0624-21 NY Times Crossword 24 Jun 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Danny Lawson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer You Blockhead!

We have a rebus puzzle today, with the word HEAD appearing in several BLOCKS in the grid:

  • 55A Lucy van Pelt’s frequent outburst to Charlie Brown … or how to fill some squares in this puzzle? : YOU BLOCKHEAD!
  • 19A In-flight call? : HEADS OR TAILS?
  • 28A “That’s ridonculous” : SHAKING MY HEAD
  • 45A “Someone’s going to pay for this!” : HEADS WILL ROLL!
  • 1D Fool : PINHEAD
  • 25D Moved up the corporate ladder, say : GOT AHEAD
  • 32D Embark on the Oregon Trail, say : HEAD WEST
  • 59D Piece of equipment for a telemarketer : HEADSET
  • Bill’s time: 15m 26s

    Bill’s errors: 0

    Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

    Across

    1 Michelangelo’s only signed work : PIETA

    The Pietà is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the dead body of her son Jesus. The most famous Pietà is undoubtedly the sculpted rendition by Michelangelo that is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. That particular sculpture is thought to be the only work that Michelangelo signed. In some depictions of the Pietà, Mary and her son are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament. Such depictions are known as Lamentations.

    6 411 : INFO

    The first use of a national emergency phone number was in 1937 in the UK, where the number 999 was introduced to call emergency services. If you need emergency services in the UK or Ireland to this day, you have to dial 999. It’s not really clear why 911 became the emergency number in the US. The most credible suggestion (to me) is that when it was introduced by the FCC in 1967, it was a number that “fit” with the numbers already used by AT&T for free services (211-long distance; 411-information; 611-repair service).

    15 The “you” in the classic song lyric “I’m crossin’ you in style some day” : MOON RIVER

    The lovely song “Moon River” was written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini. It was sung by Audrey Hepburn in the wonderful 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. The song went on to become the theme song for Andy Williams, who performed it at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1962.

    17 Caravan member, perhaps : NOMAD

    A camel train carrying passengers or goods across a desert can be referred to as a caravan. “Caravan” derives from the Persian “karwan”, which has the same meaning. Over in Britain, “caravan” is the name given to travel trailers.

    19 In-flight call? : HEADS OR TAILS?

    The two sides of a coin are known as the “obverse” and the “reverse”. The obverse is commonly referred to as “heads”, as it often depicts someone’s head. The reverse is commonly called “tails”, as it is the opposite of “heads”.

    21 Risky : DICEY

    Something described as “dicey” is unpredictable or risky, as in rolling the “dice”. The term “dicey” originated in the 1940s as aviator jargon.

    23 Cosmetics giant : AVON

    In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.

    25 Cat, in Catalonia : GATO

    Catalonia is an autonomous community in the northeast of Spain. The capital of Catalonia is the city of Barcelona. Sandwiched between Catalonia and France to the north, is the lovely Principality of Andorra that is nestled in the Pyrenees. Andorra is the country in the world in which Catalan is an official language.

    33 Cry in a famous balcony scene : O ROMEO!

    In the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Juliet utters the famous line:

    O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?

    Every school kid must have commented with a giggle “he’s down in the garden!” Of course, “wherefore” isn’t an archaic word for “where”, but rather an old way of saying “why”. So Juliet is asking, “Why art thou Romeo, a Montague, and hence a sworn enemy of the Capulets?”

    35 ___ Eshkol, third prime minister of Israel : LEVI

    Levi Eshkol was Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 to 1969, serving after David Ben-Gurion. Eshkol died of a heart attack while he was still in office.

    36 Browbeat : COW

    The verb “to cow” means to intimidate, to scare. The exact etymology of the term seems unclear.

    37 Aster relative : TANSY

    The tansy is a flowering plant of the aster family, native to Europe and Asia. It is found in other parts of the world, but there it is often considered to be invasive.

    41 Blood-typing system : ABO

    The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a universal donor.

    44 Hair nets : SNOODS

    A snood is a net or a bag worn over the hair. “Snood” comes from the Old English word “snod” meaning “ribbon for the hair”.

    49 Caro who directed 2020’s “Mulan” : NIKI

    “Mulan” is a 1998 animated feature film made by Walt Disney studios. The film is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a woman who takes the place of her father in the army and serves with distinction for twelve years without reward. Disney’s lead character was given the name Fa Mulan. Donny Osmond provided the singing voice for one of the lead characters, after which his sons remarked that he had finally made it in show business as he was in a Disney film.

    52 City near the Temple of Isis : ASWAN

    The Egyptian city of Aswan lies in the south of the country, on the River Nile. Aswan is famous for its stone quarries, going back to ancient times. The most celebrated granite rock from the area is called syenite. Stone from Aswan was shipped northwards along the Nile and used in the construction of the pyramids. From ancient times right up to 1970, the annual flooding of the Nile was a significant event in Egypt. The flooding allowed the deposition of fertile silt far beyond the banks of the river, helping the region’s agriculture. However, the flooding was unpredictable. So the Aswan Dam was built in the sixties and from 1970 the flooding was brought under control.

