0225-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Feb 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Dylan Schiff
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Double Down

Themed answers are all in the DOWN-direction. Each includes a three-letter sequence that is DOUBLED in the answer, but only appears once in the grid:

  • 32D Blackjack bet … or a hint to applying the five circled regions in this puzzle : DOUBLE DOWN
  • 3D Feature of some bibliographic citations : HANGING INDENT
  • 6D Stethoscope detection : HEART MURMUR
  • 10D Dish often topped with raw egg yolk : STEAK TARTARE
  • 36D Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” for example : COVER VERSION
  • 41D Former first and second lady : BARBARA BUSH

Bill’s time: 12m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Literary pal of Porthos : ATHOS

Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although the hero of the novel is the trio’s young protégé D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for prowess with their swords.

6 Architect of the original Sisyphean task : HADES

Hades was the god of the underworld to the ancient Greeks. Over time, Hades gave his name to the underworld itself, the place where the dead reside. The term “Hades” was also adopted into the Christian tradition, as an alternative name for hell. But, the concept of hell in Christianity is more akin to the Greek “Tartarus”, which is a dark and gloomy dungeon located in Hades, a place of suffering and torment.

In the Greek myth, Sisyphus is condemned by Hades to roll a boulder up a hill, watch it fall back, then roll it up the hill again for eternity.

16 Home of the N.C.A.A.’s Cavaliers : UVA

The University of Virginia (UVA) was founded by Thomas Jefferson, who then sat on the original Board of Visitors alongside former US Presidents James Madison and James Monroe. In fact, the original UVA campus was built on land near Charlottesville that was once a farm belonging to President Monroe.

The University of Virginia sports teams are known officially as “the Cavaliers”. The unofficial nickname is “the Wahoos”.

18 Holden’s late brother in “The Catcher in the Rye” : ALLIE

“The Catcher in the Rye” is the most famous novel from the pen of J. D. Salinger. The main character and narrator of the story is Holden Caulfield, a teenager who gets expelled from a university prep school. Caulfield also makes appearances in several short stories written by Salinger, as do other members of the Caulfield family. The title “The Catcher in the Rye” is a reference to the 1782 poem “Comin’ Thro” the Rye” by Scottish poet Robert Burns.

25 Collaborator on 1968’s “Two Virgins,” familiarly : YOKO

John Lennon and Yoko Ono married at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969. The couple decided to use the inevitable publicity surrounding their wedding and honeymoon to promote peace in the world. They honeymooned in the Presidential Suite of the Amsterdam Hilton, inviting the world’s press to join them and to witness their “bed-in”. They spent the week talking about peace, and an end to war. The marriage and bed-in is chronicled by the Beatles in their song “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. A few weeks after the marriage, Lennon adopted the middle name “Ono” by deed poll.

29 Some exchanges via AOL, once : IMS

Even though instant messaging (sending and receiving IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

35 Choleric : MAD

“Choler” is “anger, irritability”. Choler (also “cholera”) was one of the body’s four basic substances of medieval science, the so-called four humors. All diseases were caused by these four substances getting out of balance. The four humors were:

  • Black bile (melancholia)
  • Yellow bile (cholera)
  • Phlegm (phlegma)
  • Blood (sanguis)

36 Masterstroke : COUP

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We also use the abbreviated “coup” to mean “sudden, brilliant and successful act”.

37 Garment whose name comes from the Malay for “sheath” : SARONG

“Sarong” is the Malay word for “sheath”. The term originally described a garment worn by Malay men and women around their waists. The Malay sarong is actually a tube of fabric, about a yard wide and two-and-a-half yards long. Many variations of the sarong are worn all over South Asia and the Pacific Islands. I had occasion to wear one in Hawaii many years ago, and found it very … freeing!

38 Final Oldsmobile model : ALERO

The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made by General Motors under the Oldsmobile brand. It was produced from 1999 to 2004.

40 Central difficulty : RUB

The phrase “To sleep — perchance to dream” comes from Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy:

To die — to sleep.
To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!

A rub is a difficulty or obstruction. The usage of the term “rub” predates Shakespeare, and comes from the game of lawn bowls in which a rub is a fault in the bowling surface.

42 Middle of a sustainability slogan : REUSE

The so-called “waste hierarchy” can be restated as the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The preferences are in order:

  1. Reduce consumption
  2. Reuse manufactured products
  3. Recycle raw materials

43 Biggest French-speaking Swiss city : GENEVA

Genève (“Geneva” in English) is the largest city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. I’ve been to Geneva only once, and sadly what I remember most is how expensive it is. It is in fact the fourth or fifth most expensive city in the world.

