1227-21 NY Times Crossword 27 Dec 21, Monday

Constructed by: Adam Aaronson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Double-A Team

Themed clues each start with a DOUBLE letter A:

  • 63A Tennessee Smokies or Portland Sea Dogs … or what the answers to the starred clues comprise? : DOUBLE-A TEAM
  • 17A *TV remote inserts, often : AA BATTERIES
  • 21A *Sobriety support group session, informally : AA MEETING
  • 30A *Animal whose name means “earth pig” in Afrikaans : AARDVARK
  • 40A *”Winnie-the-Pooh” writer : AA MILNE
  • 47A *4.0 on a transcript : A AVERAGE
  • 53A *Three-time Emmy winner for “Breaking Bad” : AARON PAUL

Bill’s time: 6m 45s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Use a swizzle stick : STIR

“Swizzle” drinks date back to the early 1800s. The drink gave rise to the verb “to swizzle” to mean “to stir” from the mid-1800s. The drink also gave the name to the swizzle stick, which was introduced in cocktails in 1933. I drank a rum swizzle or two on the island of Bermuda many years ago, and very nice they are too. They are so popular in Bermuda that the swizzle is often called the island’s national drink.

11 “You don’t need to be ___, Roy” (rhyming Paul Simon lyric) : COY

Singer-songwriter Paul Simon’s career took off when he partnered with Art Garfunkel. Simon was really the writing powerhouse of Simon & Garfunkel, and wrote most of their big hits, including “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “Bridge over Troubled Water”. Simon has had three wives, including actress Carrie Fisher (1983-1984), and singer Edie Brickell whom he wed in 1992.

15 Keister, in Leicester : ARSE

Well, the word “arse” would never make it into a crossword on the other side of the pond, as it would be considered too rude. I have a similar reaction to the word “shag” as in “The Spy Who Shagged Me”. The film would never have been released with that title in the UK.

Back in the early 1900s, a keister was a safe or a strongbox. It has been suggested that “keister” was then used as slang by pickpockets for the rear trouser pocket in which one might keep a wallet. From this usage, “keister” appeared as a slang term for the buttocks in the early 1930s.

Leicester is the county town of Leicestershire in the English Midlands. Leicester has been associated with many famous Englishman including actor Richard Attenborough and his brother David, the world famous naturalist, both of whom grew up there. Graham Chapman of “Monty Python” was born there, and singer Engelbert Humperdinck, although born in India, grew up in Leicester. Leicester was in the news relatively recently when remains found under a car park were identified as those of Richard III, the last king of the House of York.

16 Filmmaker DuVernay : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

17 *TV remote inserts, often : AA BATTERIES

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

20 Technical detail, for short : SPEC

Specification (spec)

21 *Sobriety support group session, informally : AA MEETING

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. As the organization grew, the guiding principles established by the founders were formatted into a 12-step program that was in place by the 1940s.

30 *Animal whose name means “earth pig” in Afrikaans : AARDVARK

The aardvark is the oddest looking of creatures, and a nocturnal burrowing animal that is native to Africa. Even though it is sometimes called the African ant bear, the name “aardvark” is Afrikaans for “earth pig”. Aardvarks are noted, among other things, for their unique teeth. Their teeth have no enamel and wear away quite readily, but continuously regrow. The aardvark feeds mainly on ants and termites.

38 Lena of “Chocolat” : OLIN

Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, and clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin’s breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” released in 1988. Way back in 1974, Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland. Olin’s most famous performance was in “Chocolat” released in 2000, and then she won an Emmy in 2003 for Best Supporting Actress in the TV show “Alias”.

40 *”Winnie-the-Pooh” writer : AA MILNE

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

42 Lacto-___ vegetarianism : OVO

A lacto-ovo vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat or fish, but who does eat eggs (ovo) and dairy (lacto) products.

43 Element that also names a household appliance : IRON

The Latin word for “iron” is “ferrum”, which gives us “Fe” as the metal’s chemical symbol.

52 Disney snow queen : ELSA

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Spoiler alert: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles seems to be a good guy for most of the film, but turns out to be a baddie in the end. And, a snowman named Olaf provides some comic relief.

53 *Three-time Emmy winner for “Breaking Bad” : AARON PAUL

Actor Aaron Paul is best known for playing Jesse Pinkman in the incredibly successful drama “Breaking Bad”. Paul got himself a “Breaking Bad” tattoo on the last day of filming of the series, as did fellow cast member Bryan Cranston.

58 Word with butter or Stadium : SHEA …

Shea butter is a common moisturizer and lotion used as a cosmetic. It is a fat that is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. There is evidence that shea butter was used back in Cleopatra’s Egypt.

Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.

