0913-21 NY Times Crossword 13 Sep 21, Monday

Constructed by: A. Tariq
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) Unexpected Groups

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as GROUPS of similar people:

  • 17A Group of Washington politicians? : HOUSE PARTY
  • 29A Group of diamond jewelry wearers? : ICE PACK
  • 47A Group of profoundly insightful people? : DEEP SET
  • 61A Group of big rig haulers? : SEMI CIRCLE

Bill’s time: 5m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Successors of VHS tapes : DVDS

The abbreviation “DVD” doesn’t actually stand for anything these days, although it was originally short for “digital video disk”. The use of the word “video” was dropped as DVDs started to be used for storing a lot more than video. As a result, some folks assign the phrase “digital versatile disk” to “DVD”.

The VHS video standard is more fully referred to as the Video Home System. VHS was one of many standards touted by various manufacturers in the seventies. The biggest rival to VHS was Betamax, but we all knew which of the two standards won the final round in that fight.

15 Leonardo da Vinci’s “___ Lisa” : MONA

Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece that we know in English as the “Mona Lisa” is called “La Gioconda” in Italian, the language of the artist. It’s also known as “La Joconde” by the Government of France which owns the painting and displays it in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The title comes from the name of the subject, almost certainly Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Giocondo was a wealthy silk merchant in Florence who commissioned the painting for the couple’s new home to celebrate the birth of their second son.

Leonardo da Vinci was perhaps the most diversely talented person who ever contributed to society. He was a gifted painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer and writer. Da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper” is the most reproduced work of art in the world.

17 Group of Washington politicians? : HOUSE PARTY

The number of seats in the US House of Representatives has been 435 since the year 1913, although there was a temporary increase to 437 seats at the time of the admission of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union. The number of representatives assigned to each state is proportional to that state’s population, except that each state is guaranteed a minimum of one delegate by the US Constitution.

19 Turkish title of honor : AGHA

“Aga” (also “agha”) is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

20 C.I.A. forerunner : OSS

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

21 Old MacDonald had one : FARM

There was an old American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O) that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the older US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

22 Bakery items that may come with lox and cream cheese : BAGELS

Lox is a brine-cured salmon fillet that is finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.

29 Group of diamond jewelry wearers? : ICE PACK

“Ice” and “rocks” are slang terms meaning “diamonds”.

33 State whose flag, with eight gold stars in the shape of the Big Dipper, was designed by a 13-year-old : ALASKA

Seven stars on the flag of the state of Alaska form the pattern of stars known as the Big Dipper, which is found in the constellation of Ursa Major. Ursa Major (Big Bear) symbolizes an animal that is indigenous to Alaska. The eighth star on the flag represents Polaris, the North Star. The arrangement of the stars on the flag roughly represents the arrangement of the stars in the night sky.

36 Title word sung 52 times in a 2000 hit by ‘N Sync : BYE

“Bye Bye Bye” is a 2000 hit song recorded by the boy band NSYNC. It was originally written for another boy band, the English group 5ive, but they passed on it.

40 Italian city known as a fashion hub : MILAN

Milan (“Milano” in Italian) is Italy’s second-largest city, second only to Rome. Milan is a European fashion capital, the headquarters for the big Italian fashion houses of Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Armani, Prada and others. Mario Prada was even born in Milan, and helped establish the city’s reputation in the world of fashion.

46 Millennials, informally : GEN Y

The Millennial Generation are sometimes referred to as “Generation Y” (Gen-Y). Millennials were born after the “Gen-Xers”, from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

49 Major Ukrainian port known as the “Pearl of the Black Sea” : ODESSA

The city of Odessa (also “Odesa”) in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa” and so went with the less Greek-sounding name.

52 Cruise ship : LINER

The use of the word “line” with reference to transportation started in the 1780s, in the context of stagecoaches. Such transportation operated a string of stagecoaches between towns and cities along regular “lines”. The concept shifted to shipping “lines” operating ocean-going “liners” between ports.

61 Group of big rig haulers? : SEMI CIRCLE

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

64 Artist Vincent van ___ : GOGH

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who seems to have had a very tortured existence. Van Gogh only painted for the last ten years of his life, and enjoyed very little celebrity while alive. Today many of his works are easily recognized, and fetch staggering sums in auction houses. Van Gogh suffered from severe depression for many of his final years. When he was only 37, he walked into a field with a revolver and shot himself in the chest. He managed to drag himself back to the inn where he was staying but died there two days later.

