0219-21 NY Times Crossword 19 Feb 21, Friday

Constructed by: Amanda Rafkin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 18m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

12 Depiction on the Australian coat of arms : EMU

The official symbol of Australia is a coat of arms that features a kangaroo and an emu.

15 Popular orders at beachside bars : BAHAMA MAMAS

If you’d care to try the drink called a Bahama mama, one recipe is:

  • 1 part rum
  • 1 part coconut rum
  • 1 part grenadine
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 parts pineapple juice

16 U-Haul option : VAN

The U-Haul company was started by married couple Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in Ridgefield, Washington in 1945. The Shoens used $5,000 of seed money to build trailers in their garage, and then cleverly recruited gas station owners as franchisees with whom they would split the rental revenue. There are now about 15,000 U-Haul dealers across the country.

18 Some theft targets : IDS

Identity document (ID)

19 Protrusions near a trunk, maybe : TUSKS

Tusks are the front teeth of certain animals that grow continuously. The tusks piggs, hippo and walruses are elongated canine teeth. The tusks of elephants are elongated incisors.

23 Killing a mockingbird is one, per Atticus Finch : SIN

Atticus Finch is the protagonist in Harper Lee’s great novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Atticus is the father of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, the narrator of the piece, and of Scout’s older brother Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch.

26 Tamagotchi, once : FAD

Tamagotchis are hand-held digital pets from Japan. They come housed in tiny egg-shaped computers, usually with a three-button interface. The Tamagotchis can be named, get hungry, and can be happy or sad. Care is provided by the owner using the interface buttons. The name “Tamagotchi” comes from the Japanese word “tamago” meaning “egg”, melded with the English word “watch”.

31 Bouquet : SCENT

“Bouquet” comes from the French word for “bunch” in the sense of “bunch of flowers”. In French, the term is derived from an older word describing a little wood or small grove of trees.

32 Palindrome with an apostrophe in the middle : MA’AM

The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

  • Able was I ere I saw Elba
  • A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
  • Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite terms is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

35 Sleeveless top, informally : TANK

“Tank top” is another one of those terms that always catches me out, as it has a different meaning on each side of the Atlantic. In the US, a tank top is a sleeveless shirt, something we would call a “vest” back in Ireland (and the US “vest” is what we call a “waistcoat”). A tank top in Ireland is a sleeveless sweater, which further adds to the confusion. The name “tank top” is derived from “tank suit”, an old name for a woman’s one-piece bathing suit. The use of “tank” for the bathing suit came from “swimming tank”, an obsolete term used in the 1920s for a swimming pool.

37 Complete set in musical comedy? : VOWELS

The complete set of vowels appear in the phrase “musical comedy”.

41 Bill that’s half a 52-Across, informally : ABE
(52A See 41-Across : TEN)

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.

47 Ganja : HERB

“Ganja” is another name for the drug cannabis. Cannabis is known to have been used thousands of years ago by ancient Hindus in India, and “ganja” is the Sanskrit term for the drug.

49 “The Virtue of Selfishness” essayist, 1964 : RAND

Author Ayn Rand espoused what she called “rational egoism”, her view that it is irrational and immoral to act against one’s self-interest. Rand laid out the concept in depth in her 1964 collection of essays and papers titled “The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism”.

51 Pal of Seinfeld and Costanza : BENES

The character Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.

52 See 41-Across : TEN
(41A Bill that’s half a 52-Across, informally : ABE)

The obverse of the US ten-dollar bill features the image of Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of the Treasury. As such, ten-dollar bills are sometimes called “Hamiltons”. By the way, the $10 bill is the only US currency in circulation in which the portrait faces to the left. The reverse of the ten-dollar bill features the US Treasury Building.

53 Way of Life? : CEREAL AISLE

The breakfast cereal called Life was introduced by Quaker Oats in 1961. Back then, Life contained just whole grain oats. Today’s recipe includes added sugar and flour.

56 Helen of Troy, e.g. : DEMIGODDESS

In Greek mythology, a demigod was a half-god, the offspring of one parent who was a god and one parent who was human. The list of demigods includes the Greek hero Heracles and the Celtic hero Cú Chulainn.

According to Greek mythology, Helen (later “Helen of Troy”) was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. When Helen reached the age of marriage, she had many suitors as she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. Menelaus was chosen as her husband, and he took her back to his home of Sparta. Paris, a Trojan prince, seduced Helen, as she eloped with him and travelled to Troy. This event sparked the Trojan War that waged between the city of Troy and Greece. Because of this war, Helen was said to have “the face that launched a thousand ships”. And because of this phrase, it has been suggested, probably by author Isaac Asimov, that the amount of beauty needed to launch a single ship is one “millihelen”.

Down

2 Missing portion of a manuscript : LACUNA

A lacuna is a missing piece of text (or music) in a larger work. Usually the text has been lost due to damage of an older manuscript. Lacunae can be very controversial as experts vie with each other to suggest what words have been lost.

4 Hair pieces : HANKS

A hank is a loop or a coil of perhaps rope, or maybe hair.

