0421-21 NY Times Crossword 21 Apr 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Brandon Koppy
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): R2-D2 & C-3PO

Themed answers are names of celebrities with the initials RR & DD (R2-D2), and CCC & PO (C-3PO):

  • 10A Sci-fi sidekick … or a hint to 20- and 34-Across : R2-D2
  • 20A Star of the “Deadpool” films : RYAN REYNOLDS (R2 …)
  • 34A Postmodern novelist who wrote “White Noise” : DON DELILLO (… D2)
  • 65A Sci-fi sidekick … or a hint to 42- and 53-Across : C-3PO
  • 42A Fashion icon with a numbered fragrance : COCO CHANEL (C-3 …)
  • 53A Stand-up comedian who voiced Remy in “Ratatouille” : PATTON OSWALT (… PO)

Bill’s time: 10m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Muppet with a unibrow : BERT

The muppet character named Bert usually plays the straight man to his partner character Ernie. Bert has a unibrow, while Ernie has no brows at all.

10 Sci-fi sidekick … or a hint to 20- and 34-Across : R2-D2

Artoo’s proper name is R2-D2 (also “Artoo-Detoo”). R2-D2 is the smaller of the two famous droids from the “Star Wars” movies. British actor Kenny Baker, who stood just 3 ft 8 ins tall, was the man inside the R2-D2 droid for the first six of the “Star Wars” movies.

14 Sacrifices at the plate : BUNTS

To bunt in baseball is to barely hit the ball, just enough to have it roll slowly in front of the infielders.

15 Iris holder : UVEA

The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The outer layer is called the fibrous tunic, and the inner layer is the retina.

16 Setting for a hootenanny : BARN

Our colloquial word “hootenanny” is now used for a party featuring folk music. The term came into English as a word similar to “thingamajig” or “whatsit”. Out current usage is more akin to its original meaning back in Scotland, i.e. “celebration, party”.

17 Lisa of “High Fidelity” : BONET

Lisa Bonet is an actress best known for playing one of the daughters on the “The Cosby Show”. Bonet was married for a few years to the singer Lenny Kravitz, with whom she eloped in 1987. She changed her name to Lilakoi Moon in 1992, but still uses “Lisa Bonet” as her stage name.

20 Star of the “Deadpool” films : RYAN REYNOLDS

Ryan Reynolds is an actor from Vancouver who is best known these days for playing the title character in the “Deadpool” superhero films. Named “People” magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2010, Ryan has had some high-profile relationships. He was engaged to singer Alanis Morissette for a couple of years, married to actress Scarlett Johansson (again for a couple of years), and is now married to actress Blake Lively whom he met on the set of “Green Lantern”.

“Deadpool” is a 2016 superhero film, the eighth of the “X-Men” series of movies. The title character is played by Ryan Reynolds.

23 Sch. in Greenwich Village : NYU

The main campus of the private New York University (NYU) is located right in Manhattan, in Washington Square in the heart of Greenwich Village. NYU has over 12,000 resident students, the largest number of residents in a private school in the whole country. NYU’s sports teams are known as the Violets, a reference to the violet and white colors that are worn in competition. Since the 1980s, the school’s mascot has been a bobcat. “Bobcat” had been the familiar name given to NYU’s Bobst Library computerized catalog.

24 Web portal with the Bing search engine : MSN

The Microsoft Network (MSN) used to be an Internet service provider (ISP). These days, MSN is mainly a Web portal.

Bing is the search engine from Microsoft. Bing is the latest name for an engine that Microsoft used to call Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search.

27 Singer/songwriter DiFranco : ANI

Ani DiFranco is a folk-rock singer and songwriter. DiFranco has also been labeled a “feminist icon”, and in 2006 won the “Woman of Courage Award” from National Organization for Women.

29 Some do-si-do partners : GALS

The term “do-si-do” is a corruption of a French phrase “dos-à-dos”, meaning back-to-back. And parenthetically, this is just the opposite to the familiar French term “vis-à-vis”, meaning face-to-face. In the do-si-do dance move, the partners start facing each other and then advance past each other’s right shoulder, and then move to the right without turning so that they are now facing away from each other (back-to-back). They complete the move facing in the same direction, passing each other’s left shoulder by moving backwards until they return to the starting position. Did you get that …?

