0821-21 NY Times Crossword 21 Aug 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Joseph Greenbaum
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 15m 53s (the online solving app is less of an issue later in the week)

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Literally, “great soul” : MAHATMA

Mohandas Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader in India in the first part of the 20th century, as the country sought independence from Britain. He was also referred to as “Mahatma”, meaning “great soul”. His remarkable philosophy of nonviolence and living a modest lifestyle was a great inspiration to the Indian people. India (and Pakistan) was granted independence in 1947. Tragically, Gandhi was assassinated the very next year.

16 Momentous : EPOCHAL

Something described as epochal, relates to an epoch, a memorable period of time. An extended meaning of “epoch” is “highly significant, earth-shattering”.

19 Short spiel : ELEVATOR PITCH

A spiel is a lengthy speech or argument designed to persuade, like a sales pitch. “Spiel” comes to us from German, either directly (“spiel” is the German for “play”) or via the Yiddish “shpil”.

24 Its highest score is 1520 : PSAT

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

25 The Baltics, once: Abbr. : SSRS

When the former Soviet Union (USSR) dissolved in 1991, it was largely replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The formation of the CIS underscored the new reality, that the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) were now independent states. Most of the 15 former SSRs joined the CIS. Notably, the three Baltic SSRs (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) opted not to join the new commonwealth, and in 2004 joined NATO and the EU.

26 “There you go!” : VOILA!

The French word “voilà” means “there it is”, and “voici” means “here it is”. The terms come from “voi là” meaning “see there” and “voi ici” meaning “see here”.

30 Phone hotline? : SEXT

Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article.

36 Start of some decision-making : EENY …

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

37 “I Am ___,” onetime spinoff of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” : CAIT

“I Am Cait” is a documentary series that follows Caitlyn Jenner after she changed her gender and identification from Bruce Jenner.

38 Rugby equivalent of a touchdown : TRY

In the game of rugby, a try is scored by grounding the ball behind the opposition’s goal line. A try is similar to a touchdown in American football, although in rugby the ball must be manually placed on the ground by the player making the score. The term “try” is used as originally that act of touching the ball to the ground simply qualified a team for a “try at goal”, an opportunity to kick the ball at goal to make the score.

44 Apt bingo call to lose on, by the sound of it? : B-TEN

Our game bingo is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.

45 Low notes : ONES

The nation’s first president, George Washington, is on the US one-dollar bills produced today. When the original one-dollar bill was issued in 1863, it featured a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury.

50 Synthetic material also called frozen smoke : AEROGEL

Aerogel is an extremely low density material that is used as a thermal insulator.

55 Actor in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, familiarly : THE ROCK

Dwayne Johnson is a former professional wrestler whose ring name was “the Rock”. He has used his success as a character in the ring, to cross over into television and movies. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as getting the highest payment for a first starring role, an incredible $5.5 million.

“The Fast and the Furious” (also “Fast & Furious”) is a series of action movies about street racing and car heists. The original 2001 film spawned several sequels, making it Universal Pictures most successful franchise of all time.

Down

1 Bit of Christmas morning detritus : BOW

Detritus is loose material that results from the process of erosion. The usage of the term has evolved to man any accumulated material or debris. “Detritus” is Latin for “a wearing away”.

2 Sch. in the Atlantic 10 Conference : URI

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as an agricultural school back in 1888. Rhody the Ram was chosen as the school’s mascot in 1923, a nod to URI’s agricultural past. As a result, the school’s sports teams are known as the Rams. URI’s main campus today is located in the village of Kingston, with smaller campuses in Providence, Narragansett and West Greenwich.

6 K2 fig. : ELEV

K2 is the second highest mountain on the planet (at 28, 251 ft), with Mount Everest being higher by over 700 feet. Located on the China-Pakistan border, K2 is known as the “Savage Mountain” as it is relatively difficult to climb. 1 in 4 mountaineers who have attempted to reach the summit have perished. It had never been climbed in winter until relatively recently (in 2021 by a team of Nepalese climbers). The name K2 dates back to what was called the Great Trigonometric Survey, a British survey of the geography of India carried out during the 19th century. Included in this survey were the heights of many of the Himalayan peaks, including Everest. The original surveyor, Thomas Montgomerie, included two peaks he first called K1 and K2. He discovered later that the locals called K1 Masherbrum (the 22nd highest mountain in the world), but the remote K2 had no local name that he could find, so it was christened Mount Godwin-Austen. This name was rejected by the Royal Geographic Society although it does still appear on some maps. So, the most common name used is K2, that original notation in a surveyor’s notebook.

7 They’ll help you pass on impulses : SYNAPSES

A synapse is a junction between a nerve cell and another cell over which an electrical or chemical signal can pass.

9 Left at sea : APORT

The left side of a ship used to be called the “larboard” side, but this was dropped in favor of “port” as the pronunciation of “larboard” was easily confused with “starboard”, the right side of the vessel. The term “port” was chosen as it was customary to dock a ship, for loading in port, with the left side of the vessel against the dock.

