1107-21 NY Times Crossword 7 Nov 21, Sunday

Constructed by: Sid Sivakumar
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme This and That

Well, actually there isn’t a theme …

Bill’s time: 23m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Piles : ATOMIC REACTORS

A nuclear reactor (originally “atomic pile”) is a device designed to maintain a self-contained nuclear chain reaction. Nuclear fission generates heat in the reactor core. That heat is transferred out of the core by a nuclear reactor coolant, and is used to turn steam turbines. Those steam turbines usually drive electrical generators, or perhaps a ship’s propellers.

19 Setting for Banff National Park : CANADIAN ROCKIES

Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is located high in the Canadian Rockies and is a popular tourist destination. The town of Banff and the surrounding park were given their name in 1884 by then president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, George Stephen. He named Banff for his birthplace of Banffshire in Scotland.

21 Dealer’s enemy : NARC

Back in the 1800s, “to nark” was “to act as a police informer”. The spelling of the term has started to evolve into “to narc”, due to the influence of the noun “narc”, slang for a narcotics officer. The ”nark” spelling is still used on the other side of the Atlantic.

22 Disney film with more than a million hand-drawn bubbles : THE LITTLE MERMAID

In the 1989 Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid”, the title character is given the name “Ariel”. In the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that dates back to 1836, the Little Mermaid is given no name at all. There is a famous statue of the unnamed Little Mermaid sitting in Copenhagen Harbor, in Andersen’s homeland of Denmark.

24 Rap’s Run-D.M.C., e.g. : TRIO

Run-DMC was a hip hop group from Queens, New York. The trio took its name from two of the group’s members: Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.

25 Ostrich or kangaroo : BIPED

The ostrich is a flightless bird that is native to Africa. It is extensively farmed, mainly for its feathers but also for its skin/leather and meat. Famously, the ostrich is the fastest moving of any flightless bird, capable of achieving speeds of over 40 mph. It is also the largest living species of bird, and lays the largest eggs.

A male kangaroo is known as a buck, jack or boomer. A female is called a jill, flyer or doe. A young kangaroo is a joey, and a group of kangaroos is a mob or troop.

26 Amtrak service : ACELA

The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, as it gets up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Introduced in 2000, the brand name “Acela” was created to evoke “acceleration” and “excellence”.

27 Emulate Ella Fitzgerald : SCAT

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

29 Boxer Wolfe who played Artemis in “Wonder Woman” : ANN

“Wonder Woman” is a 2017 film starring Gal Gadot as the superhero title character. It is listed by many as one of the best superhero movies of all time. Gadot had played Wonder Woman before, in the 2016 film “Batman v Superman”.

35 Clear spirit : GIN

The spirit known as gin gets its unique flavor mainly from juniper berries. The name “gin” comes into English from the translation of “juniper” from either French (genièvre), Dutch (jenever) or Italian (ginepro).

36 Seasonal fast-food sandwiches that aren’t halal : MCRIBS

The McDonald’s McRib sandwich is based on a pork patty. There isn’t any pork rib in the patty though. It is primarily made up of pork shoulder meat reconstituted with tripe, heart and stomach tissue. Enjoy …

“Halal” is a term describing an action or object that is permissible under Islamic Law. In particular “halal” is used to describe food that can be consumed. Anything that is not allowed is described as “haram”.

37 “Star Trek” virtual reality chambers : HOLODECKS

The holodeck is a large virtual reality room located in Starfleet facilities in the “Star Trek” universe (pun!). To me, the holodeck is the coolest concept featured in “Star Trek” …

38 San ___ (European enclave) : MARINO

San Marino is a small enclave in northern Italy with an area of just under 25 square miles. It is the oldest sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, and has the world’s oldest constitution (dating back to 1600). What is most impressive to me is that San Marino has no national debt and a budget surplus. One can only dream …

40 Italian wine region : ASTI

Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. It is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine. Moscato d’Asti is produced from the same grape (Moscato Bianco). Moscato is a much sweeter wine with a lower alcohol content, and is usually served as a dessert wine.

