0227-21 NY Times Crossword 27 Feb 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Yacob Yonas
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 Two-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year (2001, 2002) : HAMM

Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player. She played as a forward on the US national team that won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991. Hamm scored 158 international goals, which was more than any other player in the world, male or female, until the record was broken in 2013. Amazingly, Hamm was born with a clubfoot, and so had to wear corrective shoes when she was growing up.

19 A couple of dollars? : ELS

There are a couple of letters L (els) in the word “dollars”.

20 Material whose name is a Scandinavian country in French : SUEDE

Suede is leather made from the underside of an animal’s skin, usually the skin from a lamb. As such it is very soft, although not as durable as leather made from the exterior skin. The soft leather was, and is still used for making gloves. Back in 1859 these gloves were called “gants de Suede” in France, or “gloves of Sweden”. So, the name “suede” comes from the French word for Sweden.

22 Countenance : MIEN

One’s mien is one’s bearing or manner. “Mien” shares the same etymological root as our word “demeanor”.

24 Stingray feature, once : T-TOP

A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

25 Pioneer in 35mm cameras : LEICA

Leica is a German optics company that is famous for production of lenses and cameras. The 1913 Leica was the first practical camera that could use 35mm film, a size chosen because it was already the standard for film used in motion pictures.

28 Singer Braxton, sister of Toni : TRACI

Toni Braxton is a very successful R&B singer, but one who seems to have trouble managing her financial affairs. After two highly successful albums, she had to file for bankruptcy protection in 1993. She recovered and had even more success, and then had to file for bankruptcy again in 2010.

30 Its birthstone is peridot: Abbr. : AUG

Here is the “official” list of birthstones, by month, that we tend to use today:

  • January: Garnet
  • February: Amethyst
  • March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
  • April: Diamond
  • May: Emerald
  • June: Pearl or Moonstone
  • July: Ruby
  • August: Sardonyx or Peridot
  • September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
  • October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
  • November: Topaz or Citrine
  • December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

Olivine is a relatively common mineral, but is rarely found with purity that is sufficient for use as a gemstone. When the olivine is pure enough to be used as a gem, it is called “peridot”. Peridot is always olive green in color, with its color intensity a function of how much iron is in the stone.

33 Individually : A LA CARTE

On a restaurant menu, items that are “à la carte” are priced and ordered separately. A menu marked “table d’hôte” (also called “prix fixe”) is a fixed-price menu with limited choice. “Table d’hôte” translates from French as “table of the host”.

35 In the cloud, say : STORED

In the world of computing, when one operates “in the cloud”, one’s files and key applications are not stored on one’s own computer, but rather are residing “in the cloud”, on a computer somewhere out on the Internet. I do 90% of my computing in the cloud. That way I don’t have to worry about backing up files, and I can operate from any computer if I have to …

38 Title character in a “Sgt. Pepper” song : MR KITE

“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” is a song released in 1967 by the Beatles on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. John Lennon was largely responsible for writing the song, inspired by a 19th-century circus poster. The poster announced a show given by the circus for the benefit of Mr. Kite, a circus employee who had just passed away.

41 Wiz Khalifa’s “We ___ Boyz” : DEM

“Wiz Khalifa” is the stage name of rapper Cameron Jibril Thomaz.

42 Ron who played Tarzan on old TV : ELY

Ron Ely is most famous for playing the title role in the “Tarzan” TV series in the sixties. Years later, Ely hosted the 1980 and 1981 “Miss America” pageants right after longtime host Bert Parks retired, before the job was taken over by Gary Collins. And Ely is a successful mystery novelist. He wrote “Night Shadows” and “East Beach” in the mid-nineties, both of which featured his private eye Jake Sands.

45 Some didy changers : DADAS

In babytalk, a “diaper” is a “didy”.

“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term “diaper” was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, “diaper” was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.