10 Drip locale: Abbr. : HOSP

One might see an intravenous drip (IV) in an intensive care unit (ICU), operating room (OR) or emergency room (ER).

14 ___ Gibson, first African American to win a Grand Slam title : ALTHEA

Althea Gibson was known as “the Jackie Robinson of tennis” as she broke the “color barrier” and became the first African-American woman to win a Grand Slam title, in France in 1956. She was quite the athlete and was a great golfer as well as a great tennis player. She was the first African-American woman to play in the Ladies PGA tour, although she never had a win. Outside of sport, she sang a little and recorded an album, and even appeared in a movie (“The Horse Soldiers”) with John Wayne and William Holden. Sadly, towards the end of her life she ended up destitute and on welfare. When her plight was made known in a tennis magazine, well-wishers from all over the world sent her gifts of money, a total of nearly one million dollars. Quite a story …

20 Holiday dish with lots of stuffing? : TURDUCKEN

Turducken is a dish that is sometimes served at Thanksgiving. It is a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck stuffed into a deboned turkey. You can also try a gooducken, which is a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a goose.

21 “I saw ___, he saw me” (classic tongue twister line) : ESAU

I saw Esau, he saw me.
I saw Esau, sitting on a see-saw,
I saw Esau, he saw me.
I saw Esau, he saw me, and she saw I saw Esau.
How many S’s in that?

24 E-signature holder, maybe : PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications and platforms, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

25 Cable network with a rhyming name : SYFY

Syfy is a cable television channel that used to be known as the “Sci-Fi Channel”, which of course specializes in broadcasting science fiction shows. The brand name “Syfy” was chosen because “Syfy” could be trademarked whereas the generic term “sci-fi” could not.

27 Lead-in to Clean : OXI-

OxiClean is a bleaching agent and cleaner that was famously marketed using infomercials that featured the late Billy Mays.

32 Director Wiseman : LEN

Len Wiseman is a movie director best known for the films “Live Free or Die Hard” (2007) and “Total Recall” (2012). Wiseman is married to English actress Kate Beckinsale.

33 Part of a contingency plan : RAIN DATE

A rain date is an alternative date scheduled if an event is postponed due to rain.

35 GPS component: Abbr. : SYS

Global positioning system (GPS)

39 Common attachments to lanyards : ID TAGS

Identity document (ID)

41 Key rings? : ATOLLS

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring that encloses a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically, an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside inside the circling coral reef.

A key (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida “Keys”. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

42 Kind of rabbit : ANGORA

Angora wool comes from the Angora rabbit. On the other hand, the Angora goat produces the wool known as mohair. Both rabbit and goat are named for Turkey’s capital Ankara, which was known as “Angora” in many European languages.

44 2020 N.F.L. retiree who leads all QBs in career pass completions (7,142) : BREES

Drew Brees is a quarterback who played for the San Diego Chargers before signing with the New Orleans Saints in 2006. On top of his success in the NFL, Brees was an excellent tennis player in his youth. In one competition, he actually beat a young Andy Roddick who later became the world’s number one.

45 ___ space : OUTER

The exploration and use of outer space is governed by the Outer Space Treaty that came into force in 1967. The initial signatories were the US, UK and USSR, and now 102 nations are party to the treaty. For the purposes of the treaty, outer space begins at the Kármán line, a theoretical sphere that lies at an altitude of 100km about the Earth’s sea level.

48 Posthumous Pulitzer winner of 1958 : AGEE

James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.

49 Germany’s largest urban area : RUHR

The Ruhr is a large urban area in western Germany. The area is heavily populated, and is the fifth largest urban area in the whole of Europe, after Istanbul, Moscow, London and Paris. The Ruhr became heavily industrialized due to its large deposits of coal. By 1850, the area contained nearly 300 operating coal mines. Any coal deposits remaining in the area today are too expensive to exploit.

53 Org. with a pedigree registry : AKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the organization that handles registration of purebred dogs The AKC also promotes dog shows around the country, including the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Exercises with squat thrusts and jumps : BURPEES
8 Literally, “great soul” : MAHATMA
15 Auto parts giant : O’REILLY
16 Momentous : EPOCHAL
17 Certain sidekicks : WINGMEN
18 Writing letters, it’s said : LOST ART
19 Short spiel : ELEVATOR PITCH
21 Part of a fancy table setting : EWER
22 Defer for now : PUNT
23 Tee follower : -HEE
24 Its highest score is 1520 : PSAT
25 The Baltics, once: Abbr. : SSRS
26 “There you go!” : VOILA!
28 Light touch : DAB
29 Unnatural, in a way : DYED
30 Phone hotline? : SEXT
31 Unpredictable : FULL OF SURPRISES
36 Start of some decision-making : EENY …
37 “I Am ___,” onetime spinoff of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” : CAIT
38 Rugby equivalent of a touchdown : TRY
39 ___ Neuwirth (jeweler) : IRENE
41 Related : AKIN
42 Indicators of enlightenment : AHAS
43 Study : DEN
44 Apt bingo call to lose on, by the sound of it? : B-TEN
45 Low notes : ONES
46 Program that a 2011 global commission officially declared a failure, 40 years after its launch : THE WAR ON DRUGS
50 Synthetic material also called frozen smoke : AEROGEL
51 Disneyland attraction with a racetrack : AUTOPIA
54 A comedy of errors? : GAG REEL
55 Actor in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, familiarly : THE ROCK
56 Trickery : SLYNESS
57 Unpredictable : ERRATIC

