0325-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Mar 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Opposite of [Circled Letters]

Each themed answer is the opposite of a word spelled out in circled letters within that answer:

  • 17A Opposite of [circled letters] : WONDERFUL (opposite of “WOEFUL”)
  • 25A Opposite of [circled letters] : EFFECTIVE (opposite of “EFFETE”)
  • 30A Opposite of [circled letters] : FEASTING (opposite of “FASTING”)
  • 39A Opposite of [circled letters] : PRURIENT (opposite of “PURE”)
  • 47A Opposite of [circled letters] : ANIMOSITY (opposite of “AMITY”)
  • 53A Opposite of [circled letters] : COURTEOUS (opposite of “CURT”)

Bill’s time: 12m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 They can be found just above a six-pack : PECS

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

5 China/North Korea border river : YALU

A large section of the border between China and North Korea runs down the center of the Yalu River. Yalu is the Chinese name for the river, whereas it is known as the Amnok in Korean. The valley through which the western part of the river flows was the site of many, many dogfights during the Korean War, and was famously known as “MiG Alley”.

9 Area named for gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg : G-SPOT

The full name for the G-spot is the “Gräfenberg spot”, named after German doctor Ernst Gräfenberg. Gräfenberg is best known for developing the intrauterine device (IUD).

14 Brazilian export : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

19 Nick who voices Kuiil on “The Mandalorian” : NOLTE

Actor Nick Nolte got his big break playing opposite Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Shaw in “The Deep”, released in 1976. Prior to that, he had worked as a model. Nolte appeared in a magazine advertisement for Clairol in 1972 alongside fellow model and future actor Sigourney Weaver.

20 Pest control brand : D-CON

d-CON is a line of rodent control products that has been around for over 50 years. The name is an abbreviation for “decontamination”. The d-CON Company was founded in 1950 by Chicago businessman Lee Ratner, yes, “Ratner” …

23 Ancient Indo-European : ARYAN

The term “Aryan” can be used to describe the Indo-European languages or the peoples who speak them. The underlying assumption in this grouping is that Indian languages (based on Sanskrit) and the major European languages all have the same root.

25 Opposite of [circled letters] : EFFECTIVE (opposite of “EFFETE”)

Something effete is degenerate, infertile, no longer productive. “Effete” comes from the Latin “ex-fetus”, literally “out of offspring”.

28 Harvey of Hollywood : KEITEL

Harvey Keitel is an actor from New York City who grew up in Brighton Beach. He is best known for playing “tough guy” roles, as he did in “Reservoir Dogs”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Taxi Driver”. Keitel was in a 12-year relationship with fellow actor Lorraine Bracco (who played psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi on “The Sopranos”).

29 Composer Rorem : NED

American composer Ned Rorem is famous for his musical compositions, but also for his book “Paris Diary of Ned Rorem” that was published in 1966. Rorem talks openly about his sexuality in the book, and also about the sexual orientation of others including Noël Coward, Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber, much to some people’s chagrin.

34 Like many Bigfoot photos : GRAINY

The sasquatch or bigfoot is our North American equivalent of the yeti, the ape-like creature said to inhabit the Himalayas. Bigfoot is supposedly hiding out mainly in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

38 Color on the flag of every permanent U.N. Security Council member : RED

The United Nations Security Council has 15 members, 5 of whom are permanent and who have veto power over any resolution. The 10 non-permanent members are elected into place, and hold their seats for two years. The UN charter requires that authorized representatives of the member nations are always present at UN headquarters so that the Security Council can meet at any time. The permanent members are:

  • China
  • France
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

39 Opposite of [circled letters] : PRURIENT (opposite of “PURE”)

Someone described as prurient has an extreme interest in sexual matters. Back in the 1600s, “prurient” meant “to have an itch”. Today the meaning is limited to “to have an itching desire”.

