0617-21 NY Times Crossword 17 Jun 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Blake Slonecker
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s) Fish Hook

Themed answers are in the down-direction. The final four letters of each are circled in the grid, and HOOK around. The letters of each HOOK spells out a FISH:

  • 1D With 11-Down, what each of this puzzle’s groups of circles represents : FISH …
  • 11D See 1-Down : … HOOK
  • 4D Xbox or PlayStation : GAME CONSOLE (sole “hook”)
  • 8D Finishing touch on the first transcontinental railroad : GOLDEN SPIKE (pike “hook”)
  • 37D Drink that might be served with a metal cup : MILKSHAKE (hake “hook”)
  • 38D Vedic religious text : UPANISHAD (shad “hook”)

Bill’s time: 9m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Lillian ___, the First Lady of American Cinema : GISH

Lillian Gish is most famous for her performances on the silent screen, although she acted in films in a career that lasted from 1912 to 1987, over 75 years. Gish’s best known role was Elsie in D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation”, released in 1915.

13 Twine material : SISAL

The sisal plant is an agave, the flesh of which is not generally used in making tequila. Sisal is grown instead for the fibers that run the length of its leaves. The fiber is used extensively for twine, rope, carpeting, wall coverings etc. My favorite application though, is in the construction of dartboards. Sisal takes its name from the port of Sisal in Yucatan, Mexico that was a major shipping point for sisal plants.’

15 ___ buco : OSSO

“Osso” is the Italian word for bone, as in the name of the dish “osso buco” (bone with a hole), which features braised veal shanks.

16 Acronym for some academic grants : STEM

The acronym “STEM” stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. An alternative acronym with a similar meaning is MINT, standing for mathematics, information sciences, natural sciences and technology. The acronym STEAM adds (liberal) arts to the STEM curriculum.

17 Syrup source : MAPLE

About 75% of the world’s maple syrup comes from the province of Quebec. The US’s biggest producer is the state of Vermont, which produces 5-6% of the world’s supply.

18 TV host with a “Garage” : LENO

Jay Leno was born James Leno in New Rochelle, New York. Jay’s father was the son of Italian immigrants, and his mother was from Scotland. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and actually dropped out of school on the advice of a high school guidance counsellor. However, years later he went to Emerson College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. Leno also started a comedy club at Emerson in 1973. Today Jay Leno is a car nut and owns about 200 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website: www.jaylenosgarage.com.

23 Ailurophiles : CAT PEOPLE

Someone who is fond of cats is referred to as an ailurophile, or a felinophile.

28 Mary whose short story “The Wisdom of Eve” was the basis for 1950’s “All About Eve” : ORR

Mary Orr was an actress and a short story writer. Her short story “The Wisdom of Eve” was published in “Cosmopolitan” in 1946. “The Wisdom of Eve” was the inspiration for the 1950 classic film “All About Eve” starring Bette Davis.

29 Modern pic : 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 …

33 Publishing IDs : ISBNS

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was invented by one Gordon Foster who was a professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The code was originally developed for booksellers, so that they had a unique number (and now a barcode) for each publication. ISBNs are ten digits long if assigned before 2007. Since the start of 2007, ISBNs have been thirteen digits long.

35 Colorado’s ___ Park : ESTES

Estes Park is a town in a beautiful part of the US, in northern Colorado. Estes Park is home to the headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park.

37 Whence the Portuguese creole language Patuá : MACAU

Macau (also “Macao”) is an autonomous territory of China located on the Pearl River estuary about 40 miles west of Hong Kong. Macau was a Portuguese colony from the mid-1500s until 1999. It was in fact the first European colony in China, and the last, having been handed back to the Chinese in 1999, two years after Hong Kong was returned by the British. Macau’s economy is driven by tourism and gambling. The territory’s gaming revenue is the highest for any gambling center in the world.

