0417-21 NY Times Crossword 17 Apr 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Leslie Rogers
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 The Wright stuff? : AVIATION

The Wright Flyer was the first heavier-than-air powered aircraft. It was used by the Wright Brothers to make the series of famous flights in 1903 at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. As a result, the Wright Flyer appears on North Carolina’s state quarter. The same plane also appears on Ohio’s state quarter, as the brothers developed and built the Wright Flyer in Dayton, Ohio.

17 Dave of rock : MATTHEWS

The Dave Matthews Band (sometimes just “DMB”) is a rock band from Charlottesville, Virginia that formed in 1991. DMB hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2004 when their driver decided to dump about 800 pounds of liquid waste from the tour bus into the Chicago River. He pumped the waste through a grate on a bridge, and onto the passengers on a sightseeing boat that was passing below.

21 Kind of garden : ZEN

Japanese Zen gardens are inspired by the meditation gardens of Zen Buddhist temples. Zen gardens have no water in them, but often there is gravel and sand that is raked in patterns designed to create the impression of water in waves and ripples.

27 Male hedgehog : BOAR

Hedgehogs are spiny mammals that have adapted to a nocturnal life. Even though they have spines, hedgehogs are unrelated to porcupines. The term “hedgehog” arose in the 15th century. They are often found in hedgerows and have hog-like snouts, hence the name “hedgehog”.

28 ___ Star : LONE

The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the “lone star” on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single white star on a blue background symbolizes Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.

29 Something opened with a click : PEN

The ballpoint pen was invented by László Bíró in the late thirties, a Hungarian newspaper editor. Over in Ireland we use the term “biro” as a generic word for “ballpoint pen”.

30 ___ bike : BMX

“BMX” stands for “Bicycle Motocross”. It’s the sport where folks on bicycles race around what is in effect a regular motocross track. Medals were awarded for BMX for the first time at the Beijing Olympics, with a Latvian winning for the men, and a Française winning for the women.

31 Brie, e.g. : SOFT CHEESE

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert. Brie is often served baked in puff pastry with fig jam.

38 Zoom participants? : DRAG RACERS

Back in the 18th century, “drag” was slang for a wagon or buggy, as it was “dragged” along by a horse or horses. In the 1930s, the underworld adopted “drag” as slang for an automobile. This sense of the word was imported into automobile racing in the forties, giving the name to “drag racing”. A drag race is basically a competition between two cars to determine which can accelerate faster from a standstill.

40 Head across the pond : LOO

It has been suggested that the British term “loo”, meaning “toilet”, comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

In old sailing ships, the toilet area for the regular sailors was located in the forward part (the head) of the ship. As a result, the term “head” has been used since then for any toilet on board a boat.

42 Linguist Chomsky : NOAM

Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT. Chomsky is known as one of the fathers of modern linguistics.

43 Copies, as from a CD : RIPS

Ripping is the process of copying audio or video files onto a hard disk. Ripping isn’t the same as direct copying, as the former involves changing the format of the audio or video content.

46 1040, e.g. : FORM

Form 1040, issued by the IRS, is the “US Individual Income Tax Return”. It was originally created just for tax returns from 1913, 1914 and 1915, but it’s a form that just keeps on giving, or should I say “taking” …?

51 Latitude : LEEWAY

Our word “leeway” meaning “spare margin” is nautical in origin. A vessel’s leeway is the amount of drift motion away from her intended course that is caused by the action of the wind.

Down

2 Sch. whose athletes are nicknamed the Hoos : UVA

The University of Virginia (UVA) was founded by Thomas Jefferson, who then sat on the original Board of Visitors alongside former US Presidents James Madison and James Monroe. In fact, the original UVA campus was built on land near Charlottesville that was once a farm belonging to President Monroe.

3 Annual coll. basketball event : NIT

National Invitation Tournament (NIT)

5 Clear sky : ETHER

The Greek philosopher Empedocles proposed that there are four elements that made up the universe, namely earth, water, air and fire. Aristotle later proposed a fifth element which he called aether (also “ether”). Aether was the divine substance that made up the stars and planets. We’re still using the term “ether” with a similar meaning.

7 Mathematical puzzle with movable disks : TOWER OF HANOI

The Tower of Hanoi is a mathematical puzzle or game in which different-sized disks are moved around on three vertical rods. The disks start off as a stack on one rod with the largest disk on the bottom. The idea is to move the disks one-at-a-time so that the entire stack ends up on another rod.

10 Homecomings? : RUNS

That would be baseball.

