0806-21 NY Times Crossword 6 Aug 21, Friday

Constructed by: Seth A. Abel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 10m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Fruit used to flavor the liqueur patxaran : SLOE

The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and the main flavoring ingredient in sloe gin. A sloe looks like a small plum, but is usually much more tart in taste.

5 Culture medium : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science, it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

9 Fertile soils : LOAMS

Loam is soil made up of sand, silt and clay in the ratio of about 40-40-20. Relative to other soil types, loam is usually rich in nutrients and moisture, drains well and is easy to till. Loam can also be used in constructing houses as it is quite strong when mixed with straw and dried.

14 Element next to iron on the periodic table : MANGANESE

Most of the manganese produced today is used in the steelmaking industry, as it is essential to the manufacture of low-cost stainless steel.

16 Trifling amount : OUNCE

Our term “ounce” comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a “libra”, the Roman “pound”. “Uncia” is also the derivation of our word “inch”, 1/12 of a foot.

20 “___ has poor memory”: Gabriel García Márquez : SHAME

Gabriel García Márquez was a novelist from Colombia who was also known by the nickname “Gabo”. Gabo won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

24 Fictional operator of the Discovery One spaceship : HAL

In Arthur C. Clarke’s “Space Odyssey” (famously adapted for the big screen as “2001: A Space Odyssey”) the computer system that went rogue was called HAL 9000, or simply “HAL”. HAL stands for “Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer”. Even though Clarke denied it, there’s a good argument that can be made that the acronym HAL is a veiled reference to IBM, the big player in the world of computing at the time of the novel’s publication (1968). The acronym HAL is just a one-letter shift from the initials “IBM”.

26 Psychoanalyst Fromm : ERICH

Erich Fromm was a German psychologist. Fromm studied extensively the work of Sigmund Freud, and became very critical of his theories. He was also noted for his political views, and had a socialist leaning. He spent some time in the US and was active in the Socialist Party of America in the fifties, when McCarthyism was running rampant.

27 Chap : FELLA

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

31 When repeated, name in 1968 news : SIRHAN

Robert F. Kennedy was the seventh child of Joe and Rose Kennedy. “Bobby” served as Attorney General in the administration of his elder brother, President John F. Kennedy. The younger Kennedy suffered the same fate as his brother, and died from an assassin’s bullet. He was shot in 1968 during his campaign for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency. He was assassinated by a young Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan, apparently in retaliation for supporting Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967.

32 Response from Siri : HERE’S WHAT I FOUND …

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

35 Charlotte ___, capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands : AMALIE

Charlotte Amalie is the capital and largest city in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The city was named after the queen consort of King Christian V of Denmark, Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel.

37 So-called “Father of the Italian Language” : DANTE

Dante Alighieri (usually just “Dante”) was an Italian poet of the Middle Ages. Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is widely considered to be the greatest literary work ever written in the Italian language. Dante actually gave his masterpiece the title “Comedy” (“Commedia” in Italian). Written in the early 1300s, none of Dante’s original “Comedy” manuscripts survive. Three copies made by author and poet Giovanni Boccaccio in the 1360s do survive. Boccaccio changed the title to “Divine Comedy” (“Divina Commedia”), and that title persists to this day.

39 Poster impostor? : BOT

A bot is a computer program designed to imitate human behavior. It might crawl around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses. It might also act as a competitor in a computer game.

42 Trig function : COS

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

43 Dice, for instance : CUBES

The numbers on dice are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. There are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so-called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting …

44 Source of ruin : BANE

Today, we tend to use the word “bane” to mean “anathema, a source of persistent annoyance”. A few centuries ago, a bane was a cause of harm or death, perhaps a deadly poison.

46 Foil alternative, in Fulham : SABRE

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”.

Before the foil was introduced as a sporting weapon, it was used as a blunted weapon for sword practice. It has been suggested that the sword was blunted by wrapping metal foil around the tip, hence the name.

47 Lisa of “A Different World” : BONET

Lisa Bonet is an actress best known for playing one of the daughters on the “The Cosby Show”. Bonet was married for a few years to the singer Lenny Kravitz, with whom she eloped in 1987. She changed her name to Lilakoi Moon in 1992, but still uses “Lisa Bonet” as her stage name.

“A Different World” is a spin-off sitcom from “The Cosby Show” that centers on the character Denise Huxtable who was played by Lisa Bonet. After the first season of the show, Debbie Allen (of television’s “Fame”) took over creative control. As a result, “A Different World” gained a reputation for dealing with difficult social issues such as date rape and racial discrimination in colleges.

52 Juice bar ingredient : ACAI BERRY

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

53 Fathers, abroad : PERES

In French, a “père” (father) is a “membre de la famille” (member of the family).

54 1970s-’80s sitcom station : WKRP

The sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” was produced by MTM, the production company established by Mary Tyler Moore and her husband for the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. “WKRP” was a successful enough show when it originally aired, but then became a blockbuster in syndication. It became MTM’s most-watched program, even outstripping the original “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”.