49 Fare from some bars : TAPAS

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”. There is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

51 Smart ___ : ALEC

Apparently, the original “smart Alec” (sometimes “Aleck”) was one Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

53 “Au revoir!” : TA-TA!

“Au revoir” is a French phrase translating literally as “until seen again”, although the accepted usage is “goodbye”.

55 Atomic clock timekeeper : MASER

A MASER is a device that was around long before LASERs came into the public consciousness. A MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is similar to a LASER, but microwaves are emitted rather than light waves. When the storyline for “Star Trek” was being developed, the writers introduced a weapon called a “phaser”, with the name “phaser” derived from PHoton mASER.

An atomic clock is the most accurate tool known for keeping track of time. Most clocks work using some sort of an oscillation that takes place at a regular interval, like a pendulum. In the case of an atomic clock, the oscillation that is measured is between the nucleus of an atom (usually a cesium atom) and its surrounding electrons.

57 Prefix with binary : NON-

The non-binary spectrum of gender identities covers those that do not qualify as exclusively masculine or feminine.

58 Kind of bowl ordered at a juice bar : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

63 “East of Eden” twin : ARON

John Steinbeck considered “East of Eden” his magnum opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron Trask, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.

Down

2 Renato’s wife in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” : AMELIA

“Un ballo in maschera” (“A Masked Ball”) is an 1859 opera by Giuseppe Verdi. It tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball, which is an event that actually took place in 1792. “Un ballo in maschera” includes every crossword constructor’s favorite aria “Eri tu”.

7 Four-time Grammy winner Lyle : LOVETT

As well as being famous in his own right, country singer Lyle Lovett is known for his 1993 marriage to actress Julia Roberts. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage itself was also relatively whirlwind, lasting less than two years.

8 George Sand title heroine : ISIDORA

“George Sand” was the pseudonym of the very colorful French novelist Baroness Dudevant. Along with the renown that she garnered for her novels, Sand was also known for celebrated affairs with the likes of Frédéric Chopin.

9 [I’m such an idiot!] : [FACEPALM!]

A facepalm is the gesture made by lowering one’s face into the palm of one’s hand or hands. A facepalm can be an expression of surprise perhaps, frustration or embarrassment. A related gesture with the same meaning is the headdesk, the gentle striking of the forehead against a desk or a wall perhaps.

11 Selassie of Ethiopia : HAILE

Emperor Haile Selassie I ruled Ethiopia until he was removed from power in a revolution in 1974. Selassie died in 1975 under suspicious circumstances and it is widely believed that he was assassinated.

12 What this is an example of: \_(^.^)_/ : ASCII ART

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) lists codes for 32 “control” characters, as well as the 95 printable characters. These binary codes are the way that our computers can understand what we mean when we type, say a letter or a number. Unicode is a more contemporary standard, and is like “Ascii on steroids”, encompassing more characters.

13 Trope seen in rom-coms : MEET-CUTE

“Meet-cute” is a term used since the 1930s or 1940s for a scene in a film or TV show in which a future couple have an amusing first encounter.

23 Alternative to polyester : NYLON

The polymer known as “nylon” was developed by Dupont in the 1930s. The first application for the new product was as bristles in toothbrushes, in 1938. The second application became more famous. The first stockings made from nylon were produced in 1940, and since then stockings have been known as “nylons”. The polymer was developed as a replacement for silk, which was in short supply during WWII.

In a general sense, a polyester is any polymer containing the ester functional group in the main chain. In this sense, the list of polyesters includes naturally occurring compounds as well as synthetics. More specifically, the term “polyester” is often synonymous with the synthetic compound polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is the main constituent of the manufactured fibers Dacron and Terylene.

29 Jokester : CARD

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

35 Vehicle equipped with photovoltaic cells : SOLAR CAR

Solar panels are arrays of solar cells that make use of what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. We are more likely to have learned about the photoelectric effect in school, in which electrons were ejected from the surface of some materials when it was exposed to light or other forms of radiation. The photovoltaic effect is related but different. Instead of being electrons ejected from the surface, in the photovoltaic effect electrons move around in the material creating a difference in voltage.

