0817-21 NY Times Crossword 17 Aug 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) Taking a Dip

Themed answers come in pairs that cross each other in the grid. One element is something that is often DIPPED into the second element:

  • 17A You might dip a 15-Down in this before writing something : INDIA INK
  • 15D See 17-Across : NIB
  • 26A You might dip a 25-Down in this to test the water : SWIMMING POOL
  • 25D See 26-Across : TOE
  • 44A You might dip 37-Down in this at a dinner party : CHEESE FONDUE
  • 37D See 44-Across : BREAD
  • 59A You might dip a 55-Down in this to make a candle : PARAFFIN
  • 55D See 59-Across : WICK

Bill’s time: 6m 58s (still getting used to the online solving app)

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Theda of silent films : BARA

Theda Bara was a silent film star from Cincinnati, Ohio. Many cite Bara as the first movie sex symbol. She wore very revealing costumes in many of her films and she often played the femme fatale character. As such, Bara’s nickname was “the Vamp”.

8 “Three ___!” (1986 western comedy) : AMIGOS

“Three Amigos” is a 1986 comedy film starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short as three silent movie stars who are mistaken for real western heroes by a Mexican village, a parody on the storylines in “Seven Samurai” and “The Magnificent Seven”.

16 Raiser of alarm in a coal mine : CANARY

What we now know as the domestic canary was first brought to Europe from Macaronesia, off the coast of Africa, by Spanish sailors in the 1600s. Macaronesia is a collection of four archipelagos that includes the Canary Islands. The name of the islands comes from the Latin “Insula Canaria” meaning “island of dogs”, a reference to the many large dogs found locally. So, the canary bird is named for the Canary Islands, which in turn are named for dogs.

17 You might dip a 15-Down in this before writing something : INDIA INK
(15D See 17-Across : NIB)

The black ink known as “India ink” was actually developed in China. The carbon pigment used to give the dark color was imported from India, hence the name.

18 Small part in a superhero film? : ANT-MAN

In the Marvel universe, Ant-Man has been the superhero persona of three different fictional characters: Hank Pym, Scott Lang and Eric O’Grady. In the 2015 film “Ant-Man”, Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym, and Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang.

20 Baseball’s Slammin’ Sammy : SOSA

Sammy Sosa was firmly in the public eye in 1998 when he and Mark McGwire were vying to be the first to surpass the home run record held by Roger Maris. McGwire fell out of public favor due to stories of steroid abuse (stories which he later admitted were true) while Sosa fell out of favor when he was found to be using a corked bat in a 2003 game.

24 Ruined, as a martini, per 007 : STIRRED

Why have a vodka martini shaken and not stirred (as does James Bond, 007)? For one thing, the shaken drink tends to be colder. And with more melted ice in the drink, it isn’t as strong. These are my personal observations. No need to write in …

36 Things set on windowsills to cool : PIES

“Sill plate”, or simply “sill”, is an architectural term describing a bottom horizontal member to which vertical members are attached. Window sills and door sills are specific sill plates found at the bottoms of windows and door openings.

38 ___ Zor-El (Supergirl’s real name) : KARA

Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin, and is also known as Supergirl. Supergirl’s father and Superman’s father were brothers. On Earth, Supergirl uses the name “Linda Lee”.

39 Candy ___ (hospital volunteers) : STRIPERS

Hospital volunteers used to be referred to as candy stripers. The term “candy striper” came from the pinafores worn by female volunteers starting in the 1940s. Those pinafores were made from a red-and-white striped fabric called “candy stripe”, due to the resemblance to the stripes on a candy cane. Candy stripers weren’t the only volunteers. Those sponsored by the Red Cross wore blue-and-white striped pinafores and were known collectively as the Blue Teens. Older female volunteers in the same group were known as the Grey Ladies, due to their light grey uniforms.

42 Shakespeare’s fairy king : OBERON

Oberon and Titania are the King and Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

44 You might dip 37-Down in this at a dinner party : CHEESE FONDUE
(37D See 44-Across : BREAD)

Fondue is a traditional Swiss dish comprising melted cheese served in a pot over a tabletop stove, into which diners dip bread. The term “fondue”, which is French for “melted”, is now applied more widely to similar dishes served in a communal pot into which a food is dipped. Traditional fondue is delicious, so very delicious …

46 Sweet Italian wine : MARSALA

Marsala is a seaport lying in the very west of Sicily. If you visit Marsala, you’ll find what’s called “vintage” Marsala wine, a “regular” red wine. If you buy a bottle of Marsala at your local store though, it will be a fortified wine, wine with a higher alcohol content.

49 LAX’s counterpart in northern California : SFO

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) served as the main base of operations for Virgin America (sold to Alaska Airlines), and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines. Even though SFO is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco, the airport is located to the south in San Mateo County.