55 Sylvia of jazz : SYMS

Sylvia Syms was a jazz singer from New York. Frank Sinatra called Syms the “world’s greatest saloon singer”, and gave her the nickname “Buddha”. Syms actually died on stage, suffering a heart attack at the age of 74.

Down

2 Old Hollywood actress born in Austria-Hungary : LAMARR

Hedy Lamarr was an American actress who was actually born in Vienna in modern-day Austria. Not only was Lamarr a successful Hollywood performer, during WWII she was the co-inventor of a frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum method of transmitting radio signals that is still used to this day in wireless communication. Impressive …

4 “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” : EGADS!

Remember the catchphrase made famous by the cartoon character Snagglepuss, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”? Snagglepuss stole that line from a 1944 movie called “Meet the People” in which it was first uttered by none other than Bert Lahr, the actor who played the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz”.

5 Alex and ___ (jewelry chain) : ANI

The jewelry retailer Alex and Ani was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island. The founder Carolyn Rafaelian named her business for her two daughters: Alex and Ani.

6 Hits the jackpot, say : GETS RICH

The term “jackpot” dates back to the 1800s and comes from the game of poker. In some variants there are progressive antes. This means that players have to ante up, add to the “pot”, when no player has a pair of “jacks” or better. They build a “jackpot”.

23 Director Cameron : CROWE

Cameron Crowe was a contributing editor for “Rolling Stone” magazine before he moved into the world of film, becoming an actor, producer, director and screenwriter. Crowe wrote “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, and wrote and directed “Say Anything…” and the huge hit “Jerry Maguire”. He also wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical movie “Almost Famous”, which was released in 2000.

24 Judean king : HEROD

Herod Antipas was a ruler of Galilee and Perea in the 1st century CE. Even though he never held the title of “king”, he is referred to in the New Testament of the Christian Bible as “King Herod”. So, it was Herod Anitipas who was so instrumental in the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth.

26 Woman’s name that becomes a different woman’s name when its third and fourth letters are switched : ELSIE

Elsie can become Elise, by switching a couple of letters.

27 Marching band instruments : FIFES

A fife is a small flute that is often used in military and marching bands. The name “fife” comes from the German “Pfeife” meaning “pipe”.

30 Foes of the Romans : CELTS

The Celts are a very broad group of people across Europe who are linked by common languages. The original Celts were largely absorbed by other cultures, although a relatively modern revival of the “Celtic identity” is alive and well in Britain and Ireland. Such Celtic peoples today are mainly found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in France.

40 Feature of Herman on “The Simpsons” : ONE ARM

On the show “The Simpsons”, Herman Hermann is the proprietor of the store “Herman’s Military Antiques”. Herman is voiced by Harry Shearer, who tells us that he tries to imitate President George H. W. Bush when playing the character.

41 Moon of Saturn : TETHYS

Tethys is one of the moons of Saturn that was discovered by the astronomer Giovanni Cassini. Cassini discovered four moons that he called Sidera Lodoicea (the stars of Louis). It was the English astronomer John Herschel who renamed the moons of Saturn using the names of Titans of Greek mythology.

44 Stirrups, e.g. : BONES

The middle ear is the portion of the ear immediately behind the eardrum. The middle ear contains three small bones called the ossicles, the three smallest bones in the human body. The ossicles’ job is to transmit sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. The shape of the bones gives rise to their names: the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus) and stirrup (stapes).

45 Kerfuffle : FLAP

“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.

47 Lobster catcher? : BIB

The word “bib” comes from the Latin “bibere” meaning “to drink”, as does our word “imbibe”. So, maybe a bib is less about spilling the food, and more about soaking up the booze …

49 Just deserts : DUE

The phrase “just deserts” describes something which is deserved, and in today’s usage that can be something good or bad. The expression has been around a long time, and back in the 14th century it only applied to something bad. I guess the idea is that someone doing something unacceptable got his “just deserts”, the dry and barren expanses fitting to the deed. Over time, the pronunciation of “deserts” changed, with the emphasis on the second syllable, like our word “desserts”. The correct phrase is still spelled “just deserts”, but it is pronounced “just desserts”. As a result, many believe that the phrase is in fact spelled “just desserts”, meaning one is getting what one deserves, sweet endings to one’s meals, as it were. But no, one is getting a dry and arid expanse that sounds like something sweet to eat!