40 Newly elected California congresswoman of 1987 : PELOSI

Nancy Pelosi first became Speaker of the House in 2007, and was the 60th person to hold that position. Ms. Pelosi represents a district not far from here, which covers most of San Francisco. She was the first Californian, the first Italian-American and the first woman to be Speaker of the House. As Speaker of the House is second-in-line to the presidency, after the Vice President, Nancy Pelosi was for many years the highest-ranking female politician in US history. That was until Kamala Harris became Vice President in 2021.

44 Chase vehicle, once, in brief? : SNL

Chevy Chase is a comedian and actor from Lower Manhattan who was born into a wealthy New York City family who can trace its heritage back to the Mayflower. Chase’s real name is Cornelius and he was given his nickname “Chevy” by his grandmother who took it from the old English song “The Ballad of Chevy Chase”.

49 Mauna ___ : KEA

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.

50 Places for quills : INKSTANDS

Quills have been used as writing implements since the 6th century. Historically, goose, swan and turkey feathers have been the quills of choice. A bird’s feather is well suited for writing, as the hollow shaft acts as a reservoir for ink which then flows to the tip due to capillary action. Choice of feather is important. Right-handed writers are best served by feathers from the left wing, as the feather curves away from the palm of the hand when writing. The tip of the quill is sharpened using a “quill knife”. This quill knife is the ancestor of what we know today as a “penknife”.

52 Waves to a hairdresser? : PERM

“Perm” is the common name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls.

60 Cheyenne allies : ARAPAHO

The Arapaho tribe lived on the eastern plains of Colorado and Wyoming. The Arapaho traditionally wintered in small camps in the foothills of the Rockies, and then relocated to plains in the spring where they hunted the buffalo that were gathering to give birth to their young.

62 GQ competitor : ESQUIRE

“Esquire” has been around for quite some time, first appearing on newsstands in 1933. The magazine’s circulation really took off in the thirties with the inclusion of pin-up girls painted by Alberto Vargas and George Petty.

The men’s magazine known today as “GQ” used to be titled “Gentlemen’s Quarterly”. It was known as “Apparel Arts” when launched in 1931.

65 Sight from New York City’s Riverside Park : HUDSON

The Hudson River flows through eastern New York State from Henderson Lake in the Adirondacks to the Port of New York and New Jersey. The river is named for the English explorer Henry Hudson, who navigated the waterway in 1609.

Down

2 Side order with curry : ROTI

In an Indian restaurant, naan bread is very popular. Roti is an unleavened cousin of naan.

4 Xbox or PlayStation : GAME CONSOLE (sole “hook”)

The group of flatfish known as soles take their name from “solea”, the Latin word for “sandal”. And, they do kind of have that shape.

5 Group migration : DIASPORA

“Diaspora” is a Greek word meaning “a scattering of seeds”. I guess I’m one of the Irish seeds …

7 One of las Islas Baleares : MALLORCA

The Island of Majorca (“Isla Mallorca” in Spanish) is Spain’s largest island, and is located in the Mediterranean Sea. The population of the island ballooned over the past few decades as Majorca became a mecca for tourists from all over Europe.

The Balearic Islands (“Baleares” in Spanish) form an archipelago in the western Mediterranean of the east coast of Spain. The Balearics are made up of four main islands: Ibiza and Formentera (aka “the Pine Islands”), and Majorca and Minorca.

8 Finishing touch on the first transcontinental railroad : GOLDEN SPIKE (pike “hook”)

The First Transcontinental Railroad was a cooperative project between the Western Pacific, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies. The Western Pacific Railroad constructed line between Oakland and Sacramento in California. The Central Pacific Railroad laid line from Sacramento to Promontory Summit, Utah. The Union Pacific Railroad put down tracks in a westerly direction, from the existing network terminus near Omaha, Nebraska, all the way to Promontory Summit. It was the connecting of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads at Promontory Summit that completed the First Transcontinental Line in 1869. The driving of the Golden Spike (also “Last Spike”) symbolically completed the project. That spike was pounded into the ground by Leland Stanford, president of both the Southern Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads. The spike can now be viewed at Stanford University, the school founded by Leland and named of his son Leland Jr., who died of typhoid fever as a teenager.

