1006-21 NY Times Crossword 6 Oct 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Jules Markey
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Pigeonholes

We have a rebus puzzle today, with COO appearing in several squares in the grid:

  • 16A Good advice during an emergency : KEEP A COOL HEAD
  • 29A Geezers and fogies : OLD COOTS
  • 49A Brand with a snow-covered mountain on its label : COORS LIGHT
  • 56A Doing dinner and a movie at home, say : COCOONING
  • 10D “How are plans coming along?” : WHAT’S COOKING?
  • 14D Slid over a bit : SCOOCHED
  • 23D Rockefeller or Getty : OIL TYCOON
  • 27D TV monster’s catchphrase : ME WANT COOKIE

Bill’s time: 11m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Animal that’s also a plant? : MOLE

One of the more commonly known facts about my native Ireland is that there are no snakes in the country (outside of politics, that is). A less known fact is that there are no moles either. There are plenty of snakes and moles in Britain, just a few miles away. Over a pint we tend to give the credit to Saint Patrick, but the last ice age is more likely the responsible party …

A mole is a spy who works from within the ranks of an enemy’s government of intelligence service. The use of “mole” took off after the publication of John Le Carré’s 1974 novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. The author was himself a former intelligence officer and asserts that “mole” was a term used by the KGB, whereas Western agencies used the term “sleeper agent”.

5 Genghis Khan tactic : 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.

Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire that was destined to be the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. He first built his empire by uniting nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, but once Genghis Khan had consolidated his position, he initiated Mongol invasions throughout Eurasia. At its height, the Mongol Empire stretched from the River Danube to the Sea of Japan.

10 F.D.R. job-creating program : WPA

The Work Progress Administration (WPA) was the largest of the New Deal agencies. The WPA employed millions of people during the Depression, putting them to work on various public works projects. The total spending through the WPA from 1936 to 1939 was nearly $7 billion. We have to give the federal government credit for taking an enlightened view of what types of projects qualified for financial support, so artists who could not get commissions privately were hired by the government itself. The result is a collection of “New Deal Art”, including a series of murals that can be found in post offices around the country to this day.

13 Follower of the calends and the nones : IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

14 Like some texts and cows : SACRED

A sacred cow is something that is immune from criticism or questioning. The phrase alludes to the reverence for cows in the Hindu tradition. The use of figurative idiom seems to have originated in the late 1800s in the US.

18 “Always Be My Maybe” actress Wong : ALI

Ali Wong is a stand-up comedian from San Francisco who is a protégé of Chris Rock. She made two very successful Netflix stand-up specials “Baby Cobra” and “Hard Knock Wife”. She also worked as a writer for the hit sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat”.

19 Obliquely : ASKANCE

To look askance is to look with suspicion, or to look with a side glance.

22 Yokohama drama : NOH

Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, including the female parts.

Yokohama is the second-most populous city in Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, and is just a 40-minute drive from the nation’s capital.

23 Baseball Hall-of-Famer Mel : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

24 “___ quam videri” (“To be rather than to seem”) : ESSE

The North Carolina motto “Esse quam videri” translates from Latin as “to be, rather than to seem to be”.

25 Gymnast on Time’s August 2, 1976, cover with the headline “She’s perfect” : COMANECI

Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of ten in the gymnastics competition. Comaneci published a book called “Letters to a Young Gymnast” in 2003, and now lives in the United States.

34 “Thumbs up” : A-OK

Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose at NASA in the sixties during the space program.

43 Constellation resembling a harp : LYRA

Lyra (Latin for “lyre, harp, lute”) is a constellation that includes the star Vega, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. The constellation Lyra is surrounded by the neighboring constellations of Draco, Hercules, Vulpecula and Cygnus.

49 Brand with a snow-covered mountain on its label : COORS LIGHT

Adolph Coors founded the Coors brewing company in 1873, in Golden, Colorado. Coors was originally from the Rhine Province in Prussia, and worked in various brewers around what is today Germany before immigrating to the US in 1868. Despite all of his success as a brewer here in America, Coors ended up taking his own life in 1929, by jumping to his death out of a hotel window.

53 Actor Cariou : LEN

Len Cariou is a Canadian actor who is famous for his Broadway portrayal of “Sweeney Todd”. I most recognize Cariou from supporting roles in “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Thirteen Days”, two great movies.

55 John of Scots : IAN

The name “John” translates into Scottish as “Ian”, into Russian as “Ivan”, into Italian as “Giovanni”, into Spanish as “Juan”, into Welsh as “Evan”, and into Irish as “Seán”.

63 Typecasts, in a way … or a hint to four squares in this puzzle : PIGEONHOLES

Back in the 16th century, a pigeonhole was a small recess used by pigeons for nesting. Towards the end of the 17th century, the term “pigeonholes” had been borrowed to describe compartments at the back of a writing desk. Two hundred years later, we were using the verb “pigeonhole” figuratively, to mean “label mentally”.

65 China’s Chou En-___ : LAI

Zhou Enlai (also “Chou En-lai”) was the first government leader of the People’s Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. Zhou Enlai ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon’s famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, with both deaths leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.

