1125-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Nov 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Chase Dittrich
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s) True or False

We have a rebus puzzle today, with the options T and F appearing in some squares, giving two options for the crossing answers:

  • 71A One of two options in five squares in this puzzle : TRUE
  • 38D One of two options in five squares in this puzzle : FALSE
  • 18A Wood nymph / Independent person : TREE SPIRIT / FREE SPIRIT
  • 24A Win at the Olympics / Cheap jewelry material : TAKE GOLD / FAKE GOLD
  • 40A Drove a golf ball / Gain strength from : TEED OFF / FEED OFF
  • 54A Goodyear blowout / “Everything must go” event : TIRE SALE / FIRE SALE
  • 60A Waterworks parts / Amygdalae : TEAR GLANDS / FEAR GLANDS
  • 5D PC key / Sitcom ET : ALT / ALF
  • 24D Lag behind / Weak : TRAIL / FRAIL
  • 40D Snitched / Throw in the cards : TOLD / FOLD
  • 51D Lay to rest / Deduce : INTER / INFER
  • 54D Zesty flavors / Part of a Dracula costume : TANGS / FANGS

Bill’s time: 9m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Builder of a papery nest : WASP

Paper wasps usually build their nests from “paper”, hence the name. The female wasps collect wood fibers and dead plant tissue in their mouths. These materials make a paper pulp when mixed with saliva. The nest itself is a collection of hexagonal cells with paper walls.

5 Brand of imported “bier” : AMSTEL

Amstel is a Dutch beer and brewery that was founded in 1870 in Amsterdam. The brewery takes its name from the Amstel river that runs through the city.

11 Stadium souvenir : CAP

The Greek word “stadion” was a measure of length, about 600 feet. The name “stadion” then came to be used for a running track of that length. That “running track” meaning led to our contemporary term “stadium” (plural “stadia”).

14 “Hairspray” mom : EDNA

In the musical “Hairspray”, Edna Turnblad is one of the main characters. “Hairspray” was originally a John Waters movie, from 1988. In that film, Edna was played by Divine, a famous drag queen who featured in many Waters films. In the stage musical that opened in 2002, the original Broadway cast featured Harvey Fierstein as Edna. The 2007 movie adaptation of the musical had John Travolta in the role.

15 “High Sierra” co-star : LUPINO

Actress Ida Lupino was also a successful director, in the days when women weren’t very welcome behind the camera. She had already directed four “women’s” shorts when she stepped in to direct the 1953 drama “The Hitch-Hiker”, taking over when the original director became ill. “The Hitch-Hiker” was the first film noir movie to be directed by a woman, and somewhat of a breakthrough for women in the industry.

“High Sierra” is a 1941 movie based on a novel by W.R. Burnett. It’s a gangster piece, starring Humphrey Bogart as Roy “Mad Dog” Earle, a bad guy with a heart. Bogie’s love interest is played by the very talented Ida Lupino.

18 Wood nymph / Independent person : TREE SPIRIT / FREE SPIRIT

In Greek mythology, dryads are tree nymphs. The term comes from the Greek “drys” meaning an oak tree, but “dryad” tends to be used for the nymphs of all trees and not just the oak variety.

20 Cold-blooded killer : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

22 “The King ___” : AND I

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

23 It gives many Scotches their smoky taste : PEAT

Many whiskies are noted for a peaty, smoky flavor. That taste is introduced when the malted grain is dried over a peat-heated fire.

24 Win at the Olympics / Cheap jewelry material : TAKE GOLD / FAKE GOLD

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

30 Grandson of Adam : ENOS

Enos was the son of Seth, and therefore the grandson of Adam and Eve, and nephew of Cain and Abel. According to the ancient Jewish work called the Book of Jubilees, Enos married his own sister Noam.

31 Prophet who said “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” : AMOS

Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. The Old Testament’s Book of Amos is attributed to him.

