0331-21 NY Times Crossword 31 Mar 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Trenton Charlson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Building Blocks

The grid includes six BLOCKS of letters at the top and bottom that spell out types of BUILDING:

  • 41A Smaller parts making up a larger whole … with a hint to the six groups of shaded squares in this puzzle : BUILDING BLOCKS

Those BUILDING BLOCKS are:

  • PALACE
  • PAGODA
  • SCHOOL
  • CASTLE
  • TEMPLE
  • CHALET

Bill’s time: 6m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 “The Garden of Earthly Delights” painter : BOSCH

Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch painter who worked late 15th and early 16th centuries. Perhaps his most recognized work is his triptych titled “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.

15 Bitcoin, e.g. : E-CASH

Bitcoins are digital units of currency that are used on some Internet sites. Bitcoins are the most popular alternative currency used on the Web today. More and more reputable online retailers are accepting bitcoins, including Overstock.com, Expedia, Dell and Microsoft.

17 Bear who sings “The Bare Necessities” in a 1967 Disney film : BALOO

“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling was originally published in 1894, and is a collection of adventure stories or fables featuring the animals of the jungle and a young boy named Mowgli. Baloo is a sloth bear that teaches the cubs of a wolf pack the Law of the Jungle. Baloo’s most challenging pupil however is no lupine, but rather the man-cub Mowgli.

18 City near St. Petersburg : TAMPA

The Florida city of Tampa has been known as “the Big Guava” since the seventies. The term is imitative of New York’s “Big Apple”, and refers to the unsuccessful search for the reported wild guava trees that were once hoped to be the basis of a new industry for the area. Tampa has also been called “Cigar City”, a reference to the cigar industry that fueled the area’s growth starting in the 1880s.

Saint Petersburg, Florida is often referred to as “St. Pete” by locals and visitors alike. Located on a peninsula lying between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete was founded in 1888 and named for Saint Petersburg in Russia. The co-founders were Russian immigrant Peter Demens and Detroit native John C. Williams. The pair tossed a coin for the privilege of naming the new city, and Demens won. Williams lost, but did get to name the city’s first hostelry “The Detroit Hotel”.

19 Bellyache : CARP

The word “carp” used to mean simply “talk” back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian “karpa” meaning “to brag”. A century later, the Latin word “carpere” meaning “to slander” influenced the use of “to carp” so that it came to mean “to find fault with”.

25 1990s supermodel with a palindromic name : EMME

Emme is the highest-paid plus-size model in the world. Emme was born Melissa Miller in New York City, and was raised in Saudi Arabia.

30 Fill to the gills : SATE

“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

31 43rd prez : GWB

President George W. Bush (GWB) is named for his father, George H. W. Bush. The “W” in the name of both father and son stands for “Walker”. Walker was the family name of President George H. W. Bush’s mother, Dorothy Walker.

34 Mrs., on Majorca : SRA

The Island of Majorca (“Isla Mallorca” in Spanish) is Spain’s largest island, and is located in the Mediterranean Sea. The population of the island ballooned over the past few decades as Majorca became a mecca for tourists from all over Europe.

35 Japanese salad herb : UDO

Udo is a perennial plant native to Japan known taxonomically as Aralia cordata. The stems of udo are sometimes boiled up and served in miso soup.

39 Something to believe in : TENET

A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “he holds”.

45 Brand of knives touted in classic infomercials : GINSU

Ginsu knives are more famous for their hard-sell television ads than they are for their efficacy in the kitchen. The Ginsu phenomenon took off in the seventies when two brothers found a set of knives called “Eversharp” that were being manufactured in Ohio. The brothers changed the brand name to something more exotic, and Japanese in particular (Ginsu), and then produced ads that made references to Japanese martial arts. I think they made a fortune …

46 2006 Winter Olympics host : TORINO

Turin (“Torino” in Italian) is a major city in the north of Italy that sits on the Po River. Back in 1861, when the Kingdom of Italy was formed, Turin was chosen as the first capital of the country.

