0723-21 NY Times Crossword 23 Jul 21, Friday

Constructed by: Michael Hawkins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 11m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Iota : SHRED

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

15 Country without an official army, navy or air force : COSTA RICA

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is remarkable in my opinion, a leader on the world stage in many areas. It has been referred to as the “greenest” country in the world, the “happiest” country in the world, and has a highly educated populace. In 1949, the country unilaterally abolished its own army … permanently!

18 G.I. pal of Forrest Gump : LT DAN

Actor Gary Sinise was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing Lieutenant Dan Taylor in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump”. Sinise then played the lead in television’s “CSI: NY” starting in 2004. Sinise was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bush for his work helping Iraqi school children as well as his work with the USO.

22 “Guarding ___” (1994 Shirley MacLaine movie) : TESS

“Guarding Tess” is a fun film starring Shirley MacLaine and Nicolas Cage. MacLaine plays a former First Lady with a Secret Service detail headed up by Nicolas Cage. Tess is a difficult person to work with, and so hilarity ensues …

Actress Shirley MacLaine was born Shirley MacLean Beaty in Richmond, Virginia in 1934. Perhaps in an unknown nod to her future, she was named for child actress Shirley Temple. MacLaine’s younger brother is actor Warren Beatty, who also changed the spelling of his name for his acting career.

30 Scrip specs : MEDS

When used in a medical context, “scrip” is an abbreviation for “prescription”.

34 1994 Olympics locale: Abbr. : NOR

Lillehammer, Norway hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1994. The ‘94 Winter Games were the first to be held two years after the Summer Olympics, and so took place only two years after the ‘92 Games, held in Albertville, France.

38 Company division : PLATOON

In military terms, a platoon is a subdivision of a company-sized unit, and is usually divided into squads or sections. The term “platoon” arose in the 1630s from the French “peloton”. “Peloton” translates literally as “little ball”, and is used to this day to mean “agglomeration”. “Peloton” gives rise to our word “pellet”. Also, we use the Modern French “peloton” in English now to refer to the main body (agglomeration) of riders in a bicycle race.

40 Like some parking and poetry : METERED

An early patent for a parking meter, dated 1928, was for a device that required the driver of the parked car to connect the battery of his or her car to the meter in order for it to operate!

41 Tasmania’s capital : HOBART

Hobart is the capital of Australia’s island state of Tasmania. Hobart was founded by the British in 1804 as a penal colony. The colony was named for the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies at the time, Lord Hobart.

49 Diciembre : doce :: enero : ___ : UNO

In Spanish, “el año” (the year) starts in “enero” (January) and ends in “diciembre” (December).

50 Shiny balloon material : MYLAR

Mylar is a brand of polyester film with many uses, one of which is to make reflective surfaces. Mylar can be used to make reflective solar sails, which are a fascinating form of spacecraft propulsion. Believe it or not, reflecting photons of light each provide a small amount of thrust, and enough of them can propel an object in the vacuum of space.

54 Winter Olympics maneuver : AXEL

An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.

55 Certain bank job : REPO

Repossession (repo)

57 Relative of mauve : LILAC

The ornamental flowering plant known as lilac is native to the Balkans, and is a member of the olive family.

The name given to the light violet color that we know as “mauve” comes via French from the Latin “malva”. The Latin term translates as “mallow”, the common name of several species of plants, many of which have mauve-colored flowers.

59 Queen’s “We Are the Champions” vis-à-vis “We Will Rock You” : SIDE-A

“We Are the Champions” is a wonderful rock anthem written by Freddie Mercury and recorded by Queen in 1977. According to some scientific researchers in 2011, “We Are the Champions” is the catchiest song in the history of pop music.

65 Broadway character who sings “The Rumor” : YENTE

The enduring musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on a collection of stories by Sholem Aleichem about Tevye, a milkman living in Tsarist Russia. The musical version of the tales first opened on Broadway in 1964. “Fiddler on the Roof” had such a long run that it became the first musical to reach 3,000 performances.

Down

1 Looped in, in a way : CC’ED

I wonder if the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle? A kind blog reader pointed out to me a while back that the abbreviation has evolved and taken on the meaning “courtesy copy” in our modern world.

