0407-21 NY Times Crossword 7 Apr 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Adrian Johnson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Mario Bros.

Themed answers each end with a character in the MARIO BROS. video game:

  • 34A Video game franchise with characters found at the ends of 17-, 20-, 53- and 58-Across : MARIO BROS
  • 17A Small, spiny lizard : HORNED TOAD
  • 20A Fruit appearing on a Southern license plate : GEORGIA PEACH
  • 53A D.C. mayor first elected in 2014 : MURIEL BOWSER
  • 58A “Clumsy me!” : OOPSY DAISY!

Bill’s time: 8m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Pilgrim who’s been to Mecca : HAJJI

“Haji” (also “Hajji” and “Hadji”) is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The journey itself goes by the name “haj”, “hajj” or “hadj”.

10 What a keto diet is high in : FATS

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. When a body consumes insufficient carbohydrates to meet the need for energy, then the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies in order to make up the energy deficit. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the bloodstream is known as “ketosis”, a term that gives rise to the name “ketogenic diet”. Medical professionals sometimes prescribe a ketogenic diet in order to control epilepsy in children. A condition of ketosis can reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures.

14 Writer Nin : ANAIS

Anaïs Nin was a French author who was famous for the journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.

16 Property claim : LIEN

A lien is a right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

17 Small, spiny lizard : HORNED TOAD

Horny toads (also called “horned toads”) aren’t toads at all. “Horny toad” is a familiar name for the desert horned lizard, a species of lizard native to the western US. It does look somewhat like a toad though, as it has a very flat and wide body.

19 ___ Mountains, dividers of Europe and Asia : URAL

The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia and Kazakhstan is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

20 Fruit appearing on a Southern license plate : GEORGIA PEACH

The US state of Georgia has two nicknames: the Peach State, and the Empire State of the South.

25 Insult, informally : DIS

“Dis” (also “diss”) is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

26 Dried Mexican chili : ANCHO

An ancho is a dried poblano pepper used in Mexican cuisine. The poblano is a mild chili.

27 South African plant whose leaves are used for a popular herbal tea : ROOIBOS

Red tea is made from the leaves of the South African rooibos plant. The name “rooibos” translates as “red bush”.

31 Not sitting well? : ANTSY

The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

34 Video game franchise with characters found at the ends of 17-, 20-, 53- and 58-Across : MARIO BROS

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

38 Monogram on an expensive handbag, maybe : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

46 Transitional region between biomes : ECOTONE

An ecotone is a transition area between two different biological communities that sit adjacent to each other.

I tend to think of “biome” as another word for “ecosystem”.

48 Having good marketing instincts : PR SAVVY

Public relations (PR)

50 Many whiskey-based cocktails : SOURS

A whiskey sour is made from whiskey, lemon juice and sugar, and is usually garnished with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry. My favored variant (by far) is the delicious New York sour, which includes a float of dry red wine.

51 Leader namechecked in the Beatles’ “Revolution” : MAO

The recording and release of the Beatles song “Revolution” was very much driven by John Lennon. Lennon was then in a committed relationship with Yoko Ono, and well into the “revolutionary” phase of his life. One interesting thing to note about the original recording is the “scream” right at the start of the song. This had to come from Paul rather than John, because John couldn’t catch his breath after the scream in time to start into the song’s lyrics.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

52 Singer nicknamed the Prince of Motown : GAYE

Marvin Gaye was a singer-songwriter from Washington, D.C. who came to be known as “Prince of Soul” and “Prince of Motown”. Some of Gaye’s biggest hits are “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968), “What’s Going On?” (1971), “Let’s Get It On” (1973) and “Sexual Healing” (1982). Famously, Gaye was shot dead by his father while Marvin was sitting on his mother’s bed just talking to her. Marvin had given the gun to his father as a Christmas gift.

64 A giant one rises in Citi Field after every Mets homer : APPLE

Citi Field is a relatively new baseball stadium used by the New York Mets that sits right next door to the site of Shea stadium, where the Mets had played for decades. And the new facility’s name comes from corporate sponsor Citigroup.

67 Stiller’s comedy partner : MEARA

Anne Meara married fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. The couple’s children are actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spin-off from “All in the Family”.

Down

2 What makes God good? : AN O

We turn the word “God” into “good” by inserting a letter O.

