0611-21 NY Times Crossword 11 Jun 21, Friday

Constructed by: Matthew Stock
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 14m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “I literally ___” (millennial’s overstatement) : DIED

Millennials are sometimes referred to as “echo boomers”, as millennials are often the children of “baby boomers”.

14 Nirvana, e.g. : INNER PEACE

Nirvana is a philosophical concept in some Indian-based religions. In the Buddhist tradition, nirvana is the state of being free from suffering i.e. not experiencing craving, anger or other afflicting states.

16 Part of the eye : CONE

The retina is the tissue that lines the inside of the eye, the tissue that is light-sensitive. There are (mainly) two types of cells in the retina that are sensitive to light, called rods and cones. Rods are cells that best function in very dim light and only provide black-and-white vision. Cones on the other hand function in brighter light and can perceive color.

19 Manhattan, for one : DRINK

The cocktail called a manhattan is made from whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. I favor my own version of a brandy manhattan, using brandy, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.

21 Best Actor winner Malek : RAMI

Actor Rami Malek’s big break came with the leading role in the television series “Mr. Robot”. In 2018, Malik gave an Oscar-winning performance playing Freddie Mercury in the hit biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. That marked the first time that an actor of Egyptian descent won an Academy Award for Best Actor.

25 Moving option : VAN

The vehicle we call a “van” takes its name from “caravan”, and is a shortened version of the older term. Back in the 1600s, a caravan was a covered cart. We still use the word “caravan” in Ireland to describe what we call a “mobile home” or “recreational vehicle” here in the US.

28 Cause of a 2014 scare : EBOLA

The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name of the virus comes from the site of the first known outbreak, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as Zaire). The disease is transmitted from human to human by exposure to bodily fluids. In nature, the main carrier of Ebola is the fruit bat.

34 Sobriquet for international hip-hop star Pitbull : MR WORLDWIDE

“Pitbull” is the stage name of Cuban-American rap artist Armando Perez. Pitbull is from Miami and was born to Cuban immigrants.

35 Scorsese film added to the National Film Registry in 1997 : MEAN STREETS

“Mean Streets” is a crime drama co-written and directed by Martin Scorsese, and released in 1973. The leads in the movie are played by Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel.

46 Olympic figure skating commentator Johnny : WEIR

Johnny Weir is a figure skater from Pennsylvania who was US national champion for three consecutive years starting in 2004.

47 Spencer of “Good Morning America” : LARA

Lara Spencer has been co-anchor of “Good Morning America” since 2011, working alongside Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Back in 2004/2005, PBS viewers will have seen Spencer hosting the hit show “Antiques Roadshow”.

49 Goddess whose Roman counterpart is Victoria : NIKE

Nike was the Greek goddess of victory, and was often referred to as “the Winged Goddess of Victory”. The athletic shoe company Nike uses the “Nike swoosh” as its logo, a logo that is inspired by the goddess’ wing.

51 Big Apple : IMAC

The iMac is a desktop computer platform that Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such as strawberry, blueberry and lime.

56 “I like texts from my ___ when they want a second chance” (Cardi B line) : EXES

“Cardi B” is the stage name of rap artist Belcalis Almánzar from the Bronx in New York City. The name “Cardi B” comes from the brand name “Bacardi”.

57 Absinthe flavoring : ANISE

Absinthe is an alcoholic spirit that is distilled from various plants and herbs, including wormwood, anise and fennel. Absinthe was banned in the US in 1915 as it was deemed to be an addictive psychoactive drug. However, the accepted opinion today seems to be that absinthe is no more addictive or dangerous than any other spirit.

58 Site for crafty sorts? : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

Down

5 Investment opportunity, for short : IPO

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

9 Hartford-based health care company : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

11 Many a farmer’s market attendee : LOCAVORE

A locavore is someone who limits his or her diet to food that is produced locally, often within 100 miles of its point of purchase. There’s a great memoir by the author Barbara Kingsolver that discusses the experiences of her and her family with the locavore lifestyle called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” An excellent read …

12 Members of a certain kingdom : ANIMALS

Taxonomy is the classification of organisms into groups or categories known as taxons (plural “taxa”). We are most familiar with the classification of organisms in the major taxonomic ranks (taxa):

  • Life
  • Domain
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus (plural “genera”)
  • Species

15 D.C.’s ___ Stadium, opened in 1961 : RFK

Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Memorial Stadium opened in 1961 as the District of Columbia Stadium, and is actually owned by the District of Columbia. The stadium was renamed in 1969, a few months after Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Kennedy had been instrumental in the racial integration of the Washington Redskins who played in the stadium for 36 seasons. As Attorney General, Kennedy threatened to oust the Redskins from the federally-owned stadium unless the team agreed to sign African-American players.

