0818-21 NY Times Crossword 18 Aug 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Alina Abidi
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Thomas Nast

Themed answers each refer to cartoonist THOMAS NAST:

  • 60A Cartoonist suggested by this puzzle’s theme : THOMAS NAST
  • 16A With 26-Across, game that uses a blindfold : PIN THE TAIL …
  • 26A See 16-Across : … ON THE DONKEY
  • 36A Item exchanged in a so-called “yankee swap” : WHITE ELEPHANT
  • 50A Frequent reveler, or a hint to 16-/26- and 36-Across : PARTY ANIMAL

Bill’s time: 14m 11s (still getting used to the online solving app, and frustrated as a result)

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Breaded and topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella, for short : PARM

Parmigiana (familiarly “parm”) is a dish from southern Italy. The original parmigiana was made with an aubergine (eggplant) filling, with cheese and tomato layers and then baked. Versions originating outside of Italy have replaced the aubergine with breaded cutlets of chicken or veal.

13 Black-and-white item in a sleeve : OREO

National Oreo Cookie Day is March 6th each year. There is an urban legend that the particular day was chosen as this was the day that the name “Oreo” was registered as a trademark. However, that’s not the case. The application was filed on March 14, 1912 and registration took place on August 12, 1913. So, who knows why it’s March 6th?

15 Winter bugs : FLUS

Influenza (the “flu”) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks … and other virus pandemics …

16 With 26-Across, game that uses a blindfold : PIN THE TAIL …
26A See 16-Across : … ON THE DONKEY

Pin the tail on the donkey is a children’s party game.

18 Part of the food pyramid : FATS

The first food guide pyramid was issued in 1974, in Sweden. The food pyramid that we’re most familiar with in this country is the one published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992, which was replaced in 2011. Instead of a pyramid, we now have a guide called MyPlate (available on the website ChooseMyPlate.gov). MyPlate urges us to eat about 30% grains, 30% vegetables, 20% fruits, 20% proteins on our plates, accompanied by a small serving of dairy.

20 Fruit in the William Carlos Williams poem “This Is Just to Say” : PLUM

William Carlos Williams was somewhat unique as a poet, in that he also worked full time as a pediatrician and general practitioner. Williams was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and never gave up his medical practice, even when he earned recognition in the world of literature.

22 Edward Snowden’s former employer, in brief : NSA

Edward Snowden is a former NSA contractor who leaked several top secret NSA documents to the media beginning in June 2013. After disclosing his name as the source of the leaks, Snowden tried to seek asylum in Ecuador. While travelling to Ecuador he had a layover in Moscow. While in Moscow, the US government revoked his passport, which effectively left him stranded in the transit area of Moscow Airport. The Russian government eventually granted him annually-renewable temporary asylum.

32 Bird that had no natural predators until humans arrived : DODO

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1662) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

35 Babe Zaharias was the first woman to compete on its tour, in brief : PGA

Babe Zaharias was an American all-round athlete who won two track and field gold medals in the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She then became a professional golfer, and won ten LPGA majors. And in the world of baseball, Zaharias holds the record for the farthest baseball throw by a woman.

36 Item exchanged in a so-called “yankee swap” : WHITE ELEPHANT

We use the idiomatic term “white elephant” to describe an object or venture that costs more to maintain than can be gained by disposing of it. The term comes from the tradition of presenting a white, albino elephant to a Southeast Asian monarch. Such a beast was a blessing, in that it was viewed as sacred and a sign of great power. It was also a curse, in that the animal was of no practical use and was expensive to maintain. The derivative phrase “white elephant gift exchange” refers to a party game in which impractical gag gifts are exchanged, usually at Christmas.

41 John Lewis was born here: Abbr. : ALA

John Lewis was a civil rights leader, and a prominent leader in the 1963 March on Washington in which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Lewis also suffered a fractured skull as he walked at the head of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on Bloody Sunday. Lewis was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1987, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama. Lewis passed away in 2020.

42 Org. that oversees O.T.C.s : FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its roots in the Division of Chemistry (later “Bureau of Chemistry”) that was part of the US Department of Agriculture. President Theodore Roosevelt gave responsibility for examination of food and drugs to the Bureau of Chemistry with the signing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. The Bureau’s name was changed to the Food, Drug and Insecticide Organization in 1927, and to the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.

