0303-21 NY Times Crossword 3 Mar 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Ann Shan
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Year of the Ox

Themed answers each start with something OXEN, in honor of 2021 being the Chinese Year of the Ox:

  • 53A 2021 in the Chinese zodiac, with a hint to 17-, 27- and 40-Across : YEAR OF THE OX
  • 17A Avoids, with “of” : STEERS CLEAR …
  • 27A Good time on Wall Street : BULL MARKET
  • 40A Open audition, informally : CATTLE CALL

Bill’s time: 6m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Symbol tattooed on Popeye’s forearm : ANCHOR

Popeye first appeared in 1929 in a comic strip called “Thimble Theatre”. The strip, created by E. C. Segar, ran for ten years before Popeye made an appearance. Popeye received such a great welcome from readers that he soon “took over” the strip, and eventually even hogged the strip’s title. Before Popeye turned up, Olive Oyl was the main character.

16 Gossip fodder, slangily : TEA

“Tea” is a slang term used mainly in social media to denote “gossip”.

21 Places for congregations : PEWS

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

22 With 9-Down, goose liver : FOIE …
(9D See 22-Across : … GRAS)

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made from a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

23 Knock down, in Britain : RASE

To raze (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “raise”, a homophone of “raze”, means “build up”.

25 Steels (oneself) : GIRDS

The phrase “gird your loins” dates back to ancient Rome. The expression describes the action of lifting “one’s skirts” and tying them between the legs to allow more freedom of movement before going into battle. Nowadays, “gird your loins” (or sometimes just “gird yourself”) is a metaphor for “prepare yourself for the worst”.

27 Good time on Wall Street : BULL MARKET

The terms “bull market” and “bear market” come from the way in which each animal attacks. A bull thrusts his horns upwards (an “up” market), whereas a bear swipes with his paws downward (a “down” market).

29 Mysteries : ENIGMAS

Our term “enigma” meaning “puzzle, riddle” comes from the Greek “ainigma”, which means the same thing.

32 Ancient Greek gathering places : AGORAS

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”.

37 Utah ski area : ALTA

Alta ski resort actually lies within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area. The first ski lift in the resort was opened way back in 1939. Today, Alta is one of only three ski resorts in the country that prohibits snowboarding (along with Deer Valley, Utah and Mad River Glen, Vermont. The ski resort of Snowbird, located next to Alta, has been in operation since 1971.

39 The Father of Modern Physics : GALILEO

Galileo Galilei may be the most famous son of the city of Pisa in Italy and was considered by many to have been the father of modern science. In the world of physics, Galileo postulated that objects of different masses would fall at the same rate provided they did so in a vacuum (so there was no air resistance). There is a story that he dropped two balls of different masses from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate this, but this probably never happened. Centuries later, Astronaut David Scott performed Galileo’s proposed experiment when he dropped a hammer and feather on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission and we all saw the objects hit the moon surface, at exactly the same time.

44 Bird in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” : DODO

The Dodo is a character who appears early in Lewis Carroll’s novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. It is thought that the Dodo is a caricature of the author himself, as both author and character have a stutter.

45 First astrological sign : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

46 Biochemical messenger : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

49 Lecture series focused on “ideas worth spreading” : TEDX

The acronym “TED” stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.

53 2021 in the Chinese zodiac, with a hint to 17-, 27- and 40-Across : YEAR OF THE OX

The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar uses the following animals in order:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

55 Styled after : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated as “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

57 Senator Feinstein : DIANNE

Dianne Feinstein is one of our US Senators here in California, and has been representing the state since 1992. Prior to heading to Washington, Feinstein was the Mayor of San Francisco for ten years, and the first woman to hold that office.

58 Faux ___ : PAS

The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

59 Traditional Thanksgiving desserts : PIES

Thanksgiving Day was observed on different dates in different states for many years, until Abraham Lincoln fixed the date for the whole country in 1863. Lincoln’s presidential proclamation set that date as the last Thursday in November. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November, arguing that the earlier date would give the economy a much-needed boost.

