0310-21 NY Times Crossword 10 Mar 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Nancy Stark & Will Nediger
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Spoiler Alert

Themed answers each start a saying about SPOILING something:

  • 54A Warning you might give before revealing the endings of 20-, 29- and 45-Across? : SPOILER ALERT
  • 20A Start of a saying about getting in the way : TOO MANY COOKS …
  • 29A Start of a saying about negative influence : ONE BAD APPLE …
  • 45A Start of a saying about parental discipline : SPARE THE ROD …

Bill’s time: 9m 01s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • MESHUGA (meshusa)
  • GLOB (slob)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Soft “seat” in the woods : MOSS

There is a traditionally-held belief that in the northern hemisphere there is a heavier growth of moss on the north-facing side of trees. The assumption is that the sun creates a drier environment on the south side of the tree, an environment that is less conducive to the growth of moss.

5 Things that may be hot or dropped : MICS

One of my favorite hot-mic moments took place in 2005, when Paris and London were vying to host the 2012 Olympics. French President Jacques Chirac compared Paris and London in that context while chatting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Chirac said, over a hot mic:

The only thing that they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease … You cannot trust people who have such bad cuisine.

A mic drop takes place when a performer has done particularly well and decides to celebrate by throwing or dropping the microphone to the floor. That doesn’t seem to happen at the performances I tend to frequent …

14 Shocked response to Brutus : ET TU?

The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

20 Start of a saying about getting in the way : TOO MANY COOKS …

… spoil the broth.

23 Acid’s opposite : ALKALI

The “opposite” of an acid is a base. Acids turn litmus paper red, and bases turn it blue. Acids and bases react with each other to form salts. An important subset of the chemicals called bases are alkalis, hydroxides of the alkali metals and of ammonium. The term “alkali” is sometimes used interchangeably with “base”, especially if that base is readily soluble in water.

24 Mad as a hatter : MESHUGA

“Meshuga” is a slang term meaning “crazy, stupid” that come into the language via Yiddish.

28 Wrangler alternative : LEE

The Lee company that is famous for making jeans was formed in 1889 by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.

29 Start of a saying about negative influence : ONE BAD APPLE …

… spoils the whole bunch.

32 Rocker Bob : SEGER

Bob Seger struggled as a performing artist right through the sixties and early seventies before becoming a commercial success in 1976 with the release of his album “Night Moves”. Since then, Seger has recorded songs that have become classics like “We’ve Got Tonight”, “Like a Rock” and “Old Time Rock & Roll”.

33 Elizabeth I, for one : TUDOR

The Wars of the Roses was a series of civil wars fought for the throne of England between the rival Houses of Lancaster (with a symbol of a red rose) and York (with a symbol of a white rose). Ultimately the Lancastrians emerged victorious after Henry Tudor defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry was crowned King Henry VII, and so began the Tudor dynasty. Henry Tudor united the rival houses by marrying his cousin Elizabeth of York. Henry VII had a relatively long reign of 23 years that lasted until his death, after which his son succeeded to the throne as Henry VIII, continuing the relatively short-lived Tudor dynasty. Henry VIII ruled from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry VIII was the last male to lead the House of Tudor, as his daughter Queen Elizabeth I died without issue. When Elizabeth died, the Scottish King James VI succeeded to the throne as James I of England and Ireland. James I was the first English monarch of the House of Stuart.

37 Small, flat-bottomed boat : SKIFF

A skiff is a small boat. The name can be used generically and applied to several unrelated styles of vessel, as long as they are relatively small. The term “skiff” comes from “scif”, the Old High German word for “boat” and a term that also gave us our word “ship”.

40 Stereotypical clown name : BOBO

“Bobo the Clown” was the stage name of Chester Barnett who worked the circus circuit from the 1920s to the 1970s. Barnett gave himself the nickname “Bobo” when he was a child, using it for a persona that he adopted when he ran around the house wearing a paper bag on this head, with two holes cut to allow him to see.

43 “The Persistence of Memory” and “Lobster Telephone” : DALIS

“The Persistence of Memory” is probably Salvador Dalí’s most famous work. It features the celebrated “melting clocks”, and you can see them in the painting in the MoMA in New York City.