4 Excessive flag-waving and the like : JINGOISM

Jingoism is an extreme form of nationalism exhibited by a country that uses threats or force internationally in order to advance its national interests. The term originated in England and comes from the expression “by jingo”, a euphemism for “by Jesus” that was used as an oath.

6 Game where everything falls into place : TETRIS

Tetris is a very addictive video game that was developed in the Soviet Union in 1984. The name Tetris comes from a melding of the prefix “tetra-” (as all the game pieces have four segments) and “tennis” (a favorite sport played by the developer). Since 2005 there have been more than 100 million copies of the game installed on cell phones alone.

7 Some YouTube journals : VLOGS

A video blog is perhaps what one might expect, i.e. a blog that is essentially a series of video posts. The phrase “video logging” is often shortened to “vlogging”.

8 Jai ___ : ALAI

The essential equipment in the game of jai alai is the pelota (ball) and the cesta (wicker scoop).

11 Heroes of the sky : AIR ACES

A flying ace is an aviator who has shot down a number of enemy planes during combat. The qualifying number of kills seems to vary, but five is common. The first use of “ace” was during WWI, when the French newspapers dubbed pilot Adolphe Pegoud “l’as” (French for “the ace”) when he shot down his fifth German plane.

13 Alec Baldwin, on more than 15 occasions : SNL HOST

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he made a name for himself by impersonating President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.

18 Dumb bunny : DODO

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1681) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

30 “___ out!” (ump’s call) : YER

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

32 Fittingly, the first three letters of 32-Across : POE
(32A Occupation for 32-Down : POET)

Edgar Allan Poe (EAP) lived a life of many firsts. Poe is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn’t really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious and in dire need of medical help. Poe died a few days later in hospital at 40 years of age.

36 Nickname of a 1950s president : IKE

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (“Ike”) was in command of the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during WWII. If you’re a WWII buff like me, then I recommend you take a look at a great, made-for-TV movie starring Tom Selleck as Eisenhower called “Ike: Countdown to D-Day” that came out in 2004.

40 “Walk on the Wild Side” singer : LOU REED

Lou Reed was best known as a rock musician and songwriter, and was especially associated with the fabulous 1973 hit “Walk on the Wildside”. Reed is less well known as a photographer, but he published two collections of his work. The first was released in 2003 under the title “Emotions in Action”, and the second in 2006 called “Lou Reed’s New York”. Reed passed away in 2013.

43 Director DuVernay : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

44 Columbia or Brown : IVY

Columbia University is an Ivy League school in New York City. Columbia’s athletic teams are called the Lions, which is thought to be a reference to the lion on the English coat of arms. Prior to the American Revolution, Columbia was called King’s College as it was chartered by King George II in 1754.

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island is one of the eight Ivy League schools. Brown has been around a long time, founded in 1764, years before America declared independence from England. The university took the name of Brown in 1804 after one Nicholas Brown, Jr. gave a substantial gift to the school. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Brown Bears, and their mascot is Bruno.

47 Three-tone chords : TRIADS

A triad is a group of three and, specifically in music, a chord made up of three notes.

56 Cheese of the Netherlands : 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.

59 Hip thing to sip : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

60 35mm camera inits. : SLR

Single-lens reflex camera (SLR)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Pilgrim who’s been to Mecca : HAJJI
6 Show stopper : TV AD
10 What a keto diet is high in : FATS
14 Writer Nin : ANAIS
15 ___ Emhoff, stepdaughter of Kamala Harris : ELLA
16 Property claim : LIEN
17 Small, spiny lizard : HORNED TOAD
19 ___ Mountains, dividers of Europe and Asia : URAL
20 Fruit appearing on a Southern license plate : GEORGIA PEACH
22 Mindlessly repeat : ECHO
25 Insult, informally : DIS
26 Dried Mexican chili : ANCHO
27 South African plant whose leaves are used for a popular herbal tea : ROOIBOS
29 “All ___ go” : SYSTEMS
31 Not sitting well? : ANTSY
32 Occupation for 32-Down : POET
33 Ready to go : SET
34 Video game franchise with characters found at the ends of 17-, 20-, 53- and 58-Across : MARIO BROS
38 Monogram on an expensive handbag, maybe : YSL
41 Zap : NUKE
42 Play again : REAIR
46 Transitional region between biomes : ECOTONE
48 Having good marketing instincts : PR SAVVY
50 Many whiskey-based cocktails : SOURS
51 Leader namechecked in the Beatles’ “Revolution” : MAO
52 Singer nicknamed the Prince of Motown : GAYE
53 D.C. mayor first elected in 2014 : MURIEL BOWSER
57 Gray ___ : AREA
58 “Clumsy me!” : OOPSY DAISY!
62 Like fine wines : AGED
63 Mental spark : IDEA
64 A giant one rises in Citi Field after every Mets homer : APPLE
65 They’re prescribed by docs : MEDS
66 It may go out on a limb : NEST
67 Stiller’s comedy partner : MEARA

