0929-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Sep 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Angle

Themed answers require us to remove the circled letters (S-E-C-R-E-T) to make sense of the corresponding clue. Leaving the circled letters gives an answer with the opposite meaning:

  • 66A When revealed in this puzzle, it reverses the meanings of the answers to the starred clues : SECRET
  • 13A *Stay in power : RESIGN (the opposite of “REIGN”)
  • 23A *Hold on to : HEAVE (the opposite of “HAVE”)
  • 26A *Done openly : COVERT (the opposite of “OVERT”)
  • 37A *Changing gradually : REVOLUTIONARY (the opposite of “EVOLUTIONARY”)
  • 50A *Doesn’t eat : FEASTS (the opposite of “FASTS”)
  • 54A *On this spot : THERE (the opposite of “HERE”)

Bill’s time: 13m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

18 Impressive work : OPUS

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes use the plural “opuses” in English, but that just annoys me …

19 Vandalize, e.g. : MAR

A vandal is someone who destroys something beautiful or valuable. The term “vandal” comes from the Germanic tribe called the Vandals who sacked Rome in the year 455. Our contemporary term “vandalism” was coined by Henri Grégoire in 1794, when he was describing the destruction of artwork during the French Revolution.

20 ___ Lanka : SRI

The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

21 Hatcher of Hollywood plots : TERI

Teri Hatcher’s most famous role is the Susan Mayer character on the TV comedy-drama “Desperate Housewives”. I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of “Housewives” but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, as she appeared in “Tomorrow Never Dies”. More recently, she portrayed Lois Lane on the show “Lois & Clark”.

28 Mane character of classic TV? : MR ED

The sitcom “Mister Ed” first aired in 1961 and ran for almost five years. It was a very successful show (and even made it to Ireland!). Mister Ed, the talking horse, was a palomino that had the real name of Bamboo Harvester. Mister Ed’s “voice” was that of actor Allan “Rocky” Lane, a star of a lot of B-movie westerns from the forties and fifties. In the show, Mister Ed would only talk to the lead (human) character Wilbur, played by Alan Young, leading to some hilarious situations. Mister Ed had a stunt double and stand-in for the show, another horse called Pumpkin. Pumpkin later made frequent appearances on the show “Green Acres”.

29 Unfiltered and unpasteurized brew : REAL ALE

“Real ale” is a relatively contemporary term. It has been used in the UK since 1973 to refer to beer that has been brewed traditionally, and that does not use extraneous carbonation. I am a huge, huge fan of real ale …

33 One playing with a mouse, maybe : GAMER

The computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Engelbart. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money from his amazing invention.

42 Single-masted boat : SLOOP

Sloops and cutters are sailboats, and each has just one mast. One major difference between the two types of vessel is that the mast on a cutter is set much further aft than the mast on a sloop.

44 Newman who wrote “Heather Has Two Mommies” : LESLEA

“Heather Has Two Mommies” is a 1989 children’s book by feminist author Lesléa Newman. It is recognized as a pioneering piece of children’s literature, one of the first to depict a lesbian relationship.

56 On the sheltered side, nautically : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather. The sheltered side of an island, for example, might be referred to as the “lee” side.

57 Shipping choice : DHL

Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born … D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn). DHL was acquired by Germany’s Deutsche Post in 2002.

59 Christmas trio : MAGI

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar (also “Gaspar”): a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

61 Ye olde apothecary bottles : PHIALS

Nowadays, we would call an apothecary a pharmacist. “Apotecaire” is an Old French word from the 13th century meaning simply “storekeeper”.

64 First responder, in brief : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

65 Man in the Irish Sea, e.g. : ISLE

The Isle of Man is a large island located in the middle of the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. I used to spend a lot of time there in my youth, and find it a very interesting place indeed. The Isle of Man is classed as a British Crown Dependency and isn’t part of the United Kingdom at all. It is self-governing and has its own parliament called the Tynwald. The Tynwald was created in AD 979 and is arguably the oldest continuously-running parliament in the world. The inhabitants of the island speak English, although they do have their own language called Manx, which is very similar to Irish Gaeilge and Scottish Gaelic. And then there are those Manx cats, the ones without any tails. I’ve seen lots of them, and can attest that they are indeed found all over the island.

67 Daisy Ridley’s “Star Wars” role : REY

Rey is a central character in the “Star Wars” universe who first appeared in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. Rey is played by British actress Daisy Ridley.