47 Unfortunate occasion for a spelling error : BEE

Back in 18th-century America, when neighbors would gather to work for the benefit of one of their group, such a meeting was called a bee. The name “bee” was an allusion to the social nature of the insect. In modern parlance, a further element of entertainment and pleasure has been introduced, for example in a quilting bee, or even a spelling bee.

50 Alternatives to melts, maybe : BLTS

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second-most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

55 Bridge declaration, in casual play : I PASS

The version of the card game bridge that is played mostly today is contract bridge. Auction bridge is a similar game, and is a precursor to contract bridge.

62 Kind of page : FAQ

Most websites have a page listing answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Even this blog has one!

63 Carmaker from Japan : ISUZU

Isuzu is a Japanese auto manufacturer that is very successful in the medium and heavy truck market in particular. You’ll be seeing fewer and fewer Isuzu passenger cars on American roads though, as the company exited the US passenger car market in 2008. The Isuzu Trooper was one of the company’s most successful SUVs, and was produced between 1981 and 2005.

65 Lead-in to phobia : AGORA-

In early Greece, an agora was a place of assembly. The assemblies held there were often quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a marketplace. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

66 ___ season : FLU

Influenza (the “flu”) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks … and other virus pandemics …

67 Single-take shots, in film lingo : ONERS

Lingo is specialized vocabulary. Journalese and legalese would be good examples.

70 Newswoman O’Donnell : NORAH

Norah O’Donnell is a native of Washington, D.C. and served as Chief White House correspondent for MSNBC from 2005 until 2011, and for CBS News from 2011 until 2012. She became co-anchor for “CBS This Morning” in 2017. Along with her husband, restaurateur Geoff Tracy, O’Donnell published what sounds like an interesting cookbook in 2010, namely “Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler”.

Down

5 Cache : STORE

A cache is a secret supply. We imported the term into English from French Canadian trappers in the 17th century. Back then, “cache” was a slang term for a “hiding place for stores”, derived from the French verb “cacher” meaning “to hide”.

6 Stethoscope detection : HEART MURMUR

The word “stethoscope” comes from the Greek word for “chest examination”. The stethoscope was invented back in 1816 in France by René Laennec, although back then it looked just like an ear trumpet, a wooden tube with flared ends.

8 Surname of two former Chicago mayors : DALEY

Richard J. Daley was the Mayor of Chicago for 21 years (1955-1976), making him the longest-serving mayor for the city in history. His son, Richard M. Daley, was mayor from 1989 to 2011, and was the city’s second-longest serving mayor.

9 Director Roth of cinema’s Splat Pack : ELI

Eli Roth is one of a group of directors of horror movies known quite graphically as “The Splat Pack”. I can’t stand “splat” movies and avoid them as best I can. Roth is also famous for playing Donny Donowitz in the Quentin Tarantino movie “Inglourious Basterds”, a good film I thought, if you close your eyes during the gruesome bits.

10 Dish often topped with raw egg yolk : STEAK TARTARE

Steak tartare was first served in French restaurants in the early 1900s. Back then, the dish went by the name “steak à l’Americaine”, would you believe? It was basically raw, seasoned beef mixed with egg yolk. A later version of l’Americaine, without the egg yolk and with tartar sauce served on the side, was dubbed “steak tartare”. Over time the two versions became one, and the steak tartare moniker won out. By the way, if you order steak tartare in Switzerland, I believe you are served horse meat. There are now similar “tartare” dishes made with raw salmon, or raw tuna.

11 Vintage diner fixture, in brief : JUKE

Although coin-operated music players had been around for decades, the term “jukebox” wasn’t used until about 1940. “Jukebox” derives from a Gullah word, the language of African Americans living in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia. In Gullah, a “juke joint”, from “juke” or “joog” meaning “rowdy, wicked”, was an informal establishment where African Americans would gather and for some music, dancing, gambling and drinking. The coin-operated music players became known as “jukeboxes”.

21 Cold, in Caracas : FRIO

Caracas is the capital of Venezuela, and is located in the north of the country. The original settlement of Caracas was named by the Spanish using the name of a local indigenous tribe.

26 Forerunner of the C.I.A. : OSS

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

27 N.A.A.C.P. ___ Awards : IMAGE

The NAACP Image Awards are presented annually to recognise people of color in the worlds of film, television, music and literature. The first awards were presented in 1967, and the ceremony usually takes place in Los Angeles.

32 Blackjack bet … or a hint to applying the five circled regions in this puzzle : DOUBLE DOWN

The card game known as “twenty-one” was first referred to in print in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing “Don Quixote”. He called the game “veintiuna” (Spanish for “twenty-one”). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn’t all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker “Blackjack”.

