1218-21 NY Times Crossword 18 Dec 21, Saturday

Constructed by: David Distenfeld
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 24m 40s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Two things in Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen” : ACTS

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a 2015 stage musical about a young man with awkward social skills and his efforts to make friends.

15 ___ Stadium, longtime home of college football’s Hula Bowl : ALOHA

Aloha Stadium is located in Honolulu and is home to the University of Hawaii’s Warriors football team. It is a multi-use facility, used for anything from high school football games to Bowl tournaments.

The annual college football game called the Hula Bowl isn’t played anymore. The inaugural game was in 1947, and the last was in 2008.

19 Princess ___, main role in Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life” : ATTA

“A Bug’s Life” is a 1998 animated feature film from Pixar. The storyline is based on the film “The Seven Samurai” and the fable of “The Ant and the Grasshopper”.

21 Treats often topped with caviar : BLINI

A blintz (also “blintze” and “blin”, plural “blini”) is a thin pancake similar to a crêpe, although unlike a crêpe, a blintz may contain yeast.

23 Modern-day put-down popularized by a 2019 TikTok video : OK BOOMER

TikTok is a video-sharing service that is based in China, and is very popular with the younger set. The TikTok mobile app provides tools facilitating production of sophisticated selfie videos that use special effects.

25 Flavor similar to fennel : ANISE

Fennel is a hardy perennial plant species in the celery family that is used as a herb. It also goes by the name “sweet anise”. Personally, I can’t stand the stuff …

28 “Britain’s first family of harmony,” per Brian Wilson : BEE GEES

The Brothers Gibb (hence, the name “Bee Gees”) were born in England but grew up and started their musical careers in Australia. They moved back to Manchester in the north of England as youths, and there hit the big time.

Brian Wilson is mainly known as the leader and the main songwriter for the Beach Boys. Wildly successful, Wilson fell foul to drug abuse in the seventies, as well as mental illness. Wilson’s life story was the subject of the excellent 2014 biopic “Love & Mercy”.

31 Kind of exam with an “Auditing and Attestation” section : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

42 Heavens : ETHER

The Greek philosopher Empedocles proposed that there are four elements that made up the universe, namely earth, water, air and fire. Aristotle later proposed a fifth element which he called aether (also “ether”). Aether was the divine substance that made up the stars and planets. We’re still using the term “ether” with a similar meaning.

48 Challenge for a free soloist : CRAG

When free solo climbing, a climber ascends the rock face without the use of protective equipment such as ropes or harnesses. If you’d like to spend a couple of terrifying hours in the comfort of your family room, I recommend viewing the 2018 Oscar-winning documentary film “Free Solo”.

49 Unit of firewood : STERE

The stere is a metric measure, although it is not part of the modern metric system. Nowadays the stere is used as a measure for firewood, and is equal to one cubic meter.

53 Opposite of ginormous : ITSY

“Ginormous” is a melding of the words “gigantic” and “enormous” and, surprisingly to me, one that dates back to about 1948. I thought that the term was far more contemporary …

Down

3 “Dallas” or “Atlanta” : TV SERIES

The TV soap “Dallas” revolved around the Ewing family. The series that ran for 13 years was originally intended as a five-part mini-series, with the main characters being newlyweds Bobby and Pam Ewing. But, the devious character in the piece, Bobby’s brother J. R., became so popular with audiences that the series was extended with J. R. at the center of the story. Who can remember who shot J.R.? (It was Kristin Shepard: J.R.’s mistress, who was also his sister-in-law).

5 Industrial dept. : R AND D

Research and development (R&D)

6 Resort locale east of Snowbird : ALTA

Alta ski resort actually lies within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area. The first ski lift in the resort was opened way back in 1939. Today, Alta is one of only three ski resorts in the country that prohibits snowboarding (along with Deer Valley, Utah and Mad River Glen, Vermont. The ski resort of Snowbird, located next to Alta, has been in operation since 1971.

10 Buffaloed : AT A LOSS

To buffalo is to bewilder, baffle. The verb probably comes from the animal’s name, as back in the early 1900s, “to buffalo” was “to alarm, overawe”. This meaning likely originated with the tendency for a herd of buffalo to mass panic in the face of danger.

12 Not-so-common extension : DOT NET

The .net domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

18 What may come as a relief? : ALOE

Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. ancient Egyptians knew it as the plant of immortality, and Native Americans called it the wand of heaven.

22 Champagne ___, one of Drake’s nicknames : PAPI

Drake is the stage name of rapper Aubrey Graham from Toronto.

24 Funeral fixtures : BIERS

Biers are the stands on which one rests a coffin for a service, or perhaps if the corpse is to lie in state. A bier may have wheels on it so that it can be used to transport the coffin to the graveside. The original biers were just flat pieces of wood on which the body was placed, covered with a shroud. Nowadays, we place the body in a casket, and then onto the bier.

28 Wade in the Baseball Hall of Fame : BOGGS

Wade Boggs is a former Major League Baseball player. He was a third baseman noted for his hitting ability.

