1203-21 NY Times Crossword 3 Dec 21, Friday

Constructed by: Claire Rimkus
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 17m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 God of fertility, agriculture and the afterlife : OSIRIS

Osiris was the Egyptian god of the underworld. Osiris was the son of Geb the Earth god, and Nut the sky goddess. His wife Isis was also his sister. Osiris was killed and mutilated by Set, his own brother. Isis reassembled Osiris and revived him, just long enough that they could conceive their son Horus.

14 Cassowary kin : RHEA

The rhea is a flightless bird that is native to South America. The rhea takes its name from the Greek Titan Rhea. It’s an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.

The cassowary is a large, flightless bird found mainly in New Guinea. One species of cassowary is the third tallest bird on the planet, second only to the ostrich and the emu.

34 Actress Mara of “Pose” : KATE

Kate Mara is the actress who plays a lead character in the US TV series “House of Cards”. Kate is the sister of fellow actress Rooney Mara, who played the lead in the American version of the film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.

35 Empanadas and patatas bravas : TAPAS

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”. There is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

39 Kind of cup : DIXIE

Dixie Cup is a brand of disposable paper cups. The first such cups were introduced to promote hygiene at shared water fountains, as prior to disposable cups, glasses or dippers were shared by people taking a drink. As such, the Dixie Cup was introduced in 1907 as the “Health Kup”. The name was changed in 1919 to Dixie Cup, after a line of dolls (presumably as the cups were relatively small).

42 San ___, seat of California’s Marin County : RAFAEL

San Rafael is the county seat of Marin County in the North San Francisco Bay. Like many cities in California, San Rafael owes its name to a Spanish mission, Mission San Rafael Arcángel.

47 Mariah Carey and Madonna, for two : GAY ICONS

Mariah Carey produced her first album in 1990 under the guidance of Tommy Mottola, an executive at Columbia Records. Mottola and Carey must have hit it off, because they were married three years later (although Mottola is now married to a different singer …).

Madonna’s full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone. Born in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna was destined to become the top-selling female recording artist of all time, earning her the nickname

50 “Later, dude!” : ADIOS, AMIGO!

The term “adiós” is Spanish for “goodbye”. “Adiós” comes from the phrase “a Dios vos acomiendo” meaning “I commend you to God”.

53 ___ oil, extract obtained from the Amazon rainforest : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

56 “Five Guys Named ___” (1992 Broadway musical) : MOE

“Five Guys Named Moe” is a musical that debuted in the West End of London in 1990, and two years later on Broadway. The music and lyrics were written by jazz musician Louis Jordan based on a book by Clarke Peters. By the way, you might have seen Clarke Peters on the HBO television hit “The Wire”, in which he played Detective Lester Freamon.

58 Oh, to be in France! : ETRE

The French for “to be” is “être”, and for “I am” is “je suis”.

Down

6 72 answers and 34 black squares, for this puzzle : SPECS

Specification (spec.)

8 Quintana __, Mexican state that’s home to Cancún : ROO

Cancún is a city and island on the east coast of Mexico, on the other side of the Yucatan Channel from Cuba. The city is growing rapidly due to its booming tourist business. Cancún is the center of what’s often called “The Mexican Caribbean” or the “Mayan Riviera”.

16 Longtime newswoman Ifill : GWEN

Gwen Ifill was a television journalist who was regularly seen on PBS’s “Newshour”. Ifill was also the moderator on the weekly PBS show “Washington Week”, and was also selected to moderate the US Vice Presidential debates in 2004 and 2008.

23 Holder of emergency supplies : GO-BAG

A bug-out bag (also “go-bag”) is a portable collection of items that one would grab when evacuating from a disaster. One well-accepted guideline is that a bug-out bag contains all that would be needed to survive for 72 hours. A related kit is a get-home bag that might be kept in one’s car or place of work. A get-home bag contains the items needed to get back home in the absence of public transportation. My wife and I put together bug-out bags recently, having moved into an area that is at high risk for wildfires …

24 Giant in chip manufacturing : LAY’S

Lay’s potato chips were introduced in 1938 by Herman W. Lay. Lay started selling his chips out the trunk of his car, travelling all over the US. In those days the chips were pretty much handmade, but Lay put an end to that in 1942. He invented the first continuous potato processor in 1948, and chips started to take over the world!