6 “I shall see thee, ___ I die, look pale with love”: “Much Ado About Nothing” : ERE

“Much Ado About Nothing” is a play by William Shakespeare, and a favorite of mine. It is a comedic tale of two pairs of lovers with lots of mistaken identities and double meanings. I once saw it performed in the fabulous Globe Theatre in London … by an all-female cast. Such a performance was somewhat ironic, given that in Shakespeare’s day the practice was to use an all-male cast.

9 Landing place : TARMAC

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call “tarmac”.

10 Letters that can fill in the blanks of “_A_D_ER” to make an appropriate surname : SNL

Adam Sandler’s big break came with “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). He then went on to make several successful movies and now Sandler has his own movie and television production company. Personally, I am not a fan …

14 Junglelike : DENSE

Strictly speaking, the terms “rainforest” and “jungle” are related, but different. A healthy rainforest has a thick canopy of leaves so that the ground below is relatively clear of vegetation due to a lack of sunlight. When the canopy thins, the increase in sunlight promotes growth of tangled vegetation at ground level producing the habitat that we refer to as “jungle”.

24 Maze runner : MINOTAUR

Minos was the King of Crete in Greek mythology, and the son of Zeus and Europa. Minos had an elaborate labyrinth built under the island that was designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus (who famously died trying to escape from the island by “flying” away). In the labyrinth, King Minos kept the Minotaur, a dreadful creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man.

30 Dashboard abbr. : MPH

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 …

31 “Do Ya” band, informally : ELO

“Do Ya” is a song written by Jeff Lynne. Lynne first recorded “Do Ya” in 1972 with his band the Move. The Move gradually “moved” in a new artistic direction and rebranded themselves as the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). ELO recorded a hit version of “Do Ya” in 1976.

33 Enterprise group : STARFLEET

In the “Star Trek” universe, Starfleet is a military service maintained by the United Federation of Planets. Famously, Starfleet is also tasked with deep-space exploration, “to boldly go where no man has gone before …”

The USS Enterprise is a starship in the “Star Trek” universe (pun!). There have been several generations of starships with the name Enterprise, starting with the vessel numbered NCC-1701, which appeared in the original TV series. My favorite “Star Trek” series is “Next Generation”, which features USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

36 Kylo of “Star Wars” : REN

Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa in the “Star Wars” universe. The character’s birth name was Ben Solo. He was trained as a Jedi knight by his uncle, Luke Skywalker. However, Ben came to embrace the Dark Side, and changed his name to Kylo Ren. Ren is played by actor Adam Driver.

37 Sixers in pro sports, for short? : TDS

Touchdown (TD)

39 Elementium or obsidium, in World of Warcraft : ORE

World of Warcraft is an online role-playing game (RPG). My son informs me that the game is not that great. Like I would know …

42 Oversize letter at the beginning of a chapter : DROP CAP

An oversized letter at the start of a book, chapter or paragraph is known as an “initial”. When the large initial is lowered into the paragraph that it leads, it is called a “drop cap”.

53 Tears down : RAZES

To raze (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “raise”, a homophone of “raze”, means “build up”.

60 = : ARE

The equals sign (=) was the 1557 creation of a Welsh physician and mathematician Robert Recorde. Recorde proposed the use of two parallel lines to indicate equality “because no 2 things can be more equal.”

62 Time for a countdown: Abbr. : NYE

New Year’s Eve (NYE)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Did a bang-up job : CRUSHED IT
10 Iota : SHRED
15 Country without an official army, navy or air force : COSTA RICA
16 Counterpart of “blanche” : NOIRE
17 Revelation : EYE-OPENER
18 G.I. pal of Forrest Gump : LT DAN
19 Plug, say : DAM UP
20 Big name in slip-on shoes : TOMS
22 “Guarding ___” (1994 Shirley MacLaine movie) : TESS
23 “Sure, they can go right ahead” : LET ‘EM
25 Tank : VAT
26 Crystal gazer’s lead-in : I SEE …
27 Props to a proofreader : NICE CATCH
30 Scrip specs : MEDS
34 1994 Olympics locale: Abbr. : NOR
35 Amusement park ride, perhaps : GO-KART
38 Company division : PLATOON
40 Like some parking and poetry : METERED
41 Tasmania’s capital : HOBART
42 Free add-on? : -DOM
43 TNT, in poker slang : TENS
44 Spot of coffee? : BREAK ROOM
47 Lead-in to service or sacrifice : SELF-
49 Diciembre : doce :: enero : ___ : UNO
50 Shiny balloon material : MYLAR
54 Winter Olympics maneuver : AXEL
55 Certain bank job : REPO
57 Relative of mauve : LILAC
59 Queen’s “We Are the Champions” vis-à-vis “We Will Rock You” : SIDE-A
61 Cut back : ECONOMIZE
63 More calculating : SLIER
64 Attraction at a water park : LAZY RIVER
65 Broadway character who sings “The Rumor” : YENTE
66 One way to gauge how well connected you are : SPEED TEST

