0714-21 NY Times Crossword 14 Jul 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Amanda Rafkin & Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer E-Reader

Themed answers are common phrases with a letter E added to the end of one word. The amended word becomes the name of author one might READ:

  • 38A Kindle, e.g. … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme? : E-READER
  • 17A Clamoring for “The Bonfire of the Vanities”? : CRYING WOLFE
  • 24A Selling someone on “The Importance of Being Earnest”? : WILDE PITCH
  • 50A Spot to store “A Confederacy of Dunces”? : TOOLE CHEST
  • 62A Positive review of a Nancy Drew mystery? : PEACHY KEENE

Bill’s time: 7m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Parties with glowsticks : RAVES

As you might imagine, I’ve never been to a rave, and don’t have one upcoming in my diary. And as raves often start at 2 a.m.,then I’m unlikely ever to experience one. A rave is generally an all-night party featuring loud, electronically-synthesized music usually played by a DJ as opposed to a live band.

10 Old-fashioned taste? : SIP

An Old Fashioned cocktail is usually made from whiskey or brandy that is muddled with sugar and bitters, and then a twist of citrus rind added.

13 Menu at un café : CARTE

“Carte” is a word sometimes used in French for a menu. Menu items that are “à la carte” are priced and ordered separately, as opposed to “table d’hôte” which is a fixed price menu with limited choice.

15 Amazon’s biz : E-TAIL

Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the world. It is also the largest Internet company in the world by revenue. The company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, in his garage in Bellevue, Washington. I’m a big fan of Amazon’s approach to customer service …

16 Subj. for some aspiring bilinguals : ESL

English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

17 Clamoring for “The Bonfire of the Vanities”? : CRYING WOLFE

American author Tom Wolfe started his career as a journalist, and was very much at the center of the New Journalism literary movement of the sixties and seventies. His first book of note was “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” that tells the story of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. Wolfe also wrote “The Right Stuff” about the post-war test pilots and the Project Mercury astronauts.

“The Bonfire of the Vanities” is a satirical novel by American author Tom Wolfe that was published in 1987. Actually, the original version of the novel was published earlier, starting in 1984, in “Rolling Stone” magazine. The title refers to the 1497 burning of items condemned by religious authorities as items encouraging sin. Believers collected thousands of cosmetics, works of art, items of fine clothing, playing cards, mirrors and musical instruments and burned them in a huge fire in Florence. That event became known as a “bonfire of the vanities”.

19 They can help you get out of a rut, for short : AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

20 Business plan : AGENDA

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

21 One of 20 on the Titanic : LIFEBOAT

The RMS Titanic set off on her tragic maiden voyage in 1912, sailing from Southampton, England bound for New York City. Regulations only required that the ship have lifeboat capacity for 1,178 people, even though a full complement of passengers and crew was 3,547. When the order was given to abandon ship, the captain adhered to the traditional protocol of “women and children first”. As a result, only 20% of male passengers survived the disaster, compared to 75% of the female passengers. Perhaps more telling is that 61% of those in first class survived, and only 25% of those in third class. The crew fared even worse though, with only 24% making it.

23 TV alien played by Robin Williams : MORK

“Mork & Mindy” is a sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982. The title characters were played by Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. Mork is an alien from the planet Ork who reports back to his superior called Orson. Orson is played by voice actor Ralph James. Ralph James was also known for providing the voice of Mr. Turtle in famous Tootsie Pop commercials in the seventies. Nanu nanu!

Actor and comedian Robin Williams started his performing career as a standup in the San Francisco Bay Area. His big break came when he was cast as an alien named Mork in a 1978 episode of the sitcom “Happy Days”. That led to the spinoff sitcom “Mork & Mindy” that aired from 1978 to 1982. Williams’ first major film role was as the title character in 1980’s “Popeye”. Sadly, Williams committed suicide in 2014.

24 Selling someone on “The Importance of Being Earnest”? : WILDE PITCH

Oscar Wilde was an Irish writer who led a very public life in his adopted home of London. Although he was a prolific writer of many forms of literature, Wilde penned only one novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. He was perhaps more renowned in his own time as a dramatist. Several of his plays are performed regularly today, including “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, “An Ideal Husband” and “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Wilde’s last work was a poem titled “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”, which recounted his time in prison after being convicted of homosexual offences in 1895 and sentenced to two years’ hard labor. Oscar Wilde died in 1900 at the age of 46 in Paris, destitute.

The full title of Oscar Wilde’s play is “The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People“. It is an absurdly silly and marvelously enjoyable farce. The play’s title is a pun on the name “Ernest”, as the main protagonist in the play leads a double life. In one of those lives he uses the name “Ernest”.

26 Group with lodges : ELKS

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome. The list of US presidents that have been members of the BPOE includes Presidents Eisenhower, Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Ford.

