1202-21 NY Times Crossword 2 Dec 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Rebecca Goldstein
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Salt Shaker

Themed answers each include a rebus square that contains an anagram of “NaCl”:

  • 58A One of a pair at the dinner table … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : SALT SHAKER
  • 17A Circadian rhythm regulator : INTERNAL CLOCK
  • 26A H.S. course that might have a unit on the Harlem Renaissance : AMERICAN LIT
  • 55A Hawaii is famous for them : VOLCANOES
  • 5D Australia, once : PENAL COLONY
  • 11D Papal collection overseen by a bibliothecarius : VATICAN LIBRARY
  • 25D Largest French-speaking city in North America : MONTREAL, CANADA

Bill’s time: 14m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Bow ties, e.g. : PASTA

Farfalle is commonly referred to as bow-tie pasta because of its shape. The name comes from the Italian “farfalla” meaning “butterfly”.

10 Dollar alternative : AVIS

Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.

Dollar Rent A Car was founded in 1965. Chrysler acquired the company in 1990 and merged it with Thrifty Car Rental, which Chrysler had purchased a year earlier.

14 Like chocolate mousse : RICH

Our word “mousse” is an Old French term meaning “froth”.

15 Puckish : ELFIN

Someone described as puckish is impish, whimsical. Back in the 1800s, the term “puckish” arose to describe someone merry and mischievous, someone resembling the fairy Puck.

16 Lunar plain : MARE

A mare is a large dark area on the moon. “Mare” is the Latin for “sea”. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Mare Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility.

17 Circadian rhythm regulator : INTERNAL CLOCK

Biological processes are said to exhibit circadian rhythm if they are characterized by 24-hour cycles. The term “circadian” comes from the Latin “circa” meaning “around, approximately” and “diem” meaning “day”.

20 Tech executive, for short : CIO

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

21 Labor leader Dolores Huerta or astronaut Ellen Ochoa : LATINA

Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman in space, serving on a nine-day mission on the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She spent over 1,000 hours in space over the course of four missions. Ochoa is now the Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

26 H.S. course that might have a unit on the Harlem Renaissance : AMERICAN LIT

“Harlem Renaissance” is the term used to describe a cultural movement in the 1920s that was known at the time as the “New Negro Movement”. The movement involved new cultural expression by African Americans that was centered mainly in urban areas in the northeast and midwest, and that was especially vibrant in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.

28 Singer Tori : AMOS

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. She started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. Amos was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I’m going to have to find some of her music …

29 Mendelssohn work in E flat major, and others : OCTETS

Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer who was active in the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn’s most famous works are probably his overtures “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Hebrides”, as well as his “Italian Symphony” and “Scottish Symphony”.

32 Mojito ingredient : MINT

A mojito is a Cuban cocktail, although the exact origins appear to be unclear, as does the derivation of the name. Want one? Put 4 mint leaves in a glass, and add the juice of half a lime and a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Muddle the ingredients, smashing them together with a muddler or a spoon. Add some crushed ice, two ounces of white rum and stir. Top with a couple of ounces of club soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint and/or a slice of lime. Cheers!

34 Scepter topper : ORB

A scepter (“sceptre” in Britain and Ireland) is a ceremonial staff, one often held by a monarch.

46 Presidential nickname : ABE

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the US. There are several stories told about how he earned the nickname “Honest Abe”. One story dates back to early in his career as a lawyer. Lincoln accidentally overcharged a client and then walked miles in order to right the wrong as soon as possible.

51 Performance artist portraying male characters : DRAG KING

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

55 Hawaii is famous for them : VOLCANOES

Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.

57 Pulitzer-winning novelist Jennifer : EGAN

Jennifer Egan is an author who grew up in San Francisco. Egan’s 2010 work “A Visit from the Goon Squad” won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Usually termed a novel, “A Visit from the Goon Squad” is structured in such a way that it is sometimes described as a collection of linked short stories.

58 One of a pair at the dinner table … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : SALT SHAKER

Sodium chloride (NaCl, common salt) is an ionic compound. It comprises a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl-) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na+) ions in between the chlorides.

65 Like texting during a conversation, to some : RUDE

Very rude …

66 Ancient Greek marketplace : AGORA

In early Greece, an agora was a place of assembly. The assemblies held there were often quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a marketplace. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

Down

1 Hindu honorific : SRI

“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

4 Historic Bay Area neighborhood with a 600-square-foot rainbow flag : THE CASTRO

A gay village (also “gayborhood”) is a part of a city that is home to and frequented by a large number of LGBT people. Famous gay villages around the world are Soho in London, Chelsea in New York City, the Castro in San Francisco and Boystown in Chicago.

7 West Coast air hub, for short : SFO

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) served as the main base of operations for Virgin America (sold to Alaska Airlines), and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines. Even though SFO is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco, the airport is located to the south in San Mateo County.

