0324-21 NY Times Crossword 24 Mar 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Amanda Rafkin & Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Who Wore It Better?

Themed answers are items of clothing worn by two characters named in the corresponding clue:

  • 38 Question asked regarding two red-carpet photos of those named in the starred clues? : WHO WORE IT BETTER?
  • 17 *Donald Duck or Popeye? : SAILOR SUIT
  • 24 *Minions or Mario? : DENIM OVERALLS
  • 50 *Michael Darling or Baby Smurf? : FOOTIE PAJAMAS
  • 61 *Inspector Gadget or McGruff the Crime Dog? : TRENCH COAT

Bill’s time: 10m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Onetime Volvo competitors : SAABS

“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.

Volvo is a Swedish manufacturer of cars, trucks and construction equipment. The Volvo name was chosen as “volvo” is Latin for “I roll”.

9 Title character of a John Irving novel : GARP

John Irving’s 1978 novel “The World According to Garp” is somewhat biographical. In fact, Irving’s mother found parts of the novel difficult to read, recognizing elements of herself in Garp’s mother Jenny Fields.

16 Diva’s delivery : ARIA

The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

17 *Donald Duck or Popeye? : SAILOR SUIT

Donald Duck was created in 1934 by Walt Disney Productions, and first appeared in “The Wise Little Hen” in 1934. Donald’s full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck.

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.

19 One of Jacob’s 12 sons : LEVI

According to the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the great-grandfather of Aaron and Moses.

20 Writing sister of Charlotte and Emily : ANNE

Anne was the youngest of the three sisters in the literary Brontë family. Her older sisters wrote novels that are more recognized, but Anne’s two novels do have a following. “Agnes Grey” is based on her own experiences working as a governess. Her other novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” is written as a long letter from a young man describing the events leading up to his first meeting with his wife-to-be. Anne Brontë’s writing career was cut short in 1849, when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis, at only 29 years of age.

The Brontë family lived in the lovely village of Haworth in Yorkshire, England. The three daughters all became recognised authors. The first to achieve success was Charlotte Brontë when she published “Jane Eyre”. Then came Emily with “Wuthering Heights” and Anne with “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”.

21 What doesn’t go a long. way? : LAT

Lines of latitude are imaginary horizontal lines surrounding the planet. The most “important” lines of latitude are, from north to south:

  • Arctic Circle
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Equator
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • Antarctic Circle

24 *Minions or Mario? : DENIM OVERALLS

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

30 Danger for Indiana Jones : ASP

According to the “Indiana Jones” series of films, Indy’s fear of snakes goes back when he was a young man. In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, we see actor River Phoenix playing young Indie as a Boy Scout and falling into a huge pit of snakes during a chase scene.

34 Locale of the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony : OSLO

The Peace Prize is the most famous of the five prizes bequeathed by Alfred Nobel. The others are for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. There is also a Nobel Prize in Economics that is awarded along with the original five, but it is funded separately and is awarded “in memory of Alfred Nobel”. Four of the prizes are awarded by Swedish organizations (Alfred Nobel was a Swede) and so the award ceremonies take place in Stockholm. The Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and is presented in Oslo.

42 First name among late-night TV hosts : SETH

Seth Meyers is an actor and comedian who is perhaps best-known for his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), for which program he served as head writer. Meyers now hosts his own late night talk show on NBC.

44 Wrestler Flair : RIC

Wrestler Ric Flair’s real name is Richard Fliehr. Perhaps following the lead of his compatriot Jesse Ventura, Flair explored the possibility of running for governor of the state of North Carolina.

48 San Diego suburb : LA MESA

One of the most famous residents of La Mesa, a suburb of San Diego, California, was the actor Dennis Hopper.

50 *Michael Darling or Baby Smurf? : FOOTIE PAJAMAS

In J.M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Peter takes Wendy Darling and her two brothers (John and Michael) on adventures on the island of Neverland. Back in the real world, the Darling children are taken care of by a nanny, a Newfoundland dog called Nana. It is Nana who takes Peter Pan’s shadow away from him as he tries to escape from the Darling house one night.

