1127-21 NY Times Crossword 27 Nov 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Trenton Charlson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 10m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Act the cynic, maybe : SCOFF

Antisthenes was a Greek philosopher, and a pupil of Socrates. He was one of the founders of the cynicism school of thought, which holds that the purpose of life is to live in virtuous harmony with nature. The name “cynic” comes from the Greek for “dog”, and that name was originally applied to the cynics as an insult.

19 Where Jesse Owens ran college track, in brief : OSU

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”. The school’s athletic mascot was introduced in 1965, and is an anthropomorphic buckeye nut named Brutus Buckeye.

Jesse Owens is famous for winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936, much to the chagrin of Adolf Hitler. Jesse’s real name was James Cleveland Owens, and he went by “JC” as a child. However, his Alabama accent was misconstrued at school when his family moved to Cleveland, so teachers and classmates called him “Jesse” instead of “JC”, and the name stuck.

21 Soirée invitee : AMI

“Soir” is the French word for “evening” and a soirée is an evening party. The French word “soirée” has an acute accent over the first “e”, but we tend to drop this when using the word in English.

22 Big gun, you might say : BICEP

“Guns” is a slang term for very strong arms or biceps.

The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.

25 Small boat of East Asia : SAMPAN

A sampan is a flat-bottomed wooden boat from China. The term “sampan” means “three planks” in Cantonese, alluding to the original simple design of this flat-bottomed boat. There was one wide plank on the bottom, and two at either side forming the sides of the vessel.

27 Draft letters : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

30 Gardening practice that minimizes the need for water : XERISCAPING

A location described as “xeric” is extremely dry, arid. The Greek prefix “xero-” means “dry, withered”. The derivative “xeriscaping” is landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation, i.e. drought-tolerant landscaping.

34 The book of numbers : YELLOW PAGES

A yellow pages phone directory is a listing of business and telephone numbers. The first yellow pages directory was introduced here in the US, back in 1886. The phrase “yellow pages” has become almost ubiquitous, although some countries (like my native Ireland) use “golden pages” instead. The term lives on in the modern era, as the name of the business review website Yelp.com is a contraction of “YEL-low P-ages”.

36 Low member of a marine ecosystem : ZOOPLANKTON

Plankton are organisms that float in water and are incapable of swimming against a current. Plankton can be classified into four broad groups:

  • Phytoplankton: algae that live on the surface and use light for photosynthesis.
  • Zooplankton: small animals that mainly feed on other plankton.
  • Bacterioplankton: the bacterial component of plankton.
  • Mycoplankton: the fungal component of plankton.

38 Symbol on an ancient sarcophagus : ASP

A sarcophagus is a stone or wooden box in which a body is interred. “Sarcophagus” is Greek for “flesh-eating stones”. The name was applied as a sarcophagus was often made from a kind of limestone that was believed to cause the flesh of corpses to decompose.

49 Head of Hogwarts? : LOO

It has been suggested that the British term “loo”, meaning “toilet”, comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded by the four most brilliant witches and wizards of their time: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Each of the founders lent their name to a House in the school, i.e. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

50 Bit of hunting gear, 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.

51 Today preceder : USA …

The title of the widest circulation of any American newspaper is an honor competed for by “The Wall Street Journal”, “The New York Times” and “USA Today”, with each paper selling about 2 million copies each day (including online subscribers). “USA Today” was launched in 1982.

52 It started smoking again in 2021 : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” (sometimes “Muncibeddu”) in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

58 Those tending to the fallen warriors called einherjar, in myth : VALKYRIES

In Norse mythology, the valkyries are beautiful female attendants of Odin who choose those who must die in battle and those who must live. Half of those who die go to Fólkvangr, the “army field” ruled over by the goddess Freyja. The other half of those who perish go to Valhalla, the hall of the slain that is ruled over by the god Odin. The etymology of “valkyrie” is Old Norse for “chooser of the slain”.

59 Collage application : PASTE

A collage is a piece of artwork that is made by assembling pieces of paper and objects that are glued onto paper or canvas. The term “collage” comes from the French “coller” meaning “to glue”.

Down

1 Hot spots : SAUNAS

As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, “sauna” is a Finnish word, and is pronounced more correctly as “sow-nah” (with “sow” as in the female pig).

5 Who famously offered this speaking advice: “Be sincere, be brief, be seated,” in brief : FDR

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the only child of Sara Delano and James Roosevelt Sr. The Delano family history in America goes back to the pilgrim Philippe de Lannoy, an immigrant of Flemish descent who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The family name “de Lannoy” was anglicized here in the US, to “Delano”. Franklin was to marry Eleanor Roosevelt, and apparently the relationship between Sara and her daughter-in-law was very “strained”.

