0401-21 NY Times Crossword 1 Apr 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Sam Ezersky
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Fooled?

Themed clues are cryptic in that they use specific answers in the grid to make sense. Very clever …

  • 6A Actor Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire” : DEV
  • 19A 6-Across, with “out” : VERY RELIGIOUS (DEV-out)
  • 9A Film in which Will Ferrell wears yellow tights : ELF
  • 33A Inits. before 9-Across : ESSENTIALLY (in its-ELF)
  • 37A Start of the third millennium : MMI
  • 40A 37-Across, in slang : BADMOUTHING (sla-MMI-ng)
  • 64A French holy title: Abbr. : STE
  • 65A Cheap beer choice, for short : PBR
  • 50A 64-/65-Across and others : BLENDED FAMILY (STEP BR-others)

Bill’s time: 15m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Actor Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire” : DEV

Dev Patel is an actor from Harrow in England who is perhaps best known for playing the lead in the hit movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. He also stars in a lovely 2012 film called “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” alongside an incredible cast that included Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson. Patel also had a regular role in the marvelous HBO drama series called “The Newsroom”.

The brilliant film “Slumdog Millionaire” is a screen adaptation of a 2005 novel by Indian author Vikas Swarup. A low-budget movie, it ended up winning eight Oscars in 2008. I reckon it turned a profit …

9 Film in which Will Ferrell wears yellow tights : ELF

“Elf” is a comedy movie that was released for the 2003 Christmas season. “Elf” was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Will Ferrell in the title role, with James Caan supporting and Ed Asner playing Santa Claus. It’s all about one of Santa’s elves who finds out he is human and goes to meet his father in New York City.

Will Ferrell is a comedian and comic actor from Irvine, California who got his big break as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in the mid-nineties. While appearing on SNL, Ferrell was noted for several impersonations, including President George W. Bush, Neil Diamond, James Lipton, Ted Kennedy and Janet Reno.

12 Good, in Genoa : BUONO

Genoa is a seaport in the very north of Italy, in the region known as Liguria. One of Genoa’s most famous sons was Christopher Columbus. Another was the violinist Niccolò Paganini.

16 ___ Building, former name of Chicago’s Aon Center : AMOCO

The Aon Center in Chicago is the third-tallest building in the city. There is also an Aon Center in Los Angeles that is the second-tallest building in that city.

17 Losing dice roll : CRAP

To crap out is to make a losing roll on the first throw in a game of craps. A losing roll (aka “a crap”) is a roll of 2, 3 or 12.

18 [sooo funny!] : LMAO

Laughing my a** off (LMAO)

22 What the Cyclops couldn’t do after Odysseus tricked him : SEE

Cyclops was a one-eyed giant in Greek and Roman mythology. Cyclops lived inside Mount Etna, the Sicilian volcano.

25 Bull’s preceder in the zodiac : RAM

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

35 Pop star Grande, to fans : ARI

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four season on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

36 Airplane whose name is also a vitamin : B-TEN

The Martin B-10 bomber entered service in 1934. It was the first bomber to have retractable landing gear, an internal bomb bay and a powered gun turret. It was built for speed and was 50% faster than its predecessor biplane bombers, and at the time of its introduction, the B-10 was so fast it could outpace any fighter in the air.

Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), or now its derivatives, is the “active” ingredient in sunscreens in that it absorbs UV radiation. PABA derivatives are used today as PABA itself fell out of favor due to its tendency to stain clothes and to cause an allergic reaction in some users. PABA was also known historically as vitamin B10, although it is no longer considered a vitamin as it is readily produced by bacteria found in the body.

39 Way to say “hey” in São Tomé : OLA

The Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe is an island nation off the west coast of Africa comprising mainly two islands: São Tomé and Príncipe. São Tomé and Príncipe is located in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Gabon. It was colonized by Portugal after POrtuguese explorers discovered the islands in the 15th century. After gaining independence in 1975, São Tomé and Príncipe became the smallest Portuguese-speaking country in the world.

46 Pestering sort : NOODGE

“To noodge” is a slang verb meaning “to nag”. It comes into English from the Yiddish word “nudyen” meaning “to bore, be tedious”.

56 Ice-___ (old tennis nickname) : BORG

Björn Borg is a retired tennis player from Sweden, and a former World No. 1. Borg won 41% of the 27 Grand Slam singles tournaments that he entered, which is a record that stands to the day. He was known for reacting very calmly under pressure on the tennis court and hence earned the nicknames “Ice Man” and “Ice Borg”, the latter being my personal favorite.

61 “Jeopardy!,” basically : QUIZ

The TV show “Jeopardy!” first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But, it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek was host from 1984 until his sad passing in 2020.

62 Fix : SPAY

Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

63 Bumpkins : HICKS

“Bumpkin” is really a not-so-nice term for someone from a rural area. The term has an even less nice derivation. It comes from from the Middle Dutch “bommekijn” meaning “little barrel”. “Bumpkin” was used as a derogatory term for Dutch people, who were regarded as short and plump.