46 Brouhaha : STIR

“Brouhaha”, meaning “ado, stir”, was a French word that back in the 1550s meant “the cry of the devil disguised as clergy” . Wow!

49 Sycophant : TOADY

A toady is someone who is very servile, and somewhat of a parasite. Derived from “toad-eater” the term originally applied to the assistant of a quack, a seller of useless potions that had no actual benefit to health. The toady would eat an apparently poisonous toad in front of an audience, so that the charlatan could “cure” him or her with one of the potions for sale.

A sycophant is a selfish person, and one who flatters. The term comes from the Greek “sykophantes” which originally meant “one who shows the fig”. This phrase described a vulgar gesture made with the thumb and two fingers.

51 Grocery product with orange packaging : TANG

Tang is a fruity drink that is sold in powdered form. The sales of Tang “took off” when John Glenn took Tang on his Mercury flight. However, it is a common misconception that Tang was invented for the space program. That’s not true, although it was included in the payload of many missions.

59 “Quick, get that dog some ___” (old ad slogan) : 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?

60 Carver’s tool : RASP

A rasp is a like a coarse version of a file. Files have teeth that run from one side of the tool to the other, and are usually used for metalwork. Rasps have coarser teeth that cover the surface of the tool like jagged bumps. Rasps are usually used in woodworking.

Down

1 Boxer’s mitt? : PAW

The boxer breed of dog (one of my favorites) originated in Germany. My first dog was a boxer/Labrador mix, a beautiful combination. Our current family dog is a boxer/pug mix, and is another gorgeous animal.

3 Mars, for one : CANDY BAR

Having lived on both sides of the Atlantic, I find the Mars Bar to be the most perplexing of candies! The original Mars Bar is a British confection (and delicious) that was first manufactured in 1932. The US version of the original Mars Bar is called a Milky Way. But there is a candy bar called a Milky Way that is also produced in the UK, and it is completely different to its US cousin, being more like an American “3 Musketeers”. And then there is an American confection called a Mars Bar, something different again. No wonder I try not to eat candy bars …

4 “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” co-star : SID CAESAR

Sid Caesar achieved fame in the fifties on TV’s “Your Show of Shows”. To be honest, I know Sid Caesar mainly from the very entertaining film version of the musical “Grease”, in which he played Coach Calhoun.

“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” is a 1963 comedy film with quite the cast. The list of great comedic actors appearing seems to be endless and includes: Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, Buddy Hackett, Jonathan Winters, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Spencer Tracy, Terry-Thomas, Phil Silvers, Jim Backus, Jimmy Durante and Peter Falk. In addition, there were cameo appearances by Jack Benny, Buster Keaton, Don Knotts, Carl Reiner, the Shirelles and the Three Stooges. I can’t remember any other movie with such a cast …

6 Division of the Justice Dept. : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today is part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

12 Distance between “some” and “where” in “Somewhere over the rainbow” : OCTAVE

I find that terminology in music can be confusing. My way of looking at an octave (my way … don’t shout at me!) is thinking of a piano keyboard. In the key of C, the seven notes of the octave are C, D, E, F, G, A, B (or “do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti”). These are all white keys. Most of these “white notes” are separated by whole tones, so there is room to add a “semitone” in between most of them, and these are the black keys (C-sharp for example). There is room for five black keys in an octave, and 7 + 5 adds up to 12. I assume we use the term “octave” because we often add an eighth note on the end “to bring us back to do” as the song says (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do … or … C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). That eighth note is really the first note in the next octave up.

“Over the Rainbow” is a classic song written especially for the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”. It was sung by the young Judy Garland (Dorothy) in the film, and it was to become her signature song. There is an introductory verse that wasn’t used in the movie, and is very rarely heard:

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around,
Heaven opens a magic lane
When all the clouds darken up the skyway,
There’s a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your window pane
To a place behind the sun,
Just a step beyond the rain.

