0222-21 NY Times Crossword 22 Feb 21, Monday

Constructed by: Barbara Lin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Pool

Themed answers each end with a term associated with the game of POOL:

  • 64A Game suggested by the ends of 20-, 38- and 55-Across and 11- and 34-Down : POOL
  • 20A “Jeez, lighten up, will ya!” : GIMME A BREAK!
  • 38A As expected : ON CUE
  • 55A Like medical expenses you pay for yourself : OUT OF POCKET
  • 11D Bar from the bathroom? : TOWEL RACK
  • 34D Alert : ON THE BALL

Bill’s time: 5m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 In a while : ANON

“Anon” originally meant “at once”, but the term’s meaning evolved into “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

9 One of thousands in a Rose Bowl float : PETAL

The first Rose Parade was staged in 1890 on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. The initial parades were organized by the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club, whose members wanted to highlight the mild winter weather in the area. The initial parades did not feature flowers, but these were added to underscore the favorable climate. It was the inclusion of the flowers that gave rise to the name “Tournament of Roses”. The first Rose Bowl football game was played in 1902.

14 Prussia’s ___ von Bismarck : OTTO

Germany first became a country of her own in 1871 when the Princes of the various independent German states met at Versailles outside Paris to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as the Emperor of the German Empire. The man behind this historic development was Wilhelm’s Ministerpräsident, Otto von Bismarck. Von Bismarck was a powerful figure in Prussia and indeed on the world stage, earning him the nickname “Iron Chancellor”.

15 Fat-removing surgery, for short : LIPO

Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

17 Caboose’s location : REAR

The word “caboose” originally came from Middle Dutch and was the word for a ship’s galley. When the last car in a train in North America was given a stove for the comfort of the crew, it took on the name “caboose”. The term has also become slang for a person’s backside.

18 Ode or sonnet : POEM

A sonnet is a short poem with varying rhyming schemes but always with 14 lines. The sonnet form has been around at least since the 13th century. The Shakespearean sonnet, for example, is composed of three quatrains (4 lines) and a final couplet (2 lines).

27 U.S. intelligence org. : NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.

32 Ham it up : EMOTE

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

39 Long-running CBS drama : CSI

The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but has finally wound down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was set in Las Vegas, and hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. The youngest show in the series was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two seasons, before being canceled in 2016.

40 The “I” of I.M.F.: Abbr. : INTL

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established at the end of 1945 with 29 major economies supporting and funding an effort to stabilize economies across the globe after WWII. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., today the IMF has 187 member countries.

42 Abode in Aachen : HAUS

In German, a “Herr” (Mr.) is married to a “Frau” (Mrs.), and they live together in a “Haus” (house).

Aachen is a city in the very west of Germany, right on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. In English, we quite often refer to this city by its French name, Aix-la-Chapelle.

47 Grammy winner ___ Nas X : LIL

“Lil Nas X” is the stage name of rapper Montero Lamar Hill. He was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. His first hit was “Old Town Road”, which is classified as country rap.

48 Replacement for the lira and mark : EURO

The Euro is the official currency of most of the states in the European Union, but not all. The list of EU states not using the Euro includes Denmark and Sweden.

53 U.S.S.R. intelligence org. : KGB

The “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti” (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

61 Author/journalist Quindlen : ANNA

Anna Quindlen is an author, journalist and columnist who won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1992 for her “New York Times” column “Public and Private”.

66 Fare for aardvarks : ANTS

The aardvark is the oddest looking of creatures, and a nocturnal burrowing animal that is native to Africa. Even though it is sometimes called the African ant bear, the name “aardvark” is Afrikaans for “earth pig”. Aardvarks are noted, among other things, for their unique teeth. Their teeth have no enamel and wear away quite readily, but continuously regrow. The aardvark feeds mainly on ants and termites.

67 Letters on love letters : SWAK

“SWAK” is an initialism standing for “sealed with a kiss”. SWAK, and the related SWALK (sealed with a loving kiss), are postal acronyms that originated during WWII.

Down

1 Welsh ___ (dog) : CORGI

The Welsh corgi is a herding dog that originated in Britain, with two recognized breeds: the Pembroke and Cardigan. Corgis aren’t fast enough to do their job by running around livestock like collies, and instead nip at the heels. “Corgi” is Welsh for “dwarf dog”.

3 It may say “Forever” : STAMP

The forever stamp for first-class postage was introduced in 2006 (and about time!). Now we have stamps that are good for first-class postage forever, no matter how often the rates change.

5 Andean animal valued for its wool : ALPACA

Alpacas are like small llamas, but unlike llamas were never beasts of burden. Alpacas were bred specifically for the fleece. As such, there are no known wild alpacas these days, even in their native Peru.