“Lobster Telephone” is a work by surrealist artist Salvador Dalí that dates back to 1936. It consists of a telephone with a plaster lobster lying across the handpiece.

45 Start of a saying about parental discipline : SPARE THE ROD …

… and spoil the child.

51 Quick, possibly controversial bit of commentary : HOT TAKE

The term “hot take” is from the world of journalism, and was coined relatively recently. It describes the shabby technique of making a provocative comment about a news event, usually with the intent of encouraging angry responses from readers or listeners.

52 Body of work : OEUVRE

The sum of an artist’s work in his or her lifetime is known as his or her “oeuvre”.

57 Like some shrimp and jets : JUMBO

James Anthony Bailey collaborated with P. T. Barnum to establish Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. It was Bailey who negotiated the deal to buy a famous elephant from London Zoo in 1882, the one called “Jumbo”. It was the exposure Jumbo got with the circus that brought into common usage our term “jumbo” meaning “huge”.

The first jet to be called a “Jumbo” was Boeing’s 747, as it was the first wide-body airliner. A wide-body passenger aircraft has seating laid out with two aisles running the length of the plane. The 747 also has three decks for part of its length, with the lower deck being used for cargo and galley space, and the upper deck for extra passenger seating. The Airbus A380 is called a “Superjumbo” as it has two full decks of passengers.

The terms “prawn” and “shrimp” are often used interchangeably on menus. Over in the UK, the term “prawn” is most common, while “shrimp” is seen more often here in North America. Sometimes there is a differentiation from a food standpoint, with “prawn” being used for larger species and “shrimp” for smaller species. As a result, “jumbo prawns” seems to be an acceptable descriptor for a dish, whereas “jumbo shrimp” seems to be an oxymoron.

60 “Argo” or “Fargo” : FILM

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be very frightening …

“Fargo” is one of my favorite films of all time, and stars perhaps my favorite actress, Frances McDormand. “Fargo” was directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Frances McDormand is Joel’s wife.

61 The McCoys, e.g. : CLAN

The Hatfield and McCoy families of West Virginia and Kentucky were involved in a notorious feud that lasted from 1863 to 1891. The feud was somewhat resurrected in 1979 when representatives from both families appeared on the game show “Family Feud”. The McCoys came out ahead on TV and went home with over $11,000 and a pig.

63 Title matchmaker in an 1815 novel : EMMA

Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel. Emma interfered in that troubled courtship.

64 James or Jones of jazz : ETTA

Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

Etta Jones was a jazz singer who was sometimes known as the “jazz musician’s jazz singer”. Because she has a similar name to Etta James, Jones was often confused with the more famous singer. Jones never really had any huge commercial success though, despite the respect that she engendered within the inner sanctums of the jazz world.

Down

2 Eight-time Oscar nominee for Best Actor : O’TOOLE

Irish actor Peter O’Toole got his big break in the movies when he played the title role in the 1962 epic film “Lawrence of Arabia”. My favorite of O’Toole’s movies is much lighter fare, namely “How to Steal a Million” in which he stars opposite Audrey Hepburn. O’Toole never won an Oscar, but holds the record for the greatest number of Best Actor nominations without a win (8).

4 Highest, on a diploma : SUMMA

When an academic degree is awarded, a level of distinction can be noted depending on the degree of success achieved by the student. There are three types of honor, each with a Latin name:

  • cum laude: meaning “with honor” (literally “with praise”)
  • magna cum laude: meaning “with great honor”
  • summa cum laude: meaning “with highest honor”

Our word “diploma” comes from Greek via Latin, with an original meaning of “state or official document”. The Greek word “diploma” described a license or a chart, and originally meant “paper doubled over” from “diploos”, the word for “double”.

8 California county north of Marin : SONOMA

The San Francisco Bay Area comprises the nine counties that impinge on the San Francisco Bay itself: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma. The region also includes the major cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

9 Refuses to carry out : BALKS AT

To balk is to stop and refuse to go on. It’s not just a baseball term …

10 They’re usually packed on St. Patrick’s Day : IRISH PUBS

Not this year …

22 Subj. of Charlotte Brewer’s “Treasure-House of the Language” : OED

The “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) contains over 600,000 “main” entries and 59 million words in total. The longest entry for one word in the second edition of the OED is the verb “set”. When the third edition was published in 2007, the longest entry for a single word became the verb “put”. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most-quoted author in the OED is William Shakespeare, with his most quoted work being “Hamlet”. The most-quoted female author is George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans).