69 Helen who sang “I Am Woman” : REDDY

The successful singer Helen Reddy was born in Melbourne, Australia. In 1966, Reddy won a talent contest and earned herself a trip to New York City for an audition. The 25-year-old single mother decided to stay in the US, and a few years later was able to launch a successful singing career. Her hit song “I Am Woman”, released in 1972, was the first recording by an Australian artist to reach #1 in the US charts.

Down

1 “___ we having fun yet?” : ARE

Yes, we are …

3 @ follower, on Twitter : USERNAME

The “at symbol” (@) originated in the commercial word, as shorthand for “each at, per” and similar phrases. I suppose we see the symbol most commonly these days as part of email addresses.

4 Assistant with a goofy beatboxing routine (just ask) : 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.

6 Reproductive unit in botany : SPORE

Spores are produced by many bacteria, fungi and non-flowering plants. A spore is a reproductive body encased in a protective shell that is highly resistant to damage, and resistant to heat in particular.

7 Mammal with a prehensile proboscis : TAPIR

All four species of tapir are endangered. Even though the tapir looks much like a pig, it is more closely related to the horse and the rhinoceros.

A part of the body that is described as prehensile is adapted for grasping. Examples would be an elephant’s trunk and a monkey’s tail.

A proboscis is a long appendage attached to the head of an animal, and is sometimes referred to as an elongated “nose”. Many an insect has a proboscis, as does an elephant.

8 Kwik-E-Mart proprietor on “The Simpsons” : APU

The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …

9 Shindig : BASH

“Shindig” is such a lovely word, I think. It describes a party that usually includes some dancing. Although its origin isn’t really clear, the term perhaps comes from “shinty”, a Scottish game that’s similar to field hockey.

10 Capital of Eritrea : ASMARA

Asmara is the capital and largest city in Eritrea. The same city is known locally as “Asmera”.

Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, and surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.

14 Benadryl competitor : NYTOL

Nytol is a brand name for the drug diphenhydramine which is primarily used as an antihistamine. The drug also has a strong hypnotic effect and is used by some people as a non-prescription sleep aid.

24 Like the background of the “Wicked” poster : EMERALD

“Wicked” (more completely, “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz”) is a 2003 stage musical that is a retelling of the L. Frank Baum novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The musical is based on a 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire” called “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”.

25 Web address ender : ORG

The .org domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

26 King of pop : CAROLE

Not only is Carole King a highly successful recording artist and performer, she is recognized by many as perhaps the greatest American female songwriter. Many of her earlier hits were co-written with her first husband Gerry Goffin. King’s life and career is celebrated in the marvelous stage show “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”, which I highly recommend.

27 Country on the Gulf of Guinea : TOGO

Togo is a country on the West African coast, and one of the smallest nations on the continent. It is located between Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north.

The Gulf of Guinea is a large gulf that forms part of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Africa. One of the Gulf of Guinea claims to fame is that it is home to the intersecting point between zero degrees of latitude and zero degrees of longitude, i.e. where the Equator and Prime Meridian cross.

32 Perfumes with a thurible : CENSES

A thurible is a device that holds burning incense. It is a metal chamber at the end of a long chain and plays a big part in many Christian ceremonies.

35 Great Basin tribe : UTE

The Great Basin is a large region of the US covering most of Nevada, much of Utah and some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and California. The 200,000 square mile area drains internally, with all precipitation sinking underground or flowing into lakes. Most of the lakes in the Great Basin are saline, including the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt Sink.

43 K-pop star whose hit 2012 song refrain made “The Yale Book of Quotations” : PSY

“PSY” is the stage name of South Korean rapper Park Jae-sang. PSY became an international star when his 2012 music video “Gangnam Style” went viral on YouTube. That video had over 1 billion views on YouTube in about six months, making it the most viewed YouTube video clip of all time. The title of the song refers to a lifestyle experienced in the Gangnam District of Seoul.

45 Dig up : EXHUME

Our word “exhume” ultimately comes from the Latin “ex” (out of) “humus” (earth).

