0917-21 NY Times Crossword 17 Sep 21, Friday

Constructed by: Matthew Stock
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 18m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 To boot : ALSO
9D To boot : AT THAT

The noun “boot” was used once to describe something of advantage in trying to accomplish a goal. This obsolete term really only exists in the adverb “to boot” meaning “in addition, over and above”, literally “to advantage”.

13 2014 animated film whose protagonist, aptly, is a construction worker, with “The” : LEGO MOVIE

“The Lego Movie” is a 2014 computer animated film in which all the characters are Lego figures. Apparently “The Lego Movie” was well received, and resulted in the spin-off film “The Lego Batman Movie”.

14 It sticks out in a dance studio : TUTU

The word “tutu”, used for a ballet dancer’s skirt, is actually a somewhat “naughty” term. It came into English from French in the early 20th century. The French “tutu” is an alteration of the word “cucu”, a childish word meaning “bottom, backside”.

16 Imperial title derived from “caesar” : TSAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

17 Quinceañeras, e.g. : RITES

“Quinceañera” is a celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday, and is an event common in many parts of Latin America.

21 Pentagon bigwig : BRASS HAT

The incredible building known as the Pentagon was built during WWII, and dedicated on January 15, 1943. It is the largest office building in the world (by floor space) covering an area of about 6.5 million square feet. As it was built during the war years, a major requirement was that it use a minimum amount of steel. That steel shortage dictated that the building be no more than four stories in height, and hence cover an awful lot of real estate.

23 Twice-hyphenated ID : SSN

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts, i.e AAA-GG-SSSS. Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot. Since 2011, SSNs have been assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

25 Instruments for Annapurna Devi and Anoushka Shankar : SITARS

The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. It is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

Anoushka Shankar is a British sitar player, and is the daughter of Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. Through her father, Anoushka is also the half-sister of American singer Norah Jones.

30 Brand whose logo includes a schoolboy with a ball for a head : BIC

Société Bic is a company based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced, more than fifty years ago, was the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen that is still produced today. Bic also makes other disposable products such as lighters and razors.

31 Largest U.S. union : NEA

The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union in the country, and mainly represents public school teachers.

36 Ancient gathering place : AGORA

In early Greece, an agora was a place of assembly. The assemblies held there were often quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a marketplace. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

37 Locale for bowed heads : PEW

A pew is a church bench, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

38 Aspirational hashtag : GOALS

A hashtag is a word preceded by the symbol #. Hashtags are big these days because of Twitter, a microblogging service that I don’t think I will ever understand …

41 S_c_ _d (time in time) : EON

The letters “EON” appear in “SECOND”.

51 Monkey head mushroom, by another name : LION’S MANE

“Lion’s mane” is a common name for the edible mushroom Hericium erinaceus. The common name arises from the mushroom appearance as it grows in clumps of dangling spines that might resemble the mane of a lion.

53 Mountaintop home : AERIE

An aerie (sometimes “eyrie”) is an eagle’s nest. The term “aerie” can also more generally describe any bird’s nest that is located on a cliff or a mountaintop.

54 Muscle car acronym : IROC

The IROC-Z is a model of Camaro that was introduced by Chevrolet in 1978. The IROC-Z takes its name from a famous stock car race, the International Race of Champions.

55 Cheese whose name is a semordnilap : EDAM

A semordnilap is a word that becomes a different word when spelled backwards. “Semordnilap” is “palindromes” in reverse.

“Edam” is “made” spelled backwards.

56 One celebrating Grounation Day, which commemorates a visit by 8-Down : RASTA

Grounation Day is a holy day in the Rastafarian tradition. It commemorates the visit of Haile Selassie to Jamaica in 1966.

Down

3 Red ___ : HOTS

Red Hots are cinnamon-flavored candy pieces. I recently found out that Red Hots are sometimes used in apple sauce …

4 Succinct “I think” : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

6 Online image : AVATAR

The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of online presences one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.

7 Crane of “Frasier” : NILES

In the sitcom called “Frasier”, Niles Crane is the brother of the title character Frasier Crane. Frasier is played by Kelsey Grammer and Niles is played by David Hyde Pierce. Frasier was originally intended to be an only child in the show’s storyline, but the producers decided to add a brother when they noted the remarkable similarity in appearance between David Hyde Pierce and Kelsey Grammer.