The 2006 Winter Olympics were held in Turin, in the Italian Alps. The Turin games were one of the most expensive Winter Games ever staged, and sadly much of that cost was a huge overrun, with the event costing almost twice what had been budgeted.

47 Diamond stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

51 Heracles, to Zeus : SON

“The Twelve Labors of Hercules” is actually a Greek myth, although “Hercules” is the Roman name for the hero that the Greeks called “Heracles”.

52 Stitch’s pal, in film : LILO

“Lilo & Stitch” was released by Disney in 2002. Compared to other Disney feature-length cartoons, “Lilo & Stitch” was relatively cheaply produced, using the voices of lesser-known actors. One interesting change had to take place in the storyline during production, when Lilo was meant to fly a Jumbo Jet through downtown Honolulu in one sequence. This was replaced with a sequence using a spaceship instead, as the producers were sensitive to public sentiment after the September 11 attacks.

59 Key of Beethoven’s Ninth : D MINOR

Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” is his wonderful “Choral” symphony. When it was composed in 1824 it was the first time that a major composer had used voices in a symphony. By the time of the Ninth’s premier, Beethoven was essentially deaf. He insisted on sharing the stage with the musical director (who was conducting), and was visibly counting out time but was off by quite a few measures. When the last notes were played there was enthusiastic applause, although Beethoven was still conducting. The lead contralto had to walk over to Beethoven, stop him, and turn him to the audience to receive his adulation.

65 Pet rocks, once : FAD

The Pet Rock lives on in history even though the fad really only lasted about 6 months, in 1975. It was enough to make Gary Dahl a millionaire though. His next idea, a “sand farm”, didn’t fly at all.

66 They turn litmus paper red : ACIDS

Litmus is a mixture of naturally-occurring dyes that responds to acidity by changing color. Litmus was probably first used around 1300 by the Spanish alchemist Arnaldus de Villa Nova, who extracted the blue dye from lichens. One suggestion is that the term “litmus” comes from the Old Norse “litmose” meaning “lichen for dyeing”. Litmus is often absorbed onto filter paper, creating “litmus paper” or “pH paper”. We also use the phrase “litmus test” figuratively to describe any test in which a single factor decides the outcome.

68 Stead : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

71 Checks out, in a way : CASES

The phrase “to case the joint” is American slang meaning “to examine a location with the intent of robbing it”. The origins of the phrase are apparently unknown, although it dates back at least to 1915.

73 Satirist ___ Baron Cohen : SACHA

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”.

74 Singer John whose middle name is Hercules : ELTON

“Elton John” is the stage name of English singer and pianist Reginald Dwight. John is an avid football (soccer) supporter, and is especially enthusiastic about Watford Football Club, which was his local team growing up. After he achieved financial success, John was able to purchase Watford FC, and owned the club from 1976 to 1987, and again from 1997 until 2002.

75 Food for a sea urchin : KELP

Kelps are large seaweeds that grow in kelp forests underwater. Kelps can grow to over 250 feet in length, and do so very quickly. Some kelps can grow at the rate of 1-2 feet per day.

Sea urchins are globular, spiny creatures found just about everywhere in the ocean. The “roe” of a sea urchin is eaten as a delicacy in several cuisines around the world. In a sushi restaurant, the sea urchin roe is called “uni”. The term “roe” normally means “fish eggs”, but in the case of the sea urchin it refers to the gonads of both the male and female.

76 Company behind the first microprocessor : INTEL

Intel is the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips. The company was founded in 1968, and the name “Intel” is derived from the term “int(egrated) el(ectronics)”. Recognition of the Intel brand has been greatly helped by the success of the “Intel Inside” campaign that started back in 1991.

Down

1 Potpourri pieces : PETALS

The French term “pot pourri” literally translates literally to “rotten pot”, but in France it used to mean “stew”. Over time, the term “potpourri” evolved in English usage to mean a “medley”, and eventually a mixture of dried flowers and spices.

2 Tree that’s a favorite of giraffes : ACACIA

Acacia is a genus of trees and shrubs, that is also known as thorntree, whistling thorn and wattle. The acacia is the primary food source for the giraffe in the wild, with the animal eating the leaves high in the tree, leaves that are inaccessible to competing species. The natural gum from two species of acacia tree is known as gum arabic, which is used in the food industry as a stabilizer.