44 Fall flavoring : NUTMEG

The fruit of the nutmeg tree yields two very different spices. What we call “nutmeg” comes from the seed of the tree. “Mace” is the dried covering of the seed.

51 Eateries serving small plates : TAPAS BARS

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”. There is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

56 2017 CVS Health acquisition : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

58 Tough bass part? : FISH SCALE

The freshwater and marine species of fish called bass resemble perch. The word “bass” comes from the Middle English “bars” meaning “perch”.

64 Bhikkhunis : Buddhist monastery :: ___ : convent : NUNS

In the Buddhist tradition, a bhikkhuni is a female monk. The male equivalent is a bhikkhu.

67 Actor Idris : ELBA

English actor Idris Elba plays the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and played the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally appears as a disk jockey using the name “DJ Big Driis”.

72 Employees who work a lot : VALETS

A varlet was an attendant or servant, and perhaps a knight’s page. The term “varlet” comes from the Old French “vaslet” meaning “squire, young man”. “Vaslet” also gave us our contemporary word “valet”. The term “varlet” came to be pejorative, describing an unprincipled person.

78 Big name in pasta sauces : RAGU

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce was introduced in 1937. The name ”Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is a little off in the name of the sauce. In Italian, the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

81 “Capisce?” : GOT ME?

“Capeesh?” is a slang term meaning “do you understand?” It comes from the Italian “capisce” meaning “understand”.

82 Rail in a dance studio : BARRE

A barre is a handrail used by ballet dancers for warm-up exercises and to provide support when practicing certain moves.

83 Images on some Australian silver coins : EMUS

The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

91 Predator frequently appearing in Calvin’s daydreams in “Calvin and Hobbes” : T-REX

The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” is still widely syndicated, but hasn’t been written since 1995. The cartoonist Bill Watterson named the character Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian. Hobbes was named for Thomas Hobbes, a 17th century English political philosopher.

92 Special delivery? : KEYNOTE ADDRESS

The keynote is the lowest note in a musical scale, as one might imagine. The term started to be used to mean a leading idea in the late 1700s, and the expression “keynote address” dates back to 1905.

Down

2 Island home to Faa’a International Airport : TAHITI

Faa’a is the largest commune on the island of Tahiti, part of French Polynesia in the South Pacific. Faa’a is in effect a suburb of Papeete, French Polynesia’s capital city.

3 It’s located in the middle of an alley : ONE-PIN

In tenpin bowling, the pins are arranged in a triangular arrangement. The pin at the front is the 1-pin. The pins at the back are number 7 through 10, from left to right.

4 Drones, e.g. : MALES

Drone bees and drone ants are fertile males of the species whose sole role in life seems to be to mate with a queen.

6 Op. ___ : CIT

“Op. cit.” is short for “opus citatum”, Latin for “the work cited”. Op. cit. is used in footnotes to refer the reader to an earlier citation. It is similar to ibid, except that ibid refers the reader to the last citation, the one immediately above.

9 Puerto Rico’s ___ Telescope, formerly the world’s largest single-aperture telescope : ARECIBO

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is home to a large radio-telescope. There’s a fair chance you’ve seen the observatory on the big screen as it was featured prominently in the James Bond film “GoldenEye”, and also in the Jodie Foster movie “Contact”.

11 Immune system component : T CELL

T cells are a group of white blood cells that are essential components of the body’s immune system. T cells are so called because they mature in the thymus, a specialized organ found in the chest.

12 Vegetable in bhindi masala : OKRA

“Masala” is a Hindi word meaning “mixture”, and describes a mixture of spices. A dish named “masala” uses the spices incorporated into a sauce that includes garlic, ginger, onions and chili paste. Who doesn’t love Indian cuisine? Yum …

14 Fine crystals used in food preparation : SEA SALT

The lobbyists have done their job when it comes to the labeling of “sea salt”. In the US, sea salt doesn’t even have to come from the sea. The argument is that all salt came from the sea if you look back far enough. The politics of food; don’t get me started …

16 Make a flying jump onto a slope : PARASKI

Paraskiing is skiing across snowy terrain while being pulled along by a parachute.