Down

1 Looped in, in a way : CC’ED
2 Kind of treatment : ROYAL
3 Classic hit that begins “My friends feel it’s their appointed duty …” : USE ME
4 Solid : STOUT
5 Go down : HAPPEN
6 “I shall see thee, ___ I die, look pale with love”: “Much Ado About Nothing” : ERE
7 Force : DINT
8 Become slick, in a way : ICE OVER
9 Landing place : TARMAC
10 Letters that can fill in the blanks of “_A_D_ER” to make an appropriate surname : SNL
11 Elusive thing for a popular show : HOT TICKET
12 Pool service? : RIDESHARE
13 Rub out : ERASE
14 Junglelike : DENSE
21 One who knows the drama of raising children? : STAGE MOM
24 Maze runner : MINOTAUR
28 Swindle : CON
29 Ankle-biter : TOT
30 Dashboard abbr. : MPH
31 “Do Ya” band, informally : ELO
32 Experimented with : DABBLED IN
33 Enterprise group : STARFLEET
36 Kylo of “Star Wars” : REN
37 Sixers in pro sports, for short? : TDS
39 Elementium or obsidium, in World of Warcraft : ORE
40 Low sound : MOO
42 Oversize letter at the beginning of a chapter : DROP CAP
45 Initiates a proposal, maybe : KNEELS
46 “Good heavens!” : MY LORD!
47 Fresh : SASSY
48 Once you’re forced into this, there’s no going back : EXILE
51 Stopping point : LIMIT
52 Still in it : ALIVE
53 Tears down : RAZES
56 Sluggish flow : OOZE
58 Official document, informally : CERT
60 = : ARE
62 Time for a countdown: Abbr. : NYE

11 thoughts on “0723-21 NY Times Crossword 23 Jul 21, Friday”

  1. 25:23. Really struggled to get a foothold anywhere with this one. Once I did, as usual, the rest fell pretty quickly. My first entries were GOKART and I SEE. I normally start in the NW, but I just drew blanks there to start.

    Best –

  2. 26:36 So far I’m the laggard. the NW corner really got me. And q number of miscues: RPM vs. MPH; DINOSAUR vs. MINOTAUR – I had O_AUR and naturally I thought that dinosaurs came back from the dead at night and created drop circles and corn mazes, then disappear like Sasquatch and Bigfoot; for 18A I had BUBBA vs. LT DAN, thinking that a G.I. was an enlisted guy, not an officer; SEATAC (Seattle’s main airport) vs. TARMAC; etc.

    And then it took forever to get any traction in the NW.

  3. Quick run for a friday.. what is a DINT?

    Messed up on 60D. Had BRA.. thought for sure 59A was SIDE B and 65A was a YENTA.. but obviously not the right character name. I wondered how a BRA could be an equal sign??

  4. Too many obscure items for my taste. I particularly disliked the solution for iota (shred). Other obscure items are Guarding Tess a 1994 movie that grossed only $31M and Bill Withers 1972 song Use Me hardly a “classic”.

  5. 19:51, 2 errors: CR(A)SHED IT; (A)SEME. Happy to finish this at all. I also ran into the same RPM/MPH, BUBBA/LT. DAN and SEATAC/TARMAC dilemmas as Ron F.

  6. Long review and a slow start before I picked up speed. No errors and I’m ready for tomorrow. Still can’t get over RETEE from Wednesday.

  7. @Anon Dave: Use Me is most definitely a classic with me! I got Costa Rica like a shot because of Bill’s discussion when that was an answer not long ago. So the NW was not a big problem. I really liked this puzzle. Looking for more from Mr. Hawkins!

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