36 Schroeder plays one, in the comics : TOY PIANO

Schroeder is a favorite character of mine in the comic strip “Peanuts”. He is a young boy who constantly plays a toy piano, especially pieces by Beethoven. Schroeder is also the subject of an extreme infatuation by young Lucy van Pelt, who often leans on his piano and looks at him adoringly as he plays.

37 Dig for insights, digitally : DATA-MINE

The process of data mining is used to extract information from a database and present it in a form that facilitates further use.

39 Annual N.Y.C. event hosted by Vogue : MET GALA

The Costume Institute Gala is an annual fundraising event that benefits the Anna Wintour Costume Center in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. The fundraiser is commonly referred to as the Met Gala or Met Ball, and was established in 1948.

40 Some Pepperidge Farm cookies : MILANOS

Before the Milano, Pepperidge Farm produced the Naples cookie, a vanilla wafer with chocolate on top. The latter had problems when stored or transported in a warm environment as the cookies stuck to each other. The solution was to put the filling between two wafers, and hence the Milano cookie was born.

48 Birth control pioneer Margaret : SANGER

Margaret Sanger was a nurse and a birth-control activist. Sanger is credited with popularizing the term “birth control” and opened the first birth control clinic in the US, in 1916. That action led to her arrest for distributing information on contraception.

50 Like some drones : APIAN

Something described as apian is related to bees. “Apis” is Latin for “bee”.

Drone bees and drone ants are fertile males of the species whose sole role in life seems to be to mate with a queen.

59 “Of course it looks good on you!,” maybe : FIB

To fib is to tell a lie. The verb “to fib” likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, with “fibble-fable” coming from “fable”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Hoopster’s mantra : BALL IS LIFE
11 Two-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year (2001, 2002) : HAMM
15 “My point is …” : I MEAN TO SAY …
16 Like castaways, before being cast away : ASEA
17 Set for the afternoon? : TEA SERVICE
18 Clinches : ICES
19 A couple of dollars? : ELS
20 Material whose name is a Scandinavian country in French : SUEDE
21 Moves like a butterfly : FLITS
22 Countenance : MIEN
24 Stingray feature, once : T-TOP
25 Pioneer in 35mm cameras : LEICA
26 School softball? : EASY A
28 Singer Braxton, sister of Toni : TRACI
30 Its birthstone is peridot: Abbr. : AUG
31 “Let’s get ___!” (party cry) : LIT
33 Individually : A LA CARTE
35 In the cloud, say : STORED
38 Title character in a “Sgt. Pepper” song : MR KITE
39 Night light : MOONBEAM
41 Wiz Khalifa’s “We ___ Boyz” : DEM
42 Ron who played Tarzan on old TV : ELY
43 Moving : ASTIR
45 Some didy changers : DADAS
49 Fare from some bars : TAPAS
51 Smart ___ : ALEC
53 “Au revoir!” : TA-TA!
54 Letter to the editor, often : GRIPE
55 Atomic clock timekeeper : MASER
57 Prefix with binary : NON-
58 Kind of bowl ordered at a juice bar : ACAI
59 Opposite of cheap eats : FINE DINING
61 Actress/YouTube star ___ Condor : LANA
62 Whole : IN ONE PIECE
63 “East of Eden” twin : ARON
64 #1 on a list, maybe : BESTSELLER