39 Location for round-the-clock monitoring, in brief : ICU

Intensive care unit (ICU)

40 Drove a golf ball / Gain strength from : TEED OFF / FEED OFF

A tee is a small device on which, say, a golf ball is placed before striking it. The term “tee” comes from the Scottish “teaz”, which described little heaps of sand used to elevate a golf ball for the purpose of getting a clean hit with a club.

42 ___ pro nobis : ORA

“Ora pro nobis” translates from Latin as “pray for us”. It is a common phrase used in the Roman Catholic tradition and is often shortened to “OPN”.

43 Numbers game : LOTTO

Originally, lotto was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

45 ___ Point, Calif. : DANA

Dana Point is a city in Southern California that was named for the nearby headland of Dana Point. The headland was in turn named for Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of the famous memoir “Two Years Before the Mast”. In his memoir, Dana described the area around the headland as “the only romantic spot on the coast”.

49 Old Spanish coins : REALES

The real was the main coin used in Spain from the mid-14th through the mid-19th centuries. “Real” means “royal” in Spanish, and the plural of “real” is “reales”.

51 Wagner heroine : ISOLDE

“Tristan und Isolde” is an epic opera by Richard Wagner (Wagner … not one of my favorites!). Many see the work as the first serious move away from the traditional harmony and tonality of the classical and romantic eras.

59 Chocolate ___ : LAB

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s. The name “Labrador Retriever” is simply a reference to the breed’s origin and behavior. Labs originally “retrieved” from the “Labrador Sea”.

60 Waterworks parts / Amygdalae : TEAR GLANDS / FEAR GLANDS

The amygdalae (singular “amygdala”) are two parts of the brain that play key roles in processing memories, emotions and the making of decisions. The amygdalae are almond-shaped areas of the brain, hence the name. “Amygdalo” is Greek for “almond”.

63 Openings for “To Tell the Truth” : TEES

The opening letters in all the words in “To Tell the Truth” are letters T.

66 Frozen dessert eponym : EDY

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

67 Rapper who had an infamous rivalry with Tupac : BIGGIE

“The Notorious B.I.G.” was the stage name of rap star Christopher Wallace, who also went by the names Big Poppa, Biggie Smalls and Biggie. While at the height of his fame, Wallace was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, a murder case that has never been solved. The 2009 movie “Notorious” is about Wallace’s life and stars fellow rap artist Jamal Woolard (aka Gravy) in the title role.

Rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur adopted the inventive stage name “2Pac”. He was a hard man, spending eleven months in prison for sexual assault. He was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas at only 25 years of age.

68 Brand with a paw print in its logo : IAMS

Iams dog food was introduced by animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.

Down

2 Kerfuffle : ADO

“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.

3 Breaks curfew, maybe : SNEAKS OUT

Our word “curfew” comes from an Old French word meaning “cover fire”. In medieval days a bell would ring in the evenings as a signal to bank the hearths in preparation for sleeping. The intent was to prevent uncontrolled fires starting from fireplaces that were not tended during the night.

4 Han Solo claims to have made the Kessel Run in less than 12 of these : PARSECS

A parsec is a measure of length or distance used in astronomy. One parsec is equal to about 19.2 trillion miles.

5 PC key / Sitcom ET : ALT / ALF

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

“ALF” is a sitcom that aired in the late eighties. The title character is a hand-puppet, and supposedly an alien named Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac. The alien crash-landed into the house of amateur radio enthusiast Willie Tanner. Tanner renamed the intruder “ALF”, standing for “alien life form”.

6 Many a work by Banksy : MURAL

A mural is a painting that is applied directly to a wall or a ceiling. The term “mural” comes from the Latin “murus” meaning “wall”.

Banksy is an English graffiti artist who is noted for his contempt of the British government for condemning his work as vandalism. Banksy’s work can fetch a pretty penny at auction. No one seems to know for sure who Banksy actually is …

9 Iago, under Othello : ENSIGN

“The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice” is a tragedy penned by William Shakespeare that is usually referred to as simply “Othello”. The title character is a military commander (of Moorish origin) in the Venetian army. The villain of the piece is Iago, Othello’s scheming ensign.

