0220-21 NY Times Crossword 20 Feb 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Ali Gascoigne
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 “I Wish” rapper, 1995 : SKEE-LO

“Skee-Lo” is the stage name of rap artist Antoine Roundtree who is best known for his 1995 song “I Wish”.

16 Subj. of the 17th Amendment : US SENATE

The US Senate comprises 100 senators, with each of the fifty states being represented by two popularly elected senators. US senators were appointed by their state legislators from 1798 through 1913, until the Seventeenth Amendment called for popular elections.

18 Cold War missile type : SCUD

Scud missiles were developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Soviets called them R-11 missiles at first, with later versions known as R-17 and R-300 Elbrus. The name “Scud” was actually the name NATO used for the missile, a name created by Western intelligence officers. Ballistic missiles haven’t been used a lot in actual warfare, the exception being the German V-2 rocket attacks on England during WWII. After the V-2, the second most-used ballistic missile in warfare is the Scud, which featured in a number of conflicts:

  • used by Egypt against Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973
  • used by the USSR in Afghanistan
  • used by Libya against a US Coast Guard station in the Mediterranean in 1986
  • used by Iranians and Iraqis in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88
  • used by Iraq in the Gulf War of 1990-91

19 Believer in the Horned God : WICCAN

Wicca is a relatively new phenomenon. It is a Neopagan religion that developed in the twentieth century. Typically, followers of Wicca worship one goddess and one god, namely the Moon Goddess and the Horned God. A follower of Wicca is called a Wiccan or a Witch.

22 Campaign figure, informally : POL

Politician (pol)

24 Out of one’s head, in slang : CRAY

“Cray” is a slang term meaning “insane”, and is a shortening of “crazy”.

25 Sci-fi portals : STARGATES

The “Stargate” movie, released in 1994, was a really fun film I thought. It turned into huge television, book and video game franchise, but nothing really met the standard of the original, in my humble opinion …

31 Writers George and T. S. : ELIOTS

“George Eliot” was the pen name of English novelist Mary Anne Evans. As one might think, Evans chose a male pen name in order that her work might be best appreciated in the Victorian era. Eliot wrote seven novels including “Adam Bede” (1859), “The Mill on the Floss” (1860), “Silas Marner” (1861) and “Middlemarch” (1871-72).

T. S. Eliot (TSE) was born in New England but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Much of Eliot’s college education was at Oxford, and clearly he became comfortable with life in England. In 1927 he became a British citizen and lived the rest of life in the UK.

42 Word derived from the Greek for “age” : AEON

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

43 Rafter neighbor : EAVE

Rafters are the beams that slope from the ridge of a roof down to the tops of the supporting walls.

44 Org. with resources on smart growth : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

45 Fashion inits. : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

51 Role in 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises” : CATWOMAN

Catwoman, the alter ego of Selina Kyle, is a supervillain who is usually depicted as an adversary of Batman in comics. In the sixties television show “Batman”, Catwoman was first portrayed by actress Julie Newmar, but then the more memorable Eartha Kitt took over, with the marvelously “feline voice”. On the big screen, Catwoman has been played by Lee Meriwether in “Batman” (1966), Michelle Pfeiffer in “Batman Returns” (1992), Halle Berry in “Catwoman” (2004) and Anne Hathaway in “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012).

“The Dark Knight Rises” is a 2012 movie in the “Batman” franchise that stars Christian Bale as the superhero. The bad guys that Batman battles are cat burglar Selina Kyle played by Anne Hathaway, and mercenary Bane played by Tom Hardy.

56 Specialty of Aristophanes : SATIRE

Aristophanes was a comic playwright of Ancient Athens. He is known to have written at least forty plays, eleven of which have survived almost intact. Aristophanes was famous for writing plays that satirized life in the city, and was apparently much feared by public figures. Some say that the ridicule Aristophanes brought down on Socrates in his play “The Clouds” helped bring about his (Socrates’) trial and execution.

Down

2 ___ von der Leyen, first female head of the European Commission, who negotiated Brexit for the E.U. : URSULA

The UK held a referendum in June 2016 in which 52% of voters chose to leave the European Union (EU). The term “Brexit” was used for the vote, a portmanteau of “Britain” and “exit”. The vote led to some debate about the future of the UK. The Scottish electorate voted for the UK to stay in the EU, and so that revived speculation about Scotland leaving the UK. There is also some discussion about Northern Ireland’s future in the UK, as the Northern Irish electorate also voted to stay in the EU.

