0224-21 NY Times Crossword 24 Feb 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Andrew J. Ries
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Paradox

Themed answers each include a PAIR OF DOCS (sounds like “PARADOX”) as hidden words:

  • 59A Logical contradiction … or an aural hint to what are found in 20-, 25- and 45-Across : PARADOX or PAIR OF DOCS
  • 20A “Satanic” nickname for the number 13 : DEVIL‘S DOZEN (Dr. EVIL & Dr. OZ)
  • 25A What a witness is sworn to tell : THE WHOLE TRUTH (Doctor WHO & Dr. RUTH)
  • 45A W.W. I-era battleship : DREADNOUGHT (Dr. DRE & Dr. NO)

Bill’s time: 6m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Czech, e.g. : SLAV

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians, Croats and Serbs)

10 Indian musical pattern : RAGA

Raga isn’t really a genre of music, but has been described as the “tonal framework” in which Indian classical music is composed. Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous raga virtuoso (to us Westerners). Western rock music with a heavy Indian influence might be called raga rock.

17 Part of a wikiHow article : STEP

wikiHow is a website that has the stated mission of building the world’s largest how-to manual. The site was launched in 2005 by the owners of the website eHow.

19 Plug-in Chevy model : VOLT

The Chevrolet Volt first went on sale at the end of 2010, and is a plug-in hybrid car that runs on batteries. The Volt has a gasoline engine that can be used to run an electric generator when needed. The Volt also uses a regenerative braking system.

20 “Satanic” nickname for the number 13 : DEVIL’S DOZEN (Dr. EVIL & Dr. OZ)

Dr. Evil is a character played by Mike Myers in the “Austin Powers” series of movies. The character lampoons various James Bond villains, just as Austin Powers lampoons James Bond himself.

Mehmet Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon, and a TV personality known simply as “Dr. Oz”. Oz appeared as a health expert for several seasons on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Now he has his own “The Dr. Oz Show” on radio and television that is backed by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.

24 Howard of Hollywood : RON

Ron Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show”. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “The Da Vinci Code” and “A Beautiful Mind”, the latter earning Howard a Best Director Oscar.

25 What a witness is sworn to tell : THE WHOLE TRUTH (Doctor WHO & Dr. RUTH)

Do you solemnly (swear/affirm) that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (so help you God/under pains and penalties of perjury)?

32 What’s answered but never asks a question, in a riddle : PHONE

Here are a few riddles:

  1. Imagine you are in a dark room. How do you get out?
  2. What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?
  3. There is a word and six letters it contains. Take one away and twelve is what remains. What word is it?
  4. Two girls were born to the same mother, on the same day, at the same time, in the same month and year and yet they’re not twins. How can this be?
  5. What is so delicate that even saying its name will break it?
  6. What word in the English Language is always spelled incorrectly?

And the answers:

  1. Stop imagining.
  2. A stamp
  3. Dozens
  4. They’re in a set of triplets
  5. Silence
  6. Incorrectly

33 Fish with an elongated jaw : GAR

“Gar” was originally the name given to a species of needlefish found in the North Atlantic. The term “gar” is now used to describe several species of fish with elongated bodies that inhabit North and Central America and the Caribbean. The gar is unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What I find interesting is that the gar’s swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

37 Chipotle competitor : DEL TACO

The Del Taco chain of fast food restaurants opened for business in 1964, with the first restaurant called “Casa Del Taco” located in Yermo, California. Del Taco serves American-style Mexican cuisine as well as the typical collection of hamburgers, fries and shakes.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a chain of casual dining restaurants that was founded and is now headquartered in Denver, Colorado. For several years, the major investor in Chipotle was McDonald’s. The chain is named for the smoke-dried jalapeño called a “chipotle”.

40 “Livin’ Thing” rock band, for short : ELO

“Livin’ Thing” is a song written by Jeff Lynne that was recorded in 1976 by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), the band that Lynne co-founded.

45 W.W. I-era battleship : DREADNOUGHT (Dr. DRE & Dr. NO)

“Dr. Dre” is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

“Dr. No” may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer. If you’ve read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you’ll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. Julius No and Fu Manchu. By the way, the author Ian Fleming tells us that Julius No attended medical school in Milwaukee.

48 “Mourning Becomes Electra” playwright, 1931 : O’NEILL

Playwright Eugene O’Neill was born in a New York City hotel room in what is now called Times Square, in 1888. That building no longer exists and there is a Starbucks on the site today, but you can go take a look at the commemorative plaque at the Northeast corner of 43rd and Broadway. O’Neill died in 1953, in room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel on Bay State Road in Boston. His last words were, “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room, and God damn it, died in a hotel room.” Eugene O’Neill won a Pulitzer for his play “Anna Christie”.

50 Performer wearing a powder foundation known as oshiroi : GEISHA

The Japanese term “geisha” best translates as “artist” or “performing artist”.

