0824-21 NY Times Crossword 24 Aug 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Jessie Bullock & Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s) I Can Show You the World

Themed answers are where I CAN SHOW YOU “THE WORLD”:

  • 32A With 39- and 44-Across, promise that Aladdin sings to Jasmine (and a hint to the answers to the starred clues) : I CAN SHOW …
  • 39A See 32-Across : … YOU …
  • 44A See 32-Across : … THE WORLD
  • 17A *Miniaturized reference : POCKET ATLAS
  • 60A *Iconic photograph taken by Voyager 1 at the request of Carl Sagan : PALE BLUE DOT
  • 11D *Computer program that blurs out military installations : GOOGLE EARTH
  • 23D *Facility where things are always looking up? : PLANETARIUM

Bill’s time: 7m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Bath powders : TALCS

Talc is a mineral, hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” is also made from cornstarch.

11 Mean marks, for short? : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

In a set of numbers, the mean is the average value of those numbers. The median is the numeric value at which half the numbers have a lower value, and half the numbers a higher value. The mode is the value that appears most often in the whole set of numbers.

15 Santa ___, Calif. : CLARA

The Santa Clara Valley, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.

17 *Miniaturized reference : POCKET ATLAS

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas” that is used for a book of maps.

24 Tree with durable wood : RED ELM

The slippery elm is a species of elm native to North America that is also known as the Red Elm. The inner bark of the slippery elm can be used in a medicinal tea. Elm bark tea is said to ease a sore throat or irritated stomach.

26 Class for some immigrants, in brief : ESL

English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

28 Late-blooming flower : ASTER

Apparently, most aster species and cultivars bloom relatively late in the year, usually in the fall. The name “aster” comes into English via Latin from the Greek word “astéri” meaning “star”, a reference to the arrangement of the petals of the flower.

31 “The Matrix” protagonist : NEO

The 1999 movie sensation “The Matrix” was meant to be set in a nondescript urban environment. It was actually shot in Australia, as one of the co-producers of the film was the Australian company, Village Roadshow Pictures. You can pick up all sorts of clues about the location when watching the film, including a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge in a background shot. Also, traffic drives along on the left and there are signs for the “lift” instead of an “elevator”.

32 With 39- and 44-Across, promise that Aladdin sings to Jasmine (and a hint to the answers to the starred clues) : I CAN SHOW …
39 See 32-Across : … YOU …
44 See 32-Across : … THE WORLD

The Disney animated feature “Aladdin” was released in 1992. It is one of the best movies to come out of the studio, in my opinion, largely due to the great performance by Robin Williams who voiced the Genie. “Aladdin” was the most successful film of 1992, earning over $500 million worldwide, an unusual feat for an animated movie.

35 Single-celled creature : AMOEBA

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

38 Went too long, as a sentence : RAN ON

A “run-on sentence” is one in which two separate clauses are linked without appropriate conjugation. Two examples would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, I can’t finish.

More acceptable sentences would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough. I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough; I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, so I can’t finish.

49 Gossip that gets “spilled” : TEA

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

56 Separate wheat from chaff : THRESH

Years ago I was taking a tour of a beautiful Elizabethan manor house in England, and was told a little “threshing” story by the guide as we stood in one of the rooms. She reminded us that threshing was the removal of seeds from chaff, and told us that back in the day the “chaff” was sometimes called the “thresh”. Thresh would be used on the floors, particularly in the kitchen areas where it would soak up spills and provide some thermal insulation, much as sawdust was used in my favorite pubs many moons ago. She pointed to two slots at the bottom of the door jambs where she said a low board was placed upright on the floor, to “hold” the “thresh” in the room. The board was called a “thresh-hold”, giving us our contemporary word “threshold”. I am not sure if all of that is really true, but it makes a nice story …

60 *Iconic photograph taken by Voyager 1 at the request of Carl Sagan : PALE BLUE DOT

“Pale Blue Dot” is a book about the cosmos by Carl Sagan. The title of the book is taken from the famous “Pale Blue Dot” photograph taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from almost 4 million miles from the Earth. In the photo, our planet appears as a tiny “pale blue dot”. NASA had Voyager 1 take the photograph, at the request of Carl Sagan.

