0816-21 NY Times Crossword 16 Aug 21, Monday

Constructed by: Freddie Cheng
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer On That Note

Themed answers each start with a musical accidental, i.e. NATURAL, SHARP or FLAT:

  • 63A Speaking of which … or where the starts of 16-, 30- and 45-Across can be found? : ON THAT NOTE …
  • 16A Universal code of ethics : NATURAL LAW
  • 30A Quick-minded sort : SHARP COOKIE
  • 45A One who says that you’re not on the ball? : FLAT-EARTHER

Bill’s time: 8m 05s (struggling with the online app)

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 What a plumber might fix a leak in : PIPE

“Plumbum” is Latin for “lead”, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of those pipes was leaking.

5 Artist Vincent van ___ : GOGH

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who seems to have had a very tortured existence. Van Gogh only painted for the last ten years of his life, and enjoyed very little celebrity while alive. Today many of his works are easily recognized, and fetch staggering sums in auction houses. Van Gogh suffered from severe depression for many of his final years. When he was only 37, he walked into a field with a revolver and shot himself in the chest. He managed to drag himself back to the inn where he was staying but died there two days later.

9 Feathered Outback runners : EMUS

Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs. It is the male emu that incubates the eggs. The incubation period lasts about 8 weeks, during which time the male neither eats nor drinks, just lapping up any morning dew that is nearby. While incubating a clutch of eggs, male emus lose about a third of their weight.

In Australia, the land outside of urban areas is referred to as the outback or the bush. That said, I think that the term “outback” is sometimes reserved for the more remote parts of the bush.

13 Baghdad’s land : IRAQ

According to the University of Baghdad, the name “Baghdad” dates way back, to the 18th-century BCE (yes, BCE!). The name can be translated into English from the language of ancient Babylon as “old garden” (bagh-) and “beloved” (-dad).

14 Visually challenged “Mr.” of cartoons : MAGOO

Mr. Quincy Magoo is a wonderful cartoon character voiced by Jim Backus. Backus is probably equally well-known for playing Mr. Magoo as well as Thurston Howell, III on “Gilligan’s Island”. Mr. Magoo first appeared on the screen in a short called “The Ragtime Bear” in 1949. His persona was at least in part based on the antics of W. C. Fields. Backus originally used a fake rubber nose that pinched his nostrils in order to create the distinctive voice, although in time he learned to do the voice without the prop. My absolute favorite appearance by Mr. Magoo is in “Mr Magoo’s Christmas Carol”, a true classic from the sixties. There was a movie adaptation of “Mr Magoo” released in 1997, with Leslie Nielsen playing the title role.

20 Active Sicilian volcano : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” (sometimes “Muncibeddu”) in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

23 Midwife’s instruction : PUSH

A midwife is someone trained to assist women in childbirth. The term comes from Middle English “mid wif” meaning “with woman”.

25 Phrase starting a legal memo : IN RE

The term “in re” is Latin, and is derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to” or “in the matter of”.

27 Xmas mo. : DEC

The abbreviation “Xmas” that is used for “Christmas” comes from the Greek letter chi (X), which is the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ” (“Χριστός”).

37 Desire for a contestant on “The Bachelor” : ROSE

“The Bachelor” is a US reality television show that first aired in 2002 on ABC. I’ve avoided this one like the plague …

38 ___ Blanc : MONT

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. The name “Mont Blanc” translates from French into “white mountain”. The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been generally accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

39 Packing heat : ARMED

“Packing” and “packing heat” are underworld slang for “carrying a gun”.

41 Language group of southern Africa : BANTU

There are hundreds of Bantu languages, which are mainly spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

42 Need for tug of war : ROPE

Tug of war is a strength competition between two teams who pull on opposite ends of a rope, vying to pull the opponents over a marked line. The sport was an event in the Summer Olympic Games from 1900 until 1920. The USA teams won all three medals for the tug of war at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis.

43 Long-necked pear : BOSC

Bosc is a cultivar of the European pear that is grown mainly in the northwest of the United States. It is named for French horticulturist Louis Bosc. The cultivar originated in Belgium or France in the early 19th century. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck.