24 Director Nicolas : ROEG

Nicolas Roeg is a film director from England with quite the pedigree when it comes to association with great movies. He contributed to 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia”, and he himself directed noted films like “Walkabout” (1972), “Don’t Look Now” (1973) and “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976).

25 Start of a counting-out rhyme : EENY

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

26 Fruit that’s usually dried before consumption : FIG

The third plant named in the Bible, after the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, is the fig tree. Adam and Eve used leaves from the fig tree to sew garments when they realized that they were naked.

35 Supercomputing pioneer Seymour : CRAY

Seymour Cray founded his own company in 1972, a company that manufactured supercomputers. A supercomputer is basically a computer that operates at or near the highest operational speed that’s possible given the technology of the day.

37 Camelot lady : ENID

Enid is a Welsh name, from “einit” an old Welsh word meaning “purity”. Enid was the wife of Geraint, one of King Arthur’s knights. Enid is described as “the personification of spotless purity”.

Camelot is featured in Arthurian legend. It was King Arthur’s castle and his court.

40 Five-point rugby play : TRY

In the game of rugby, a try is scored by grounding the ball behind the opposition’s goal line. A try is similar to a touchdown in American football, although in rugby the ball must be manually placed on the ground by the player making the score. The term “try” is used as originally that act of touching the ball to the ground simply qualified a team for a “try at goal”, an opportunity to kick the ball at goal to make the score.

41 Mat used for judo : TATAMI

A tatami is a traditional mat used on floors in Japan. The term “tatami” comes from the Japanese word “tatamu” meaning “to fold”, reflecting the fact that the mat is designed to be folded up for storage.

Judo is a martial art from Japan that 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.

43 Flowers that “in the dooryard bloom’d,” in a Whitman poem : LILACS

Walt Whitman wrote his famous poem “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” as an elegy following the violent death of President Lincoln.

48 Union Station-Dupont Circle connector, in D.C. : METRO

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) provides transit service within and around Washington, D.C. The service generally goes by the name “Metro”. The authority’s two main services are Metrorail and Metrobus.

49 Bit of ink : TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

54 Estadio cheer : OLE!

In Spain, one might hear a shout of “ole!” in “un estadio” (a stadium).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 They can be found just above a six-pack : PECS
5 China/North Korea border river : YALU
9 Area named for gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg : G-SPOT
14 Brazilian export : ACAI
15 Standing above : ATOP
16 Standing by : ON ICE
17 Opposite of [circled letters] : WONDERFUL (opposite of “WOEFUL”)
19 Nick who voices Kuiil on “The Mandalorian” : NOLTE
20 Pest control brand : D-CON
21 “You betcha!” : I SURE AM!
23 Ancient Indo-European : ARYAN
25 Opposite of [circled letters] : EFFECTIVE (opposite of “EFFETE”)
27 Legal cover-up? : ROBE
28 Harvey of Hollywood : KEITEL
29 Composer Rorem : NED
30 Opposite of [circled letters] : FEASTING (opposite of “FASTING”)
32 Get-up-and-go : PEP
34 Like many Bigfoot photos : GRAINY
35 Like horsehair : COARSE
38 Color on the flag of every permanent U.N. Security Council member : RED
39 Opposite of [circled letters] : PRURIENT (opposite of “PURE”)
41 Up to : ‘TIL
44 Best : DEFEAT
46 Brouhaha : STIR
47 Opposite of [circled letters] : ANIMOSITY (opposite of “AMITY”)
49 Sycophant : TOADY
50 Gifts : TALENTS
51 Grocery product with orange packaging : TANG
52 Go from worse to bad, say : ABATE
53 Opposite of [circled letters] : COURTEOUS (opposite of “CURT”)
58 Prefix with aggression : MICRO-
59 “Quick, get that dog some ___” (old ad slogan) : ALPO
60 Carver’s tool : RASP
61 Cry made while removing a jacket : IT’S ON!
62 Just in case : LEST
63 Dispatch, in a way : SLAY