65 Letter before upsilon : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter that gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

66 Dish that may burn your mouth : CHILI

The spiciness or “heat” of a serving of chili is often designated by an unofficial scale ranging from one-alarm upwards.

67 Orchestra section : REEDS

A double-reed instrument is one in which two pieces of cane vibrate against each other to produce sound. In a single-reed instrument, just one piece of cane vibrates the mouthpiece. The best-known examples of double-reed instruments are the oboe and the bassoon.

68 Deli fixture with a store of bread? : ATM

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

70 “The Devil Wears ___” : PRADA

“The Devil Wears Prada” is a 2003 novel by Lauren Weisberger that is set in the fashion industry. One of the main characters in the story is Miranda Priestly, the tyrannical editor-in-chief of the fictional fashion magazine “Runway”. It has been suggested that the Priestly character was inspired by Anna Wintour, the real life editor-in-chief of “Vogue”. Weisberger’s book was adapted into a very successful film with the same title that was released in 2006, with Meryl Streep playing Priestly.

Down

3 Cousin of Inc. : LLC

A limited liability company (LLC) has a structure that limits the liability of the owner or owners. It is a hybrid structure in the sense that it can be taxed as would an individual or partnership, while also maintaining the liability protection afforded to a corporation.

4 Newswoman Roberts : COKIE

Cokie Roberts was a great journalist and author, best known for her work with National Public Radio. Ms. Roberts passed away in 2019.

5 Greta Thunberg, by nationality : SWEDE

Greta Thunberg is an environmental activist from Sweden who came to national attention in her homeland when she was just 15 years old. In 2018, she went on strike from school and paraded with placards in front of the Swedish parliament to pressure the government to take stronger action to address climate change. She then took part in demonstrations across Europe, and became a regular speaker at such events. She addressed the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit at the UN headquarters, opting to sail to New York from Sweden, rather than fly. When she was named “Time” Person of the Year in 2019 at 16 years old, Thunberg was the youngest person ever to be so honored.

6 Future doc’s exam : MCAT

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

7 Amy Winehouse, vocally : ALTO

Amy Winehouse was a much ridiculed singer from the UK, and whose life was fraught with very public bouts of drug and alcohol abuse. Winehouse’s lifestyle caught up with her in 2011 when she was found dead from alcohol poisoning. The unfortunate singer was only 27 years old when she died, which means she is now viewed as a member of the “27 Club”. This “club” is made up of famous musicians who all died at the age of 27, including Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison of the Doors, and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.

8 Coming out the ears, so to speak : GALORE

Our word “galore”, meaning “in great numbers”, comes from the Irish phrase “go leór” that translates as “sufficiently, enough”.

9 Glass of “This American Life” : IRA

Ira Glass is a well-respected presenter on American Public Radio who is perhaps best known for his show “This American Life”. I was interested to learn that one of my favorite composers, Philip Glass, is Ira’s first cousin.

10 Surveilled before a heist : CASED

The phrase “to case the joint” is American slang meaning “to examine a location with the intent of robbing it”. The origins of the phrase are apparently unknown, although it dates back at least to 1915.

11 *Computer program that blurs out military installations : GOOGLE EARTH

Google Earth is a program that maps the Earth by superimposing satellite images and aerial photographs. Google acquired the technology when it purchased Keyhole, Inc in 2004. Keyhole had been partially funded by the CIA.

12 Vehicle with Vatican City registration plates : POPEMOBILE

The popemobile is actually a whole series of vehicles used since the days of Pope John Paul II. The popemobiles used on foreign visits are often manufactured locally and then stay in the country after the visit has been concluded. The British-built popemobile used for a 2006 visit to the UK was ultimately sold for over $70,000 at auction.

Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.