66 Battery ends : ANODES

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

70 Website for 20-Across items : ETSY
(20A Made like an artisan : CRAFTED)

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

Down

1 “Morning Joe” co-host Brzezinski : MIKA

“Morning Joe” is a show broadcast by MSNBC each weekday morning. It is hosted by Joe Scarborough, and first went on the air in 2007. Given the name of the show, Starbucks was very happy to be the show’s sponsor from 2009 through 2013, and got lots of product placement.

3 Soup bulb : LEEK

The leek is a vegetable closely related to the onion and the garlic. It is also a national emblem of Wales (along with the daffodil), although I don’t think we know for sure how this came to be. One story is that the Welsh were ordered to wear leeks in their helmets to identify themselves in a battle against the Saxons. Apparently, the battle took place in a field of leeks.

4 Sevilla’s home : ESPANA

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union (after France). “Spain” is an anglicized form of the Spanish name “España”, which comes from the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula “Hispania”.

The city of Seville (“Sevilla” in Spanish) is the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain. Seville is a favored setting for many operas including “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini, “Fidelio” by Beethoven and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro”.

6 German pronoun : ICH

Ich is the German for “I”, as in “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner), the famous words of support uttered by President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in 1963 in a speech in West Berlin. The supposed translation of “Ich bin ein Berliner” as “I am a jelly doughnut” … that’s just an urban myth. President Kennedy’s use of German was perfectly correct.

9 One literary source for Wagner’s “Ring” cycle : EDDA

“Poetic Edda” and “Prose Edda” are two ancient works that are the source for much of Norse mythology. Both Eddas were written in 13th-century Iceland.

Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” is more properly called “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (The Ring of Nibelung), and comprises four very, very long operas. The individual operas are:

  1. “Das Rheingold”
  2. “Die Walkure”
  3. “Siegfried”
  4. “Gotterdammerung”

12 They break the fourth wall : ASIDES

In the theater world, the fourth wall is an imaginary plane at the front of the stage through which the audience experiences the action. When a character acknowledges the existence of the audience, perhaps by addressing them, he or she is said to have broken the fourth wall.

17 In short order : ANON

“Anon” originally meant “at once”, but the term’s meaning evolved into “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

23 Rockefeller or Getty : OIL TYCOON

John D. Rockefeller was an American industrialist whose biggest success came with the Standard Oil Company that he founded and ran for over 25 years. Rockefeller became the richest man in the world, and America’s first billionaire.

J. Paul Getty was famous as an industrialist who made his fortune in the oil industry. Getty was also famous as a grandfather who had a grandson kidnapped for ransom. John Paul Getty III was 16 years old when he was taken in Rome in 1973. The ransom demand to his father was for $17 million, a sum that he had to ask from the child’s grandfather, as he was the one with all the money. Jean Paul Getty refused to pay and 4 months later an envelope was delivered to the family containing a lock of hair and an ear. The grandfather then entered into negotiations with the kidnappers, beat them down to $2 million, and the boy was released. Getty’s grandson never really recovered. He got into drugs, and an overdose left him speechless, blind and paralyzed. Sad story …

25 Pokey : CAN

“Pokey” (also “poky”) is a slang term meaning “prison”. It might be a corruption of “pogie”, a term for a “poorhouse”.

26 Be in a red state, perhaps : OWE

To be in the red is to be in debt, to owe money. The expression “in the red” is a reference to the accounting practice of recording debts and losses in red ink in ledgers. The related phrase “in the black” means “solvent, making a profit”.

27 TV monster’s catchphrase : ME WANT COOKIE

Cookie Monster is a beloved Muppet on the TV show “Sesame Street”. He is a big eater and is especially fond of cookies, which he eats while grunting out “Om nom nom nom”.

30 ___ Cruces, N.M. : LAS

Las Cruces (Spanish for “the crosses”) is the second largest city in the state of New Mexico, and is the home of New Mexico State University.

33 Yukon, e.g.: Abbr. : TERR

Canada’s federal territory known as Yukon takes its name from the Yukon River. “Yukon” means “Big Stream” in the local Gwich’in language.

36 Its atomic number is 18 : ARGON

The chemical element argon has the symbol Ar. Argon is a noble gas, and so by definition is relatively nonreactive. The name “argon” comes from the Greek word for “lazy, inactive”. There’s a lot of argon around, as it is the third-most abundant gas in our atmosphere.

40 “I’m such a meathead!” : D’OH!

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

41 Summer setting for N.Y.C. : EDT

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

44 Mongols and Mughals, for example : ASIANS

The Mongols are an ethnic group found today in modern Mongolia, in China and in Russia.

The Mughal Empire extended over much of the Indian subcontinent from 1526 to 1707.

47 Winter coat : ANORAK

Anoraks really aren’t very popular over here in America. Everyone has one in Ireland! An anorak is a heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur (or fake fur), and is an invention of the Inuit people.

48 Current event? : EL NINO

When the surface temperature of much of the Pacific Ocean rises more than half a degree celsius, then there is said to be an El Niño episode. That small temperature change in the Pacific has been associated with climatic changes that can stretch right across the globe. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. The phenomenon was given this particular Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.