The Smurfs are little blue people created in 1958 by the Belgian cartoonist who went by the pen name Peyo. The Smurfs became famous in the US when Hanna-Barbera used them in a children’s cartoon series. The characters are largely a group of males. The original lineup included just one “Smurfette”, who is wooed by almost all of the boy Smurfs. Later, another female was introduced into the mix called Sassette, and still later along came Granny Smurf.

56 Judo ranking : DAN

Judo is a martial art from Japan that was developed relatively recently, in 1882. The name “judo” translates as “gentle way”. Practitioners of judo proceed through a series of proficiency grades known as the kyu-dan system. At each progression, a different colored belt is awarded.

57 ___ card, part of a wedding invitation : RSVP

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

61 *Inspector Gadget or McGruff the Crime Dog? : TRENCH COAT

“Inspector Gadget” is a cartoon television show from the 1980s in which the title character is a cyborg detective. There’s a lot of similarity in Inspector Gadget’s behavior to the behavior of Maxwell Smart from the sitcom “Get Smart”. Actor Don Adams played the title role in “Get Smart” and also provided the voice for Inspector Gadget.

67 Duchamp’s art movement : DADA

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose works are associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. One of his most celebrated “works” is simply what he called “readymade” art, a urinal which he titled “Fountain”. Even though this work is considered to be “a major landmark in 20th century art”, the original that was submitted for exhibition was never actually displayed and had been lost forever. Replicas were commissioned by Duchamp, and are on display in many museums around the world. I have no further comment …

69 Bear in a 2012 comedy : TED

“Ted” is a 2012 movie written, directed, produced and starring Seth MacFarlane. In the story, MacFarlane voices a somewhat irreverent teddy bear who is the best friend of a character played by Mark Wahlberg. The audiences liked the film, and “Ted 2” followed in 2015.

Down

4 ___ Paulo : SAO

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city’s streets.

6 Silk center of India : ASSAM

Assam is a state in the far northeast of India, and just south of the Himalayas. Assam is noted for its tea, as well as its silk.

7 Comic strip antagonist with massive arms : BLUTO

Bluto is the villain in the Popeye cartoon strip, a character who has been around since 1932. Sometimes you will see Bluto go by the name Brutus, depending on the date of the publication. This “confusion” arose because there was an unfounded concern that the name “Bluto” was owned by someone else. Bluto, Brutus … it’s the same guy.

8 Tre x due : SEI

In Italian, “due” (two) times “tre” (three) is “sei” (six).

9 Wonder-ful actress? : GAL GADOT

Gal Gadot is an actress and former Miss Israel. She played Gisele Yashar in the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, and then began portraying Wonder Woman in superhero movies.

12 Figure skating category : PAIRS

Figure skating started out as a sport in which a skater demonstrated skill at carving out specific patterns into the ice (a figure-8, for example). Over time, the sport placed greater influence on free skating. Compulsory figures were dropped completely from most international competitions in the 1990s, but the name “figure” skating has been retained.

15 Writer Larsson : STIEG

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish journalist and writer. Indeed, one of the main characters in his “Millennium” series of novels is a journalist as well. The first two titles in the series are “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire”. The last of the three titles in the Millennium series is “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, which was the most-sold book in the US in 2010. All of the books in the series were published after Larsson’s death. He passed away from a heart attack while climbing several flights of stairs, when he was just 50 years old.

18 Wine dregs : LEES

The dregs in wine, the sediment that settles during fermentation (and sometimes in the bottle), are also called “lees”.

23 Grp. opposed by March for Our Lives : NRA

National Rifle Association (NRA)

25 Certain court plea, in brief : NOLO

“Nolo contendere” (sometimes shortened to “nolo”) is a legal term that translates from Latin as “I do not wish to contend”. It’s the plea of no contest, and is an alternative to guilty and not guilty, meaning that one doesn’t admit guilt but nor does one dispute the charge.

