0828-21 NY Times Crossword 28 Aug 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Julian Lim
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 20m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Divine instrument? : TAROT CARD

Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.

10 Symbol for stock volatility, in finance : SIGMA

Sigma is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is the one used for an “ess” sound, equivalent to our letter S. Sigma is used in mathematics to represent a summation, the adding together of a sequence of numbers.

16 The chloride in sodium chloride, e.g. : ANION

As we all recall from science class, a positive ion is called a cation and a negative ion is an anion. The names “cation” and “anion” come from Greek, with “kation” meaning “going down” and “anion” meaning “going up”.

Sodium chloride (NaCl, common salt) is an ionic compound. It comprises a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl-) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na+) ions in between the chlorides.

18 One might be down for a nap : DUVET

A duvet is a large flat bag that is filled with down feathers or a synthetic substitute that is used as a top cover for a bed. Although a duvet is similar to what is called a “comforter” in the US, there is a difference. A duvet is often has an easily removed cover that is usually laundered at the same time as the bottom sheet and pillowcases. We use them a lot in Europe, and generally without a top sheet due to the ease of laundering.

20 South Beach and others : FAD DIETS

The fad diet known as the South Beach Diet was developed in the mid-nineties by Dr. Arthur Agatston as the Modified Carbohydrate Diet. Agatston later named it for the South Beach neighborhood in Miami Beach, which was close to his practice. The diet really took off after Agatston published his “The South Beach Diet” book in 2003.

25 Noted Hungarian-born conductor : SOLTI

Sir Georg Solti was a great Hungarian-British conductor, who spent 22 years as music director of the Chicago Symphony, one of many prestigious positions he held in the world of classical music and opera. Solti was awarded 31 Grammy Awards, the most won by any individual in any genre of music. I think it’s kind of cool that Solti’s name comprises two notes in the solfa scale: sol-ti …

26 “Bridge of Spies” co-star, 2015 : ALAN ALDA

“Bridge of Spies” is a 2015 historical thriller directed by Steven Spielberg and starring his friend Tom Hanks. The story is all about the arrest and trial of U-2 pilot Gary Powers, who was shot down over the Soviet Union while on a spying mission for the CIA. Hanks plays lawyer James B. Donovan, the lawyer who negotiates Powers’ release. Powers was actually exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, with the exchange taking place at the bridge connecting Potsdam with Berlin, the “Bridge of Spies”.

36 Spam might be kept in it : TIN

Spam is a precooked meat product that is sold in cans. It was introduced by Hormel Foods in 1937. The main meat ingredients are pork shoulder meat and ham. The name “Spam” was chosen as the result of a competition at Hormel, with the winner earning himself a hundred dollars. According to the company, the derivation of the name “Spam” is a secret known by only a few former executives, but the speculation is that it stands for “spiced ham” or “shoulders of pork and ham”. Spam is particularly popular in Hawaii, so popular that it is sometimes referred to as “the Hawaiian steak”.

42 Round trip for one? : SOLO HOMER

That would be baseball.

43 Sarcastic remark to a slowpoke : NO RUSH

Back in the early 1800s, a “poke” was a device attached to domestic animals such as pigs or sheep to keep them from escaping their enclosures. The poke was like a yoke with a pole, and slowed the animal down, hence the term “slowpoke”.

47 “When restraint and ___ are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible”: Gandhi : COURTESY

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.

51 Battle with trolls, say : FLAME WAR

“To flame” is an informal term used in Internet circles and means “to inflame”, to incite anger, to make insulting criticisms or remarks.

In Internet terms, a troll is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response. I must admit to feeling sorry for people who have such sad lives …

54 A barrier to entry : STILE

A stile is a structure allowing people to pass over or through a fence, while at the same time preventing livestock from escaping. The derivative term “turnstile” describes a revolving structure in a wall or fence that allows the controlled passage of people.

59 Like many scenes of the artist Jean-François Millet : RURAL

Jean-François Millet was a French painter of the Barbizon school who is famous for his depictions of peasant farming. I’ve had the privilege of viewing some of his paintings in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris a few times. Millet spent much of his time painting in the countryside surrounding Barbizon, where he lived in France. Millet’s most celebrated work is called “The Gleaners”, which depicts poor women taking advantage of their centuries-old right to remove the bits of grain left in the fields following the harvest.