28 Exam with logic questions, for short : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

34 Genesis creator : SEGA

Genesis is a video game console sold in the US by the Japanese company Sega. Genesis is sold as Mega Drive in the rest of the world, as Sega couldn’t get the rights to the Mega Drive name in the US.

37 Curse : HEX

“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

38 Kindle, e.g. … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme? : E-READER

Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD several years ago. I started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device …

44 They’re a bit of a stretch : YOGA POSES

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

46 Some jeans features : RIPS

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

49 Humorist Bombeck : ERMA

“Aunt Erma’s Cope Book” was written by Erma Bombeck and published in 1979. Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years, producing more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns describing her home life in suburbia.

50 Spot to store “A Confederacy of Dunces”? : TOOLE CHEST

John Kennedy Toole was an author whose most famous work is his 1980 novel “A Confederacy of Dunces”. Toole had committed suicide eleven years before publication, when he was just 31 years old. The author’s mother found a smudged carbon copy of the book’s manuscript after her son had passed, and she persisted in her efforts to get the novel published. She was finally successful in 1980, and the following year “A Confederacy of Dunces” won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Well done, Mom …

54 ___ Zor-El, real name of Supergirl : KARA

Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin, and is also known as Supergirl. Supergirl’s father and Superman’s father were brothers. On Earth, Supergirl uses the name “Linda Lee”.

61 With 14-Down, what “Fin” might mean : THE …

In French, one might see the word “fin” (end) at the end of “un film” (a movie).

62 Positive review of a Nancy Drew mystery? : PEACHY KEENE

The “Nancy Drew” mystery stories were produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The founder of the Syndicate hired a team of writers to produce the “Nancy Drew” novels, but listed the author of each book as the fictional Carolyn Keene.

64 “Jingle Bells” contraction : O’ER

The traditional Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was first published in 1857, penned by James Lord Pierpont. We associate the song with Christmas, although in fact Pierpont wrote it as a celebration of Thanksgiving.

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

65 Architect born in Guangzhou : IM PEI

I. M. Pei (full name: Ieoh Ming Pei) was an exceptional American architect who was born in China. Of Pei’s many wonderful works, my favorite is the renovation of the Louvre in Paris, and especially the Glass Pyramid in the museum’s courtyard.

67 Narc (on) : RAT

Back in the 1800s, “to nark” was “to act as a police informer”. The spelling of the term has started to evolve into “to narc”, due to the influence of the noun “narc”, slang for a narcotics officer. The ”nark” spelling is still used on the other side of the Atlantic.

68 Six of the first 10 elements on the periodic table : GASES

Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist. When Mendeleev classified elements according to their chemical properties, he noticed patterns and was able to group elements into his famous 1869 Periodic Table. So powerful was his table that he actually predicted the properties of some elements that had not even been discovered in 1869. Element number 101 is mendelevium and was named after Mendeleev.

69 Units of poetry : FEET

In poetry, a foot is the natural unit of stressed and unstressed syllables which make up the work. For example, an iambic foot consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.

Down

1 Philosopher with a “razor” : OCCAM

Ockham’s Razor (also “Occam’s Razor”) is a principle in philosophy and science that basically states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. This explanation is a corollary to the more exact statement of the principle, that one shouldn’t needlessly use assumptions in explaining something. The principle is referred to as “lex parsimoniae” in Latin, or “the law of parsimony”. Parsimony is being thrifty with money or resources.

2 Crime drama set in the Midwest : FARGO

“Fargo” is a TV series inspired by the 1996 film of the same name by the Coen brothers. The small-screen version first aired in 2014, with the credits including Joel and Ethan Coen as executive producers. Each season of the show features a new cast. The 2014 cast is led by Billy Bob Thornton, the 2015 cast by Kirsten Dunst, and the 2017 cast by Ewan McGregor. Each episode, and indeed the original film, includes the on-screen claim that “This is a true story”. However, that claim is in fact untrue.

5 Counterpart of “FF” : REW

We might fast-forward (FF) or rewind (REW) a recorded movie.

6 Bikini, e.g. : ATOLL

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring that encloses a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically, an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside inside the circling coral reef.

The name of Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands comes from the Marshallese name “Pikinni”, meaning “coconut place”. Famously, Bikini Atoll was the site of 23 nuclear detonations by the US from 1946 to 1958.

8 Towering figure of architecture? : EIFFEL

Gustave Eiffel was the French civil engineer who famously designed the Eiffel Tower.

The “Exposition Universelle” (World’s Fair) of 1889 was held in Paris, France. The 1900 fair is remembered for the magnificent entrance arch that was constructed for visitors. That entrance arch was to remain standing for only nine years, but the city decided to keep it and you can visit it today. Today we call that entrance arch the Eiffel Tower. The tower is sometimes referred to in French “La Dame de Fer”, meaning “the Iron Lady”.