13 Decorative features throughout Spain’s Alhambra palace : TILES

Alhambra is a magnificent fortress and palace in Granada, Andalusia in the south of Spain. The large complex was completed in the 14th century in the days when the Moors ruled Andalusia.

24 They vary according to income : TAX BRACKETS

In a progressive tax system, brackets are divisions at which the rate of tax changes.

28 Series set in Middle-earth, for short : LOTR

“Lord of the Rings” (LOTR)

31 Common additive to melted butter in Italian cuisine : SAGE

In Britain, sage is listed as one of the four essential herbs. And those would be “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”.

33 Emulate Desdemona and Othello, in a way : ELOPE

Desdemona is one of the main characters in William Shakespeare’s play “Othello”. She is the daughter of a Venetian senator called Brabantio whom she vexes by eloping with Othello, a man not of her race and several years older.

35 Browser command : BACK

A web browser is a piece of software used to access the World Wide Web. The first web browser was called “WorldWideWeb” and was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web. The browser known as Mosaic came out in 1993, and it was this browser that drove so much interest in the World Wide Web, and indeed in the Internet in general. Marc Andreessen led the team that created Mosaic, and he then set up his own company called Netscape. Netscape created the Netscape Navigator browser that further popularized the use of the Web starting in 1994. Microsoft responded by introducing Internet Explorer in 1995, which sparked the so-called “browser war”, a war that Microsoft clearly won. As Netscape floundered, the company launched the open-source Mozilla project which eventually led to the Firefox browser. Apple then came out with it’s own Safari browser in 2003. Google’s Chrome browser, introduced in 2008, is by far the most popular way to view the Web today.

46 Circular : FLYER

Fliers are notices that are circulated. The original fliers (also “flyers”) were police bulletins that were “scatter-broadcast”.

49 “The perfume of heroic deeds,” to Socrates : FAME

In ancient Greece, Socrates was a respected thinker of his day. One of Socrates’ most clever students was Plato, who spent much of life espousing the work and thinking of his mentor and teacher. In later life, Plato himself had a student who built on the work of both Socrates and Plato. That second-generation student was Aristotle. Socrates fell out of favor with the political leaders in Athens who put him on trial on trumped-up charges. He was found guilty of corrupting the youth of the city-state and of not believing in the gods of the state. The sentence levied was death by drinking hemlock.

50 TV host Kotb : HODA

Hoda Kotb is an Egyptian-American television journalist who is perhaps best known as a co-host of the NBC morning show “Today”. She is also the author of the bestselling autobiography “Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee”.

52 “___ has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words”: Dorothy Parker : WIT

Dorothy Parker was a poet and satirist, and a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. After the famed meetings at the Algonquin Hotel ceased, Parker headed to Hollywood where she became a successful screenwriter, earning two Oscar nominations. However she ended up on the Hollywood blacklist for being involved in left-wing politics. When Parker passed away in 1967, her body was cremated. Her ashes remained unclaimed for over twenty years before the NAACP took charge of them and placed them in a specially-designed memorial garden outside their headquarters in Baltimore. The plaque reads:

Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic. Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph she suggested, ‘Excuse my dust’. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people.

Parker’s ashes were reburied in a family plot in the Bronx, New York in 2020.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Colorful Pillsbury cake with a portmanteau name : FUNFETTI
9 Designs : CRAFTS
15 The Wright stuff? : AVIATION
16 Grading aid : RUBRIC
17 Dave of rock : MATTHEWS
18 If the shoe doesn’t fit … wear it? : INSOLE
19 Some Renaissance-era scientists : HERETICS
21 Kind of garden : ZEN
22 Input : ENTER
25 Where things might be left hanging : RACK
26 270° : WEST
27 Male hedgehog : BOAR
28 ___ Star : LONE
29 Something opened with a click : PEN
30 ___ bike : BMX
31 Brie, e.g. : SOFT CHEESE
34 Rest stop? : SABBATH
36 Personification of limpness : RAG DOLL
38 Zoom participants? : DRAG RACERS
40 Head across the pond : LOO
41 Crackerjack : ACE
42 Linguist Chomsky : NOAM
43 Copies, as from a CD : RIPS
44 Risky thing to do close to flight time : PACK
46 1040, e.g. : FORM
47 ___ blue : CADET
48 Bother : IRK
49 Some nervous responses : FLINCHES
51 Latitude : LEEWAY
53 Thanksgiving aftermath, maybe : FOOD COMA
57 Prompt : ON TIME
58 Aspire : ENDEAVOR
59 Small sample, to Brits : TASTER
60 Like this clue among the Acrosses : DEAD LAST