64 French holy title: Abbr. : STE

“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a “femme” (woman).

65 Cheap beer choice, for short : PBR

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

Down

1 Firm requirement, maybe : MBA

The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

4 How many times TV’s Perry Mason lost a case : ONCE

“The Case of the Terrified Typist” is one of the “Perry Mason” novels by Erle Stanley Gardner. It is significant in that it is the only case that Perry Mason actually lost. Well, that’s the only loss if we are talking about the series of books. In the TV series, Mason lost “The Case of the Terrified Typist”, “The Case of the Deadly Verdict” and “The Case of the Witless Witness”.

7 Literary character who says “I will be myself” to Mr. Rochester : EYRE

“Jane Eyre” is a celebrated novel written by Charlotte Brontë, under the pen name Currer Bell. The love story is perhaps represented by the oft-quoted opening lines of the last chapter, “Reader, I married him”. There is a wonderful 4-hour television adaptation made by the BBC that I highly recommend to fans of the novel …

8 What might be parm for the course? : VEAL

Parmigiana is a dish from southern Italy. The original parmigiana was made with an aubergine (eggplant) filling, with cheese and tomato layers and then baked. Versions originating outside of Italy have replaced the aubergine with breaded cutlets of chicken or veal.

10 Occasion for a roast : LUAU

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.

20 Circular dwelling : YURT

A yurt is a wood-framed dwelling that is used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. Although a yurt is a substantial structure, it is also extremely portable.

22 1984 hit for Cyndi Lauper : SHE BOP

“She Bop” is a hit song released by Cyndi Lauper in 1984. The song was considered controversial because of the sexual nature of the lyrics. In fact, Lauper claims that she recorded the vocal track while she was naked.

If you’ve ever heard Cyndi Lauper speaking, you’d know that she was from Queens, New York. She is the daughter of divorced parents, and strongly influenced by a supportive mother. Lauper was always a free spirit, and even as a young teen in the mid-sixties she dyed her hair different colors and wore outlandish fashions. She was a young woman who wanted to “find herself”, and to that end she once spent two weeks alone in the woods up in Canada, well, just with her dog.

29 Sister of Calliope : CLIO

In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:

  • Mneme (memory)
  • Melete (meditation)
  • Aoede (song)

30 Filmmaker who co-created “Twin Peaks” : DAVID LYNCH

David Lynch is a much-respected and lauded American film director. His most famous movies are probably “Eraserhead”, “The Elephant Man”, “Dune” and “Mulholland Drive”. Despite the positive reviews from most critics, I can’t think of one David Lynch film that I’ve really enjoyed …

“Twin Peaks” is an ABC TV drama about an FBI murder investigation in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington. The show originally ran for just two seasons, from 1990 to 1991. There followed a 1992 feature film called “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me”, and Showtime came up with “Twin Peaks: The Return” that started airing in 2017. I haven’t seen any incarnations of the show, but I hear good things …

34 Website with Oscars recaps : IMDB

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering questions one has about movies and actors.

38 Vietnam’s Le Duc ___ : THO

Le Duc Tho was the Vietnamese diplomat who engaged in secret talks in Paris with Henry Kissinger in the early seventies. Those talks led to the eventual withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, and also led to Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. Le Duc Tho refused to accept the award because there was no formal peace agreement signed at that point.

42 “One” on ones : UNUM

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

43 Tony and Maria duet in “West Side Story” : TONIGHT

“Tonight” is one of several hit songs from the Broadway musical “West Side Story”. In the 1961 film adaptation of the show, the song was ostensibly sung by Natalie Wood. It was actually dubbed by the celebrated playback singer Marni Nixon.

48 Strong luster? : SATYR

The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the “rude” male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.

50 Occasions for roasts, for short : BBQS

It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

51 Hooligan : LOUT

“Hooligan” is a word that arose in England in the late 1800s and describes an aggressive and violent youth. The term is apparently derived from the Irish family name “Houlihan”. I can’t think why …

53 “Pirates of the Caribbean” star : DEPP

Captain Jack Sparrow is the protagonist in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of movies, and is played by Johnny Depp. Depp has said that he based his portrayal of Sparrow partly on the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. I could believe that …

55 Noted leader of the Resistance : LEIA

In the first “Star Wars” movie, Princess Leia hides plans for the Galactic Empire’s Death Star in the droid named R2-D2. She also records a holographic message, so when it is played we can see Princess Leia as a hologram, asking for help to destroy the Death Star:

I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.

