0327-21 NY Times Crossword 27 Mar 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Michael Hawkins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Women’s soccer star Wambach : ABBY

Abby Wambach is a retired professional soccer player who was named FIFA World Player of the Year for 2012. She played for the US national team in all four World tournaments from 2003 to 2015.

14 Staples, e.g. : CHAIN STORE

The Staples Center is a sports arena in Los Angeles that opened in 1999. The Staples Center is home to several sporting franchises, including the LA Lakers and LA Clippers basketball teams and the LA Kings hockey team.

16 Some legwear : HOSE

The word “hose” meaning “covering for the leg” has the same roots as the contemporary German word “Hose” meaning “trousers, pants”.

18 Form of the Latin “sum” : ERAT

“Esse” is the Latin for “to be”. “Sum” means “I am”, “est” means “he, she is”, and “erat” means “he, she was”.

21 Carrier based near Kuala Lumpur : AIRASIA

AirAsia is a low-cost airline based in Malaysia, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Reportedly, AirAsia has the lowest actual cost of operations of any airline in the world.

The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur, which is often abbreviated to “KL”. The name “Kuala Lumpur” translates into English as “muddy estuary”. Famously, KL is home to the spectacular Petronas Twin Towers, which are currently the tallest twin towers in the world and was the tallest of any building from 1998 to 2004.

28 Lexicographical listings : USAGES

A lexicographer is someone who compiles a dictionary. The term comes into English via French from the Greek “lexikon” meaning “wordbook”, and “graphos” meaning “writer”.

30 Pest control target : ROACH

The insect known as a cockroach is closely related to the termite. Although generally considered a pest, the lowly cockroach has at least one claim to fame. A cockroach named Nadezhda was sent into space in 2007 by Russian scientists, where it became the first terrestrial creature to give birth in space. Nadezhda bore 33 cockroaches.

31 Spot to have a look sea? : CROW’S NEST

A crow’s nest is a structure atop the mainmast of a ship that is used as a lookout point. The first crow’s nest was erected in 1807, and was simply a barrel that was lashed to the tallest mast. Supposedly, the structure is named for the crows or ravens that Vikings carried with them on their voyages. The birds were released and used as navigation aids as invariably, the crow or raven headed straight for the nearest land.

34 The Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” : ERIK

In Gaston Leroux’s novel “The Phantom of the Opera”, the young Christine Daaé is obsessively admired by Erik, the “phantom” who lives below the Paris Opera House. Christine is also pursued by her childhood friend Raoul, Viscount de Chagny.

35 “Caligula” writer : CAMUS

Albert Camus was a French author, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Sadly, Camus died in a car accident just two years after he received the prize, at only 46 years of age.

39 Topping that becomes the food it’s eaten with when its vowels are changed to A’s : PESTO

The Italian term “pesto” applies to anything made by pounding. What we tend to know as pesto sauce is more properly called “pesto alla genovese”, i.e. pesto from Genoa in northern Italy. I love, love pesto sauce …

42 / : SPARE

In bowling, a spare is recorded on a score sheet with a forward slash mark. A strike is recorded with a large letter X.

46 Onetime name in weight-loss supplements : TRIMSPA

TrimSpa was a dietary supplement touted as an aid to weight loss. Its active ingredients were stimulants (like caffeine and ephedra). TrimSpa became quite famous when the manufacturers hired Anna Nicole Smith as spokesperson for the product. The company went bankrupt soon after the Federal Trade Commission issued fines for making false claims in advertising.

48 Prosecution figure, for short : ADA

Assistant district attorney (Asst. DA, ADA)

49 It began as a comic book with the tagline “Humor in a jugular vein” : MAD

“Mad” magazine has been around since 1952, although back then it was more of a comic book than a magazine. The original founder and editor was Harvey Kurtzman and in order to convince him to stay, the publisher changed the format to a magazine in 1955. That’s when the publication really took off in terms of popularity.

52 Spanish for “weight” : PESO

The peso is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.

59 ___ Park, New York birthplace of F.D.R. : HYDE

Hyde Park, New York was the hometown of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Roosevelt’s estate is called Springwood and is now managed by the National Park Service. It’s a great place to visit, and if you do so, don’t forget to see the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site just a couple of miles away, and there you can tour the cottage in which the president’s wife spent much of her time.

60 Blasts with junk : SPAMS

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

Down

1 Components of some calculators, for short : LCDS

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. LCD monitors basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.

2 Where to order a Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity : IHOP

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests.

3 Bonkers : ZANY

Something described as zany is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.

4 It might be right under your nose : ZIT

The slang term “zit”, meaning “pimple”, came into the language in 1966, but no one seems to know its exact derivation.

6 Openings in the hotel business? : ATRIA

In modern architecture, an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

10 Franchise that includes three top-10 highest-grossing films of all time : THE AVENGERS

The Avengers are a team of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. The original lineup, which dates back to 1963, consisted of Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the Wasp. Soon after their formation, the Avengers rescued Captain America trapped in ice, and thereafter he joined the team. There is a 2012 movie called “The Avengers” that features Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor.