54 What Venus is sometimes mistaken for, due to its brightness : UFO

The planet Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky, after our Moon.

58 Part of TNT : TRI-

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

62 Fly-by-night sort? : OWL

Much of an owl’s diet consists of small mammals. As a result, humans have used owls for centuries to control rodent populations, usually by placing a nest box for owls on a property. Despite the fact that owls and humans live together in relative harmony, owls have been known to attack humans from time to time. Celebrated English bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye when attacked by a tawny owl that he was trying to photograph. Hosking wrote a 1970 autobiography with the wry title “An Eye for a Bird”.

63 Heartbeat recording: Abbr. : ECG

An EKG measures the electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred, as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

64 ___ Chapel (Vatican City attraction) : SISTINE

The Sistine Chapel is located in the Pope’s residence in Rome. The chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who was responsible for restoring the old Capella Magna in the 15th century. It was about a century later (1508-1512) that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel under the patronage of Pope Julius II.

65 Old Hollywood’s ___ Pictures : RKO

The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

67 Much-awarded actor whose name is an anagram of ENDEARS : ED ASNER

Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also canceled … on the very same day.

Down

4 E-cig alternative : VAPE PEN

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

5 Spooky specter : WRAITH

“Wraith” was originally a Scottish word, one meaning “ghost, specter”.

6 Word spelled with “double hockey sticks” : HELL

“Double hockey sticks” in a word are two letters L (els) side-by-side.

8 Ingredient in some pie crusts : LARD

Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called suet. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be rendered, purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call lard. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as tallow.

9 Get via threat : EXTORT

To extort is to obtain by force or intimidation. The term “extort” comes from the Latin “ex” (out) and “torquere” (to twist).

11 Part of a nerve cell : AXON

A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron. The branched projections that receive electrochemical signals from other neurons are known as dendrites. The long nerve fiber that conducts signals away from the neuron is known as the axon. A neuron that has no definite axon is referred to as “apolar” or “nonpolar”. In apolar neurons the nerve impulses radiate in all directions.

22 Swordsman of book and film : ZORRO

The character Zorro was created by Johnston McCulley in 1919 for a series of stories and pulp fiction, the first title being “The Curse of Capistrano”. The name “Zorro” (Spanish for “fox”) is the secret identity of a Spanish colonial nobleman called Don Diego de la Vega. Famously, Zorro had the habit of carving the letter Z on some object after defeating a foe.

26 Subject for House Beautiful magazine : HOME DESIGN

“House Beautiful” is an interior decorating magazine that has been around for an awfully long time. It was first published in 1896.

29 Lyre player of myth : ERATO

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.

30 Social media tirade : TWEETSTORM

In the wonderful world of Twitter (said he, sarcastically), a tweetstorm is a series of related tweets by a single user on a related subject.

32 Togs for sawing logs? : PJS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

35 Anonymous surname : DOE

Though the English court system does not use the term today, “John Doe” first appeared as the “name of a person unknown” in England in 1659, along with the similar “Richard Roe”. An unknown female is referred to as “Jane Doe ”, and the equivalent to Richard Roe is Jane Roe (as in Roe v. Wade, for example). Variants of “John Doe” used outside of the courts are “Joe Blow” and “John Q. Public”.

42 Habeas corpus, e.g. : 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.

The Latin term “habeas corpus” translates literally as “you are to have the body”, and is a legal action (i.e. a writ) that is used to release a prisoner from unlawful detention.

44 ___ Pet : CHIA

Chia is a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia seeds are an excellent food source and are often added to breakfast cereals and energy bars. There is also the famous Chia Pet, an invention of a San Francisco company. Chia Pets are terra-cotta figurines to which are applied moistened chia seeds. The seeds sprout and the seedlings become the “fur” of the Chia Pet.

47 Kid born in the ’70s, say : GEN-XER

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

49 D.E.A. agent, slangily : NARCO

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

51 Ethan of “First Reformed” : HAWKE

Ethan Hawke is a Hollywood actor who made his breakthrough in a supporting role in “Dead Poet’s Society”, playing opposite Robin Williams. Hawke used to be married to Uma Thurman, with whom he has two children.

54 ___ Major : URSA

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

56 Husband of Frigg, in Norse mythology : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. Odin’s wife Frigg was the queen of Asgard whose name gave us our English term “Friday” (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin’s son was Thor, whose name gave us the term “Thursday”. Odin himself gave us our word “Wednesday” from “Wodin”, the English form of his name.