7 Onetime Food Network show featuring Creole and Cajun cuisine : EMERIL LIVE

Emeril Lagasse is an American chef who was born in Massachusetts. Lagasse first achieved celebrity as executive chef in Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Now famous for his television shows, his cuisine still showcases New Orleans ingredients and influences. Lagasse started using his famous “Bam!” catchphrase in order to keep his crew awake during repeated tapings of his show.

8 Kind of jar : MASON

Mason jars were invented in 1858 in Philadelphia, by a tinsmith named John Landis Mason.

9 “Go placidly ___ the noise and the haste …” (start of Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”) : AMID

Max Ehrmann was a writer and attorney from Terre Haute, Indiana. Ehrmann’s best known work is his 1927 prose poem called “Desiderata”. “Desiderata” became famous in the early seventies when it was released by Les Crane as a spoken-word recording that climbed the Billboard charts. The poem opens:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

A desideratum (plural “desiderata”) is something considered necessary or highly “desirable”. The term “desideratum” comes from the Latin word for “to desire”.

10 Louise of TV’s “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” : LASSER

“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” is a TV show that aired in the mid-seventies. It was produced by Norman Lear and is a parody on soap operas. Actress Louise Lasser played the title role. Lasser was married to Woody Allen at the time the show was originally broadcast.

21 Tussle : FRACAS

“Fracas”, meaning “noisy quarrel”, is a French word that we absorbed into English. In turn, the French usage evolved from the Italian “fracasso” meaning “uproar, crash”.

25 Parent company of Gerber and Lean Cuisine : NESTLE

The Gerber Baby is a famous baby food logo that was introduced in 1928. The manufacturer of Gerber baby foods held a contest in the summer of that year to find a suitable baby face for a planned campaign. The winning entry was an unfinished charcoal drawing by Dorothy Hope Smith of Westport, Connecticut. Her model was Ann Turner Cook, who was a baby of the artist’s neighbor. Young Ann grew up to be a teacher cum mystery novelist.

Lean Cuisine is a brand of frozen dinners that was created in 1981, introduced as a healthy, low-fat and low-calorie alternative to Stouffer’s frozen meals.

27 Dorothy of old “Road” films : LAMOUR

Actress Dorothy Lamour is best known for co-starring in the “Road” series of films with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Lamour was born Mary Slaton in New Orleans, and was crowned Miss New Orleans in 1931. She moved to Hollywood in 1936, and starred in her first “Road to …” movie in 1940.

30 Singer/songwriter of 1980’s “Kiss Kiss Kiss” : ONO

Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

33 Toxin that might contain formic acid : ANT VENOM

Most nettle species have stinging hairs that secrete formic acid. This formic acid is the same chemical that is found in the venom injected with a bee or ant sting. The Latin word for ant is “formica”, which gives its name to the acid.

36 Symbol associated with Communism : RED STAR

The association of the color red with communism dates back to the French Revolution. A red flag was chosen as a symbol by the revolutionaries, with the color representing the blood of workers who had died in the fight against capitalism.

Karl Marx was a German philosopher and revolutionary who helped develop the principles of modern communism and socialism. Marx argued that feudal society created internal strife due to class inequalities which led to its destruction and replacement by capitalism. He further argued that the inequalities created in a capitalist society create tensions that will also lead to its self-destruction. His thesis was that the inevitable replacement of capitalism was a classless (and stateless) society, which he called pure communism.

40 Houston or Washington vis-à-vis Manhattan : STREET

Houston Street right across the island of Manhattan in an east-west direction. Houston Street was named for William Houstoun who served as a delegate from Georgia to the Continental Congress in 1787. As such, the street name is pronounced “HOUSE-ton”, unlike the city of Houston, which was named for Sam Houston.

46 Buck ___, Major League Baseball’s first Black coach : O’NEIL

Buck O’Neil was a first baseman and manager with the Kansas City Monarchs, a team in the Negro American League. He was appointed as a coach with the Chicago Cubs in 1962, making him the first African-American coach in the major leagues.

51 R&B singer Erykah : BADU

“Erykah Badu” is the stage name of Erica Wright, an American “neo-soul” singer. Badu gained some notoriety in March of 2010 when she shot a scene for a music video in Dallas. In the scene, she walks to the spot where President Kennedy was assassinated, removing her clothes until she is nude, and then falls to the ground as if she has been shot in the head. For that stunt she was charged with disorderly conduct.