17 They get left in the dust : PRINTS

In the world of criminology, there are three classes of fingerprints:

  • Patent prints are those which are obvious, easily spotted by the naked eye.
  • Impressed prints are those made when the fingertips apply pressure to a soft material or surface, such as the skin.
  • Latent prints are those that are invisible to the naked eye, but which can be detected using special equipment and materials.

20 “___ Mode” (2018 #1 hit for Travis Scott) : SICKO

“Travis Scott” is the stage name of rapper Jacques Webster II from Texas. Webster chose his stage name in honor of his late uncle “Travis” and “Scott” Mescudo, a rap artist who performs as Kid Cudi. Scott has a relationship with Kylie Jenner, a member of the Kardashian dynasty, with whom he has a daughter named Stormi Webster.

23 Labyrinth builder of myth : DAEDALUS

Daedalus was a master craftsman of Greek mythology who was tasked with creating the Labyrinth on the island of Crete that was to house the Minotaur. After the Labyrinth was completed, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower, so that he could not spread word of his work. Daedalus fabricated wings so that he and Icarus could escape by flying off the island. Despite being warned by his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun so that the wax holding the wings’ feathers in place melted. Icarus drowned in the sea, and Daedalus escaped.

28 Tarot card said to “radiate” positivity : THE SUN

Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.

31 Foretold the future : SCRIED

To descry is to catch sight of, to discern. The derivative verb “to scry” is used to mean “to see images that reveal the past or foretell the future”.

36 Drama linked to the resurgence of the name “Betty” for baby girls : MAD MEN

“Mad Men” was the flagship show on the AMC television channel for several seasons. Set in the sixties, it’s all about an advertising agency located on Madison Avenue in New York (hence the title). “Mad Men” became the first show created by a basic cable channel to win an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

January Jones is a model and actress from Brookings, South Dakota. Most famously, Jones plays Betty, the wife of Don Draper, on the TV show “Mad Men”. My favorite movie featuring Jones is 2011’s “Unknown” in which she starred opposite Liam Neeson.

39 Actress Meyer of “Beverly Hills 90210” : DINA

Dina Meyer started her acting career with a recurring role on the TV show “Beverly Hills, 90210”. She then landed the lead female role in the 1995 movie “Johnny Mnemonic”.

41 Tested the censor, say : CUSSED

The original “censor” was an officer in ancient Rome who had responsibility for taking the “census”, as well as supervising public morality.

42 Vendors of e-cigs : VAPE SHOPS

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

48 Like some very old characters : RUNIC

A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

49 Pallet piece : SLAT

There is a difference between a wooden pallet and a wooden skid, both of which are used for shipping. A pallet has boards on top and bottom, whereas a skid only has boards on top.

50 Small drink of whiskey : DRAM

I think that the dram is a confusing unit of measurement. It has one value as an ancient unit of mass, and two different values as a modern unit of mass, another value as a unit of fluid volume, and yet another varying value as a measure of Scotch whisky!

54 Items at T.S.A. checkpoints : BINS

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

56 Boeing competitor : AIRBUS

Airbus is an aircraft manufacturer based in Blagnac, France just outside Toulouse. Airbus produces about half of the world’s jetliners. The company built the first fly-by-wire aircraft (the A320), and also built the world’s largest airliner (the A380).

62 Style pioneered by Picasso : CUBISM

In the art movement known as Cubism, objects that are the subject of a painting are broken up and reassembled in an abstract form. The pioneers of the Cubist movement were Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.

66 Hot, in Havana : CALIENTE

Havana is the capital of Cuba. The city was founded by the Spanish in the early 1500s after which it became a strategic location for Spain’s exploration and conquest of the Americas. In particular, Havana was used as a stopping-off point for treasure-laden ships on the return journey to Spain.

