0629-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Jun 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Alan Arbesfeld
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) X in the Y, Literally

Themed answers are common phrases in the format X in the Y, but written literally, with X placed in the middle of “the Y”:

  • 17A Toy with a spring, literally : JACK IN THE BOX (THE “JACK” BOX)
  • 24A Put an early stop to, literally : NIP IN THE BUD (THE “NIP” BUD)
  • 31A Interfere, literally : BE IN THE WAY (THE “BE” WAY)
  • 40A Undecided, literally : UP IN THE AIR (THE “UP” AIR)
  • 48A Unrealistic, as wishes, literally : PIE IN THE SKY (THE “PIE” SKY)
  • 55A “Years ago …,” literally : BACK IN THE DAY (THE “BACK” DAY)

Bill’s time: 7m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Daft Punk or the White Stripes : DUO

Daft Punk is an electronic music duo from Paris, France.

The White Stripes were a rock duo from Detroit that were together from 1997 to 2011. The duo was made up of Meg and Jack White, who were married from 1996 to 2000. Prior to the couple tying the knot, Jack’s family name was Gillis. Gillis took the unusual step of taking his wife’s family name when they married.

4 Small piano : SPINET

“Spinet” is the name given to a smaller version of keyboard instruments, such as a small harpsichord, piano or organ. Spinets are still made today, as cheaper versions of full-size instruments.

14 Raggedy ___ : ANN

Raggedy Ann is a rag doll that was created by Johnny Gruelle in 1915 for his daughter, Marcella. He decided to name the doll by combining the titles of two poems by James Whitcomb Riley, “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphan Annie”. Gruelle introduced Raggedy Ann in a series of books three years later. Sadly, Marcella died at 13 years of age with her father blaming a smallpox vaccination she was given at school. Gruelle became very active in the movement against mass vaccination, for which Raggedy Ann became a symbol.

15 Al who won a Best Actor Oscar for “Scent of a Woman” : PACINO

Al Pacino seems to be best known for playing characters on both sides of the law. Pacino’s big break in the movies came when he played Michael Corleone in “The Godfather”, a role that grew for him as the series of films progressed. But his Oscar-winning role was that of a blind ex-military officer in “Scent of a Woman”.

16 Hatcher of “Desperate Housewives” : TERI

Teri Hatcher’s most famous role is the Susan Mayer character on the TV comedy-drama “Desperate Housewives”. I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of “Housewives” but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, as she appeared in “Tomorrow Never Dies”. More recently, she portrayed Lois Lane on the show “Lois & Clark”.

The TV drama “Desperate Housewives” ran for eight seasons. During pre-production, the show was called “Wisteria Lane” and then “The Secret Lives of Housewives”. The “desperate housewives” lived on the fictional Wisteria Lane in the fictional town of Fairview in the fictional Eagle State. That’s a lot of fiction …

17 Toy with a spring, literally : JACK IN THE BOX (THE “JACK” BOX)

A Jack-in-the-box is a child’s toy. It’s a box with a crank handle at the side. Turning the crank causes a tune to play (usually “Pop Goes the Weasel”), and at the right moment the lid pops open and a spring loaded clown character jumps up out of the box.

20 The Red Baron, for one : AIR ACE

A flying ace is an aviator who has shot down a number of enemy planes during combat. The qualifying number of kills seems to vary, but five is common. The first use of “ace” was during WWI, when the French newspapers dubbed pilot Adolphe Pegoud “l’as” (French for “the ace”) when he shot down his fifth German plane.

Manfred von Richthofen was a famous WWI fighter pilot flying for the Germans and was known as the Red Baron. Von Richthofen was credited with more kills than any other pilot fighting on either side of the conflict, recording over 80 combat victories. He didn’t survive the war though, as he was shot down near Amiens in France in 1918.