32 Goddess and ruler of the witches in “Macbeth” : HECATE

Hecate (sometimes “Hekate”) was a three-faced goddess in the Greek and Roman traditions. She was associated with many phenomena, including magic and witchcraft.

There is a superstition in the theatrical world that uttering the name “Macbeth” in a theater will bring disaster of some sort. To avoid this, the euphemism “the Scottish Play” is used instead.

34 Postmodern novelist who wrote “White Noise” : DON DELILLO

Don DeLillo is a novelist and playwright from New York City. DeLillo first came to public attention with his 1985 novel “White Noise”. He followed that with a 1988 novel titled “Libra” that gives a fictional account of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, with a focus on Lee Harvey Oswald.

37 Plains tribe members : OTOS

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

38 Trig ratio : COTAN

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

39 Little Jack Horner’s Christmas treat : PIE

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said ‘What a good boy am I!

40 Director Eastwood : CLINT

Actor and director Clint Eastwood is a native of San Francisco, California. As many of us perhaps remember, Eastwood’s big break was playing the supporting role of Rowdy Yates in the TV show “Rawhide” in the late fifties and early sixties. He then became the face of the spaghetti western genre of movie in the sixties, most notably in the classic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. In later years Eastwood has branched out into directing and producing with remarkable success. And of course in the late eighties he also served as mayor of his hometown, Carmel-by-the-Sea.

42 Fashion icon with a numbered fragrance : COCO CHANEL

Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer. I’m no fashionista, but if I had to pick a designer whose clothes I really liked, it would be Chanel. She had a way of creating simpler designs that look so elegant on a woman.

Chanel No. 5 is a perfume that was released by Coco Chanel back in 1921. Chanel had an affinity for the number “5”, and always presented her dress collection on May 5th (the fifth day of the fifth month). When she was presented a selection of experimental scents as potential choices for the first perfume to bear the Chanel name, she chose the sample in the fifth vial. Chanel instructed that the “sample number 5” should keep its name, asserting that it would bring the scent good luck.

46 K, in the NATO alphabet : KILO

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

47 Test for a future Ph.D. : GRE

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

51 Popular holiday gift of 2001 : IPOD

The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.

53 Stand-up comedian who voiced Remy in “Ratatouille” : PATTON OSWALT

“Ratatouille” is a 2007 animated film produced by Pixar. The hero of the piece is Remy, a rat whose ambition is to become a chef. Remy was voiced by stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. The veteran actor Peter O’Toole voiced the character Anton Ego, a restaurant critic.

61 Winner of seven Tonys in 1977 : ANNIE

The Broadway musical “Annie” is based on the Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”. There have been two film adaptations of the musical. Both were really quite successful, including one released in 1982, directed by John Huston of all people. It was his only ever musical.

63 Zenith : APEX

The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith. We use the terms “nadir” and “zenith” figuratively to mean the low and high points in a person’s fortunes.

64 Neopagan religion : WICCA

Wicca is a relatively new phenomenon. It is a Neopagan religion that developed in the twentieth century. Typically, followers of Wicca worship one goddess and one god, namely the Moon Goddess and the Horned God. A follower of Wicca is called a Wiccan or a Witch.

65 Sci-fi sidekick … or a hint to 42- and 53-Across : C-3PO

C-3PO (or “Threepio”) is the protocol droid that appears in the “Star Wars” movie franchise.

Down

1 E.g., e.g. : ABBR

The Latin “exempli gratia” means “for the sake of example”, and is a phrase we often use in English. “Exempli gratia” is almost always shortened to “e.g.”

3 Likely inspiration for Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada” : ANNA WINTOUR

Anna Wintour is fashion editor in Britain, and is also the editor-in-chief of American “Vogue”. Lauren Weisberger wrote the book “The Devil Wears Prada” with the tyrannical main character apparently based on Wintour.

4 Shorthand writer, for short : STENO

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

5 Hormone administered in some transgender therapies : ESTROGEN

The primary female sex hormone is estrogen (also “oestrogen”). The term “estrogen” comes from the Greek “oistros” meaning “verve, inspiration” and the suffix “-gen” meaning “producer of”.