8 First X or O : TIC

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

9 Tarsal adornment : ANKLET

The tarsals (also “tarsi”) are the ankle bones, and are equivalent to the carpals in the wrist.

10 Violin family name : AMATI

The first of the Amati family to make violins was Andrea Amati, who lived in the 14th century. He was succeeded by his sons Antonio and Girolamo. In turn, the two brothers were succeeded by Girolamo’s son Nicolo. Nicolo had a few students who achieved fame making musical instruments as well. One was his own son, Girolamo, and another was the famed Antonio Stradivari.

12 1996 hit for Alanis Morissette : IRONIC

“Ironic” is a 1996 song co-written and recorded by Alanis Morissette. A couple of lines in the song are:

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife

For an awards ceremony in 2004, Morissette changed these lyrics to demonstrate support for same-sex marriage:

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful husband

13 House mate? : SENATE

The US Congress is described as “bicameral” in that it is divided into two separate assemblies, namely the Senate and the House of Representatives. The term “bicameral” comes from the prefix “bi-” meaning “two”, and the Latin “camera” meaning “chamber”.

18 Narrow inlet : RIA

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, and both are formed as sea levels rise. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

23 Place to hang a mezuzah : JAMB

A door jamb or window jamb is the vertical portion of the frame. The term “jamb” comes from the French word “jambe” meaning “leg”.

24 Bestie in Bordeaux : AMIE

Bordeaux is perhaps the wine-production capital of the world. Wine has been produced in the area since the eighth century. Bordeaux has an administrative history too. During WWII, the French government relocated from Paris to the port city of Bordeaux when it became clear that Paris was soon to fall to the Germans. After the Germans took France, the capital was famously moved to Vichy.

25 Largest French-speaking city in North America : MONTREAL, CANADA

The original name of Montreal was “Ville-Marie”, meaning “City of Mary”. “Ville-Marie” is now the name of a borough in the city, the borough which includes the downtown area and “Old Montreal”. The present-day city covers most of the Island of Montreal (in French, “Île de Montréal”) that is located where the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers meet. The name “Montreal” comes from the three-headed hill that dominates the island and is called “Mount Royal”.

27 German physician who coined the term “animal magnetism” : MESMER

Franz Mesmer was a German physician, and the person who coined the phrase “animal magnetism”. Back then the term described a purported magnetic field that resided in the bodies of animate beings. Mesmer also lent his name to our term “mesmerize”.

41 Word often confused with “fewer” : LESS

I say avoid any express checkout lane in a market that is labeled “10 items or less”. It should be “10 items or fewer”. I know, I know … I should calm down … and get a life …

47 Shoe with decorative perforations : BROGUE

A brogue is more commonly called a wing tip here in the US, I think. The shoe design originated in Ireland and Scotland, and “brog” the Irish word (and similar Scottish word) for shoe gives rise to the name. The brogue/wingtip design includes decorative perforations in the leather uppers. The toe cap of a brogue curves back in a shape that suggests the tip of a bird’s wing, hence the alternative name.

49 Leaf producer : NISSAN

The Leaf is an electric car made by Nissan that was introduced in 2010. The model name is an acronym standing for “leading environmentally-friendly affordable car”.

61 L’ora della siesta, maybe : TRE

In Spanish, the “tarda” (afternoon) might be a good time for “una siesta” (a nap).

62 “Parent-approved” cereal : KIX

Kix cereal has been around since 1937, would you believe? Kix used to be just puffed grains, processed to give the characteristic shape. Then the decision was made to add sugar to get better penetration into the young kid marketplace. Sad really …

63 GPS approximation : ETA

A global positioning system (GPS) might provide one with an estimated time of arrival (ETA).

64 “Stand” band, 1989 : REM

R.E.M. was a rock band from Athens, Georgia that formed in 1980. Apparently, the name “R.E.M.” was chosen randomly from a dictionary.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Thwack : SWAT
5 Bow ties, e.g. : PASTA
10 Dollar alternative : AVIS
14 Like chocolate mousse : RICH
15 Puckish : ELFIN
16 Lunar plain : MARE
17 Circadian rhythm regulator : INTERNAL CLOCK
19 Heaps : A TON
20 Tech executive, for short : CIO
21 Labor leader Dolores Huerta or astronaut Ellen Ochoa : LATINA
23 Representative Bowman, the first male member of “The Squad” : JAMAAL
26 H.S. course that might have a unit on the Harlem Renaissance : AMERICAN LIT
28 Singer Tori : AMOS
29 Mendelssohn work in E flat major, and others : OCTETS
31 Make definite, informally : ICE
32 Mojito ingredient : MINT
33 Rejections : NOES
34 Scepter topper : ORB
36 Does dirty : BETRAYS
38 Word before oil or water : MINERAL …
42 Use a 56-Across : ROW
43 “Sure, sure” : I BET
45 Delicate textile : LACE
46 Presidential nickname : ABE
48 Ticks off : ANGERS
50 Open ___ : ARMS
51 Performance artist portraying male characters : DRAG KING
53 Agree : SAY YES
55 Hawaii is famous for them : VOLCANOES
56 Boat propeller : OAR
57 Pulitzer-winning novelist Jennifer : EGAN
58 One of a pair at the dinner table … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : SALT SHAKER
65 Like texting during a conversation, to some : RUDE
66 Ancient Greek marketplace : AGORA
67 Refer to : CITE
68 Symbol of Russia : BEAR
69 “Copy that” : NOTED
70 Checkup, e.g. : EXAM

