0811-21 NY Times Crossword 11 Aug 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Joe DiPietro
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) A Stolid Puzzle

Themed answers are expressions meaning “stolid, poker-faced”. We also have some grid art, with the black squares defining a “poker face”:

  • 19A Zoned out : STARED INTO SPACE
  • 38A Seemed confused, maybe : HAD A BLANK LOOK
  • 49A Appeared poker-faced : SHOWED NO EMOTION

Bill’s time: 10m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 ___ Khan (Muslim title) : AGA

“Aga Khan” is a hereditary title of the Imam of a large sect within the Shi’a Muslim faith known as the Nizari Ismailis. The current Aga Khan is Shah Karim al-Hussayni, who has held the position since 1957.

8 “Malternative” beverage : ALCOPOP

Alcopops are flavored alcoholic drinks, with the term being a portmanteau of “alcohol” and “pop”. Examples are Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Breezer, and Jack Daniel’s Hard Cola.

15 It’s mostly nitrogen on Earth, but carbon dioxide on Mars : AIR

Air is mainly composed of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%) and argon (1%). We hear a lot about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It makes up (or should make up!) about 0.04%, but that’s an important 0.04%.

17 With 8-Down, light blue Monopoly property : VERMONT
(8D See 17-Across: Abbr. : … AVE)

Oriental Avenue, Connecticut Avenue and Vermont Avenue are examples of properties in the US version of the game of Monopoly. The street names in the US version of Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.

18 Jan. honoree : MLK

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a US Federal holiday taking place on the third Monday of each year. It celebrates the birthday of Dr. King, and was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983, and first observed in 1986. However, some states resisted naming the holiday MLK Day, and gave it alternative names (like “Civil Rights Day”). It was officially celebrated as MLK Day in all 50 states from the year 2000 onwards.

22 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s alma mater : UCLA

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s name at birth was Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor. Alcindor changed his name when he converted to Islam.

23 “Mamma ___!” : MIA

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

24 Footnote abbr. : IBID

Ibid. is short for the Latin word “ibidem” and is typically found in footnotes and bibliographies. Ibid. is used to refer the reader to the prior citation, instead of giving the same information all over again (title, author etc.).

28 iPad Pro, for one : TABLET

The iPad Pro tablet computer, when it was released in November 2015, featured a larger screen than all prior iPad models. The iPad Pro also came with some interesting accessories, including an attachable keyboard and the Apple Pencil.

32 1996 double-platinum Beck album : ODELAY

“Beck” is the stage name of Bek David Campbell, an American alternative rock musician.

33 Regulator mechanism, for short : SERVO

A servomechanism (also “servo”) is a control system in which usually a hydraulic or pneumatic arm or plunger is actuated by a low-energy signal received from a sensor. An example is the device operating the cruise control on a car. The servo pushes the gas pedal to accelerate and lets off to slow down. The signal to the servo comes from the speedometer.

35 N.B.A. great with five championship rings as a player and three as a head coach : STEVE KERR

Steve Kerr is a retired NBA basketball player who moved into team management. Kerr was born in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of an American academic who specialized in Middle East studies. Kerr’s father was assassinated by militant nationalists in Beirut when Steve was 19 years old.

47 Provider of a canyon trail ride : BURRO

Our word “burro”, meaning “donkey”, comes from the Spanish word for the same animal, namely “burrico”.

56 Brand with the record for a single car driven the most miles (3+ million and counting) : VOLVO

Volvo is a Swedish manufacturer of cars, trucks and construction equipment. The Volvo name was chosen as “volvo” is Latin for “I roll”.

59 “Adorkable” one, maybe : DWEEB

“Dweeb” is relatively recent American slang that came out of college life in the late sixties. Dweeb, squarepants, nerd; they’re all not-nice terms that mean the same thing, i.e. someone excessively studious and socially inept.

I consider “dork” and “adorkable” to be pretty offensive slang. “Dork” originated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.

60 20,310 ft., for Denali : ELEV

Denali’s summit stands at 20,310 feet, making it the highest mountain peak in North America. Denali means “the high one” in the native Athabaskan language. The peak was known as Mount McKinley for many years, named in 1896 for future president William McKinley. The state of Alaska changed the name back to Denali in 1975, and the federal government followed suit in 2015.

