0208-22 NY Times Crossword 8 Feb 22, Tuesday

Constructed by: Adam Aaronson, Jack Joshi & Jackson Janes
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Fruity Units

Themed answers each start with a fruit, and end with a unit that measures something cited in the clue:

  • 17A Tart snacks [pressure] : LEMON BARS
  • 28A Movie scale with a “Certified Fresh” tier [length] : TOMATOMETER
  • 44A Scrabble relative played without a board [mass] : BANANAGRAMS
  • 59A Longtime Nabisco cookie [force] : FIG NEWTON

Bill’s time: 8m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 World soccer org. : FIFA

The International Federation of Association Football (“Fédération Internationale de Football Association” in French) is usually referred to by the acronym “FIFA”. FIFA is the governing body of the game of soccer (association football), and the organizer of the FIFA World Cup held every four years.

9 Follow, with “by” : ABIDE …

“To brook” and “to abide” both mean “to tolerate, to put up with”.

16 He sold his namesake company to Disney for over $4 billion : LUCAS

Lucasfilm Ltd. is a San Francisco production company founded in 1971 by George Lucas. The enterprise’s most famous movies are the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises. The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm for over $4 billion in 2012.

17 Tart snacks [pressure] : LEMON BARS

A bar is a unit of atmospheric pressure that is almost equal to the atmospheric pressure at sea level.

20 Thin pancakes : CREPES

“Crêpe” is the French word for “pancake”.

28 Movie scale with a “Certified Fresh” tier [length] : TOMATOMETER

Rotten Tomatoes is a website that mainly provides reviews and ratings of movies, although it now covers TV shows as well. The site was launched in 1998 and takes its name from the practice of audience members throwing rotten tomatoes at an unappreciated performer on stage.

On the other side of the Atlantic we use the French spelling for measurements that originated in French, so “metre” for “meter” and “litre” for “liter”.

31 Atmospheric condition that can be caused by wildfires : 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.

34 One of three in Fiji? : DOT

There are three dots in the word “Fiji”, over the letters “i” and “j”.

The island nation of Fiji is an archipelago in the South Pacific made up of over 330 islands, 110 of which are inhabited. Fiji was occupied by the British for over a century and finally gained its independence in 1970.

35 Long stretches : EPOCHS

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

37 Freaks out : PANICS

In Greek mythology, Pan was a lecherous god, one who fell in love with Echo the mountain nymph. Echo refused Pan’s advances so that he became very angry. Pan’s anger created a “panic” (a word derived from the name “Pan”) and a group of shepherds were driven to kill Echo.

41 ___-Town (Windy City) : CHI

It seems that the derivation of Chicago’s nickname “Windy City” isn’t as obvious as I would have thought. There are two viable theories. Firstly, that the weather can be breezy with wind blowing in off Lake Michigan. The effect of the wind is exaggerated by the grid-layout adopted by city planners after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The second theory is that “windy” means “being full of bluster”. Sportswriters from the rival city of Cincinnati were fond of calling Chicago supporters “windy” in the 1860s and 1870s, meaning that they were full of hot air in their claims that the Chicago White Stockings were superior to the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

44 Scrabble relative played without a board [mass] : BANANAGRAMS

Bananagrams is a fun game that was introduced in 2006. Bananagrams is a little like Scrabble in that letter tiles are used to make interlocking words.

Today, the gram is defined as one thousandth of a kilogram, with the kilogram being equal to the mass of a physical sample preserved by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (well, up until 2019, when it became more hi-tech than I can explain!). Prior to 1960, the gram was defined as the weight of a cubic centimeter of pure water (at the temperature of melting ice).

49 Vientiane local : LAO

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos, and is situated on the Mekong River. The city was originally called the “city of sandalwood” by Buddhist monks, naming it after the valued trees that grew in the area. The French took the Pali words for “city of sandalwood” and rewrote it as the French-sounding “Vientiane”.

54 The Pentagon houses it: Abbr. : DOD

The largest government department in the cabinet is the Department of Defense (DOD), with a permanent staff of over 600,000. The smallest department, by far, is the Department of Education, with a mere four or five thousand employees.

The incredible building known as the Pentagon was built during WWII, and dedicated on January 15, 1943. It is the largest office building in the world (by floor space) covering an area of about 6.5 million square feet. As it was built during the war years, a major requirement was that it use a minimum amount of steel. That steel shortage dictated that the building be no more than four stories in height, and hence cover an awful lot of real estate.

55 Reynolds of “Deadpool” : RYAN

Ryan Reynolds is an actor from Vancouver who is best known these days for playing the title character in the “Deadpool” superhero films. Named “People” magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2010, Ryan has had some high-profile relationships. He was engaged to singer Alanis Morissette for a couple of years, married to actress Scarlett Johansson (again for a couple of years), and is now married to actress Blake Lively whom he met on the set of “Green Lantern”.