Down

1 Bit of Christmas morning detritus : BOW
2 Sch. in the Atlantic 10 Conference : URI
3 What sunlight and wind provide : RENEWABLE ENERGY
4 Oinkling? : PIGLET
5 “Patchwork elephant” of children’s literature : ELMER
6 K2 fig. : ELEV
7 They’ll help you pass on impulses : SYNAPSES
8 Noggins : MELONS
9 Left at sea : APORT
10 Drip locale: Abbr. : HOSP
11 It’s a start : ACT I
12 “Ahhhh!” : THAT HITS THE SPOT!
13 Give waves to with a curling iron, once : MARCEL
14 ___ Gibson, first African American to win a Grand Slam title : ALTHEA
20 Holiday dish with lots of stuffing? : TURDUCKEN
21 “I saw ___, he saw me” (classic tongue twister line) : ESAU
24 E-signature holder, maybe : PDF
25 Cable network with a rhyming name : SYFY
26 Couleur du brocoli : VERT
27 Lead-in to Clean : OXI-
29 Worker’s cry of triumph : DONE!
30 Go around : SPIN
32 Director Wiseman : LEN
33 Part of a contingency plan : RAIN DATE
34 Special times : ERAS
35 GPS component: Abbr. : SYS
39 Common attachments to lanyards : ID TAGS
40 Get better again : REHEAL
41 Key rings? : ATOLLS
42 Kind of rabbit : ANGORA
44 2020 N.F.L. retiree who leads all QBs in career pass completions (7,142) : BREES
45 ___ space : OUTER
47 Tired : WORN
48 Posthumous Pulitzer winner of 1958 : AGEE
49 Germany’s largest urban area : RUHR
52 Opposite of là : ICI
53 Org. with a pedigree registry : AKC

11 thoughts on “0821-21 NY Times Crossword 21 Aug 21, Saturday”

  1. 10:43; pretty fast for a Saturday for me. RENEWABLE ENERGY and ELEVATOR PITCH came right to me, which helped immensely.

  2. 35:10 you don’t want to know how many times I said “B Ten” out loud to myself to figure out how it answered the clue….

    1. I said BTEN once but I thought BTWO – as in “come in second”. When I finally got BTEN I had to smack my forehead. Otherwise I was 23:16. Never heard of ELEVATORPITCH, more like the “view from 30,000 ft.” as a quick and dirty presentation. Also thought it was interesting to have ELEV cross ELEVATOR.

  3. 30:32 with two peeks. Lately I’ve been pretty impatient with Friday and Saturday solves. Sorta quick to give up. This time I got everything but the NW corner before I needed help.

  4. 22:12 after another annoying kerfuffle of my own making. When I “finished”, I was unsure of the letters at the various intersections of “BURPEES”, “O’REILLY”, “PIGLET”, and “ELMER”, none of which I was completely sure of. So I used Google to see what I had done wrong, only to find that all my guesses in that area were correct. Only then did I realize that I had put in “AEROSOL” instead of “AEROGEL” and, once again, neglected to check the crossing entries.

    I wish the online app would make it as easy for me to check crossing entries as my old pen-and-paper techniques do … 😳.

    But … no doubt I will nurse my wounded ego and live to face another puzzle … 😜.

  5. 32:07. Basically the same time as Bill as long as you only count every other second I worked on it. I was wide awake doing this one, but I didn’t find the success I did yesterday. I guess I’ll have to come up with a different excuse.

    For 3D I wanted to put unreliABLE ENERGY, but it didn’t fit. Anyone who depends on those forms of energy exclusively will attest to that.

    So I guess paradoxically you could coin the term RUHRal to mean large and urban – i.e. the opposite of “rural”?

    Best –

  6. Not bad for a saturday. Took a while but finished in fine fashion..
    Learned the French word or GREEN,…. VERT!
    Couple of other words I never heard of!!! BURPEES and MARCEL

  7. 25:48, no errors. Fortunately, it is a beautiful, sunny day; gave me the patience to work through this. Fell into several rabbit holes. The last six letters of TURDUCKEN would allow some kind of TURKEY, which was my initial guess. Entered LAT (latitude) in 35D and TAP before DAB in 28A.

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