1225-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Dec 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Johan Vass
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 46m 00s … after experimenting with “Alexanders” …

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Bases of support : PLINTHS

A plinth is a block on which something is placed, especially a column. The Greek word “plinthos” means “squared stone”.

15 Writer whose initials, when doubled, become another answer in this puzzle : TS ELIOT

T. S. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, largely due to his “Four Quartets”, a set of four poems that Eliot himself considered to be his life’s masterpiece. He also won a Tony Award in 1950 for Best Play, for “The Cocktail Party”, as well as two posthumous Tony Awards in 1983 for his poems that are used in the musical “Cats”.

18 Fly far, far away? : TSETSE

Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as “fly”. Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite which is passed onto humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the insect, then the tsetse fly is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.

19 More familiar name for hydrated magnesium silicate : TALC

Talc is a mineral, hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” is also made from cornstarch.

20 Sam who directed “A Simple Plan” : RAIMI

Sam Raimi is a very successful director and producer. He was behind the “Spider-Man” series of films among others, and TV shows such as “Xena: Warrior Princess”. In 1993, Raimi married Gillian Green, the youngest daughter of actor Lorne Greene of “Bonanza” fame. Raimi and Greene named their eldest son Lorne, after his grandfather.

24 Ball ___ : PEEN

The peen of a hammer is on the head, and is the side of the head that is opposite the striking surface. Often the peen is in the shape of a hemisphere (as in a ball-peen hammer), but usually it is shaped like a claw (mainly for removing nails).

28 Subject of some MK-Ultra experiments : LSD

Someone taking the drug LSD is often said to be “dropping acid”. The use of the verb “to drop” was popular slang long before LSD came on the scene, and back then applied to the taking of any illegal drug.

33 Java has a rare species of one : RHINO

There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, with the smaller Javan Rhino being the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

36 Members of filmdom’s Breakfast Club : TEENS

“The Breakfast Club” is a fabulous teen drama film (a genre which I usually avoid like the plague) released in 1985. It is directed by John Hughes, and stars Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy as the students at a Saturday school detention class.

37 The oldest known one was found carved into a mammoth tusk (∼25,000 B.C.) : MAP

A relatively well-preserved set of wooly mammoth remains were discovered in Siberia in 2012. The remains included some intact cells, and there is talk about the possibility of cloning the animal who died between 4,000 and 10,000 years ago. Scary stuff …

40 Battery type : NICAD

A NiCad rechargeable battery is so called because the electrodes are made of nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium.

42 They’re filled with dough : ATMS

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

43 Aquaman portrayer : MOMOA

Jason Momoa is a model and actor who is perhaps best known for playing superhero Aquaman in several DC Comics films. He also played warrior leader Khal Drogo in the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones”. In 2017, Momoa married actress Lisa Bonet, who played Denise Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”.

“Aquaman” is a 2018 superhero film starring Jason Momoa in the title role. Momoa had previously played the Aquaman character in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2016, and in “Justice League” in 2017.

46 Listing in the Fortune 100 : MEGA-CORPORATION

“Fortune” is a tri-weekly business magazine that was founded by Henry Luce in 1930, just four months after the 1929 Wall Street Crash. “Fortune” is noted for its annual ranking of companies by revenue, especially the Fortune 500.

50 Jumper, e.g. : SLEEVELESS DRESS

“Jumper” is one of those terms that caused me no end of grief when I moved to the US. I think my wife-to-be was close to dumping me on one of our first dates when she heard me talking about jumpers that I wore all the time. Where I come from, a jumper is a sweater, and can be worn by males and females alike. The dress known as a jumper in the US, back in Ireland we’d call a pinafore or pinafore dress.

Down

2 One cycle per second : HERTZ

The unit of frequency measure is the hertz (Hz). It is the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. The unit is named for Heinrich Hertz, the German physicist who proved the existence of electromagnetic waves.

3 1979 Donna Summer hit … or where it was heard : ON THE RADIO

Donna Summer is known as “The Queen of Disco”, with great hits like “Love to Love You, Baby”, “I Feel Love” and “Hot Stuff”. In the late sixties and early seventies, LaDonna Gaines (her real name) lived and worked in Germany. There she met and married an Austrian actor called Helmuth Sommer. They divorced not long after the marriage, but Donna kept his family name, just changing the “o” to “u” to give her the stage name of “Donna Summer”.

