0729-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Jul 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Trenton Charlson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Fill in the Blank

Themed answers require us to insert the word “FILL” IN THE BLANK space in the clue:

  • 48A Test format … or a hint to understanding three of this puzzle’s clues : FILL IN THE BLANK
  • 19A Land___ : DISPOSAL AREA (Landfill)
  • 22A ___more and more : PRESIDENTS (Fillmore and more)
  • 40A I___, for one : NEWSCASTER (Ifill, for one)

Bill’s time: 9m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Founding member of the U.N. Security Council : USSR

The United Nations Security Council has 15 members, 5 of whom are permanent and who have veto power over any resolution. The 10 non-permanent members are elected into place, and hold their seats for two years. The UN charter requires that authorized representatives of the member nations are always present at UN headquarters so that the Security Council can meet at any time. The permanent members are:

  • China
  • France
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

13 Native Rwandan : HUTU

The Hutu are the largest population in Rwanda, with the Tutsi being the second largest. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.

15 Misanthrope of Victorian literature : HYDE

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story, including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

Misanthropy is a dislike of humans in general. The term comes from the Greek “misos” meaning “hatred” and “anthropos” meaning “man, human being”.

16 Tesla, e.g. : SERB

Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia, but later moved to the US. Tesla’s work on mechanical and electrical engineering was crucial to the development of alternating current technology, the same technology that is used by equipment at the backbone of modern power generation and distribution systems.

17 Pop star Halliwell of the Spice Girls : GERI

Geri Halliwell was nicknamed Ginger Spice when she was with the Spice Girls, because of her red hair. Halliwell was quite a bit older than the rest of the group and so sometimes she was less charitably referred to as “Old Spice”. After launching her solo career, Halliwell released a fabulous 2001 version of the song “It’s Raining Men”, which was originally recorded by the Weather Girls in 1982. Great song …

22 ___more and more : PRESIDENTS (Fillmore and more)

Vice President Millard Fillmore took over the US Presidency when Zachary Taylor died after only 16 months in office. Fillmore was born in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, but grew up around Buffalo. He was one of the founders of the University of Buffalo and served as chancellor there after he left office in 1853. He was also the last Whig to occupy the White House, as the party broke up after Fillmore’s presidency.

24 Chinese artist and political activist Ai : WEIWEI

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist who has been vocal in his criticism of his country’s position on human rights and democracy. Wei Wei was an artistic consultant largely responsible for the look and feel of the Beijing National Stadium, commonly referred to as the “Bird’s Nest”, that was showcased during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

31 It fits in a lock : OAR

Oarlocks are swivelling braces on the sides of a rowing boat that hold the oars as the boat is being propelled. Back in Ireland, we call them “rowlocks” (pronounced “rollox”).

32 Big Four bank, for short : CITI

During the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the US government rescued Citibank by providing loan guarantees and two payments of $25 billion each. It turns out that the government made a tidy profit on that deal, as Citibank has since repaid the loans in full, along with interest.

36 God depicted in a figure called an “amoretto” : EROS

The name of Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic” meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both “Amor” (meaning “love”) and “Cupid” (meaning “desire”).

An “amoretto” is a cupid, one often represented in artwork as a little chubby naked boy.

40 I___, for one : NEWSCASTER (Ifill, for one)

Gwen Ifill was a television journalist who was regularly seen on PBS’s “Newshour”. Ifill was also the moderator on the weekly PBS show “Washington Week”, and was also selected to moderate the US Vice Presidential debates in 2004 and 2008.

43 NATO alphabet letter in “NATO” : OSCAR

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

53 Thurman of “Gattaca” : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s moll Mia in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from acting from 1998 until 2002 following the birth of her first child. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

“Gattaca” is a science fiction movie starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman that was released in 1997. Set in the not-too-distant future, the film describes a society in which potential children are preselected so that they inherit the most desirable traits from their parents. The title “Gattaca” is the space agency featured in the storyline. I saw this one relatively recently, and found it very absorbing …

54 Soap opera, e.g. : SERIAL

The original soap operas were radio dramas back in the fifties. Given the structure of society back then, the daytime broadcasts were aimed at women working in the home as housewives. For some reason the sponsors of those radio shows, and the television shows that followed, were soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. And that’s how the “soap” opera got its name …

55 Point of a dancer who’s en pointe : TOE

“En pointe” is a French term used to describe ballet dancing on the tips of the toes. A ballerina wears pointe shoes (sometimes “toe shoes”) to perform this delightful-looking, albeit unhealthy, feat (pun!).