    55 Lucy van Pelt’s frequent outburst to Charlie Brown … or how to fill some squares in this puzzle? : YOU BLOCKHEAD!

    In Charles Schulz’s fabulous comic strip “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown is friends with at least three members of the van Pelt family. Most famously there is Lucy van Pelt, who bosses everyone around, and who operates a psychiatric booth that looks like a lemonade stand. Then there is Linus, Lucy’s younger brother, the character who always has his security blanket at hand. Lastly there is an even younger brother, Rerun van Pelt. Rerun is constantly hiding under his bed, trying to avoid going to school.

    62 Woodwind section : OBOES

    The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

    63 “The highest result of education,” per Helen Keller : TOLERANCE

    Helen Keller became a noted author, despite being deaf and blind, largely through the work of her teacher Anne Sullivan. Keller was left deaf and blind after an illness (possibly meningitis or scarlet fever) when she was about 18 months old. She was to become the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The relationship between Sullivan and Keller is immortalized in the play and film called “The Miracle Worker”.

    64 Oscar winner Berry : HALLE

    Actress Halle Berry was the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, which she received for her performance in the 2001 movie “Monster’s Ball”. Berry also won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for playing the title role in “Catwoman”, and she very graciously accepted that award in person. Good for her!

    Down

    3 Love to Hug ___ (plush doll) : ELMO

    The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” for many years was Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

    4 Spots for spots? : TEAROOMS

    I guess the reference here is to the oft-quoted British phrase “a spot of tea”. Mind you, I’ve only ever heard that said in jest …

    7 December number : NOEL

    “Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, and ultimately comes from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). “Noel” has come to be used as an alternative for “Christmas carol”.

    9 Slip-___ : ONS

    The loafer slip-on shoe dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by Fortnum and Mason’s store in London. The derivative term “penny loafer” arose in the late fifties or early sixties, although the exact etymology seems unclear.

    12 “___ Christianity” (C. S. Lewis book) : MERE

    Irishman C. S. Lewis moved to Britain after serving in the British Army in WWI. A man of many achievements, Lewis is perhaps best remembered for his series of novels for children called “The Chronicles of Narnia” (which includes “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). He also wrote “The Four Loves”, a nonfiction work exploring the nature of love from a Christian perspective. Famously, Lewis died on November 22nd, 1963, the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

    13 Quarry : PREY

    We’ve been using the noun “quarry” to mean “anything chased in a hunt” since the early 17th century. The term derives from the earlier term “”quirre”, which were the entrails of a deer that were given to dogs as a reward after a successful kill.

    16 Guacamole ingredient : RED ONION

    Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

    20 Lhasa ___ : APSO

    The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.

    26 Many subjects of Scheherazade stories : ARABS

    Scheherazade was a Persian queen of legend, and the storyteller in the wonderful “One Thousand and One Nights”.

    29 Bush appointee of 2006 : ALITO

    Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Alito is the second Italian-American to serve on the Supreme Court (Antonin Scalia was the first). Alito studied law at Yale and while in his final year he left the country for the first time in his life, heading to Italy to work on his thesis about the Italian legal system.

    30 Marilyn ___, singer with the 5th Dimension : MCCOO

    Marilyn McCoo is best known as the lead female singer with the 5th Dimension, a group that was very successful in the sixties and seventies. McCoo married another member of the 5th Dimension, Billy Davis, Jr. The couple are still performing, but now as a duo.

    32 Embark on the Oregon Trail, say : HEAD WEST

    The Oregon Trail was established by fur trappers and traders as early as 1811. The first migrant wagon train traveled the route in 1836, starting off in Independence, Missouri and going as far as Fort Hall, Idaho. In the coming years, the trail was extended for wagons as far as the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

    43 Leader in the civil rights movement, in brief : MLK

    Martin Luther King, Jr’s father was born Michael King. On a trip to Germany in 1934, Michael came to admire Protestant leader Martin Luther and changed his name to Martin Luther King on his return to the United States. Famously, he passed on his new name to his son, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr (MLK).

    51 Pacific greeting : ALOHA

    The Hawaiian word “aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently, “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

    54 Frazier in the Basketball Hall of Fame : WALT

    Walt Frazier is a retired professional basketball player. He was captain of the New York Knicks when they won their only NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973.

    57 Pop choice : COLA

    The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. The first sales were in Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, where a glass of the new beverage sold for five cents. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.

    58 Plantlike growth held up by gas-filled bladders : KELP

    Kelps are large seaweeds that grow in kelp forests underwater. Kelps can grow to over 250 feet in length, and do so very quickly. Some kelps can grow at the rate of 1-2 feet per day.

