0921-21 NY Times Crossword 21 Sep 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Daniel Okulitch
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) Unlawful Phrases

Themed answers are common phrases associated with the the law, but reinterpreted:

  • 17A Advocate for U2’s frontman? : PRO BONO ATTORNEY
  • 27A Swing of a bowler’s arm? : MOVE TO STRIKE
  • 49A A little tied up at the moment? : MOTION DENIED
  • 65A Attire for gym period? : CLASS ACTION SUIT

Bill’s time: 6m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 A founding member of the Avengers : THOR

The Avengers are a team of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. The original lineup, which dates back to 1963, consisted of Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the Wasp. Soon after their formation, the Avengers rescued Captain America trapped in ice, and thereafter he joined the team. There is a 2012 movie called “The Avengers” that features Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor.

15 Seaweed wrapped around sushi : NORI

Nori is an edible seaweed that we used to know as “laver” when we were living in Wales. Nori is usually dried into thin sheets. Here in the US, we are most familiar with nori as the seaweed used as a wrap for sushi.

16 British pop singer Lewis : LEONA

Leona Lewis rocketed to fame after winning the British TV show called “The X Factor” (the show that spawned the UK’s “Pop Idol” and America’s “American Idol”).

17 Advocate for U2’s frontman? : PRO BONO ATTORNEY

Irish singer Bono is a Dubliner who was born Paul David Hewson. As a youth, Hewson was given the nickname “Bono Vox” by a friend, a Latin expression meaning “good voice”, and so the singer has been known as Bono since the late seventies. His band’s first name was “Feedback”, later changed to “The Hype”. The band members searched for yet another name and chose U2 from a list of six names suggested by a friend. They picked U2 because it was the name they disliked least …

The Latin term “pro bono publico” means “for the public good”, and is usually shortened to “pro bono”. The term applies to professional work that is done for free or at a reduced fee as a service to the public.

20 Shot from a needle : SERUM

Blood serum (plural “sera”) is the clear, yellowish part of blood i.e. that part which is neither a blood cell nor a clotting factor. Included in blood serum are antibodies, the proteins that are central to our immune system. Blood serum from animals that have immunity to a particular disease can be transferred to another individual, hence providing that second individual with some level of immunity. Blood serum used to pass on immunity can be called “antiserum”.

21 The “fact” that bulls get angry when they see the color red, e.g. : MYTH

The muleta is the red flannel cloth that a matador uses towards the end of a bull fight, instead of a cape. The muleta serves to distract the bull and also to hide the sword that is used for the kill. The term “matador” is only used in English, and translates aptly enough as “killer”.

25 Subject of a famous 1937 disappearance : EARHART

Amelia Earhart is as famous today as she was during her lifetime. When she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress, and the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French government. She made two attempts to circumnavigate the globe by air (not solo). Her first attempt in March 1937 had to be abandoned when her aircraft was damaged during takeoff. The second attempt in June/July of the same year ended when Earhart and her navigator disappeared flying from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island in the Central Pacific.

27 Swing of a bowler’s arm? : MOVE TO STRIKE

In bowling, a spare is recorded on a score sheet with a forward slash mark. A strike is recorded with a large letter X.

32 Blood-typing system : ABO

The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a universal donor.

33 Wine often served with 15-Across : SAKE
(15A Seaweed wrapped around sushi : NORI)

We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.

34 Accompaniment for many a hymn : ORGAN

The organ that we often see in churches, synagogues and concert halls is a pipe organ. Sound is produced by pressurized air driven through particular pipes selected by keys on a keyboard.

38 Gyro holder : PITA

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

40 Deadly African snake : MAMBA

Mambas, and most famously black mambas, are highly venomous snakes that used to be responsible for a great number of fatalities before anti-venoms became available. Mamba venom is a deadly mix of neurotoxins that attack the nervous system and cardiotoxins that attack the heart. A bite, if left untreated, causes the lungs and the heart to shut down.

43 Fish often served “meunière” : SOLE

The group of flatfish known as soles take their name from “solea”, the Latin word for “sandal”. And, they do have that shape, kind of …

Meunière sauce is a relatively simple sauce that is primarily served with fish. The ingredients are brown butter, chopped parsley and lemon. The simplicity of the recipe is reflected in its name, which translates from French as “miller’s wife”.