6 Variety offering : REVUE

“Revue” is the French word for “review”.

7 Sri Lanka-to-Singapore dir. : ESE

The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

The Asian city-state of Singapore takes its name from the Malay word “Singapura” which means “Lion City”. However, lions in the wild never made it to Singapore, so the city is probably misnamed and perhaps should have been called “Tiger City”.

8 ___ curiam (by the court) : PER

“Per curiam” translates from Latin literally as “by the court”. In the law, a per curiam decision is one made by a court with multiple judges, with the court acting as a whole. Most of the US Supreme Court decisions and opinions would be described as per curiam.

9 Reconstruction, e.g. : ERA

The Reconstruction Era followed the American Civil War, which ended in 1865. Reconstruction ended in 1877 when President Rutherford B. Hayes removed the last federal troops from the capitals of the Reconstruction states soon after taking office.

10 Man’s name that’s an African country if you change the last letter : NIGEL

The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa that gets its name from the Niger River. 80% of the country lies within the bounds of the Sahara Desert.

12 He wrote “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak” : SUN TZU

“The Art of War(fare)” is an ancient military text that is attributed to a high-ranking Chinese general called Sun Tzu. We even see the principles in Sun Tzu’s book applied to modern business.

14 Anjou alternative : BOSC

Bosc is a cultivar of the European pear that is grown mainly in the northwest of the United States. It is named for French horticulturist Louis Bosc. The cultivar originated in Belgium or France in the early 19th century. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck.

The Anjou pear is a cultivar of the European Pear. The Anjou is thought to have originated in Belgium or France (Anjou is a province in the Loire Valley of western France).

23 England’s Middleton, younger sister of Kate : PIPPA

Pippa Middleton is the younger sister of Kate Middleton, aka Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Pippa has been chased by the media ever since she appeared as the maid of honor in her sister’s wedding to Prince William.

24 The world’s most-visited city (20+ million travelers annually) : BANGKOK

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. The exact etymology of the name “Bangkok” seems unclear, although “bang” is a Thai word for “a village situated on a stream”.

28 Self-playing instruments : PIANOLAS

A player piano is a piano that plays itself. The original Pianola, a brand introduced in the early 1900s, used a pneumatic mechanism to depress the keys. The tune itself was stored on a paper roll that had carefully positioned perforations.

32 Tool with an eye : AWL

An awl is a pointed tool used for marking a surface or for piercing small holes. The earliest awls were used to pierce ears, apparently. The tool then became very much associated with shoemakers.

33 Jazz great Stan : GETZ

Stan Getz was a jazz saxophonist. Getz’s playing style earned him the nickname “The Sound”.

38 Where “Lost” could be found : ABC TV

In the TV show “Lost”, the plane that crashed was operated by Oceanic Airlines. The fictional airline Oceanic Airlines or Oceanic Airways turns up a lot on the big and small screen. You might spot Oceanic in the movies “Executive Decision” and “For Love of the Game”, and in episodes of the TV shows “Castle”, “Chuck”, “Flipper”, “The Goldbergs” and “The X-Files”.

39 Foe of Popeye : SEA HAG

The Sea Hag is Popeye’s archenemy, and sails the seas with her pet vulture Bernard on her boat called “The Black Barnacle”.

Popeye first appeared in 1929 in a comic strip called “Thimble Theatre”. The strip, created by E. C. Segar, ran for ten years before Popeye made an appearance. Popeye received such a great welcome from readers that he soon “took over” the strip, and eventually even hogged the strip’s title. Before Popeye turned up, Olive Oyl was the main character.

52 Vivacity : ELAN

Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style, flair”.

54 Castor ___ (old cartoon character) : OYL

“Thimble Theater” was the precursor comic strip to the famous “Popeye” drawn by E. C. Segar. Before Popeye came into the story, the brother and sister characters Castor Oyl and Olive Oyl were the protagonists. And then along comes a sailor …

57 Book reviewer? : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Act the cynic, maybe : SCOFF
6 Embarks on a newly righteous path : REPENTS
13 Felt off : AILED
14 “This is no laughing matter!” : BE SERIOUS!
16 Operative : UNDERCOVER AGENT
18 Realizes : NETS
19 Where Jesse Owens ran college track, in brief : OSU
20 Kitchen extension? : -ETTE
21 Soirée invitee : AMI
22 Big gun, you might say : BICEP
24 Brilliant display : BLAZE
25 Small boat of East Asia : SAMPAN
27 Draft letters : IPA
29 Spot early on? : PUP
30 Gardening practice that minimizes the need for water : XERISCAPING
34 The book of numbers : YELLOW PAGES
36 Low member of a marine ecosystem : ZOOPLANKTON
38 Symbol on an ancient sarcophagus : ASP
41 People credited with discovering mechanoluminescence, using quartz crystals to generate light : UTE
42 More like mud : OOZIER
44 Savage : BEAST
46 Something out standing in its field : STALK
49 Head of Hogwarts? : LOO
50 Bit of hunting gear, for short : CAMO
51 Today preceder : USA …
52 It started smoking again in 2021 : ETNA
53 “You can come out now” : THE COAST IS CLEAR
58 Those tending to the fallen warriors called einherjar, in myth : VALKYRIES
59 Collage application : PASTE
60 Dangerous place for a leak : GAS LINE
61 Put up : ANTED

