0322-21 NY Times Crossword 22 Mar 21, Monday

Constructed by: Daniel Grinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Firestarter

Themed answers each start with a FIRE STARTER:

  • 58A 1980 Stephen King novel … or a hint to the beginnings of 17-, 29- and 45-Across : FIRESTARTER or FIRE STARTER
  • 17A Collectible toy vehicle : MATCHBOX CAR
  • 29A Birthplace of General Motors : FLINT, MICHIGAN
  • 45A Certain online dating bio : TINDER PROFILE

Bill’s time: 5m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Submitted a résumé : APPLIED

A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.

11 Old-fashioned record collection, for short : LPS

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

15 Comedian Jimmy who joked of his “schnozzola” : DURANTE

Jimmy Durante was a very talented entertainer, with that wonderful, gravelly voice, as well as that large nose that he used in so much of his humor (and earned him the nickname “Schnozzola”). Durante appeared in the Broadway stage musical “Jumbo” in 1935. In one scene, he leads a live elephant across the stage, and gets stopped by a police officer who asks, “What are you doing with that elephant?” Durante replies “What elephant?” and brings the house down every night.

16 The “A” of I.P.A. : ALE

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

17 Collectible toy vehicle : MATCHBOX CAR

The Matchbox brand of toy cars were introduced in 1953, and how I loved them growing up. They were called Matchbox cars because they were packed in boxes that looked like regular matchboxes. The brand was English, but the name spread around the world. The brand was so popular that the term “matchbox car” came to mean any small, die-cast toy car, regardless of who made it.

19 Long-bodied jazz instrument, for short : SAX

The saxophone was invented by Belgian musician Adolphe Sax, hence the name. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

23 Couch : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

24 Bygone Swedish auto : SAAB

“SAAB” stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. Although we usually think of SAAB as an auto manufacturer, it is mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automotive division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011. A Chinese consortium purchased the assets of SAAB Automotive in 2012, and so SAAB vehicles are in production again. The new vehicles are using the SAAB name, but cannot use the SAAB griffin logo, the rights to which have been retained by the mother company.

27 Energy-efficient illumination sources, for short : LEDS

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a specialized form of semiconductor that when switched on releases photons (light). LEDs were used in early digital watches, and are getting more and more popular even though their use in electronic equipment is fading away. LEDs are used as replacements for the much less-efficient tungsten light bulbs. I replaced all of my tungsten Xmas lights a few years ago and saved a lot on my electricity bill.

29 Birthplace of General Motors : FLINT, MICHIGAN

Flint, Michigan is perhaps best known as the original home to General Motors (now headquartered in Detroit). The city of Flint takes its name from the Flint River on which it lies. The local Native Americans called the river, “River of Flint”, hence the name in English.

General Motors (GM) was the largest manufacturer of vehicles in the world for 77 straight years, at least in terms of numbers of cars sold, from 1931 until 2007. GM was established in 1908 in Flint, Michigan as a holding company for Buick, which in turn had been founded in 1899. GM’s Buick brand is the oldest, still-active automotive brand in the US. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009, and emerged from that bankruptcy just one month later, with a lot of help from the US taxpayer. In order to do so, GM had to shut down its Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn operations. The revamped General Motors then had a huge Initial Public Offering in 2010 that raised $23 billion.

34 Flowing, musically : LEGATO

Staccato (stac.) is a musical direction signifying that notes should be played in a disconnected form. The opposite of staccato would be legato, indicating long and continuous notes played very smoothly.

35 Those who are not among us (or are they?) : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

38 Locale for the radius and ulna : ARM

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

43 Prefix with red or structure : INFRA-

At either end of the visible light spectrum are the invisible forms of radiation known as infrared (IR) light and ultraviolet (UV) light. IR light lies just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum, and UV light lies just below the violet end.

45 Certain online dating bio : TINDER PROFILE

Tinder is a matchmaking app that uses Facebook profiles. Users “swipe” photos of potential matches, either to the right (“like”) or to the left (“not interested”). Users who “match” each other can then chat within the app.

49 Yanks’ opponents in the Civil War : REBS

During the Civil War, the personification of the Southern states was “Johnny Reb”. The northern equivalent was “Billy Yank”.