31 Bouquet thrower : BRIDE

“Bouquet” comes from the French word for “bunch” in the sense of “bunch of flowers”. In French, the term is derived from an older word describing a little wood or small grove of trees.

35 Prime Cuts Extra Gravy brand : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

36 Strip in the bedroom, maybe : SLAT

A blind in a window is often composed of slats.

42 Boomerangs for Aboriginal Australians, e.g. : WEAPONS

The complete etymology of the word “boomerang” is a little unclear, but it definitely comes from the aboriginal name for a “returning throw-stick”. We tend to be impressed by the fact boomerangs, when thrown correctly, return to the thrower. In fact, it is likely that the first returning boomerangs were developed by accident, when thousands of years ago hunters were trying to change the shape of their weapons, in order to make them fly straight!

Even though the term “aborigine” is often associated with the indigenous peoples of Australia, in the widest sense “aboriginal” refers to any indigenous race. The Aborigines were a people in Roman mythology, the oldest inhabitants of central Italy.

46 Ring ref’s decision : TKO

In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

47 Calfless cow : HEIFER

A calf is a young cow of either sex that is not more than a year old. A heifer is a young cow that has not calved, and the term “cow” can be used for a female of the species that has given birth.

48 Slender : SVELTE

“Svelte” comes into English from Latin, via the Italian “svelto” meaning “stretched out”. Something or someone described as svelte would be slender and graceful.

49 Slips : ERRATA

“Errata” is the past participle of the Latin word “errare” meaning “to err”. We use “errata” (singular “erratum”) to describe a list of errors that have been noted in some publication.

50 After-meal amenity : WET NAP

“Wet nap” is a term commonly used for a wet wipe, a manufactured paper tissue that comes pre-moistened. Wet naps are often provided after a meal at some restaurants after a finger-food dish, or perhaps as a refresher on an airplane. I think that “nap” is short for “napkin”, and that “Wet-Nap” is a brand name.

53 Worrier’s ailment, it’s said : ULCER

Until fairly recently, a peptic ulcer was believed to be caused by undue amounts of stress in one’s life. It is now known that 70-90% of all peptic ulcers are in fact associated with a particular bacterium.

55 Garnish for a gimlet : LIME

A gimlet is a relatively simple cocktail that is traditionally made using just gin and lime juice. The trend in more recent times is to replace the gin with vodka.

57 Noisy bird : JAY

The bird known as a “jay” is sometimes called a “magpie”, although the terms are not completely interchangeable.

59 Hamm with two Olympic gold medals : MIA

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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Soft “seat” in the woods : MOSS
5 Things that may be hot or dropped : MICS
9 It’s a lot to assume : BIG IF
14 Shocked response to Brutus : ET TU?
15 Come back : ECHO
16 Cropped up : AROSE
17 Good name for an average Joe : NORM
18 Related : AKIN
19 Moving gracefully : LITHE
20 Start of a saying about getting in the way : TOO MANY COOKS …
23 Acid’s opposite : ALKALI
24 Mad as a hatter : MESHUGA
28 Wrangler alternative : LEE
29 Start of a saying about negative influence : ONE BAD APPLE …
32 Rocker Bob : SEGER
33 Elizabeth I, for one : TUDOR
34 Center of a sting operation? : WASP
37 Small, flat-bottomed boat : SKIFF
40 Stereotypical clown name : BOBO
41 Concede : ALLOW
43 “The Persistence of Memory” and “Lobster Telephone” : DALIS
45 Start of a saying about parental discipline : SPARE THE ROD …
48 Ply the needle : SEW
51 Quick, possibly controversial bit of commentary : HOT TAKE
52 Body of work : OEUVRE
54 Warning you might give before revealing the endings of 20-, 29- and 45-Across? : SPOILER ALERT
57 Like some shrimp and jets : JUMBO
60 “Argo” or “Fargo” : FILM
61 The McCoys, e.g. : CLAN
62 ___-American (like about 6% of the U.S.) : ASIAN
63 Title matchmaker in an 1815 novel : EMMA
64 James or Jones of jazz : ETTA
65 Junior and senior : YEARS
66 Common medical advice : REST
67 Harvest : REAP