45 One who says that you’re not on the ball? : FLAT-EARTHER

The Flat Earth Society is a modern incarnation of a much older group that believed that the earth was in fact flat and not an oblate spheroid. The new version was established by Samuel Shenton in 1956 in Dover in the UK. When man ventured to the moon, the Flat Earth Society took the position that the Apollo program was an elaborate hoax. The contemporary Flat Earth Society is run out of Lancaster, California.

48 Flamenco dancer’s cry : OLE!

Flamenco is a style of Spanish music and dance. The origin of the word “flamenco” isn’t clearly understood, but the explanation that seems most credible to me is that it comes from Flanders in Northern Europe. Given that “flamenco” is the Spanish word for “Flemish” and Flanders is home to the Flemish people it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

49 At the home of: Fr. : CHEZ

“Chez” is a French term meaning “at the house of”, which comes from the Latin word “casa” meaning “cottage” or “hut”.

61 Civil rights pioneer Parks : ROSA

Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

65 Pivotal point : CRUX

“Crux” is the Latin word for “cross”. The term came into English meaning “a central difficulty” in the early 1700s.

66 Singer Carpenter or actress Gillan : KAREN

Karen Carpenter was an accomplished drummer, although she only started playing drums in high school, as a member of the school band. After she graduated she started playing jazz with her brother, Richard, and a college friend. Later, she and Richard played with a group called Spectrum, and submitted many demo tapes to recording companies, but all were unsuccessful. Finally, Karen and Richard got a recording contract with A&M Records, and when they had Karen take the lead on their songs, they hit the big time and toured as the Carpenters. Sadly, Karen passed away at only 32-years-old, dying from heart failure brought on by anorexia.

Scottish actress Karen Gillan is most famous for playing Amy Pond in the “Doctor Who” sci-fi show made by the BBC. Pond was the companion to the eleventh doctor, played by Matt Smith. More recently, Gillan played Nebula in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series of films.

67 Button at the start of a Zoom call : JOIN

Zoom is a videoconferencing app that became remarkably popular in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The market deemed Zoom to be the easiest to use of the free videoconferencing apps. I’ve been using it, but really prefer Google’s Meet offering …

69 King Kong and others : APES

When RKO released the 1933 movie “King Kong”, the promotional material listed the ape’s height as 50 feet. During filming, a bust was created for a 40-foot ape, as well as a full-size hand that went with a 70-foot Kong.

70 The “A” in B.A. : ARTS

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Down

1 ___ colada : PINA

“Piña colada” is a Spanish term that translates into “strained pineapple”. The piña colada cocktail was introduced in the Caribe Hilton San Juan in 1954, and since 1978 it has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico. Yum …

2 Cousins of 401(k)s : IRAS

A 401(k) account resembles an IRA in that contributions can be made from a paycheck prior to the deduction of income taxes. A 401(k) differs from an IRA in that it is an employer-sponsored plan, with payments taken by the employer directly from an employee’s paycheck. Additionally, contributions can be fully or partially matched by an employer.

5 Participant in a square dance : GAL

A square dance is a dance for eight participants, i.e. four couples. For much of the time, the couples are arranged so that they form the sides of a square, hence the name of the dance.

7 Bearded farm animal : GOAT

Male goats are bucks or billies, although castrated males are known as wethers. Female goats are does or nannies, and young goats are referred to as kids.

9 Nog ingredient : EGG

It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

10 Organizing guru who asks “Does it spark joy?” : MARIE KONDO

Marie Kondo runs a very successful organizing consulting business that she founded when she 19 years old, and while a student at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. She wrote an extremely successful book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” that was first published in 2011. I’ve read it, and acted on at least some of the advice given therein …

11 Israeli submachine guns : UZIS

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

12 Late-night host Meyers : SETH

Seth Meyers is an actor and comedian who is perhaps best-known for his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), for which program he served as head writer. Meyers now hosts his own late night talk show on NBC.

21 365 días : ANO

In Spanish, there are 365 “días” (days) in an “año” (year).

26 Like I, for one? : ROMAN

In Roman numerals, the first ten integers are I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X.