34 Molding curves : OGEES

An ogee is a type of S-curve. Specifically, it is a figure consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (which is not necessarily true for an S).

36 Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” for example : COVER VERSION

“I Will Always Love You” is a fabulous song written, and originally recorded, by Dolly Parton. Parton wrote the song on the occasion of her professional breakup with Porter Wagoner, with whom she sang as part of a duo for six years. Famously, Whitney Houston recorded a highly successful rearranged cover version of “I Will Always Love You”, primarily for the soundtrack of “The Bodyguard”. Houston starred in the movie “The Bodyguard” alongside Kevin Costner.

39 Prime snorkeling spots : REEFS

Our word “snorkel” comes from German navy slang “Schnorchel” meaning “nose, snout”. The German slang was applied to an air-shaft used for submarines, due to its resemblance to a nose, in that air passed through it and it made a “snoring” sound. “Schnorchel” comes from “Schnarchen”, the German for “snore”.

41 Former first and second lady : BARBARA BUSH

Barbara Bush (nee Pierce) was the wife of President George H. W. Bush. The couple met at a Christmas dance in Andover, Massachusetts when Barbara was 16 years old. They married four years later in 1945 while the future president was home on leave from the US Navy. George Bush was a torpedo bomber pilot who flew 58 combat missions during WWII.

44 Physicians’ grp. : AMA

American Medical Association (AMA)

46 Halal cart offering : GYRO

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

“Halal” is a term describing an action or object that is permissible under Islamic Law. In particular “halal” is used to describe food that can be consumed. Anything that is not allowed is described as “haram”.

50 Jumper cable? : BUNGEE

The elastic cord known as bungee cord is also known as shock cord. The term “bungee” probably comes from Britain where it was schoolboy slang for “rubber eraser”, and likely came from the words “bouncy” and “spongy”.

The first bungee jump using the modern latex cord was from the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England. It was an illegal jump, with all five jumpers getting arrested soon after “hitting” the ground.

59 Book before Nehemiah : EZRA

Ezra the Scribe, also called “Ezra the Priest”, is the central character in the Book of Ezra in the Hebrew Bible.

60 Psyche’s mate in Greek mythology : EROS

The name of Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic” meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both “Amor” (meaning “love”) and “Cupid” (meaning “desire”).

61 Hamlet, for one : DANE

The full title of William Shakespeare’s play that we tend to call “Hamlet” is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. It is the most performed of all Shakespeare’s plays and it is also his longest, the only one of his works comprising over 4,000 lines. That’s about a 4-hour sitting in a theater …

64 Hostess ___ Balls : SNO

The Hostess cakes called Sno Balls are usually pink in color, although in its original form each packet of two cakes contained one white and one pink. Around Halloween you can buy Sno Balls in the form of Scary Cakes and Glo Balls that are colored orange and green. and on St. Paddy’s Day there’s a green one available. Yoo hoo!

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Literary pal of Porthos : ATHOS
6 Architect of the original Sisyphean task : HADES
11 Nudge, in a way : JOG
14 Area for development : TRACT
15 Venerate : EXALT
16 Home of the N.C.A.A.’s Cavaliers : UVA
17 Arizona’s ___ National Forest (whose name is Spanish for “stupid”) : TONTO
18 Holden’s late brother in “The Catcher in the Rye” : ALLIE
19 Spot for a tap : KEG
20 Like some diet soda : SUGAR-FREE
22 Bill ___, noted Vietnam War-era activist : AYERS
24 Unreactive : INERT
25 Collaborator on 1968’s “Two Virgins,” familiarly : YOKO
27 Lacks existence : ISN’T
29 Some exchanges via AOL, once : IMS
31 Oil spot? : STUDIO
35 Choleric : MAD
36 Masterstroke : COUP
37 Garment whose name comes from the Malay for “sheath” : SARONG
38 Final Oldsmobile model : ALERO
40 Central difficulty : RUB
42 Middle of a sustainability slogan : REUSE
43 Biggest French-speaking Swiss city : GENEVA
45 Choler : RAGE
47 Unfortunate occasion for a spelling error : BEE
48 Regard : ESTEEM
49 “___ this!” : TRY
50 Alternatives to melts, maybe : BLTS
51 Organization with pledges, informally : FRAT
53 Get into it, in a way : ARGUE
55 Bridge declaration, in casual play : I PASS
58 Bounced back : REBOUNDED
62 Kind of page : FAQ
63 Carmaker from Japan : ISUZU
65 Lead-in to phobia : AGORA-
66 ___ season : FLU
67 Single-take shots, in film lingo : ONERS
68 Took back, as a trophy : REWON
69 Vote for : YEA
70 Newswoman O’Donnell : NORAH
71 Impenetrable : DENSE