10 Creatures that have the densest fur of any mammal (up to 1 million hairs per square inch) : SEA OTTERS

Male and female otters are known as dogs and bitches, with the offspring called pups. Males and females are sometimes referred to as boars and sows. A collection of otters is a bevy, family, lodge or perhaps a romp. When in water, a collection of otters can be called a raft.

11 Hayes with three Grammys and an Oscar : ISAAC

Isaac Hayes was a soul singer and songwriter. Hayes wrote the score for the 1971 film “Shaft”, and the enduring “Theme from ‘Shaft’” won him an Academy Award in 1972.

12 “Lady Lazarus” poet Sylvia : PLATH

Sylvia Plath was a poet from Boston, Massachusetts who lived much of her life in the UK where she married fellow poet Ted Hughes. The couple had a tumultuous relationship, and Plath had a long battle with depression. Plath wrote just one novel, called “The Bell Jar”, which is semi-autobiographical. It describes the main character’s descent into mental illness. Plath herself lost her battle with depression in 1963, committing suicide at the age of 30 years, and just one month after “The Bell Jar” was published.

“Lady Lazarus” is a poem by writer Sylvia Plath that was first published in 1965, two years after her suicide. That said, Plath did recite an early version of the poem in 1962 in a recording made by the BBC.

25 R&B’s ___ Brothers : ISLEY

The Isley Brothers are an R&B group from Cincinnati, Ohio. The original lineup was a vocal trio consisting of three brothers: O’Kelly, Jr., Rudolph and Ronald Isley. The three brothers wrote the fabulous 1959 hit “Shout”, the song which brought the group its first success.

27 Big name in jeans : LEE

The Lee company that is famous for making jeans was formed in 1889 by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.

31 People person, perhaps : EXTROVERT

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung popularized the terms “Introvert” and “extrovert”, although he believed that we all have introverted and extroverted sides to us. Nowadays we tend to think of extroversion and introversion as extremes on a continuum. We bloggers, sitting at home glued to our laptops, tend to the introverted end of the scale …

32 Portuguese title with a tilde : SAO

In Portuguese, the word “são” can mean “saint”, as in São Paulo (Saint Paul) and São José (Saint Joseph). If the saint’s name starts with a letter H or with a vowel, then the word “santo” is used instead, as in Santo Agostinho (Saint Augustine) and Santo Antônio (Saint Anthony).

33 Cusps : EDGES

A cusp is a point, a pointed end of some structure. For example, the top of a cone is a cusp, as are the two pointed ends of a crescent.

36 Often-skipped parts of podcasts : ADS

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

40 Dashboard abbr. : RPM

Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hooves of the horses. Quite interesting …

43 “Essential” things : OILS

Essential oils are concentrated liquids containing volatile chemical compounds that have a smell or odor. The term “essential” oil comes from the fact that it contains the “essence” of a plant’s fragrance.

47 Babe or Wilbur, in film : PET PIG

The hit 1995 film “Babe” was produced and filmed in Australia. The movie is an adaptation of a 1983 novel called “The Sheep-Pig” written by Dick King-Smith. “Babe” was a smash hit at the box office and was extremely well received by the critics. The film was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but lost out to “Braveheart”. However, it did win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects by beating out “Apollo 13”, which was an amazing feat, I’d say…

“Charlotte’s Web” is a children’s novel by author E. B. White. Charlotte is a barn spider, who manages to save the life of a pig named Wilbur. Wilbur is a pet pig, owned by the farmer’s daughter, Fern Arable. The story also includes a gluttonous rat named Templeton who provides some light and comical moments.

48 Conceptual framework : SCHEMA

A schema is an outline or a model. The plural of “schema” is “schemata” and the adjectival form is “schematic”.

50 Aristotle, to Alexander the Great : TUTOR

Aristotle was actually a student of Plato in ancient Greece (and in turn, Plato was a student of Socrates). Aristotle’s most famous student was Alexander the Great.

51 Tony nominee Milo : O’SHEA

Milo O’Shea was a great Irish character actor from Dublin who has appeared in everything from “Romeo and Juliet” to “The West Wing”. O’Shea passed away in 2013, in New York City.

53 Host : EMCEE

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

55 Singer of the titular song in 2012’s “Skyfall” : ADELE

“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. Her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.

I have not been a fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond (preferring Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role). However, I saw “Skyfall” when it first came out and have been won over. “Skyfall” is one of the best Bond films so far, in my humble opinion. And, Adele’s rendition of the title song is an added plus …

60 Gives the thumbs-up : OKS

Back in the late 1830s, there were some slang abbreviations coined mainly in Boston. The craze called for two-letter abbreviations of deliberately misspelled phrases. For example “no use” became “KY” from “know yuse”, and “enough said” became “NC” from “‘nuff ced”. Fortunately (I say!), the practice was short-lived. But, one of those abbreviations persists to this day. “All correct” was misspelled to give “oll korrect”, abbreviated to “OK”.