27 ___ planet (designation for Pluto) : DWARF

Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was welcomed as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto is relatively small in size, just one fifth of the mass of our own moon. In the seventies, astronomers began to discover more large objects in the solar system, including Eris, a “scattered disc object” at the outer reaches. Given that Eris is actually bigger than Pluto, and other objects really aren’t that much smaller, Pluto’s status as a planet was drawn into question. In 2006 there was a scientific definition for a “planet” agreed for the first time, resulting in Pluto being relegated to the status of “dwarf planet”, along with Eris.

28 Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL

Actor Errol Flynn was born in 1909 in Tasmania, where he was raised. In his twenties, Flynn lived in the UK where he pursued his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film “In the Wake of the Bounty” and then appeared in a British film “Murder at Monte Carlo”. It was in the latter film that he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. Flynn’s non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with his friend David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.

A swashbuckler is a flashy swordsman. The term “swashbuckler” probably derives somehow from “swash” meaning “fall of a blow”, and “buckler” meaning “small round shield”.

32 Hitchcock film with a classic shower scene : PSYCHO

The classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho”, released in 1960, is based on a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The Bloch novel in turn is loosely based on actual crimes committed by murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. The female protagonist is named Mary Crane in the novel, but that name was changed to Marion Crane in the movie. Marion Crane, portrayed by Janet Leigh, died in a celebrated and terrifying shower scene

34 One of 27 Chopin piano pieces : ETUDE

An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

Frédéric Chopin wrote three sets of études. His 1833 Études Op. 10 were dedicated to fellow-composer and friend Franz Liszt. His 1837 Études Op. 25 were dedicated to Marie d’Agoult, Franz Liszt’s mistress.

Frédéric Chopin was a Polish composer who spent most of his life in France. He was most famous for his piano works in the Romantic style. Chopin was a sickly man and died quite young, at 39. For many of his final years he had a celebrated and tempestuous relationship with the French author George Sand (the nom de plume of the Baroness Dudevant). Those years with Sand may have been turbulent, but they were very productive in terms of musical composition.

41 Lacking, with “of” : BEREFT …

“Bereft” is the adjectival form of the verb “to bereave” meaning “to deprive of something”.

43 Brand of bubble gum : BAZOOKA

The Bazooka brand of bubble gum was introduced by the Topps Company soon after the end of WWII. Bazooka have included comic strips in the wrappers for their gum since the early to mid-fifties. The hero of the strip is Bazooka Joe, a young man who wears an eyepatch.

46 Conger, for one : EEL

Conger eels can grow to be very, very large, perhaps up to 10 feet in length.

47 Brand of water named after a town on Lake Geneva : EVIAN

Évian-les-Bains (or simply “Évian”) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. Personally, I can’t stand the distinctive taste of Évian water …

Lake Geneva straddles the border between France and Switzerland. The lake has a lot of “official” names!

  • English: Lake Geneva
  • French: Lac Léman or Lac de Genève
  • German: Genfersee or Genfer See
  • Italian: Lago Lemano or Lago di Ginevra

51 Assassin of old Japan : NINJA

The ninjas were around in Japan at the time of the samurai, but were a very different type of warrior. The ninjas were covert operatives, specializing in the use of stealth to accomplish their missions. As they were a secretive cadre they took on a mystical reputation with the public, who believed they had the ability to become invisible or perhaps walk on water. We now use the term “ninja” figuratively, to describe anyone highly-skilled in a specific field.

52 One half of the McDonald’s logo : ARCH

The McDonald’s fast-food chain uses a stylized letter M as a logo, with the logo going by the name “Golden Arches”. Those Golden Arches are commonly integrated into the architecture of purpose-built McDonald’s restaurants.

56 Raison d’___ : ETRE

“Raison d’être” is a French phrase meaning “reason for existence”.