5 It adds one point to a soccer team’s standing in the English Premier League : DRAW

The best soccer teams in England and Wales play in the Premier League. The league was founded in 1992 as the FA Premier League to take advantage of a generous television deal. Today, the Premier League is the most-watched soccer league in the world.

8 Singer whose name becomes a city if you add an “R” in the middle : AKON

Akon is a Senegalese American R&B and hip hop singer, who was born in St. Louis but lived much of his early life in Senegal. Akon is a stage name, and his real name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam. Got that?

For much of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fastest-growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron’s growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name “Akron” comes from the Greek word meaning “summit”. Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The city earned the moniker “Rubber Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, as it was home to four major tire companies: Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone and General Tire.

10 Reaction to some P.D.A. : GET A ROOM!

Public display of affection (PDA)

11 Port of SE Spain : ALICANTE

Alicante is a Spanish port on the Mediterranean. The city was given its name by the Moors, and is Arabic for “city of lights”.

12 Restaurant chain originally called Chicken on the Run : POPEYES

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is a chain of fast food restaurants that specializes in fried chicken. The first Popeyes restaurant was opened in 1972 in a suburb of New Orleans, and was known as “Chicken on the Run”. The name of the chain was changed to Popeyes, originally a reference to Popeye Doyle, the lead character in the movie “The French Connection”. Since then, the company has purchased the right to use the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor in its marketing efforts. By the way, the correct spelling of the restaurant name is “Popeyes”. The owner claims that he was too poor to afford an apostrophe.

14 Protective suits? : SECRET SERVICE

The Secret Service was created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, with the mission of fighting currency counterfeiters. The additional task of protecting the US President was added by Congress in 1902 following the assassination of President William McKinley in the prior year. Only one Secret Service agent has given his life in the course of an assassination attempt. That was Private Leslie Coffelt, who was killed when two Puerto Rican nationalists tried to assassinate President Harry S. Truman in 1950 while he was residing in Blair House.

20 Trig function : COS

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

24 Sevastopol is its largest city : CRIMEA

Crimea is a peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea that is almost completely surrounded by water. It is connected to the Ukrainian mainland to the north by the Isthmus of Perekop, and is separated from the nearby Russian region of Kuban by the narrow (less than 10 miles) Kerch Strait. Crimea has been occupied by foreign powers many times over the centuries, and now control of the region is disputed by Ukraine and Russia.

26 Humorist Leo who wrote “The Joys of Yiddish,” 1968 : ROSTEN

Leo Rosten was an American humorist and writer who was actually born in what is now Poland, but who moved to the Chicago area with his family when he was a young child. Rosten is best known for his Yiddish humor and writings.

34 Anticonsumerists aiming to help the environment : FREEGANS

Freeganism is ideology promoting alternative living strategies that incur little or no cost by using resources that are generally discarded in the conventional economy. Notable tactics are “dumpster diving” (searching for discarded food) and “guerrilla gardening” (growing food in city parks).

40 Methadone or oxycodone : OPIATE

Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

Methadone is a synthetic drug used as a painkiller and as an anti-addictive drug used in the treatment of addiction to opiates. Methadone was developed in Germany just prior to WWII, driven by a shortage of opiates needed for the military.

43 Buddy of “Barnaby Jones” : EBSEN

Actor Buddy Ebsen was best known for playing Jed Clampett in television’s “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Ebsen had been cast in the role of the Tin Man in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, but he developed an allergy to the aluminium dust that was used in the makeup. He ended up in hospital and had to walk away from the part. Ebsen blamed “The Wizard of Oz” on persistent problems that he had with his lungs in subsequent years. But Ebsen lived 16 years longer than any of the other major cast members of the film, so maybe he got the last laugh!

Barnaby Jones is a character on the seventies detective show “Cannon”. The Jones character was played by Buddy Ebsen. Ebsen then starred in the title role of the spin-off show “Barnaby Jones”.

47 “___ Is Betta Than Evvah!” (1976 album) : ETTA

Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

48 Actress Petty : LORI

Lori Petty is the actress who played the character Kit Keller in the fabulous movie “A League of Their Own”. Petty also played the title role in a 1995 science fiction film called “Tank Girl”.