26 Many a Guinness Book record : FEAT

“The Guinness Book of World Records” holds some records of its own. It is the best-selling, copyrighted series of books of all time and is one of the books most often stolen from public libraries! The book was first published in 1954 by two twins, Norris and Ross McWhirter. The McWhirter twins found themselves with a smash hit, and eventually became very famous in Britain hosting a TV show based on world records.

27 Shade akin to royal blue : LAPIS

Lapis lazuli is a blue, semi-precious stone mined mainly in Afghanistan. “Lapis Lazuli” is Latin for “stone of Lazhward”, referring to the Persian name for the location where the stone was mined. Our word “azure”, a shade of blue, has the same root.

31 Pet that’s mostly black with a white chest : TUXEDO CAT

A tuxedo cat is one with a white and black coat. Specifically, the coloring is a solid black coat with white fur on the paws, belly chest, throat and sometimes the chin.

32 Ellie Kemper’s role on “The Office” : ERIN

Actress Ellie Kemper’s big break came with the role of Erin Hannon, a receptionist on the sitcom “The Office”. More recently, Kemper played the title role in the Netflix comedy series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.

35 Kid : TYKE

“Tyke” has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902 For centuries before that, a tyke was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.

39 Offerer of fresh cuts : DELI

The word “delicatessen” (or “deli” for short) came into English from the German “Delikatessen”. The Germans borrowed the word from French, in which language “délicatesse” means “delicious things (to eat)”. The term’s ultimate root is “delicatus”, the Latin for “giving pleasure, delightful”.

42 Its participants are in for a wild ride : RODEO

“Rodeo” is a Spanish word that is usually translated into English as “round up”.

47 Some Twitter postings : GIFS

A bitmap is an image file format used to store digital images. Basically, each pixel in a bitmap file is stored as a “bit” of information, hence the name “bitmap”. In 1987, CompuServe introduced a new type of image file called the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). A GIF image takes the same information as a bitmap and then compresses it, resulting in a smaller file size. However, during compression the image may lose some resolution. The GIF format also handles short video clips, usually animations.

48 Brand that offers “Leg Mask” products : NAIR

Nair is a hair-removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide (“slaked lime”) and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name “Nair” probably comes from combining “no” and “hair”.

49 One of nine for a traditional Baha’i temple : SIDE

The Baha’i Faith is relatively new in the scheme of things, and was founded in Persia in the 1800s. One of the tenets of the religion is that messengers have come from God over time, including Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and most recently Bahá’u’lláh who founded the Baha’i Faith. Baha’i scripture specifies some particular architectural requirements for houses of worship, including that the building have a nine-sided, circular shape. It is also specified that there be no pictures, statues or images displayed within a temple.

52 Org. at Grand Central Terminal : MTA

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut). “MTA” might also refer to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is known as “the Metro” and sometimes “the MTA”.

Grand Central Terminal in New York City is the largest railroad station in the world in terms of the number of platforms (44). Those platforms are all underground, and on two levels. The official name for the facility is “Grand Central Terminal”. The name “Grand Central Station” is very common, and is actually the name of the facility that the terminal replaced in 1913.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 This and that : BOTH
5 God of fertility, agriculture and the afterlife : OSIRIS
11 “Love Life” network : HBO
14 Cassowary kin : RHEA
15 Doing something wrong : UP TO NO GOOD
17 Objectives : AIMS
18 Fresh burst of energy : SECOND WIND
19 Five-star : TOP-NOTCH
21 Class structures? : DESKS
22 Makeup palette assortment : TONES
23 Coruscates : GLINTS
25 Less likely to happen : IFFIER
27 You might seek forgiveness for this : LOAN
28 Scans, say : READS
29 New parents’ purchases to block off staircases : BABY GATES
34 Actress Mara of “Pose” : KATE
35 Empanadas and patatas bravas : TAPAS
36 “Happy to help!” : SURE!
37 Nice position to be in? : STEADY GIG
39 Kind of cup : DIXIE
40 Just gets (by) : EKES
41 Go to bat for : DEFEND
42 San ___, seat of California’s Marin County : RAFAEL
45 Not expired : VALID
46 Everything one could possibly offer, with “the” : … WORLD
47 Mariah Carey and Madonna, for two : GAY ICONS
50 “Later, dude!” : ADIOS, AMIGO!
53 ___ oil, extract obtained from the Amazon rainforest : ACAI
54 Reverent : RESPECTFUL
55 Pirate’s activity : RAID
56 “Five Guys Named ___” (1992 Broadway musical) : MOE
57 Back-combed : TEASED
58 Oh, to be in France! : ETRE

