0309-21 NY Times Crossword 9 Mar 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Simon Marotte
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Economics

Themed answers include the names of cars as hidden words, but in REVERSE:

  • 38A Certain auto gear … as suggested by the circled letters : REVERSE
  • 17A They often come out at night : FALSE TEETH (hiding TESLA in reverse)
  • 28A First lady of 2001 to ’09 : LAURA BUSH (hiding SUBARU in reverse)
  • 47A Was destined to fail : HAD NO HOPE (hiding HONDA in reverse)
  • 62A Host of Marco Polo : KUBLAI KHAN (hiding KIA in reverse)

Bill’s time: 6m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Mockumentary Kazakh journalist : BORAT

Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and comic actor from England. Baron Cohen is perhaps most famous for playing the characters Borat and Ali G on the small and large screens. I’m wasn’t a fan, but I must admit that I really enjoyed 2020’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”.

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was also the last of the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) to declare itself independent from Russia.

10 Spring dance : PROM

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

16 Domain of Venus and Aphrodite : LOVE

Venus was the Roman goddess of love and, according to Roman myth, was the mother of the Roman people. Her Greek counterpart was Aphrodite.

19 “Couldn’t have said it better!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

25 Hospital glove material : LATEX

Latex is a naturally occurring polymer made by some plants that can also be made synthetically. About one in ten of the flowering plants in the world make the milky fluid called latex. It serves as a defense against insects and is exuded when a plant is injured or attacked by insects. Latex is collected commercially and is the source of natural rubber, which can be used to make things such as gloves, condoms and balloons.

28 First lady of 2001 to ’09 : LAURA BUSH

Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir “Spoken from the Heart” published in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master’s degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given that background, it’s not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.

33 Like the “f” replaced by an apostrophe in “man-o’-war” : ELIDED

To elide is to pass over, omit or slur a syllable when speaking.

35 Prefix with athlete : TRI-

An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked in the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finishes first would be called “the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is the event that everyone wants to win.

37 Mo. with Earth Day : APR

Earth Day was founded in the US, where it was introduced by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Earth Day was designed to increase awareness and appreciation of our planet’s natural environment. The original Earth Day was on April 22nd, 1970. Decades later, the day is observed in over 175 countries.

41 Sacred animal to Hindus : COW

A sacred cow is something that is immune from criticism or questioning. The phrase alludes to the reverence for cows in the Hindu tradition. The use of figurative idiom seems to have originated in the late 1800s in the US.

44 Lucy of “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”.

50 Ponied up, in poker : ANTED

“To pony up” means “to pay”. Apparently, the term originated as slang use of the Latin term “legem pone” that was once used for “money”. “Legem Pone” was the title of the Psalm that was read out on March 25 each year, and March 25 was the first payday of the year in days gone by.

54 Problem for sleepers : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

62 Host of Marco Polo : KUBLAI KHAN

Kublai Khan was the leader of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294. Kublai Khan was a grandson of Genghis Khan. Kublai Khan had a summer garden at Kanadu, which famously was the subject of the 1797 poem “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice and a famous traveler throughout Asia. Polo journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco tends to be the member of the party we remember today though, because it was he who documented their travels in a book called “Il Milione”.

69 Part of G.D.P. : GROSS

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

Down

1 “Back to the Future” bully : BIFF

Biff Tannen (and variants) is the bully character in the “Back to Future” trilogy. He is played by Thomas F. Wilson.

5 Simon & Garfunkel hit in which “Lie-la-lie, lie-la-lie la lie-la-lie” is repeatedly sung : THE BOXER

Simon & Garfunkel’s 1968 hit “The Boxer” is remarkable for several reasons, I think, not least of which is the lovely chorus that simply uses the lyrics “lie-la-lie”. Paul Simon tells us that he originally intended to come up with words, and just used “lie-la-lie” as a placeholder, a temporary measure. Well, sometimes we don’t need to hear the words …

6 Longtime “All Things Considered” host Robert : SIEGEL

“All Things Considered” is the flagship news broadcast by NPR that airs for two hours every evening.

7 “Pocket rockets,” in poker : ACES

A pair of aces are referred to as pocket rockets, particularly when holding them in the hand (the pocket) in the popular variant of poker known as Texas hold ‘em. The term “rockets” is used as the letters A written side-by-side look like two small rockets on the launchpad (AA).