69 Vehicles that might have bars and minifridges inside : LIMOS

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

Down

1 Manhattan neighborhood above Canal Street : SOHO

The Manhattan neighborhood known today as SoHo was very fashionable in the early 1900s, but as the well-heeled started to move uptown the area became very run down and poorly maintained. Noted for the number of fires that erupted in derelict buildings, SoHo earned the nickname “Hell’s Hundred Acres”. The area was then zoned for manufacturing and became home to many sweatshops. In the mid-1900s artists started to move into open loft spaces and renovating old buildings as the lofts were ideal locations in which an artist could both live and work. In 1968, artists and others organized themselves so that they could legalize their residential use of an area zoned for manufacturing. The group they formed took its name from the name given to the area by the city’s Planning Commission i.e “South of Houston”. This was shortened from So-uth of Ho-uston to SoHo as in “SoHo Artists Association”, and the name stuck.

8 Tiny hill dweller : ANT

Anthills are actually underground nests. The ants in the colony excavate below ground, resulting in a pile of sand or soil above ground.

12 Roald who wrote “James and the Giant Peach” : DAHL

Roald Dahl’s name is Norwegian. Dahl’s parents were from Norway, although Dahl himself was Welsh. Dahl became one of the most successful authors of the twentieth century. Two of his most famous titles are “James and the Giant Peach” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

“James and the Giant Peach” is a 1961 children’s novel by British author Roald Dahl. The title character is a young orphan who enters into a surreal world inside a huge, magical peach.

18 Angel hair or penne : PASTA

Capellini is a pasta that is like thin spaghetti. An even thinner version of the pasta is known as “capelli d’angelo”, which translates as “angel hair”.

The pasta known as penne comes in two main types, i.e. penne lisce (which is smooth) and penne rigate (which is furrowed).

23 Crosswise, to a sailor : ABEAM

The beam is the widest part of a nautical vessel. Something pointed out as lying “abeam” is something that is 90 degrees from a line through the bow and the stern, in other words directly off to the right or the left.

24 Baked Italian dish : ZITI

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

28 Mixed bag : HODGEPODGE

“Hochepot” is an Old French word for stew or soup, and this gave rise to an Anglo-French legal term for a collection of property that was gathered prior to being divided up. This became our “hodgepodge” in the early 1400s.

30 Shades of blue used in print cartridges : CYANS

“Cyan” is short for “cyan blue”. The term comes from the Greek word “kyanos” meaning “dark blue, the color of lapis lazuli”.

Four-color printing uses four different color inks: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The black ink is also known as the “key”. The first letter of the colors (with black being ”key”) give the more common name for four-color printing, namely CMYK.

31 Country that celebrated Obama Day in 2008 : KENYA

President Obama’s first name Barack is Swahili with roots in an old Arabic word meaning “blessed”. Barack was the President’s father’s name. President Obama’s middle name is Hussein, an Arabic word meaning “good” or “handsome one”. Hussein was the name of the President’s grandfather on the paternal side. His surname, Obama, doesn’t really have a translation, but is common among the Luo tribe of Kenya.

38 German city in the Ruhr Valley : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

41 Longtime Disney chief Bob : 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.

45 ___ boom (plane effect) : SONIC

As a plane flies through the air, it creates pressure waves in front (and behind) rather like the bow and stern waves of a boat. These pressure waves travel at the speed of sound, so as an aircraft itself accelerates towards the speed of sound it catches up with the pressure waves until they cannot “get out of the way”. When the aircraft reaches the speed of sound, the compressed waves merge into one single shock wave, creating a sonic boom.

54 Jason’s ship, in Greek myth : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts set sail on the Argo from the city of Iolcos in search of the Golden Fleece. Jason’s vessel was called the “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

55 Corner chess piece : ROOK

The corner piece in the game of chess is called a “rook”, a word coming from the Persian “rokh” meaning a “chariot”. The rook has also been called, perhaps incorrectly, the castle, tower, marquess and rector.

58 Intermediate choir voice : ALTO

In choral music, an alto (plural “alti”) is the second-highest voice in a four-part chorus made up of soprano, contr(alto), tenor and bass. The word “alto” describes the vocal range, that of the deepest female singing-voice, whereas the term “contralto” describes more than just the alto range, but also its quality and timbre. An adult male’s voice (not a boy’s) with the same range as an alto is called a “countertenor”.