12 Bolting Bolt : USAIN

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket, and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

26 Celebrity chef Cat ___ : CORA

Cat Cora is yet another celebrity chef. She appears on the reality shows “Iron Chef America” and “Around the World in 80 Plates”.

33 Divisor in the golden ratio : TWO

The golden ratio, sometimes called the “golden mean” and denoted by the Greek letter phi, is a mathematical constant that often turns up in the world of art. Phi is approximately equal to 1.61, and is represented by the two distances, a and b, where (a+b)/a = a/b. Somehow we perceive the ratio of 1.61 as “pleasing” so it appears in many works of art and in building design. For example, many aspects of the Parthenon in Athens have a ratio of 1.61 (width compared to height). Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man also illustrates the golden ratio in the proportions of the human body, where he shows that the distance from the foot to the navel, compared to the distance from the navel to the head, is 1.61.

39 Rogues : PICAROS

A picaroon (also “picaro”) is a rogue, adventurer or perhaps a pirate.

41 ___ touch : MIDAS

King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold i.e. the Midas touch. That power became a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink, and even his children.

42 Eponym of an N.Y.C. cathedral : ST PAT

The Cathedral of St. Patrick in New York City is a neo-Gothic structure that sits on Fifth Avenue across the street from Rockefeller Center. St. Patrick’s is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York.

43 Polite response in Palermo : PREGO

“Prego” literally means “I pray” in Italian, but it is usually translated into English as “you’re welcome” when it is used in response to a “thank you” (“grazie”, in Italian).

Palermo is the capital of the Italian autonomous region of Sicily. Palermo was founded by the Phoenicians over 2,700 years ago.

45 Not your average joe? : LATTE

The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

51 “Ditat ___” (Arizona’s state motto) : DEUS

Arizona’s motto is “Ditat Deus”, which translates from Latin as “God Enriches”.

54 Snookered : HAD

The use of the word “snooker” to mean “to cheat” has been used since the early 1900s. The term probably took on that connotation as it’s relatively easy to trick someone who is new to the game of snooker.

55 Economic fig. : GNP

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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Singer with a supporting role in 2019’s “Hustlers” : LIZZO
6 Women’s soccer star Wambach : ABBY
10 So : THUS
14 Staples, e.g. : CHAIN STORE
16 Some legwear : HOSE
17 Start of a nudge : DON’T FORGET
18 Form of the Latin “sum” : ERAT
19 One who’s got the bug? : SPY
20 What the name Frances is often misspelled with : AN I
21 Carrier based near Kuala Lumpur : AIRASIA
23 No small favor : BIG ASK
25 Word with field or sales : … EVENT
26 Heart-to-hearts, say : CHATS
28 Lexicographical listings : USAGES
30 Pest control target : ROACH
31 Spot to have a look sea? : CROW’S NEST
34 The Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” : ERIK
35 “Caligula” writer : CAMUS
36 Trouble, with “at” : GNAW …
37 “Not even close!” : FAR FROM IT
39 Topping that becomes the food it’s eaten with when its vowels are changed to A’s : PESTO
40 Makes blush? : ROUGES
41 Tangles up (in) : MIRES
42 / : SPARE
44 Some museum displays : RELICS
46 Onetime name in weight-loss supplements : TRIMSPA
48 Prosecution figure, for short : ADA
49 It began as a comic book with the tagline “Humor in a jugular vein” : MAD
52 Spanish for “weight” : PESO
53 Entry point in the walls of Babylon : ISHTAR GATE
56 Follower of new or golden : … AGER
57 “Not my fault!” : THAT’S ON YOU!
58 Bolted : TORE
59 ___ Park, New York birthplace of F.D.R. : HYDE
60 Blasts with junk : SPAMS

Down

1 Components of some calculators, for short : LCDS
2 Where to order a Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity : IHOP
3 Bonkers : ZANY
4 It might be right under your nose : ZIT
5 One way to accept something : ON FAITH
6 Openings in the hotel business? : ATRIA
7 Locale for moss : BOG
8 Soars to success : BREAKS OUT
9 Figure on Disney’s Expedition Everest ride : YETI
10 Franchise that includes three top-10 highest-grossing films of all time : THE AVENGERS
11 Smarts : HORSE SENSE
12 Bolting Bolt : USAIN
13 Assail : SET AT
15 Apple Music tab : SONGS
22 Rules, informally : REGS
23 Unable to stay away, say : BACK FOR MORE
24 Reckon : SURMISE
26 Celebrity chef Cat ___ : CORA
27 It’s a fright : HAIR-RAISER
29 Reactions to something sweet … or something disappointing : AWS
30 One making a call : REF
31 Out of the picture, say : CAMERA-SHY
32 Senior moments? : SATS
33 Divisor in the golden ratio : TWO
35 It may be in the works : COG
38 Wishes undone : RUES
39 Rogues : PICAROS
41 ___ touch : MIDAS
42 Eponym of an N.Y.C. cathedral : ST PAT
43 Polite response in Palermo : PREGO
45 Not your average joe? : LATTE
47 Crux of the matter : PITH
49 Six-time W.N.B.A. All-Star Moore : MAYA
50 A little bit of everything? : ATOM
51 “Ditat ___” (Arizona’s state motto) : DEUS
54 Snookered : HAD
55 Economic fig. : GNP

15 thoughts on “0327-21 NY Times Crossword 27 Mar 21, Saturday”

  1. 10:35. Slowed a little bit at the bottom, but nothing that got me really bogged down.