24 Small : PETITE

“Petite” is the French word for “small”, when applied to a feminine noun.

27 Put in hock : PAWNED

The phrase “in hock” is an American invention. Back in the mid-19th century “in hock” meant both “in debt” and “in prison”. The word “hock” comes from the Dutch “hok” meaning “jail”.

30 Tot toter, in Tottenham : PRAM

Another word used in the UK that’s rarely used over here is “pram”, which in my day was the most common term for what is called a “baby carriage” in the US. “Pram” is short for “perambulator”.

31 Canon offering, in brief : SLR

Single-lens reflex camera (SLR)

The Japanese company called Canon is largely known in the US for producing quality cameras. The company started out as Precision Optical Industry Laboratory in 1937 making camera bodies. The name was changed in 1947 to Canon.

32 “Blossom of snow,” in song : EDELWEISS

“Edelweiss” is a celebrated song from the 1959 Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music”. The title is the name of a white flower that grows at high altitude in the Alps. “Edelweiss” was the last song that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote together. Hammerstein was suffering from stomach cancer at the time of writing, and succumbed to the illness shortly after “The Sound of Music” opened on Broadway.

33 One studying for a bar or bat mitzvah, say : TWEEN

The term “tween” is used to describe preadolescence, the years “between” 8 and 12 years of age.

A Jewish girl becomes a bat mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become bar mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

35 Studio with “Chicago” and “Chocolat” : MIRAMAX

Miramax is a film distributor in the US noted for its focus on independent and foreign movies. Now owned by Disney, the company was founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein in 1979. The company name is a combination of the brothers’ parents’ names: Miriam and Max.

The wonderful 1975 musical “Chicago” is based on a 1926 play of the same name written by a news reporter called Maurine Dallas Watkins. Watkins had been assigned to cover the murder trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the “Chicago Tribune”, and used the story that unfolded as the basis for her play. Annan became the character Roxie Hart, and Gaertner became Velma Kelly. I’ve only ever seen the movie version of “Chicago” and never a live performance …

The movie “Chocolat” released in 2000 is a big-screen adaption of the novel of the same name by Joanne Harris. “Chocolat” tells the story of a young mother with a six-year-old daughter who opens up a chocolate shop in a French village. The mother is played by the talented Juliette Binoche.

43 Pic that may have millions of likes : INSTA

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

45 “African unicorn” : OKAPI

The okapi is closely related to the giraffe, although it does have markings on its legs and haunches that resemble those of a zebra. The okapi’s tongue is long enough to reach back and wash its eyeballs, and can go back even further to clean its ears inside and out.

A unicorn is a mythical creature that resembles a horse with a horn projecting from its forehead. The term “unicorn” comes from the Latin “uni-” (one) and “cornus” (horn).

46 Question in a shell game : WHERE?

A shell game (also “thimblerig”) is a gambling game, at least at first sight. It is usually a confidence trick. Typically, a small ball is placed under three face-down containers on a flat surface. The containers are shuffled around, and a player wins if he or she can “follow the ball” and correctly guess which container has that ball. In an illegal street game, the operator will often use sleight of hand to fool the players. The alternative name “thimblerig” comes from the fact that the con was originally played out using sewing thimbles.

48 Las Vegas W.N.B.A. team : ACES

The Las Vegas Aces women’s basketball team was formed in Salt Lake City in 1997 as the Utah Starzz. The team became the San Antonio (Silver) Stars in 2002, before moving to Las Vegas as the Aces in 2018.