8 Ethiopian emperor revered by 56-Acrosses : SELASSIE
(56A One celebrating Grounation Day, which commemorates a visit by 8-Down : RASTA)

I must admit that I don’t really know much about Rastafarianism. I do know that a “Rasta”, such as Bob Marley, is a follower of the movement. Some say that Rastafarianism is a religion, some not. I also know that it involves the worship of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

10 Its destruction marked a turning point in World War I : LUSITANIA

The RMS Lusitania was a Cunard ocean liner that was sunk off the coast of Ireland in May 1915 during WWI. The Lusitania was on its traditional route between Liverpool and New York City, having departed New York six days before the sinking. She was attacked by a German U-boat, with 1,198 of the 1,959 people on board being killed. The main result of the sinking was to turn public opinion against Germany, greatly contributing to the US entering the war.

13 Surrounded and attacked, with “to” : LAID SIEGE …

Our word “siege” comes from a 13th-century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.

30 Texter’s segue : BTW

By the way (BTW)

A segue is a transition from one topic to the next. “Segue” is an Italian word that literally means “now follows”. It was first used in musical scores directing the performer to play into the next movement without a break. The oft-used term “segway” is given the same meaning, although the word “segway” doesn’t really exist. It is a misspelling of “segue” that has been popularized by its use as the name of the personal transporter known as a Segway.

33 Sharper image co.? : PR AGENCY

Public relations (PR)

34 Some works by Petrarch : SESTINAS

A sestina is a poetic form consisting of six stanzas with six lines in each stanza. Although still in contemporary use, the sestina dates back to around 1200.

Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) was an Italian scholar and poet who lived during the Renaissance. Petrarch gave up his vocation as a priest, and soon after spotted a woman named Laura in his church in Avignon, France. He was so taken by Laura that he wrote many poems dedicated to her. He later clarified that he could not approach Laura with his feelings, as she was a married woman.

37 Lady, but not the Tramp : PET

“Lady and the Tramp” is a classic animated feature from Walt Disney that was released in 1955. The title characters are a female American cocker spaniel and a male stray mutt. Who can forget the scene where the Tramp and Lady are “on a date”, and together eat that one strand of spaghetti? So cute! Disney made a 2019 live-action adaptation of the original using the same title.

40 Ones who are sent packing? : HITMEN

“Packing” and “packing heat” are underworld slang for “carrying a gun”.

41 Confuse wasabi with guacamole, say : ERR

Sometimes called Japanese horseradish, wasabi is a root used as a condiment in Japanese cooking. The taste of wasabi is more like mustard than a hot pepper in that the vapors that create the “hotness” stimulate the nasal passages rather than the tongue. Personally, I love the stuff …

Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

43 Perfect vis-à-vis good, in an aphorism : ENEMY

Perfect is the enemy of good.

An aphorism is a short and pithy statement that embodies a general truth or insightful observation. Some great examples are:

  • Life is a journey, not a destination (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • The average person thinks he isn’t (Larry Lorenzoni)
  • To err is human, to forgive divine (Alexander Pope)
  • Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one (Albert Einstein)
  • Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton)

We can use the French phrase “vis-à-vis” as a preposition meaning “compared with”. When used as an adverb or adjective, it means “face-to-face”, which is a more literal translation from French.

44 Portmanteau for a messenger bag : MURSE

A “murse” is a “man purse”.

45 Water filter brand : BRITA

Brita is a German company that specializes in water filtration products. Brita products do a great job of filtering tap water, but they don’t “purify” it as they don’t remove microbes. That job is usually done by a municipality before the water gets to the faucet.

48 Tucker : TIRE

The exact etymology of the verb “to tucker”, meaning “to tire”, seems to be uncertain. However, it seems to have originated in New England, and at least dates back to the 1830s.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Group whose name means “the people of the waters that are never still” : MOHICANS
9 To boot : ALSO
13 2014 animated film whose protagonist, aptly, is a construction worker, with “The” : LEGO MOVIE
14 It sticks out in a dance studio : TUTU
15 Jam-packed : WALL-TO-WALL
16 Imperial title derived from “caesar” : TSAR
17 Quinceañeras, e.g. : RITES
18 Social protest lecture series : TEACH-INS
20 Possible response to “Who took the last cookie?” : I DID
21 Pentagon bigwig : BRASS HAT
23 Twice-hyphenated ID : SSN
24 Musicians are often on it : TOUR
25 Instruments for Annapurna Devi and Anoushka Shankar : SITARS
28 Comedian Notaro : TIG
29 Criticize, with “on” : RAG …
30 Brand whose logo includes a schoolboy with a ball for a head : BIC
31 Largest U.S. union : NEA
32 Ground shaking stuff? : PEPPER
34 Composes (oneself) : STEADIES
36 Ancient gathering place : AGORA
37 Locale for bowed heads : PEW
38 Aspirational hashtag : GOALS
39 Breaks off : DETACHES
41 S_c_ _d (time in time) : EON
42 Showers with sparkles : GLITTER BOMBS
47 ___ smarts : STREET
50 Reciprocally : IN RETURN
51 Monkey head mushroom, by another name : LION’S MANE
53 Mountaintop home : AERIE
54 Muscle car acronym : IROC
55 Cheese whose name is a semordnilap : EDAM
56 One celebrating Grounation Day, which commemorates a visit by 8-Down : RASTA
57 Go against : DEFY
58 All up in another’s business : NOSY
59 What may be considered worse when done well : STEAK