Down

1 “As if!” : HAH!
2 What makes God good? : AN O
3 Peanut butter container : JAR
4 Excessive flag-waving and the like : JINGOISM
5 “OK, that makes sense” : I SEE
6 Game where everything falls into place : TETRIS
7 Some YouTube journals : VLOGS
8 Jai ___ : ALAI
9 Common first word for a baby : DADA
10 Well-versed (in) : FLUENT
11 Heroes of the sky : AIR ACES
12 “I want to learn!” : TEACH ME!
13 Alec Baldwin, on more than 15 occasions : SNL HOST
18 Dumb bunny : DODO
21 Congregation leaders : PASTORS
22 Period of history : ERA
23 Reason against : CON
24 Like freshly brewed coffee : HOT
28 Close way to win : BY A NOSE
29 Have a bawl : SOB
30 “___ out!” (ump’s call) : YER
32 Fittingly, the first three letters of 32-Across : POE
35 Sprint … or see print : RUN
36 Nickname of a 1950s president : IKE
37 Native Caribbean plant whose fruit grows in clusters : SEAGRAPE
38 Polite affirmative : YES, MA’AM
39 Source of great trouble : SCOURGE
40 “Walk on the Wild Side” singer : LOU REED
43 Director DuVernay : AVA
44 Columbia or Brown : IVY
45 Bread choice : RYE
47 Three-tone chords : TRIADS
48 Clumsily handles : PAWS AT
49 Flushed, as cheeks : ROSY
51 Looks down : MOPES
54 Cut of pork : LOIN
55 Foretell : BODE
56 Cheese of the Netherlands : EDAM
59 Hip thing to sip : IPA
60 35mm camera inits. : SLR
61 Vote of support : YEA

11 thoughts on “0407-21 NY Times Crossword 7 Apr 21, Wednesday”

  1. 11:19 Including about 90 sec. to find a fat finger. Unfamiliar with ROOIBOS and MURIEL BOWSER. Also had DOLT before DODO.

    @Bill – check your entry for 32D. You double entered the info about Poe and had two different years in the description.

  2. 8:35, no errors. Totes unfamiliar (😜) with the video game, but I was into ROOIBOS tea for awhile, a few years back. (I can’t remember now if I first became aware of it in the store or in a crossword puzzle; in any case, I got over it … eventually. 😜)

  3. 13:14. Speeding along until I hit the bottom third. Still, good enough for a Wednesday…for me.

  4. 10:00 even (or is that redundant?). I’m one of 7 people on the planet that has never played anything with MARIO BROS so this was simply a themeless for me.

    Had HORNED frog before TOAD but otherwise a smooth solve.

    How could a word like ROOIBOS be used to seldom in crosswords?? I’d never seen it before.

    Best –

  5. No errors. Same as others.. never heard ROOIBOS.. Never memorized the Mario Brothers characters. I remembered after I made the entry..
    Should use this crossword 20 years from now when that generation can remember it.
    Why can’t they have a crossword with 8 tracks or cassettes or anything pre-video games.

  6. 22:15 with one error…I had BLOGS for VLOGS and I knew TBAD didn’t make sense but I couldn’t picture TVAD.
    FOR 1A it seems that whatever jumble of letters are needed are OK…for 15A were we supposed to know that one?
    @Jeff…I am also one of the 7.
    Stay safe😀

  7. I was kinda out of my element on this one. But I gave it my best shot. I was blown away when I came here and found that I had no mistakes. The most interesting word to me was SAVVY. Somehow the two V’s next to each other just didn’t look right. But so it is. Apparently SAVVY is one of the most frequently misspelled words in English.

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