Joseph Haydn that was written between 1796 and 1798. Many consider it to be his magnum opus. Haydn was a deeply religious man (he wrote the words “Praise to God” at the end of every composition) and spent more time working on “The Creation” than any other single work. He was inspired to write “The Creation” after spending time in England and hearing the oratorios of Handel.

82 The Berenstain Bears live in one : TREE

Stan and Jan Berenstain were a married couple from Philadelphia famous for creating the series of books for children called “Berenstain Bears”. The first in the series was published in 1962 and now over 250 million copies have been sold with over 300 titles.

87 “A merry old soul,” in a nursery rhyme : KING COLE

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare, as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

89 Crack up, in textspeak : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

92 U.S. counterpart to Britain’s MI6 : CIA

The UK government gets its foreign intelligence through the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6. The moniker “MI6” arose during WWII, and stands for “Military Intelligence, Section 6”. “MI5” is the common name for the UK’s Security Service, the UK’s counter-intelligence and security agency.

95 Common call on a 3rd-and-1 : QB SNEAK

That would be football.

98 Sticker worn in November : I VOTED

Election day was chosen by Congress back in 1845. The month of November was selected as it suited an agricultural society, following the fall harvest and yet not too far into winter, which could make travel difficult. Tuesday was chosen so that people had time to travel to polling stations. Monday elections might have meant that some would have to start out on Sunday, and that could interfere with Christian services.

101 Prairie east of the Andes : PAMPA

The pampas are fertile lowlands covering a large part of Argentina, Uruguay and some of Brazil. “Pampa” is a Quechua word meaning “plain”.

106 Two-fifths of one quarter : DIME

The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

108 Sitar selection : RAGA

Raga isn’t really a genre of music, but has been described as the “tonal framework” in which Indian classical music is composed. Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous raga virtuoso (to us Westerners). Western rock music with a heavy Indian influence might be called raga rock.

111 Houston M.L.B.’er : ‘STRO

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

113 Stressed, in a way: Abbr. : ITAL

Italic type leans to the right, and is often used to provide emphasis in text. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

116 Union member of the 20th century, for short : SSR

The former Soviet Union (officially “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” or “USSR”) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

118 Concern for one catching a connection, briefly : ETA

A schedule (sked) might show the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of a plane or bus, perhaps.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Mannerly : CIVIL
6 Philippine currency : PESO
10 Just open : AJAR
14 Second socks, say : MATES
19 Offer a judgment : OPINE
20 Thing with tags : AUTO
21 Fruit salad fruit : KIWI
22 Sound of exertion : GRUNT
23 Huge celebration after L.A.’s football team wins the Super Bowl? : MONSTER RAM RALLY (from “monster truck rally”)
26 Nice nicety : MERCI
27 Great shakes : SEISMS
28 Oldest tech sch. in the U.S., founded in 1824 : RPI
29 Bygone royalty : TSAR
31 Oodles and oodles : A TON
32 Besmirch : SOIL
33 Big fuss : ADO
35 With 1-Down, address ender : DOT …
37 Schlep : LUG
38 Reason that the prestigious scientific journal refuses articles from President Herbert’s relatives? : NATURE ABHORS A HOOVER (from “nature abhors a vacuum”)
45 Power symbol? : CARET
46 Senate support : YEA
47 ___ gras : FOIE
48 Restorative indulgence : SPA DAY
50 Kind of bookstore : USED
51 Oil field sight : RIG
53 It’s symbolized by an elephant, for short : GOP
55 Theater seating option : LOGE
56 Japanese honorific : -SAN
57 Apology from a musician to the other band members? : MY SOLO RUNNETH OVER (from “my cup runneth over”)
64 Best Picture winner that was banned in Vietnam : PLATOON
66 Lena of “Chocolat” : OLIN
67 1957 Jimmy Dorsey hit : SO RARE
68 “Lonely Boy” singer, 1959 : ANKA
69 Stiff : RIGID
71 Morally uncompromised : PURE
72 Many a summer position : INTERN
74 Like writing about how to write : META
75 Epitome of herd mentality : LEMMING
79 Volunteered at a nursery? : WORKED FOR PLANTERS (from “worked for nuts”)
83 General practice? : WAR
84 Idle of Monty Python : ERIC
85 ___ Lou Who of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” : STU
86 Elton John or Mick Jagger : SIR
87 District on Hawaii’s west coast : KONA
88 Volcanic substance : BASALT
91 Person fluent in Quechua : INCA
94 Et ___ (footnote abbr.) : SEQ
96 Fool : NINNY
97 Adding a historic ship as a deal sweetener? : THROWING IN THE BOUNTY (from “throwing in the towel”)
101 Campaign guru : POL
102 Super Bowl played in 2020 : LIV
103 Past : AGO
104 Get hold of : SNAG
105 Dry : ARID
107 Hiker’s snack : GORP
110 Article from U.C.L.A.? : LOS
112 Vatican ambassador : NUNCIO
115 Small versions : MINIS
117 Story about a drinking binge? : TALE OF THE SCOTCH (from “tale of the tape”)
121 Frost lines? : POEMS
122 Awards feat, for short : EGOT
123 Puccini piece : ARIA
124 Really lift : ELATE
125 Ed of “Elf” : ASNER
126 Movement based on deliberate irrationality : DADA
127 Be really impressive, informally : ROCK
128 Procrastinate : DELAY