62 What’s central in heliocentrism : SUN

Heliocentrism is the astronomical model that has the Earth and other planets revolving around the Sun at the center of the Solar System. The geocentric model holds that the Earth is the center of the Universe.

67 Fairy tale menace : OGRE

An ogre is a hideous monster of legend. There is a suggestion that “ogre” is French in origin and comes from “Orcus”, the name of an Etruscan underworld god who fed on human flesh. Nice guy …

Down

1 Many hoppy brews, in brief : IPAS

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

4 Actress Sissy : SPACEK

Actress Sissy Spacek got her big break in the movies when she played the title role in the 1976 horror movie “Carrie”, which is based on a Stephen King novel. Her most acclaimed role is the lead in the 1980 biopic about Loretta Lynn called “Coal MIner’s Daughter”, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar. Spacek’s first cousin was the actor Rip Torn.

5 Ctrl-___-Del : ALT

Ctrl-Alt-Delete is a keyboard command on IBM PC compatible systems used for a soft reboot, or more recently to bring up the task manager in the Windows operating system. Bill Gates tells us that the command was originally just a device to be used during development and was never meant to “go live”. He once said that “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” was a mistake, and that he would have preferred a dedicated key on the keyboard that carried out the same function.

7 Singer Bareilles : SARA

Sara Bareilles achieved success with her 2007 “Love Song” with the help of the iTunes online store. In one week in June of that year, iTunes offered the song as “free single of the week” and it quickly became the most downloaded song in the store, and from there climbed to the number spot in the charts.

11 Banking giant that makes the Venture card : CAPITAL ONE

Capital One is a financial services company based in McLean, Virginia. The company is known for its mass marketing of credit cards. In fact, it is one of the US Post Office’s largest customers due to the volume of direct mail solicitations sent out.

13 Yin’s opposite : YANG

The yin and yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

22 Big name in DVRs : TIVO

TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world’s first commercially successful digital video recorder (DVR).

24 Prefix with physics : META-

The word “metaphysics” comes from the Greek “meta” (beyond) and “physika” (physical). Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that investigates reality beyond the principles of science. Not something I would understand …

25 Tropical lizard : IGUANA

An iguana is a lizard, and as such is cold-blooded. There are times when pet iguanas need heat from an IR lamp to maintain body temperature.

27 Indoor spaces with lots of natural light : ATRIA

In modern architecture, an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

28 First lady Bush : LAURA

Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir “Spoken from the Heart” published in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master’s degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given that background, it’s not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.

29 Arnold Schwarzenegger or Ronald Reagan, for California : EX-GOVERNOR

Body-builder, actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Graz in Austria, the son of the local police chief. Schwarzenegger’s family name translates into the more prosaic “black plowman”. In his bodybuilding days, he was often referred to as the Austrian Oak. When he was Governor of California he was called “the Governator”, a play on his role in the “The Terminator” series of movies.

31 “___ Well That Ends Well” : ALL’S

“All’s Well That Ends Well” is a play by William Shakespeare, one with elements of both tragedy and comedy. As such, “All’s Well That Ends Well” is classified as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays”, plays of his that cannot be neatly classified as either tragedy or comedy.

37 Pollution in city skies : SMOG

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

44 Emperor during the Great Fire of Rome : NERO

The Great Fire of Rome raged for five and a half days in 64 AD. Of the fourteen districts of Rome, three were completely destroyed and seven more suffered serious damage. The emperor at the time was Nero, although reports that he fiddled, played his lyre or sang while the city burned; those accounts are probably not true. In fact, Nero was staying outside of Rome when the fire started and rushed home upon hearing the news. He organized a massive relief effort, throwing open his own home to give shelter to many of the citizens who were left living on the street.

48 Total strangers, in modern slang : RANDOS

“Rando” is a slang term describing a “random person”. The term tends not to be used flatteringly.

53 Home of seven -stans : ASIA

The suffix “-stan” in many place names is Persian for “place of”. One example is “Pakistan”, the Place of the Pure. “Pakistan” is a relatively recent name, first coined in 1933. It comes from the abbreviation PAKSTAN, standing for Punjab – Afghan Province – Kashmir – Sindh – BaluchisTAN, all regions in the north of India. The “I” was added to Pakistan to make it easier to pronounce, and to fit the translation “Land of the Pure”.

54 A4 automaker : AUDI

The predecessor to today’s Audi company was called Auto Union. Auto Union was formed with the merger of four individual entities: Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer. The Audi logo comprises four intersecting rings, each representing one of the four companies that merged.

55 Jumping stick : POGO

What we know today as a pogo stick was invented in Germany by Max Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall. The name “pogo” comes from the first two letters in each of the inventors’ family names: Po-hlig and Go-ttschall.