4 Paranormal power, for short : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

7 One who raised Cain : ADAM

According to the Bible, Adam and Eve had several children, although only the first three are mentioned by name: Cain, Abel and Seth.

10 Tiny ammo : BBS

A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.

12 Emphatic two-pointer : SLAM DUNK

In basketball, a player makes a slam dunk by jumping up and powering the ball downward into the basket with his or her hands over the rim. The term “slam dunk” was coined by Chick Hearn, an announcer for the L.A. Lakers. The NBA even holds an annual Slam Dunk Contest.

13 Going places? : COMMODES

A commode is a toilet. Back in the 1700s, a commode was a chest of drawers, a name derived from the French word “commode” meaning “convenient”. In the mid-1800s, the term was applied to a chamber pot, which was regarded as a “convenience”.

24 “Fresh Air” broadcaster : NPR

“Fresh Air” is a marvelous radio talk show broadcast on NPR, and hosted by Terry Gross. The first broadcast of the program was made in 1975, with Judy Blank hosting. Terry Gross took over a few months later, and Gross has been presenting and producing the show ever since. I had the privilege of hearing Terry Gross give a talk here in my hometown some years ago. What a fascinating woman she is, full of great stories about her experiences interviewing so many interesting personalities.

27 French military headwear : KEPIS

A kepi is a circular cap with a visor, one that’s particularly associated with the French military.

32 Conflict that ended at 11:00 on 11/11 : WWI

World War I (WWI) began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. Over 9 million military personnel died in WWI, and over 7 million civilians. World War II started on 1 September 1939 and ended on 2 September 1945. Over 24 million military personnel died in WWII, and over 49 million civilians.

40 Food-spoiling bacterium : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

41 Like Sodom and Gomorrah : BIBLICAL

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by God for the sins of their inhabitants, according to the Bible. The name Sodom has become a metaphor for vice and homosexuality, and gives us our word “sodomy”.

44 ___ hop (swing era dance) : LINDY

The Lindy hop (sometimes just “lindy”) is a swing dance that evolved in Harlem in the twenties and was especially popular during the swing Era of the thirties and forties. Allegedly, the dance is named for aviator Charles Lindbergh. Lucky Lindy “hopped” the Atlantic in 1927, making the first nonstop solo flight from the US to Europe.

50 Mayim who played Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory” : BIALIK

The wonderful Mayim Bialik is an actress best known for playing Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”. Bialik also played the title role in the NBC sitcom “Blossom”. There’s a line in one of “The Big Bang Theory” episodes in which Sheldon talks about “the girl who played TV’s ‘Blossom’”. He notes that the “Blossom” actress has “a PhD in neuroscience or something”. And that is true, actress Mayim Bialik has indeed got a doctorate in neuroscience.

60 Soccer great with a statue in Buenos Aires : MESSI

Lionel “Leo” Messi is a soccer player from Argentina. Messi was awarded FIFA’s Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) award from 2009 to 2013. The Ballon d’Or is presented to the player who is considered the best in the world in the prior year.

