0208-21 NY Times Crossword 8 Feb 21, Monday

Constructed by: Portia Lundie
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Let Your Hair Down

Themed answers are all in the DOWN-direction, and each includes a HAIRstyle as a hidden word:

  • 10D “Loosen up!” … or a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters : LET YOUR HAIR DOWN!
  • 3D Completely confused : DISCOMBOBULATED (hiding “BOB”)
  • 6D Lara Croft, in film : TOMB RAIDER (hiding “BRAID”)
  • 31D Layer of soil that never thaws : PERMAFROST (hiding “AFRO”)

Bill’s time: 5m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Actress/TV host ___ Pinkett Smith : JADA

Jada Pinkett Smith is an actress from Baltimore, Maryland. Pinkett Smith’s most famous role is the human rebel Niobe in “The Matrix” series of movies. Back in 1990, she auditioned for the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, to play the girlfriend of the character played by Will Smith. She didn’t get the role but did get Will Smith, as the couple were married in 1997.

5 The five weekdays, for short : MTWTF

The days of the week are named for celestial bodies and gods

  • Sunday — Sun’s Day
  • Monday — Moon’s Day
  • Tuesday — Tiu’s day
  • Wednesday — Woden’s day
  • Thursday — Thor’s day
  • Friday — Freya’s day
  • Saturday — Saturn’s day

10 33 1/3 r.p.m. records : LPS

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

13 Satan’s doings : EVIL

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

16 Constitutional proposal supported by the National Woman’s Party, for short : ERA

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was written by the American suffragist leader, Alice Paul. Although Paul was successful in her campaign to get passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution (guaranteeing voting rights regardless of sex), her 1923 Equal Rights Amendment didn’t make it to the Senate floor until 1972. The amendment was passed by the Senate, and then headed to the state legislatures for the required ratification. 38 states had to approve the legislation for the amendment to be adopted, but only 35 states voted in favor before the deadline. The amendment is still pending, although about half of the fifty states have adopted the ERA into their state constitutions.

19 ___ Man (“The Wizard of Oz” character) : TIN

Actor Jack Haley played the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz”. Haley was the second choice for the role, as it was originally given to Buddy Ebsen (who later played Jed Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies”). Ebsen was being “painted up” as the Tin Man when he had an extreme, near-fatal reaction from inhaling the aluminum dust makeup that was being used. When Haley took over, the makeup was changed to a paste, but it was still uncomfortable and caused him to miss the first four days of shooting due to a reaction in his eyes. During filming, Haley must have made good friends with the movie’s star, Judy Garland, as years later Jack’s son married Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli.

25 Harp-shaped constellation : LYRA

Lyra (Latin for “lyre, harp, lute”) is a constellation that includes the star Vega, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. The constellation Lyra is surrounded by the neighboring constellations of Draco, Hercules, Vulpecula and Cygnus.

27 Annual science fiction awards : HUGOS

The Hugo Awards are presented annually for excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing. The awards are named for Hugo Gernsback, founder of the sci-fi magazine “Amazing Stories”.

28 China’s Chairman ___ : MAO

Mao Zedong (also “Mao Tse-tung”) was born on December 16, 1893 in the Hunan Province of China. As Mao was the son of a peasant farmer, his prospects for education were limited. Indeed he left school at age 13 to work on the family farm but did eventually get to secondary school in Changsha, the provincial capital. In the years following, Mao continued his education in Beijing and actually turned down an opportunity to study in France.

30 Snake in “Antony and Cleopatra” : ASP

In William Shakespeare’s play “Antony and Cleopatra”, the heroine of the piece addresses the asp as she uses the snake to commit suicide:

Come, thou mortal wretch,
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool,
Be angry, and dispatch.

Later she says:

Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

39 Winnie-the-___ : POOH

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

40 J’___ (Dior perfume) : ADORE

Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. As WWII approached, Dior was called up by the French military, drawing a temporary halt to his career in fashion. He left the army in 1942 and for the duration of the war designed clothes for wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. After the war his designs became so popular that he helped to re-establish Paris as the fashion center of the world.