50 Plummet : DROP

To plummet is to plunge downwards. The verb comes from the noun “plummet”, which is an alternative name for a plumb bob. A plumb bob is a weight that is suspended from a string so as to provide a vertical reference line.

56 Sierra ___ (African land) : LEONE

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa that lies on the Atlantic Coast. The capital city of Freetown was originally set up as a colony to house the “Black Poor” of London, England. These people were mainly freed British slaves of Caribbean descent who were living a miserable life in the run-down parts of London. Perhaps to help the impoverished souls, perhaps to rid the streets of “a problem”, three ships were chartered in 1787 to transport a group of blacks, with some whites, to a piece of land purchased in Sierra Leone. Those who made the voyage were granted British citizenship and protection. The descendants of these immigrants, and others who made the journey over the next 60 years, make up the ethnic group that’s today called the Sierra Leone Creole.

58 1980 Stephen King novel … or a hint to the beginnings of 17-, 29- and 45-Across : FIRESTARTER or FIRE STARTER

Stephen King’s novel “Firestarter” was adapted into a movie of the same name in 1984 starring Drew Barrymore.

64 Squid’s defense : INK

Octopodes and squid have the ability to release a dark pigment into the water as a means of escape. The dark pigment is called cephalopod ink (the squid and octopus belong to the class cephalopoda) and is stored in an ink sac. The dark color is created by melanin, the same substance that acts as a pigment in human skin.

66 Glittery dress adornments : SEQUINS

Sequins are ornamental discs that glisten and are often used to decorate clothing. The term “sequin” was first recorded in the early 1800s. Prior to that date, “sequin” was the French name for a former Italian and Turkish coin. The ornamental discs were so called as they were deemed to resemble gold coins.

67 Investments with account nos. : CDS

A certificate of deposit (CD) is like a less-flexible and higher-paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period, one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.

Down

1 Door parts : JAMBS

A door jamb or window jamb is the vertical portion of the frame. The term “jamb” comes from the French word “jambe” meaning “leg”.

4 Condition that affects concentration, for short : ADHD

The “official” name for the condition we sometimes still refer to as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD) is “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD).

5 Stop on a drinker’s “crawl” : PUB

A pub crawl (not that I’ve ever been on one!) is a tour of a selection of local public houses. One usually takes one drink at each stop, which might perhaps explain the use of the word “crawl” …

8 Nighttime demons : INCUBI

In folklore, a succubus is a female demon that takes on the form of an attractive female in order to seduce unwitting men. The succubus draws energy from the seduced men in order to survive, using sexual intercourse in the same way that a vampire might suck blood for the same purpose. The word succubus derives from the Latin “succubare”, itself from “sub” “cubare” meaning “to lie under”. There is a male equivalent to a succubus, namely an incubus.

9 Greek letters that rhyme with three other letters : ETAS

The four rhyming Greek letters are: beta, zeta, eta and theta.

10 Laura with an Oscar and an Emmy : DERN

Actress Laura Dern is the daughter of the actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. Among her many notable roles, Laura Dern played the Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the 2008 movie “Recount”, and Dr. Ellie Sattler in the 1993 blockbuster “Jurassic Park”.

11 So-called “Sin City” : LAS VEGAS

Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present in the area courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by local farmers. Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1905, in the days when it was a stopping-off point for pioneers travelling west. It eventually became a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as travelers began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, which is still a popular attraction. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas is the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (Chicago is the most populous city founded in the 19th century, just in case you were wondering).

18 Classic eyes for Frosty : COALS

“Frosty the Snowman” is a song that was first recorded by Gene Autry, in 1950. The song was specifically written in the hope that it would become a follow-up hit to Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that topped the charts the previous year.

22 Prank interviewer who referred to Buzz Aldrin as “Buzz Lightyear” : ALI G

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”.

Buzz Aldrin was a true American hero, I’d say. He flew 66 combat missions in Korea, shot down two MiGs, earned his Sc. D. degree from MIT, and was one of the two men who landed on the moon for the first time. Now that man, he lived a life worth living.

1995’s “Toy Story” was the world’s first feature-length computer-animated movie. “Toy Story” was also the studio Pixar’s first production. The main roles in the film are Buzz Lightyear and Woody, who are voiced by Tim Allen and Tom Hanks respectively. Hanks was the first choice to voice Woody, but Allen was asked to voice Buzz after Billy Crystal turned down the role.