67 Nine-digit ID, in brief : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Becomes less important by comparison : PALES
6 Newspaper unit : PAGE
10 “The Garden of Earthly Delights” painter : BOSCH
15 Bitcoin, e.g. : E-CASH
16 Hubbubs : ADOS
17 Bear who sings “The Bare Necessities” in a 1967 Disney film : BALOO
18 City near St. Petersburg : TAMPA
19 Bellyache : CARP
20 Benjamin Franklin is depicted on the first U.S. one (1847) : STAMP
21 Virtuoso : ACE
22 “C’mon, open the door!” : LET ME IN!
25 1990s supermodel with a palindromic name : EMME
26 Like regular exercise and happiness, per research : LINKED
28 Put one’s trust in : DEPEND ON
30 Fill to the gills : SATE
31 43rd prez : GWB
34 Mrs., on Majorca : SRA
35 Japanese salad herb : UDO
36 Pint-size : PEEWEE
39 Something to believe in : TENET
41 Smaller parts making up a larger whole … with a hint to the six groups of shaded squares in this puzzle : BUILDING BLOCKS
45 Brand of knives touted in classic infomercials : GINSU
46 2006 Winter Olympics host : TORINO
47 Diamond stat : RBI
48 Dance move that went from trendy to cringey in the 2010s : DAB
51 Heracles, to Zeus : SON
52 Stitch’s pal, in film : LILO
56 “Two thumbs up!” : I LOVED IT!
59 Key of Beethoven’s Ninth : D MINOR
61 Above-the-knee skirt : MINI
62 Brown loaf with an earthy taste : DARK RYE
65 Pet rocks, once : FAD
66 They turn litmus paper red : ACIDS
68 Stead : LIEU
69 Part of a political convention roll call : STATE
71 Checks out, in a way : CASES
72 Thingy : ITEM
73 Satirist ___ Baron Cohen : SACHA
74 Singer John whose middle name is Hercules : ELTON
75 Food for a sea urchin : KELP
76 Company behind the first microprocessor : INTEL

Down

1 Potpourri pieces : PETALS
2 Tree that’s a favorite of giraffes : ACACIA
3 Bemoan : LAMENT
4 Paranormal power, for short : ESP
5 Thin-layered sedimentary rock : SHALE
6 Covenant : PACT
7 One who raised Cain : ADAM
8 Wounded by a bull, say : GORED
9 Catches sight of : ESPIES
10 Tiny ammo : BBS
11 Like some breakfast cereals : OATEN
12 Emphatic two-pointer : SLAM DUNK
13 Going places? : COMMODES
14 “Heaven forbid!” : HOPE NOT!
23 Sidled (along) : EDGED
24 “Fresh Air” broadcaster : NPR
27 French military headwear : KEPIS
29 Use, as dishes : EAT ON
32 Conflict that ended at 11:00 on 11/11 : WWI
33 Crooked : BENT
37 Slip past : ELUDE
38 Swelled heads : EGOS
40 Food-spoiling bacterium : E COLI
41 Like Sodom and Gomorrah : BIBLICAL
42 Abraham Lincoln, for one : UNIONIST
43 Modern lead-in to -grammer : BRO-
44 ___ hop (swing era dance) : LINDY
45 Not a happy face : GRIMACE
49 Put two and two together? : ADD
50 Mayim who played Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory” : BIALIK
53 “Believe it or not …” : IN FACT …
54 Abhor : LOATHE
55 Herculean undertaking : ORDEAL
57 Many a smartphone recording : VIDEO
58 Far from original : TRITE
60 Soccer great with a statue in Buenos Aires : MESSI
63 Topple (over) : KEEL
64 Posterior : RUMP
67 Nine-digit ID, in brief : SSN
70 Shade of brown : TAN

15 thoughts on “0331-21 NY Times Crossword 31 Mar 21, Wednesday”

  1. 13:14 Got hung up in the NE corner. Unfamiliar with BOSCH, BALOO, EMME (thought of ELLE McPherson), and UDO.

  2. 14:12. I was really confused by TORINO as I remember “Turin” vividly. I guess I didn’t realized there was a different Italian name.

    Btw – If the actual Italian name is TORINO, why do we call is Turin? I’ve never understood why names change in other languages.

    Oh well, at least it wasn’t as embarrassing as the Sonny Bono fiasco from yesterday.

    Best –

  3. Fairly easy but I still never heard of BROGRAMMER or DAB (Guess I was asleep in the 2010s)

    1. Never heard that expression, either. For what it’s worth: “A male computer programmer who engages in stereotypically male-oriented activities and macho behavior.” according to the online dictionary.

  4. bro·gram·mer
    /ˈbrōˌɡramər/
    nouninformal•US
    noun: brogrammer; plural noun: brogrammers

    a male computer programmer who engages in stereotypically male-oriented activities and macho behavior.

  5. No errors. My area of trouble was the due South. I did not know BIALIK and LIEU (without the L) just looked like a jumble of vowels. Something finally clicked and it all came together. Thanks, BruceB, for doing the research on “BRO-grammar”.

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