0218-21 NY Times Crossword 18 Feb 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Zachary Spitz
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: TV SPOTS

We have a rebus crossword today, with four SPOTS in the grid bearing the letters TV. The crossing answers can use either T or V and still suit the clues:

  • 38A Many P.S.A.s … or the four circled squares in this grid? : TV SPOTS
  • 17A Designs : INTENTIONS or INVENTIONS
  • 34A Separate from all the others, say : REMOTE or REMOVE
  • 41A Famous peanut grower : CARTER or CARVER
  • 56A Like some libertarians : ANTI-TAX or ANTI-VAX
  • 3D Some accommodations : HOVELS or HOTELS
  • 27D Give five stars, say : RAVE or RATE
  • 42D Certain outer coating : TARNISH or VARNISH
  • 48D Like an Oscars afterparty : LATISH or LAVISH

Bill’s time: 13m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Larry’s housemate on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” : LEON

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is an improv comedy show aired by HBO that was created and stars Larry David, the creator of “Seinfeld”. As an aside, Larry David sat a few feet from me at the next table in a Los Angeles restaurant a few years ago. I have such a huge claim to fame …

15 A toast : SKOAL!

“Skoal” is a Scandinavian toast that has roots in the old Norse word “skaal” meaning “cup”.

19 Humblebragger’s words : I TRY

The term “humblebrag”, meaning “self-deprecating boast”, was coined by Harris Wittels, a writer for the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”.

20 Parts of surround sound systems : STEREOS

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers that are often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

23 Winner of nine Grand Slam titles : SELES

Monica Seles has a Hungarian name as she was born to Hungarian parents in former Yugoslavia. Seles was the World No. 1 professional tennis player in 1991 and 1992 before being forced from the sport when she was stabbed by a spectator at a match in 1993. She did return to the game two years later, but never achieved the same level of success.

24 Short turnaround? : UIE

Hang a “uey” or “uie”, make a u-turn, make a 180.

26 Capital of 52-Down : ACCRA
(52D See 26-Across : GHANA)

Accra sits on Ghana’s coast and is a major seaport as well as the country’s capital city. The name “Accra” comes from a local word “Nkran” meaning “ants”, a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.

29 Keister, in Leicester : ARSE

Well, the word “arse” would never make it into a crossword on the other side of the pond, as it would be considered too rude. I have a similar reaction to the word “shag” as in “The Spy Who Shagged Me”. The film would never have been released with that title in the UK.

Back in the early 1900s, a keister was a safe or a strongbox. It has been suggested that “keister” was then used as slang by pickpockets for the rear trouser pocket in which one might keep a wallet. From this usage, “keister” appeared as a slang term for the buttocks in the early 1930s.

30 Half of a sawbuck : FIN

The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

“Sawbuck” is slang for “10-dollar bill”. The term was applied to the bill as the Roman numeral X (which used to appear on the reverse) resembles the end of sawhorse.

32 Exams for future J.D.s : LSATS

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The law degree that is abbreviated to J.D. stands for “Juris Doctor” or “Doctor of Jurisprudence”.

35 Urgent care provider, in brief : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

38 Many P.S.A.s … or the four circled squares in this grid? : TV SPOTS

Public service announcement (PSA)

40 Lilliputian : WEE

The word “lilliputian” meaning “wee” or “very small”, comes from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. In Swift’s tale, Lilliput and Blefuscu are two island nations that are inhabited by tiny people who are under six inches tall.

41 Famous peanut grower : CARTER or CARVER

President Jimmy Carter was the 39th President, and the only US president to receive the Nobel Peace Prize after leaving office (Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama have also been so honored, but while in office).

Scientist and inventor George Washington Carver was born into slavery in Missouri in about 1864. George was freed along with his brother when slavery was abolished and his former “owners”, Moses and Susan Carver, raised the children as their own. Susan Carver gave the boys their initial education, and George defied racial barriers to continue his studies through college. George Washington Carver was destined to become world famous through his research and the promotion of crop rotation and planting of alternative crops to cotton.