21 Shakespeare’s “___ of Athens” : TIMON

Timon of Athens was noted for renouncing society, for being someone who despised mankind. Timon started out life as a wealthy man, but he lost all his money by pandering to the needs of his friends. Without money, Timon’s friends deserted him. Timon became rich again when he found a pot of gold, and so his friends sought him out once more. Timon was very embittered and so drove everyone away and lived the rest of his life as a hermit. Centuries after he died, Timon of Athens was to become the title character in “Timon of Athens”, a play by William Shakespeare

23 Actor Keach : STACY

Actor Stacy Keach is perhaps as well known for his work as a narrator as he is for his work in front of the camera. Keach hit a low in his life in the mid-1980s when he was arrested for possession of cocaine at Heathrow Airport in London. For that transgression, Keach served six months in a British jail.

28 Prefix with -morph : ECTO-

psychologist William Herbert Sheldon proposed a now-discredited theory that a person’s intelligence, future achievement and temperament could be associated with particular body types. Sheldon proposed three “somatotypes”, a classification that is still used today:

  • Ectomorphic: thin body build
  • Mesomorphic: muscular and sturdy body build
  • Endomorphic: heavy body build

29 Greek god whose name sounds like a zodiac sign : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

30 Timothy who wrote “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” : LEARY

Timothy Leary was a psychologist and writer, an icon of the sixties counterculture and a promoter of the use of LSD. Leary popularized the phrase “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” in the sixties. After he died, some of Leary’s ashes were “buried” in space, launched aboard a rocket that contained the ashes of 24 other people including “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry.

33 “I wish I was an Oscar Mayer wiener …,” e.g. : JINGLE

The Oscar Mayer brand of meats was named for a German immigrant named Oscar F. Mayer who sold German sausages in the Chicago area in the late 1800s. The Oscar Mayer company has a famous vehicle called the Wienermobile that it has used in promotions for over 70 years.

34 Willy ___, pioneering writer on rocketry : LEY

Willy Ley was a German rocket scientist who did much of his work here in the US. Unlike many of his compatriots, Ley left Nazi Germany and moved the US prior to WWII, in 1935. He wrote books about space travel that were very approachable and helped popularize the concept with the general public. His book “The Conquest of Space” was published in 1949.

36 Biden : Obama :: ___ : Biden : HARRIS

Kamala Harris was a US Senator for California starting in 2017, after serving for six years as the Attorney General of California. In early 2019, Harris announced her run for the Democratic nomination for US president in the 2020 election. Although she dropped out of the race, she was chosen by eventual nominee Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate. When the Biden-Harris ticket won the election, Harris became the highest-ranking female politician in the history of the US.

48 Unrealistic, as wishes, literally : PIE IN THE SKY (THE “PIE” SKY)

We use the phrase “pie in the sky” to describe a ridiculously optimistic goal. The expression was coined by songwriter and labor activist Joe Hill in 1911 as a lyric in the hymn parody “The Preacher and the Slave”. The chorus is:

You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and Pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die

50 Language from which “curry” and “catamaran” come : TAMIL

Tamils are a large ethnic group of almost 80 million people who speak Tamil as their mother tongue. Despite the large Tamil population, there is no Tamil state. The highest concentration of Tamils is in Sri Lanka, where they make up about 25% of the population.

Curry powder is a mixture of spices used in South Asian dishes. The actual composition of curry powder varies depending on the cuisine. The term “curry” is an anglicization of the Tamil “kari” meaning “sauce”.

A catamaran is a boat that has two hulls. Catamarans have been around a long time, with the design having been used by the Ancient Greeks. Notably, the design was used by the locals in the Bay of Bengal and it was this design that was adopted by European boat builders. The name “catamaran” comes from the Tamil language of southeastern India, with “kattu maram” meaning “logs tied together”.

51 Guinness classification : FIRST

“The Guinness Book of World Records” holds some records of its own. It is the best-selling, copyrighted series of books of all time and is one of the books most often stolen from public libraries! The book was first published in 1954 by two twins, Norris and Ross McWhirter. The McWhirter twins found themselves with a smash hit, and eventually became very famous in Britain hosting a TV show based on world records.