Down

1 Taiwan Strait’s ___ Islands : MATSU

The Matsu Islands lie in the Taiwan Strait just off the coast of mainland China. The archipelago is named for Mazu, a goddess who is said to protect seafarers.

2 “Roger that” : I GOTCHA

The term “roger”, meaning “yes” or “acknowledged”, comes from the world of radiotelephony. The British military used a phonetic alphabet in the fifties that included “Roger” to represent the letter “R”. As such, it became customary to say “Roger” when acknowledging a message, with R (Roger) standing for “received”.

4 One whose porridge was too cold for Goldilocks : MAMA BEAR

The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was first recorded in 1837 in England, although the narrative was around before it was actually written down. The original fairy tale was rather gruesome, but successive versions became more family-oriented. The character that eventually became Goldilocks was originally an elderly woman, and the three “nameless” bears became Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

5 Pennsylvania petroleum center, once : OIL CITY

Pennsylvania’s Oil City was once a settlement known as Oil Creek Furnace. That settlement grew up around an iron foundry erected in 1824. The area’s fortunes originally depended on local iron deposits, but that started to change in 1859 with the drilling of the first successful oil well. Soon after, in 1862, the name “Oil City” was adopted. The city was destined to become the headquarters of several motor oil companies, including Pennzoil and Quaker State.

10 1981’s “Gorky Park” or 2012’s “Gone Girl” : CRIME NOVEL

Gorky Park is an amusement park notably in Moscow, but also in several other Russian cities. The park is named for Maxim Gorky, a Russian author. Famously, the park was featured in the novel and film called “Gorky Park”.

“Gone Girl” is a thriller novel written by Gillian Flynn that was first published in 2012. The story tells of a man whose wife has disappeared, with the reader not being certain if the husband is involved in the disappearance. The book was adapted into a movie of the same name released in 2014, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

11 Luxury hotel chain : OMNI

Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico.

13 Musician Yoko : ONO

John Lennon and Yoko Ono married at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969. The couple decided to use the inevitable publicity surrounding their wedding and honeymoon to promote peace in the world. They honeymooned in the Presidential Suite of the Amsterdam Hilton, inviting the world’s press to join them and to witness their “bed-in”. They spent the week talking about peace, and an end to war. The marriage and bed-in is chronicled by the Beatles in their song “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. A few weeks after the marriage, Lennon adopted the middle name “Ono” by deed poll.

20 Name of 11 pharaohs : RAMSES

Ramesses (also “Ramses”) was the name taken by eleven of the Egyptian pharaohs. “Ramesses” translates as “Born of the sun-god Ra”.

26 Muppet with a unibrow : BERT

The muppet character named Bert usually plays the straight man to his partner character Ernie. Bert has a unibrow, while Ernie has no brows at all.

29 Magazine highlighting Clio winners : ADWEEK

“Adweek” is a weekly trade magazine serving the advertising industry. It is the second-biggest seller in the sector, behind “Advertising Age”.

The Clio Awards are the Oscars of the advertising world and are named after Clio, the Greek Muse of History. Clio was also the recorder of great deeds, the proclaimer and celebrator of great accomplishments and a source of inspiration and genius. The Clio Awards were first presented in 1959.

30 It’s been known to chase Wild Turkeys : BEER

Wild Turkey is a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that has been distilled in and around Lawrenceburg, Kentucky since 1869. Wild Turkey’s Master Distiller is Jimmy Russell, who is now the longest-serving master distiller in the whole world.

36 Letter before theta : ETA

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

38 Pair of cymbals in a drum kit : HI-HAT

In a drum kit, a hi-hat is a pairing of cymbals that sits on a stand and is played by using a foot pedal. The top cymbal is raised and lowered by the foot, hence creating a crashing sound.