68 Dairy-free coffee additive : OAT MILK

Oat milk is one of the alternatives to cow’s milk, and is lactose free. I’m a big fan …

71 Ripply fabric pattern : MOIRE

A moiré pattern is a phenomenon in physics, a so-called interference pattern. If you lay two sheets of mesh over each other for example, slightly offset, then what you see is a moiré pattern. “Moiré” is the French name for a textile that we know simply as “moire”. The rippled pattern of the textile resembles that of the interference pattern.

73 Bespectacled “Peanuts” character : MARCIE

The characters in the cartoon series “Peanuts” were largely drawn from Charles Schultz’s own life, with shy and withdrawn Charlie Brown representing Schultz himself.

76 Harped (on) : DWELT

To harp on something is to talk too much about it. The original expression with the same meaning was “to harp on the same string”, which is a reference to the musical instrument.

78 Time off, for short : R AND R

Rest and relaxation/recuperation/recreation (R&R, R‘n’R)

81 Slightly spoiled, in a way : GAMY

The term “game” can be used for wild animals that are hunted for food or sport. The associated adjective “gamey” (sometimes “gamy”) can be used to describe the taste of meat from a game animal, especially if the meat is close to going bad.

87 Actress Mowry of “Sister, Sister” : TIA

“Sister, Sister” is a sitcom that originally aired from 11994 to 1999 starring identical twin sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry. Tia and Tamera play two sisters who were separated at birth, one being adopted by a single mother, and the other by a single father. The sisters happen upon each other 14 years later, and hilarity ensues …

88 Authority, metaphorically : ROD

The “fasces” is an image that is usually symbolic of power. The original Roman fasces consisted of a bundle of birch rods tied together into a cylindrical form with a bronze axe incorporated. Back in ancient Rome the fasces were carried by “lictors” who accompanied magistrates. The fasces were used much as we use flags today, with the rods and axe being symbolic of the power held by the magistrates.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Piles : ATOMIC REACTORS
15 Tablet purchases : APPS
19 Setting for Banff National Park : CANADIAN ROCKIES
21 Dealer’s enemy : NARC
22 Disney film with more than a million hand-drawn bubbles : THE LITTLE MERMAID
24 Rap’s Run-D.M.C., e.g. : TRIO
25 Ostrich or kangaroo : BIPED
26 Amtrak service : ACELA
27 Emulate Ella Fitzgerald : SCAT
29 Boxer Wolfe who played Artemis in “Wonder Woman” : ANN
30 “Yes, indeed” : IT IS
31 Get-together : SOCIAL
33 Rush : MAKE HASTE
35 Clear spirit : GIN
36 Seasonal fast-food sandwiches that aren’t halal : MCRIBS
37 “Star Trek” virtual reality chambers : HOLODECKS
38 San ___ (European enclave) : MARINO
39 [stern glare] : [DON’T!]
40 Italian wine region : ASTI
41 Certain developer’s job : CODING
42 Seriously unpleasant : VILE
43 Or greater : PLUS
44 Fall flavoring : NUTMEG
45 Some movie theater concession areas : CANDY COUNTERS
50 Shattered : DASHED
51 Eateries serving small plates : TAPAS BARS
52 Spoils : HAUL
53 Up : RISEN
54 Command center : BASE
55 Multiday event, for short : FEST
56 2017 CVS Health acquisition : AETNA
57 Profess : AVER
58 Tough bass part? : FISH SCALE
60 Really grooves with something : DIGS IT
61 Quaint locale of first-aid supplies : MEDICINE CHEST
63 Valorous : HEROIC
64 Bhikkhunis : Buddhist monastery :: ___ : convent : NUNS
65 The C of C major, e.g. : ROOT
66 Word with zone or boots : COMBAT …
67 Actor Idris : ELBA
68 Error message? : OOPS!
69 Was completely exhausted : RAN OUT
70 Hiking aids : TRAIL MAPS
72 Employees who work a lot : VALETS
73 Bit of reading near a cashier, in brief : MAG
76 Grasps at straws? : DRAWS LOTS
77 Not at all : NOWISE
78 Big name in pasta sauces : RAGU
79 N.B.A. coach ___ Unseld Jr. : WES
80 Badly hurt : MAIM
81 “Capisce?” : GOT ME?
82 Rail in a dance studio : BARRE
83 Images on some Australian silver coins : EMUS
85 V.I.P. access points : PRIVATE ENTRANCES
89 Mythos : LORE
90 Nutritional plan involving controlled removal of foods : ELIMINATION DIET
91 Predator frequently appearing in Calvin’s daydreams in “Calvin and Hobbes” : T-REX
92 Special delivery? : KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Down

