1108-21 NY Times Crossword 8 Nov 21, Monday

Constructed by: Carl Larson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Queen

Themed answers are all singers who have earned the moniker “Queen of [music genre cited in the clue]”:

  • 1A Honorific given to 17-, 27-, 43- and 58-Across : QUEEN
  • 17A Disco : DONNA SUMMER
  • 27A Soul : ARETHA FRANKLIN
  • 43A Jazz : ELLA FITZGERALD
  • 58A Country : LORETTA LYNN

Bill’s time: 5m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 CBS series with spinoffs set in Miami and New York : CSI

The “CSI” TV show franchise uses hits from the Who as theme music:

  • “Who Are You” … “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
  • “Baba O’Riley” … “CSI: New York”
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again” … “CSI: Miami”
  • “I Can See for Miles” … “CSI: Cyber”

14 Rocker Vedder or Van Halen : EDDIE

Eddie Vedder is the lead singer of the alternative rock band named Pearl Jam. As a songwriter, Vedder released a solo album in 2007, which is also used as the soundtrack of the interesting film “Into the Wild”.

Van Halen is a heavy metal band formed in Pasadena, California back in 1972. Brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen originally called the band Mammoth, changing the name to Van Halen in 1974 when they found out there was another Mammoth playing the circuit. Early on, the brothers were renting a sound system from David Lee Roth, and they decided to save some money by bringing him into the band and saving on the rental fee!

15 Menotti’s “___ and the Night Visitors” : AMAHL

Composer Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” has a special place in the repertoire, in that it is the first opera specifically composed for American television. “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was commissioned by NBC and had its debut at the NBC studios in Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve, 1951. In today’s world of commercially-driven television, I can’t imagine a network commissioning a classical work …

17 Disco : DONNA SUMMER

Donna Summer is known as “The Queen of Disco”, with great hits like “Love to Love You, Baby”, “I Feel Love” and “Hot Stuff”. In the late sixties and early seventies, LaDonna Gaines (her real name) lived and worked in Germany. There she met and married an Austrian actor called Helmuth Sommer. They divorced not long after the marriage, but Donna kept his family name, just changing the “o” to “u” to give her the stage name of “Donna Summer”.

19 Bread for a Reuben sandwich : RYE

There are conflicting stories about the origin of the Reuben sandwich. One such story is that it was invented around 1914 by Arnold Reuben, an immigrant from Germany who owned Reuben’s Deli in New York.

20 Montero Lamar Hill a.k.a. Lil ___ X : NAS

“Lil Nas X” is the stage name of rapper Montero Lamar Hill. He was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. His first hit was “Old Town Road”, which is classified as country rap.

21 Socially distant : ALOOF

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that it has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

22 “u up?,” e.g. : TEXT

Short Message Service (SMS) is the name for the text messaging service that many of us still use on our cell phones to contact friends and family.

23 “___ the season to be jolly” : ‘TIS

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in the 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la!”

25 “Mona ___,” painting with an enigmatic smile : LISA

Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece that we know in English as the “Mona Lisa” is called “La Gioconda” in Italian, the language of the artist. It’s also known as “La Joconde” by the Government of France which owns the painting and displays it in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The title comes from the name of the subject, almost certainly Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Giocondo was a wealthy silk merchant in Florence who commissioned the painting for the couple’s new home to celebrate the birth of their second son.

27 Soul : ARETHA FRANKLIN

I think that Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul”, had a tough life. Franklin had her first son when she was just 13-years-old, and her second at 15. In 2008, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Franklin as number one on its list of the greatest singers of all time.

36 Dude : BRO

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

39 Trickster of Norse myth : LOKI

Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki is bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing results in what we poor mortals experience as earthquakes.

41 Japanese dog breed : AKITA

The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, Akita Prefecture in Japan. When Helen Keller visited Japan in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. The following year the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog. Supposedly Keller’s dogs were the first members of the breed to be introduced into the US.

43 Jazz : ELLA FITZGERALD

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.

47 Purchase at a pump : GAS

The gas pump was actually around before there were cars on the road. The first gas pump was the invention of one Sylvanus Bowser from Fort Wayne, Indiana. His first pump was designed to pump kerosene for lamps and stoves, and was introduced in 1885. As automobiles became popular, he modified the design to pump gasoline. He introduced the Self-Measuring Gasoline Storage Pump in 1905. He marketed his devices all around the world, and in some parts the name “bowser” is still used sometimes to refer to fuel pumps, and indeed some fuel tankers.

50 Cowboy’s cow catcher : LASSO

Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

54 “For ___ a jolly good fellow …” : HE’S

“For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” is the second-most popular song in the English language according to the “Guinness Book of World Records”. Top of the list is “Happy Birthday to You”, and third comes “Auld Lang Syne”.

58 Country : LORETTA LYNN

Singer Loretta Lynn is sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Country Music. Lynn was born in 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky to a coal miner and his wife, and so famously is also referred to as “the Coal Miner’s Daughter”. Her much younger sister (by 19 years) is the singer Crystal Gayle.