6 Mythical woman after whom element 41 is named : NIOBE

In Greek mythology, Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus when her children were killed. There, she was turned into stone and wept for eternity. There is indeed a Niobe’s Rock on Mount Sipylus (in modern-day Turkey) that resembles a female face, and so is known as “The Weeping Rock”.

The element Niobium (Nb) has the atomic number 41. It is a ductile metal that is similar to the transition metal tantalum (Ta). Tantalum was named for the Greek mythological figure Tantalus, and Niobium for Niobe, daughter of Tantalus.

8 Iditarod terminus : NOME

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race covers an incredible 1,161 miles, from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. The race starts every year on the first Saturday in March, with the first race having been held in 1973. Finishing times range from over 8 days to 15 days or more. The first few races only used a northern route, but then a southern route was added to the roster every second year. It’s kind of a good thing, because when the racers take the northern route they don’t even pass through the town of Iditarod!

13 Muse’s instrument : LYRE

In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry. She is often depicted with a wreath of myrtle and roses, and playing a lyre.

28 Hocus-___ : POCUS

There appears to be a lot of speculation about the origin of the magician’s phrase “hocus pocus”, but nothing stands out to me as being very definitive.

29 Évian and Perrier : EAUS

I guess the plural of “eau” (water) is “eaux” in French, but “eaus” in English.

Évian-les-Bains (or simply “Évian”) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. Personally, I can’t stand the distinctive taste of Évian water …

Perrier is bottled from spring water that is naturally carbonated. The natural carbonation is lost during the purification process, and so has to be restored artificially before bottling. The spring used by Perrier is in the South of France, and has been used since Roman times as a spa.

31 Speaker’s platform : DAIS

A dais is a raised platform for a speaker. The term “dais” comes from the Latin “discus” meaning a “disk-shaped object”. I guess that the original daises had such a shape.

32 Great Lake with the smallest volume : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth-largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

33 Tail-less cat : MANX

I’ve seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They’re found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name “Manx”) that is located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have just a stub of a tail, and hence are called “stubbins” by the locals.

34 Alert : ON THE BALL

The phrase “on the ball”, meaning “alert”, comes from ball sports. It is a contraction of the expression “keep your eye on the ball”, i.e. stay alert!

35 Insect you may swat away : GNAT

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

41 Lucy of TV’s “Elementary” : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I do enjoy one of Liu’s more recent projects in which she plays Joan Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

If you’ve seen the American television show “Elementary”, you will know that it is an adaptation of the classic tales by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that are set in the present day. “Elementary” is similar in look and feel to the excellent BBC series “Sherlock”, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern-day Holmes. We can pick up “Sherlock” in some parts of the country as part of “Masterpiece Mystery” on PBS.

43 Kind of soup often served at a sushi bar : MISO

Miso is the name of the seasoning that makes miso soup. Basic miso seasoning is made by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans with salt and a fungus to produce a paste. The paste can be added to stock to make miso soup, or perhaps to flavor tofu.

46 Literary Emily or Charlotte : BRONTE

In terms of age, Emily Brontë was the middle of the three Brontë sisters, younger than Charlotte and older than Anne. Emily was a poet and a novelist, and is best remembered for her only novel, “Wuthering Heights”. Emily died very young, at 30 years old. She never recovered from a severe cold that she caught at the funeral service of Branwell Brontë, her only brother. The cold developed into tuberculosis, for which she eschewed medical attention. She passed away after three months of illness.

Charlotte Brontë was the eldest of the three Brontë sister authors. Charlotte’s most famous work is the novel “Jane Eyre”, which she published under the pen name Currer Bell. The pen name veiled her gender, but preserved the initials of her real name. After “Jane Eyre” was published, Brontë started to move in the same circles as other successful novelists of the day, including William Makepeace Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. Just two years after Bronte died in her late thirties, it was Gaskell who published the first biography of Charlotte Brontë.

49 Key for Debussy’s “La fille aux cheveux de lin” : G-FLAT

“La fille aux cheveux de lin” translates from French as “Maid with the Flaxen Hair”.

Claude Debussy is one of my favorite composers, and someone who epitomises the Romantic Era and Impressionist Movement in music. One of my favorite CDs is a collection of some “lighter” Debussy pieces called “Debussy for Daydreaming”, and what an evocative collection it is. Included are “Syrinx”, “Maid with the Flaxen Hair”, “Rêverie” and everyone’s favorite, “Clair de Lune”.

51 Italian city known for its salami : GENOA

Genoa salami is made using preservation techniques that originated in ancient Rome.

“Salame” (note the letter E at the end) is an Italian sausage that is traditionally associated with the peasant classes. The meat in the sausage is preserved with salt, and it can be hung and stored for as long as ten years. The name “salame” comes from “sale”, the Italian word for salt, and “-ame”, a suffix indicating a collective noun. Our English word “salami” is actually the Italian plural for “salame”.