53 Burnable items : CDS

The compact disc (CD) was developed jointly by Philips and Sony as a medium for storing and playing sound recordings. When the first commercial CD was introduced back in 1982, a CD’s storage capacity was far greater than the amount of data that could be stored on the hard drive of personal computers available at that time.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Leading lady? : ALPHA FEMALE
12 Depiction on the Australian coat of arms : EMU
15 Popular orders at beachside bars : BAHAMA MAMAS
16 U-Haul option : VAN
17 Comment before indulging : I CAN’T RESIST
18 Some theft targets : IDS
19 Protrusions near a trunk, maybe : TUSKS
20 Sticks : RODS
21 Whizzed (by) : FLEW
22 Word sometimes substituted for “your” : ONE’S
23 Killing a mockingbird is one, per Atticus Finch : SIN
24 Prepare for court, in a way : ENROBE
26 Tamagotchi, once : FAD
27 Modern lead-in to speak : LOL-
28 Park ranger’s handout : AREA MAP
29 Stayed out of sight : LAY LOW
31 Bouquet : SCENT
32 Palindrome with an apostrophe in the middle : MA’AM
34 Contents of some wells : INK
35 Sleeveless top, informally : TANK
36 Approached quickly : RAN TO
37 Complete set in musical comedy? : VOWELS
39 Psych up : ENTHUSE
41 Bill that’s half a 52-Across, informally : ABE
42 ___ Short, pioneer in West Coast hip-hop : TOO
45 Reroute : DIVERT
46 The sun or the moon : ORB
47 Ganja : HERB
48 Whizzed (by) : SPED
49 “The Virtue of Selfishness” essayist, 1964 : RAND
51 Pal of Seinfeld and Costanza : BENES
52 See 41-Across : TEN
53 Way of Life? : CEREAL AISLE
55 Stir : ADO
56 Helen of Troy, e.g. : DEMIGODDESS
57 Lip : RIM
58 Some reference works in newsrooms : STYLE GUIDES

Down

1 Not very much : A BIT OF
2 Missing portion of a manuscript : LACUNA
3 Gradually stopped, with “out” : PHASED …
4 Hair pieces : HANKS
5 Qts. and pts. : AMTS
6 Way out : FAR
7 Onetime Food Network show featuring Creole and Cajun cuisine : EMERIL LIVE
8 Kind of jar : MASON
9 “Go placidly ___ the noise and the haste …” (start of Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”) : AMID
10 Louise of TV’s “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” : LASSER
11 Ballpark fig. : EST
12 It’s a bad sign : EVIL OMEN
13 Raked in the dough : MADE BANK
14 Messy, as a floor : UNSWEPT
21 Tussle : FRACAS
23 ___ protein : SOY
25 Parent company of Gerber and Lean Cuisine : NESTLE
27 Dorothy of old “Road” films : LAMOUR
28 13, for many : AWKWARD AGE
29 Shaped, as wood : LATHED
30 Singer/songwriter of 1980’s “Kiss Kiss Kiss” : ONO
32 Popular salon option, informally : MANI-PEDI
33 Toxin that might contain formic acid : ANT VENOM
36 Symbol associated with Communism : RED STAR
38 Go out : EBB
40 Houston or Washington vis-à-vis Manhattan : STREET
42 Tightened (up) : TENSED
43 Threatening words : OR ELSE!
44 Hyperfocus : OBSESS
46 Buck ___, Major League Baseball’s first Black coach : O’NEIL
47 Gardner of “S.N.L.” : HEIDI
50 General assembly? : ARMY
51 R&B singer Erykah : BADU
53 Burnable items : CDS
54 Burnable item : LOG

6 thoughts on “0219-21 NY Times Crossword 19 Feb 21, Friday”

  1. 31:44 Struggled in the NW and SE corners. Originally put in PINACOLADAS for 15A and then went to FEMMEFATALE for 1A. Took me quite a while to give up on the COLADAS and then I slowly sorted that corner out. In the SE I had WEED for 47A and that led me to WENDI for 47D. Then I got close with CEREALANGLE for 53A and once I took a trip down the AISLE (looking for ingredients for the MAMAS in the NW, no doubt) I finally got the jingle.

  2. Wow, I found that one really difficult. Took me 28:12 with one error, “PAMOUR”. About twice the time a Friday usually takes me. The SE took me forever. Also had WEED and so WENDI like Ron. I struggled in the middle too.

  3. 47:54…..some day, when I grow up, I want to solve like Nonny, so I can have 37 minutes to do something else 🙂

  4. 26:15. Another hand up for having WEED before HERB. Otherwise a fairly smooth solve. That said, crosswords’ obsession with SNL is bordering on the absurd. The show hasn’t been funny in 40 years.

    Had LACoNA before LACUNA. I was thinking of the word “laconic” which I could see fitting here….maybe…sort of. Turns out “lacona” isn’t even a word.

    Unless I’m missing something, 29A LAY LOW doesn’t seem to match tense with the clue “StayED out of sight”. Is LAY LOW past tense somehow? Ergo I had a tough time with that one even though I saw LAY LOW early on. I thought it had to be wrong.

    Best –

    1. @Jeff …

      To hide oneself is to lie low: I lie low, yesterday I lay low, at times in the past I have lain low.

      At the moment, I am lying low with a back problem has laid me low (as in, knocked me off my feet). (And that’s the gospel truth, unfortunately … 😳!)

      A helpful link:

      https://diffsense.com/diff/lay%20low/lie%20low

      And I also wanted WEED before HERB … 🤨.

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