18 It has its genesis in Genesis : TORAH

The Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, are traditionally believed to have been written by Moses. As such, they are sometimes referred to as the Law of Moses, or Mosaic Law. Those five books are:

  • Bereshit/Genesis
  • Shemot/Exodus
  • Vayikra/Leviticus
  • Bamidbar/Numbers
  • Devarim/Deuteronomy

22 Starting from the beginning : DE NOVO

“De novo” is Latin for “anew”, and is a term that we use in English with the same meaning.

26 Land of Blarney : EIRE

Blarney is a town in County Cork in the south of Ireland. Blarney is home to Blarney Castle, and inside the castle is the legendary Blarney Stone. “Kissing the Blarney Stone” is a ritual engaged in by many, many tourists (indeed, I’ve done it myself!), but it’s not a simple process. The stone is embedded in the wall of the castle, and in order to kiss it you have to sit on the edge of the parapet and lean way backwards so that your head is some two feet below your body. There is a staff member there to help you and make sure you don’t fall. The Blarney Stone has been labelled as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction! But once you’ve kissed it, supposedly you are endowed with the “gift of the gab”, the ability to talk eloquently and perhaps deceptively without offending. The term “blarney” has come to mean flattering and deceptive talk.

27 The Cowardly Lion, literally : SCAREDY CAT

The Cowardly Lion in L. Frank Baum’s “Land of Oz” books was portrayed by Bert Lahr in the celebrated 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”. The costume that Lahr wore in the film was made from real lion fur, and weighed a whopping 60 pounds.

29 Kind of sauce that may come in packets : SOY

Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans with a mold in the presence of water and salt. Charming …

34 ___-cone : SNO

A sno-cone (also “snow cone”) is just a paper cone filled with crushed ice and topped with flavored water. Italian ice is similar, but different. Whereas the flavoring is added on top of the ice to make a sno-cone, Italian ice is made with water that is flavored before it is frozen.

37 Alan of “The Aviator” : ALDA

“The Aviator” is a great 2004 film, and a biographical piece about much of the life of aviation pioneer Howard Hughes. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the title role, with Cate Blanchett playing a very credible Katharine Hepburn, Hughes’ lover with whom he lived for quite some time. Blanchett won a very much deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. Alan Alda received an Oscar nomination as a supporting actor, playing Senator Owen Brewster, a thorn in the side for Howard Hughes.

45 “I Love Lucy” landlady : ETHEL

In the hit television show “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Ricardos’ best friends are also their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. The Mertzes are played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

51 Org. with a staff of veterinarians : ASPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

53 Take by force : USURP

To usurp is to seize and hold by force. The term “usurp” comes to us from Latin via French, from “usus” (a use) and “rapere” (to seize).

55 Bread that can be split open to contain a filling : PITA

Pita is a lovely bread from Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Pita is usually round, and has a “pocket” in the center. The pocket is created by steam that puffs up the dough during cooking leaving a void when the bread cools.

57 Captain’s place : HELM

In its broadest sense, the term “helm” describes the whole of a ship’s steering mechanism, including the rudder and tiller. In a more specific sense, the helm is the handle, tiller or wheel that is used to control the steering gear.

58 A grand slam nets four of these, for short : RBIS

In baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with runners on all three bases, leading to a score of four runs.