53 Ukraine’s capital, to Ukrainians : KYIV

Kiev is located on the Dnieper River, and is the capital of Ukraine. We tend to use the spelling “Kiev”, but the Ukrainian government decided in 1995 to refer to the city as “Kyiv” when using Roman/Latin script.

54 Actress Rowlands : GENA

Gena Rowlands is an actress best known for the films made with her husband, actor and director John Cassavetes. More recently, Rowlands played a lead role opposite James Garner in the weepy, weepy 2004 film “The Notebook”. “The Notebook” was directed by her son, Nick Cassavetes. Rowlands was nominated for Oscars for her performances in two films: “Gloria” (1980) and “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974).

57 Animals in a yoke : OXEN

A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of animals so that they are forced to work together.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Players in a play : CAST
5 In a while : ANON
9 One of thousands in a Rose Bowl float : PETAL
14 Prussia’s ___ von Bismarck : OTTO
15 Fat-removing surgery, for short : LIPO
16 Extreme pain : AGONY
17 Caboose’s location : REAR
18 Ode or sonnet : POEM
19 Shrink in fear : COWER
20 “Jeez, lighten up, will ya!” : GIMME A BREAK!
23 Ram’s mate : EWE
24 How extraterrestrials come, we hope : IN PEACE
25 Think (over) : MULL
27 U.S. intelligence org. : NSA
28 Bombarded, as with questions : PEPPERED
32 Ham it up : EMOTE
35 Score in hockey : GOAL
36 Black-tie charity event, maybe : GALA
37 Sprinted : RAN
38 As expected : ON CUE
39 Long-running CBS drama : CSI
40 The “I” of I.M.F.: Abbr. : INTL
42 Abode in Aachen : HAUS
43 Earns : MAKES
45 Pieces of evidence in court : EXHIBITS
47 Grammy winner ___ Nas X : LIL
48 Replacement for the lira and mark : EURO
49 Faux fireplace items : GAS LOGS
53 U.S.S.R. intelligence org. : KGB
55 Like medical expenses you pay for yourself : OUT OF POCKET
58 Long (for) : YEARN
60 What a wheel connects to : AXLE
61 Author/journalist Quindlen : ANNA
62 Cove : INLET
63 Order to someone holding a deck of cards : DEAL
64 Game suggested by the ends of 20-, 38- and 55-Across and 11- and 34-Down : POOL
65 On/off device : VALVE
66 Fare for aardvarks : ANTS
67 Letters on love letters : SWAK

Down

1 Welsh ___ (dog) : CORGI
2 Had dinner at home : ATE IN
3 It may say “Forever” : STAMP
4 Suffering : TORMENT
5 Andean animal valued for its wool : ALPACA
6 Mythical woman after whom element 41 is named : NIOBE
7 Abbr. below “0” on a phone : OPER
8 Iditarod terminus : NOME
9 Get stuff ready to go : PACK UP
10 Bigheadedness : EGO
11 Bar from the bathroom? : TOWEL RACK
12 Once more : ANEW
13 Muse’s instrument : LYRE
21 “At ___, soldier!” : EASE
22 Enough : AMPLE
26 Turkey drumstick, e.g. : LEG
28 Hocus-___ : POCUS
29 Évian and Perrier : EAUS
30 Alternatively : ELSE
31 Speaker’s platform : DAIS
32 Great Lake with the smallest volume : ERIE
33 Tail-less cat : MANX
34 Alert : ON THE BALL
35 Insect you may swat away : GNAT
38 State school SE of Columbus, in brief : OHIO U
41 Lucy of TV’s “Elementary” : LIU
43 Kind of soup often served at a sushi bar : MISO
44 Sign of online shouting : ALL CAPS
46 Literary Emily or Charlotte : BRONTE
47 Places for tiny U.S. flags : LAPELS
49 Key for Debussy’s “La fille aux cheveux de lin” : G-FLAT
50 “All righty then …” : OK NOW …
51 Italian city known for its salami : GENOA
52 What holds up an ear of corn : STALK
53 Ukraine’s capital, to Ukrainians : KYIV
54 Actress Rowlands : GENA
56 “Look what I did!” : TA-DA!
57 Animals in a yoke : OXEN
59 Gun, as an engine : REV

7 thoughts on “0222-21 NY Times Crossword 22 Feb 21, Monday”

  1. 7:34, no errors. Couple of missteps: 5A SOON before ANON; 26A CIA before NSA.
    9A: Having been fortunate enough to see Rose Bowl Parade floats, in person, I would say that ‘thousands’ of PETALs is a severe undercount. More like millions.

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