Down

1 Courtroom figs. : ATTS
2 Pants, slangily : TROU
3 Feature of some bibliographic citations : HANGING INDENT
4 Piece of the pie, perhaps : OCTANT
5 Cache : STORE
6 Stethoscope detection : HEART MURMUR
7 Turning point : AXLE
8 Surname of two former Chicago mayors : DALEY
9 Director Roth of cinema’s Splat Pack : ELI
10 Dish often topped with raw egg yolk : STEAK TARTARE
11 Vintage diner fixture, in brief : JUKE
12 Done : OVER
13 Practical jokes : GAGS
21 Cold, in Caracas : FRIO
23 “___ the best!” : YOU’RE
26 Forerunner of the C.I.A. : OSS
27 N.A.A.C.P. ___ Awards : IMAGE
28 Closer’s specialty : SALES
30 Gush : SPURT
32 Blackjack bet … or a hint to applying the five circled regions in this puzzle : DOUBLE DOWN
33 Map feature : INSET
34 Molding curves : OGEES
36 Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” for example : COVER VERSION
39 Prime snorkeling spots : REEFS
41 Former first and second lady : BARBARA BUSH
44 Physicians’ grp. : AMA
46 Halal cart offering : GYRO
50 Jumper cable? : BUNGEE
52 More aligned : TRUER
54 Watch : GUARD
55 Uncertain : IFFY
56 Like beige and lilac : PALE
57 Shade at the beach : AQUA
59 Book before Nehemiah : EZRA
60 Psyche’s mate in Greek mythology : EROS
61 Hamlet, for one : DANE
64 Hostess ___ Balls : SNO

16 thoughts on “0225-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Feb 21, Thursday”

  1. 17:59 For a change I got the revealer early and that helped. But got hung up a bit in both the NW and SW corners. I’ve been binge watching Law & Order and had ADAS for 1D for a while and going to ATTS helped me unlock that. In the SW I had OPT for 69A and getting YEA unlocked that.

      1. I’m just watching it from Comcast – It’s on the Sundance Channel and also on the WE TV channel. Typically it’s available Tu, W on one station and Th, F on the other, starting around 1:00 – 2:00 Pacific. So there are commercials but they might run 8-10 episodes in a row.

  2. 25:35. Another slow morning for me. For some reason the small words in the NE and SW gave me the most trouble. I’m heading back to Alaska Saturday after 3 months in Bellingham with grandkids. It’ll be interesting to see if times improve when there’s no distractions.

  3. 37:37, got the reveal early thanks to Barbara Bush, it took me 13 minutes to resolve “heart murmur”, just couldn’t come up with a repeat syllable there for some reason.

    Where’s Jeff? I miss his puns…

  4. 19:36. Getting to this in an airplane as I seem to do a lot lately. I start catching up on crosswords at 35,000 feet. I got the theme very quickly and used it as much as I could.

    How many Bushmills and Guinness pints did Bill have before he decided it was a good idea to put on a SARONG??

    Did Bill put “Caracas is the capital of Venezuela…” under 13D as a Practical joke? Would that be a meta-practical joke? I never meta practical joke I liked…(?)

    If you spent too much time at UVA would you get sunburned? (That was for Duncan).

    Best –

    1. Jeff, that CARACUS thing was caused by a lack of attention. The SARONG thing was caused by, well, we’ll let that one pass …

  5. 15A did me in up there. I went with EXTOL even nothing around it made sense. Thought ATLEY worked for 8D. Made for a mucked up section.

    Tried to make THONG fit in 37A but that didn’t fit. After reading Bill’s blog, I’m glad it wasn’t THONG. Bill in a THONG?

  6. No errors, but got hung up for a bit trying to align the syllables in 4 down. Didn’t help that I was unfamiliar with the term.

  7. 59:14 no errors…It took a while for the theme to come to me but then it helped.
    Does “Kemo Sabbe” mean you’re not so smart yourself?
    Nursing a sore arm after COVID dose 2 but happy to get it👍
    Stay safe😀
    Play ball for real today.

  8. My kind of rebus. One letter per square, no symbols no numbers no punctuation marks etc. etc. etc.

  9. 22:09, no errors. Thought is was off to a blazing start, with ATHOS, ATTS and TROU. Then the wheels fell off. Floundered about in the middle section. Regained traction in the bottom third; and worked my way back to the top.
    @Jack: glad to hear you got your second dose. Heads up: if it was the Moderna vaccine, the worst symptoms will hit you almost exactly 30 hours after the shot.

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