52 Norman of the Clinton and Bush cabinets : MINETA

Norman Mineta is a democrat who served as Secretary of Transportation in the George W. Bush administration. Mineta served for over five in the post, resigning in 2006, making him the longest serving Transportation Secretary ever. Mineta was born to Japanese immigrant parents and spent some of his childhood years with his family in an internment camp in Wyoming during WWII.

53 Marijuana : WEED

We’ve been using the term “weed” to mean “marijuana” since the 1920s. Centuries prior to that, we started using “weed” for “tobacco”.

58 “Downton Abbey” title : EARL

In the incredibly successful period drama “Downton Abbey”, the patriarch of the family living at Downton is Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham or Lord Grantham. The character is played by Hugh Bonneville. Lord Grantham married American Cora Levinson (played by Elizabeth McGovern). Lord and Lady Grantham had three daughters, and no sons. The lack of a male heir implied that the Grantham estate would pass to a male cousin, and out of the immediate family. The Grantham daughters are Lady Mary (played by Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (played by Laura Carmichael) and Lady Sybil (played by Jessica Brown Findlay). Lady Sybil had the audacity to marry the family chauffeur, who was an Irish nationalist. The shame of it all …

59 Start a journey : EMBARK

In getting on and off a seagoing vessel, one embarks and debarks. The terms “embark” and “debark” come from the name of the small ship known as a barque.

60 Methuselah’s reached 969 years : AGE

Methuselah was the son of Enoch and the grandfather of Noah, and the man in the Bible who is reported to have lived the longest. Methuselah passed away seven days before the onset of the Great Flood, and tradition holds that he was 969 years old when he died.

62 Some swords, to Brits : SABRES

A saber (sometimes “sabre”) is a sword with a curved blade and a relatively large hand guard. It is thought that the term originated with the Hungarian verb “szabni” meaning “to cut”.

63 Director Browning of 1931’s “Dracula” : TOD

Tod Browning was a Hollywood actor and director whose career spanned the silent and talkie eras. Browning is best remembered as the director of 1931’s “Dracula”, starring Bela Lugosi in the title role, and for his silent film work with Lon Chaney.

Down

4 In la-la land : SPACY

“La-la land” is a euphemism for a state of unconsciousness or a dreamworld.

11 Shape-shifting seat : BEANBAG

The original beanbag chair was designed by an Italian company called Zanotta in 1969. That first model was called “il sacco” and is still made today. The idea came from staff at the Zanotta factory who would take their breaks sitting on bags filled with styrofoam.

12 Part of a joule : ERG

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. It has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

James Joule was an English physicist who spent much of his life working in the family brewing business. Joule used his work in the brewery to study the relationship between heat and mechanical work. In honor of his achievements, his name is used for the unit of energy in the International System of Units (i.e. the joule).

22 Setting : MILIEU

We use the French term “milieu” (plural “milieux”) to mean “environment, surroundings”. In French, “milieu” is the word for “middle”.

26 Text that’s often blue and underlined : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a uniform resource locator (URL).

27 Batik, e.g. : DYE

Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in a solvent that dissolves the wax. Although wax-resist dyeing of fabric has existed in various parts of the world for centuries, it is most closely associated historically with the island of Java in Indonesia.

32 Sorcerer’s concoction : ELIXIR

An elixir is a solution of alcohol and water that is used to deliver a medicine. The term “elixir” can also be used to mean a medicine that has the power to cure all ills.

To decoct is to extract the flavor of a liquid by boiling down and increasing the concentration. A related term is “to concoct”, meaning “to boil together”. We use the verb “to concoct” in a figurative sense to mean to contrive, devise.

33 Vehicle in “M*A*S*H” : JEEP

The Jeep is the original off-road vehicle. It was developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940 at the request of the US government who recognized the upcoming need for the armed forces as American involvement in WWII loomed. The Bantam Company was too small to cope with demand, so the government gave the designs to competing car companies. The design and brand eventually ended up with AMC in the seventies and eighties.

“M*A*S*H” has only three stars (three asterisks, that is). These asterisks first appeared on the poster for the 1970 movie, but they were omitted in the opening titles. The TV series went on to use the asterisks from the poster.

