1026-21 NY Times Crossword 26 Oct 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Michael Schlossberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Frankenstein

Themed answers make up a potential shopping list for Doctor FRANKENSTEIN:

  • 58A Doctor whose shopping list might include 20-, 34- and 42-Across? : FRANKENSTEIN
  • 20A Basic, practical details : NUTS AND BOLTS
  • 34A What expensive things cost : AN ARM AND A LEG
  • 42A Magnet for criticism : LIGHTNING ROD

Bill’s time: 6m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Off-the-cuff remarks : AD LIBS

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

To speak off the cuff is to speak extemporaneously. The idea is that someone doing so would not be using learned lines, but rather is speaking with the use of a few notes that have been jotted on his cuffs or shirtsleeves.

7 London TV inits. : BBC

The marvelous British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is mainly funded by the UK government through a television licence fee that is levied annually on all households watching TV transmissions.

14 Place for daisies : MEADOW

The flowerheads of daisies consist of white ray florets surrounding yellow disc florets.

15 Fair-hiring letters : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

16 Treat with a 71%-to-29% cookie-to-cream ratio : OREO

How the Oreo cookie came to get its name seems to have been lost in the mists of time. One theory is that it comes from the French “or” meaning “gold”, a reference to the gold color of the original packing. Another suggestion is that the name is the Greek word “oreo” meaning “beautiful, nice, well-done”.

17 Microscopic life form : AMOEBA

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

22 “___ Poetica” : ARS

The full name of Horace’s work is “Ars Poetica, Epistula ad Pisones” (The Art of Poetry, Letters to the Pisos). The work describes the technical aspects of poetry in ancient Rome, and the term “ars poetica” has come to mean the poetry of that period.

23 Connery who played 007 seven times : SEAN

Sean Connery was most famous for playing the original James Bond in the successful series of movies. Back in his native Scotland, Connery was very active in politics and was a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party. He actively campaigned for Scottish independence from Britain and stated that he believed Scotland would achieve that goal within his own lifetime. That had not happened by the time Connery passed away in 2020.

The character James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number “007” was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th-century English spy named John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …

24 Catbird seat? : PERCH

The idiomatic phrase “the catbird seat” is used to describe an enviable position in which one has the upper hand. The first documented use of the expression is in a 1942 story by James Thurber called “The Catbird Seat”.

31 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

41 Treble symbols : G-CLEFS

“Clef” is the French word for “key”. In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on a stave. The bass clef is also known as the F-clef, the alto clef is the C-clef, and the treble clef is the G-clef.

47 Vicinity : AREA

A vicinity is an area surrounding a place. The term “vicinity” ultimately comes from the Latin “vicus” meaning “group of houses, village”.

57 Mahmoud Abbas’s grp. : PLO

Mahmoud Abbas took over as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2004 after the death of Yasser Arafat. Abbas is also the President of the Palestinian National Authority, a position equivalent to “head of state”.

58 Doctor whose shopping list might include 20-, 34- and 42-Across? : FRANKENSTEIN

Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel has the full title of “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”. The subtitle underscores one of the themes of the book, i.e. a warning about the expansion into the Industrial Revolution.

66 “Star Wars” princess : LEIA

The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka “Darth Vader”) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.

67 “East” on a grandfather clock : III

There are several sizes of longcase clocks, tall and freestanding clocks driven by a pendulum swinging inside a tower below the clock face. A longcase clock over 6 feet tall is called a grandfather, and one below five feet is a granddaughter, One that falls between five and six feet is known as a grandmother. The name of the clock derives from an 1876 song called “My Grandfather’s Clock”.

68 Band’s hired hand : ROADIE

A “roadie” is someone who loads, unloads and sets up equipment for musicians on tour, on the “road”.

69 Brewski : BEER

“Brewski”, “suds” and “cold one” are slang terms for “beer”.

70 Beats by ___ (headphones brand) : DRE

Beats by Dre is a brand of audio products made by Beats Electronics, a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, the largest acquisition by far in the company’s history.

Down

1 Alternatives to Maytags : AMANAS

The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa. Today, the Amana name is very much associated with household appliances. The company was founded in 1934 to manufacture commercial walk-in coolers.

The Maytag Washing Machine Company was founded in 1893 by Frederick Maytag, in Newton, Iowa. Over time, the company developed a reputation for reliability, and did a great job marketing the concept. One move they made was to change the address of the corporate headquarters in Newton to “One Dependability Square”. The Maytag repairman in the famous advertising campaign was known as “Ol’ Lonely”, the guy who was never called out because Maytag washers and dryers never broke down. Whirlpool bought Maytag in 2006 and basically shut down all Maytag operations, and now just put the Maytag label on Whirlpool appliances.