8 Fact-finding mission, informally : RECON

A reconnaissance (recon) is a preliminary survey carried out to gather information. The term “reconnaissance” came into English in the early 19th century from French, from which language it translates literally as “recognition”.

10 Stat for a D.H. : RBIS

Baseball’s American League (AL) allows a designated hitter (DH) in each team’s lineup, whereas the National League (NL) does not.

11 When clocks “spring forward” for daylight saving time : 2 AM

On the other side of the Atlantic, daylight saving time (DST) is known as “summer time”. The idea behind summer/daylight-savings is to move clocks forward an hour in spring (“spring forward”), and backwards in the fall (“fall back”) so that afternoons have more daylight. Here in the US, DST starts on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

12 Beats by ___ : DRE

Beats by Dre is a brand of audio products made by Beats Electronics, a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, the largest acquisition by far in the company’s history.

13 Silver medalist’s place : 2ND

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

19 Together, in music : A DUE

“A due” is a musical term meaning “together”, and literally translates from Italian as “by two”.

24 Birds of paradise do a spectacular one : MATING DANCE

Birds-of-paradise form a family of birds that are noted for the elaborate plumage of the males of most species. Most are found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia, and usually in dense rainforest habitats.

25 Type who’s prone to “the munchies” : STONER

“Stoner” is a slang term for someone who is habitually intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.

28 Noggin : NOODLE

“Noodle” and “bean” are slang terms for the head.

36 First of 13 popes : LEO I

The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.

43 Muse of history : 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)

45 Best ever, acronymically : GOAT

Greatest of all time (GOAT).

Strictly speaking, words formed from the first letters or other words are known as “initialisms”. Examples would be FBI and NBC, where the initials are spoken by sounding out each letter. Certain initialisms are pronounced as words in their own right, such as NATO and AWOL, and are called “acronyms”. So, acronyms are a subset of initialisms. As I say, that’s “strictly speaking”, so please don’t write in …

50 Michael of R.E.M. : STIPE

Michael Stipe was lead vocalist for the band R.E.M. from 1980 through 2011. Stipe is also active in the film industry. He served as an executive producer on the films “Being John Malkovich” and “Man on the Moon”.

53 100 centavos : PESO

“Centavo” is a Spanish and Portuguese word, and is used for the coin that represents 1/100 of the basic monetary unit of quite a few countries, including Cuba. “Centavo” comes from the Latin “centum” meaning “one hundred” and “-avo” meaning “portion, fraction”.

54 Some are Sapphic : ODES

Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet born on the Greek island of Lesbos. Sappho was much admired for her work, although very little of it survives today. She was renowned for writing erotic and romantic verse that dealt with the love of women as well as men. It was because of this poetry that the word “lesbian” (someone from Lesbos) is used to describe a gay woman.

56 Problems that come to a head? : LICE

Lice (singular “louse”) are small wingless insects, of which there are thousands of species. There are three species of lice affecting humans, i.e. head lice, body lice and pubic lice. Most lice feed on dead skin found on the body of the host animal, although some feed on blood. Ick …

57 Color on Jacksonville Jaguar uniforms : TEAL

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been in the NFL since 1995, and play in the American Football Conference (AFC).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Put to shame : ABASE
6 Muppet with a unibrow : BERT
10 Sci-fi sidekick … or a hint to 20- and 34-Across : R2-D2
14 Sacrifices at the plate : BUNTS
15 Iris holder : UVEA
16 Setting for a hootenanny : BARN
17 Lisa of “High Fidelity” : BONET
18 Like old wood in new furniture, maybe : RECLAIMED
20 Star of the “Deadpool” films : RYAN REYNOLDS
22 “Yippee!” : WOOT!
23 Sch. in Greenwich Village : NYU
24 Web portal with the Bing search engine : MSN
27 Singer/songwriter DiFranco : ANI
29 Some do-si-do partners : GALS
32 Goddess and ruler of the witches in “Macbeth” : HECATE
34 Postmodern novelist who wrote “White Noise” : DON DELILLO
37 Plains tribe members : OTOS
38 Trig ratio : COTAN
39 Little Jack Horner’s Christmas treat : PIE
40 Director Eastwood : CLINT
41 Stink : ODOR
42 Fashion icon with a numbered fragrance : COCO CHANEL
44 Dive deep : PLUNGE
46 K, in the NATO alphabet : KILO
47 Test for a future Ph.D. : GRE
48 “___ out!” : YER
49 Switch positions : ONS
51 Popular holiday gift of 2001 : IPOD
53 Stand-up comedian who voiced Remy in “Ratatouille” : PATTON OSWALT
58 “Nice wheels!” : SWEET RIDE!
61 Winner of seven Tonys in 1977 : ANNIE
62 Hole punchers : AWLS
63 Zenith : APEX
64 Neopagan religion : WICCA
65 Sci-fi sidekick … or a hint to 42- and 53-Across : C-3PO
66 In case : LEST
67 Word with guitar or wool : STEEL …