60 Cartoonist suggested by this puzzle’s theme : THOMAS NAST

Thomas Nast was an American caricaturist and cartoonist. He was the creator of the Republican Party elephant, the Democratic Party donkey, Uncle Sam and the image of the plump and jocular Santa Claus that we use today.

65 Brand in the ice cream aisle : EDY’S

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

69 The first cloned mammals : EWES

Dolly was the most famous sheep in the world. She was a clone, and was born in 1996 near Edinburgh in Scotland, grown from a cell taken from the mammary gland of a healthy donor sheep. When asked why she was called Dolly, the scientist responsible said, and I quote:

“Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton’s”.

70 Yarn : TALE

The phrase “to spin a yarn”, meaning “to tell a tall tale”, originated in the early 1800s with seamen. The idea was that sailors would tell stories to each other while engaged in mindless work such as twisting yarn.

Down

3 ___ faire (historical re-enactment event, for short) : REN

A Renaissance faire (Ren faire) is an outdoor public event in which many participants recreate historical settings by dressing in costume. Usually held in North America, many such fairs are set during the English Renaissance, and more particularly during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The definition of “Renaissance” is often stretched quite a bit, with fairs also set during the reign of Henry VIII, and maybe even during medieval times.

4 Fly-by-night type? : MOTH

It isn’t really understood why moths are attracted to artificial lights. There is one theory that sounds plausible to me though. It is suggested that moths navigate at night by maintaining the moon (the brightest celestial object) at a fixed angle. When a moth finds a brighter light source, like an artificial light, it gets confused.

8 Hornswoggle : DELUDE

To hornswoggle is to cheat, to deceive, to bamboozle.

12 Guest ___, what The New York Times calls op-eds : ESSAYS

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

14 What an asterisk might suggest : SEE NOTE

The name of the typographical symbol “asterisk” comes from the Greek word “asteriskos” meaning “little star”. The original use of the asterisk was by printers of family trees in feudal times. Back then it was a symbol indicating the date of birth.

17 Centaur’s foot : HOOF

A centaur is a figure from Greek mythology. It is a creature with the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse.

23 Repeated string in a chain letter subject line : FWD

Forward (fwd.)

24 Website with articles like “10 Surprising Ways to Use Mayonnaise Around Your Home” : EHOW

eHow is a how-to website that was founded in 1999. eHow has an awful lot of content but doesn’t do a great job of assessing the value of that content. I wouldn’t recommend it …

30 Half of a half-bathroom : TOILET

Our word “toilet” comes into our vocabulary via a tortuous route from the Middle French “toile” meaning “cloth, net”. The French “toilette” is a diminutive of “toile”, and described a cloth or bag for clothes. From this usage, the English word “toilet” came to mean “fine cloth cover over a dressing table”, and the “the articles used in dressing”. From there, “toilet” described the act of dressing, and then a dressing room. By the early 1800s, a toilet was a dressing room that had a lavatory attached, and eventually the lavatory itself.

37 Tucker who had her first hit in 1972 and won her first Grammys in 2020 : TANYA

Country singer Tanya Tucker’s first hit was “Delta Dawn”, which she recorded in 1972 at only 13 years of age.

38 Cheese used in Babybels : EDAM

The Babybel brand of cheese was launched in 1952 by the Bel Group, a multinational supplier of cheese that is headquartered in Paris. Babybel cheese is sold in distinctive packaging. It comes in a netted bag, with small pieces of the cheese encased in red wax with an outer cellophane wrapper. That’s a lot of packaging for a small amount of cheese …

39 Fruits whose seeds can act as a substitute for black peppercorns : PAPAYAS

The papaya is the fruit of the Carica papaya, a large tree-like plant that is native to southern Mexico and Central America. One traditional use of papaya is as a meat tenderizer. The fruit and sap contain the enzyme papain that breaks down meat fibers. Papain is used today as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.

47 Tell : TATTLE

Something described as tattletale is revealing, it gives away a secret. The term is a combination of “tattle” and “tale”, and is probably patterned on the similar word “telltale”. “To tattle” means “to tell secrets”, and the noun “tattletale” applies to someone who tells secrets and informs.