57 Hurricane-level winds, on the Beaufort scale : TWELVE

The Beaufort wind scale is named after Irishman Sir Francis Beaufort, a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy. Beaufort was a hydrographer as well as a career navy man.

59 U.S. Navy O-1: Abbr. : ENS

Ensign is (usually) the most junior rank of commissioned officer in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

Down

5 Some bouncers use them : POGO STICKS

What we know today as a pogo stick was invented in Germany by Max Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall. The name “pogo” comes from the first two letters in each of the inventors’ family names: Po-hlig and Go-ttschall.

6 Garment that typically has snaps : ONESIE

A onesie is a baby’s one-piece bodysuit, and is a common gift at a baby shower.

7 Valuable violins, for short : STRADS

Generations of the Stradivari family produced violins and other stringed instruments, the most famous of which were constructed by Antonio Stradivari.

9 School attended by Warren Buffett : WHARTON

Wharton is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. The school was established in 1881 largely due to a donation from industrialist Joseph Wharton, co-founder of Bethlehem Steel.

Warren Buffett is often referred to with the nicknames “Wizard of Omaha” and “Oracle of Omaha”. Despite being one of the wealthiest men in the world, Buffet lives a relatively frugal and modest life. Buffett also has a very Jeffersonian attitude towards the role his wealth plays within his family. He has set up his estate so that his children will inherit enough money to be independent, but the vast majority of his assets are going to charity, both before and after he dies. My hero …

12 What the verb ending “-ise” isn’t spelled with : ZED

The letter zed has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation “zee”, used in America today, first popped up in the 1670s. The spelling and pronunciation “zed” is still used in Britain and Ireland.

20 Red Rose : PETE

Pete Rose was a talented baseball player who holds the record for all-time Major League hits. Rose’s nickname was “Charlie Hustle”. In recent years, his reputation has been tarnished by admissions that he bet on games in which he played and managed.

25 Aid in balance : EAR

The inner ear is primarily responsible for detecting sound and maintaining balance. It comprises two main parts. The cochlea is the sensory organ of hearing, and the vestibular system coordinates movement with balance.

33 Alternative to L.L.C. : INC

A company that has incorporated uses the abbreviation “Inc.” after its name. By incorporating, a company forms a corporation, which is a legal entity that has legal rights similar to those of an individual. For example, a corporation can sue another corporation or individual. However, a corporation does not have all the rights of citizens. A corporation does not have the Fifth Amendment right of protections against self-incrimination, for example. It is perhaps understandable that the concept of “corporations as persons” is a frequent subject for debate.

A limited liability company (LLC) has a structure that limits the liability of the owner or owners. It is a hybrid structure in the sense that it can be taxed as would an individual or partnership, while also maintaining the liability protection afforded to a corporation.

39 With 44-Down, only playwright to have a New York City theater named after him while still alive : NEIL …
44D See 39-Down : … SIMON

Neil Simon was one of my favorite playwrights. He wrote over thirty plays and about thirty screenplays. My favorite play penned by Simon has to be “Brighton Beach Memoirs”, but the list of his great stage works seems endless and includes “Barefoot in the Park”, “The Odd Couple”, “Sweet Charity”, “Plaza Suite”, “California Suite”, “Biloxi Blues” and “The Goodbye Girl”.

42 On hold : TABLED

These “tabling” and “shelving” idioms drive me crazy, because they are often misused. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” and put “on the table” for discussion. I know that language evolves, but I think that it should at least make sense …

46 Mushroom eaten with udon : ENOKI

Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

47 Olympics event whose participants shoot for the gold : SKEET

There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:

  • Skeet shooting
  • Trap shooting
  • Sporting clays

49 Pond dweller that can regenerate its eyes : NEWT

Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.

50 Unlikely trick taker : TREY

A trey is a three in a deck of cards. The term “trey” can also be used for a domino with three pips, and even for a three-point play in basketball.