44 Rudder’s locale : STERN

A rudder is usually a flat sheet of wood or metal located at the stern of a boat, and under the waterline. The rudder is attached to a rudder post, which rotates to change the orientation of the rudder hence steering the boat. That rotation of the rudder post can be achieved by pulling or pushing a lever called a tiller, which is located at the top of the post.

46 Cloud of melancholy : PALL

A pall is a cloth used to cover a casket at a funeral. Pallbearers actually carry the coffin, covered by the pall. The phrase “casting a pall over”, meaning to create a dark mood, is a metaphorical use of the “pall” over the casket.

56 Emerson’s “___ to Beauty” : ODE

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an essayist and poet who was active in the mid-1800s. Most of the essays that Emerson wrote were composed originally as lectures and then revised for print. He is often referred to as “The Sage of Concord”, as Emerson spent much of his life in Concord, Massachusetts.

58 Many an opera villain : BASS

The bass is the lowest male singing voice. A man with such a voice might be called a “basso” (plural “bassi”). In an opera, the villain of the piece is usually played by a basso.

61 Olympic great Jesse : OWENS

Jesse Owens is famous for winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936, much to the chagrin of Adolf Hitler. Jesse’s real name was James Cleveland Owens, and he went by “JC” as a child. However, his Alabama accent was misconstrued at school when his family moved to Cleveland, so teachers and classmates called him “Jesse” instead of “JC”, and the name stuck.

65 Attire for gym period? : CLASS ACTION SUIT

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

69 Org. for seniors : AARP

“AARP” is now the official name for the interest group that used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons. The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired.

70 Largest member of the dolphin family : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

71 Professional soccer player with the most goals for a single club (Barcelona) : MESSI

Lionel “Leo” Messi is a soccer player from Argentina. Messi was awarded FIFA’s Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) award from 2009 to 2013. The Ballon d’Or is presented to the player who is considered the best in the world in the prior year.

72 Jewish rite : BRIS

A mohel is a man who has been trained in the practice of brit milah (circumcision). Brit milah is known as “bris” in Yiddish. The brit milah ceremony is performed on male infants when they are 8 days old.

73 ___ et Chandon : 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.

Down

3 Musk, e.g. : ODOR

Musk has such an elegant connotation these days because of its use in the world of perfumery. However, its origin is not quite so glamorous. The original substance called musk, also used in perfumes, was extracted from a gland in the rectal area of the male musk deer. The name “musk” is a Sanskrit word for “testicle”.

5 ___ Taylor, longtime name in women’s fashion : ANN

There was no actual person named “Ann Taylor” associated with the Ann Taylor line of clothes. The name was chosen by the marketing professionals because “Ann” was considered to be “very New England” back in 1954 when the stores first opened, and “Taylor” suggested that clothes were carefully “tailored”.

7 Unhinged, in slang : CRAY

“Cray” is a slang term meaning “insane”, and is a shortening of “crazy”.

11 Ancient Greek region on the Aegean : IONIA

The geographic region called Ionia is located in present-day Turkey. Ionia was prominent in the days of ancient Greece, although it wasn’t a unified state and rather a collection of tribes. The tribal confederacy was more based on religious and cultural similarities than a political or military alliance. Nowadays we often refer to this arrangement as the Ionian League.

The Aegean Sea is that part of the Mediterranean that lies between Greece and Turkey. Within the Aegean Sea are found the Aegean Islands, a group that includes Crete and Rhodes.

24 Author/activist Chomsky : NOAM

Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT. He is known as one of the fathers of modern linguistics.

26 Classic Hollywood studio : RKO

The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

27 Rand McNally’s business : MAPS

Rand McNally is a company long associated with the city of Chicago. Its roots go back to 1856 when William Rand opened a printing shop in the city. Two years later he hired an Irish immigrant named Andrew McNally and the pair turned to printing tickets and timetables for the railroad industry. They diversified into “railroad guides” in 1870, including the first Rand McNally map in the December 1872 edition. When automobile travel started to become significant, Rand and McNally turned their attention to roads and they published their first road map in 1904, a map of New York City. Rand and McNally popularized the use of highway numbers, and indeed erected many roadside highway signs themselves, long before the state and federal authorities adopted the idea.