60 “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” feature : DARK HUMOR

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” was released as a movie in 1975, and was a great success. Some thirty years later the film’s storyline was used as inspiration for the hit musical “Spamalot”. I saw “Spamalot” on stage not that long ago and wasn’t that impressed. But, mine was very much a minority opinion …

63 Preceder of many a play’s climax : ACT IV

Shakespeare adopted the five-act structure for most of his plays, thereby using the same format that was used by Seneca for his Roman tragedies. Given five acts, the plays tend to unfold as follows:

  • Act I is used as an introduction
  • Act II is used to complicate things
  • Act III contains the climax of the tale
  • Act IV is used to add some suspense
  • Act V is the conclusion

65 Country singer Crystal : GAYLE

Country singer Crystal Gayle is perhaps best known for her 1977 hit song “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”. She is also well known for the length of hair, which almost reaches the ground as she is standing. Another claim to fame for Ms. Gayle is that she is the younger sister of fellow singer Loretta Lynn.

66 Whom Rodin called “the colossus of art” : REMBRANDT

The celebrated Dutch painter’s full name was Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (sometimes “Ryn”). Rembrandt is perhaps most appreciated for his portraits, and left the world a remarkable collection of self-portraits.

Auguste Rodin was a French sculptor who was known for realistic representations of the human form. Two of Rodin’s most famous works started out as details from a larger work called “The Gates of Hell”. One of these details is “The Thinker”, and the other “The Kiss”.

Down

1 Long shot, informally : TREY

A trey is a three in a deck of cards. The term “trey” can also be used for a domino with three pips, and even for a three-point play in basketball.

6 Rival of the 62-Down : CIA
(62 “Bridge of Spies” org. : KGB)

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII. The CIA was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947. The organization is often referred to familiarly as “the Company”.

7 Big inits. in security : ADT

ADT is a home and small-business security company based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company was founded back in 1874 by Edward Calahan. Calahan invented the stock ticker several years earlier, and ran the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company. Calahan was awoken one morning by the sound of a burglar in his house, and so he decided to develop a telegraph-based security alarm system. The success of the system led to the founding of American District Telegraph, later known as ADT.

11 Greenland residents : INUITS

The Inuit people live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.

Greenland is the largest island on the planet. Geographically, Greenland is part of the continent of North America, but culturally and politically is considered part of Europe. The island became a Danish colony in 1815, and joined the European Economic Community (EEC) with Denmark. Greenland withdrew from the EEC after a referendum in 1983. Since 2009, Greenland has been relatively autonomous, with the Danish government retaining control of foreign affairs, defence and the judicial system.

13 Popular brand on New Year’s Eve, informally : MOET

Moët & Chandon is a French winery, and one of the world’s largest producers of champagne. The company was founded by wine trader Claude Moët in 1743. The name was changed to Moët & Chandon in the 1830s when Pierre-Gabriel Chandon, an in-law to the Moët family, was given co-ownership. Moët & Chandon owns the famous Dom Pérignon brand name, honoring the Benedictine monk who did so much to improve the quality of champagne.

14 Myrmecophobe’s fear : ANTS

Myrmecology is the study of ants. The term “myrmecology” derives from the Greek “myrmex” meaning “ant”.

21 It has daily openings, with “the” : … DOW

Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company’s most famous publication has to be “The Wall Street Journal”. In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day. The most famous of these metrics is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), also known as “the Dow 30” or simply “the Dow”.

23 Western city on the Humboldt River : ELKO

The city of Elko, Nevada came into being in 1868 as a settlement built around the eastern end of a railway line that was constructed from California and that was destined for Utah. When that section of the line was completed, the construction crews moved on towards the Nevada/Utah border, and the settlement was left behind to eventually form the city of Elko

The Humboldt River in northern Nevada never makes it to the ocean. Rather, it empties into the Humboldt Sink, a dry lake located about 50 miles northeast of Reno. Eventually named for German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, the river had many names in the past , including “Unknown River”, “Paul’s River”, “Mary’s River”, “Swampy River”, “Barren River” and “Ogden River”.

24 Info tracked on Google Docs : EDITS

Google Docs is a word processing application that is part of the Google Drive suite of services. In fact, I am typing this blog post right now in Google Docs.

26 Animal personification of Christ, in fiction : ASLAN

In the C. S. Lewis series of books known as “The Chronicles of Narnia”, Aslan is the name of the lion character (as in the title “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). “Aslan” is actually the Turkish word for lion. Anyone who has read the books will recognize the remarkable similarity between the story of Aslan and the story of Christ, including a sacrifice and resurrection.

30 Opposite of standing : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and disbanded after making its final report.

49 Flamingo, e.g. : WADER

The name “flamingo” comes from the Greek word for “purple wing”. The flamingo’s pink or reddish color comes from the bird’s diet, and in particular the pigments ingested from animal and plant sources.

51 Grenade, in video games : FRAG

Fragmentation grenade (frag).

Our word “grenade”, used for a small explosive missile, came via French from the word for the pomegranate fruit. The name reflects the similarity between the seed-filled fruit and the powder-filled, fragmentation bomb.