9 ___ Wednesday : ASH

In the Christian tradition, the first day in the season of Lent is called Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday, Palm Crosses from the prior year’s Palm Sunday are burned. The resulting ashes are mixed with sacred oil and then used to anoint worshipers on the forehead with the shape of a cross.

10 Pill in experimental studies : PLACEBO

A placebo is a medical treatment that is ineffective, but that is deliberately formulated to deceive the patient into thinking it is real. Placebos can be given as control treatments in trials, and so the level of deception can be relatively low, as the patients are aware of the possibility of being given an ineffective treatment. The term “placebo” is the Latin word for “I shall please”. The idea is that the treatment is given more to please than to benefit the patient.

11 The Eternal City, to natives : ROMA

The Italian capital of Rome is known as the Eternal City, a name given by ancient Roman poets and writers.

18 Stuff in cigarettes : TAR

The partially-combusted particulate matter that is produced as a cigarette burns forms a resinous material called “tar”. Cigarette tar is different from the tar used on roads, but it is still very toxic. Marijuana smoke produces a very similar tar to cigarette smoke, and is just as dangerous.

21 Victorian ___ : ERA

The Victorian era was a period in British history from 1837 to 1901 that is defined by the reign of Queen Victoria. Generally speaking, the Victorian era was a period of peace and prosperity for the UK. How times have changed …

34 National Capital Territory of India : DELHI

New Delhi is the capital city of India. New Delhi resides within the National Capital Territory of Delhi (otherwise known as the metropolis of Delhi). New Delhi and Delhi, therefore, are two different things.

39 One of a family of stringed instruments : VIOL

The viola da gamba (also called simply “viol”) is a bass instrument in what is known as the viol family, with a tonal range that about matches that of the modern-day cello. It is the second largest of all the viols, so is played resting on the floor between the legs. In fact, “viola da gamba” is Italian translating into “viol for the leg”.

46 Adidas or Air Jordan : SNEAKER

The Adidas brand dates back to when Adolf “Adi” Dassler started making his own sports shoes in his mother’s laundry room in Bavaria after returning from WWI. With his brother, Adi founded Dassler shoes. The company’s big break came in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics, when Adi persuaded American sprinter Jesse Owens to use his shoes, and with the success of Jesse Owens came success for the fledgling shoe company. After WWII the brothers split, acrimoniously. Adi’s brother, Ru-dolf Da-ssler, formed “Ruda” shoes (later to become Puma), and Adi Das-sler formed “Adidas”.

Air Jordan is a Nike brand of shoe (and other apparel) endorsed by NBA great Michael Jordan. The silhouette of a basketball player that features on Air Jordans is known as the “Jumpman” logo.

48 Some gametes : OVA

A gamete is a reproductive cell that has half the full complement of genes needed to make a normal cell. In sexual reproduction, it takes two gametes, one from each parent, to fuse into one cell which then develops into a new organism. The female gamete is the ovum, and the male the sperm.

57 Skier’s conveyance : T-BAR

A T-bar is a ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of a T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, which is a similar device but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

58 Former transportation secretary Elaine : CHAO

When President George W. Bush appointed Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor, he made a bit of history as Chao became the first Chinese American in history to hold a cabinet post. It turned out that Chao became the only cabinet member to hold her post for President Bush’s full eight years in office. In 1993, Chao married Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader of the US Senate.

59 Back muscles, in brief : LATS

The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, and are the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.

60 First son of Seth : ENOS

Enos was the son of Seth, and therefore the grandson of Adam and Eve, and nephew of Cain and Abel. According to the ancient Jewish work called the Book of Jubilees, Enos married his own sister Noam.

63 “Suits” network : USA

The USA Network cable television channel has been around since 1971. Back in 1971, it was called the Madison Square Garden Network, and became USA in 1979.