13 Trivial : PETTY

Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …

The word “petty”, meaning “small-minded”, comes from the French word for small, “petit”. When “petty” first came into English it wasn’t used disparagingly, and was used more literally giving us terms like “petty officer” and “petty cash”. The word “petty” evolved into a prefix “petti-” with the meaning of “small”, as in the word “petticoat”.

21 ___ Tour : PGA

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.

25 Transmission repair franchise : AAMCO

AAMCO is named after one of the two founders, Anthony A. Martino (AAM). The company was founded in 1963 in Philadelphia, and opened its first franchise in Newark that same year. There are now about 800 franchises, and AAMCO is the largest chain in the world specializing in automotive transmissions.

26 Renaissance Faire adjective : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

A Renaissance faire (Ren faire) is an outdoor public event in which many participants recreate historical settings by dressing in costume. Usually held in North America, many such fairs are set during the English Renaissance, and more particularly during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The definition of “Renaissance” is often stretched quite a bit, with fairs also set during the reign of Henry VIII, and maybe even during medieval times.

28 Lollygag : LOAF

To lollygag (also “lallygag”) is to dawdle, to dally.

30 Boris Johnson’s alma mater : ETON

Boris Johnson is a larger-than-life Conservative politician in the UK, and former Mayor of London. He was the very visible frontman in the campaign for the UK to exit the European Union, the so-called Brexit campaign. As a result of the UK voting to exit the EU, Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, to be replaced by Theresa May. Theresa May then appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. Almost inevitably, Boris Johnson then replaced May as Prime Minister. In more recent times, Johnson famously made light of the coronavirus pandemic and ignored calls for social distancing. He then fell ill with COVID-19, ended up in an intensive care unit, and ultimately revised his advice about social distancing.

The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.

33 Traffic lights you can’t go through : REDS

If you’re sitting behind a car that doesn’t make a right on red, it may just be a rental car driven by someone from Europe. Speaking as someone who learned to drive over there, I must admit I held up a few people at red lights when I first visited this country. That’s because in Europe we aren’t allowed to make any move past a red light, unless there is an accompanying green arrow. So, if you’re driving overseas, take care …

34 Nabokov title character : ADA

“Ada” is a 1969 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The story takes place in the 1800s on Antiterra, an Earth-like planet that has a history similar to ours but with interesting differences. For example, there is a United States, but that country covers all of North and South America. What we call eastern Canada is a French-speaking province called “Canady”, and western Canada is a Russian-speaking province called “Estody”. The storyline is about a man called Van Veen who, when 14 years old, meets for the first time his cousin, 11-year-old Ada. The two cousins eventually have an affair, only to discover later that they are in fact brother and sister.

36 Nonprimate with fingerprints that are nearly identical to a human’s : KOALA BEAR

The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

37 Bay window : ORIEL

An oriel window is a bay window that projects from a wall, but does not reach all the way to the ground.

41 Jamie of “M*A*S*H” : FARR

Actor Jamie Farr is best known for playing the cross-dressing Max Klinger in the sitcom ”M*A*S*H”. Although Farr landed a role in the 1955 movie “Blackboard Jungle”, his career didn’t really take off until he started appearing regularly on “The Red Skelton Show”. Years later he managed to get a one-episode appearance in ”M*A*S*H”, and his character and performance were received so well that he became a regular on the show. Farr actually did serve in the US Army in Korea, although it was after hostilities had ended. The dog tags that Farr wore when filming ”M*A*S*H” were the ones that he actually wore while serving in the military.

46 Attacks a job with gusto : HAS AT IT

“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto” meaning “with great enjoyment”.

48 Nielsen of “The Naked Gun” : LESLIE

Leslie Nielsen was a Canadian actor, one famous for playing the zany Sergeant Frank Drebin in “The Naked Gun”. Nielsen’s big break in films came in the innovative comedy “Airplane!”