43 “Giant Brain” unveiled in 1946 : ENIAC

The acronym ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (although many folks insist that the C was for “Computer”). ENIAC was introduced at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, at which time it was the first general-purpose electronic computer, and dubbed “Giant Brain” by the press. Its original purpose was the calculation of artillery firing tables, but it ended up being used early on to make calculations necessary for the development of the hydrogen bomb. Given its uses, it’s not surprising to hear that development of ENIAC was funded by the US Army during WWII.

45 Split : CLEAVE

I’ve always found “to cleave” an interesting verb. When used with an object, to cleave something is to split it, as one would would using a cleaver. When used without an object, to cleave is to cling, to adhere, as in “to cleave to one’s principles in the face of adversity”. Although not exactly so, the two definitions seem to have opposite meanings to me …

46 Revolutionary icon : CHE

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

51 1990s “S.N.L.” cast member : OTERI

Cheri Oteri was the SNL (“Saturday Night Live”) cast member who regularly appeared with Will Ferrell in the skit featuring a pair of Spartan cheerleaders.

52 VW hatchback : GTI

The Volkswagen Rabbit is a small, front-wheel drive car that is sold as the Volkswagen Golf outside of North America. There is a very popular GTI version of the Golf that was introduced in 1976. The initialism “GTI” stands for Grand Tourer Injection.

64 Ciudad del ___, Paraguay : ESTE

Ciudad del Este is the second largest city in Paraguay (after the capital, Asunción). As the name suggests (“City of the East” in Spanish), Ciudad del Este is on the Eastern border of the country. It is connected to the city of Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil by what is called the Friendship Bridge over the Paraná River. The bridge is extremely busy, as the majority of Paraguay’s imports and exports pass over it.

65 Informal meeting : SESH

Session (abbreviated to “sess.” formally, and “sesh” informally)

66 Pool shot with lots of spin : MASSE

In billiards, a massé shot is one in which the cue ball makes an extreme curve due to the player imparting heavy spin on the ball with his or her cue held relatively vertically.

Down

8 Where a minister lives : MANSE

A manse is a minister’s home in various Christian traditions. “Manse” derives from “mansus”, the Latin for “dwelling”. The term can also be used for any stately residence.

9 Animated sister of princess Anna : 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.

10 “The Inbetweeners” or “Fawlty Towers” : BRITCOM

British sitcom (Britcom)

11 Shamefully admits defeat : EATS CROW

The phrase “eat crow”, an alternative to “eat humble pie”, perhaps refers to the fact that cooked crow may be edible, but is not a great food choice.

13 “S.N.L.” head writer from 1999 to 2006 : FEY

Comedian and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Fey is perhaps best known to television viewers as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (1997-2006), and as the creator and star of the sitcom “30 Rock” (2006-2013).

18 Early platform for The Legend of Zelda, for short : NES

“The Legend of Zelda” is a video game. Apparently, it’s very successful …

22 Suburb of San Diego : LA MESA

One of the most famous residents of La Mesa, a suburb of San Diego, California, was the actor Dennis Hopper.

28 Sheltered at sea : ALEE

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

30 Longtime Packers QB Brett : FAVRE

Brett Favre is best known as a former quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Favre retired in 2010 after playing with the Minnesota Vikings for a short time. Among the many NFL records held by Favre, he made the most consecutive starts.

33 Sweetener from a leaf extract : STEVIA

Stevia is a natural sweetener and sugar substitute. It is extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana, a plant in the sunflower family that is native to Brazil and Paraguay. The active compounds in Stevia are many times more sweet than sugar, but are not metabolized by the body. As such, stevia has zero calories.

35 Shoe brand originating in Denmark : ECCO

I have to say, after owning several pairs, that ECCO shoes are the most comfortable in the world …

36 Kind of Ovaltine : MALT

Ovaltine is a milk-flavoring product that was developed in Berne, Switzerland in the early 1900s. It is still called by its original name in its native Switzerland, namely “Ovomaltine”. The “ovo-maltine” name reflects the main ingredients back then: eggs and malt.