57 Pretzel, basically : KNOT

Pretzels originated in Europe and are especially popular in Southern Germany where a pretzel is known as “Brezel”. Pretzels were introduced into the US in the 1800s by immigrants from Germany and Switzerland who came to be known over here as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

61 Drug dosages: Abbr. : MGS

Milligram (mg)

63 Show with the recurring character Target Lady, in brief : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

64 “Piggy” : TOE

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Breaded and topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella, for short : PARM
5 “Holy mackerel!” : EGAD!
9 Instrument played by indie rock’s Sufjan Stevens : OBOE
13 Black-and-white item in a sleeve : OREO
14 V.I.P. on base : SARGE
15 Winter bugs : FLUS
16 With 26-Across, game that uses a blindfold : PIN THE TAIL …
18 Part of the food pyramid : FATS
19 Gardening tool : HOE
20 Fruit in the William Carlos Williams poem “This Is Just to Say” : PLUM
22 Edward Snowden’s former employer, in brief : NSA
23 Black History Mo. : FEB
26 See 16-Across : … ON THE DONKEY
29 “Why?” : WHAT FOR?
31 Puts up : ERECTS
32 Bird that had no natural predators until humans arrived : DODO
33 Tick (off) : TEE
35 Babe Zaharias was the first woman to compete on its tour, in brief : PGA
36 Item exchanged in a so-called “yankee swap” : WHITE ELEPHANT
41 John Lewis was born here: Abbr. : ALA
42 Org. that oversees O.T.C.s : FDA
43 Campaign expense : TV AD
45 Get situated : ORIENT
48 Pacify : APPEASE
50 Frequent reveler, or a hint to 16-/26- and 36-Across : PARTY ANIMAL
53 Hit the slopes : SKI
54 “___ be my pleasure” : IT’D
55 Lots : A TON
56 Hearty laugh : YUK
58 Tidy : NEAT
60 Cartoonist suggested by this puzzle’s theme : THOMAS NAST
65 Brand in the ice cream aisle : EDY’S
66 Aches (for) : LONGS
67 Words after a gasp : OH NO!
68 Its underside might be covered in gum : DESK
69 The first cloned mammals : EWES
70 Yarn : TALE

Down

1 Dad : POP
2 “Midsommar” director Aster : ARI
3 ___ faire (historical re-enactment event, for short) : REN
4 Fly-by-night type? : MOTH
5 Fuel up, in a way : EAT
6 Visual in an annual report : GRAPH
7 Nimble : AGILE
8 Hornswoggle : DELUDE
9 Toggle option : OFF
10 Artist’s starting place : BLANK CANVAS
11 Get-go : OUTSET
12 Guest ___, what The New York Times calls op-eds : ESSAYS
14 What an asterisk might suggest : SEE NOTE
17 Centaur’s foot : HOOF
21 Transform : MORPH
23 Repeated string in a chain letter subject line : FWD
24 Website with articles like “10 Surprising Ways to Use Mayonnaise Around Your Home” : EHOW
25 Things best kept under one’s hat? : BAD HAIR DAYS
27 Data structure with a root node : TREE
28 Undo : NEGATE
30 Half of a half-bathroom : TOILET
34 Tiny toymaker : ELF
37 Tucker who had her first hit in 1972 and won her first Grammys in 2020 : TANYA
38 Cheese used in Babybels : EDAM
39 Fruits whose seeds can act as a substitute for black peppercorns : PAPAYAS
40 Something to do : TASK
44 Latin gods : DEI
45 Shared one’s views : OPINED
46 For all ages, as a video game : RATED-E
47 Tell : TATTLE
49 Also : PLUS
51 At all, in dialect : NOHOW
52 Combined : IN ONE
57 Pretzel, basically : KNOT
59 Shaming syllable : TSK
61 Drug dosages: Abbr. : MGS
62 Light bulb moment sound : AHA
63 Show with the recurring character Target Lady, in brief : SNL
64 “Piggy” : TOE

23 thoughts on “0818-21 NY Times Crossword 18 Aug 21, Wednesday”

  1. 9:21, no errors.