62 Antinarcotic org. : DEA

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

64 A long line may be waiting for this, in brief : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bath powders : TALCS
6 Wry reply to “How’d you do that?” : MAGIC
11 Mean marks, for short? : GPA
14 Luminous : AGLOW
15 Santa ___, Calif. : CLARA
16 “That’s gotta hurt!” : OOF!
17 *Miniaturized reference : POCKET ATLAS
19 Go (for) : OPT
20 “Same here” : I DO TOO
21 Pyramids typically have eight of them : EDGES
23 ___ review : PEER
24 Tree with durable wood : RED ELM
26 Class for some immigrants, in brief : ESL
28 Late-blooming flower : ASTER
31 “The Matrix” protagonist : NEO
32 With 39- and 44-Across, promise that Aladdin sings to Jasmine (and a hint to the answers to the starred clues) : I CAN SHOW …
35 Single-celled creature : AMOEBA
38 Went too long, as a sentence : RAN ON
39 See 32-Across : … YOU …
41 Prove useful : AVAIL
42 Heretofore : ERE NOW
44 See 32-Across : … THE WORLD
46 Info texted to an airport pickup driver : ETA
47 Admission of defeat : I LOST
49 Gossip that gets “spilled” : TEA
50 Estimate from an insurance adjuster : DAMAGE
52 “Zip your lip!” : HUSH!
55 Features of some Norse funerals : PYRES
56 Separate wheat from chaff : THRESH
59 Here, in Paris : ICI
60 *Iconic photograph taken by Voyager 1 at the request of Carl Sagan : PALE BLUE DOT
65 Letter before upsilon : TAU
66 Dish that may burn your mouth : CHILI
67 Orchestra section : REEDS
68 Deli fixture with a store of bread? : ATM
69 Polite announcements of one’s presence : AHEMS
70 “The Devil Wears ___” : PRADA

Down

1 Dance genre : TAP
2 In the past : AGO
3 Cousin of Inc. : LLC
4 Newswoman Roberts : COKIE
5 Greta Thunberg, by nationality : SWEDE
6 Future doc’s exam : MCAT
7 Amy Winehouse, vocally : ALTO
8 Coming out the ears, so to speak : GALORE
9 Glass of “This American Life” : IRA
10 Surveilled before a heist : CASED
11 *Computer program that blurs out military installations : GOOGLE EARTH
12 Vehicle with Vatican City registration plates : POPEMOBILE
13 Periods just past noon, informally : AFTS
18 It has its genesis in Genesis : TORAH
22 Starting from the beginning : DE NOVO
23 *Facility where things are always looking up? : PLANETARIUM
25 Period with start and end dates : ERA
26 Land of Blarney : EIRE
27 The Cowardly Lion, literally : SCAREDY CAT
29 Kind of sauce that may come in packets : SOY
30 58 minutes past the hour : TWO TO
33 Brand X : NO-NAME
34 ___-cone : SNO
36 Gaping mouth : MAW
37 Alan of “The Aviator” : ALDA
40 Verbal stumbles : UHS
43 Locks that are picked : WIG
45 “I Love Lucy” landlady : ETHEL
48 Not disturb, as sleeping dogs : LET LIE
51 Org. with a staff of veterinarians : ASPCA
53 Take by force : USURP
54 Like many a cliff or coincidence : SHEER
55 Bread that can be split open to contain a filling : PITA
57 Captain’s place : HELM
58 A grand slam nets four of these, for short : RBIS
61 “I see now” : AHH
62 Antinarcotic org. : DEA
63 Peculiar : ODD
64 A long line may be waiting for this, in brief : TSA

11 thoughts on “0824-21 NY Times Crossword 24 Aug 21, Tuesday”

  1. 8:22 When I first tabbed thru 32A and the online page lit up all the answers that are theme related I got kind of intimidated with so much theme material. I’m not familiar with Aladdin but it all fell into place fairly quickly.

  2. 14:08. Not fast for a Tuesday, but no one is paying me to do these things..

    Interesting that POCKET ATLAS and GOOGLE EARTH are both in this puzzle. Aren’t they the same thing these days? Google Maps and a POCKET ATLAS are anyway..

    I’m going to chose to believe Bill’s “threshold” story. It’s too good not to be true.

    I met COKIE Roberts years ago in the Houston airport. Very nice woman. I had forgotten she passed a couple of years ago of breast cancer.

    Best –

  3. 7:18, no errors after several seconds trying to adjust the mechanical pencil I was using (kinda done with the old fashioned supply of those now) so I could have more lead to finish the puzzle.

  4. Decent puzzle. Mine did not have clues that were starred. I thought coming out the ears to be a poor clue for galore. Anyone use a pocket atlas nowadays?

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