Down

1 Ones closest to you, informally : FAM
2 Sch. whose athletes are nicknamed the Hoos : UVA
3 Annual coll. basketball event : NIT
4 Pop : FATHER
5 Clear sky : ETHER
6 Ranking component : TIER
7 Mathematical puzzle with movable disks : TOWER OF HANOI
8 Snap : INSTANT
9 Neck problem : CRICK
10 Homecomings? : RUNS
11 Targets of leg raises, informally : ABS
12 Safe to skate on, say : FROZEN SOLID
13 Decorative features throughout Spain’s Alhambra palace : TILES
14 On the ___ : SCENT
20 One getting a big scoop? : ICE CREAM CONE
22 Weakens : EBBS
23 Lead-in to “land” in a hit 2020 film : NOMAD-
24 They vary according to income : TAX BRACKETS
26 Do some yardwork : WEED
28 Series set in Middle-earth, for short : LOTR
29 Categorizes : PEGS
31 Common additive to melted butter in Italian cuisine : SAGE
32 Wrongdoing : HARM
33 Emulate Desdemona and Othello, in a way : ELOPE
35 Browser command : BACK
37 Befuddled : LOST
39 Like some chickens on farms : CORN-FED
43 Miscreant : RASCAL
44 Start of a series : PILOT
45 Impressive spot to sell out : ARENA
46 Circular : FLYER
47 Yielded : CEDED
49 “The perfume of heroic deeds,” to Socrates : FAME
50 TV host Kotb : HODA
52 “___ has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words”: Dorothy Parker : WIT
54 Beginnings of life : OVA
55 Several of them are named for gods: Abbr. : MOS
56 A word with thou : … ART

11 thoughts on “0417-21 NY Times Crossword 17 Apr 21, Saturday”

  1. Paradoxically, a DNF that was pretty easy. I got through the grid in about 9 or 10 minutes, which is fast for me for a Saturday, but was stuck on 30D/23A, because I had BOX bike (which is a thing). I kind of knew that NOOAD must be wrong for 30D, but I’m not much into movies, and don’t much encounter movie ads, so I’d never heard (well, OK, maybe back in the deep recesses of my mind) of NOMAD LAND. Eventually I got tired of staring at a blank space and looked it up, and smacked my forehead for not getting BMX, although it’s a term I’m only passingly familiar with (when I was a kid, we called that style of bike a “dirt bike”). As seems to be common in recent weeks though, the grid here has much more the feel of an earlier-in-the-week puzzle.

  2. 17:18, no errors. At the end, I paused for some time over the “N” of “FUNFETTI” and “NIT”, but I finally decided it had to be, closed my eyes, put it in, and was pleased to find that it actually worked. Life has its little moments of triumph … 😜.

  3. 20:39 after a slow start. 🐌 For some unknown reason the NW gave me the most trouble. Zoom Participants = DRAGRACERS! Excellent! 🤣

  4. 14:00 and I was stuck for several minutes in the NE corner with the intersections of 13D, 14D and 16A, 18A. I was thinking that 14D was SLANT and could not make sense of 16A & 18A as a result. I did a lookup and then I was also slapping my head. I had heard of the word RUBRIC, but really didn’t know what it meant. I do now. I’ll try not to think of it as a cube – thank you Mr. Rubik. This played more like a moderately difficult Weds. than a Sat.

  5. 23:29. Kinda agree with Ron about the degree of difficulty lately. It’s common that some weeks are just easier/harder than others, but we haven’t had a really hard week in a while. Be careful what you wish for…

    I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing that Dave MATTHEWS story, and I’d have been just fine.

    If I only have half-truths in my humor, does that make me a halfwit?

    Best –

  6. Late 31:30 entry as I’m on a road trip…Oddly enough, just made Funfetti cupcakes with my daughter or would never have heard of it. Of all the Dave’s in rock music they had to pick Matthews(not a fan). Gotta admit this was(relatively for me) easier than most Saturday solves.

  7. 14:20, no errors. Again pedestrian. Had MUSTAINE before MATTHEWS but fixed that (try as one might, can’t fix class), probably costing a couple of minutes.

    The Sunday grid is still about 3X as hard as the rest of the week. For what that’s worth, since they claim that one is supposed to be Thursday difficulty.

  8. Agreed, most of the grid went quick… but that confounded FUNFETTI slowed me down. Never heard of it.. CRICK gave me trouble…

  9. An easier Saturday (for me) than most. Bill, the three tax forms have been changed. We now have 1040 and 1040SR.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.