Down

1 Hindu honorific : SRI
2 Success : WIN
3 One may be tough to follow : ACT
4 Historic Bay Area neighborhood with a 600-square-foot rainbow flag : THE CASTRO
5 Australia, once : PENAL COLONY
6 Every last one : ALL
7 West Coast air hub, for short : SFO
8 First X or O : TIC
9 Tarsal adornment : ANKLET
10 Violin family name : AMATI
11 Papal collection overseen by a bibliothecarius : VATICAN LIBRARY
12 1996 hit for Alanis Morissette : IRONIC
13 House mate? : SENATE
18 Narrow inlet : RIA
22 Basis of some insurance fraud : ARSON
23 Place to hang a mezuzah : JAMB
24 Bestie in Bordeaux : AMIE
25 Largest French-speaking city in North America : MONTREAL, CANADA
26 Consumed : ATE
27 German physician who coined the term “animal magnetism” : MESMER
30 Vouch (for), in a way : CO-SIGN
35 Something that’s impossible to run by yourself : RELAY RACE
37 Still up, say : AWAKE
39 “A pity, really” : IT’S SO SAD
40 Peak : ACME
41 Word often confused with “fewer” : LESS
44 Plead : BEG
46 Too, for one : ADVERB
47 Shoe with decorative perforations : BROGUE
49 Leaf producer : NISSAN
52 Hopeless case : GONER
54 Contented sigh : AAH!
59 Earlier : AGO
60 Park place? : LOT
61 L’ora della siesta, maybe : TRE
62 “Parent-approved” cereal : KIX
63 GPS approximation : ETA
64 “Stand” band, 1989 : REM

15 thoughts on “1202-21 NY Times Crossword 2 Dec 21, Thursday”

  1. You found two squares which contain the all the 4 letters NACL (another way of saying “salt”). There is a 3rd square that contains NACL. It makes 55 across into “voLCANoes” and makes 25 down into montreaLCANada

  2. 25:35. Struggled with this one. Finally figured out there was a rebus with 55A. Once I got the revealer I knew what to look for. Even still, I got really hung up in the block around 23A. Unfamiliar with 23A, its crosser at 4D (lots of guessing to get that one) and unwilling to give up 32A being LIME. So a lot of head scratching (I’m almost bald now).

    @Bill – your answer diagram does not show the rebus square in the 55A / 25D crossing.

  3. 15:08, no errors. I fat-fingered a couple of the rebuses and had to re-enter them (but, for once – mirabile dictu! – I noticed both before finishing).

    Sadly, I’m not getting more adept with age … 😳🤨😜.

  4. 23:40. Bill had fixed the rebus by the time I looked at the puzzle so I won’t rub any more salt into that wound…..

    I used to have an employee who lived in THE CASTRO. I went there one time. I’ll admit the views of the city are spectacular there.

    Finally caught up at least for a few hours. Then ANOTHER puzzle will come out. Has anyone noticed these come out EVERY DAY??

    Best –

  5. 41:52 – lotsa cheats.

    Really struggled, never saw or knew what a Rebus was … what a sheltered crossword life … but I did finally figure it out.

    Be Well.

  6. I found where the rebus was but couldn’t put it together until I got the reveal. Will say I got some help from dad on this one but definitely happy I knocked most of it out on my own (even with a time of 41min)

  7. 20:01, no errors. Another one that required random writings to complete with the usual “okay, whatever you say” reaction. Just terrible.

  8. No errors. Enjoyed it.. my problem with these is my brain works overtime trying to figure out when it’s going to pop up. I got it rightaway when I did the SW corner with VOLCANOES.. everything fit together and the game was afoot.

  9. 51:55 and amazingly no errors👍👍
    @Bill…you spoke of “less and fewer” and commented “get a life” well I just spent three months watching and counting the number of times Ward and June Cleaver kissed on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER (136). Now that qualifies for “get a life”
    Stay safe😀

  10. My wife constantly insists that a REBUS is a puzzle made using symbols for words so when I describe a Xword solution as having rebus squares she argues with my usage. But she also insists on referring to theme answers as clue answers and refuses to accept my correction.
    You understand why this comment is ANON

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