3 Chinese philosopher who wrote the “Tao Te Ching” : LAO TSE

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

4 Fateful day for Caesar : IDES

In Act I of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, a soothsayer warns the doomed leader to “beware the ides of March”. Caesar ignores the prophecy and is subsequently killed on the steps of the Capitol by a group of conspirators on that fateful day.

5 Word before tea or Fett : BOBA …

Bubble tea, sometimes called “boba tea”, is a tea-based drink from Taiwan. The “bubbles” are chewy tapioca balls that are usually added to the drink.

Boba Fett is one of the principal bad guys in the “Star Wars” universe. Boba Fett appears in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” and in “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. A young version of Boba Fett also appears in “Episode II: Attack of the Clones”.

6 What some ugly ducklings turn into : SWANS

Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Ugly Duckling” has to be one of the most endearing ever written. Unlike so many fairy tales, “The Ugly Duckling” isn’t based on any folklore and is simply a product of Andersen’s imagination. It is speculated that Andersen was the illegitimate son of the Crown Prince of Denmark, and that he wrote the story of the ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan as a metaphor for the secret royal lineage that was within Andersen himself.

8 Colorful garden perennial : BEGONIA

The genus of flowering plants known as “begonias” were named in 1796 for Michel Bégon, a governor of Haiti (then “Santo Domingo”) who was an enthusiastic collector of plants.

12 ___ Jam Recordings : DEF

Def Jam is a US record label, one focused on hip hop music.

13 Castaway’s “Help!” : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

19 Canful at a gas station : STP

STP is a brand name of automotive lubricants and additives. The name “STP” is an initialism standing for “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

21 Venison : DEER

Venison is the meat of a deer. In days of yore, the term “venison” applied not just to deer, but to any large game. The word ultimately derives from the Latin “venare” meaning “to hunt”.

26 ___ Boyardee : CHEF

The Chef Boyardee brand of canned food products was named after Ettore Boiardi who introduced the product line in the twenties. Boiardi was an Italian immigrant who owned an Italian restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. He started the line of canned recipes based on the demand for samples of his dishes from satisfied customers at his restaurant.

27 Harleys, in slang : HOGS

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company was founded in the very early 1900s by two childhood friends, William Harley and Arthur Davidson, . Their first design was in effect an engine hooked up to a pedal bicycle, but the 116 cc cylinder capacity simply couldn’t generate enough power to get up the hills of their native city of Milwaukee. The pair came up with a redesigned model that had a cylinder capacity of 405 cc, which the partners built in a shed at the back of Davidson’s house. In 1906, the partners built their first factory, located where the company’s headquarters is to this day, on Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Famously, Harley motorcycles are nicknamed “hogs”.

29 Poison ivy eruption : RASH

Two of the plants that are most painful to humans are poison oak and poison ivy. Poison oak is mainly found west of the Rocky Mountains, and poison ivy to the east.

35 Tennis’s Kournikova : ANNA

Not only is Anna Kournikova a world class tennis player, but she is also a model. She apparently has a lot of fans because her name is one of the most commonly searched for terms on Google’s search engine …

36 Big name in pesticides : D-CON

d-CON is a line of rodent control products that has been around for over 50 years. The name is an abbreviation for “decontamination”. The d-CON Company was founded in 1950 by Chicago businessman Lee Ratner, yes, “Ratner” …

37 ___ Ray, 1950s-’70s leading man : ALDO

Aldo Ray started out his Hollywood career playing tough, sexy roles. Ray played “the other man” in a favorite film of mine, “Pat and Mike” starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. He eventually became typecast in less sexy and more tough-guy parts.

38 Spill the beans : BLAB

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

39 “Je t’___” (French words of endearment) : AIME

“I love you” translates into “te amo” in Spanish, “Ich liebe dich” in German, and “je t’aime” in French.

40 End-of-the-week shout : TGIF!

“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF)

43 Carrier based in Tehran : IRAN AIR

Iran Air was founded in 1944 as Iranian Airways Company, and so is the oldest airline operating today in the Middle East.

51 Shrek’s companion in “Shrek” : DONKEY

In the 2001 animated feature “Shrek”, the title character is voiced by Mike Myers. Eddie Murphy voices Shrek’s sidekick Donkey, and Princess Fiona is voiced by Cameron Diaz.

56 Hägar the Horrible’s dog : SNERT

“Hägar the Horrible” is a comic strip that was created by the late Dik Browne and is now drawn by his son, Chris Browne. “Hägar the Terrible” (not “Horrible”) was the nickname given to Dik by his sons. The strip’s title character is a red-bearded Viking living on the Norwegian coast during the Middle Ages. Hägar lives with his overbearing wife Helga, his sensitive son Hamlet, his pretty daughter Honi, and his clever dog Snert.