30 Colin Kaepernick was one, familiarly : NINER

The 49ers football team in San Francisco takes its name from the gold prospectors who flooded into Northern California around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. These “1849 prospectors” became known as the “49ers”.

Colin Kaepernick was the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. In high school, Kaepernick was known as a baseball pitcher rather than a football player. He was a two-time California all-state baseball player and received several offers of baseball scholarships. Kaepernick finally received an offer of a football scholarship by the University of Nevada, Reno.

32 Crop circles, e.g. : PATTERNS

Don’t believe what you hear. Crop circles are hoaxes …

35 Alternative to a Lamborghini : BUGATTI

Italian Ettore Bugatti founded his company Automobiles E. Bugatti in 1909 in Alsace, then part of Germany. Bugatti cars were noted for the beauty of their design as well as their performance. Ettore came from an artistic family. His younger brother Rembrandt Bugatti was a noted sculptor.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was in the business of manufacturing tractors back in the late forties. Almost two decades later, he founded Automobili Lamborghini to produce high-end sports cars. That’s quite a shift in target market …

36 Furnish with feathers, as an arrow : FLETCH

A fletcher is an arrow maker, with “fletcher” coming from the French word for an arrow, i.e. “flèche”.

38 “Capeesh?” : YA HEAR?

“Capeesh?” is a slang term meaning “do you understand?” It comes from the Italian “capisce” meaning “understand”.

39 Biden and Harris, once: Abbr. : SENS

Future President Joe Biden was a US Senator representing the state of Delaware from 1973 until he joined the Obama administration. While he was a senator, Vice President Biden commuted to Washington from Wilmington, Delaware almost every working day. He was such an active customer and supporter of Amtrak that the Wilmington Station was renamed as the Joseph R. Biden Railroad Station in 2011. Biden has made over 7,000 trips from that station, and the Amtrak crews were known to even hold the last train for a few minutes so that he could catch it. Biden earned himself the nickname “Amtrak Joe”.

Kamala Harris was a US Senator for California starting in 2017, after serving for six years as the Attorney General of California. In early 2019, Harris announced her run for the Democratic nomination for US president in the 2020 election. Although she dropped out of the race, she was chosen by eventual nominee Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate. When the Biden-Harris ticket won the election, Harris became the highest-ranking female politician in the history of the US.

44 English adjective that becomes a French noun when an accent is added : MERE

In French, a “mère” (mother) bears an “enfant” (child).

46 Print examiner, for short : CSI

Crime scene investigator (CSI)

In the world of criminology, there are three classes of fingerprints:

  • Patent prints are those which are obvious, easily spotted by the naked eye.
  • Impressed prints are those made when the fingertips apply pressure to a soft material or surface, such as the skin.
  • Latent prints are those that are invisible to the naked eye, but which can be detected using special equipment and materials.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Two things in Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen” : ACTS
5 Goes off : RANTS
10 Puts on : ADDS
14 Wonderful review : RAVE
15 ___ Stadium, longtime home of college football’s Hula Bowl : ALOHA
16 Spree : TOOT
17 Scratch-off success : INSTANT WIN
19 Princess ___, main role in Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life” : ATTA
20 “Didn’t expect that to happen!” : WELL, DAMN!
21 Treats often topped with caviar : BLINI
22 The point of writing? : PERIOD
23 Modern-day put-down popularized by a 2019 TikTok video : OK BOOMER
25 Flavor similar to fennel : ANISE
26 Vintage eight-track purchases, maybe : TRAIN SETS
27 Stress specialist? : POET
28 “Britain’s first family of harmony,” per Brian Wilson : BEE GEES
29 With 51-Across, package recipient’s cry : IT’S …
30 Terrible review : NO STARS
31 Kind of exam with an “Auditing and Attestation” section : CPA
34 “Hey man, listen up …” : DIG THIS …
35 Speak loudly and harshly : BRAY
36 What’s at home on the range? : FRYING PAN
39 Pieces together? : SUITE
40 Doesn’t delete : LEAVES IN
41 Sires : BEGETS
42 Heavens : ETHER
43 Kids might make a stand for this : LEMONADE
45 Top-___ : TIER
46 Something promoted on the front of a magazine : COVER STORY
48 Challenge for a free soloist : CRAG
49 Unit of firewood : STERE
50 Main ingredient in the Japanese dish tekkadon : TUNA
51 See 29-Across : … HERE
52 Visibly shows embarrassment : IS RED
53 Opposite of ginormous : ITSY