Down

1 Boxer’s mitt? : PAW
2 Prefix with conscious : ECO-
3 Mars, for one : CANDY BAR
4 “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” co-star : SID CAESAR
5 Knitter’s need : YARN
6 Division of the Justice Dept. : ATF
7 Jazz’s Mary ___ Williams : LOU
8 Raise : UPLIFT
9 Escalate to the extreme : GO NUCLEAR
10 Reaction to hilarity, maybe : SNORT
11 Enter all together : PILE IN
12 Distance between “some” and “where” in “Somewhere over the rainbow” : OCTAVE
13 Swarmed : TEEMED
18 Now we’re in the Phanerozoic one : EON
22 Ooze away : SEEP OUT
23 Intruder warning, maybe : ARF!
24 Director Nicolas : ROEG
25 Start of a counting-out rhyme : EENY
26 Fruit that’s usually dried before consumption : FIG
28 Most charitable : KINDEST
31 Got loaded : TIED ONE ON
33 Cons : PRISONERS
35 Supercomputing pioneer Seymour : CRAY
36 Do some wishful thinking? : SET A GOAL
37 Camelot lady : ENID
39 Word before food or theory : PET …
40 Five-point rugby play : TRY
41 Mat used for judo : TATAMI
42 Shortly : IN A BIT
43 Flowers that “in the dooryard bloom’d,” in a Whitman poem : LILACS
45 ___ conservative : FISCAL
48 Union Station-Dupont Circle connector, in D.C. : METRO
49 Bit of ink : TAT
51 Brisk pace : TROT
54 Estadio cheer : OLE!
55 Happy states : UPS
56 Destination of Finnish mail that’s addressed to “Yhdysvallat” : USA
57 One role for Harriet Tubman in the Civil War : SPY

13 thoughts on “0325-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Mar 21, Thursday”

  1. 20:08 Clever concept. Needed a lot of crosses. Struggled with the right side, especially the NE corner, which was empty for about 5 minutes and the last to fall. Don’t think of an OCTAVE as a distance – I kept humming the song to myself looking for feet or meters, etc. in the lyrics. Once I got OCTAVE the rest of the corner was short work.

  2. 14:53. I saw where this was going early. Tough thing to construct I would imagine, but a fun solve.

    The setter’s notes in Wordplay mention that a word that contains its own synonym (e.g. Stealthy/Sly) is called a kangaroo word. I have no idea why. The words in the theme here which contain their own antonyms are called anti-kangaroo words. For whatever reason, there are far fewer anti-kangaroo words than kangaroo words.

    If you don’t like that explanation, I suppose you could take it up in a kangaroo court, but I wouldn’t expect a different outcome.

    Best –

  3. 40:34 got the gimmick concept early with “wonderful/woeful”, just my usual slow pathetic self after that… Had “stargaze” before “set a goal”, misspelled “prisoner”, tried to make “adze” work in lieu of”rasp”…..sigh…

  4. 14:21, no errors. Clever theme. I began paying attention to constructors’ names only rather recently, but the name Alex Eaton-Salners was kind of stuck in my head and I think it’s because he (she?) has a well-deserved reputation for clever (and occasionally quite difficult) themes. I actually tried to find a photo of Alex online and did not succeed, so I conclude that he/she is a bit camera-shy (and I must say that I rather like that in a person … 😜).

  5. No errors.. didn’t know PRURIENT and I got hung up on ENID because I had MAID… I was orbiting in that section until I settled on SET A GOAL and ENID.

  6. 30 Minutes. No errors etc. Very clever a puzzle but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anybody cry “it’s on” while removing a jacket.

  7. 59:05 no errors but I had to Google 9A to open the NE corner…sometimes IMO setters go too far…this is one of those times.
    Stay safe😀

      1. You must be new hear. Wait ‘til you see how many people finish, and give themselves times,”With a few look-ups”.

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