53 Japanese speaker brand : AIWA

Aiwa was a Japanese company that produced consumer electronics, mainly audio and video equipment. Sony bought Aiwa in 2002 and eventually discontinued the brand in 2006. The Aiwa trademark was acquired by a Chicago-based consumer electronics company in 2015.

57 Luxury watch brand : MOVADO

Movado is a Swiss manufacturer of upscale watches. The company name is an Esperanto word meaning “always in motion”.

61 Short-story writer famous for twist endings : O HENRY

“O. Henry” was the pen name of writer William Sydney Porter from Greensboro, North Carolina. O. Henry is famous for his witty short stories that have a clever twist in the tail.

64 Zippo : NADA

The use of the words “zip” and “zippo” to mean “nothing” dates back to the early 1900s, when it was student slang for being graded zero on a test.

65 B’way buy : TKT

One usually needs a ticket (tkt.) to see a Broadway (B’way) show.

Down

1 Tall purple flower : IRIS

Iris is a genus of flowering plants that come in a wide variety of flower colors. The term “iris” is a Greek word meaning “rainbow”. Many species of irises are called “flags”. One suggestion is that the alternate name comes from the Middle English “flagge” meaning “reed”. This term was used because iris leaves look like reeds.

3 Classic Icelandic saga : EDDA

“Poetic Edda” and “Prose Edda” are two ancient works that are the source for much of Norse mythology. Both Eddas were written in 13th-century Iceland.

8 Landmark health legislation of 2010, for short : ACA

The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

10 Swiss tourist destination : INTERLAKEN

Interlaken is a town in the Swiss Alps that is a well-known tourist destination. It is situated between Lake Brienz to the east and Lake Thun to the west, and this position gives the town its name. The Latin “inter lacus” translates as “between the lakes”.

11 Xbox expert, say : GAMER

The Xbox line of video game consoles is made by Microsoft. The original Xbox platform was followed by Xbox 360 and more recently by Xbox One. Microsoft’s Xbox competes directly with Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii.

13 Church council : SYNOD

The word “synod” comes from the Greek word for “assembly, meeting”. A synod is a church council, usually one in the Christian faith.

21 Western resort town on the Roaring Fork River : ASPEN

Aspen, Colorado used to be known as Ute City, with the name change taking place in 1880. Like many communities in the area, Aspen was a mining town, and in 1891 and 1892 it was at the center of the highest production of silver in the US. Nowadays, it’s all about skiing and movie stars.

23 Married mlle. : MME

In French, a “mademoiselle” (miss) becomes a “madame” (mrs) when she marries.

27 ___ large : WRIT

Something writ large is expressed in a more obvious way.

28 Robert ___, longtime Disney C.E.O. : IGER

Robert Iger took over from Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005. Iger worked for ABC when it was taken over by Disney in 1996, and in 1999 he was named president of Walt Disney International. Iger is doing okay for himself; he earned more than $29 million in 2009.

34 Pants, in slang : TROU

Trousers are pants, the garment covering the lower body and each leg separately. Ultimately, the word “trousers” evolved from the Erse word “triubhas” that described close-fitting shorts. Back in the 1600s there was a colorful saying:

A jellous wife was like an Irish trouze, alwayes close to a mans tayle

40 Wife of Theseus : PHAEDRA

In Greek mythology, Phaedra is the daughter of King Minos of Crete, and the wife of Theseus who founded Athens. While married to Theseus, Phaedra fell in love with Hippolytus, Theseus’s son from a previous marriage. In one version of the myth, Phaedra tells Theseus that Hippolytus raped her, leading to Theseus killing his son, and Phaedra then committing suicide in an act of remorse. Tragic stuff …

41 Fish that’s poisonous unless cooked : EEL

Anyone going to a sushi restaurant can order all types of raw fish (known collectively as “sashimi”). However, eel is always served cooked, and that’s because the blood of eels contains a protein that cramps muscles if eaten. If the heart muscle “cramps”, the result can be death. The protein is easily rendered harmless by applying heat, i.e. by cooking.

45 Neighbor of Francia : ESPANA

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union (after France). “Spain” is an anglicized form of the Spanish name “España”, which comes from the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula “Hispania”.

In Spanish, “Francia” (France) is a neighbor of “España” (Spain) in Europe.

47 Hi, in HI : ALOHA

The Hawaiian word “aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently, “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

Hawaii (HI)

48 Bird that “quoth” in a Poe poem : RAVEN

“The Raven” is a narrative poem by Edgar Allan Poe that tells of a student who has lost the love of his life, Lenore. A raven enters the student’s bedchamber and perches on a bust of Pallas. The raven can talk, to the student’s surprise, but says nothing but the word “nevermore” (“quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’”). As the student questions all aspects of his life, the raven taunts him with the same comment, “nevermore”. Finally, the student decides that his soul is trapped beneath the raven’s shadow and shall be lifted “nevermore”.