60 Trash-hauling ship : SCOW

A scow is a flat-bottomed boat with squared-off ends that’s often used for transportation, usually pushed or pulled by a barge. Often, a scow can be seen carrying junk or garbage.

62 Edmonton’s prov. : ALB

Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. The city was founded as Fort Edmonton in 1795, with the name taken from the area in London called Edmonton. Edmonton, London was the home of pioneer John Peter Pruden who suggested the name. London’s Edmonton was also home for deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

63 Spike or Gypsy Rose : LEE

Film director Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has very much made New York City his home and place of work. Most of Lee’s films are set in New York City, including his first feature film, 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It”. That film was shot over two weeks with a budget of $175,000. “She’s Gotta Have It” grossed over $7 million at the US box office.

“Gypsy” is a 1962 musical film based on the book by Gypsy Rose Lee titled “Gypsy: A Memoir”. Stars of the movie are Natalie Wood as Louise Hovick (Gypsy’s real name) and Rosalind Russell as Gypsy’s mother Rose Hovick. By the way, the real-life Gypsy Rose Lee became a fiction author in 1942 when her mystery thriller was published called “The G-String Murders”. The novel was adapted into a movie a couple of years later and released as “Lady of Burlesque” starring Barbara Stanwyck.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Off-the-cuff remarks : AD LIBS
7 London TV inits. : BBC
10 Dark wines : REDS
14 Place for daisies : MEADOW
15 Fair-hiring letters : EEO
16 Treat with a 71%-to-29% cookie-to-cream ratio : OREO
17 Microscopic life form : AMOEBA
18 Looks for web content about oneself : EGOSURFS
20 Basic, practical details : NUTS AND BOLTS
22 “___ Poetica” : ARS
23 Connery who played 007 seven times : SEAN
24 Catbird seat? : PERCH
28 Crystal ball gazers, e.g. : SEERS
31 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
33 “Well, what a surprise!” : OHO!
34 What expensive things cost : AN ARM AND A LEG
38 Brings home with a hit, as a base runner : BATS IN
41 Treble symbols : G-CLEFS
42 Magnet for criticism : LIGHTNING ROD
46 “What ___, chopped liver?” : AM I
47 Vicinity : AREA
48 Sniffed (around) : NOSED
52 Prove appropriate for : BEFIT
55 Has a part to play : ACTS
57 Mahmoud Abbas’s grp. : PLO
58 Doctor whose shopping list might include 20-, 34- and 42-Across? : FRANKENSTEIN
62 Prowling kitty : ALLEY CAT
65 Virtual payment with a bank routing number : E-CHECK
66 “Star Wars” princess : LEIA
67 “East” on a grandfather clock : III
68 Band’s hired hand : ROADIE
69 Brewski : BEER
70 Beats by ___ (headphones brand) : DRE
71 Full of S curves : TWISTY

Down

1 Alternatives to Maytags : AMANAS
2 Modest and shy : DEMURE
3 Chinese philosopher who wrote the “Tao Te Ching” : LAO TSE
4 Fateful day for Caesar : IDES
5 Word before tea or Fett : BOBA …
6 What some ugly ducklings turn into : SWANS
7 Flowering plant also known as horsemint : BEEBALM
8 Colorful garden perennial : BEGONIA
9 “Suh-weet!” : COOL!
10 Awaken : ROUSE
11 Goof : ERR
12 ___ Jam Recordings : DEF
13 Castaway’s “Help!” : SOS
19 Canful at a gas station : STP
21 Venison : DEER
25 Something played that’s not a game : ROLE
26 ___ Boyardee : CHEF
27 Harleys, in slang : HOGS
29 Poison ivy eruption : RASH
30 Fit of irritation : SNIT
32 Head of a train: Abbr. : ENGR
35 Tennis’s Kournikova : ANNA
36 Big name in pesticides : D-CON
37 ___ Ray, 1950s-’70s leading man : ALDO
38 Spill the beans : BLAB
39 “Je t’___” (French words of endearment) : AIME
40 End-of-the-week shout : TGIF!
43 Carrier based in Tehran : IRAN AIR
44 Item left at home on casual Fridays : NECKTIE
45 Place for a guard : GATE
49 Goes 60 in a 30- m.p.h. zone, say : SPEEDS
50 Draw out : ELICIT
51 Shrek’s companion in “Shrek” : DONKEY
53 Worrier’s opening words : I FEAR …
54 Urging for a reluctant person : TRY
56 Hägar the Horrible’s dog : SNERT
59 Battery liquid : ACID
60 Trash-hauling ship : SCOW
61 Kind of cuisine offering tom yung goong and tom kha kai : THAI
62 Edmonton’s prov. : ALB
63 Spike or Gypsy Rose : LEE
64 “Tuesday is the hardest crossword of the week,” e.g. : LIE

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