62 Relative of an ostrich : EMU

Even though emu meat is classified as a red meat because of its color, it has a fat content that is comparable to other poultry.

63 Slugger’s stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Walk heavily : STOMP
6 Face ___ (app that creates bizarre photos) : SWAP
10 Successors of VHS tapes : DVDS
14 Deed holder : OWNER
15 Leonardo da Vinci’s “___ Lisa” : MONA
16 Collect, as profits : REAP
17 Group of Washington politicians? : HOUSE PARTY
19 Turkish title of honor : AGHA
20 C.I.A. forerunner : OSS
21 Old MacDonald had one : FARM
22 Bakery items that may come with lox and cream cheese : BAGELS
24 Lemon twists, e.g. : ZESTS
25 Border on : ABUT
26 Bit of attire that may have a slogan on it : T-SHIRT
29 Group of diamond jewelry wearers? : ICE PACK
32 Hilarious person : RIOT
33 State whose flag, with eight gold stars in the shape of the Big Dipper, was designed by a 13-year-old : ALASKA
36 Title word sung 52 times in a 2000 hit by ‘N Sync : BYE
37 Nonmainstream, as music : INDIE
39 De-squeak : OIL
40 Italian city known as a fashion hub : MILAN
42 Sunny-side-up item : EGG
43 Coastlines : SHORES
46 Millennials, informally : GEN Y
47 Group of profoundly insightful people? : DEEP SET
49 Major Ukrainian port known as the “Pearl of the Black Sea” : ODESSA
51 Urgent request : PLEA
52 Cruise ship : LINER
54 About : AROUND
56 “You lose” : I WIN
57 Modeled, as for a portrait : SAT
60 Fishing sticks : RODS
61 Group of big rig haulers? : SEMI CIRCLE
64 Artist Vincent van ___ : GOGH
65 Baseball officials, for short : UMPS
66 Subside : ABATE
67 “___ doke!” : OKEY
68 Instruction on a door : PUSH
69 Vehicles that might have bars and minifridges inside : LIMOS

Down

1 Manhattan neighborhood above Canal Street : SOHO
2 Lowest pair in poker : TWOS
3 Burden : ONUS
4 ___ amis (my friends: Fr.) : MES
5 Rather have : PREFER
6 Intelligent : SMART
7 Rewards for early birds : WORMS
8 Tiny hill dweller : ANT
9 Revenge : PAYBACK
10 Bring back, as a bad memory : DRAG UP
11 “Eat your ___!” (parent’s order) : VEGETABLES
12 Roald who wrote “James and the Giant Peach” : DAHL
13 Pampering places : SPAS
18 Angel hair or penne : PASTA
23 Crosswise, to a sailor : ABEAM
24 Baked Italian dish : ZITI
26 Made an attempt : TRIED
27 Lightly burn : SINGE
28 Mixed bag : HODGEPODGE
29 Spot of land in the ocean : ISLE
30 Shades of blue used in print cartridges : CYANS
31 Country that celebrated Obama Day in 2008 : KENYA
34 Pirate’s treasure : LOOT
35 Broadcast : AIR
38 German city in the Ruhr Valley : ESSEN
41 Longtime Disney chief Bob : IGER
44 “Careful!” : HEADS UP!
45 ___ boom (plane effect) : SONIC
48 Soft toy : PLUSHY
50 Turndown : DENIAL
52 Walks with some difficulty : LIMPS
53 “If only that were true …” : I WISH …
54 Jason’s ship, in Greek myth : ARGO
55 Corner chess piece : ROOK
57 Con job : SCAM
58 Intermediate choir voice : ALTO
59 Golfer’s bagful : TEES
62 Relative of an ostrich : EMU
63 Slugger’s stat : RBI

4 thoughts on “0913-21 NY Times Crossword 13 Sep 21, Monday”

  1. 5:24 No issues. Seems like the clue for 33A would be a Fri/Sat type clue, but all the crosses are normal Mon/Tues clues, so no problem. Good bit of trivia to know regarding Alaska.

  2. 6:09. It’s already Monday? Whatever happened to the weekend?

    When I first learned to play chess as a kid, I called a ROOK a castle because it sure looks more like a castle than a chariot. My father always corrected me though.

    …and if you want to see what happens when those pressure waves can’t get out of the way and create a SONIC boom:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWGLAAYdbbc

    That video definitely registers very high on the “cool” scale

    Best –

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