53 Inits. in a 1955 union merger : AFL

The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded in 1886, making it one of the first federations of unions in the country. Over time the AFL became dominated by craft unions, unions representing skilled workers of particular disciplines. In the early thirties, John L. Lewis led a movement within the AFL to organize workers by industry, believing this would be more effective for the members. But the craft unions refused to budge, so Lewis set up a rival federation of unions in 1932, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The two federations became bitter rivals for over two decades until finally merging in 1955 to form the AFL-CIO.

58 Popeye’s Olive : OYL

E. C. Segar’s cartoon character Olive Oyl had quite a large family. Her mother is Nana Oyl, and her father Cole Oyl. Olive’s brother is Castor Oyl, and she has uncles named Otto Oyl and Lubry Kent Oyl (my favorite!).

60 Simile’s center : AS A

A simile is a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things that are unalike. For example, a person might be described as “cute as a kitten” or as “busy as a bee”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Anger : IRE
4 Theda of silent films : BARA
8 “Three ___!” (1986 western comedy) : AMIGOS
14 Parts of clown costumes : RED NOSES
16 Raiser of alarm in a coal mine : CANARY
17 You might dip a 15-Down in this before writing something : INDIA INK
18 Small part in a superhero film? : ANT-MAN
19 Wild guess : STAB
20 Baseball’s Slammin’ Sammy : SOSA
22 Take care of, as a task : SEE TO
23 Gaping mouth : MAW
24 Ruined, as a martini, per 007 : STIRRED
26 You might dip a 25-Down in this to test the water : SWIMMING POOL
31 Had words (with) : ARGUED
32 Performs, as a historical event : RE-ENACTS
36 Things set on windowsills to cool : PIES
37 Forbid : BAN
38 ___ Zor-El (Supergirl’s real name) : KARA
39 Candy ___ (hospital volunteers) : STRIPERS
42 Shakespeare’s fairy king : OBERON
44 You might dip 37-Down in this at a dinner party : CHEESE FONDUE
46 Sweet Italian wine : MARSALA
49 LAX’s counterpart in northern California : SFO
50 Thrill : ELATE
51 One getting suckered : DUPE
53 Japanese speaker brand : AIWA
57 Luxury watch brand : MOVADO
59 You might dip a 55-Down in this to make a candle : PARAFFIN
61 Short-story writer famous for twist endings : O HENRY
62 Basic pizza serving : ONE SLICE
63 Strappy footwear : SANDAL
64 Zippo : NADA
65 B’way buy : TKT

Down

1 Tall purple flower : IRIS
2 Flat fee? : RENT
3 Classic Icelandic saga : EDDA
4 Showy bit of neckwear : BOA
5 “To repeat myself …” : AS I SAID …
6 Fame : RENOWN
7 Inquires : ASKS
8 Landmark health legislation of 2010, for short : ACA
9 Many a home with a circular driveway : MANSION
10 Swiss tourist destination : INTERLAKEN
11 Xbox expert, say : GAMER
12 Speak grandly : ORATE
13 Church council : SYNOD
15 See 17-Across : NIB
21 Western resort town on the Roaring Fork River : ASPEN
23 Married mlle. : MME
25 See 26-Across : TOE
26 Drains : SAPS
27 ___ large : WRIT
28 Robert ___, longtime Disney C.E.O. : IGER
29 Score keeper? : MUSIC STAND
30 Blades that don’t cut … but that are themselves cut : GRASS
33 King or queen : CARD
34 Pants, in slang : TROU
35 Levelheaded : SANE
37 See 44-Across : BREAD
40 Wife of Theseus : PHAEDRA
41 Fish that’s poisonous unless cooked : EEL
42 Made a bid of : OFFERED
43 “That’s not fair!” : BOO!
45 Neighbor of Francia : ESPANA
46 Office notes : MEMOS
47 Hi, in HI : ALOHA
48 Bird that “quoth” in a Poe poem : RAVEN
52 Atop : UPON
53 Inits. in a 1955 union merger : AFL
54 “___ walks like a duck …” : IF IT
55 See 59-Across : WICK
56 Working without ___ : A NET
58 Popeye’s Olive : OYL
60 Simile’s center : AS A

17 thoughts on “0817-21 NY Times Crossword 17 Aug 21, Tuesday”

  1. 11:38 SW had me playing the “plug in the letters and hope it works” game. “Movado and Marsala” are above my pay grade and Phaedra was new to me

  2. 8:09, no errors. “PHAEDRA” has appeared in exactly seven NYT puzzles (four in the Shortz era and three before that). Curiously, yesterday, just before doing today’s NYT puzzle, I did an old NYT puzzle from Friday, March 22, 2013 (by Tim Croce, whose old NYT puzzles I’ve been working through recently) and what is to be found in that puzzle, at 35-Down? PHAEDRA! Tim clued it as “Daughter of King Minos” rather than as “Wife of Theseus”, so doing his puzzle wasn’t a direct help in doing this one, but I would, once again, point to this “coincidence” (???!!!) as evidence of strange forces at work in the universe.