26 Band aid : AMP

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

30 Imbecilic : INANE

Our word “inane” meaning “silly, lacking substance” comes from the Latin “inanitis” meaning “empty space”.

The unsavory word “imbecile” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with moderate to severe mental retardation. The term comes from the Latin “imbecillus” meaning “weak, feeble”, which was extended to mean “weak-minded”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

  • “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
  • “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
  • “moron” …IQ of 51-70

31 White ___ of Dover : CLIFFS

Dover is a town and port in the county of Kent on the south coast of England. Dover lies just 25 miles from the coast of France, and is a terminus on the much-used Dover-Calais ferry service. The town is also famous for its magnificent chalk cliffs that are known as the White Cliffs of Dover.

32 Artist Matisse : HENRI

Henri Matisse was a French artist renowned for his contribution to modern art. In his early career, Matisse was classed as a “fauve”, one of the group of artists known as the “wild beasts” who emphasized strong color over realism in their works. He was a lifelong friend of Pablo Picasso, and the two were considered to be good-natured rivals so their works are often compared. One major difference between their individual portfolios is that Picasso tended to paint from his imagination, whereas Matisse tended to use nature as his inspiration.

35 Famous almost-last words from Caesar : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

42 Skunk funk : ODOR

Skunks have anal scent glands that can be used as defensive weapons. The glands produce sulfur-containing chemicals that have a really awful smell and that can irritate the eyes and skin.

44 Tree in the birch family : ALDER

Alder trees are deciduous (i.e. not evergreen), and the fruit of the tree is called a “catkin”. The tree carries both male and female catkins that look very similar to each other, but the male catkin is longer than the female. Alders are pollinated by wind usually, although bees can play a role.

46 Algebra, for calc, e.g. : PREREQ

Algebra (alg.) is a branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations are performed on variables rather than specific numbers (x,y etc). The term “algebra” comes from the Arabic “al jebr” meaning “reunion of broken parts”.

The Latin word “calculus” was originally used for a reckoning or an account, and originally applied to a pebble that was used to maintain a count. The Latin word came from the Greek for a pebble, “khalix”.

54 Tightest of pals, in brief : BFFS

Best friend forever (BFF)

55 Old Italian money : LIRE

The word “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. “Lira” comes from the Latin for “pound” and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro in 2002.

56 Blokes : LADS

“Bloke” is British slang for “fellow”. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

57 Funny Tina : FEY

Comic actress Tina Fey has a scar on her face a few inches long on her left cheek, which I was shocked to learn was caused by a childhood “slashing” incident. When she was just five years old and playing in the alley behind her house, someone just came up to her and slashed her with a knife. How sad!

59 ___ de vie : EAU

Eau de vie is a clear, colorless fruit brandy. “Eau de vie” is French for “water of life”.

61 Point value for a “Z” in Scrabble : TEN

The game of Scrabble has been produced in many international versions, and each of these editions has its own tile distribution to suit the local language. For example, in English we have two tiles worth ten points: one “Q” and one “Z”. If you play the game in French then there are five tiles worth ten points: one “K”, one “W”, one “X”, one “Y” and one “Z”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Quick punch : JAB
4 Submitted a résumé : APPLIED
11 Old-fashioned record collection, for short : LPS
14 Friend in France : AMI
15 Comedian Jimmy who joked of his “schnozzola” : DURANTE
16 The “A” of I.P.A. : ALE
17 Collectible toy vehicle : MATCHBOX CAR
19 Long-bodied jazz instrument, for short : SAX
20 Mother hen’s responsibility : BROOD
21 Mil. branch with dress blues and dress whites : US NAVY
23 Couch : SOFA
24 Bygone Swedish auto : SAAB
27 Energy-efficient illumination sources, for short : LEDS
29 Birthplace of General Motors : FLINT, MICHIGAN
33 Nosy sort : SNOOP
34 Flowing, musically : LEGATO
35 Those who are not among us (or are they?) : ETS
38 Locale for the radius and ulna : ARM
39 Family : KIN
40 Use needle and thread : SEW
41 “Here, you’ll like it!” : TRY ONE!
43 Prefix with red or structure : INFRA-
45 Certain online dating bio : TINDER PROFILE
48 No more than : UP TO
49 Yanks’ opponents in the Civil War : REBS
50 Plummet : DROP
53 Birdsong : WARBLE
56 Sierra ___ (African land) : LEONE
57 Predicament : FIX
58 1980 Stephen King novel … or a hint to the beginnings of 17-, 29- and 45-Across : FIRESTARTER or FIRE STARTER
62 Preceding, poetically : ERE
63 Flipped (out) : FREAKED
64 Squid’s defense : INK
65 “You called?” : YES?
66 Glittery dress adornments : SEQUINS
67 Investments with account nos. : CDS