28 Tennis great posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom : ASHE

Arthur Ashe was a professional tennis player from Richmond, Virginia. In his youth, Ashe found himself having to travel great distances to play against Caucasian opponents due to the segregation that still existed in his home state. He was rewarded for his dedication by being selected for the 1963 US Davis Cup team, the first African-American player to be so honored. Ashe continued to run into trouble because of his ethnicity though, and in 1968 was denied entry into South Africa to play in the South African Open. In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack and had bypass surgery, with follow-up surgery four years later during which he contracted HIV from blood transfusions. Ashe passed away in 1993 due to complications from AIDS. Shortly afterwards, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

32 Classic name in children’s literature : AESOP

Aesop is remembered today as a fabulist, a writer of fables. Aesop lived in ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

33 Home to the Christ the Redeemer statue, in brief : RIO

The iconic statue of Jesus overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is known as “Cristo Redentor” (Christ the Redeemer). The statue was constructed between 1922 and 1931. It is the largest Art Deco statue in the world, as it stands at over 30 meters tall.

36 Luau loops : LEIS

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

The Hawaiian party or feast known as a “luau” really dates back to 1819, when King Kamehameha II removed religious laws that governed the eating of meals. These laws called for women and men to eat separately. At the same time as he changed the laws, the king initiated the luau tradition by symbolically eating with the women who moved in his circle.

37 Subject of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” : ORCA

“Blackfish” is a 2013 documentary film that examines the dangers of keeping orca in captivity. ”Star” of the movie is a killer whale (orca) named Tilikum who was responsible in whole or in part for the deaths of three people. Tilikum was captured in 1983 and has been a “guest” of SeaWorld since 1992. Most recently, Tilikum killed a 40-year old trainer named Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

39 Body of water in northern Russia : WHITE SEA

The White Sea is an inlet of the Barents Sea in Russia. The major port of Archangel (“Arkhangelsk”) is located on the White Sea.

41 Semihard Dutch cheese : EDAM

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

49 Podcaster Maron : MARC

Stand-up comedian Marc Maron has been hosting the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” since 2009. The online show features interviews with comedians and celebrities. The list of interviewees is pretty impressive, and includes Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams and even President Barack Obama.

52 Available for home viewing, in a way : ON DVD

The abbreviation “DVD” doesn’t actually stand for anything these days, although it was originally short for “digital video disk”. The use of the word “video” was dropped as DVDs started to be used for storing a lot more than video. As a result, some folks assign the phrase “digital versatile disk” to “DVD”.

53 “Rolling in the Deep” hitmaker : ADELE

“Rolling in the Deep” is the lead single on the album “21” that was released in 2011 by English singer Adele.

54 Title girl with a gun in an Aerosmith hit : JANIE

Aerosmith is a hard rock band from Boston that formed in 1970. Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time, and holds the record for most gold albums by any American group. The band’s lead singer is Steven Tyler, father of actress Liv Tyler.

58 Use a Juul, say : VAPE

The Juul is a brand of e-cigarette on sale in the US. Cigarette supplier Altria (formerly Philip Morris) purchased a 35% share in manufacturer Juul Labs in 2018.

59 Affliction for many a vet : PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Catch : NAB
4 Onetime Volvo competitors : SAABS
9 Title character of a John Irving novel : GARP
13 “Is that ___?” : ALL
14 Alternatives to windows? : AISLES
16 Diva’s delivery : ARIA
17 *Donald Duck or Popeye? : SAILOR SUIT
19 One of Jacob’s 12 sons : LEVI
20 Writing sister of Charlotte and Emily : ANNE
21 What doesn’t go a long. way? : LAT
22 Ready to roll : IN GEAR
24 *Minions or Mario? : DENIM OVERALLS
27 Hand down : PASS ON
29 “Goodness gracious!” : EGAD!
30 Danger for Indiana Jones : ASP
31 Pick up : LEARN
34 Locale of the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony : OSLO
38 Question asked regarding two red-carpet photos of those named in the starred clues? : WHO WORE IT BETTER?
42 First name among late-night TV hosts : SETH
43 “Boo-hoo” : SO SAD
44 Wrestler Flair : RIC
45 Should that be the case : IF SO
48 San Diego suburb : LA MESA
50 *Michael Darling or Baby Smurf? : FOOTIE PAJAMAS
55 “It’s almost my turn!” : I’M NEXT!
56 Judo ranking : DAN
57 ___ card, part of a wedding invitation : RSVP
60 On a magnet they’re called poles : ENDS
61 *Inspector Gadget or McGruff the Crime Dog? : TRENCH COAT
64 Happening now : LIVE
65 More slick : OILIER
66 Big ___ (praise, slangily) : UPS
67 Duchamp’s art movement : DADA
68 Monopoly stack : DEEDS
69 Bear in a 2012 comedy : TED