    Hang in there, Bill! (And I can relate. It took me many weeks to get comfortable with the NYT app, but my guess is that you’ll master it more quickly than I did.)

  2. 11:44. Pretty good Wednesday for me. No complaints. Once I got PINTHETAIL ONTHEFONKEY things fell into place. Still had some fat fingers early on.

  3. 8:35. Didn’t pay much attention to the theme, but the long answers made this puzzle pretty easy.

    I’m curious as to Bill’s issue with the online app. I’ve been using it for years. Maybe I’m not fast enough for it to matter…

    I looked up the 10 surprising ways to use mayonnaise around the house on EHOW. I’m not sure I’d use any of them. They talk about it essentially as an oil substitute for door hinges, getting stains out of wood, and conditioning your hair among other things. I think there are better options than mayo for those things.

    I think I read a similar list of ways to use the Bounce sheets you use in the dryer. Again, I don’t think I’d actually use any of them.

    Best –

    1. I don’t know if this is germane, but one of my problems with online apps is … that “s” on the end of “app”. Once I get used to the behavior of a particular app (as I finally did with the NYT version), I can use it without thinking too much about it. But, when I then try to use another one (like “Across Lite”), it is very likely to behave a little differently and (for me – your mileage may vary) too much mental bandwidth gets soaked up in coping with the differences. In fact, the “same” app on a different platform (like “Across Lite” on my iMac instead of on my iPad) is also likely to behave in unexpected ways and cause havoc. That’s why I have mostly gone back to paper-and-pen solves (and keep threatening to abandon the NYT app, as well).

    2. Hi, Jeff — I agree about the household uses in general, but one for Bounce really works — if you have a pan with impossibly baked-on food, like overbaked lasagna, soak it overnight with a sheet of Bounce floating on top — cleans up easily the next morning!

  4. 18:23 because I’m just slow : – ) If you really want a fat finger challenge, try the app on an IPhone 6. That’s my lame excuse and I’m stickin’ to it!!

  5. 23:53 no errors…good time for me.
    I’ll never have to get used to “an app” because I am strictly a pencil and paper guy (old fogey)
    Stay safe😀

    1. @AnonDS
      If you were to have us to discuss something different, what would it be but how we did with the puzzle (completion times or “no errors”)? What we *thought* of the puzzle seems to be a taboo topic around here, so there’s that. So what else would we talk about to use up the comment space on Bill’s fine blog?

  6. 12:36, no errors. Pencil and paper guy here also. But since I subscribe to the ‘Online’ version of my paper, I have to deal with two different apps depending on whether I’m viewing it on my desktop or cellphone. Initially I could just tap on the puzzle in either app and hit ‘Print’ to get the paper copy. Then they messed with the desktop app, and I was only able to print from my phone. Next they messed with mobile app, and it inserted a page break in the middle of the crossword. Had to print out two pages, and cut/tape them together. The next time they messed with the mobile app, the crossword image no longer appears in the print screen, so back to the desktop, which, in the mean time, has been messed with. Now, I can print a clean grid, on one page; but it requires me to open the page, select the crossword grid using a cropping tool, save as a PDF file, then print the PDF file. Technology makes our lives simpler…

  7. @A Nonny Muss
    I still agree with all of that in Februrary. Maybe we were talking past each other a bit, but I can still recognize there are pros and cons in either method. I just happen to think the pros of online solving highly outweigh any cons involved, especially in comparison to paper solving and still do. My “aver” was that they were two different beasts requiring two different skill sets, and I still hold that belief to be true.

    1. I still agree with all of that in Februrary.

      Why am I not surprised? … 😜

      (Re “Februrary”: I guess, given that no one pronounces the first “r” in that word anymore, we might just as well throw in another one … 😜.)

  8. I found the clue to 1 across to be incorrect. If it uses mozzarella then it isn’t “parm” which uses parmesan. In order to avoid giving away the answer the clue could use “cheese” instead.

  9. Wasn’t too hard for a wednesday. Originally I didn’t care for the theme at all, until I understood that it was about the government party’s animals! At which point I liked it a lot more haha!
    Good theme in retrospect! ^_^

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