52 Card : WIT

A very amusing person might be referred to as a card, stitch, wag or riot.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Requirement : MUST-DO
7 Wage conflict, say : PAY GAP
13 Things often hit during rush hour : CAR HORNS
15 “I Wish” rapper, 1995 : SKEE-LO
16 Subj. of the 17th Amendment : US SENATE
17 Bit of inside info : HOT TIP
18 Cold War missile type : SCUD
19 Believer in the Horned God : WICCAN
21 Excellent : ACE
22 Campaign figure, informally : POL
23 Front on the waterfront : PROW
24 Out of one’s head, in slang : CRAY
25 Sci-fi portals : STARGATES
29 Fairy tale villain : CRONE
30 “… unless I’m mistaken” : … OR NOT
31 Writers George and T. S. : ELIOTS
32 “You have my vote!” : IT’S A YES FROM ME
35 Jeering words after a prank : I GOT YA!
36 Clear : ERASE
37 Things you can barely see at art galleries? : NUDES
38 Time for an exhibition : PRESEASON
42 Word derived from the Greek for “age” : AEON
43 Rafter neighbor : EAVE
44 Org. with resources on smart growth : EPA
45 Fashion inits. : YSL
46 Do a favor : OBLIGE
48 Reclined : LAIN
49 Uses a stylus on a credit card reader, e.g. : E-SIGNS
51 Role in 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises” : CATWOMAN
53 Take on : ASSUME
54 Whole : ENTIRETY
55 Really not good anymore : ROTTEN
56 Specialty of Aristophanes : SATIRE

Down

1 Supporting character? : MASCOT
2 ___ von der Leyen, first female head of the European Commission, who negotiated Brexit for the E.U. : URSULA
3 Remove one’s coat? : SHED
4 Wealth : TON
5 It adds one point to a soccer team’s standing in the English Premier League : DRAW
6 Proceeding very, very quietly : ON TIPTOE
7 “Poppycock!” : PSHAW!
8 Singer whose name becomes a city if you add an “R” in the middle : AKON
9 As ___ : YET
10 Reaction to some P.D.A. : GET A ROOM!
11 Port of SE Spain : ALICANTE
12 Restaurant chain originally called Chicken on the Run : POPEYES
13 Borders : CUSPS
14 Protective suits? : SECRET SERVICE
20 Trig function : COS
24 Sevastopol is its largest city : CRIMEA
26 Humorist Leo who wrote “The Joys of Yiddish,” 1968 : ROSTEN
27 Shades, as with a pencil : GRAYS
28 “The Queen’s Gambit” actress ___ Taylor-Joy : ANYA
29 Thick as thieves : CLOSE
31 Reigns, say : ERAS
32 “Sure, it could be” : I GUESS SO
33 One might have a bunch of errands : TO DO LIST
34 Anticonsumerists aiming to help the environment : FREEGANS
35 12 months from now : IN A YEAR
38 Homie : PAL
39 One doing some stitching : SEAMER
40 Methadone or oxycodone : OPIATE
41 Kind of state : NANNY
43 Buddy of “Barnaby Jones” : EBSEN
46 “This one’s ___” : ON ME
47 “___ Is Betta Than Evvah!” (1976 album) : ETTA
48 Actress Petty : LORI
50 Make extremely upset : GUT
52 Card : WIT

7 thoughts on “0220-21 NY Times Crossword 20 Feb 21, Saturday”

  1. 27:32. A really bone-headed mistake, where I’d mistyped “SECRETSERVICE” as “SECRETSERVIES”, which got me completely bogged down in the SE for about 10 minutes. A little irritated with myself for that one.

  2. 27:09 after a final error/misstep. After what was, for me, a very long, difficult slog, I entered a “T” instead of an “L” at the intersection of “SKEE-LO” (someone unfamiliar to me) and “ALICANTE”, didn’t get the desired response from the app, and said to myself, “Oh, wait, damn it, I’ve heard of that Spanish city!” and immediately corrected it. So, call it what you will. I call it a good tussle … and I’m pleased to have gotten the “K” at the intersection of “SKEE-LO” and “AKON” (seriously?) … 😜.

  3. 39:12 NE was my nemesis…basically had to guess through the alphabet before getting the “L” in “Skeelo”, whoever he is…

  4. 35:53 – Palindromic time. Struggled with this one. Had most of the bottom half done with practically nothing on top. Like @Duncan, the NE was especially tough – unfamiliar with AKON, SKEELO, ALICANTE. Originally had STRIKE for 7A, which didn’t help. Still, it was a good challenge for me.

  5. 29:18. I had “a tie” before DRAW which I found amusing. I liked the theme. I appreciate and really enjoy a lot of themes, but I prefer these themelesses (themelessi??).

    Clue for GET A ROOM was even funnier. Hate to admit I read that initially as PSA – as in Public Service Announcement which made the answer even more curious. I quickly saw the error of my ways.

    FREEGANS? Seriously?? Initially tried TREEGANS which wouldn’t have surprised me in the least.

    Best –

    1. Also had TREEGANS at first, probably because I live in an area that used to have a robust timber industry. Didn’t change it until 32A fell into place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.