Down

1 Org. with Perseverance : NASA
2 ___ Kim, 7-year-old star of the Golden Globe-winning “Minari” : ALAN
3 Driver’s danger : BLIND SPOT
4 ___ Paulo : SAO
5 Runway model? : AIRLINER
6 Silk center of India : ASSAM
7 Comic strip antagonist with massive arms : BLUTO
8 Tre x due : SEI
9 Wonder-ful actress? : GAL GADOT
10 Spinning : AREEL
11 Compete with : RIVAL
12 Figure skating category : PAIRS
15 Writer Larsson : STIEG
18 Wine dregs : LEES
23 Grp. opposed by March for Our Lives : NRA
25 Certain court plea, in brief : NOLO
26 They can blow a lot of hot air : VENTS
27 Hound’s “hands” : PAWS
28 Tennis great posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom : ASHE
32 Classic name in children’s literature : AESOP
33 Home to the Christ the Redeemer statue, in brief : RIO
35 Worry to exhaustion : STRESS OUT
36 Luau loops : LEIS
37 Subject of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” : ORCA
39 Body of water in northern Russia : WHITE SEA
40 Like tightrope walkers and household budgets, ideally : BALANCED
41 Semihard Dutch cheese : EDAM
46 Manipulate the outcome of : FIX
47 Scrap : SET-TO
49 Podcaster Maron : MARC
50 Sphere : FIELD
51 “Labor ___ vincit” (Oklahoma’s state motto) : OMNIA
52 Available for home viewing, in a way : ON DVD
53 “Rolling in the Deep” hitmaker : ADELE
54 Title girl with a gun in an Aerosmith hit : JANIE
58 Use a Juul, say : VAPE
59 Affliction for many a vet : PTSD
62 Cleansed (of) : RID
63 They’re made of mins. : HRS

18 thoughts on “0324-21 NY Times Crossword 24 Mar 21, Wednesday”

  1. 14:19 I was halfway done in just over 4 minutes, but then came the hard parts. Only got the theme toward the end and unfamiliar with several of the “characters”, so it was a stretch for me.

  2. 15:17. Slowed way down on the second half. Took me some time to get the gust of the puzzle. In the end, I liked it. FOOTIEPAJAMAS! Excellent. 🤣

  3. 21:34. Not your typical Wednesday. Although I did realize Popeye and Donald Duck wore SAILOR SUITs, this solved as mostly a themeless for me.

    I never knew Donald Duck’s middle name or that he even has a middle name.

    Christ the Redeemer sounds tall at 30 meters – especially on top of that mountain. The Motherland statue in Volgograd, Russia is 85 meters tall, but I guess it’s not considered art deco. I doubt the Soviets were very big on art deco. I was looking up at it when a storm was rolling through. It was downright eerie looking at something so big under those circumstances.

    Isn’t the name BLUTO owned by John Belushi?…

    Best –

  4. 19:39 Adding a new animated dimension to my wife’s InStyle regular “Who Wore It Better” feature. Knew all but the Michael Darling/Baby Smurf nightwear 🙂

  5. 33:57 no errors…I had to refer to “my notes” to open the NE corner.
    Typical 2 setter puzzle👎
    Stay safe😀

  6. how are aisles alternatives to windows?
    and ‘lat’ for what doesn’t go a long way is just STUPID

    1. On a plane, for example, window seats and aisle seats are options. And the period at the end of long clearly makes it longitude. I thought it was a fair clue.

    2. First question: Think airplanes.
      Second statement: Agreed, but it’s a good example of Shortz’s general treachery in these puzzles. “Long.” is a short-hand for longitude as LAT is a short-hand for latitude.

  7. 16:11, no errors. Erroneously thought I had picked up on the theme, and tried to enter WHO ARE YOU WEARING in 38A, which meant a lot of erasing. Also entered SENSE in 31A before correcting.

  8. Aisles are an alternative to windows on airplane seats. I didn’t get the significance of the period after long. either, but it’s an abbreviation for longitude.

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