“Suits” is an entertaining, albeit formulaic, legal drama that is set in New York City. One of the main characters in the show Mike Ross, a brilliant law school dropout who poses as a law associate. Mike Ross’ love interest is paralegal Rachel Zane. Zane is played by actress Meghan Markle, who married the UK’s Prince Harry in 2018.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Mockumentary Kazakh journalist : BORAT
6 “The Avengers” franchise, e.g. : SAGA
10 Spring dance : PROM
14 Luck o’ the ___ : IRISH
15 Treats, as a swollen ankle : ICES
16 Domain of Venus and Aphrodite : LOVE
17 They often come out at night : FALSE TEETH
19 “Couldn’t have said it better!” : AMEN!
20 Run-down hotels : FLEABAGS
21 Modern birthday greeting : E-CARD
22 Antiquity : YORE
23 Shave : PARE
25 Hospital glove material : LATEX
28 First lady of 2001 to ’09 : LAURA BUSH
33 Like the “f” replaced by an apostrophe in “man-o’-war” : ELIDED
35 Prefix with athlete : TRI-
36 ___ and for all : ONCE
37 Mo. with Earth Day : APR
38 Certain auto gear … as suggested by the circled letters : REVERSE
41 Sacred animal to Hindus : COW
42 “Can’t You See That ___ Mine” (1964 hit) : SHE’S
44 Lucy of “Elementary” : LIU
45 Make certain : ENSURE
47 Was destined to fail : HAD NO HOPE
50 Ponied up, in poker : ANTED
51 Wickedness : EVIL
52 Wickedness : VICE
54 Problem for sleepers : APNEA
57 What might hold little suckers? : TENTACLE
61 Darling : DEAR
62 Host of Marco Polo : KUBLAI KHAN
64 Female equivalent of a knight : DAME
65 Words to an “old chap” : I SAY
66 “Super!” : NEATO!
67 Transport down a hill : SLED
68 “Phooey!” : DARN!
69 Part of G.D.P. : GROSS

Down

1 “Back to the Future” bully : BIFF
2 Kind of test it’s hard to cheat on : ORAL
3 Irritate : RILE
4 Tested, as ore : ASSAYED
5 Simon & Garfunkel hit in which “Lie-la-lie, lie-la-lie la lie-la-lie” is repeatedly sung : THE BOXER
6 Longtime “All Things Considered” host Robert : SIEGEL
7 “Pocket rockets,” in poker : ACES
8 Understand : GET
9 ___ Wednesday : ASH
10 Pill in experimental studies : PLACEBO
11 The Eternal City, to natives : ROMA
12 Finished : OVER
13 Repair : MEND
18 Stuff in cigarettes : TAR
21 Victorian ___ : ERA
23 Car or cat sound : PURR
24 Emerge, as a problem : ARISE
25 Dog collar attachment : LEASH
26 ___ wolf (pack leader) : ALPHA
27 Weary : TIRED
29 Consumed quickly and fully : ATE UP
30 Raw, as a gem : UNCUT
31 Movie music : SCORE
32 Chopped : HEWED
34 National Capital Territory of India : DELHI
39 One of a family of stringed instruments : VIOL
40 Passing, as laws : ENACTING
43 Smiled disparagingly : SNEERED
46 Adidas or Air Jordan : SNEAKER
48 Some gametes : OVA
49 ___ Ashford, National Track and Field Hall of Famer : EVELYN
53 Like peas ___ pod : IN A
54 Tacks on : ADDS
55 Sound of church bells : PEAL
56 What every make of auto has : NAME
57 Skier’s conveyance : T-BAR
58 Former transportation secretary Elaine : CHAO
59 Back muscles, in brief : LATS
60 First son of Seth : ENOS
62 Joke (with) : KID
63 “Suits” network : USA

5 thoughts on “0309-21 NY Times Crossword 9 Mar 21, Tuesday”

  1. 8:03 slight stumble because I do the down answers first and misspelled Robert Siegel’s name…which is sad based on how often I heard his voice on our local PBS affiliate…

  2. 7:14. I was locked out of posting yesterday. We’ll see if this one goes through. Yesterday I attempted to post, and I got a message that I posted too soon or something like that. So we’ll see if I write all of this for nothing again.

    Very clever theme. LAURA BUSH has SUBARU backwards in her name? Where are the conspiracy theorists?? But I get a kick out of the fact that if you add HONDA to HOPE, you have HAD NO HOPE. Maybe the Toyota people should run with that…

    I know a limerick that contains “pocket rocket”, but as usual I’m much too classy to mention it.

    Best –

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