39 Taking a break : ON HIATUS

A hiatus is a break or opening in a material object, or an interruption in time. “Hiatus” is Latin for “opening”.

44 Dental pointers? : CANINES

The canine teeth of a mammal are also called the eyeteeth or cuspids. The name “canine” is used because these particular teeth are very prominent in dogs. The prefix “eye-” is used because in humans the eyeteeth are located in the upper jaw, directly below the eyes.

50 Had a stimulating conversation? : SEXTED

Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article.

58 “Mom” network : CBS

“Mom” is a sitcom starring Anna Faris and the great Allison Janney that premiered in 2013. Famously, the show deals with the problems of alcoholism and drug abuse head on.

61 Some colas : RCS

Claude A. Hatcher ran a grocery store in Columbus, Georgia. He decided to develop his own soft drink formula when he balked at the price his store was being charged for Coca-Cola syrup. Hatcher launched the Union Bottling Works in his own grocery store, and introduced Royal Crown Ginger Ale in 1905. The Union Bottling Works was renamed to Chero-Cola in 1910, the Nehi Corporation in 1925, and Royal Crown Company in the mid-fifties. The first RC Cola hit the market in 1934.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Pedal effect on a guitar : ECHO
5 “Shoot” : ASK ME
10 Chuck, e.g. : BEEF
14 Larry’s housemate on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” : LEON
15 A toast : SKOAL!
16 Hardly to be had : RARE
17 Designs : INTENTIONS or INVENTIONS
19 Humblebragger’s words : I TRY
20 Parts of surround sound systems : STEREOS
21 Socks (away) : SALTS
23 Winner of nine Grand Slam titles : SELES
24 Short turnaround? : UIE
26 Capital of 52-Down : ACCRA
29 Keister, in Leicester : ARSE
30 Half of a sawbuck : FIN
31 Unprincipled : AMORAL
32 Exams for future J.D.s : LSATS
34 Separate from all the others, say : REMOTE or REMOVE
35 Urgent care provider, in brief : EMT
38 Many P.S.A.s … or the four circled squares in this grid? : TV SPOTS
40 Lilliputian : WEE
41 Famous peanut grower : CARTER or CARVER
43 “Giant Brain” unveiled in 1946 : ENIAC
45 Split : CLEAVE
46 Revolutionary icon : CHE
47 Browns and stouts : ALES
51 1990s “S.N.L.” cast member : OTERI
52 VW hatchback : GTI
53 Dazzled : IN AWE
54 Grind : GNASH
56 Like some libertarians : ANTI-TAX or ANTI-VAX
58 Broadcast personality Kelly : CHOI
60 One drawing lots? : CARTOONIST
62 Friends : BUDS
63 Whole : UNCUT
64 Ciudad del ___, Paraguay : ESTE
65 Informal meeting : SESH
66 Pool shot with lots of spin : MASSE
67 Place to store things : SHED