50 Currency of Laos : KIP

The kip has been the unit of currency in Laos since 1952. One kip is divided into 100 att.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fruit used to flavor the liqueur patxaran : SLOE
5 Culture medium : AGAR
9 Fertile soils : LOAMS
14 Element next to iron on the periodic table : MANGANESE
16 Trifling amount : OUNCE
17 Threat that’s hard to take seriously : I MEAN IT THIS TIME!
19 “Gracious!,” informally : LAWDY!
20 “___ has poor memory”: Gabriel García Márquez : SHAME
21 Lead-in to night or day : MID-
22 Things sometimes named after queens : ERAS
23 Invigorating : CRISP
24 Fictional operator of the Discovery One spaceship : HAL
25 Put on the line, say : DRY
26 Psychoanalyst Fromm : ERICH
27 Chap : FELLA
29 The end of time? : O’CLOCK
31 When repeated, name in 1968 news : SIRHAN
32 Response from Siri : HERE’S WHAT I FOUND …
35 Charlotte ___, capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands : AMALIE
36 Trifling amounts : SHREDS
37 So-called “Father of the Italian Language” : DANTE
38 Most highly prized collectible coins : RARES
39 Poster impostor? : BOT
42 Trig function : COS
43 Dice, for instance : CUBES
44 Source of ruin : BANE
45 Something you might throw in frustration : FIT
46 Foil alternative, in Fulham : SABRE
47 Lisa of “A Different World” : BONET
48 “Well, aren’t you so darn special!” : LAH-DI-FRICKIN’-DAH!
51 Completely bought : ATE UP
52 Juice bar ingredient : ACAI BERRY
53 Fathers, abroad : PERES
54 1970s-’80s sitcom station : WKRP
55 Sylvia of jazz : SYMS

Down

1 Got ready for a photo, say : SMILED
2 Old Hollywood actress born in Austria-Hungary : LAMARR
3 Title rock lyric before “I’m gonna find ya / I’m gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya” : ONE WAY OR ANOTHER
4 “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” : EGADS!
5 Alex and ___ (jewelry chain) : ANI
6 Hits the jackpot, say : GETS RICH
7 Exceedingly obtuse : AS THICK AS A BRICK
8 Go over : REHASH
9 With 10-Down, miss the boat : LOSE …
10 See 9-Down : … OUT
11 Branch of agriculture pertinent to dairy farmers and cattle ranchers : ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
12 Longtime N.B.A. head coach Nate : MCMILLAN
13 ___ money : SEED
15 Partner of all : ANY
18 Pain to a pediatrician? : IMP
23 Director Cameron : CROWE
24 Judean king : HEROD
26 Woman’s name that becomes a different woman’s name when its third and fourth letters are switched : ELSIE
27 Marching band instruments : FIFES
28 What “n” might mean : AND
30 Foes of the Romans : CELTS
31 Fathers : SIRES
32 “I was ___!” : HAD
33 Starve : EMACIATE
34 Like a large garage or small pileup : THREE-CAR
38 Badly chafe : RUB RAW
40 Feature of Herman on “The Simpsons” : ONE ARM
41 Moon of Saturn : TETHYS
43 Half-___ (latte order) : CAF
44 Stirrups, e.g. : BONES
45 Kerfuffle : FLAP
46 Tries, in a way : SIPS
47 Lobster catcher? : BIB
49 Just deserts : DUE
50 Currency of Laos : KIP

14 thoughts on “0806-21 NY Times Crossword 6 Aug 21, Friday”

  1. 6:55, blowing my previous Friday best out of the water. I enjoyed the fill and the cluing on this one, but it all fell right into place easily for me.

  2. 33:19. SLOE today. Actually I had the same time as Tom R if you don’t count the first 26 minutes I was working on it….

    As of this morning one can purchase 9561 Laotian KIPS for the price of $1 U.S. That would mean one Laotian att would be worth…..not much.

    LAH DI FRICKIN DAH and LAWDY need to be banned henceforth in all crosswords.

    Best –

  3. 18:01 after finding and fixing a silly error: some sort of mad neuron misfire caused me to use HAN instead of HAL for 24-Across and I neglected to check the crossing entry (in which, even though I’d never heard of a certain NBA head coach, one would think that MCMINLAN should have looked a bit … off). (Finding the glitch was further delayed by my staring at the “M” at the intersection of “SYMS” and “ONE ARM”, two entries unfamiliar to me.)

    And I’m okay with casting “LAH DI FRICKIN DAH” into the outer darkness (but, for the moment at least, I’ll reserve judgment about “LAWDY”) … 😜.

  4. 20:02 with one lookup to crack the SE corner where I was stymied because of the proper names in clues / answers. I knew Lisa BONET, but thought it was spelled BENET – my bad. It took a bit, but the long 15s seemed to fall into place moderately quickly. Guess I’ll have to study up more on the Simpsons (never watched it) and my moons of Saturn.

    Kudos to @Tom for a very quick solve.

  5. 30:40 Surprised nobody noted the two musical references, the obvious one of Blondie’s “One Way Or Another” but also Jethro Tull’s “Thick As A Brick”….I guess I’ll be voted off the island for liking “Lah Di Freakin Dah” Lawdy, what’s wrong with me….

  6. Well looks like I’m the odd duck.. messed up on 23A CRISP and 23D CROWE… I had BRISK and BROWE… I also had ICK for 18D thinking it was a kids pain, not the doctors..

    Good run for a friday for me.

  7. As one who curses more often than I should, I am still surprisingly dismayed at the increasingly common appearance of swear words or their euphemisms in these puzzles. Is nothing sacred? 🤔

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