10 Info on tax forms : SSNS

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So starting in 1986, the IRS made it a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987.

13 Crude content : SMUT

“Smut” means “dirt, smudge” and more recently “pornographic material”. The term comes from the Yiddish “schmutz”, which is a slang word used in English for dirt, as in “dirt on one’s face”.

22 French for “bent” : PLIE

The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees.

24 Guitarist Clapton : ERIC

Can you believe that the great Eric Clapton only had one chart-topper in the US? In 1974, Clapton released a cover version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot the Sheriff” and ended up selling more copies of that song than Bob Marley did himself. Clapton is the only person to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: once as a member of the Yardbirds, once as a member of the supergroup Cream, and once as a solo artist.

26 White-barked tree : ASPEN

The “quaking” aspen tree is so called because the structure of the leaves causes them to move easily in the wind, to “tremble, quake”.

31 Home with a hole at the top : TEPEE

A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.

32 Carne ___ : ASADA

The name of the dish called “carne asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.

37 Drink that might be served with a metal cup : MILKSHAKE (hake “hook”)

Hake is a commonly eaten fish in Europe, with half of all the hake consumed in Spain.

38 Vedic religious text : UPANISHAD (shad “hook”)

The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.

41 ___ Jose : SAN

San Jose is the third-largest city in California and is located at the heart of Silicon Valley. The city was founded by the Spanish in 1777 and named El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. Under Spanish and Mexican rule, the territory of Alta California had its capital in Monterey. When California was made a US state, San Jose was named as the first capital, in 1850. Subsequently, the state legislature met in Vallejo in 1852, Benicia in 1853, and finally settled in Sacramento.

52 “Super” orgs. : PACS

A political action committee (PAC) is a private group that works to influence the outcome of a particular election or group of elections. Any group becomes a PAC by law when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that PACS that did not make direct contributions to candidates or parties could accept unlimited contributions. These “independent, expenditure-only committees” are commonly referred to as “super PACs”.

53 Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

54 Sita’s love, in Hindu lore : RAMA

In the Hindu tradition, the god known as Vishnu has several different avatars i.e. incarnations or manifestations. Rama is the seventh of these avatars.

58 Sports star who split with J.Lo in 2021 : A-ROD

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.

59 Actor Auberjonois : RENE

René Auberjonois was an American actor. Auberjonois’ most famous role on the big screen was Father Mulcahy in the movie “M*A*S*H”.

61 Synagogue feature : ARK

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which the Torah scrolls are stored. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching” or “law”, I am told.

63 Sine ___ non : QUA

“Sine qua non” is a Latin phrase that we use to mean “the essential element or condition”. The literal translation is “without which not”. One might say, for example, “a challenging crossword is the sine qua non of a good newspaper”. Well, crossword fans might say that …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Animal symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt : FROG
5 Locale for a salmon ladder : DAM
8 Lillian ___, the First Lady of American Cinema : GISH
12 Top pork producer in the U.S. : IOWA
13 Twine material : SISAL
15 ___ buco : OSSO
16 Acronym for some academic grants : STEM
17 Syrup source : MAPLE
18 TV host with a “Garage” : LENO
19 Grotesque : HIDEOUS
21 Portable work surface : LAP DESK
23 Ailurophiles : CAT PEOPLE
25 Accouchement : LABOR
28 Mary whose short story “The Wisdom of Eve” was the basis for 1950’s “All About Eve” : ORR
29 Modern pic : INSTA
33 Publishing IDs : ISBNS
34 “___ Flair Drip” (2018 rap hit) : RIC
35 Colorado’s ___ Park : ESTES
36 “Me day” destinations : SPAS
37 Whence the Portuguese creole language Patuá : MACAU
39 Old man : PAPA
40 Newly elected California congresswoman of 1987 : PELOSI
42 Like wine with cheese, often : PAIRED
44 Chase vehicle, once, in brief? : SNL
45 Fox Islands resident : ALASKAN
49 Mauna ___ : KEA
50 Places for quills : INKSTANDS
52 Waves to a hairdresser? : PERM
55 Accessories for tablets : STYLI
56 Historical lead-in to -evna or -evich : TSAR-
60 Cheyenne allies : ARAPAHO
62 GQ competitor : ESQUIRE
64 Snapper? : CAMERA
65 Sight from New York City’s Riverside Park : HUDSON
66 Flower holder : STALK
67 Words to the audience : ASIDE

