1129-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Nov 21, Monday

Constructed by: Enrique Henestroza Anguiano
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Running Start

Themed answers each START with a synonym of “RUN”:

  • 54A Early advantage … or what 20-, 28- and 45-Across each have? : RUNNING START
  • 20A Hoped-for experience at a casino : STREAK OF LUCK
  • 28A Sprinkle often paired with salt : DASH OF PEPPER
  • 45A Fashion designer’s purchase : BOLT OF FABRIC

Bill’s time: 5m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Soldier who deserted : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

14 Sitarist Shankar who tutored the Beatles : RAVI

Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous virtuoso (to us Westerners) from the world of Indian classical music, and was noted for his sitar playing. Shankar was the father of the pop singer Norah Jones.

George Harrison is often referred to as the “quiet Beatle”, although he did have a profound influence on the direction taken by the Fab Four. It was Harrison who first became an admirer of Indian culture and led the rest of the group into the Indian way of life. Harrison went as far as embracing the Hindu religion.

15 “Shall I compare ___ to a summer’s day?” : THEE

An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The lines in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” use five sequential iambs, e.g. “Shall I / compare / thee to / a sum- / -mer’s day?” With that sequence of five iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic pentameter.

18 Taj Mahal locale : AGRA

Agra is a medieval city on the banks of the river Yamuna in India. Agra was also the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
  • Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.

20 Hoped-for experience at a casino : STREAK OF LUCK

The term “casino” originated in the 1700s, then describing a public room for music or dancing. “Casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.

24 Oaty cereal : MUESLI

“Muesli” is a Swiss-German term describing a breakfast serving of oats, nuts, fruit and milk. “Muesli” is a diminutive of the German word “Mues” meaning “puree”. Delicious …

34 Modern love? : BAE

“Bae” is a contemporary term of endearment. It is a pet name that is an abbreviation of “babe, baby”, although I’ve also read that it is an acronym standing for “before anyone else”.

39 Classic doll with “Shaving Fun” and “Mod Hair” versions : KEN

Barbie’s male counterpart doll is Ken, and Ken’s family name is Carson. Barbie’s full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts. When Ken was introduced in 1959, it was as Barbie’s boyfriend. In 2004 it was announced that Ken and Barbie were splitting up, and needed to spend quality time apart. Soon after the split, Barbie “met” Blaine, a boogie boarder from Australia. Happily, Barbie and Ken reconciled and reunited on Valentine’s Day 2011.

40 Degs. for entrepreneurs : MBAS

An entrepreneur is someone who takes on most aspects of a business venture, from the original idea to the execution. The term is imported from French, with “entreprendre” meaning “to undertake”. The original usage in English dates back to the early 1800s, when it applied to a manager and promoter of a theatrical production.

42 On the ___ (fleeing) : LAM

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

45 Fashion designer’s purchase : BOLT OF FABRIC

“Bolt” is the name given to a roll of cloth of specific length, especially one coming directly off a loom.

49 Designer Giorgio : ARMANI

Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer and founder of the company that has borne his name since 1975. Although Armani is famous for his menswear, the company makes everything from jewelry to perfume.

50 Eavesdropping range : EARSHOT

To eavesdrop is to listen in on someone else’s conversation without being invited to do so. The term comes from the practice of spies loitering in the area just outside the walls of a house, particularly in the “eavesdrip”, the ground close to a house that catches the drips of rainwater falling from the eaves of the roof.

57 Apple tablets : IPADS

The iPad wasn’t Apple’s first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

62 Lakeside rental : CANOE

The boat known as a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.

63 Nintendo competitor : SEGA

Sega is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out in 1940 as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, which at that time was a city in the US Territory of Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.

64 Bad cafeteria food, say : SLOP

“Cafeteria” is a Mexican-Spanish word meaning “coffee store” that we imported into American English around 1840. Somehow, that coffee store became a self-service dining establishment in the 1890s.

66 Powdered drink once used by NASA : TANG

Tang is a fruity drink that is sold in powdered form. The sales of Tang “took off” when John Glenn took Tang on his Mercury flight. However, it is a common misconception that Tang was invented for the space program. That’s not true, although it was included in the payload of many missions.

67 Desires : YENS

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

Down

2 Actress Naomi : WATTS

Actress Naomi Watts was born in the UK and moved to Australia when she was 14 years of age. It was in Australia that Watts got her break in television and movies. Probably her most acclaimed role was in the 2003 film “21 Grams” with Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro. Watts is best friends with fellow Australian actress Nicole Kidman.