51 One of a Roman septet : HILL

Supposedly, there were seven separate settlements on the top of seven hills east of the River Tiber, prior to the founding of the city of Rome. Tradition dictates that Romulus founded Rome on one of these hills, namely Palatine Hill, and the city came to encompass all seven existing settlements. The most famous hill in modern-day Rome is probably Vatican Hill, but it lies outside of the walled ancient city.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Founding member of the U.N. Security Council : USSR
5 Station : POST
9 Fly (by) : WHIZ
13 Native Rwandan : HUTU
14 Follower of “catch” or “latch” : … ONTO
15 Misanthrope of Victorian literature : HYDE
16 Tesla, e.g. : SERB
17 Pop star Halliwell of the Spice Girls : GERI
18 Made an impression? : APED
19 Land___ : DISPOSAL AREA (Landfill)
22 ___more and more : PRESIDENTS (Fillmore and more)
23 Vouch for : ATTEST TO
24 Chinese artist and political activist Ai : WEIWEI
27 Let : RENTED
31 It fits in a lock : OAR
32 Big Four bank, for short : CITI
35 Accented approval : OLE!
36 God depicted in a figure called an “amoretto” : EROS
38 Where bursitis may appear : KNEE
39 “Asleep” : NUMB
40 I___, for one : NEWSCASTER (Ifill, for one)
43 NATO alphabet letter in “NATO” : OSCAR
45 Deputies : AIDES
48 Test format … or a hint to understanding three of this puzzle’s clues : FILL IN THE BLANK
53 Thurman of “Gattaca” : UMA
54 Soap opera, e.g. : SERIAL
55 Point of a dancer who’s en pointe : TOE
56 Turf : SOD
57 Hurricane-level winds, on the Beaufort scale : TWELVE
58 Barely manage, with “out” : EKE …
59 U.S. Navy O-1: Abbr. : ENS
60 Like hair at salons : STYLED
61 “Make yourself comfortable” : SIT

Down

1 Stumbling syllables : UHS
2 Wouldn’t settle, say : SUED
3 Word with bacon or rumble : … STRIP
4 Chafes : RUBS RAW
5 Some bouncers use them : POGO STICKS
6 Garment that typically has snaps : ONESIE
7 Valuable violins, for short : STRADS
8 Items in a travel kit : TOILETRIES
9 School attended by Warren Buffett : WHARTON
10 Plugs : HYPES
11 Gist : IDEA
12 What the verb ending “-ise” isn’t spelled with : ZED
20 Red Rose : PETE
21 Prefix with penultimate : ANTE-
24 Grief : WOE
25 Aid in balance : EAR
26 Civil War ships : IRONCLADS
28 Important info for concertgoers : TOUR DATES
29 Bow-making choice : ELM
30 Haaland who became secretary of the interior in 2021 : DEB
33 Alternative to L.L.C. : INC
34 Matcha, e.g. : TEA
37 Indicator of approval : SEAL
39 With 44-Down, only playwright to have a New York City theater named after him while still alive : NEIL …
41 Spots to keep watch? : WRISTS
42 On hold : TABLED
43 Practicable : OF USE
44 See 39-Down : … SIMON
46 Mushroom eaten with udon : ENOKI
47 Olympics event whose participants shoot for the gold : SKEET
49 Pond dweller that can regenerate its eyes : NEWT
50 Unlikely trick taker : TREY
51 One of a Roman septet : HILL
52 Roof part : EAVE

8 thoughts on “0729-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Jul 21, Thursday”

  1. Okay, so I did this one last night in a bit of a fog after a third day of hiking nine miles around a local lake and my evil iPad caused me to fat-finger in SIMOM instead of SIMON, so my final time (after fixing that) was 10:32. I then meant to figure out the theme, but all I really wanted to do was close my eyes and go to sleep, so … I did. So there! … 😜

    (In the last two weeks, I’ve done 72 miles around that lake and I’ve carried out 30 or 40 pounds of trash left along a portion of its shoreline where fishing is illegal. To my delight, this appears to have had the effect of making the lawbreakers paranoid enough to begin cleaning up after themselves. OCD has its useful aspects! … 😜)

  2. 13:46 Did got understand the theme until reading the Wordplay article. Struggled with 29D and 30D because I had OUI for 35A until the very end.

  3. 17:19 with no errors, but I never figured out the theme. Got all the answers with a combination of crosses and used my lizard brain to FILLINTHEBLANKs.

  4. 26:49, your times are all safe for yet another day! But hey, I got the theme for once(I liked “____more and more”). Had never heard of Ifill, so the downs helped there.

    Props to Nonny for keeping in shape and cleaning up! You’re what zi want to be when I grow up!

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