60 Longs (for) : YENS

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

64 “___ dead, Jim” (much-parodied “Star Trek” line) : HE’S

“He’s dead, Jim” is a line often spoken by medical officer “Bones” McCoy to Captain James T. Kirk on the original “Star Trek” TV show.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 What a plumber might fix a leak in : PIPE
5 Artist Vincent van ___ : GOGH
9 Feathered Outback runners : EMUS
13 Baghdad’s land : IRAQ
14 Visually challenged “Mr.” of cartoons : MAGOO
15 Steady look : GAZE
16 Universal code of ethics : NATURAL LAW
18 Stick-to-itiveness : GRIT
19 More gray in appearance : ASHIER
20 Active Sicilian volcano : ETNA
22 ” … or thereabouts” : … ISH
23 Midwife’s instruction : PUSH
25 Phrase starting a legal memo : IN RE
27 Xmas mo. : DEC
30 Quick-minded sort : SHARP COOKIE
35 Put pen to paper : WROTE
37 Desire for a contestant on “The Bachelor” : ROSE
38 ___ Blanc : MONT
39 Packing heat : ARMED
40 What wolves do at the moon : BAY
41 Language group of southern Africa : BANTU
42 Need for tug of war : ROPE
43 Long-necked pear : BOSC
44 Finished : ENDED
45 One who says that you’re not on the ball? : FLAT-EARTHER
48 Flamenco dancer’s cry : OLE!
49 At the home of: Fr. : CHEZ
50 Pizzeria fixture : OVEN
52 Toward the stern : AFT
54 Finish second, say : LOSE
57 “Please allow me …” : IF I MAY …
61 Civil rights pioneer Parks : ROSA
63 Speaking of which … or where the starts of 16-, 30- and 45-Across can be found? : ON THAT NOTE …
65 Pivotal point : CRUX
66 Singer Carpenter or actress Gillan : KAREN
67 Button at the start of a Zoom call : JOIN
68 Possess : HAVE
69 King Kong and others : APES
70 The “A” in B.A. : ARTS

Down

1 ___ colada : PINA
2 Cousins of 401(k)s : IRAS
3 Trail : PATH
4 Gear up : EQUIP
5 Participant in a square dance : GAL
6 Eye lewdly : OGLE
7 Bearded farm animal : GOAT
8 “What a kind gesture!” : HOW NICE!
9 Nog ingredient : EGG
10 Organizing guru who asks “Does it spark joy?” : MARIE KONDO
11 Israeli submachine guns : UZIS
12 Late-night host Meyers : SETH
14 Boggy tract : MARSH
17 Got some extra life out of : REUSED
21 365 días : ANO
24 Where ships arrive and depart : HARBOR
26 Like I, for one? : ROMAN
27 ___ planet (designation for Pluto) : DWARF
28 Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL
29 Kia Sportage or Ford Escape : COMPACT SUV
31 Make fun of mercilessly : ROAST
32 Hitchcock film with a classic shower scene : PSYCHO
33 Info from a spy : INTEL
34 One of 27 Chopin piano pieces : ETUDE
36 Things that gears and crocodiles share : TEETH
41 Lacking, with “of” : BEREFT …
43 Brand of bubble gum : BAZOOKA
46 Conger, for one : EEL
47 Brand of water named after a town on Lake Geneva : EVIAN
51 Assassin of old Japan : NINJA
52 One half of the McDonald’s logo : ARCH
53 “It’s ___ good cause” : FOR A
55 Jacket fastener that’s not a button : SNAP
56 Raison d’___ : ETRE
58 Heathland : MOOR
59 Squabbling : AT IT
60 Longs (for) : YENS
62 Cancel, as a show : AXE
64 “___ dead, Jim” (much-parodied “Star Trek” line) : HE’S

10 thoughts on “0816-21 NY Times Crossword 16 Aug 21, Monday”

  1. 9:07. A little tough for a Monday. BAZOOKA Joe and Mr. MAGOO being in the puzzle made it worthwhile.

    I’ve wanted to read that MARIE KONDO book for a long time, but I can’t seem to get sufficiently organized to sit down and order it…

    Best –

  2. No errors..
    Never heard of Marie Kondo and didn’t know there was a Flat Earth society. … next thing you know there will be something called Facebook or Utube or Twitter!!

  3. Marie Kondo is totally unknown to me but easily to suss out via crosses so not problem. Took a bit to parse Flatearther.

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