53 U.S. 1, for one: Abbr. : RTE

US Route 1 runs from Fort Kent in Maine right down to Key West in Florida.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “I literally ___” (millennial’s overstatement) : DIED
5 First country to discover water on the moon : INDIA
10 Criticize forcefully : SLAM
14 Nirvana, e.g. : INNER PEACE
16 Part of the eye : CONE
17 Computer file arrangement : DATA FORMAT
18 Sharp : ACID
19 Manhattan, for one : DRINK
20 Former major-league slugger Adam nicknamed “Big Donkey” : DUNN
21 Best Actor winner Malek : RAMI
22 “I’d love to!” : LET’S!
23 [Is this thing on?] : [TAP TAP]
25 Moving option : VAN
26 Celebratory shout : YAY!
27 Bud : PAL
28 Cause of a 2014 scare : EBOLA
30 “Rabbits” in a race : PACESETTERS
34 Sobriquet for international hip-hop star Pitbull : MR WORLDWIDE
35 Scorsese film added to the National Film Registry in 1997 : MEAN STREETS
36 “I want it!” : GIMME!
37 “Minari” director ___ Isaac Chung : LEE
38 It doesn’t last long : FAD
41 Bit of royal regalia : ORB
42 Abjure : DISOWN
46 Olympic figure skating commentator Johnny : WEIR
47 Spencer of “Good Morning America” : LARA
49 Goddess whose Roman counterpart is Victoria : NIKE
50 This and this : THESE
51 Big Apple : IMAC
52 They may have lots of steps : STAIRWELLS
54 Windmill part : VANE
55 News headlines : TOP STORIES
56 “I like texts from my ___ when they want a second chance” (Cardi B line) : EXES
57 Absinthe flavoring : ANISE
58 Site for crafty sorts? : ETSY

Down

1 Start to squat? : DIDDLY-
2 Covered, as by insurance : IN AREA
3 Being : ENTITY
4 ___ list : DEAN’S
5 Investment opportunity, for short : IPO
6 Jokey response to an overly technical explanation : NERD ALERT!
7 Prevent from running : DAM UP
8 “Sorry, unavailable” : I CAN’T
9 Hartford-based health care company : AETNA
10 Leave damaged : SCAR
11 Many a farmer’s market attendee : LOCAVORE
12 Members of a certain kingdom : ANIMALS
13 ___ Spirit, winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby : MEDINA
15 D.C.’s ___ Stadium, opened in 1961 : RFK
23 Dish that can be prepared al pastor : TACOS
24 Small : PETITE
27 Put in hock : PAWNED
29 They might be twins : BEDS
30 Tot toter, in Tottenham : PRAM
31 Canon offering, in brief : SLR
32 “Blossom of snow,” in song : EDELWEISS
33 One studying for a bar or bat mitzvah, say : TWEEN
34 Cell boundary : MEMBRANE
35 Studio with “Chicago” and “Chocolat” : MIRAMAX
36 Start a stream, say : GO LIVE
38 Get into a rhythm, informally : FEEL IT
39 Long divisions? : AISLES
40 Not casual : DRESSY
43 Pic that may have millions of likes : INSTA
44 Keep under wraps : SIT ON
45 “African unicorn” : OKAPI
46 Question in a shell game : WHERE?
48 Las Vegas W.N.B.A. team : ACES
50 “Arguing with a fool proves there are ___”: Doris M. Smith : TWO
53 U.S. 1, for one: Abbr. : RTE

12 thoughts on “0611-21 NY Times Crossword 11 Jun 21, Friday”

  1. Matthew Stock, the puzzle author, believes India discovered water on the moon, which Google says was a 2008 mission. But wikipedia actually credits the US Apollo 14 mission, which was in 1971, before India’s presence in the moon space race (this appears in the 5-Across entry).

  2. 18:06 Started out very slowly, but then it all started to fall into place. Unfamiliar with the GMA host Lara Spencer, Mr. Dunn and also LOCAVORE – the last to fall

  3. Thought I had no errors… but was wondering why Noone commented on 34D MEMERANE???
    Oh, wait. I had an error. Thought 41A was ORE!! … it was ORB and thus MEMBRANE!! Thought it was some kind of cell phone use limit!!! Ha!

  4. 23:56, no errors. Finally got done guessing my way through this nightmare.

    Re: 5A, This kind of chicanery is unfortunately very common in crosswords. The setter can make up “facts” and change words to mean whatever they want them to mean at any time.

    1. I just Googled “who discovered water on the moon” and got the following up-front blurb:

      “The story of discovering water on the Moon spans at least two decades, across space agencies. In 2009, scientists involved in ISRO’s Chandrayaan 1 and NASA’s LCROSS missions finally discovered lunar water, and now the time to go back to the Moon has come.”

      This would tend to support the answer used in the puzzle.

      I also got a number of relevant URLs and tried to read through several of them. My conclusion? To quote a line from a recent movie: “It’s complicated!” And I see no reason to blame the setter of this puzzle for the complication. Setters do not, in my experience, make up “facts” (though they aren’t above taking advantage of dissenting “facts” that are already present in the appropriate references).

      I’ve said it before: Those things you use to solve a puzzle aren’t called definitions; they’re called clues.

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