0215-21 NY Times Crossword 15 Feb 21, Monday

Constructed by: Meconya Alford
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: White House Dogs

Themed answers each start with the name of a White House dog, the owner of which is noted in the clue:

  • 56A What the starts of 21-, 26-, 40- and 50-Across are, for the presidents in their clues : WHITE HOUSE DOGS
  • 21A “Rush Hour” and “21 Jump Street” [Clinton] : BUDDY-COP MOVIES
  • 26A TV deputy of Mayberry [Bush 43] : BARNEY FIFE
  • 40A The Buddha is often depicted meditating under it [Obama] : BO TREE
  • 50A C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, e.g. [Biden] : MAJOR SCALE

Bill’s time: 5m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Dance at a Jewish wedding : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also “horah”) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

9 Chevrolet muscle car : CAMARO

The Chevrolet Camaro is a car produced by General Motors from 1966 to 2002, and reintroduced in 2009. The Camaro shared much of its design with the Pontiac Firebird, and was introduced as a potential competitor to the Ford Mustang.

15 Home of Waikiki Beach : OAHU

Waikiki is a neighborhood of Honolulu that is home to the famous Waikiki Beach. The name “Waikiki” means “spouting fresh water” in Hawaiian.

16 Capital of Italia : ROMA

In Italian, “Roma” (Rome) is a “città” (city) in “Italia” (Italy).

According to tradition, Rome was founded by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The pair had a heated argument about who should be allowed to name the city and Romulus hit Remus with a shovel, killing him. And so, “Rome” was born, perhaps instead of “Reme”!

18 Vittles : GRUB

“Victuals” is a term for food that is fit for consumption. We tend to pronounce “victuals” as “vittles”, and we use the term “vittles” and “victuals” interchangeably.

21 “Rush Hour” and “21 Jump Street” [Clinton] : BUDDY-COP MOVIES

Buddy was a chocolate Labrador owned by the Clinton family while they were living in the White House. The Clintons also had a cat named Socks, but the two pets did not get along. So, the pair lived in separate quarters in the White House. After the First Family moved to less vast quarters at the ends of the presidency, they chose to keep Buddy as the family pet, leaving Socks with President Clinton’s secretary Betty Currie.

26 TV deputy of Mayberry [Bush 43] : BARNEY FIFE

Barney was a Scottish terrier owned by President George W. Bush and his family while they were living in the White House. Barney had a good political pedigree. His mother Coors was Christine Todd Whitman, the former Governor of New Jersey (and a fellow Republican).

34 Kind of port on a computer, in brief : USB

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard dealing with how computers and electronic devices connect and communicate, and deal with electrical power through those connections.

40 The Buddha is often depicted meditating under it [Obama] : BO TREE

Sunny and Bo are Portuguese water dogs owned by the Obama family. The former First Family chose the Portuguese water dog largely because it is a hypoallergenic breed, and Malia Obama suffers from an allergy to most dogs.

46 “Superfruit” berry : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

49 Boxer Spinks who upset Muhammad Ali : LEON

Leon Spinks was a professional boxer and former heavyweight champion. Spinks won the title in 1978 in an upset, defeating Muhammad Ali in a split decision. That championship win was only his eighth professional fight.

50 C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, e.g. [Biden] : MAJOR SCALE

Major and Champ are German shepherd dogs belonging to the Biden family. The Bidens purchased Champ as a puppy, and rescued Major from the Delaware Humane Association. That makes Major the first shelter dog to live in the White House.

53 Linguist Chomsky : NOAM

Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT. Chomsky is known as one of the fathers of modern linguistics.

55 Small amounts : TADS

Back in the 1800s, “tad” was used to describe a young child, and this extended into our usage of “small amount” in the early 1900s. The original use of “tad” for a child is very likely a shortened version of “tadpole”.

63 Prayer beads : ROSARY

The Rosary is a set of prayer beads used in the Roman Catholic tradition. The name “Rosary” comes from the Latin “rosarium”, the word for a “rose garden” or a “garland of roses”. The term is used figuratively, in the sense of a “garden of prayers”.

68 Smitten : IN LOVE

“Smitten” is the past participle of “to smite”, meaning “to inflict a heavy blow”. We tend to use “smitten” to mean “affected by love, love-struck”.

69 ___ of Arendelle (Disney queen) : ELSA

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Spoiler alert: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles seems to be a good guy for most of the film, but turns out to be a baddie in the end. And, a snowman named Olaf provides some comic relief.

70 Device that makes a TV “smart” : ROKU

Roku is a manufacturer of digital media players that allow access to audio and video programming over the Internet that is shown on television. Roku was founded in Los Gatos, California in 2002 by Anthony Wood. Wood chose the company name “Roku” as it is the Japanese word for “six”, and Roku is the sixth company that Wood founded. For what it’s worth, Rokus are my streaming devices of choice …

Down

3 Baked dessert made with tart red stalks (and loads of sugar) : RHUBARB PIE

We can eat the leaf stalks of the rhubarb plant, but not the leaves themselves. The leaves contain oxalic acid and are highly toxic.