6 Help lift something, maybe? : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

8 Some spreads : PATES

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made from a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

9 Lug : SCHLEP

Our word “schlep” (sometimes “schlepp”) means “carry, drag”. “Schlep” comes from Yiddish, with “shlepen” having the same meaning.

11 “Bad Lieutenant” star : KEITEL

Harvey Keitel is an actor from New York City who grew up in Brighton Beach. He is best known for playing “tough guy” roles, as he did in “Reservoir Dogs”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Taxi Driver”. Keitel was in a 12-year relationship with fellow actor Lorraine Bracco (who played psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi on “The Sopranos”).

14 Souvlaki go-with : PITA

Souvlaki is a “fast food” from Greece consisting of meat (often lamb) grilled on a skewer, and sometimes served in a pita sandwich.

21 Switch letters : AM/FM

In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (“amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (“frequency modulation”).

22 Some news on Wall St. : IPOS

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

23 Linguist Okrand who created Klingon : MARC

Klingons are a warrior race often featured in the “Star Trek” franchise of shows. Back in the first “Star Trek” movie, the actor James Doohan (who played “Scottie”) put together some Klingon dialogue that was used in the film. For subsequent movies, the American linguist Marc Okrand was commissioned to develop a working Klingon language, which he duly did, using the original words from Doohan as its basis.

26 21 popes : JOHNS

The last pope named John was Pope John XXIII, who held office until his death in 1963. Even though he used the regnal number XXIII, he cannot really be considered the 23rd pope. John XVI was an antipope who made an illegitimate claim to the position from 997 to 998. In addition, there never was a Pope John XX. During the nineteenth century, historians discovered an error in records in which the papacy of John XIV was mistakenly interpreted as the reign of two different popes named John. So, the last Pope John was named the “23rd”, but was actually the “21st”.

27 Japanese beer : KIRIN

Kirin lager is the oldest brand of beer in Japan. The “Kirin” name comes from the Japanese word for a mythical Chinese creature.

31 “No way!,” spelled out in a text : OH EM GEE

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might care to use …

37 Spongelike delicacy : MOREL

The morel is that mushroom with the honeycomb-like structure on the cap. Morels are highly prized, especially in French cuisine. They should never be eaten raw as they are toxic, with the toxins being removed by thorough cooking.

41 Units equal to 10 micronewtons : DYNES

A dyne is a unit of force. The name “dyne” comes from the Greek “dynamis” meaning “power, force”. Ergs and dynes are related to each other in that one erg is the amount of energy needed to move a force of one dyne over a distance of one centimeter.

44 Father of many children with Aphrodite : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

47 Ohio pro athlete, informally : CAV

The Cavaliers are a professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Things you might snap on, nowadays : PHOTO APPS
10 Something suddenly fashionable : THE NEW BLACK
12 Welcome sign of spring : SHORTS WEATHER
14 Bases of support : PLINTHS
15 Writer whose initials, when doubled, become another answer in this puzzle : TS ELIOT
17 Charge : IONIZE
18 Fly far, far away? : TSETSE
19 More familiar name for hydrated magnesium silicate : TALC
20 Sam who directed “A Simple Plan” : RAIMI
24 Ball ___ : PEEN
25 Body opening? : ANY-
26 Stuff : JAM-PACK
28 Subject of some MK-Ultra experiments : LSD
29 “Let’s pray it never comes to that” : GOD FORBID
31 Sarcastic response to an attempt at intimidation : OOH, I’M SCARED!
33 Java has a rare species of one : RHINO
34 “What ___?” : GIVES
36 Members of filmdom’s Breakfast Club : TEENS
37 The oldest known one was found carved into a mammoth tusk (∼25,000 B.C.) : MAP
40 Battery type : NICAD
42 They’re filled with dough : ATMS
43 Aquaman portrayer : MOMOA
45 Side (with) : ALLY
46 Listing in the Fortune 100 : MEGA-CORPORATION
49 W.N.B.A. M.V.P. in 2015 and 2019 : ELENA DELLE DONNE
50 Jumper, e.g. : SLEEVELESS DRESS