Down

1 With 11-Down, what each of this puzzle’s groups of circles represents : FISH …
2 Side order with curry : ROTI
3 Was in the red : OWED
4 Xbox or PlayStation : GAME CONSOLE (sole “hook”)
5 Group migration : DIASPORA
6 Relative of an adder : ASP
7 One of las Islas Baleares : MALLORCA
8 Finishing touch on the first transcontinental railroad : GOLDEN SPIKE (pike “hook”)
9 “Gotcha” : I SEE
10 Info on tax forms : SSNS
11 See 1-Down : … HOOK
13 Crude content : SMUT
14 Vault : LEAP
20 Sticks in the water : OARS
22 French for “bent” : PLIE
24 Guitarist Clapton : ERIC
25 “Frontal” or “lateral” speaking features : LISPS
26 White-barked tree : ASPEN
27 Hoops : B-BALL
30 Austere : STARK
31 Home with a hole at the top : TEPEE
32 Carne ___ : ASADA
37 Drink that might be served with a metal cup : MILKSHAKE (hake “hook”)
38 Vedic religious text : UPANISHAD (shad “hook”)
41 ___ Jose : SAN
43 “Your point being …?” : AND …?
46 Regarding : AS TO
47 Part of a hog farm : STY
48 Trendy ingredient in a healthy smoothie : KALE
50 Push forward : IMPEL
51 Features of some leather jackets : STUDS
52 “Super” orgs. : PACS
53 Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT
54 Sita’s love, in Hindu lore : RAMA
57 Enthusiastic Spanish assent : SI SI!
58 Sports star who split with J.Lo in 2021 : A-ROD
59 Actor Auberjonois : RENE
61 Synagogue feature : ARK
63 Sine ___ non : QUA

13 thoughts on “0617-21 NY Times Crossword 17 Jun 21, Thursday”

  1. 7:41. The theme became pretty obvious on 8D, since GOLDEN SPIKE was the only plausible answer. Seemed more like Wednesday difficulty.

  2. 14:08 Figured out the fish on a hook relatively early and that helped since I had 1A as ANKH, then realized 1D had to be FISH. Got a bit Naticked on 38D and had to look up as I had 37A as MACAO vs MACAU.

    Got 28A from crosses, but nice to see a different clue for ORR.

  3. 16:16. I think CONSOLE was my aha moment for this one. Clever.

    UPANISHAD? Really? I looked up what it was, and I still didn’t know what it was. I guess it’s one of a few religious texts from some sort of Hindu religion written in Sanskrit about 3000 years ago. Aren’t we getting a LITTLE obscure here? Not exactly my area of expertise. Someday they’ll have an all alcoholic drink theme, and I’ll set national records for that one….

    How can I order one of those right wing (so to speak) quill pens since I’m left-handed?

    Best –

    1. @Jeff …

      Curiously, UPANISHAD was a gimme for me. Your description of what it was exactly matches the one in my head … 😜.

      (Which is to say: it fills a slot up there solely because it’s such a curious word. Upanishad, upanishad, upanishad … 😳.

  4. Got the theme… totally missed the obvious little known Hindu , Majorca, Menorca references.. and then “bent” the hook on two answers. Thought 36D was spanish, with the bend at the end of 37D and 37D bent at the end of SPANISH under 61D and 50D. Got it??

    I fell for it, hook , line and sinker!!

  5. Fun crossword! The theme was creative, but not the most mind-blowing. Surprised I knew 3/4 fish! (All the fishing video games helped!) A few toughies like UPANISHAD, MALLORCA, ARAPAHO, and SISAL. But had a good time doing it! 🙂

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