Down

2 Like the Energizer Bunny : UNTIRING

We are all fairly familiar with the Energizer Bunny, I am guessing. The Energizer Bunny was introduced in 1989 to promote Energizer batteries, by parodying the Duracell Bunny that had been introduced in 1973.

3 Imagined development : SCENARIO

A scenario is an outline of the plot of perhaps a novel or play. The term “scenario” can also describe a sequence of hypothetical events.

5 Singer with the 2017 #1 album “Melodrama” : LORDE

“Lorde” is a stage name of the singer-songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Connor from New Zealand. Lorde’s cover version of the great Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was used in the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013). Her song “Yellow Flicker Beat” is included in the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”.

7 Cirque du ___ : SOLEIL

Cirque du Soleil is an entertainment company based in Montreal. The company was founded in 1984 by two former street performers, and stages spectacular shows that are a dramatic mix of circus and street entertainment. I’ve seen several Cirque du Soleil shows over the years, and have thoroughly enjoyed every single one.

22 Noted evening radio address : FIRESIDE CHAT

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) gave a total of thirty evening radio addresses that were termed “fireside chats”. President Roosevelt had used similar addresses to further his political agenda while he was Governor of New York. In New York, he faced opposition from a Republican legislature and so Roosevelt appealed directly to voters to apply pressure for him.

25 Rapper in court : GAVEL

The small hammer that one raps on a table or desk to call a meeting to order, or perhaps to signify a sale at an auction, is called a gavel. The term “gavel” is actually American English, and is a word that emerged in the early 19th century.

26 Wine-dark ___, metaphor in Homer’s “Odyssey” : SEA

“Odyssey” is one of two epic poems from ancient Greece that is attributed to Homer. “Odyssey” is largely a sequel to Homer’s other epic “Iliad”. “Odyssey” centers on the heroic figure Odysseus, and his adventures on his journey home to Greece following the fall of Troy. We now use the term “odyssey” to describe any long series of adventures.

28 Most frequent, statistically : MODAL

In a set of numbers, the mean is the average value of those numbers. The median is the numeric value at which half the numbers have a lower value, and half the numbers a higher value. The mode is the value that appears most often in the whole set of numbers.

30 Crowded places on Black Friday : MALLS

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to be a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

In the world of retail, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the US. Black Friday is when many stores start the holiday shopping season, and so offer deep discounts to get ahead of the competition.

35 Energy source in Minecraft : REDSTONE

Minecraft is a video game that was released in 2011. It has been cited as one of the most influential video games of all time.

41 Colored part of the iris : AREOLA

An areola (sometimes “areole”) in anatomy is a small ring of color, as in the areola surrounding the nipple, and the areola surrounding the pupil of the eye. “Areola” (plural “areolae”) comes from Latin, meaning “small open space”, and is a diminutive of the Latin word “area”, meaning “open space”.

49 Actress Hatcher : TERI

Teri Hatcher’s most famous role is the Susan Mayer character on the TV comedy-drama “Desperate Housewives”. I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of “Housewives” but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, as she appeared in “Tomorrow Never Dies”. More recently, she portrayed Lois Lane on the show “Lois & Clark”.