39 Ancient marketplace : AGORA

In early Greece, an agora was a place of assembly. The assemblies held there were often quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a marketplace. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

40 Loser to Truman in 1948 : DEWEY

As well as being three-term governor of New York, Thomas E. Dewey twice ran as Republican candidate for president. He was defeated in both races, in 1944 and 1948. In 1944, Dewey lost to incumbent President Roosevelt, and in 1948 he lost to incumbent President Truman. “The Chicago Tribune” called the latter incorrectly and ran that famous headline “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”. Dewey didn’t run for president in 1952 but did help General Eisenhower get the nomination, and ultimately secure the White House. If you drive along the New York State Thruway, you’ll see Dewey’s name a lot, as the highway is named in his honor.

42 Certain Wall Street takeover, in brief : LBO

A leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction in which an investor acquires a controlling volume of stock in a company, but buys that stock with borrowed funds (hence “leveraged”). Often the assets of the acquired company are used as collateral for the borrowed money. There is a special form of LBO known as a management buyout (MBO) in which the company’s own management team purchases the controlling interest.

43 Highly unconventional : OUTRE

The word “outré”, meaning “unconventional, bizarre”, comes to us from French, as one might imagine. It is derived from the verb “outrer” meaning “to overdo, exaggerate”. “Outrer” is also the ultimate root of our word “outrage”.

44 Large bay window : ORIEL

An oriel window is a bay window that projects from a wall, but does not reach all the way to the ground.

45 Danish coin : KRONE

“Krone” translates into English as “crown”, and was the name given to coins that bore the image of the monarch in several countries. Today, the krone is the name given to the currency of Norway, and of Denmark. Some of the Norwegian and Danish kroner have holes in the middle, giving them a “doughnut” or “torus” shape.

46 Bakers’ amts. : TSPS

For the purpose of cooking and dosing medicines, a teaspoon (tsp.) is 5 mL and a tablespoon (tbsp.) is 15 mL.

50 Blu-ray forerunner : DVD

The abbreviation “DVD” doesn’t actually stand for anything these days, although it was originally short for “digital video disk”. The use of the word “video” was dropped as DVDs started to be used for storing a lot more than video. As a result, some folks assign the phrase “digital versatile disk” to “DVD”.

A CD player reads the information on the disc using a laser beam. The beam is produced by what’s called a laser diode, a device similar to a light-emitting diode (LED) except that a laser beam is emitted. That laser beam is usually red in CD and DVD players. Blu-ray players are so called as they use blue lasers.

52 World Cup cheer : OLE!

The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the sport of soccer. The competition has been held every four years (excluding the WWII years) since the inaugural event held in Uruguay in 1930. The men’s World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, even outranking the Olympic Games. And, the women’s World Cup is fast catching up …

53 “Killing ___” (Sandra Oh series) : EVE

“Killing Eve” is a spy thriller series about an MI5 agent on the trail of a female assassin. The agent is played by Canadian actress Sandra Oh, and the assassin by English actress Jodie Comer. The storyline comes from a series of novellas titled “Codename Villanelle” by British author Luke Jennings.

Canadian actress Sandra Oh is very much associated with the role of Dr. Cristina Yang on “Grey’s Anatomy”, and more recently with the role of Eve Polastri on “Killing Eve” . However, my favorite of Oh’s performances are in the movies “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Sideways”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Prefix with day or night : MID-
4 “You can’t possibly mean me?!” : MOI?!
7 ___ Khan (Muslim title) : AGA
8 “Malternative” beverage : ALCOPOP
15 It’s mostly nitrogen on Earth, but carbon dioxide on Mars : AIR
16 Preschooler, say : TOT
17 With 8-Down, light blue Monopoly property : VERMONT
18 Jan. honoree : MLK
19 Zoned out : STARED INTO SPACE
22 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s alma mater : UCLA
23 “Mamma ___!” : MIA
24 Footnote abbr. : IBID
25 Dude : HOMBRE
28 iPad Pro, for one : TABLET
31 With 48-Down, promotional phrase on some product packages : AS SEEN …
32 1996 double-platinum Beck album : ODELAY
33 Regulator mechanism, for short : SERVO
34 Utter hell, say? : SWEAR
35 N.B.A. great with five championship rings as a player and three as a head coach : STEVE KERR
37 Fix, as loose laces : RETIE
38 Seemed confused, maybe : HAD A BLANK LOOK
46 One told to “Go get ’em!” : TIGER
47 Provider of a canyon trail ride : BURRO
49 Appeared poker-faced : SHOWED NO EMOTION
55 Whittle (down) : PARE
56 Brand with the record for a single car driven the most miles (3+ million and counting) : VOLVO
57 It’s $550 for 17-Across/ 8-Down with a hotel on it : RENT
58 Directive before “awake” or “woke” : STAY …
59 “Adorkable” one, maybe : DWEEB
60 20,310 ft., for Denali : ELEV