53 Word with earth or bird : RARE …

Rare earth elements are so called because they are rarely found in mineral form in a sufficient concentration for exploitation.

58 Long ago, long ago : ERST

“Erst” is an archaic way of saying “formerly, before the present time”. The term is mostly seen as part of the word “erstwhile”, an adjective meaning “of times past”.

61 Data storage acronym : ROM

Read-only memory (ROM)

62 “Bridge of Spies” org. : KGB

The “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti” (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Divine instrument? : TAROT CARD
10 Symbol for stock volatility, in finance : SIGMA
15 General estimate : ROUGH IDEA
16 The chloride in sodium chloride, e.g. : ANION
17 Implored : ENTREATED
18 One might be down for a nap : DUVET
19 Column on a survey : YESES
20 South Beach and others : FAD DIETS
22 With 46-Down, farm sound : HEE-
25 Noted Hungarian-born conductor : SOLTI
26 “Bridge of Spies” co-star, 2015 : ALAN ALDA
31 It abuts Santa Monica, for short : WEST LA
34 Mag whose first cover featured Michael Jordan and two young fans : SI FOR KIDS
36 Spam might be kept in it : TIN
37 “Ready for action!” : LET’S DO THIS THING!
41 Put away : ATE
42 Round trip for one? : SOLO HOMER
43 Sarcastic remark to a slowpoke : NO RUSH
47 “When restraint and ___ are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible”: Gandhi : COURTESY
48 “My eye!” : PSHAW!
50 Day ___ : SPA
51 Battle with trolls, say : FLAME WAR
54 A barrier to entry : STILE
59 Like many scenes of the artist Jean-François Millet : RURAL
60 “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” feature : DARK HUMOR
63 Preceder of many a play’s climax : ACT IV
64 Kind of zone : EROGENOUS
65 Country singer Crystal : GAYLE
66 Whom Rodin called “the colossus of art” : REMBRANDT

Down

1 Long shot, informally : TREY
2 Prime : A-ONE
3 Pattern of monotony : RUTS
4 Folk tale figure : OGRE
5 U.K.’s tallest building, named for its look : THE SHARD
6 Rival of the 62-Down : CIA
7 Big inits. in security : ADT
8 Area with lots of schools : REEF
9 Pops : DADAS
10 Burden : SADDLE
11 Greenland residents : INUITS
12 “Be patient” : GIVE IT TIME
13 Popular brand on New Year’s Eve, informally : MOET
14 Myrmecophobe’s fear : ANTS
21 It has daily openings, with “the” : … DOW
23 Western city on the Humboldt River : ELKO
24 Info tracked on Google Docs : EDITS
26 Animal personification of Christ, in fiction : ASLAN
27 Trick, in a way : LIE TO
28 Where to see stars late at night? : AFTER PARTY
29 Some are natural: Abbr. : NOS
30 Opposite of standing : AD HOC
32 Stage set? : LINES
33 Steaming : ANGRY
35 Isolates (oneself) : SILOS
38 Stock holder : SOUP
39 Violent-sounding songbird : THRASHER
40 Steaming : HOT
44 Letters on a box with letters : US MAIL
45 Put away : SHELVE
46 See 22-Across : -HAW
49 Flamingo, e.g. : WADER
51 Grenade, in video games : FRAG
52 Title hero of a 2021 Pixar film : LUCA
53 Word with earth or bird : RARE …
55 “… piano, but you can’t ___ fish” (classic joke punch line) : TUNA
56 Performer’s “Wish me luck!” : I’M ON!
57 Like neon colors : LOUD
58 Long ago, long ago : ERST
61 Data storage acronym : ROM
62 “Bridge of Spies” org. : KGB

7 thoughts on “0828-21 NY Times Crossword 28 Aug 21, Saturday”

  1. DNF After 35 minutes and reasonably sure of only a third of what I had filled in and at least another third completely blank I started looking stuff up. Even though there were lots of clues, I didn’t have a clue. 🙁

  2. 39:03. Nice challenge today and was finally able to conquer this one. All puzzles should be like this. I haven’t seen this setter in a while, but his puzzles are always challenging. This one did not disappoint.

    I remember learning the same Shakespearean sequence of acts Bill lists. Of course it has the climax at ACT III so I put ACT II initially for 63A . ACT IV comes AFTER the climax, not before it.

    Best –

  3. 29:05, no errors. It took me a long time to get started and I paused more than once, but finally got it done. (In my log, I wrote the word “OOF” next to my time for it … 😳😜🤪.)

  4. DNF Just too many answers beyond my pay grade. I agree with Bill regarding Spamalot, I left disappointed and unimpressed. Seemed like just a reinactment of Holy Grail and bits from the shows, nothing new.

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