51 Marked, as a ballot : EXED

Today, a ballot is a piece of paper or equivalent used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Body part whose name comes from the Latin for “little mouse” : MUSCLE
7 Wise : SAGE
11 Sponsored posts, essentially : ADS
14 Symbol tattooed on Popeye’s forearm : ANCHOR
15 Fairy tale villain : OGRE
16 Gossip fodder, slangily : TEA
17 Avoids, with “of” : STEERS CLEAR …
19 Sardonic : WRY
20 Like forks : TINED
21 Places for congregations : PEWS
22 With 9-Down, goose liver : FOIE …
23 Knock down, in Britain : RASE
24 A white one might be excused : LIE
25 Steels (oneself) : GIRDS
26 Father : SIRE
27 Good time on Wall Street : BULL MARKET
29 Mysteries : ENIGMAS
31 Letter sign-off : LOVE
32 Ancient Greek gathering places : AGORAS
33 Hot spot : DESERT
37 Utah ski area : ALTA
39 The Father of Modern Physics : GALILEO
40 Open audition, informally : CATTLE CALL
44 Bird in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” : DODO
45 First astrological sign : ARIES
46 Biochemical messenger : RNA
47 Academic musts, for short : REQS
48 All-out sprint : TEAR
49 Lecture series focused on “ideas worth spreading” : TEDX
50 Sharp : ACUTE
52 Partner of neither : NOR
53 2021 in the Chinese zodiac, with a hint to 17-, 27- and 40-Across : YEAR OF THE OX
55 Styled after : A LA
56 Push : URGE
57 Senator Feinstein : DIANNE
58 Faux ___ : PAS
59 Traditional Thanksgiving desserts : PIES
60 Went bad : ROTTED

Down

1 Naval post : MAST
2 Like the Energizer Bunny : UNTIRING
3 Imagined development : SCENARIO
4 Pizzeria tool : CHEESE GRATER
5 Singer with the 2017 #1 album “Melodrama” : LORDE
6 Nervous speech fillers : ERS
7 Cirque du ___ : SOLEIL
8 Not look bad after all this time : AGE WELL
9 See 22-Across : … GRAS
10 Suffix with racket and rocket : -EER
11 In action : AT WORK
12 Ridicule : DERIDE
13 Speak, old-style : SAYEST
18 Mediocre grade : C-PLUS
22 Noted evening radio address : FIRESIDE CHAT
25 Rapper in court : GAVEL
26 Wine-dark ___, metaphor in Homer’s “Odyssey” : SEA
27 Wallop : BASTE
28 Most frequent, statistically : MODAL
30 Crowded places on Black Friday : MALLS
34 Well-spoken : ELOQUENT
35 Energy source in Minecraft : REDSTONE
36 As well : TOO
38 Measure of land : ACREAGE
39 British pharma giant, informally : GLAXO
40 Quick snooze : CATNAP
41 Colored part of the iris : AREOLA
42 Jeweled bands : TIARAS
43 Chef José ___, founder of World Central Kitchen : ANDRES
47 Ten to one, for one : RATIO
49 Actress Hatcher : TERI
51 Marked, as a ballot : EXED
53 “That’s right!” : YUP!
54 Prez who delivered some 22-Downs : FDR

16 thoughts on “0303-21 NY Times Crossword 3 Mar 21, Wednesday”

  1. 21:21 finally had to just go through the alphabet to get the “D” in 49A/43D. Never heard of either before. Unfortunately I started by guessing letters that would make a word, finally hit success after just starting with “A” and working my way down.

  2. 8:47, no errors. Late to post, as I’ve begun getting up early to go for a long walk before breakfast. (Therapy. I’m recovering from a problem with my back … or … at least … I hope I am … 😳🤨😜.)

    1. How far? Hmm. I was out for about an hour and a half. Once upon a time, I’d have covered about six miles in that time, but now? Certainly four, maybe five miles. I should print myself some maps of the area … 🤨.

  3. 11:22. Good Wednesday time for me. I was a little groggy this morning after a night bike ride yesterday in 6°F weather and slippery powder snow. New puppy actually let me sleep a bit longer today. 😴

  4. 11:23. Alaska Steve beat me by a second. One error. I had TEDs and GLAsO. I still don’t know what the X is in TEDX.

    Best –

  5. No errors but what is a GLAXO?? how does a writer figure out how to put a square peg in a round hole.. kinda impressive

  6. 12:18, no errors. Bogged down in the lower right corner, trying to put ACRID in 50A before ACUTE. GLAXO apparently is the informal identity of GlaxoSmithKlein pharmaceutical company.

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