57 Lyft competitor : UBER

Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft.

60 Down ___ (Maine) : EAST

The coast of Maine is often referred to as “Down East” by the people of New England. There is even a monthly magazine aimed at the people of Maine called “Down East”, that is published in Camden, Maine.

61 Iowa campus town : AMES

Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable milestones, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.

64 Mini-albums, in brief : EPS

An extended-play (EP) record, CD or download contains more music than a single, but less than an LP.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Ain’t that the truth!” : I’LL SAY!
7 Use a swizzle stick : STIR
11 “You don’t need to be ___, Roy” (rhyming Paul Simon lyric) : COY
14 Human beings : PEOPLE
15 Keister, in Leicester : ARSE
16 Filmmaker DuVernay : AVA
17 *TV remote inserts, often : AA BATTERIES
19 Implement with ink : PEN
20 Technical detail, for short : SPEC
21 *Sobriety support group session, informally : AA MEETING
23 Give off, as vibes : EMIT
26 Little criticism : NIT
27 Pub barrel : ALE KEG
30 *Animal whose name means “earth pig” in Afrikaans : AARDVARK
35 Line on a sales receipt : TAX
36 Skirmish : TUSSLE
38 Lena of “Chocolat” : OLIN
39 Floor cover : RUG
40 *”Winnie-the-Pooh” writer : AA MILNE
42 Lacto-___ vegetarianism : OVO
43 Element that also names a household appliance : IRON
45 Acknowledges with a head tilt : NODS TO
46 Snag : NAB
47 *4.0 on a transcript : A AVERAGE
49 Shapes made in the snow : ANGELS
51 Swing ___ (when big bands were big) : ERA
52 Disney snow queen : ELSA
53 *Three-time Emmy winner for “Breaking Bad” : AARON PAUL
58 Word with butter or Stadium : SHEA …
62 What’s central in heliocentrism : SUN
63 Tennessee Smokies or Portland Sea Dogs … or what the answers to the starred clues comprise? : DOUBLE-A TEAM
66 Words from an altar ego? : I DO
67 Fairy tale menace : OGRE
68 Section of a sentence : PHRASE
69 What’s inside an inner tube : AIR
70 Fly high : SOAR
71 Summer wear with a T-shirt : SHORTS

Down

1 Many hoppy brews, in brief : IPAS
2 ___ of faith : LEAP
3 One of four in the human brain : LOBE
4 Actress Sissy : SPACEK
5 Ctrl-___-Del : ALT
6 Nonetheless : YET
7 Singer Bareilles : SARA
8 Minor haircut : TRIM
9 “Ah, gotcha” : I SEE
10 Forward, as mail : RESEND
11 Banking giant that makes the Venture card : CAPITAL ONE
12 Bakery hot spot : OVEN
13 Yin’s opposite : YANG
18 “Don’t starve yourself!” : EAT!
22 Big name in DVRs : TIVO
24 Prefix with physics : META-
25 Tropical lizard : IGUANA
27 Indoor spaces with lots of natural light : ATRIA
28 First lady Bush : LAURA
29 Arnold Schwarzenegger or Ronald Reagan, for California : EX-GOVERNOR
30 Parenthetical comment : ASIDE
31 “___ Well That Ends Well” : ALL’S
32 Car for a vacationer : RENTAL
33 Archcompetitor : RIVAL
34 Some volume controls : KNOBS
37 Pollution in city skies : SMOG
41 Like, forever! : EONS
44 Emperor during the Great Fire of Rome : NERO
48 Total strangers, in modern slang : RANDOS
50 Prefix with enterologist : GASTRO-
52 Right-angle shape : ELL
53 Home of seven -stans : ASIA
54 A4 automaker : AUDI
55 Jumping stick : POGO
56 Vibe : AURA
57 Lyft competitor : UBER
59 Consider, as a judicial case : HEAR
60 Down ___ (Maine) : EAST
61 Iowa campus town : AMES
64 Mini-albums, in brief : EPS
65 “Say ___” (doctor’s request) : AHH

9 thoughts on “1227-21 NY Times Crossword 27 Dec 21, Monday”

  1. And, @Mant (from yesterday) …

    Having adequately prepared myself for the experience (😜), I listened (for the first time ever!) to the entirety of “Thriller”:

    https://youtu.be/Djckt_prMHw

    I heard/saw three occurrences of the word “ghoul”, but not one “ghost”.

    So I kind of think Will Shortz’s editing is exonerated …

    And, by the way, the weird variations of my “name” are there to keep the spam filter from trapping my posts. (It’s sensitive to multiple posts containing links.)

  2. 8:26. Yup, no trouble spots but still about as fast as my pokey fingers can type on my Kindle Fire. I also rate this one A+!

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