50 Caterpillar roll ingredient : EEL

You might be able to order a caterpillar roll in your local sushi restaurant. A caterpillar is an inside-out sushi roll topped with thinly sliced avocado.

52 Tannery product : SUEDE

Suede is leather made from the underside of an animal’s skin, usually the skin from a lamb. As such it is very soft, although not as durable as leather made from the exterior skin. The soft leather was, and is still used for making gloves. Back in 1859 these gloves were called “gants de Suede” in France, or “gloves of Sweden”. So, the name “suede” comes from the French word for Sweden.

Leather is made from animal skins. When the flesh, fat and hair is removed from the skin and it is dried, the resulting product is rawhide. Further treatment of the skin with chemicals that permanently alter the protein structure of the skin is known as tanning, and the resulting product is leather.

54 Zesty flavors / Part of a Dracula costume : TANGS / FANGS

“Dracula” is a novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker and first published in 1897. Dracula wasn’t the first vampire of literature, but he certainly was the one who spawned the popularity of vampires in theater, film and television, and indeed more novels. Personally, I can’t stand vampire fiction …

55 Country with the largest population of vegetarians : INDIA

The Indus river rises in Tibet and flows through the length of Pakistan before emptying into the Arabian Sea, a part of the Indian Ocean lying to the west of the Indian subcontinent. The Indus gives its name to the country of India as “India” used to be the name of the region along the eastern banks of the river, which paradoxically is now in modern-day Pakistan.

61 “Pygmalion” author’s monogram : GBS

George Bernard Shaw (GBS) was a very successful Irish playwright. Shaw is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize for Literature, and an Oscar. He won his Oscar for adapting his own play “Pygmalion” for the 1938 film of the same name starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. Most people are more likely to have seen the musical adaptation of “Pygmalion” that goes by the title “My Fair Lady”.

64 Land-bound bird : EMU

The large flightless birds called emus make sounds by manipulating inflatable neck-sacs. The sac is about a foot long, has a thin wall and allows the bird to emit a booming sound. The type of sound emitted is the easiest way to differentiate between male and female emus.

65 Glasgow-to-London dir. : SSE

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and sits on the River Clyde. Back in the Victorian Era, Glasgow earned a reputation for excellence in shipbuilding and was known as “Second City of the British Empire”. Glasgow shipyards were the birthplaces of such famous vessels as the Lusitania, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. People from Glasgow are known as Glaswegians.

London is the largest metropolitan area in the whole of the European Union (and one of my favorite cities in the world). London has been a major settlement for over 2,000 years and was founded as a town by the Romans who named it Londinium. The name “Londinium” may have existed prior to the arrival of the Romans, and no one seems too sure of its origins. Famously, the City of London is a one-square-mile area at the center of the metropolis, the area that marked old medieval London. “The City”, as it is commonly called, has its own Mayor of the City of London (the Mayor of London is someone else), and it’s own City of London Police Force (the London Metropolitan Police are the police usually seen on the streets, a different force).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Builder of a papery nest : WASP
5 Brand of imported “bier” : AMSTEL
11 Stadium souvenir : CAP
14 “Hairspray” mom : EDNA
15 “High Sierra” co-star : LUPINO
16 Make, in math : ARE
17 Go-getter : DOER
18 Wood nymph / Independent person : TREE SPIRIT / FREE SPIRIT
20 Cold-blooded killer : ASP
22 “The King ___” : AND I
23 It gives many Scotches their smoky taste : PEAT
24 Win at the Olympics / Cheap jewelry material : TAKE GOLD / FAKE GOLD
27 “I’d be delighted” : GLADLY
29 Impish sort : RASCAL
30 Grandson of Adam : ENOS
31 Prophet who said “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” : AMOS
32 “Darn!” : DRAT!
35 Request from : ASK OF
39 Location for round-the-clock monitoring, in brief : ICU
40 Drove a golf ball / Gain strength from : TEED OFF / FEED OFF
42 ___ pro nobis : ORA
43 Numbers game : LOTTO
45 ___ Point, Calif. : DANA
46 Praise loudly : HAIL
47 Misfortunes : ILLS
49 Old Spanish coins : REALES
51 Wagner heroine : ISOLDE
54 Goodyear blowout / “Everything must go” event : TIRE SALE / FIRE SALE
56 Zap : NUKE
57 Act of digitization : SCAN
59 Chocolate ___ : LAB
60 Waterworks parts / Amygdalae : TEAR GLANDS / FEAR GLANDS
63 Openings for “To Tell the Truth” : TEES
66 Frozen dessert eponym : EDY
67 Rapper who had an infamous rivalry with Tupac : BIGGIE
68 Brand with a paw print in its logo : IAMS
69 Hi-___ : RES
70 School board? : SEESAW
71 One of two options in five squares in this puzzle : TRUE