    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1 Michelangelo’s only signed work : PIETA
    6 411 : INFO
    10 Like dewy grass : DAMP
    14 Did diddly squat : IDLED
    15 The “you” in the classic song lyric “I’m crossin’ you in style some day” : MOON RIVER
    17 Caravan member, perhaps : NOMAD
    18 Stick with it : PERSEVERE
    19 In-flight call? : HEADS OR TAILS?
    21 Risky : DICEY
    22 “My b!” : OOPS!
    23 Cosmetics giant : AVON
    25 Cat, in Catalonia : GATO
    28 “That’s ridonculous” : SHAKING MY HEAD
    33 Cry in a famous balcony scene : O ROMEO!
    35 ___ Eshkol, third prime minister of Israel : LEVI
    36 Browbeat : COW
    37 Aster relative : TANSY
    38 Waste receptacle : BIN
    39 Timely : ON CUE
    41 Blood-typing system : ABO
    42 Release : EMIT
    44 Hair nets : SNOODS
    45 “Someone’s going to pay for this!” : HEADS WILL ROLL!
    48 Warn with a horn : TOOT
    49 Caro who directed 2020’s “Mulan” : NIKI
    50 Some remote inserts : AAAS
    52 City near the Temple of Isis : ASWAN
    55 Lucy van Pelt’s frequent outburst to Charlie Brown … or how to fill some squares in this puzzle? : YOU BLOCKHEAD!
    60 One making a scene : STAGEHAND
    62 Woodwind section : OBOES
    63 “The highest result of education,” per Helen Keller : TOLERANCE
    64 Oscar winner Berry : HALLE
    65 Picks : OPTS
    66 Without a leader? : TIED
    67 Take from one medium to another : ADAPT

    Down

    1 Fool : PINHEAD
    2 Exchanged promises : I DOS
    3 Love to Hug ___ (plush doll) : ELMO
    4 Spots for spots? : TEAROOMS
    5 Supplement : ADD TO
    6 Pucklike : IMPISH
    7 December number : NOEL
    8 Left behind : FORSAKEN
    9 Slip-___ : ONS
    10 Summer Olympics event : DIVING
    11 With, in France : AVEC
    12 “___ Christianity” (C. S. Lewis book) : MERE
    13 Quarry : PREY
    16 Guacamole ingredient : RED ONION
    20 Lhasa ___ : APSO
    24 Nickname composed only of Roman numerals : VIV
    25 Moved up the corporate ladder, say : GOT AHEAD
    26 Many subjects of Scheherazade stories : ARABS
    27 Thus far : TO NOW
    29 Bush appointee of 2006 : ALITO
    30 Marilyn ___, singer with the 5th Dimension : MCCOO
    31 “Oh, is that so?” : YOU DO?
    32 Embark on the Oregon Trail, say : HEAD WEST
    34 Drawing pencil? : EYELINER
    38 Indian rice dish : BIRIYANI
    40 “That’s better than I expected!” : NOT SO BAD!
    43 Leader in the civil rights movement, in brief : MLK
    44 Hunk : SLAB
    46 Since fore-e-ever : IN AGES
    47 Praised : LAUDED
    51 Pacific greeting : ALOHA
    52 For : AS TO
    53 “Cut that out!” : STOP!
    54 Frazier in the Basketball Hall of Fame : WALT
    56 Historically : ONCE
    57 Pop choice : COLA
    58 Plantlike growth held up by gas-filled bladders : KELP
    59 Piece of equipment for a telemarketer : HEADSET
    61 Top gear : HAT

    11 thoughts on “0624-21 NY Times Crossword 24 Jun 21, Thursday”

    1. 17:24, no errors. At the end, I paused for some time over the “I” at the intersection of NIKI Caro (someone I’d not heard of) and BIRIYANI (an unfamiliar alternate spelling of BIRYANI). I finally crossed my fingers and put it in, and it turned out to be correct.

    2. 15:07 Started out badly thinking that 411 was a Roman numeral so I quickly put in CDXI and soon realized that was wrong. I had to wait until 24D to get my Roman numerals. Suspected a rebus for HEAD, but needed evidence beyond 25D to be certain, since I thought 37A was going to be PANSY – never heard of TANSY. Liked the clues for 60A and 66A

      In a couple days the Seattle area is forecast to have temps in triple digits – a real rarity.

    3. 21:55. Took way too long to think to seek out the reveal and see the rebus. Oh well.

      One error – I had VIC for “Nickname composed only of Roman numerals”. Hey it works. LECI seemed plausible for LEVI, a complete unknown to me.

      Good one

      Best –

    4. No errors but was not easy… Vaught the theme but had a tough time figuring out where it should go and some of the cluing left me wondering “what does that mean?”..
      .. and throw in a 8 letter foreign word for Indian Rice Dish?? .. in the middle of the grid.

    5. Just over 37 min. no errors…I also started out with Vic but changed to Viv at my review of the puzzle…lucky guess.
      60 years today I said “I do” and I have been “doing” ever since.
      If I had known I would live this long I would have taken better care of myself😀😀
      Stay safe😀

    6. 27:10, 6 errors. Fell into the same pitfalls: VI(C)/LE(C)I; NIK(A)/BIR(A)YANI. Added GO(P) AHEAD/(P)ANSY to the list. Should have caught the last error.

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