42 Banned pollutant, in brief : PCB

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.

45 Relative of a steam bath : SAUNA

As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, “sauna” is a Finnish word, and is pronounced more correctly as “sow-nah” (with “sow” as in the female pig).

47 Narrow inlet : RIA

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, and both are formed as sea levels rise. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

48 Actor Mahershala : ALI

Mahershala Ali is an actor and sometime rapper. Among the more memorable roles Ali has had are lobbyist Remy Danton in TV’s “House of Cards”, and Colonel Boggs in “The Hunger Games” series of movies. He also won Best Supporting Actor Oscars for playing Juan in the 2016 drama “Moonlight”, and Dr. Don Shirley in 2018’s “Green Book”.

49 City NNW of Detroit : FLINT

Flint, Michigan is perhaps best known as the original home to General Motors (now headquartered in Detroit). The city of Flint takes its name from the Flint River on which it lies. The local Native Americans called the river, “River of Flint”, hence the name in English.

53 Deliverer of a noted speech upon the death of Martin Luther King Jr. (4/4/1968), in brief : RFK

Robert “Bobby” Francis Kennedy (RFK) was the US Attorney General (AG) in the administration of his brother President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1964. He then served as a US Senator for the State of New York from 1965 until 1968, when he was assassinated. Bobby was killed during his own run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

56 February 29 : LEAP DAY

Leap day is February 29th in a leap year, which is usually a year that is divisible by 4. My baby brother was born on February 29th, in 1968. A woman in Utah gave birth on February 29th in 2004, on February 29th in 2008, and once more on February 29th, 2012. That’s in the Guinness Book of World Records …

61 Music genre for Billie Eilish : EMO POP

Billie Eilish is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. She has won several awards, and is the youngest person to have won all four major Grammy categories in the same year, i.e. Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

63 Dog in Oz : TOTO

Toto is Dorothy’s dog in the film “The Wizard of Oz”, and in the original book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Toto was played in the movie by a dog called Terry, but Terry’s name was soon changed to Toto in real life due to the success of the film.

64 Cry to a toreador : OLE!

“Toreador” is an old Spanish word meaning “bullfighter”, but it’s a term not used any more in Spain nor in Latin America. In English we use the term “toreador”, but in Spanish a bullfighter is a “torero”. A female bullfighter in a “torera”.

65 Monster slain by Perseus : MEDUSA

In Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the monstrous female creatures known as Gorgons. According to one version of the Medusa myth, she was once a beautiful woman. She incurred the wrath of Athena who turned her lovely hair into serpents and made her face hideously ugly. Anyone who gazed directly at the transformed Medusa would turn into stone. She was eventually killed by the hero Perseus, who beheaded her. He carried Medusa’s head and used its powers as a weapon, before giving it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield. One myth holds that as Perseus was flying over Egypt with Medusa’s severed head, drops of her blood fell to the ground and formed asps.

69 St. ___ Bay, Jamaica : ANN’S

St. Ann’s Bay is on the northern coast of Jamaica.

Down

1 Liz’s best friend on “30 Rock” : JENNA

“30 Rock” is a sitcom on NBC that was created by the show’s star Tina Fey. Fey plays an ex-performer and writer from “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) and uses her experiences on that show as a basis for the “30 Rock” storyline. Fey plays Liz Lemon, the head writer for the fictional sketch comedy series “TGS with Tracy Jordan”.

3 Completely confused : DISCOMBOBULATED (hiding “BOB”)

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

To discombobulate is to faze, disconcert, to confuse.

4 Away from the wind, at sea : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

5 “Star Trek” doctor : MCCOY

Actor DeForest Kelley is best known for playing Bones McCoy in the original “Star Trek” cast. The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, originally offered Kelley the role of Spock, but Kelly refused it and so was given the part of the ship’s medical officer.