Down

1 Michigan congresswoman Slotkin : ELISSA
2 Focal point : CENTER
3 Some accommodations : HOVELS or HOTELS
4 Length of a short, maybe : ONE REEL
5 Concerning : AS TO
6 Mountain coverings? : SKI SUITS
7 “Kitchy-kitchy-___!” : KOO
8 Where a minister lives : MANSE
9 Animated sister of princess Anna : ELSA
10 “The Inbetweeners” or “Fawlty Towers” : BRITCOM
11 Shamefully admits defeat : EATS CROW
12 Miscalculate, say : ERR
13 “S.N.L.” head writer from 1999 to 2006 : FEY
18 Early platform for The Legend of Zelda, for short : NES
22 Suburb of San Diego : LA MESA
25 Put under a microscope : INSPECT
27 Give five stars, say : RAVE or RATE
28 Sheltered at sea : ALEE
30 Longtime Packers QB Brett : FAVRE
31 Man’s name that sounds like two letters of the alphabet : ARTIE
33 Sweetener from a leaf extract : STEVIA
35 Shoe brand originating in Denmark : ECCO
36 Kind of Ovaltine : MALT
37 Kodama, in Japanese mythology : TREE GODS
39 Taking a break : ON HIATUS
42 Certain outer coating : TARNISH or VARNISH
44 Dental pointers? : CANINES
48 Like an Oscars afterparty : LATISH or LAVISH
49 Discarded computers and the like : E-WASTE
50 Had a stimulating conversation? : SEXTED
52 See 26-Across : GHANA
53 “How was ___ know?” : I TO
55 Pond film : SCUM
57 A or B, but not Y or Z : NOTE
58 “Mom” network : CBS
59 Shade : HUE
61 Some colas : RCS

13 thoughts on “0218-21 NY Times Crossword 18 Feb 21, Thursday”

  1. 17:59 I had “T” in the two left-hand circles and “V” in the two right hand ones. The web site filled in the other letter when I got the jingle. I somehow figured a Thurs. would not reveal the rebus squares in advance. Struggled a lot with the SW corner. Only Kelly I could think of was RIPA. Unfamiliar with CHOI and also with 37D. Just started trying to see what fit. Once I hit upon BUDS for 62A it started to come together.

  2. 24:10 went to bed with the NW and SE unfinished, woke up and zipped through it(“zip” in my case is relative…)
    Never caught on to the rebuses until coming to the blog, but I got the music of success with 3 T’s and 1 V, so it’s a win for me.

  3. 15:27, no errors. I understood the gimmick, but I simply put “T” rather than “T/V” in each circle, and the app was okay with that. For other reasons, though, I was a little surprised all my answers were correct, as I was unfamiliar with several things in the clues and/or in the answers.

  4. 24 minutes even. I struggled with this one. Karma for yesterday’s success. @Ron, same with RIPA. It took me awhile to realize it just wouldn’t work.

  5. 25:41 including a minute or so looking for an error. I had UIY instead of UIE. Apparently I think ministers live in a MANSy.

    I didn’t see the theme at all until I went and looked at the answer page. I feel like I missed out at the double meaning/answers for the same clues. Pretty impressive construction to be able to do that.

    I guess if you didn’t see both the T and V for the circled letters, your answers were just a bit of a rorschach test for whatever came into your head first.

    Best –

  6. The NW corner dragged me down until I figured out the TV rebus. Still, about 24 minutes for a Thursday is fairly slow, even for me.

  7. Wow, quite the gymnastics on this one. Got the theme when I hit ANTITAX .. but honestly don’t know what ANTIVAX means.
    Had couple of errors. Didn’t know SALTS is SOCKS AWAY?? I had SAVES. so that left me with BRIECOM and VAMESA which I didn’t know was LAMESA.
    Actually had to wait for crosses on several others that I didn’t know.. ELISSA, STEVIA, CHOI, ARSE..

    @GLEN – Thanks a bunch for the link to the NEWSDAY. Works like a charm!!!

  8. 17:36, no errors. Same problems as others were having with many unknowns, especially proper names. But, for some odd reason, the name Cheri OTERI immediately popped into my head, with only the I to go on. 1A also gave me fits, starting with WAWA, then thinking BUZZ and FADE, before finally settling with ECHO.

  9. 1:00:45 and I had a T or a V in the circles but not both…also IMO this one is loaded with obscure clues…as I have said before clues like 26A and 52D are ,IMO , horrid …this is just one to forget.
    Stay safe😀
    Play ball!!!

  10. March 25 in Canada.
    I got 29A right away. Tsk, Tsk, would never have uttered that word at home, though. Too ‘English’ for a Scot! I also had trouble with slang (UIE) and proper names (Elissa, Choi, Oteri, Favre) and Fin. Did quite well when I caught on to T/V…

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