1 Put on pretensions : ACT BIG
2 Island home to Faa’a International Airport : TAHITI
3 It’s located in the middle of an alley : ONE-PIN
4 Drones, e.g. : MALES
5 Terse confession : I DID
6 Op. ___ : CIT
7 Bad person to confess bad things to : RAT
8 Twisting together : ENLACING
9 Puerto Rico’s ___ Telescope, formerly the world’s largest single-aperture telescope : ARECIBO
10 Impersonate at a Halloween party : COME AS
11 Immune system component : T CELL
12 Vegetable in bhindi masala : OKRA
13 Lens holder : RIM
14 Fine crystals used in food preparation : SEA SALT
15 Symbol of industry : ANT
16 Make a flying jump onto a slope : PARASKI
17 They get left in the dust : PRINTS
18 Treat on a tea trolley tray : SCONE
20 “___ Mode” (2018 #1 hit for Travis Scott) : SICKO
23 Labyrinth builder of myth : DAEDALUS
28 Tarot card said to “radiate” positivity : THE SUN
31 Foretold the future : SCRIED
32 Certain gasket : O-RING
33 Deterrent to a pickpocket : MONEY BELT
34 Behaves like a fool, informally : ACTS THE GOAT
36 Drama linked to the resurgence of the name “Betty” for baby girls : MAD MEN
37 Remains tightly secured : HOLDS FAST
38 Acquired family member : MOTHER-IN-LAW
39 Actress Meyer of “Beverly Hills 90210” : DINA
41 Tested the censor, say : CUSSED
42 Vendors of e-cigs : VAPE SHOPS
43 Cruise stop : PORT
44 Wet behind the ears : NAIVE
45 Important sales for growing businesses? : CASH CROPS
46 Argument : CASE
47 Totally wipes out : EATS IT
48 Like some very old characters : RUNIC
49 Pallet piece : SLAT
50 Small drink of whiskey : DRAM
51 Zap, in a way : TASE
54 Items at T.S.A. checkpoints : BINS
56 Boeing competitor : AIRBUS
58 What the waving of a white flag can indicate : FINAL LAP
59 Business brass : CEOS
60 Reduce in rank : DEMOTE
62 Style pioneered by Picasso : CUBISM
63 Works at the cutting edge? : HONES
66 Hot, in Havana : CALIENTE
67 Evidence of a crossword solver’s mistake, maybe : ERASURE
68 Dairy-free coffee additive : OAT MILK
69 Butcher’s offering : RAW MEAT
70 Quiver : TREMOR
71 Ripply fabric pattern : MOIRE
72 Give a thumbs-down : VOTE NO
73 Bespectacled “Peanuts” character : MARCIE
74 Gives a thumbs-up : AGREES
75 Talk show slate : GUESTS
76 Harped (on) : DWELT
77 Unfashionable : NOT IN
78 Time off, for short : R AND R
81 Slightly spoiled, in a way : GAMY
82 Label signing : BAND
84 ___-positive movement : SEX
86 Contest : VIE
87 Actress Mowry of “Sister, Sister” : TIA
88 Authority, metaphorically : ROD