Down

1 Like solving crosswords : MENTAL
2 Eight-time Oscar nominee for Best Actor : O’TOOLE
3 Action in tennis, swimming and golf : STROKE
4 Highest, on a diploma : SUMMA
5 Polysemous words have multiple of these : MEANINGS
6 Repulsive : ICKY
7 Smart : CHIC
8 California county north of Marin : SONOMA
9 Refuses to carry out : BALKS AT
10 They’re usually packed on St. Patrick’s Day : IRISH PUBS
11 Caught : GOT
12 “Kinda” : ISH
13 Finder’s ___ : FEE
21 Common cosmetics component : ALOE
22 Subj. of Charlotte Brewer’s “Treasure-House of the Language” : OED
25 Popular prom hairstyle : UPDO
26 Apt rhyme for “blob” : GLOB
27 Sleek, in auto-speak : AERO
30 Hair-raising cry : EEK!
31 Bouquet thrower : BRIDE
32 Place to watch a game with friends : SPORTS BAR
34 Draw, colloquially : WASH
35 Prime Cuts Extra Gravy brand : ALPO
36 Strip in the bedroom, maybe : SLAT
38 Partner of away : FAR
39 Tripping hazard : FLOOR MAT
42 Boomerangs for Aboriginal Australians, e.g. : WEAPONS
44 It might occur to you : IDEA
46 Ring ref’s decision : TKO
47 Calfless cow : HEIFER
48 Slender : SVELTE
49 Slips : ERRATA
50 After-meal amenity : WET NAP
53 Worrier’s ailment, it’s said : ULCER
55 Garnish for a gimlet : LIME
56 Classic boulevard liners : ELMS
57 Noisy bird : JAY
58 Application : USE
59 Hamm with two Olympic gold medals : MIA

15 thoughts on “0310-21 NY Times Crossword 10 Mar 21, Wednesday”

  1. 10:07 Same miscues as @Bill. Add to that my go-to answer for a clown being BOZO and PROMS vs. YEARS for 65A. Throw in a couple fat fingers as well for a solve with a certain amount of 49D.

    I just hate it when my afternoon nap turns into a wet one, either internally or externally to my clothing. See 50D 🙂

  2. 11:17. Theme came quickly enough. I had BOzO before BOBO, but otherwise a smooth solve.

    Last year it was St. Patrick’s Day when all of Las Vegas shutdown. I guess technically it was midnight on the 18th. It’s been an interesting year since. I plan on being out drinking that night this year FWIW.

    I read today that Barbie (the doll) turns 62 today. She looks pretty good for 62…

    Best –

  3. 10:51, no errors. I also had BOZO before BOBO. Running very late today. (Among other things, I went grocery shopping, as they are predicting two feet of snow for Denver over the next four days. God knows we need it, but … two feet!? Geez … 😜.)

  4. Not to worry, I’m here to take last place…17:36, but we had 70 degrees in western NY today, so solving outdoors was worth the extra time.

  5. Bill, your explanation for 36D is certainly plausible, but could apply to any room. I would think the better reference would have been to the wood that supports a mattress and box spring on the frame of a bed.

    Not to be snarky…….

  6. 25:13 no errors but I started out with the same error as Bill but something didn’t seem right and going through the alphabet I got to G and the light came on…Don’t you just love the language world tour?
    Stay safe😀
    @Duncan…you may never read this but last place is “mine all mine”

    1. Ah, yes! Sveldt! An adjective often applied to those sleekly-groomed, ever-so-cool, cats on the grassy plains of southern Africa! 😜

  7. No errors. I also had a problem at the MESHUGA/GLOB cross and was thinking the exact same letters as @Bill, et.al. Fortunately I made the corrections after a careful analysis and came away with the win.

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