5 Belmont ___ : STAKES

The Belmont Stakes is a horse race held in June each year, at Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont, New York. The Belmont Stakes is the last of the US Triple Crown races, following the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

7 Kind of ball it’s hard to hurt anyone with : NERF

Nerf is a soft material used in a whole series of toys designed for “safe” play indoors. The Nerf product is used to make darts, balls and ammunition for toy guns. “NERF” is an acronym, standing for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.

13 Broadway’s “___ Misérables” : LES

The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London many years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The theater seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor who had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.

22 Called strikes and balls at a game : UMPED

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

27 Cara who sang “Flashdance … What a Feeling” : IRENE

Irene Cara co-wrote and sang the Oscar-winning song “Flashdance…What a Feeling” from the 1983 movie “Flashdance”. Cara also sang the title song for the 1980 movie “Fame”, and indeed played the lead role of student Coco Hernandez.

29 Michelle with the best-selling memoir “Becoming” : OBAMA

“Becoming” is a 2018 memoir by former First Lady Michelle Obama. After “Becoming” was published in November 2018, it took just 15 days for it to break the record for copies sold of any book in the US that year.

31 Big name in smoothies : JAMBA

The Jamba Juice chain of stores was founded in 1990 in San Luis Obispo, California and now has outlets across much of the US and as far as the Philippines and South Korea.

32 Ann ___, Mich. : ARBOR

Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Supposedly, Allen and Rumsey originally used the name “Annsarbour” in recognition of stands of bur oak that were on the land they had purchased and in recognition of their wives, both of whom were called “Ann” (i.e. Anns’ Arbor)

37 Spritelike : ELFIN

A sprite is an elfin or fairy-like creature of European myth. The term “sprite” comes from the Latin “spiritus” meaning “spirit”.

38 Half-___ (latte option) : CAF

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in several plants. The chemical serves as a natural pesticide by paralyzing and killing certain insects that would otherwise feed on the plant. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that is consumed by humans across the world.

43 Lancelot and Gawain of legend : SIRS

Sir Lancelot is one of the knights in the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table. Lancelot is the most trusted of Arthur’s knights when it comes to battle, but off the field he has a poorer reputation. Famously, Lancelot had an affair with Guinevere, Arthur’s wife.

Sir Gawain was a Knight of the Round Table of Arthurian legend. He was also King Arthur’s nephew, and the trusted friend of Sir Lancelot.

48 Motley, as a crew : RAGTAG

“Ragtag and bobtail” is a colorful phrase that’s used to describe the lowest classes, or the rabble. A “bobtail” is a horse that has had its tail cut short, a word that goes back as least as far as Shakespeare as he used it in “King Lear”. A “tag” is a piece of cloth that is torn and hanging, which was readily combined with “rag” in the original phrase “tag, rag and bobtail”. This idiom, perhaps originally quoted from Samuel Pepys in his diary in 1659, referred to the lower classes as “tag, rag and bobtail, dancing, singing and drinking”. The phrase evolved, giving us our contemporary word “ragtag” meaning ragged and unkempt.

Something described as motley is mottled, marked with different-colored spots. The term probably comes from the Old English word “mot” meaning “speck”. We can use the term “motley” figuratively to mean “diverse, heterogeneous”.

51 Actress and spokesmodel Berry : HALLE

Actress Halle Berry was the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, which she received for her performance in the 2001 movie “Monster’s Ball”. Berry also won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for playing the title role in “Catwoman”, and she very graciously accepted that award in person. Good for her!

52 Cinema legend Welles : ORSON

Orson Welles is perhaps best-remembered in the world of film for his role in 1941’s “Citizen Kane”. In the world of radio, Welles is known for directing and narrating 1938’s famous broadcast of “The War of the Worlds”, a broadcast that convinced many listeners that the Earth was indeed being invaded by aliens.

53 Sporty car roofs : T-TOPS

A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

58 Roman peace : PAX

“Pax Romana” is Latin for “Roman Peace”. The term described a period in Roman history for the 1st and 2nd centuries AD during which the Roman Empire was ruled by Caesar Augustus. Under his control, expansionist ideas by powerful generals were held in check, and the peoples of foreign lands ruled by the Romans were relatively calm. The peace enjoyed was considered uneasy as Rome governed its conquered territories with an iron fist, and insurrection was likely at all times. The expression “pax Romana” then came to be used in English to describe any situation in which there is an uneasy peace, a peace imposed by a powerful state on a weaker state.