Down

1 Taiwan Strait’s ___ Islands : MATSU
2 “Roger that” : I GOTCHA
3 Result of a damaged hard drive : DATA LOSS
4 One whose porridge was too cold for Goldilocks : MAMA BEAR
5 Pennsylvania petroleum center, once : OIL CITY
6 Peeved : IRKED
8 See 17-Across: Abbr. : … AVE
9 Paved the way : LED
10 1981’s “Gorky Park” or 2012’s “Gone Girl” : CRIME NOVEL
11 Luxury hotel chain : OMNI
12 “Stuffed” food item at a pub : POTATO SKIN
13 Musician Yoko : ONO
14 N.B.A. scoring stat: Abbr. : PTS
20 Name of 11 pharaohs : RAMSES
21 Support column : PILLAR
26 Muppet with a unibrow : BERT
27 Effect created by a guitar pedal, informally : REVERB
29 Magazine highlighting Clio winners : ADWEEK
30 It’s been known to chase Wild Turkeys : BEER
36 Letter before theta : ETA
38 Pair of cymbals in a drum kit : HI-HAT
39 Ancient marketplace : AGORA
40 Loser to Truman in 1948 : DEWEY
41 “___ you for real?” : ARE
42 Certain Wall Street takeover, in brief : LBO
43 Highly unconventional : OUTRE
44 Large bay window : ORIEL
45 Danish coin : KRONE
46 Bakers’ amts. : TSPS
48 See 31-Across : … ON TV
50 Blu-ray forerunner : DVD
51 Partner of then : NOW
52 World Cup cheer : OLE!
53 “Killing ___” (Sandra Oh series) : EVE
54 Swarm : MOB

13 thoughts on “0811-21 NY Times Crossword 11 Aug 21, Wednesday”

  1. 10:28, no errors. A rather odd puzzle, somehow, though I can’t quite say why. Probably just a passing mood … 🤨.

  2. 12:59. Got the long entries before finishing up in the middle right. Lost some time while I STAREDINTOSPACE. 😁

  3. 8:45 I must be in an alternate universe since I’m faster than @Bill two days in a row. Can’t believe that. But I’m sure that 38A will apply – HADABLANKLOOK – when I STARE INTO SPACE when gazing upon the upcoming Saturday grid.

    1. My times are off for the past few days as I’m trying to get used to solving in a browser (hence the “new” style of grid image). The file-type that I’ve used for years is no longer supported by the New York Times. Ah well …

  4. 14:41. Palindromic (is that a word?) time. Didn’t bother to notice the theme although the big face was hard to miss.

    Interesting background info on STEVE KERR. I had no idea.

    “Gorky Park” is a really good movie. I’ve actually been to Gorky Park (Park Gorkova) in Moscow, and it doesn’t look anything like it did in the movie. I think the film was actually shot in Finland so that might explain it.

    When I grow up I want to be Jimmy Russell. He’s been the master distiller at Wild Turkey for 60 (!) years.

    Best –

  5. To repeat (from yesterday) …

    As I understand it, about five weeks ago, the New York Times stopped providing “Across Lite” versions of the crossword puzzles, so Bill had to find another way to create the solved-puzzle images for this blog; the blue and yellow squares are one result of his search. I think they disappeared on Friday, August 13.

  6. Wow, very quick solve today..

    Bill, thanks for all you do and your perseverance since you’ve started this.. you’ve had to make a number of changes over the years..

  7. About 30 min. with no errors but I got 32 & 35A from my “previous puzzle notes”…thanks for the blue and yellow explanation 👍
    Stay safe😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.