Down

1 See 35-Across : … COM
2 Uber and Lyft had theirs in 2019, for short : IPOS
3 Tarzan’s transport : VINE
4 Didn’t just request : INSISTED
5 Is dismissed, as a class : LETS OUT
6 On a Seder plate, it represents the arrival of springtime : PARSLEY
7 Port. is part of it : EUR
8 State symbol : STAR
9 Sound from a marching band : OOMPAH
10 Pseudonym lead-in : AKA …
11 Ditch at the last moment : JILT
12 Leatherwork tools : AWLS
13 Largest city on the Arabian peninsula : RIYADH
14 “Lionized” studio : MGM
15 Neighborhood : AREA
16 Gift in “The 12 Days of Christmas” : TURTLE DOVE
17 Push : ENCOURAGE
18 Trap, of a sort : STING
24 Sheik’s peer : EMIR
25 Free from : RID OF
30 Aussie animals : ROOS
34 Medal above plata : ORO
36 One-up : TOP
38 ___ cavity : NASAL
39 Bowl, e.g. : ARENA
40 Prefix with nautical : AERO-
41 One temporarily entrusting property to another : BAILOR
42 Ink : SIGN
43 Units in the life span of a galaxy : AEONS
44 Ad ___ tax : VALOREM
45 Brink of transition : CUSP
49 Folksy possessive : YER
52 Wilt : GO LIMP
54 Magazine whose crossword is always accompanied by a photograph : PEOPLE
57 Rigged card game : MONTE
58 Hooked up, as oxen : YOKED
59 Wolfs (down) : SNARFS
60 Supergiant in Orion : RIGEL
61 Hall-of-Fame quarterback for the Colts : UNITAS
62 More balanced : TRUER
63 In ___ way : HARM’S
65 Rail container for liquids : TANK CAR
70 Bakery buy : DANISH
72 Cloth woven from flax fibre : IRISH LINEN
73 So last year : NOT IN
76 “You can’t make me!” : I WON’T!
77 Female goat : NANNY
78 Gloomy, weatherwise : GRAY
79 Place to surf : WEB
80 Haydn’s “The Creation” and others : ORATORIOS
81 Step on a ladder : RUNG
82 The Berenstain Bears live in one : TREE
87 “A merry old soul,” in a nursery rhyme : KING COLE
89 Crack up, in textspeak : LOL
90 Bit of kindling : TWIG
92 U.S. counterpart to Britain’s MI6 : CIA
93 ___-Norman French : ANGLO
95 Common call on a 3rd-and-1 : QB SNEAK
96 Not black-and-white : NUANCED
98 Sticker worn in November : I VOTED
99 How some practical jokes go : TOO FAR
100 Burden : ONUS
101 Prairie east of the Andes : PAMPA
106 Two-fifths of one quarter : DIME
108 Sitar selection : RAGA
109 Move laboriously : PLOD
111 Houston M.L.B.’er : ‘STRO
113 Stressed, in a way: Abbr. : ITAL
114 Multiple of tetra- : OCTA-
116 Union member of the 20th century, for short : SSR
118 Concern for one catching a connection, briefly : ETA
119 Sound from a drunk : HIC!
120 “Stop right there!” : HEY!