61 Coffee, slangily : JOE

It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.

62 “Carmen” or “Elektra” : OPERA

Georges Bizet was a French composer active in the Romantic era. Bizet’s most famous work has to be his opera “Carmen”. “Carmen” initially received a lukewarm reception from the public, even though his fellow composers had nothing but praise for it. Sadly, Bizet died very young at only 36, before he could see “Carmen’s” tremendous success.

“Elektra” is an opera by Richard Strauss that premiered in 1909. The work is based on Greek mythology, and is centered on Elektra, the daughter of the Greek king Agamemnon.

63 Nintendo villain with an upside-down “M” on his cap : WARIO

Wario is a character in the “Mario” video game universe. He is a rival of Mario, and indeed the name “Wario” is a portmanteau of the Japanese word “warui” (meaning “bad”) and “Mario”. Bad Mario …

Down

1 Proof-ending letters : QED

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

2 Thick Japanese noodle : UDON

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

4 He postulated E = mc^2 : EINSTEIN

In Albert Einstein’s famous equation E=mc², “E” stands for energy, “m” stands for mass, and “c” stands for the speed of light.

5 Grant-issuing cultural org. : NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark.

6 Bandmate of John, George and Ringo : PAUL

The Beatles were described on the sleeve notes of their 1963 album “With the Beatles” as the “fabulous foursome”. The press picked up on the phrase and morphed it into “the Fab Four”.

7 Hunter’s supply, for short : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

8 Hunter’s garb, for short : CAMO

Our word “camouflage” (often abbreviated to “camo”) evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern painted on the hulls of ships.

9 Justice League member who’s super-speedy : THE FLASH

The Flash is a DC Comics superhero who is nicknamed “the Scarlet Speedster” or “the Crimson Comet”. The Flash’s superpower is his ability to move extremely quickly, with speed that defies the laws of physics.

The Justice League is a team of superheroes in the DC Comics universe. The team first appeared in 1960, as the Justice League of America. Membership of the league changed over the years, but the original lineup was:

  • Aquaman
  • Batman
  • The Flash
  • Green Lantern
  • Martian Manhunter
  • Superman
  • Wonder Woman

10 35mm camera type : SLR

Single-lens reflex (SLR) camera

At the beginning of the 20th century, 35mm was chosen as a standard size for film used in still cameras. 35mm was selected as it was already the standard film size used in motion pictures.

11 Good name for a postseason football game sponsored by General Mills? : CEREAL BOWL

General Mills was founded in 1928 in Minneapolis with the merger of four mills, most notably one owned by the Washburn-Crosby Company. The newly formed General Mills paid a dividend in the year of its founding, and has paid a dividend every year since then. There are only a few companies that have consistently paid out dividends to their investments for such a long period.

12 Mythological river around the underworld : STYX

The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

13 Rapper/actor on “Law & Order: SVU” : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be tired of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

18 Pageant wear : SASH

The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.

26 Shoo-___ (sure winners) : INS

A shoo-in is a surefire winner, especially in politics. Back in the 1920s, a shoo-in was a horse that was prearranged to win a race, a race that was fixed.

30 On the ___ (broken) : FRITZ

The American slang term “on the fritz” means “inoperative”. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive etymology for the term, although there are indications it has a theatrical origin.

33 Dark film genre : NOIR

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

38 Black diamond trail, e.g. : SKI SLOPE

In North America, ski runs are given a standardized rating in terms of skiing difficulty. The ratings are:

  • Green circles: easy to ski, often termed “bunny slopes”.
  • Blue squares: medium difficulty
  • Black diamond: steep and challenging terrain
  • Double black diamond: experts only (I’ve never braved one!)

42 Org. supporting the Second Amendment : NRA

The Second Amendment of the US Constitution was adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. The actual text of the amendment is:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The wording and punctuation in the original text has led to some controversy over the years, some debate over the original intent. That might be an understatement …

44 Blackjack card with two values : ACE

In the card game blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.

45 Acronym for a multiaward accomplishment : EGOT

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards. Also known as the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam”, there are relatively few individuals who have been so honored. The first five to do so were:

  1. Richard Rodgers in 1962
  2. Helen Hayes in 1977
  3. Rita Moreno in 1977
  4. John Gielgud in 1991
  5. Audrey Hepburn in 1994 (posthumously)

48 Magical power, informally : MOJO

The word “mojo”, meaning “magical charm, magnetism”, is probably of Creole origin.

49 ___ vera : ALOE

Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. ancient Egyptians knew it as the plant of immortality, and Native Americans called it the wand of heaven.

51 Vicinity : AREA

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

52 Feudal worker : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

Feudalism was a legal and military system that flourished in medieval Europe. Central to the system were the concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs. Lords would grant fiefs (land or rights) to vassals in exchange for allegiance and service.