Down

1 Door parts : JAMBS
2 Bitter Italian liqueur : AMARO
3 Removed with the teeth : BIT OFF
4 Condition that affects concentration, for short : ADHD
5 Stop on a drinker’s “crawl” : PUB
6 Expert : PRO
7 Not stringently enforcing the rules : LAX
8 Nighttime demons : INCUBI
9 Greek letters that rhyme with three other letters : ETAS
10 Laura with an Oscar and an Emmy : DERN
11 So-called “Sin City” : LAS VEGAS
12 Tots’ time together : PLAY DATE
13 Health class subject : SEX
18 Classic eyes for Frosty : COALS
22 Prank interviewer who referred to Buzz Aldrin as “Buzz Lightyear” : ALI G
24 Person who might bother a bedmate : SNORER
25 Elemental part of an element : ATOM
26 Band aid : AMP
28 Contents of some drifts : SNOW
30 Imbecilic : INANE
31 White ___ of Dover : CLIFFS
32 Artist Matisse : HENRI
35 Famous almost-last words from Caesar : ET TU?
36 Security alarm trigger : TRIPWIRE
37 They establish order in language classes : SYNTAXES
39 Door part : KNOB
42 Skunk funk : ODOR
43 Rageaholic’s state : IRE
44 Tree in the birch family : ALDER
46 Algebra, for calc, e.g. : PREREQ
47 Like art that might offend prudish sorts : EROTIC
51 Without interruption : ON END
52 Corner offices and prime parking spots, for company V.I.P.s : PERKS
54 Tightest of pals, in brief : BFFS
55 Old Italian money : LIRE
56 Blokes : LADS
57 Funny Tina : FEY
59 ___ de vie : EAU
60 Hit the slopes : SKI
61 Point value for a “Z” in Scrabble : TEN

10 thoughts on “0322-21 NY Times Crossword 22 Mar 21, Monday”

  1. 5:45, no errors. What @Ron said, except that my flip of a mental coin gave me ALDER instead of ASPEN, so … no pause for reflection at the end … 🙂.

  2. 7:47. Monday puzzle. That would be fine except they seem to always come on a Monday.

    Back in June my refrigerator died. I bought a new one and on the day they were delivering the new one, the old one started working again. I got rid of it anyway since I figured it was just messing with me, and I kept the new one.

    Last week my water heater stopped working. It was only 2 years old and stopped working for no reason. The pilot light was still on, but the control (gas control valve) just wasn’t telling it to heat up. I went 5 days without hot water. It was under warranty so the company (Rheem) sent me a replacement part gratis. It just arrived this morning, and OF COURSE the water heater has now started working again. I have all the hot water I want.

    I’ve decided to let the current box stay in place. I’ll leave it there until it fails. Then I’ll replace it with the new one, if that happens.

    My main concern is how the appliance gods within my house will respond to this action. They seem to punish my every move so I’m not sure how they’ll handle this one. Hmmm.

    Am I overthinking all of this??

    Best –

    1. @Jeff … Time for a household exorcism! (And I can relate; similar things have happened to me in the past!)

    2. We had the ice maker in the refrigerator quit. Decided to just make ice the old fashioned way after we got the quote to repair it. MANY months later it decided to resume working. One of life’s small victories!

  3. 8:34, no errors. Stumbled a couple of times. Had the MAT for 17A, and immediately jumped to MATTEL….

    @Bill: thanks for your explanation of INFRARED. As we have recently learned, INFRASTRUCTURE has been redefined to mean “everything”.

  4. No errors.. quick run of things.. loved the appliance story.. so typical of homeownership. One goes and it’s a domino affect.

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