    Fun fact: I’m one of the approximately 6 people who saw “Ishtar” in the theater. I was in 7th grade. Even at that age I could appreciate how bad that movie was.

  2. 20:48, no errors. Several key unknowns that I was finally able to work around. One possibly amusing aspect of 35-Across (“Caligula” writer): for a longish time, I stared at it, sure that I knew the answer, but absolutely unable to bring it to mind. I finally gave up on it, let crosses fill it in, and didn’t notice what it turned out to be. Just now, I woke up thinking, “I know, I know! Gore VIDAL!” Oh … CAMUS … hmm … well, then … 😜

    I’ve always been curious about “Ishtar” and I think I’ve tried to rent it, with no success. Maybe I’ll try again …

  3. 24:01 Struggled in the NW corner. Proper names at 1A and 6A part of the issue. Had LORDE for 1A for a while.

    4D – ZIT, 8D – BREAKSOUT –> is that ZANY? I HOP not. YET I digress. Is it a BIGASK for you to keep reading? FARFROMIT. To SPARE you all, I’ll stop now, but THATSONYOU if you keep reading.

    PS – I did the WA Post meta puzzle this morning, so I’ve been looking for connections all over the place.

    1. @Ron …

      So this is a little odd. At about 5:00 PM (MDT), I downloaded (from the “Diary of a Crossword Fiend” website) and did a Washington Post puzzle, dated March 28th, by Lynn Lempel, titled “Bodybuilding”, which doesn’t appear to involve a meta, and has the following note on it: “Please enjoy this special guest crossword! Evan’s puzzle will return next week.” By 6:00 PM, that puzzle had vanished from the site. It’s now almost 7:00 PM and no replacement has yet appeared. So I’m wondering what puzzle you downloaded (and from where). Very strange … 😳.

  4. 28:12. Similar to Alaska Steve, but I gave myself a couple of nudges (Read: cheats) to get there. An awful lot I didn’t know in this one – too much to overcome. But my biggest issues were SUPPOSE before SURMISE and GDP before GNP. Way too stubborn on that last one.

    I remember going to see the movie “Caligula” in college. We were so excited about it, we brought our own keg of beer and bought a ticket for it so it could take up a seat. Well, the mgmt didn’t see it that way and didn’t let us bring it in nor did they reimburse us for its ticket. Oh well, seemed like a good idea at the time…

    Best –

    1. Lol, @Jeff. I actually “finished” in 28:00…but with a few cheats in the bottom half. Ergo the DNF I awarded to myself. I actually always try to finish, even if I need cheats. It’s all a learning experience. 🤣

  5. 54:40 took forever to figure “camera shy” and “picaros”, so a bunch of random guesses finally broke the bottom half open, after many minutes of blank staring.

  6. The SW corner dragged me down timewise. Had LOG for BOG but didn’t catch it as I’m unfamiliar with soccer stars and thought, well, some of them have what to me are odd names. When a proper name trips me up, I still consider the outcome good as that’s a simple lack of trivia knowledge; couldn’t stump me with language.

  7. 23:04, 2 errors, off of the usual cheap shots. Is it any different? Evidently a BIG ASK to get a good fair honest challenge.

  8. A slow trek for me. Piece by piece.. no help with LIZZO. Had to wait for that to appear. When I saw ROGUE twice, once in the clue and once in answer, I hesitated… there must be a trick… nope, just a slow reveal. Then I thought I was going to see AGENT twice with 25A and in 10D. I hesitated again. I had 22D as RAGS. Then when I changed it to REGS, then EVENT fell and the AVENGERS??? Whew!! Still took me about an hour..

  9. No errors and no major issues. Slowed a bit in the north west until I changed LIP to ZIT because I remembered LIZZO. Don’t see much of a link between the clue and answer for 4-D (ZIT). Had a few back in the day, like most, but don’t recall the area under my nose being a trouble spot. TMI, I know.

  10. I thought this was going to be a DNF but with a little help from my “previous puzzle notes” I finished in 52:02 with no errors.
    Cheating? Maybe but I simply don’t have an eidetic memory for literally millions of trivia bits.
    Stay safe😀

  11. 48:47, no errors. More problems than I care to mention. Just happy to finish with no errors.

  12. No errors but I thought 57A was thats a … which made picarAs which is a valid answer but not today. Once I let go and put the O in the SE fell.

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