46 Like some winter weather : SLEETY

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

57 D&D equipment : DICE

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …

60 Wood in a baseball bat : ASH

The wood of the ash tree is a hardwood, although it is relatively elastic. Famously, ash is the wood of choice for baseball bats. It is also the wood of choice for hurleys, the wooden sticks used in the Irish sport of hurling.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bring a smile to : AMUSE
6 Wild guess : STAB
10 Big jerk : ASS
13 *Stay in power : RESIGN (the opposite of “REIGN”)
15 Daddy : PAPA
16 “Put a cork in it!” : SHH!
17 Vim : ENERGY
18 Impressive work : OPUS
19 Vandalize, e.g. : MAR
20 ___ Lanka : SRI
21 Hatcher of Hollywood plots : TERI
23 *Hold on to : HEAVE (the opposite of “HAVE”)
25 Lease alternative : OWN
26 *Done openly : COVERT (the opposite of “OVERT”)
28 Mane character of classic TV? : MR ED
29 Unfiltered and unpasteurized brew : REAL ALE
31 Large blue expanses : OCEANS
33 One playing with a mouse, maybe : GAMER
34 Helpfully pushy person : NUDGER
37 *Changing gradually : REVOLUTIONARY (the opposite of “EVOLUTIONARY”)
41 Says “I do” at a Vegas drive-thru, say : ELOPES
42 Single-masted boat : SLOOP
44 Newman who wrote “Heather Has Two Mommies” : LESLEA
47 Some thrift shop music purchases : USED CDS
49 It’s in heavy rotation on the highway : AXLE
50 *Doesn’t eat : FEASTS (the opposite of “FASTS”)
53 Type (in) : KEY
54 *On this spot : THERE (the opposite of “HERE”)
56 On the sheltered side, nautically : ALEE
57 Shipping choice : DHL
58 Tone : HUE
59 Christmas trio : MAGI
61 Ye olde apothecary bottles : PHIALS
64 First responder, in brief : EMT
65 Man in the Irish Sea, e.g. : ISLE
66 When revealed in this puzzle, it reverses the meanings of the answers to the starred clues : SECRET
67 Daisy Ridley’s “Star Wars” role : REY
68 “… and ___ some” : THEN
69 Helen who sang “I Am Woman” : REDDY

Down

1 “___ we having fun yet?” : ARE
2 Traditional focus of Brooks Brothers : MEN’S WEAR
3 @ follower, on Twitter : USERNAME
4 Assistant with a goofy beatboxing routine (just ask) : SIRI
5 Reproductive unit in biology : EGG
6 Reproductive unit in botany : SPORE
7 Mammal with a prehensile proboscis : TAPIR
8 Kwik-E-Mart proprietor on “The Simpsons” : APU
9 Shindig : BASH
10 Capital of Eritrea : ASMARA
11 Clean-___ : SHAVEN
12 Viciously criticizes, informally : SHREDS
14 Benadryl competitor : NYTOL
22 Square : EVEN UP
24 Like the background of the “Wicked” poster : EMERALD
25 Web address ender : ORG
26 King of pop : CAROLE
27 Country on the Gulf of Guinea : TOGO
30 Audio tool that reduces volume extremes : LEVELER
32 Perfumes with a thurible : CENSES
35 Great Basin tribe : UTE
36 Neglect : DISUSE
38 Something with two heels : LOAF
39 Like some abs : ROCK HARD
40 Performed at one’s peak? : YODELLED
43 K-pop star whose hit 2012 song refrain made “The Yale Book of Quotations” : PSY
44 ___, rinse, repeat : LATHER
45 Dig up : EXHUME
46 Like some winter weather : SLEETY
48 Fitness measure : STEPS
51 Aerial hunter : EAGLE
52 Otherworldly : ALIEN
55 Give off : EMIT
57 D&D equipment : DICE
60 Wood in a baseball bat : ASH
62 Lead-in to self : HER-
63 Slop spot : STY

11 thoughts on “0929-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Sep 21, Wednesday”

  1. 20:33. Got the theme almost immediately when I saw REIGN/RESIGN coming. SE really got me. I didn’t realize YODELLED had 2 “L’s”, and I had no idea what D&D was. It went downhill from there. I eventually cleaned it all up.

    Slow today, but after cutting my head by walking into a door yesterday, it will take a lot more than a bad crossword day to make me feel any stupider….

    Best –

  2. 14:42 I tried to find a way to put a circle around the leading one so I could indicate that you drop off that leading one so that my time was “possibly” 4:42 and exceedingly fast, but I couldn’t figure it out – how to paste the circle shape from Word or Powerpoint. In truth the actual time is 14:42. Got fooled by “King of Pop” – kept thinking Michael Jackson. After several crosses the light went on.

  3. @Anon Mike (in response to your question from yesterday) …

    I have recently had to resort to using this site:

    www(dot)brainsonly(dot)com(slash)global(slash)newsday(slash)crossword(slash)

    The only catch is that I can no longer download the Newsday puzzles the night before (but I can live with that … 😜).

  4. I caught on early what was going and actually made it go faster… never knew the circled letters spelled until the end. Started in upper left.

    Cute.

  5. 42:25 no errors but a very loooong time to solve…I sorta got the theme but dropping the circled letter eluded me.😥
    Stay safe😀

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