55 Brontë’s Jane : EYRE

Charlotte Brontë was the eldest of the three Brontë sister authors. Charlotte’s most famous work is the novel “Jane Eyre”, which she published under the pen name Currer Bell. The pen name veiled her gender, but preserved the initials of her real name. After “Jane Eyre” was published, Brontë started to move in the same circles as other successful novelists of the day, including William Makepeace Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. Just two years after Bronte died in her late thirties, it was Gaskell who published the first biography of Charlotte Brontë.

58 “u r so funny!” : LOL!

Laugh out loud (LOL)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Honorific given to 17-, 27-, 43- and 58-Across : QUEEN
6 Agreements between nations : PACTS
11 CBS series with spinoffs set in Miami and New York : CSI
14 Rocker Vedder or Van Halen : EDDIE
15 Menotti’s “___ and the Night Visitors” : AMAHL
16 “… yadda, yadda, yadda” : ETC
17 Disco : DONNA SUMMER
19 Bread for a Reuben sandwich : RYE
20 Montero Lamar Hill a.k.a. Lil ___ X : NAS
21 Socially distant : ALOOF
22 “u up?,” e.g. : TEXT
23 “___ the season to be jolly” : ‘TIS
25 “Mona ___,” painting with an enigmatic smile : LISA
27 Soul : ARETHA FRANKLIN
34 Keep away from : AVOID
35 What a bride gets fitted for : DRESS
36 Dude : BRO
37 “Aye-aye” guy : CAP’N
38 Most common surname in the U.S. (ahead of Johnson and Williams) : SMITH
39 Trickster of Norse myth : LOKI
40 Get a move on, quaintly : HIE
41 Japanese dog breed : AKITA
42 Like emails at the top of an inbox : NEWER
43 Jazz : ELLA FITZGERALD
46 Stops procrastinating : ACTS
47 Purchase at a pump : GAS
48 Sank, as a putt : MADE
50 Cowboy’s cow catcher : LASSO
54 “For ___ a jolly good fellow …” : HE’S
57 ___ Man Winter : OLD
58 Country : LORETTA LYNN
61 Coffee, slangily : JOE
62 “Carmen” or “Elektra” : OPERA
63 Nintendo villain with an upside-down “M” on his cap : WARIO
64 Opposite of ‘neath : O’ER
65 Like maples but not pines : LEAFY
66 Won the World Series in four games, say : SWEPT

Down

1 Proof-ending letters : QED
2 Thick Japanese noodle : UDON
3 Woman’s name hidden in “United Nations” : EDNA
4 He postulated E = mc^2 : EINSTEIN
5 Grant-issuing cultural org. : NEA
6 Bandmate of John, George and Ringo : PAUL
7 Hunter’s supply, for short : AMMO
8 Hunter’s garb, for short : CAMO
9 Justice League member who’s super-speedy : THE FLASH
10 35mm camera type : SLR
11 Good name for a postseason football game sponsored by General Mills? : CEREAL BOWL
12 Mythological river around the underworld : STYX
13 Rapper/actor on “Law & Order: SVU” : ICE-T
18 Pageant wear : SASH
22 “For shame!” : TSK!
24 “___ be my pleasure” : IT’D
26 Shoo-___ (sure winners) : INS
27 Be of use : AVAIL
28 Access to a treehouse, maybe : ROPE LADDER
29 “You gotta ___ …” : ADMIT
30 On the ___ (broken) : FRITZ
31 Mark down for a sale, say : RETAG
32 Cheesed off : IRKED
33 Dark film genre : NOIR
34 Feel sore : ACHE
38 Black diamond trail, e.g. : SKI SLOPE
39 Ordinance for dog-walkers : LEASH LAW
41 Toward the stern : AFT
42 Org. supporting the Second Amendment : NRA
44 Blackjack card with two values : ACE
45 Acronym for a multiaward accomplishment : EGOT
48 Magical power, informally : MOJO
49 ___ vera : ALOE
51 Vicinity : AREA
52 Feudal worker : SERF
53 Dog command often issued with an outstretched palm : STAY!
55 Brontë’s Jane : EYRE
56 Scissor sound : SNIP
58 “u r so funny!” : LOL!
59 Reactions to cute puppies : AWS
60 “Just kidding!” : NOT!

6 thoughts on “1108-21 NY Times Crossword 8 Nov 21, Monday”

  1. 6:46, no errors. I’m posting from the “Nature Center” at the lake I walk around and a bird just flew into the big window I’m sitting in front of. Ouch! … 😳

  2. 7:53. That’s about as fast as my fingers can go on a sleepy Monday. Nice long names of the QUEENs today.

  3. 6:20. Indeed a fun theme for a Monday, but they missed a few. Cleopatra (QUEEN of the Nile), Mary (ship QUEEN Mary), Steve Mc (McQUEEN actors??). Ok maybe that last one was a stretch…..

    Best –

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