35 Two-wheeled carriage : SHAY

A chaise is a light carriage with a folding hood that transports one or two people. “Chaise” is the French for “chair”, and takes its name from the “sedan chair” means of transportation. In the US, the name “chaise” evolved into “shay”.

36 Angel’s wish : HIT

The Anaheim Angels baseball team is today more correctly called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (LAA). The “Angels” name dates back to 1961 when the team was founded in the “City of Angels”, Los Angeles. When the franchise moved to Anaheim in 1965 they were known as the California Angels, then the Anaheim Angels, and most recently the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels are also known as “the Halos”.

37 German cry : ACH!

The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”

38 53-Across cigarettes : REEFERS
(53A Marijuana : WEED)

Marijuana cigarettes have been known as reefers since the twenties. It is thought that the term “reefers” comes from either the Mexican Spanish for a drug addict (“grifo”), or from its resemblance to a rolled sail, i.e. a sail that has been “reefed”.

39 At a fast clip : RAPIDLY

A clipper was a three-masted sailing ship commonly crossing the seas in the 19th century. Clippers were built for speed, so were narrow and had less room for carrying freight than many vessels used in trade. They were developed largely due to the demand for speedy delivery of fresh tea from China to Europe. The name comes from the term “to clip” meaning to move swiftly (as in “at a clip”). Perhaps the most famous clipper ship is the Cutty Sark built in 1869, the last clipper to be built as a merchant vessel. The Cutty Sark owes her fame to the fact that she is on display as a museum ship in a dry dock in Greenwich in London.

41 April 1 doing : PRANK

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st in the Western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants, but in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.

46 It can take your breath away : ASTHMA

In the human body, the windpipe (trachea) divides into the left and right bronchi, which enter the lungs. Inflammation of the bronchi can cause the airways to contract and narrow, leading to the condition known as asthma.

49 ___ Park, Colo. : 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.

52 Stallion’s mate : MARE

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less than one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

53 Source of information for Spider-Man, with “the”? : … WEB

In essence, the World Wide Web (WWW) is a vast collection of documents that is accessible using the Internet, with each document containing hyperlinks which point to other documents in the collection. So the “Web” is different from the Internet, although the terms are often used interchangeably. The Web is a collection of documents, and the Internet is a global network of computers on which the documents reside. The Web was effectively the invention of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The key to Berner-Lee’s invention was bringing together two technologies that already existed: hypertext and the Internet. I, for one, am very grateful …

Spider-Man is a creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and first appeared in comics in 1962. Spider-Man was a somewhat groundbreaking character in that his alter ego was a teenage high school student (Peter Parker), which marked the first time that a young person featured front and center as the superhero.

54 Contents of l’océan : EAU

In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “l’océan” (the ocean).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Daft Punk or the White Stripes : DUO
4 Small piano : SPINET
10 “Yeah, sure!” : I BET!
14 Raggedy ___ : ANN
15 Al who won a Best Actor Oscar for “Scent of a Woman” : PACINO
16 Hatcher of “Desperate Housewives” : TERI
17 Toy with a spring, literally : JACK IN THE BOX (THE “JACK” BOX)
19 Wise one : SAGE
20 The Red Baron, for one : AIR ACE
21 Shakespeare’s “___ of Athens” : TIMON
23 Actor Keach : STACY
24 Put an early stop to, literally : NIP IN THE BUD (THE “NIP” BUD)
28 Prefix with -morph : ECTO-
29 Greek god whose name sounds like a zodiac sign : ARES
30 Timothy who wrote “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” : LEARY
31 Interfere, literally : BE IN THE WAY (THE “BE” WAY)
33 “I wish I was an Oscar Mayer wiener …,” e.g. : JINGLE
34 Willy ___, pioneering writer on rocketry : LEY
35 Go out with : SEE
36 Biden : Obama :: ___ : Biden : HARRIS
40 Undecided, literally : UP IN THE AIR (THE “UP” AIR)
45 Good pick for a mountaineer? : ICE AX
46 “Like … now!” : ASAP!
47 What prices do during inflation : RISE
48 Unrealistic, as wishes, literally : PIE IN THE SKY (THE “PIE” SKY)
50 Language from which “curry” and “catamaran” come : TAMIL
51 Guinness classification : FIRST
52 Norman of the Clinton and Bush cabinets : MINETA
53 Marijuana : WEED
55 “Years ago …,” literally : BACK IN THE DAY (THE “BACK” DAY)
58 “Downton Abbey” title : EARL
59 Start a journey : EMBARK
60 Methuselah’s reached 969 years : AGE
61 Occupied with many things : BUSY
62 Some swords, to Brits : SABRES
63 Director Browning of 1931’s “Dracula” : TOD