59 Actress de Armas of “No Time to Die” : ANA

Ana de Armas is an actress from Cuba. Having attended the National Theater School of Cuba, she moved to Spain at the age of 18. Thre, she made a name for herself in a Spanish TV series called “El Internado”. De Armas moved to Los Angeles in 2014, after which her performance opposite Ryan Gosling in 2017’s “Blade Runner 2049” earned her critical acclaim.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Soldier who deserted : AWOL
5 Daughters’ counterparts : SONS
9 Archcompetitor : RIVAL
14 Sitarist Shankar who tutored the Beatles : RAVI
15 “Shall I compare ___ to a summer’s day?” : THEE
16 Upper crust : ELITE
17 Something on a list : ITEM
18 Taj Mahal locale : AGRA
19 Closes with a bang : SLAMS
20 Hoped-for experience at a casino : STREAK OF LUCK
23 Residences that may have groundskeepers : ESTATES
24 Oaty cereal : MUESLI
28 Sprinkle often paired with salt : DASH OF PEPPER
31 ___ Diamond, author of popular science books : JARED
34 Modern love? : BAE
35 Pledge drive giveaway : TOTE
36 “What ___ the chances?” : ARE
37 Digital birthday greeting : E-CARD
39 Classic doll with “Shaving Fun” and “Mod Hair” versions : KEN
40 Degs. for entrepreneurs : MBAS
42 On the ___ (fleeing) : LAM
43 Ominous note from a boss : SEE ME
45 Fashion designer’s purchase : BOLT OF FABRIC
49 Designer Giorgio : ARMANI
50 Eavesdropping range : EARSHOT
54 Early advantage … or what 20-, 28- and 45-Across each have? : RUNNING START
57 Apple tablets : IPADS
60 Tweak, as text : EDIT
61 “On top of that …” : ALSO …
62 Lakeside rental : CANOE
63 Nintendo competitor : SEGA
64 Bad cafeteria food, say : SLOP
65 College boards, e.g. : EXAMS
66 Powdered drink once used by NASA : TANG
67 Desires : YENS

Down

1 Get out of bed : ARISE
2 Actress Naomi : WATTS
3 For all to see : OVERT
4 Mouth-puckering green drink : LIMEADE
5 Belmont ___ : STAKES
6 “Goodness gracious!” : OH GOSH!
7 Kind of ball it’s hard to hurt anyone with : NERF
8 ___ of approval : SEAL
9 Sort of dog that’s ready for a new home : RESCUE
10 Poorly hidden, as a secret : ILL-KEPT
11 By way of : VIA
12 Prez dispenser? : ATM
13 Broadway’s “___ Misérables” : LES
21 Just slightly : A TAD
22 Called strikes and balls at a game : UMPED
25 Broke the silence, in a way : SPOKE
26 “See if I care what they do!,” informally : LET ‘EM!
27 Cara who sang “Flashdance … What a Feeling” : IRENE
29 Michelle with the best-selling memoir “Becoming” : OBAMA
30 Distant : FAR
31 Big name in smoothies : JAMBA
32 Ann ___, Mich. : ARBOR
33 Sphere of influence : REALM
37 Spritelike : ELFIN
38 Half-___ (latte option) : CAF
41 Fame in the field of sports or entertainment : STARDOM
43 Lancelot and Gawain of legend : SIRS
44 Blissful state : ECSTASY
46 Burdens of proof : ONUSES
47 Harmless : BENIGN
48 Motley, as a crew : RAGTAG
51 Actress and spokesmodel Berry : HALLE
52 Cinema legend Welles : ORSON
53 Sporty car roofs : T-TOPS
55 Tweets often come from here : NEST
56 “What’s the big ___?” : IDEA
57 Swelling soother : ICE
58 Roman peace : PAX
59 Actress de Armas of “No Time to Die” : ANA

7 thoughts on “1129-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Nov 21, Monday”

  1. 6:31…must be Monday. Pleasant surprise seeing the embedded ad for “beach pictures too hot to handle” upon opening the blog page. No, I did not click on it…. :- )

  2. 6:01. Always happy to get Monday puzzles out of the way…. Mondays too for that matter.

    Love seeing the derivations of some of these words. Today’s eye opener is “eavesdropping”. Interesting.

    For “Spritelike” I wanted to put 7Up, but it didn’t fit….

    Best –

  3. No errors but an odd puzzle for Monday. Never heard of JAMBA JARED or an ILLKEPT secret?

    Then there was also BAE. Really?

  4. 16:40 no errors.
    Yesterday it was 70 degrees, today there is 3” of snow and still coming down with a predicted low of 18…no global warming right?
    Stay safe (and warm)😀

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