  3. “PHAEDRA” was at 12-Down as “Sister of Ariadne” in this NYT puzzle by Matthew Sewell that ran on Sunday, March 11, 2018:

    https://nyxcrossword.com/2018/03/0311-18-ny-times-crossword-answers-11-mar-2018-sunday.html#comments

    One of the comments on that page is from me, which perhaps helps to explain why my crossword lizard brain delivered up the word (twice!) yesterday.

    Another occurrence was on May 21, 2004; just for grins (and also to see if I remember it), I’m going to download it and do it. The pre-Shortz occurrences were in 1948, 1949, and 1955 (and I doubt that I would remember them, but … hmmm … you never know … past lives and all that? … 😜)

    1. So the puzzle from 2004 was a hard (for me) Friday offering from Eric Berlin. I did it with no errors, but, even with the advantage of being able to fill in “PHAEDRA”, it took me 35:31, and I had no twinge of recognition anywhere in the puzzle. (Of course, in 2004, I was still employed and was being paid to pay attention to other things, so … 😜.)

      I also downloaded the pre-Shortz puzzles and did the 15×15 from 1955 (22:37, no errors). Interesting entries: “NIZE Baby” (a book by Milt Gross); “ALIM” (a Muslim learned in religious matters); “SEBA” (“a Biblical land”); “BARMS” (“Products of fermentation”); “RED MAN” (“Indian”); and “THIEF” (“Taffy was one”, referring to a nursery rhyme derogatory to the Welsh). “PHAEDRA” is clued as “Legendary lady of Crete” and it was advantageous for it to be a given, though I could have gotten it from crosses.

      The older puzzles are bigger (23×23 for the one from 1948, 21×21 for the one from 1949) and I haven’t tackled them yet. The oldest clues “PHAEDRA” as “She loved her stepson.” (🤭)

      Apologies for all the bandwidth going into this … 😳.

  4. 6:48. Had to search for one error since I had REDROSES for 14A, thinking of the flower on a clown’s costume that squirts water at you. I have a friend who hates clowns (meaning he is no fan of Congress), and I have come to learn that it is called “coulrophobia” – fear of clowns. Wonder if that word has ever been in a NTY puzzle – @Nonny?

    1. “Coulrophobia”. An interesting word, recently coined. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t been used in a crossword grid, but it has appeared in a clue.

  5. 10:07. Very late to the party. I wrestled with this one in a few places, but it was Tuesday enough that I finished.

    Liked the theme. I wonder if there’s an adult version of it somewhere….

    I guess anyone going to Washington, D.C. these days better be certain they don’t have coulrophobia.

    I was given a Movado as a gift in 1996. That watch is still running and looks pretty new. I’ve since gotten another one but wear both. I like watches, but Movados might be my favorite. They’re simple and elegant….much like myself, perhaps? Well simple anyway.

    Best –

  6. Same as others .. lost it on PHIETRA and MOVATO and MARSILA…
    I know, they are all wrong…

    One of these days I will know more Greek mythology, Italian wine and luxury watch brands….

  7. And on another note, for the talk of online solving widgets, I’ve been playing a bit more. Really haven’t hit WSJ’s (I know it’s pretty bad already from experience, but not as bad as the ones BEQ and Jones uses), but been trying to cope more with others so at least I’m not in a white hot rage when I get done with a puzzle in one of them.

    Recently hit the NYT one to do some freebies and have to say theirs isn’t too awfully bad compared to AmuseLabs or the like. I hate all the flashing colors and such, and of course, all the slow-downs and waiting for the applet to update, but have to say I really didn’t have a large amount of difficulty with it compared to using some of the others.

    There’s always more on my stack in doing paper and I’ll definitely be staying there for the NYT, but it’s interesting to see all the barriers put in place by the poor solving software that’s out there.

    1. It’s interesting to compare what you’ve said recently about online solving with things you said about it back in February:

      https://nyxcrossword.com/2021/01/0121-21-ny-times-crossword-21-jan-21-thursday.html#comments

      At the time, I was trying to make the point that one can’t adequately describe the “online solving” experience without specifying which of the solvers one is using and on what platform. Your response was to aver that “online solving is several levels easier” and you went on to rave about it. I guess it’s nice to see that you’ve changed your mind … 😳.

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