“Deadpool” is a 2016 superhero film, the eighth of the “X-Men” series of movies. The title character is played by Ryan Reynolds.

57 Actress Witherspoon : REESE

“Reese” is not actually actress Witherspoon’s given name. She started out life as Laura Jeanne Witherspoon. “Reese” is her mother’s maiden name.

59 Longtime Nabisco cookie [force] : FIG NEWTON

The Fig Newton cookie is based on what is actually a very old recipe that dates back to ancient Egypt. Whereas we grew up with “Fig Rolls” in Ireland, here in America the brand name “Fig Newton” was used, as the cookies were originally produced in Newton, Massachusetts.

Newtons are units of force. The newton is named for Sir Isaac Newton, the English physicist and mathematician.

61 People have counted on them for centuries : ABACI

The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

64 Michael of Monty Python : PALIN

Michael Palin is a marvelously talented comedian and actor, most famous as one of the “Monty Python” team. Palin is well known as a travel writer and has made some outstanding travel documentaries for television. He did one show called “Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days” in which he followed the route called out in the Jules Verne classic, without using airplanes. Palin also made “Pole to Pole”, a journey from the North to South Poles, along the 30 degree line of longitude. Currently, Michael Palin was the President of the Royal Geographical Society for several years.

65 Side dish whose name comes from the Dutch for “salad” : SLAW

The term “coleslaw” is an Anglicized version of the Dutch term “koolsla”, which in itself is a shortened form of “Koolsalade” meaning “cabbage salad”.

Down

1 Memes with captions like “I can has cheezburger?” : LOLCATS

A lolcat is an image of a cat with a humorous message superimposed in text. Such images have been around since the late 1800s, but the term “lolcat” only surfaced in 2006 as the phenomenon was sweeping across the Internet. “Lolcat” is a melding of the acronym for “laugh out loud” (LOL) and “cat”.

6 Memphis’s ___ B. Wells Plaza : IDA

Ida B. Wells was an African-American journalist and leader of the civil rights movement. She published a pamphlet in 1892 called “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases”, which publicized the horrors of lynching of African Americans by white mobs in the South.

10 Issue for a programmer : BUG

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term “bug” in the context of computing.

12 Longest non-Russian river in Europe : DANUBE

The Danube is the second largest river in Europe (after the Volga). It flows through four European capitals (Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Bratislava).

13 Purim heroine : ESTHER

Purim is a festival commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to wipe them out by Haman the Agagite, as recorded in the Book of Esther.

25 German luxury cars : BMWS

The initialism “BMW” stands for “Bayerische Motoren Werke”, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

30 Sun. follower : MON

We have seven days in a week because there are seven classical planets in the Solar System. The days were named for these “planets” during the Roman era:

  • Sun (Sunday)
  • Moon (Monday)
  • Mars (Tuesday)
  • Mercury (Wednesday)
  • Jupiter (Thursday)
  • Venus (Friday)
  • Saturn (Saturday)

37 Cool, in the ’90s : PHAT

In hip-hop circles, the term “phat” means “excellent, first-rate”.

38 Herb that tastes soapy to some : CILANTRO

What we know here in North America as cilantro is called coriander in the UK and other parts of the world. “Cilantro” is the Spanish name for the herb.

41 Skull-related : CRANIAL

The human skull is made up of two parts: the cranium (which encloses the brain) and the mandible (or “jawbone”).

43 Brand of pizza rolls : TOTINO’S

The Totino’s brand of frozen pizza was founded by Rose and Jim Totino, a married couple who had been running a take-out pizzeria in Minneapolis since 1951.

44 Undeserved criticism, informally : BAD RAP

A rap sheet is a criminal record. “Rap” is a slang term dating back to the 1700s that means “blame, responsibility” as in “to take the rap”, “bad rap” and “to beat the rap”. This usage morphed into “rap sheet” in the early 1900s.