Down

1 Mix of many different cultures : MELTING POT
2 Stared at : OGLED
3 Red ___ : HOTS
4 Succinct “I think” : IMO
5 Animal associated with the Egyptian goddess Hathor : COW
6 Online image : AVATAR
7 Crane of “Frasier” : NILES
8 Ethiopian emperor revered by 56-Acrosses : SELASSIE
9 To boot : AT THAT
10 Its destruction marked a turning point in World War I : LUSITANIA
11 Actor Sebastian ___ : STAN
12 Between you and me : OURS
13 Surrounded and attacked, with “to” : LAID SIEGE …
15 Typist’s help to avoid repetitive strain injury : WRIST PAD
19 Team whose song “The Super Bowl Shuffle” earned a Grammy nomination : CHICAGO BEARS
21 Big game : BOAR
22 Throw ___ : RUG
24 Short-crust pastry fillings : TREACLES
26 Wind on the water? : REEL
27 Cheek : SASS
30 Texter’s segue : BTW
33 Sharper image co.? : PR AGENCY
34 Some works by Petrarch : SESTINAS
35 Caution on a silica gel packet : DO NOT EAT
37 Lady, but not the Tramp : PET
40 Ones who are sent packing? : HITMEN
41 Confuse wasabi with guacamole, say : ERR
43 Perfect vis-à-vis good, in an aphorism : ENEMY
44 Portmanteau for a messenger bag : MURSE
45 Water filter brand : BRITA
46 Tiptoe, maybe : SNEAK
47 Took a dive : SLID
48 Tucker : TIRE
49 Part of the mouth : ROOF
52 Hurly-burly : ADO

12 thoughts on “0917-21 NY Times Crossword 17 Sep 21, Friday”

  1. 15:23 after searching for and fixing an error: I had GOADS intersecting REED instead of GOALS intersecting REEL. (I think I initially interpreted “Wind on the water” using a sort of dual meaning for REED – as a necessary component of a wind instrument and as a plant that grows in/near water. I seem to be doing a lot of that sort of thing on the NYT recently.)

    1. I did the same thing but did not go back to change the D to L. As I use pen on paper, I had no clue that I was in error. Good puzzle.

  2. 20:33 A decent Fri. time for me. A partial list of miscues is CZAR vs. TSAR; TEENS vs RITES; BOWL vs BOAR – a “bowl” is a big football game, is it not?

    Seriously, who would admit to taking the last cookie (20A)??

    Only after looking up “semordnilap”, did I realize that it was “palindromes” spelled backwards. I often tell my golfing friends that “Golf” is just Flog” spelled backwards. Maybe I’ll just render them shaking their heads even longer and tell them I also used a “semordnilap” to describe the concept of reverse words.

  3. 22:51. Exact same error and thought process as Nonny regarding GOAdS/REEdS. Ditto that whole paragraph. Also had BeAR before BOAR, TIm before TIG (complete guesswork), and asp before COW…because it’s always an asp with Egyptians.

    Clue of the day was absolutely “S_C__d (time in time)” for EON. A+ clue for common fill. Those can’t be easy to come up with.

    Love that aphorism Bill mentions “The average person thinks he isn’t” . So true. I like to use a related one that’s a little more self-serving: “If everyone were as great as I am, then I’d only be mediocre”. Helps me deal with the little people (Just kidding. Please no hate mail).

    Best –

  4. This took a while..
    Missed the EDAM MADE thing.
    But I never got SESTINAS… I was stuck on SESTINGS so I never got anywhere with the eDAM thing!!!!

  5. 1:05:35 with the same error as Nonny and Jeff (Reed for reel).
    I feel better knowing that the pros made the same error as me👍
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens🙏

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.