28 Final words? : OBIT

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

29 November exhortation : VOTE!

Election day was chosen by Congress back in 1845. The month of November was selected as it suited an agricultural society, following the fall harvest and yet not too far into winter, which could make travel difficult. Tuesday was chosen so that people had time to travel to polling stations. Monday elections might have meant that some would have to start out on Sunday, and that could interfere with Christian services.

30 Reggae relative : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of a sound.

31 Presto or allegro : TEMPO

The tempo (plural “tempi”) of a piece of music is usually designated with an Italian word on the score. For example, “grave” is slow and solemn, “andante” is at a walking pace, “scherzo” is fast and light-hearted, and “allegro” is fast, quickly and bright.

35 Berry touted as a “superfood” : GOJI

We hear the word “superfood” a lot these days. I think it’s important that we realize that our friends in marketing coined the term to promote foods that have supposed health benefits, even though there’s no obligation to prove those health benefits exist. Since 2007, the European Union (EU) has banned the use of the term “superfood” in marketing of foodstuffs unless there is credible scientific research to back up any health claim. Good for the EU …

41 Blackball : BAN

There is a traditional type of secret ballot in which a voter selects a white wall to indicate support and a black ball indicates opposition. This voting method led to the use of the term “blackball” to mean to shun or to vote against.

42 Global shoe retailer : ALDO

ALDO is a chain of shoe stores that was founded in Montreal in 1972 by Moroccan-born Canadian Aldo Bensadoun. Bensadoun is the son of a retailer of shoes in Morocco and France, and the grandchild of a cobbler. A man with shoe leather in his blood …

50 Heavy weight for a musician to bear? : TUBA

The tuba is the lowest-pitched of all brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is just one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). “Tuba” is the Latin word for “trumpet, horn”. Oom-pah-pah …

53 Philosopher with a “razor” : OCCAM

Ockham’s (also “Occam’s”) razor is a principle in philosophy and science that basically states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. This explanation is a corollary to the more exact statement of the principle, that one shouldn’t needlessly use assumptions in explaining something. The principle is referred to as “lex parsimoniae” in Latin, or “the law of parsimony”. Parsimony is being thrifty with money or resources.

55 Onetime Supreme Court justice Charles ___ Hughes : EVANS

Charles Evans Hughes was an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1910 until he resigned his position in order to run as the Republican candidate for US president in 1916. He was narrowly defeated by incumbent President Woodrow Wilson, after which Hughes did not assume another public office until he was made Secretary of State in 1921 by President Warren G. Harding. Hughes was returned to the US Supreme Court in 1930 when he was nominated as Chief Justice by President Herbert Hoover. It was Chief Justice Hughes who swore in President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his three terms in office.

59 The sun, for one : STAR

Our solar system’s star is usually referred to in English as the Sun, but the Latin name “Sol” is also used at times.

60 Rival of Alexa : SIRI

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

62 Currency launched on 1/1/1999 : EURO

The euro sign (€) looks like a letter C, but with two horizontal lines drawn across the middle. Inspiration for the design comes from the Greek letter epsilon.

63 City on the French Riviera : NICE

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera. Something described as “à la niçoise” is “of Nice”.

“Riviera” is an Italian word meaning “coastline”. The term is often applied to a coastline that is sunny and popular with tourists. The term “the Riviera” is usually reserved for the French Riviera (the Mediterranean coastline in southeastern France), and the Italian Riviera (the Mediterranean coastline centered on Genoa).