Down

1 E.g., e.g. : ABBR
2 Hearten : BUOY
3 Likely inspiration for Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada” : ANNA WINTOUR
4 Shorthand writer, for short : STENO
5 Hormone administered in some transgender therapies : ESTROGEN
6 Suppress, as a negative story : BURY
7 Deadlocked : EVEN
8 Fact-finding mission, informally : RECON
9 Fox hunter’s cry : TALLYHO!
10 Stat for a D.H. : RBIS
11 When clocks “spring forward” for daylight saving time : 2 AM
12 Beats by ___ : DRE
13 Silver medalist’s place : 2ND
19 Together, in music : A DUE
21 And others, in a list : ET AL
24 Birds of paradise do a spectacular one : MATING DANCE
25 Type who’s prone to “the munchies” : STONER
26 Spoon, say : NESTLE
27 Promotional text : AD COPY
28 Noggin : NOODLE
30 T’ang dynasty poet : LI PO
31 Nifty : SLICK
33 Pop variety : COLA
35 “Rats!” : DARN!
36 First of 13 popes : LEO I
40 Heavy-duty cutters : CHOP SAWS
42 Innermost : CENTRAL
43 Muse of history : CLIO
45 Best ever, acronymically : GOAT
50 Michael of R.E.M. : STIPE
52 Embrace something embarrassing : OWN IT
53 100 centavos : PESO
54 Some are Sapphic : ODES
55 Coming right up : NEXT
56 Problems that come to a head? : LICE
57 Color on Jacksonville Jaguar uniforms : TEAL
58 Anatomical pouch : SAC
59 Conflict in many postapocalyptic narratives, for short : WW3
60 Rapper who’s half of Run the Jewels : EL-P

12 thoughts on “0421-21 NY Times Crossword 21 Apr 21, Wednesday”

  1. 18:59, no errors. Easy enough until I got to the lower right, where I initially had IPAD and ADMIT instead of IPOD and OWN IT, had to cope with never having heard of PATTON OSWALT, and was not at all sure of Michael STIPE or CHOP SAW (which, for me, conjures up a rather strange image of a beginner using a tool in a quite inappropriate way … 😜). Finally got ‘er done, though … 🤨.

  2. 13:16 – with one lookup. Once I realized the puzzle would take numbers – R2D2 – I never went back and looked closely at 65A where I had CATO. Guess I was conflating Green Lantern with Green Hornet, whose sidekick is KATO, with Inspector Clousseau, whose sidekick is CATO. Obviously a big jumble.

    As for 60D – the only ELP I think of is “Emerson, Lake, and Palmer”. Unfamiliar with 34A and I guessed the N for DON. But then I had HINTOUR for 3D. Never heard of WOOT – thought it was HOOT.

  3. 17:29. Got the “almost there” and thought maybe use TWO instead of 2. That didn’t work. Finally found I needed IPOD, not IPAD. w00t

  4. 18:30. More Star Wars stuff. I guess it’s just a fact of life in crosswords. Same error as Ron – I had hOOT/ANNA hINTOUR (??). No idea who she is.

    Whenever I see “Deadpool”, I always think of the Dirty Harry movie “The Dead Pool”. I guess that’s my age showing.

    Best –

  5. Same as others.. had HOOT instead of WOOT. Now I have to go dig into who she was or is.. I didn’t know who DON DELILLO or PATTON OSWALT is either but the crosses came through.

    @glen – congrats on Mondays PB!!

  6. I also had HOOT for WOOT … tell me any time or any place ever when someone said WOOT?…Bill very diplomatically left that one alone.
    Stay safe😀

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