17 thoughts on “0131-21 NY Times Crossword 31 Jan 21, Sunday”

  1. 26:29 I knew there were substitutions early on, but didn’t fully get their nature until @Bill’s explanation of the swap of brand name for the generic.

    @Nonny – you might be interested in the Birnholz puzzle today. I gave up after about 30 minutes and only perhaps 1/3 done. I only partially got the theme, hence my slowness and impatience.

    @AlaskaSteve – as sometimes happens with you, I was 1/2 way done in 10 minutes but the 2nd half was more difficult. Often the case as we fill in the “gimmes” early and then have to work harder on the remainder.

    1. @Ron F …

      I was going to comment about the Birnholz puzzle earlier, but I’m trying to limit my iPad time (which has been causing some kind of “itis” in the left arm that holds it 😳) and it seemed that describing the puzzle would take significant effort. In any case, I did it (38:15, with a stupid one-square error that I should have corrected) and I liked it (especially after making the satisfying discovery that each of the entries crossing a “theme word” forms a legitimate, clue-able, entry with or without its letter from that word. IMHO, Evan Birnholz is the consummate perfectionist!

  2. 33:31, no errors. Typical time for me on a Sunday. Grandkids bouncing in the background was a wee bit distracting. In the “old days” I almost never finished Friday through Sunday, so…progress!

      1. About a year with the online puzzles. Before that I did them on paper…but I didn’t really improve until I did the online and was “forced” to find the answers if I made an error. Also a great learning tool by putting in one answer via “cheating,” then continuing to solve.

  3. 46:31 showing my age, I guess. I still don’t think of “Ram” as a truck division name, I still have the older slogan “Dodge trucks are ram tough” stuck in my brain, so 23A made no sense until I read the blog. Other than that, no problems.

  4. 40:58. Distracted today. I just kept missing some obvious stuff. I also couldn’t understand why Jimmy Dorsey would write a song in Italian, “Sorare”…That just about says it all for me doing this puzzle.

    Since they mentioned KIWI and The BOUNTY, I’ll leave you with a earworm for the ages – a sea shanty from New Zealand gone viral recently. Personally, I’d use it as a drinking song.

    Good luck getting this out of your head: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auI9Cx8SGX4

    Best –

  5. In my experience, one who works for little works for peanuts, Planters’ lowest priced product.
    They would be very happy indeed if their union negotiated a raise to pistachios or macadamias.

  6. 28:54, no errors. Didn’t have much difficulty with the theme. Learned many new things today, whether I wanted to or not.

  7. I’m so out of touch with (and uninterested in) football that, while I knew Los Angeles used to have an NFL team called the Rams, and vaguely knew they had moved elsewhere years ago, I had no idea there was a “Rams” team back in town again, so that part of the puzzle was almost the last I filled, and then only in desperation for lack of a better idea.

  8. Erred on 47A.. I went with FEIX. that just caused more errors..

    Never heard of NATURE ABHORS A VACUUM..

    is there like a crossword creators handbook on ‘far fetched references to use when you need a bunch of letters to make it work’ book somewhere? Aarrggh.. I know it can’t be easy to do this but….

    Oh well, on to the next crossword!! My brain runneth over!!!!!

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