Down

1 “Buzz off!” : BITE ME!
2 Renato’s wife in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” : AMELIA
3 Some deals from dealerships : LEASES
4 “___ Mañanitas” (Mexican birthday song) : LAS
5 Woman’s name that’s also a plural suffix : INES
6 Work it, on the runway : STRUT
7 Four-time Grammy winner Lyle : LOVETT
8 George Sand title heroine : ISIDORA
9 [I’m such an idiot!] : [FACEPALM!]
10 Inspect : EYE
11 Selassie of Ethiopia : HAILE
12 What this is an example of: \_(^.^)_/ : ASCII ART
13 Trope seen in rom-coms : MEET-CUTE
14 Rub the right way? : MASSAGE
21 Switched (on) : FLICKED
23 Alternative to polyester : NYLON
27 Home for a drone : AIRBASE
29 Jokester : CARD
32 Props of sorts : TEES
34 Target : AIM AT
35 Vehicle equipped with photovoltaic cells : SOLAR CAR
36 Schroeder plays one, in the comics : TOY PIANO
37 Dig for insights, digitally : DATA-MINE
39 Annual N.Y.C. event hosted by Vogue : MET GALA
40 Some Pepperidge Farm cookies : MILANOS
44 Begrudge : RESENT
46 “Get Out” star Kaluuya : DANIEL
47 Like, now : AT ONCE
48 Birth control pioneer Margaret : SANGER
50 Like some drones : APIAN
52 Forfeits : CEDES
56 What comes before old age? : RIPE …
59 “Of course it looks good on you!,” maybe : FIB
60 Zip : NIL

14 thoughts on “0227-21 NY Times Crossword 27 Feb 21, Saturday”

  1. 20:21 My first pass yielded very little – typical for a Sat. It also seems like there were a lot of proper names in the answers, several of which I am unfamiliar with, especially the 61A, 65A stack. Definitely needed the crosses.

  2. 33;17, respectable for this kid on a Saturday. I misspelled “Lovett” initially and had “lie” before “fib”, both eventually corrected with across answers

  3. 26:58. Not bad for a Saturday…but not great either. Like @Ron I had zilch on my first run through. Got my foothold in the SE and went from there.

  4. 36:23. In retrospect, this was a reasonably easy Saturday puzzle. I just made so many missteps, and I kept having to back out of them…constantly. I was so sure of “lie” before FIB that it took me forever to give up on it. That was one of many. Perhaps I was still jet-lagged when I did this.

    Nice puzzle. Not so nice solve on my end.

    Best –

  5. No errors, but I thought it to be a tough one. Had to use a scattergun
    approach before I got traction and needed to fill about half the grid before it broke open for me. Unfamiliar names were luckily filled via crosses.

  6. Well it wasn’t a quick solve for me like some of you speedster. Steady pace.
    Have to admit I never heard of “BALL IS LIFE” or “didy” and I had FLIPPED instead of FLICKED for a long time.

    That ASCII ART had me going down memory lane.. I used FORTRAN and it used to a contest for the most elaborate art. You just had to wait for that old daisy wheel printer to spit it out. What a racket that printer used to make.

    1. I wrote this 30 years ago, while on a FORTRAN project. Satirizing the words of Pete Townshend

      Ever since I went to college – I knew what I would do
      I’d go to work at Boeing – and be a code guru
      I’d work on software projects – that was my simple plan
      Then all the folks could say – I SURE WRITE A MEAN FORTRAN

      There are more verses and a bridge, etc. Just never learned to play guitar well enough to accompany myself – sadly

  7. 36 minutes. No errors. I made it harder than it should’ve been. I was convinced it 54 across was irate and not gripe.

  8. No errors (no time, forgot to hit the START button on my watch). Several areas which looked, initially, like they would be left blank. Just enough hand holds to get me through this.

  9. 48:45 and I had laser for 55A…I kinda thought that data mine was correct but didn’t change it because I never heard of maser.
    Win some…….
    Happy Easter to all😀😀😀

  10. I wrote this 30 years ago, while on a FORTRAN project. Satirizing the words of Pete Townshend

    Ever since I went to college – I knew what I would do
    I’d go to work at xxxxxxx – and be a code guru
    I’d work on software projects – that was my simple plan
    Then all the folks could say – I SURE WRITE A MEAN FORTRAN

    There are more verses and a bridge, etc. Just never learned to play guitar well enough to accompany myself – sadly

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