45 Tiny shape-shifter : AMOEBA

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

53 Some members of the family Salamandridae : NEWTS

Salamanders are lizard-like amphibians found all across the northern hemisphere. They are the only vertebrate animals that can regenerate lost limbs.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 River-crossing platforms in Frogger : LOGS
5 World soccer org. : FIFA
9 Follow, with “by” : ABIDE …
14 Egg-shaped : OVAL
15 Lines at a wedding : I DOS
16 He sold his namesake company to Disney for over $4 billion : LUCAS
17 Tart snacks [pressure] : LEMON BARS
19 Professional negotiator : AGENT
20 Thin pancakes : CREPES
21 Manipulates, as an election : RIGS
23 “Like, obviously!” : DUH!
24 Cruising, say : AT SEA
25 Kiss for a señor or señorita : BESO
26 Jeer : GIBE
27 ___ for tat : TIT
28 Movie scale with a “Certified Fresh” tier [length] : TOMATOMETER
31 Atmospheric condition that can be caused by wildfires : SMOG
33 Bird in Duolingo’s logo : OWL
34 One of three in Fiji? : DOT
35 Long stretches : EPOCHS
37 Freaks out : PANICS
40 Super-duper : FAB
41 ___-Town (Windy City) : CHI
42 Window customization at an auto shop : TINT
44 Scrabble relative played without a board [mass] : BANANAGRAMS
49 Vientiane local : LAO
50 Love for a señor or señorita : AMOR
51 Spoiled kid : BRAT
52 Not appropriate : INAPT
54 The Pentagon houses it: Abbr. : DOD
55 Reynolds of “Deadpool” : RYAN
56 Playful response to “You’re a funny one!” : AREN’T I?!
57 Actress Witherspoon : REESE
59 Longtime Nabisco cookie [force] : FIG NEWTON
61 People have counted on them for centuries : ABACI
62 Sticky strip : TAPE
63 The constructors of this puzzle, e.g. : TRIO
64 Michael of Monty Python : PALIN
65 Side dish whose name comes from the Dutch for “salad” : SLAW
66 Heavy drinkers : SOTS

Down

1 Memes with captions like “I can has cheezburger?” : LOLCATS
2 Extra sports period : OVERTIME
3 Big retailer of Nintendo and Xbox products : GAMESTOP
4 It may be slippery : SLOPE
5 White lies : FIBS
6 Memphis’s ___ B. Wells Plaza : IDA
7 “Seriously?” : FOR REAL?
8 Basketball datum : ASSIST
9 [sigh] : [ALAS]
10 Issue for a programmer : BUG
11 Treated a sprained ankle, say : ICED IT
12 Longest non-Russian river in Europe : DANUBE
13 Purim heroine : ESTHER
18 Nifty : NEAT
22 What a three-point shooter needs : GOOD AIM
25 German luxury cars : BMWS
26 Question after a poorly delivered joke : GET IT?
29 “This is gonna be good!” : OOH BABY!
30 Sun. follower : MON
32 Achieve great things : GO FAR
36 Certain recyclable : CAN
37 Cool, in the ’90s : PHAT
38 Herb that tastes soapy to some : CILANTRO
39 “Get going!” : SNAP TO IT!
41 Skull-related : CRANIAL
43 Brand of pizza rolls : TOTINO’S
44 Undeserved criticism, informally : BAD RAP
45 Tiny shape-shifter : AMOEBA
46 “I refuse your offer” : NO DEAL
47 Transplants : GRAFTS
48 Title for a king : SIRE
53 Some members of the family Salamandridae : NEWTS
55 Hand-holding at equestrian school? : REIN
56 Once again : ANEW
58 Comp ___ : SCI
60 College app stat : GPA

11 thoughts on “0208-22 NY Times Crossword 8 Feb 22, Tuesday”

  1. Village Idiot checking in with a screaming 19:03. Took a while for anything resembling an “aha!” moment to occur(no White Russians today, either🤣). Didn’t notice the common theme of fruit, but I did notice all the units lacked the “milli” prefix. Now if they only had “Vanilli” as part of an answer… : -)

  2. 8:02, no errors. Spaced the theme.

    I did this one during a break from working on a old 21×21 Simon & Schuster puzzle that I found online; I’ve now spent two days on the blasted thing and have yet to complete it. I’d give up and look at the answers in the book (a 75th anniversary collection that was published in 1999), but … I don’t have the book. It’s out of print and it’s hard to say if a copy will ever become available anywhere.

  3. 9:17. Whiffed on the theme.

    People think CILANTRO tastes soapy?? I’d like to meet one of these people…or not. First of all, these must be people that eat soap on a regular basis to know what soap tastes like. Secondly, I’m not sure what soap would go well in pico de gallo or salsa, but CILANTRO sure does.

    CILANTRO sure gets a BAD RAP in this puzzle.

    Best –

  4. 12:53, no errors. Top half went quickly. Bottom half not so much. Did this one early before doing two SCUBA dives. Now im waterlogged.

  5. Quick run. Didn’t know what a LOLCAT was and went with POLCAT.
    That left me with POGS for 1A. Thought maybe that was a Frogger thing. LOG does make the most sense.
    But I still never heard of a LOLCAT.

  6. 10:12, no errors. As others, I didn’t make the ‘fruit’ connection. I did sense that physical units were somehow involved. The theme had no bearing on solving the puzzle.

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