Down

1 Relating to sound : PHONIC
2 One cycle per second : HERTZ
3 1979 Donna Summer hit … or where it was heard : ON THE RADIO
4 Model and body positivity activist Holliday : TESS
5 Pained expression : OWW!
6 Help lift something, maybe? : ABET
7 Checkout choice : PLASTIC BAG
8 Some spreads : PATES
9 Lug : SCHLEP
10 Bad way to be disguised : THINLY
11 “Bad Lieutenant” star : KEITEL
12 Dulcé ___, correspondent for “The Daily Show” beginning in 2017 : SLOAN
13 Classic “I messed up” gift : ROSES
14 Souvlaki go-with : PITA
16 Be behind bars? : TEND
21 Switch letters : AM/FM
22 Some news on Wall St. : IPOS
23 Linguist Okrand who created Klingon : MARC
26 21 popes : JOHNS
27 Japanese beer : KIRIN
29 Lose it completely : GO INSANE
30 One straying from the norm : DEVIATOR
31 “No way!,” spelled out in a text : OH EM GEE
32 Refuse : DECLINE
33 Pass on : RETELL
35 Places to get waxed : SALONS
36 Reins in : TAMES
37 Spongelike delicacy : MOREL
38 Enough : AMPLE
39 Cannonball targets : POOLS
41 Units equal to 10 micronewtons : DYNES
43 Manner : MODE
44 Father of many children with Aphrodite : ARES
47 Ohio pro athlete, informally : CAV
48 Kick in : ADD

11 thoughts on “1225-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Dec 21, Saturday”

  1. 15:45. Nice challenge, with lively fill and some stuff I had to work around.

    Mid-50s here on Christmas Day in Iowa, which pretty much qualifies as SHORTS WEATHER, though I hardly consider that a welcome sign of anything.

  2. 34:36, no errors, though I spent about ten seconds fixing a glitch at the end: “THE NOW BLACK” instead of “THE NEW BLACK”. I’m not sure how that happened, but, honestly, I wasn’t at all sure of the answer; I now gather that the phrase originated some time in the ‘80s and has since taken on some additional nuances, including, perhaps, the recent “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK”. (Over all, given the many references in the clues and the grid to things outside my ken, I was pleased to have finished without having to look anything up, so a minor glitch was not much of an issue.)

    @Ron R … Impressive performance! And a personal note: I was born in Mason City, Iowa, and grew up on a farm about five miles from Floyd, Iowa. I also graduated from Iowa State.

  3. 36:02. With one lookup. Got kind of stumped in the bottom with the triple stack. Getting ready to leave Hawaii today – temps in the low 80s to fly back to Seattle, with temps in the 30s and maybe lower, and talk of snow!! Seattle does not do well in the snow.

    I think Nonny got confused above. Kudos go to @Tom R – whom I applaud as well.

    Merry Xmas!

    1. Oops! I did, I did … I was confused … I grow older by the day … and it’s not a pretty sight … 😜.

      (I’m also making a Christmas dinner for two. Let’s hope I don’t mess that up … 🤪.)

      And @Jeff (below) … Yeah, I know from “Brandy Alexanders”; I was making a little joke. (Some would say “a very little joke” … 🤪.)

  4. Why nothing explaining about Tess Holiday and Dulcé Sloan? Had to look them up. A little eyebrow-raising that you’re not willing to talk about two women, especially when one is of color and both are plus-size.

    1. xwordcrusher – Take your political agenda and invented issues elsewhere. On Christmas? Really??

      If you’ve paid any attention to Bill over the years, you’d have seen he’s the most anodyne person on just about any blog on any subject on the internet. He picks and chooses things that pique his interest. Randomly. There’s no other rhyme or reason to it.

      Unlike you, Bill has no agenda. Take yours elsewhere.

  5. 25:54 with two squares wrong. I had PHOneAPPS which led to eWW instead of OWW (close enough) and nESS instead of TESS (what do I know ??).

    Guessed the M and RAIMI/MARC. Otherwise, a very fun Christmas solve. As usual, the long answers saved me.

    KIRIN is usually my favorite beer at Japanese restaurants. Most people prefer ASAHI (another crossword favorite), but not I.

    Nonny – I THINK “Alexanders” is referring to Brandy Alexanders if I had to guess….which I am. I’ll posit that Bill was engaging in some early holiday cheer before during and after solving the puzzle.

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Oh wait, Bill already had a good night….

    Best –

    1. Yes, I was referring to the cocktails. I had a little fun exploring some variants: the (original) alexander, the brandy alexander, alexander’s sister, and the coffee alexander [hic!]

  6. 39;40 Some of my best times occurred after Smirnoff 100p vodka experiments and some of my worst : – )

    Nonny, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in Mason City. Being an avid ferroequinologist I like to photograph the railroad that operates there, still using 100 year old electric locomotives.

    Merry Christmas everybody!!

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