Down

1 Challenge while sitting : BRAT
2 Answer to the old riddle “What’s round on the ends and high in the middle?” : OHIO
3 Play with fire : TEMPT FATE
4 Blanks : HAS NO IDEA
5 Out-of-office procedure? : OUSTER
6 72 answers and 34 black squares, for this puzzle : SPECS
7 Hankering : ITCH
8 Quintana __, Mexican state that’s home to Cancún : ROO
9 Spot for the night : INN
10 Covering some ground? : SODDING
11 Vertical dimension of a flag : HOIST
12 Bops : BONKS
13 “___ are …” : ODDS
16 Longtime newswoman Ifill : GWEN
20 Gender-neutral possessive : ONE’S
23 Holder of emergency supplies : GO-BAG
24 Giant in chip manufacturing : LAY’S
25 Gets to : IRKS
26 Many a Guinness Book record : FEAT
27 Shade akin to royal blue : LAPIS
29 6-0 set, in tennis slang : BAGEL
30 “Whatever!” : AS IF I CARE!
31 Pet that’s mostly black with a white chest : TUXEDO CAT
32 Ellie Kemper’s role on “The Office” : ERIN
33 ___ money : SEED
35 Kid : TYKE
38 Firmly fixed : DEAD SET
39 Offerer of fresh cuts : DELI
41 Made last night, say : DAY-OLD
42 Its participants are in for a wild ride : RODEO
43 Pop up : ARISE
44 Completely bomb : FLOP
45 Fuzzy : VAGUE
46 Not cool – not cool at all! : WARM
47 Some Twitter postings : GIFS
48 Brand that offers “Leg Mask” products : NAIR
49 One of nine for a traditional Baha’i temple : SIDE
51 Pro : ACE
52 Org. at Grand Central Terminal : MTA

11 thoughts on “1203-21 NY Times Crossword 3 Dec 21, Friday”

  1. 20:14. Cripes this one was hard. I really got stuck in the upper left until I finally came up with TOP NOTCH from the TCH.

  2. 34:17 I also really struggled with this one, also in the NW corner. I had 4D as HASNOCLUE for a while – of course the puzzle is filled with clues. I just had few answers!! I had WORKS for 46A for a long time, which didn’t help in the SW corner. Unfamiliar with 11D, 29D expression, 31D, etc. For 45A I had ALIVE, then FRESH, finally VALID. If there were 6 spaces I would have started with UNDEAD. It was all very VAGUE (45D) to me.

    Let’s face it – I struggled in all the corners and the center was not any better.

  3. 15:33, no errors. I seem to be the odd man out so far, but I actually thought it was a bit easy for a Friday. Curious … 🤨.

  4. 30:58. Like Nonny, I found this a very easy puzzle. It was easy except where there were blank squares. Then it got more difficult…

    GO BAG took me forever, and I had joKE before TYKE for “Kid”.

    I thought they were discontinuing DIXIE Cups. I thought I read that someplace. I remember being surprised because I didn’t even know they were still made.

    Best –

  5. Started on Thursday, finished on Saturday. 1:03:56 Fortunately it will be 5 weeks before anybody sees my pathetic time : – ) But I finished!!!

  6. Yeah this was a toughie, especially the SW corner, for me. I had JOKE for TYKE and
    I GOTTA GO for ADIOS AMIGO which didn’t help.

  7. Everything but 5A and 15A was okay. I went down a bunny trail and couldn’t recover..

    BTW -What’s a GAY ICON? Madonna and Mariah are GAY?

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