Down

1 Actress Nicole ___ Parker : ARI
2 “Let’s stop. Is this really necessary?” : CAN WE NOT?
3 “Dallas” or “Atlanta” : TV SERIES
4 Info for a group of performers : SET LIST
5 Industrial dept. : R AND D
6 Resort locale east of Snowbird : ALTA
7 Lead-in to a grave pronouncement : NOW MORE THAN EVER …
8 “Not so fast!” : THINK AGAIN!
9 Eastern honorific : SAN
10 Buffaloed : AT A LOSS
11 Complete a sentence, say : DO TIME
12 Not-so-common extension : DOT NET
13 One way to the top : STAIRS
18 What may come as a relief? : ALOE
21 Basic framework : BONES
22 Champagne ___, one of Drake’s nicknames : PAPI
24 Funeral fixtures : BIERS
26 Firsts in flight : TEST PILOTS
28 Wade in the Baseball Hall of Fame : BOGGS
30 Colin Kaepernick was one, familiarly : NINER
31 Hollered : CRIED OUT
32 Crop circles, e.g. : PATTERNS
33 Pro group? : AYES
34 Separate : DIVERGE
35 Alternative to a Lamborghini : BUGATTI
36 Furnish with feathers, as an arrow : FLETCH
37 Go out of business? : RETIRE
38 “Capeesh?” : YA HEAR?
39 Biden and Harris, once: Abbr. : SENS
41 Nowhere near engaged : BORED
44 English adjective that becomes a French noun when an accent is added : MERE
46 Print examiner, for short : CSI
47 “___, me!” : YAY

20 thoughts on “1218-21 NY Times Crossword 18 Dec 21, Saturday”

  1. 20:47, no errors. Kind of … odd … cluing. After the fact, all the answers make sense. I’d never heard of “Champagne PAPI” and I had “FERRARI” before “BUGATTI”; other than that, it was just a matter of waiting for the lights to come on, one at a time.

    The cluing in today’s Newsday puzzle (the “Saturday Stumper”) was similar, in some ways. It took me a lot longer (53:01, no errors), but I was dealing with breakfast as I did it, so part of that time was spent away from the puzzle – and, oddly enough, I think that was an advantage: after each interruption, I seemed to make significant progress before being bamboozled again. Being a little distracted while doing a puzzle isn’t always a bad thing … 🤨.

  2. One more thought: Up until four or five years ago, I paid almost no attention to the names of constructors. Now, I do, and I find that it is somewhat helpful in dealing with their cluing. This is particularly true of indie constructors like Brendan Emmett Quigley and Tim Croce; having become familiar with their cluing styles makes it a bit easier to deal with things that, at first, I might have described as “odd”. Edited puzzles are a little different, of course, since the editor evens out the cluing a bit. Recently, though, I fancy that, in addition to accepting puzzles from a wider variety of constructors, Will Shortz has been editing with a somewhat lighter hand. Perhaps this is in response to some recent criticism? (On the other hand, all this could just be a figment of my fevered imagination … 😜.)

  3. time unknown – the iPad time just magically timed out on me, then started to keep time in 5 minutes increments. It was probably double the 25 minutes shown. Here I am on Maui, vacationing, and I had trouble with 15A. I wanted it to be ALOHA from the get-go, but I had SRI, then AGA, and finally SAN for 9D. Some part of me figured that the stadium got a corporate sponsor and was no longer ALOHA. As usual, I was wrong. WELL DAMN!! But definitely agree with Tom R that this was very hard.

  4. 37:24 with 3 lookups along the way. What a welcome back to crosswords after a week off. Yikes. Agree with Nonny and Tom. Hard one. Too many missteps to count. Didn’t know STERE at all.

    Do they serve BIER at German funerals??

    Guess I need to start unpacking now.

    Best –

  5. This one was a real bugger. 27:35 but I needed to look up a few answers to get some sections going. It’s a learning experience.

  6. Several errors and several didn’t know… but I’m leaning.
    BUGATTI OKBOOMER?

    BEATLES before BEEGEES..
    (actually they aren’t British are they? I thought they were from Australia?)

    On to the NEWSDAY Saturday stumper.

    1. @Anon Mike …

      That puzzle was pretty interesting. When I saw the name “Zawistowski”, I shuddered involuntarily, but I ended up thinking it was easier than the usual “Stumper”, even though I had to stop and scratch my head a lot. 30:51 (less four or five minutes spent in making a cup of tea), no errors, no missteps. A five-star puzzle, in my opinion … 🙂.

    2. The BGs were born on the Isle of Man and lived in a suburb of Manchester, England until the family emigrated to Australia.

  7. No errors and happy to get a win after yesterday’s one-letter-miss.
    I, too, initially had BEATLES, thinking that Brian Wilson used “family” in a general sense and also because I’m pretty sure that the Bee Gees are Australian. Anyway, BEEGEES it is. Challenging weekend.

  8. Funny, I thought it was relatively easy — any time I can finish a Thurs.-Fri.-Sat. puzzle, it has to be easy—-
    (And I don’t keep track of time.)

    1. I thought it was easy, too. Did this watching Joe Burrow win another game, so a gold star day all around. And my husband’s 75th birthday on top of that.

  9. Buh-rooo-tal!!!
    No errors… But my brain cracked and shattered finishing this one. It will take weeks, maybe months to heal!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.