61 Number of seasons played by baseball’s Seattle Pilots : ONE

The Milwaukee Brewers Major League Baseball (MLB) team was founded in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots. The Pilots only played one season in Seattle before going bankrupt, relocating to Milwaukee and adopting the “Brewers” name. At that time, the Brewers were playing in the American League, and joined the National League in 1998. Only two MLB teams have switched leagues, the other being the Houston Astros.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Czech, e.g. : SLAV
5 Big spender, in gambling lingo : WHALE
10 Indian musical pattern : RAGA
14 Its state seal shows a steamboat on the Mississippi : IOWA
15 “Easy, now!” : RELAX!
16 Suit : EXEC
17 Part of a wikiHow article : STEP
18 Emergency notification : ALERT
19 Plug-in Chevy model : VOLT
20 “Satanic” nickname for the number 13 : DEVIL’S DOZEN (Dr. EVIL & Dr. OZ)
23 Pan’s partner : POT
24 Howard of Hollywood : RON
25 What a witness is sworn to tell : THE WHOLE TRUTH (Doctor WHO & Dr. RUTH)
32 What’s answered but never asks a question, in a riddle : PHONE
33 Fish with an elongated jaw : GAR
34 Got married again : REWED
36 Sticky wicket : JAM
37 Chipotle competitor : DEL TACO
40 “Livin’ Thing” rock band, for short : ELO
41 Fret : STEW
43 Effectiveness of a law, metaphorically : TEETH
44 Give up : CEDE
45 W.W. I-era battleship : DREADNOUGHT (Dr. DRE & Dr. NO)
48 “Mourning Becomes Electra” playwright, 1931 : O’NEILL
50 Performer wearing a powder foundation known as oshiroi : GEISHA
53 Elbows and such : PASTA
54 What Venus is sometimes mistaken for, due to its brightness : UFO
57 Birth-related : NATAL
58 Part of TNT : TRI-
59 Logical contradiction … or an aural hint to what are found in 20-, 25- and 45-Across : PARADOX or PAIR OF DOCS
62 Fly-by-night sort? : OWL
63 Heartbeat recording: Abbr. : ECG
64 ___ Chapel (Vatican City attraction) : SISTINE
65 Old Hollywood’s ___ Pictures : RKO
66 Put on : DON
67 Much-awarded actor whose name is an anagram of ENDEARS : ED ASNER
68 Was introduced to : MET

Down

1 Family nickname : SIS
2 Dealership area : LOT
3 Left speechless : AWED
4 E-cig alternative : VAPE PEN
5 Spooky specter : WRAITH
6 Word spelled with “double hockey sticks” : HELL
7 Taproom array : ALES
8 Ingredient in some pie crusts : LARD
9 Get via threat : EXTORT
10 Cash in? : REVENUE
11 Part of a nerve cell : AXON
12 Material for nail extensions : GEL
13 Broadway division : ACT
21 Swore : VOWED
22 Swordsman of book and film : ZORRO
25 Pointer’s word : THAT
26 Subject for House Beautiful magazine : HOME DESIGN
27 Looked rudely : OGLED
28 Get dark, say : LATEN
29 Lyre player of myth : ERATO
30 Social media tirade : TWEETSTORM
31 Kept a grip on : HELD
32 Togs for sawing logs? : PJS
35 Anonymous surname : DOE
38 Abbr. after the third co-author, perhaps : ET AL
39 Down quickly : CHUG
42 Habeas corpus, e.g. : WRIT
44 ___ Pet : CHIA
46 Pass, as time : ELAPSE
47 Kid born in the ’70s, say : GEN-XER
48 Made a decision : OPTED
49 D.E.A. agent, slangily : NARCO
51 Ethan of “First Reformed” : HAWKE
52 Distribute, as funds : ALLOT
54 ___ Major : URSA
55 Nutrition Facts listings : FATS
56 Husband of Frigg, in Norse mythology : ODIN
60 Give a hand : AID
61 Number of seasons played by baseball’s Seattle Pilots : ONE

10 thoughts on “0224-21 NY Times Crossword 24 Feb 21, Wednesday”

  1. 7:38 Seemed tougher than my time indicates. Maybe because I had no fat fingers today I didn’t have to hunt at the end

  2. 27:21 For your amusement I relate the following: had the puzzle “completed” in 11:43, but alas, no music of success. Spent the next 15+ minutes looking for my error(s). Went over it and over it and over it… Wife finally decides to look(note:she thinks crossword puzzles are too hard). “You spelled “Sistine” wrong, dummy”….

    Also, the work of a solver is now on Mars: https://www.yahoo.com/news/mars-rovers-giant-parachute-carried-214936340.html

    I wish I was smart…

    1. Thanks for posting this. When I saw the picture of that parachute, I wondered what its purpose was. I never would have figured it out on my own … 😳.

  3. @duncan – thanks for the rover article. Quite fascinating

    No errors. I guessed on the W for WRAITH and WHALE. Never have come across either one.

    Never been in a casino. It’s on our bucket list but has to be with someone who knows what they are doing.

  4. 9:58, no errors. Same issue with SISTINE, but was pretty sure ODIN was spelled with an ‘I’. Also had some doubt about the NARCO/ECG cross; NARKO/EKG?
    Thanks again Bill for explaining the theme. Would not have gotten this one in a million years.

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