59 Pioneering co. in film noir : RKO

The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Unbelievable!” : MY GOD!
6 Actor Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire” : DEV
9 Film in which Will Ferrell wears yellow tights : ELF
12 Good, in Genoa : BUONO
13 Specs can be provided for them : EYES
15 Talk like a tippler : SLUR
16 ___ Building, former name of Chicago’s Aon Center : AMOCO
17 Losing dice roll : CRAP
18 [sooo funny!] : LMAO
19 6-Across, with “out” : VERY RELIGIOUS (DEV-out)
22 What the Cyclops couldn’t do after Odysseus tricked him : SEE
24 “___ interesante” : MUY
25 Bull’s preceder in the zodiac : RAM
26 “Sooo funny …” : HAR HAR …
28 Fearing : SCARED OF
33 Inits. before 9-Across : ESSENTIALLY (In its-ELF)
35 Pop star Grande, to fans : ARI
36 Airplane whose name is also a vitamin : B-TEN
37 Start of the third millennium : MMI
38 Something often skipped using a DVR : TV AD
39 Way to say “hey” in São Tomé : OLA
40 37-Across, in slang : BADMOUTHING (sla-MMI-ng)
44 Overlooked : PASSED BY
46 Pestering sort : NOODGE
47 Dip stick? : OAR
48 Depiction on Arizona and New Mexico’s flags : SUN
49 ___ loose : LET
50 64-/65-Across and others : BLENDED FAMILY (STE-P BR-others)
56 Ice-___ (old tennis nickname) : BORG
57 Bombard (with) : PELT
58 Sorting category in a music app : GENRE
61 “Jeopardy!,” basically : QUIZ
62 Fix : SPAY
63 Bumpkins : HICKS
64 French holy title: Abbr. : STE
65 Cheap beer choice, for short : PBR
66 S.U.V. with a geographic name : TAHOE

Down

1 Firm requirement, maybe : MBA
2 Word a cook likes to hear : YUM!
3 Travel abroad : GO OVERSEAS
4 How many times TV’s Perry Mason lost a case : ONCE
5 Quite a job, you have to admit? : DOORMAN
6 Publicly criticize : DECRY
7 Literary character who says “I will be myself” to Mr. Rochester : EYRE
8 What might be parm for the course? : VEAL
9 Friend of Cookie Monster : ELMO
10 Occasion for a roast : LUAU
11 Some natural hairstyles, informally : ‘FROS
14 Perfectly thrown football : SPIRAL
15 Gunk : SLIME
20 Circular dwelling : YURT
21 Libertarian politico Johnson : GARY
22 1984 hit for Cyndi Lauper : SHE BOP
23 Where I-5 meets I-710 : EAST LA
27 What may come home to roost : HEN
28 Something that might be made with cold cuts from the fridge : SAMMY
29 Sister of Calliope : CLIO
30 Filmmaker who co-created “Twin Peaks” : DAVID LYNCH
31 Like Tennessee Avenue and New York Avenue, on a Monopoly board : ORANGE
32 Have ants in one’s pants : FIDGET
34 Website with Oscars recaps : IMDB
38 Vietnam’s Le Duc ___ : THO
40 Sweat it : BEAD
41 Ones with spots to fill : AD REPS
42 “One” on ones : UNUM
43 Tony and Maria duet in “West Side Story” : TONIGHT
45 Trey ___, R&B artist with the 2012 chart-topping album “Chapter V” : SONGZ
48 Strong luster? : SATYR
50 Occasions for roasts, for short : BBQS
51 Hooligan : LOUT
52 City roughly halfway between Cleveland and Buffalo : ERIE
53 “Pirates of the Caribbean” star : DEPP
54 Toning target : FLAB
55 Noted leader of the Resistance : LEIA
59 Pioneering co. in film noir : RKO
60 -talk : -ESE

6 thoughts on “0401-21 NY Times Crossword 1 Apr 21, Thursday”

  1. 12:47. I managed to get the whole thing filled out while having no idea what the theme was. Now that I see it explained above…clever. Maybe too clever by half.

  2. 19:29 Bit of a struggle. Once finished I understood the cluing only for the link between 6A and 19A and that made sense since “out” was in quotes. The other meta clues did not have quotes around that part of the clue to be linked to the longer answer. Seems like the cluing was a bit inconsistent.

    Agree with @Tom R – too clever by half, or perhaps 5/8 ths

  3. 21:13, no errors, no complaints. Didn’t quite get the theme until just before I declared myself done and filled the last square. Very clever (the puzzle … me, not so much … 😜).

  4. 26:27. But I did get the theme answers while solving. I had a different reaction to them than youse guys. I thought it was one of the best and most original themes I’d seen in a long time. Who thinks of these things?

    Bill’s time was 15 minutes 317 seconds? That’s 20 minutes 17 seconds….or, more likely, a typo.

    Best –

  5. 25:14 Solved it. Other than “devout”, totally didn’t see the clueing gimmick until coming to the blog, and even then it took a while of rereading before I caught on… Must be the snow we’re getting in upstate NY is fogging my simple brain

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