66 Some fed. assistance : SSI

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides financial relief to persons with low incomes who are 65 or older, or who are blind or disabled. The SSI program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) even though the Social Security trust fund is not used for SSI payments. SSI payments come out of general tax revenue.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 A founding member of the Avengers : THOR
5 Primary : ARCH
9 Like many high-end watches : SWISS
14 Nurse’s ___ : AIDE
15 Seaweed wrapped around sushi : NORI
16 British pop singer Lewis : LEONA
17 Advocate for U2’s frontman? : PRO BONO ATTORNEY
20 Shot from a needle : SERUM
21 The “fact” that bulls get angry when they see the color red, e.g. : MYTH
22 No-win situations? : TIES
23 Next of ___ : KIN
25 Subject of a famous 1937 disappearance : EARHART
27 Swing of a bowler’s arm? : MOVE TO STRIKE
32 Blood-typing system : ABO
33 Wine often served with 15-Across : SAKE
34 Accompaniment for many a hymn : ORGAN
38 Gyro holder : PITA
40 Deadly African snake : MAMBA
43 Fish often served “meunière” : SOLE
44 Rudder’s locale : STERN
46 Cloud of melancholy : PALL
48 Average fellow : JOE
49 A little tied up at the moment? : MOTION DENIED
53 Defeat via invasion : OVERRUN
56 Emerson’s “___ to Beauty” : ODE
57 Give up arguing : CAVE
58 Many an opera villain : BASS
61 Olympic great Jesse : OWENS
65 Attire for gym period? : CLASS ACTION SUIT
68 Some wedding guests : AUNTS
69 Org. for seniors : AARP
70 Largest member of the dolphin family : ORCA
71 Professional soccer player with the most goals for a single club (Barcelona) : MESSI
72 Jewish rite : BRIS
73 ___ et Chandon : MOET

Down

1 Selects, as for a position : TAPS
2 Bring on for a position : HIRE
3 Musk, e.g. : ODOR
4 Sharp talking-to : REBUKE
5 ___ Taylor, longtime name in women’s fashion : ANN
6 Chamber : ROOM
7 Unhinged, in slang : CRAY
8 Follower of pinch or switch : … HITTER
9 ___-pitch : SLO
10 Brand of caramel candy : WERTHER’S
11 Ancient Greek region on the Aegean : IONIA
12 Mocking smile : SNEER
13 Biblical verb with “thou” : … SAYST
18 Neglects to mention : OMITS
19 Tom yung goong or tom kha kai cuisine : THAI
24 Author/activist Chomsky : NOAM
26 Classic Hollywood studio : RKO
27 Rand McNally’s business : MAPS
28 Final words? : OBIT
29 November exhortation : VOTE!
30 Reggae relative : SKA
31 Presto or allegro : TEMPO
35 Berry touted as a “superfood” : GOJI
36 Gel ingredient : ALOE
37 Lawyer, for a defendant, typically : NEED
39 Airplane passengers might battle over them : ARMRESTS
41 Blackball : BAN
42 Global shoe retailer : ALDO
45 Neither’s partner : NOR
47 Enticed : LED ON
50 Heavy weight for a musician to bear? : TUBA
51 How many people get around town : IN A CAB
52 Successor to Brown as California governor : NEWSOM
53 Philosopher with a “razor” : OCCAM
54 Really care about : VALUE
55 Onetime Supreme Court justice Charles ___ Hughes : EVANS
59 The sun, for one : STAR
60 Rival of Alexa : SIRI
62 Currency launched on 1/1/1999 : EURO
63 City on the French Riviera : NICE
64 “Immediately!” : STAT!
66 Some fed. assistance : SSI
67 Covert ___ : OPS

5 thoughts on “0921-21 NY Times Crossword 21 Sep 21, Tuesday”

  1. 11:57, no errors. I kind of fumbled my way through this one last night, but now I can’t remember where I had trouble. I like Bill’s summary of the theme … 😜.

  2. 15:25. I really struggled with this by Tuesday standards mainly because…….ok I have no idea why.

    I wonder if they had used Sonny BONO as part of the clue for 17A if it would be considered too dated a reference?

    Never heard of GOJI berries, but I see you can buy them as a snack. What have I been missing out on?

    I heard that mohels make most of their money on tips…….

    Best –

    1. Hmm … it would seem that your take and mine were similar. I think I found the cluing a bit … different … somehow.

      And, concerning your comment about mohels, what can I say? Have you no shame, sir?! … 😜😜😜

  3. 12:03 I also struggled with this one, especially in the SW corner. Caving CEDE didn’t help, considering that the C and the 2nd E were correct for the down crosses, so I was a bit loath to cede on CEDE, but I ultimately had to CAVE.

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