4 University that’s also a color : AUBURN

Auburn University in Alabama was chartered in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College. The school was renamed when it was granted university status in 1960. Auburn’s sports teams are known as the Tigers, for which supporters use the battle cry “War Eagle!”

6 Cloth used to cover a teapot, to Brits : COSY

A tea cozy is an insulated cover for a teapot, something to keep the tea hot. I don’t know what I’d do without my tea cosy/cozy …

7 Apple on a desktop : IMAC

When Apple chose the letter “I” prefix for the iMac in 1998, that letter “I” stood for “Internet”. Steve Jobs and his marketing team followed up with the message that I also stood for “individual, instruct, inform and inspire”.

9 ___ brûlée (French custard) : CREME

Crème brûlée is a classic French dessert consisting of a rich custard topped with a crusty layer of caramelized sugar. The name “crème brûlée” translates from French as “burnt cream”.

10 Spray can mist : AEROSOL

Strictly speaking, the term “aerosol” defines a suspension of either liquid droplets or solid particles in a gas. A good example of an aerosol is smoke. We tend to use the “aerosol” to describe what comes out of a spray can, even though the liquid droplets usually fall out of the gas and don’t stay suspended.

11 ___ Griffin Enterprises : MERV

Merv Griffin was quite the entertainer, and truly a mogul in the business. He started his career as a singer on the radio during the big band era. In the sixties he hosted his own talk show, and then famously developed such great game shows as “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune”.

12 Jai ___ : ALAI

Jai alai is a game that derives from Basque pelota, and is known as “cesta-punta” in the Basque language. The name “jai alai” translates from the original Basque as “merry festival”.

13 Actress Russo : RENE

The talented actress Rene Russo is a native of Burbank, California. Russo went to high school (with actor/director Ron Howard), but dropped out in tenth grade. At seventeen, she was given the opportunity to train as a model and within a very short time appeared on the cover of “Vogue”. As her modelling jobs slowed down in her early thirties, Russo made a career change and studied theater and acting.

22 Mosquito repellent ingredient : DEET

“DEET” is short for “N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide”, an active ingredient in insect repellents. DEET is most often used to repel mosquitoes by applying it to the skin and/or clothing. It is also used to protect against tick bites.

23 Author Edgar Allan ___ : POE

The celebrated American writer Edgar Allan Poe (EAP) was born “Edgar Poe” in 1809 in Boston. Poe’s father abandoned Edgar and his two siblings after the death of their mother. As a result, Edgar was taken into the home of the Allan family in Richmond, Virginia. His foster parents gave the future author the name “Edgar Allan Poe”.

24 Like Friday attire in some offices : CASUAL

The practice of dressing down at work on “Casual Fridays” arose at the end of the 20th century. The custom is rooted in the tradition known as “Aloha Friday” that started in Hawaii in 1966. The official designation of Aloha Friday was the result of a successful lobbying campaign by the manufacturing association known as the Hawaiian Fashion Guild.

26 Play music in the subway, perhaps : BUSK

A busker is a street performer, a person entertaining passersby for tips. Some very successful people have spent periods of their lives busking. George Michael used to busk near the London Underground. Rod Stewart performed in the streets of Paris and Barcelona, and was eventually deported from Spain for vagrancy.

27 Rhyming title character who plays the tuba in Cuba, in a Rudy Vallee song : YUBA

“Rudy Vallee” was the stage name of Hubert Vallée, a singer and actor from Island Pond, Vermont. Vallee was known for his singing style, and is usually referred to as the first “crooner”. Early in his career he performed without the benefit of microphone technology and had to use a megaphone, as he was perhaps the first real “pop star” and played to sell-out audiences.

29 1099-___ (bank-issued tax form) : INT

There is a series of IRS 1099 forms used to report various types of income, other than wages, salaries and tips that are reported on Form W-2. Examples are Form 1099-INT used to report interest income, 1099-DIV used to report dividend income, and 1099-MISC used to report miscellaneous income.

41 Howard’s best friend on “The Big Bang Theory” : RAJ

Raj Koothrappali is a character on the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” who is played by British-Indian actor Kunal Nayyar. Nayyar is married to Neha Kapur, a former Miss India.

Howard Wolowitz is the aerospace engineer on the marvelous sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”, and is the character who flew on the International Space Station. Howard is played by actor and comedian Simon Helberg.

50 Founder of Communist China : 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.

52 Basketball players, quaintly : CAGERS

In the early days of basketball, when a ball went out of bounds possession was awarded to the player who first retrieved the ball. This led to mad scuffles off the court, often involving spectators. As the game became more organized, courts were routinely “caged”, largely because of this out of bounds rule, to limit interaction with the crowd. It’s because of these cages that basketball players are sometimes referred to today as “cagers”.

56 Legal order : WRIT

A writ is an order issued by some formal body (these days, usually a court) with the order being in “written” form. Warrants and subpoenas are examples of writs.

58 ___ Verde (locale of San Juan’s airport) : ISLA

San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico. The city was founded in 1521 by the Spanish, who called it “Ciudad de Puerto Rico” (Rich Port City).