63 “___ Last Bow” (Sherlock Holmes story) : HIS

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story titled “His Last Bow” features the author’s most famous character Sherlock Holmes. Published during WWI in 1917, “His Last Bow” might be referred to as a propaganda tool, written with the intent of boosting morale. It is an unusual Sherlock Holmes tale in that it is not a detective story, but rather deals with British and German spies.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Gets rid of, so to speak : OFFS
5 Parties with glowsticks : RAVES
10 Old-fashioned taste? : SIP
13 Menu at un café : CARTE
15 Amazon’s biz : E-TAIL
16 Subj. for some aspiring bilinguals : ESL
17 Clamoring for “The Bonfire of the Vanities”? : CRYING WOLFE
19 They can help you get out of a rut, for short : AAA
20 Business plan : AGENDA
21 One of 20 on the Titanic : LIFEBOAT
23 TV alien played by Robin Williams : MORK
24 Selling someone on “The Importance of Being Earnest”? : WILDE PITCH
26 Group with lodges : ELKS
28 Exam with logic questions, for short : LSAT
29 “Any other place besides here?” : WHERE ELSE?
34 Genesis creator : SEGA
37 Curse : HEX
38 Kindle, e.g. … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme? : E-READER
41 Hair color of about 2% of the world’s population : RED
42 Not fooled by : ONTO
44 They’re a bit of a stretch : YOGA POSES
46 Some jeans features : RIPS
49 Humorist Bombeck : ERMA
50 Spot to store “A Confederacy of Dunces”? : TOOLE CHEST
54 ___ Zor-El, real name of Supergirl : KARA
58 Battle with clearly defined sides : US VS THEM
59 “Now wait just a second!” : HOLD IT!
61 With 14-Down, what “Fin” might mean : THE …
62 Positive review of a Nancy Drew mystery? : PEACHY KEENE
64 “Jingle Bells” contraction : O’ER
65 Architect born in Guangzhou : IM PEI
66 A dance or a dip : SALSA
67 Narc (on) : RAT
68 Six of the first 10 elements on the periodic table : GASES
69 Units of poetry : FEET

Down

1 Philosopher with a “razor” : OCCAM
2 Crime drama set in the Midwest : FARGO
3 Fast-food fixture : FRYER
4 Rascal : STINKER
5 Counterpart of “FF” : REW
6 Bikini, e.g. : ATOLL
7 Sound : VALID
8 Towering figure of architecture? : EIFFEL
9 Is out : SLEEPS
10 Creatures that have the densest fur of any mammal (up to 1 million hairs per square inch) : SEA OTTERS
11 Hayes with three Grammys and an Oscar : ISAAC
12 “Lady Lazarus” poet Sylvia : PLATH
14 See 61-Across : … END
18 Onetime popular blog that covered Manhattan gossip : GAWKER
22 Predisposition : BIAS
25 R&B’s ___ Brothers : ISLEY
27 Big name in jeans : LEE
29 “___ goes there?” : WHO
30 Lay figure? : HEN
31 People person, perhaps : EXTROVERT
32 Portuguese title with a tilde : SAO
33 Cusps : EDGES
35 “My word!” : GEE!
36 Often-skipped parts of podcasts : ADS
39 Coarse : EARTHY
40 Dashboard abbr. : RPM
43 “Essential” things : OILS
45 Gold insignia of the armed forces : OAKLEAF
47 Babe or Wilbur, in film : PET PIG
48 Conceptual framework : SCHEMA
50 Aristotle, to Alexander the Great : TUTOR
51 Tony nominee Milo : O’SHEA
52 A host : HEAPS
53 Host : EMCEE
55 Singer of the titular song in 2012’s “Skyfall” : ADELE
56 Clear one’s plate, in a way : RINSE
57 Bothered terribly : ATE AT
60 Gives the thumbs-up : OKS
63 “___ Last Bow” (Sherlock Holmes story) : HIS

7 thoughts on “0714-21 NY Times Crossword 14 Jul 21, Wednesday”

  1. 16:29. Did this one outside around 9 PM and it was still 100 degrees out here. I’m just glad my laptop didn’t melt.

    Another of those words that is commonly misused. An EXTROVERT is someone who draws their energy from being around other people. An introvert is someone who draws their energy from being alone. One can be outgoing and still be an introvert, for example. It’s not as cut and dry as we tend to use them: ie simply outgoing means extrovert and reticent means introvert.

    Too much pedantry these last 2 days? Maybe I’ll go back to puns and tequila stories tomorrow…

    Best –

  2. Not so many posters lately. Wonder why.

    Fun puzzle today, notwithstanding getting hung up when my downs didn’t work with 44A, YOGAPANTS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.