Down

1 Hot spots : SAUNAS
2 Channel owned by HBO : CINEMAX
3 Prompting nostalgia, say : OLD-TIMEY
4 Schedule listings : FEES
5 Who famously offered this speaking advice: “Be sincere, be brief, be seated,” in brief : FDR
6 Variety offering : REVUE
7 Sri Lanka-to-Singapore dir. : ESE
8 ___ curiam (by the court) : PER
9 Reconstruction, e.g. : ERA
10 Man’s name that’s an African country if you change the last letter : NIGEL
11 Maneuver in dancing or football : TOE-TAP
12 He wrote “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak” : SUN TZU
14 Anjou alternative : BOSC
15 Rather inclined : STEEP
17 It welcomes change : COIN SLOT
22 Rescue : BAIL OUT
23 England’s Middleton, younger sister of Kate : PIPPA
24 The world’s most-visited city (20+ million travelers annually) : BANGKOK
26 5-Down, e.g., in brief : PREZ
28 Self-playing instruments : PIANOLAS
31 Deals : COPES
32 Tool with an eye : AWL
33 Jazz great Stan : GETZ
35 One might determine fertility : SOIL TEST
37 Newborn : NEONATE
38 Where “Lost” could be found : ABC TV
39 Foe of Popeye : SEA HAG
40 Emmy-winning actress Adlon : PAMELA
43 Didn’t just tee-hee : ROARED
45 Hits hard : SOCKS
47 One in a one-on-one session : TUTEE
48 Unchanged : AS IS
52 Vivacity : ELAN
54 Castor ___ (old cartoon character) : OYL
55 Lennox of R&B : ARI
56 Vice principle : SIN
57 Book reviewer? : CPA

11 thoughts on “1127-21 NY Times Crossword 27 Nov 21, Saturday”

  1. 13:36, no errors. Good puzzle.

    Tim Croce’s latest puzzle (at “club72(dot)wordpress(dot)com”) is one of his specialty puzzles: every clue suggests an answer that has to be anagrammed into something else before being entered in the grid. Not for the faint of heart … 😳 … but a true ego-booster (once you get ‘er done) … 😜.

    (Syndie solvers, five weeks from now, will have to go back in time on Tim’s site to find the puzzle in question, at 11/26/21.)

  2. 21:01 As with most Saturdays – a slow start but then it picked up. OOZIER – like my brain comparing Sat. to say Weds. 30A is new to me – wasn’t expecting a long word to begin with X and had to keep double checking crosses.

  3. 34:08. Obviously struggled with this one a lot more than youse guys. Toughest part was…well….filling in all those empty squares..

    Had haZIER before OOZIER. Sorta works. Otherwise, a pretty smooth solve – just a slow one for me.

    I did get XERISCAPING right off the bat. I live in Las Vegas. The city was built on XERISCAPING. I have it in my yard. In 2026 all grass for any house will be prohibited here. Right now existing grass is grandfathered in. Who knew that putting millions of people in the middle of a desert would create water issues??? No one told us.

    Best –

  4. 34:35 no major issues, just my usual slow self. But still faster than Friday, where my time still exceeded the total times of all you other folks combined…

  5. 16:11, no errors. Amazing what difference having real cluing makes on doing these. But still wondering why I regularly have a hard time breaking into these as I actually scanned through the puzzle with almost nothing and then had straight write-in going back up (pretty much).

  6. Agree with Glen on cluing.. felt better about trying to solve. PIPPA saved me in the middle. The bottom went OK and so did most of the top. Had OLDTUNES fora while. And I didn’t see SCOFF for a llloonng time. Then I made a groan with AMI…
    It was fun.. still missed ZOOPLANKTON. I had SOOPLANKTON because I thought 26D was PRES…. Oh well.
    Happy new year!!!

  7. 35:28 with 2 errors.
    My first trip through the across clues left me with next to nothing but then it opened up somehow.
    I’ll take this as a win for me😀
    Stay safe and happy New Year😀

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