6 Lara Croft, in film : TOMB RAIDER (hiding “BRAID”)

“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” is a 2001 movie starring Angelina Jolie as the popular video game character. There was a sequel released in 2003 titled “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life” in which Jolie reprised her role. Alicia Vikander played Lara Croft in a 2018 series reboot called “Tomb Raider”.

7 Conflict in 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” in brief : WWI

“Wonder Woman” is a 2017 film starring Gal Gadot as the superhero title character. It is listed by many as one of the best superhero movies of all time. Gadot had played Wonder Woman before, in the 2016 film “Batman v Superman”.

11 “High” figure in a tarot deck : PRIESTESS

Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.

15 Noted sex therapist : DR RUTH

Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a German sex therapist who made a name for herself as a media personality. Westheimer is the daughter of Orthodox Jews and was sent away from Germany by her family just before WWII. She ended up in Palestine and participated in the 1948 Palestine War serving as a scout and sniper. Westheimer was seriously wounded, and spent several months unable to walk. She moved to France in 1950, and soon after arrived in the US. It was in the US where she did her training as a sex therapist.

21 Musical artist “from the block,” familiarly : J.LO

“J.Lo” is the nickname of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. “J.Lo” is also the title of her second studio album, which was released in 2001.

26 Queens neighborhood : ASTORIA

Astoria is a neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York. The area sits on the East River, and was originally called Hallet’s Cove after the first landowner William Hallet, who settled there in 1659. The area was renamed Astoria in a deal to get John Jacob Astor, then the wealthiest man in the country, to invest $2,000 in the neighborhood. Astor only put up $500 in the end, but the name stuck.

31 Layer of soil that never thaws : PERMAFROST (hiding “AFRO”)

Permafrost is by definition soil that has been below the freezing point of water for two years or more. Usually permafrost is covered by a thin layer of soil that thaws during the warmer months and which can sustain life. Plants can grow in the active layer, but their roots cannot penetrate the permafrost below.

34 Antonyms: Abbr. : OPPS

An antonym is an “anti-synonym”. A synonym is a word having the same sense as another, and an antonym the opposite. For example, “love” is an antonym of “hate”, and “stop” is an antonym of “go”.

35 Record label co-founded by Jay-Z : ROC-A-FELLA

Roc-a-Fella Records was founded in 1996 by three rap artists: Jay-Z, Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke.

41 Messenger bird in the Harry Potter books : OWL

Hedwig is the owl belonging to Harry Potter in the J. K. Rowling series of fantasy novels. Hedwig is a female owl, although she is played in the movies by male snowy owls. Male snowy owls are completely white, whereas females have dark patches on their plumage.

52 Patatas bravas, calamares and others : TAPAS

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

56 Vientiane’s land : LAOS

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos, and is situated on the famous Mekong River. The city was originally called the “city of sandalwood” by Buddhist monks, naming it after the valued trees that grew in the area. The French took the Pali words for “city of sandalwood” and rewrote it as the French-sounding “Vientiane”.

57 Who says “When you look at the dark side, careful you must be” : YODA

In the “Star Wars” series of films, the character named Yoda has a unique speech pattern. He often uses the word order object-subject-verb. For example:

  • Patience you must have …
  • Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.
  • To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not.

59 “At Last” singer James : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

62 Wordplay joke : PUN

Here are some of my favorite puns:

  • A man died today when a pile of books fell on him. He only had his shelf to blame.
  • I hate negative numbers and will stop at nothing to avoid them.
  • I wasn’t going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.
  • I should have been sad when my flashlight batteries died, but I was delighted.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Actress/TV host ___ Pinkett Smith : JADA
5 The five weekdays, for short : MTWTF
10 33 1/3 r.p.m. records : LPS
13 Satan’s doings : EVIL
14 One who’s habitually afraid : COWARD
16 Constitutional proposal supported by the National Woman’s Party, for short : ERA
17 “Scenter” of the face : NOSE
18 Musical key with three flats : C MINOR
19 ___ Man (“The Wizard of Oz” character) : TIN
20 “You did it!” : NICE JOB!
22 Wandered off : STRAYED
24 “Without further ___ …” : ADO
25 Harp-shaped constellation : LYRA
27 Annual science fiction awards : HUGOS
28 China’s Chairman ___ : MAO
30 Snake in “Antony and Cleopatra” : ASP
32 Ballyhoos : TOUTS
34 Celestial bodies : ORBS
36 Like the newest gadgetry, informally : HI-TECH
38 No longer employed: Abbr. : RET
39 Winnie-the-___ : POOH
40 J’___ (Dior perfume) : ADORE
41 Very : OH SO
42 Banned pollutant, in brief : PCB
43 Lead-in to -stat : THERMO-
44 “Ant-Man and the ___” (2018 film) : WASP
45 Relative of a steam bath : SAUNA
47 Narrow inlet : RIA
48 Actor Mahershala : ALI
49 City NNW of Detroit : FLINT
51 Times before eves, in ads : AFTS
53 Deliverer of a noted speech upon the death of Martin Luther King Jr. (4/4/1968), in brief : RFK
56 February 29 : LEAP DAY
58 Acquired lots of, as money : RAKED IN
60 ___-country (music genre) : ALT
61 Music genre for Billie Eilish : EMO POP
63 Dog in Oz : TOTO
64 Cry to a toreador : OLE!
65 Monster slain by Perseus : MEDUSA
66 Nincompoop : TWIT
67 Unhappy : SAD
68 Tirades : RANTS
69 St. ___ Bay, Jamaica : ANN’S

Down

1 Liz’s best friend on “30 Rock” : JENNA
2 Shun : AVOID
3 Completely confused : DISCOMBOBULATED (hiding “BOB”)
4 Away from the wind, at sea : ALEE
5 “Star Trek” doctor : MCCOY
6 Lara Croft, in film : TOMB RAIDER (hiding “BRAID”)
7 Conflict in 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” in brief : WWI
8 Light browns : TANS
9 Foam : FROTH
10 “Loosen up!” … or a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters : LET YOUR HAIR DOWN!
11 “High” figure in a tarot deck : PRIESTESS
12 Beach composition : SAND
15 Noted sex therapist : DR RUTH
21 Musical artist “from the block,” familiarly : J.LO
23 In the past : AGO
26 Queens neighborhood : ASTORIA
29 What’s left in a fireplace : ASH
31 Layer of soil that never thaws : PERMAFROST (hiding “AFRO”)
33 Octagonal street sign : STOP
34 Antonyms: Abbr. : OPPS
35 Record label co-founded by Jay-Z : ROC-A-FELLA
36 “That’ll be the day!” : HAH!
37 Corp. V.I.P. : CEO
41 Messenger bird in the Harry Potter books : OWL
43 Bicycle built for two : TANDEM
46 Tiny bite : NIP
48 Question : ASK
50 Horse whisperer, e.g. : TAMER
52 Patatas bravas, calamares and others : TAPAS
54 Naturally belong : FIT IN
55 They may be hard to untie : KNOTS
56 Vientiane’s land : LAOS
57 Who says “When you look at the dark side, careful you must be” : YODA
59 “At Last” singer James : ETTA
62 Wordplay joke : PUN

6 thoughts on “0208-21 NY Times Crossword 8 Feb 21, Monday”

  1. Today I am the “Pokey Little Puppy” at 11:57. Appropriate cuz later today I’m going to visit my soon-to-be new Aussie puppy. @Ron, I struggled today too.

  2. 7:52 including a half a minute…ish to find a misspelling. Forgot to pay attention to the theme.

    Interesting that “Satan” in Hebrew merely means “adversary”. Now when I refer to my ex-girlfriends as Satanic, maybe I’m onto something…

    Best –

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