59 Tourist town in northern New Mexico : TAOS

The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began settling in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.

66 Prez with the pooch Heidi : IKE

Heidi was a pet dog belonging to President Dwight Eisenhower while he was in the White House. Heidi, a Weimaraner breed, was a resident in the White House for a very short time. Apparently, she had an accident on an extremely expensive rug. And so, the young lady was banished to the Eisenhower family farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

67 Saucer go-with : CUP

Our saucer is a shallow plate used to support a cup or other vessel from which a liquid can spill. The term “saucer” comes from the Anglo-Latin “saucerium” meaning “sauce dish”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Dance at a Jewish wedding : HORA
5 Chemical that burns : ACID
9 Chevrolet muscle car : CAMARO
15 Home of Waikiki Beach : OAHU
16 Capital of Italia : ROMA
17 Brought (in), as a fish : REELED
18 Vittles : GRUB
19 “What ___ goes!” (parent’s pronouncement) : I SAY
20 Task to “run” : ERRAND
21 “Rush Hour” and “21 Jump Street” [Clinton] : BUDDY-COP MOVIES
24 Handle with ___ : CARE
25 Friends’ opposite : FOES
26 TV deputy of Mayberry [Bush 43] : BARNEY FIFE
30 Leave out : OMIT
34 Kind of port on a computer, in brief : USB
35 Zig or zag : TURN
36 Anticipate : PLAN ON
38 Dines : SUPS
40 The Buddha is often depicted meditating under it [Obama] : BO TREE
43 Numerical information : DATA
44 Windsurfing locale NE of Honolulu : KAILUA
46 “Superfruit” berry : ACAI
48 Cousin of “Kapow!” : BAM!
49 Boxer Spinks who upset Muhammad Ali : LEON
50 C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, e.g. [Biden] : MAJOR SCALE
53 Linguist Chomsky : NOAM
55 Small amounts : TADS
56 What the starts of 21-, 26-, 40- and 50-Across are, for the presidents in their clues : WHITE HOUSE DOGS
63 Prayer beads : ROSARY
64 Shoe bottom : SOLE
65 More than magnificent : EPIC
68 Smitten : IN LOVE
69 ___ of Arendelle (Disney queen) : ELSA
70 Device that makes a TV “smart” : ROKU
71 Combs to add volume, as a stylist might : TEASES
72 Not the passive sort : DOER
73 Part of a stairway : STEP

Down

1 Go ___-wild : HOG
2 Means of propelling a boat : OAR
3 Baked dessert made with tart red stalks (and loads of sugar) : RHUBARB PIE
4 University that’s also a color : AUBURN
5 Really dry : ARID
6 Cloth used to cover a teapot, to Brits : COSY
7 Apple on a desktop : IMAC
8 Respite from work : DAY OFF
9 ___ brûlée (French custard) : CREME
10 Spray can mist : AEROSOL
11 ___ Griffin Enterprises : MERV
12 Jai ___ : ALAI
13 Actress Russo : RENE
14 Probability : ODDS
22 Mosquito repellent ingredient : DEET
23 Author Edgar Allan ___ : POE
24 Like Friday attire in some offices : CASUAL
26 Play music in the subway, perhaps : BUSK
27 Rhyming title character who plays the tuba in Cuba, in a Rudy Vallee song : YUBA
28 Curly hairstyle, for short : FRO
29 1099-___ (bank-issued tax form) : INT
31 Plenty steamed : MAD
32 Stuck, with no way out : IN A BAD SPOT
33 Sums : TOTALS
36 Orchard fruit : PEAR
37 Identify : NAME
39 ___-mo : SLO
41 Howard’s best friend on “The Big Bang Theory” : RAJ
42 “Green” prefix : ECO-
45 Rattle : UNNERVE
47 “What ___ be done?” : IS TO
50 Founder of Communist China : MAO
51 Made smile : AMUSED
52 Basketball players, quaintly : CAGERS
54 “You got that right!” : OH YES!
56 Legal order : WRIT
57 Sharpen : HONE
58 ___ Verde (locale of San Juan’s airport) : ISLA
59 Tourist town in northern New Mexico : TAOS
60 By oneself : SOLO
61 “If all ___ fails …” : ELSE
62 Letter starter : DEAR …
66 Prez with the pooch Heidi : IKE
67 Saucer go-with : CUP

4 thoughts on “0215-21 NY Times Crossword 15 Feb 21, Monday”

  1. 8:28 had to fix the area around 44A because I had WAILEA (which is on Maui) vs. KAILUA, which is apparently on Oahu.

  2. 8:31 with a couple of screw ups. Didn’t know BUSK, KAILUA, BOTREE or YUBA so that was a rough area. That said, if I’d have given a tenth of a second of thought to what rhymes with Cuba and tuba that starts with “Y”… Hmmm??

    RIP LEON Spinks. He died just a few days ago. He grew up in the projects in St. Louis and had a very rough life all around. He was a marine for 3 years, won a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, then he won the world heavyweight title in 1978. After that, his life was kind of a disaster.

    Best –

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