Down

1 Spreadsheet figures : DATA SET
2 Release, as a trailer : UNHITCH
3 A fixed fee : ONE RATE
4 In la-la land : SPACY
5 Pick up the ___ : PACE
6 “Eww!” : ICK!
7 Tip of a pen : NIB
8 Online memos : E-NOTES
9 Poison : TOXIN
10 “Come on in!” : IT’S OPEN!
11 Shape-shifting seat : BEANBAG
12 Part of a joule : ERG
13 Cause for overtime : TIE
18 New York’s ___ K. Javits Convention Center : JACOB
22 Setting : MILIEU
24 It goes up during takeoff : TRAY
25 “Yo!” : HEY!
26 Text that’s often blue and underlined : URL
27 Batik, e.g. : DYE
29 Blows away : AWES
32 Sorcerer’s concoction : ELIXIR
33 Vehicle in “M*A*S*H” : JEEP
35 Two-wheeled carriage : SHAY
36 Angel’s wish : HIT
37 German cry : ACH!
38 53-Across cigarettes : REEFERS
39 At a fast clip : RAPIDLY
40 Sound accompanying a finger wag : TSK
41 April 1 doing : PRANK
42 Targeted : AIMED AT
43 “Can we move forward?” : IS IT A GO?
44 Not delivered directly, say : RELAYED
46 It can take your breath away : ASTHMA
49 ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES
50 Watch sounds : TICKS
52 Stallion’s mate : MARE
53 Source of information for Spider-Man, with “the”? : … WEB
54 Contents of l’océan : EAU
56 Flow out : EBB
57 Keep out : BAR

19 thoughts on “0629-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Jun 21, Tuesday”

  1. 11:29. Struggled a bit to get the gist of this. Didn’t know the proper names LEY, MINETA, TOD. Needed all the crosses for these.

    It hit 107 degrees in Seattle yesterday – an all time record – and was 111 at my house. Great day to be indoors with the A/C

  2. 13:12. This one has a Thursday feel to it, but the relative ease makes it a Tuesday/Wednesday puzzle.

    MILEAU took me forever to get. I guess I was thinking it was spelled “millieu” so I thought it would be wrong.

    Best –

  3. Just under 25 min. …no errors…I knew what the setter was doing but didn’t know what it meant and I don’t understand Bills explanation.
    I guess my GED just doesn’t cut it sometimes.
    It took a while for the light to come on for 24D because I have only flown 3 times in my life…no pun intended for the “light”.
    Stay safe😀
    If you don’t have the shot yet what are you waiting for?

      1. I didn’t see anything “ugly” about the theme … and I would have used the phrase “awe inspiring”, rather than the nonce word “awe-ful” (though I kind of like it 😜).

        I guess not everyone enjoys the more playful aspects of modern crossword construction … 🤨.

  4. I think 36 down is not about a baseball, but the “angel” who backs a Broadway play …… hoping for it to be a “hit”!

  5. 15 minutes. No errors or look up etCetera. As someone else said, took me a while to get started but when I figured out the gimmick things fell into place. Didn’t help that I Had just come in off the golf course where I walked 18 holes.

  6. I found this one so hard! Top right and top left had me struggling! Other than that, loooved the theme! Thought it was so fun to figure it out, I had a few of the lines starting with “the” so i knew something was up. And Jack In The Box seemed so legit, i was questioning if it’s called “jack in A box” so it could fit!

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