Down

1 Join : WED
2 Kerfuffle : ADO
3 Breaks curfew, maybe : SNEAKS OUT
4 Han Solo claims to have made the Kessel Run in less than 12 of these : PARSECS
5 PC key / Sitcom ET : ALT / ALF
6 Many a work by Banksy : MURAL
7 Devote, as time : SPEND
8 All square : TIED
9 Iago, under Othello : ENSIGN
10 Hack : LOP
11 Felt something : CARED
12 Common default font : ARIAL
13 Trivial : PETTY
19 “Not for me” : I PASS
21 ___ Tour : PGA
24 Lag behind / Weak : TRAIL / FRAIL
25 Transmission repair franchise : AAMCO
26 Renaissance Faire adjective : OLDE
28 Lollygag : LOAF
30 Boris Johnson’s alma mater : ETON
33 Traffic lights you can’t go through : REDS
34 Nabokov title character : ADA
36 Nonprimate with fingerprints that are nearly identical to a human’s : KOALA BEAR
37 Bay window : ORIEL
38 One of two options in five squares in this puzzle : FALSE
40 Snitched / Throw in the cards : TOLD / FOLD
41 Jamie of “M*A*S*H” : FARR
44 Backsplash installer : TILER
46 Attacks a job with gusto : HAS AT IT
48 Nielsen of “The Naked Gun” : LESLIE
50 Caterpillar roll ingredient : EEL
51 Lay to rest / Deduce : INTER / INFER
52 Tannery product : SUEDE
53 Green-lights : OKAYS
54 Zesty flavors / Part of a Dracula costume : TANGS / FANGS
55 Country with the largest population of vegetarians : INDIA
58 Pen : CAGE
61 “Pygmalion” author’s monogram : GBS
62 Darn, e.g. : SEW
64 Land-bound bird : EMU
65 Glasgow-to-London dir. : SSE

6 thoughts on “1125-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Nov 21, Thursday”

  1. 11:22 Not too difficult of a rebus for a Thurs. My personal T/F for today is going to be turkey (T) and full (F).

    Happy Thanksgiving all.

  2. It’s ridiculously stultified to require a slash between the T and the F for the puzzle to be deemed correctly solved.

  3. 10:36, no errors. Luckily, I had laboriously put the slashes in the rebuses even though, not so long ago, in another NYT puzzle, I had to take a bunch of them out in order to get the “success” message. In both cases, I could kind of see why the rebuses needed to be done a certain way, but figuring out what to use is definitely a problem when solving online.

  4. 13:17. Add me to the victims of the app. I had to go back and add the slash between the T and the F. I Thought/Figured it would work either way, but I guess not.

    Took me a while to get TEES for To Tell The Truth beginnings. Good one especially since the actual beginning of that show was so distinct.

    Happy Thanksgiving all.

    Best –

  5. Geez….I am the village idiot, coming in at a screaming 55:25. I figured out the T/F rebus early, but knew nothing of Ida Lupino and took forever to get “koala bear”, kept trying to make it some kind of bird…. Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

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