54 Incite : EGG ON

The verb “to edge” has been used to mean to incite, to urge on, from the 16th century. Somewhere along the way “edge” was mistakenly replaced with “egg”, giving us our term “to egg on” meaning “to goad”.

57 Tech release of 2010 : IPAD

The iPad wasn’t Apple’s first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

61 Award for a great play : ESPY

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

64 Follower of “spelman.” : EDU

The .edu 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)

Spelman College is a women’s school in Atlanta, Georgia that was founded as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in 1881. Spelman is part of the Atlanta University Center, along with the nearby all-male Morehouse College, with which Spelman has a long-standing relationship.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Animal that’s also a plant? : MOLE
5 Genghis Khan tactic : SIEGE
10 F.D.R. job-creating program : WPA
13 Follower of the calends and the nones : IDES
14 Like some texts and cows : SACRED
15 Holds : HAS
16 Good advice during an emergency : KEEP A COOL HEAD
18 “Always Be My Maybe” actress Wong : ALI
19 Obliquely : ASKANCE
20 Made like an artisan : CRAFTED
22 Yokohama drama : NOH
23 Baseball Hall-of-Famer Mel : OTT
24 “___ quam videri” (“To be rather than to seem”) : ESSE
25 Gymnast on Time’s August 2, 1976, cover with the headline “She’s perfect” : COMANECI
29 Geezers and fogies : OLD COOTS
31 Knock out : AWE
32 Meathead : DOLT
34 “Thumbs up” : A-OK
35 Not used to : NEW AT
38 Consumed : ATE
39 Cutting : SNIDE
42 Political journalist Berman : ARI
43 Constellation resembling a harp : LYRA
45 Drop (off) : NOD
46 What participles shouldn’t do : DANGLE
49 Brand with a snow-covered mountain on its label : COORS LIGHT
52 Not duped by : ONTO
53 Actor Cariou : LEN
55 John of Scots : IAN
56 Doing dinner and a movie at home, say : COCOONING
58 Excerpt : PASSAGE
62 Tick off : IRK
63 Typecasts, in a way … or a hint to four squares in this puzzle : PIGEONHOLES
65 China’s Chou En-___ : LAI
66 Battery ends : ANODES
67 Like a flag on a windless day : LIMP
68 Scratch (out) : EKE
69 Coffee go-with : DONUT
70 Website for 20-Across items : ETSY

Down

1 “Morning Joe” co-host Brzezinski : MIKA
2 Lyric verses : ODES
3 Soup bulb : LEEK
4 Sevilla’s home : ESPANA
5 Yard ___ : SALE
6 German pronoun : ICH
7 Put up : ERECT
8 Customize for : GEAR TO
9 One literary source for Wagner’s “Ring” cycle : EDDA
10 “How are plans coming along?” : WHAT’S COOKING?
11 Most ghostly : PALEST
12 They break the fourth wall : ASIDES
14 Slid over a bit : SCOOCHED
17 In short order : ANON
21 Consumed : FED ON
23 Rockefeller or Getty : OIL TYCOON
25 Pokey : CAN
26 Be in a red state, perhaps : OWE
27 TV monster’s catchphrase : ME WANT COOKIE
28 One source of global warming : COAL
30 ___ Cruces, N.M. : LAS
33 Yukon, e.g.: Abbr. : TERR
36 Its atomic number is 18 : ARGON
37 No later than, informally : ‘TIL
40 “I’m such a meathead!” : D’OH!
41 Summer setting for N.Y.C. : EDT
44 Mongols and Mughals, for example : ASIANS
46 Easily tamed : DOCILE
47 Winter coat : ANORAK
48 Current event? : EL NINO
50 Tie down securely : LASH
51 Flat liner? : INSOLE
54 Incite : EGG ON
57 Tech release of 2010 : IPAD
58 Writer of 2-Down : POET
59 Made a touchdown : ALIT
60 Masterpieces : GEMS
61 Award for a great play : ESPY
64 Follower of “spelman.” : EDU

5 thoughts on “1006-21 NY Times Crossword 6 Oct 21, Wednesday”

  1. 13:39 I was surprised to see a rebus on Weds. Having said that, my first pass at it was FAR for the rebus in 29A as OLDFARTS. I soon realized that I’m really an OLD COOT instead. 23D set me in the right direction for that rebus.

    WPA was in a very recent X-word so I tried that out first before TVA and Voila! it was correct.

    I don’t watch Morning Joe (too early here on the W coast, even if I wanted to) but I am aware that Mika is also Scarborough’s husband and the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski

  2. 19:53. Again with the fat fingers on my tiny phone screen. Ditto on the Wednesday rebus. Cute, though.

  3. 18:11. Took me forever to get the theme correctly. I had KEEP A (LEVE)L HEAD at first before I realized the down didn’t work. I saw COO in another theme answer but didn’t make the connection until I saw COO again in another theme answer. I guess it took me a while to COOrdinate all the info correctly…

    Clue of the day was right off the bat at 1A “Animal that’s also a plant?” for MOLE.

    Best –

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