0209-22 NY Times Crossword 9 Feb 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Grant Thackray
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Is It, or Isn’t It?

Themed answers are the names of AQUATIC creatures with misleading names (except for one):

  • 1A With 6-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 6-Across : JELLY-
  • 6A See 1-Across : -FISH
  • 23A With 25-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 25-Across : ELECTRIC …
  • 25A See 23-Across : … EEL
  • 36A With 38-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 38-Across (nor a 36-Across, for that matter) : MANTIS …
  • 38A See 36-Across : … SHRIMP
  • 47A With 48-Across, underwater creature that’s certainly not a 48-Across : SEA …
  • 48A See 47-Across : … CUCUMBER
  • 64A With 65-Across, underwater creature that actually IS a 65-Across despite a common misconception : ORCA …
  • 65A See 64-Across : … WHALE

Bill’s time: 14m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 With 6-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 6-Across : JELLY-

6 See 1-Across : -FISH

Jellyfish are found all over the ocean, right across the whole planet. They have been around for 500-700 million years, and so are the oldest multi-organ animal extant.

14 MacDonald’s jingle? : E-I-E-I-O

There was an old American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O) that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the older US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

15 ___-1 (“Ghostbusters” vehicle) : ECTO

1984’s “Ghostbusters” really is an entertaining movie. It stars Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, and was directed by Ivan Reitman (a trio that also worked together on 1981’s “Stripes”). The first draft of the screenplay was written by another star of the movie, Dan Aykroyd. Aykroyd originally envisioned “Ghostbusters” as a vehicle for himself and John Belushi, but sadly Belushi passed away before the project could be realized.

16 Comb home : HIVE

Honeybees create a structure within their nests called a honeycomb that is used to contain their larvae and also to store honey and pollen. The honeycomb comprises hexagonal cells made from wax.

20 Uncle of 1960s TV : FESTER

In the original television version of “The Addams Family”, the character called Uncle Fester was played by Jackie Coogan. In the first two adaptations for the big screen, Uncle Fester was portrayed by the talented Christopher Lloyd.

23 With 25-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 25-Across : ELECTRIC …

25 See 23-Across : … EEL

“Electrophorus electricus” is the biological name for the electric eel. Despite its name, the electric “eel” isn’t an eel at all, but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body that is related to the catfish. The electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.

28 Kazakhstan’s ___ Sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how humankind can have a devastating effect on the environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was also the last of the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) to declare itself independent from Russia.

32 Mythical ship that sailed to Colchis : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts set sail on the Argo from the city of Iolcos in search of the Golden Fleece. Jason’s vessel was called the “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

In Greek mythology, Colchis was a wealthy land located at the edge of the world. It was in Colchis that Jason and the Argonauts found the Golden Fleece.

33 Burglarize : ROB

The crime of burglary is the breaking into and entering of a building with the intent to steal. The actual theft itself is a separate crime.

34 Lieu : STEAD

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

35 Gas brand with a triangular logo : CITGO

The oil and gasoline company Citgo was founded in 1910 as Cities Services Company, a supplier of gas and electricity to public utilities. City Services Company introduced the Citgo brand in 1965 in its petroleum businesses. Citgo is now owned by the national oil company of Venezuela.

36 With 38-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 38-Across (nor a 36-Across, for that matter) : MANTIS …

38 See 36-Across : … SHRIMP

The mantis shrimp isn’t actually a shrimp, but rather a shrimp-crustacean. They are pretty aggressive predators on the seabed. The ancient Assyrians referred to the mantis shrimp as the :sea locust”, and to Australians it is the “prawn killer”.

39 Classical performance hall : ODEUM

In ancient Greece, an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

40 High-ranking Turkish officer : PASHA

A pasha was a high-ranking official in the Ottoman Empire, and was roughly equivalent to the English rank of lord.

43 ___ Jemison, first Black woman in space : MAE

Mae Jemison was a crew member on the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a 1992 mission, and as such became the first African-American woman to travel in space. She is also a big fan of “Star Trek” and appeared on an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. That made Jemison the first real astronaut to appear on any of the “Star Trek” shows.

44 Actress Diana of “The Avengers” : RIGG

Diana Rigg was a marvelous actress from England who was best known for playing Emma Peel on the hit sixties show “The Avengers”. Rigg also won an Emmy for her performance in a 1997 television adaptation of “Rebecca”. In my humble opinion, she was also the best-ever Bond girl (opposite George Lazenby, the worst-ever Bond guy), in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” …

“The Avengers” was must-see television when I was growing up. It is a sixties comedy spy series set in England during the days of the Cold War. The hero was John Steed, played ably by Patrick Macnee. Steed had various female partners as the series progressed, the first of which was Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman (who also played Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger”). Following Ms. Gale was Emma Peel, played by the wonderful Diana Rigg. Finally there was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.

45 Arouse, as interest : PIQUE

Our term “pique” meaning “fit of ill feeling” is a French word meaning “prick, sting, irritation”.

47 With 48-Across, underwater creature that’s certainly not a 48-Across : SEA …

48 See 47-Across : … CUCUMBER

Sea cucumbers are marine creatures that do resemble cucumbers, at least in shape, hence the name.

50 Capital that ends with its state’s first two letters : TOPEKA

Topeka is the capital of Kansas, and is located on the Kansas River in the northeast of the state. The name “Topeka” was chosen in 1855 and translates from the Kansa and the Ioway languages as “to dig good potatoes”. The reference isn’t to the common potato but rather to the herb known as the prairie potato (also “prairie turnip”), which was an important food for many Native Americans.

52 Yankees’ div. : AL EAST

The New York Yankees are in the American League East, and the New York Mets are in the National League East.

60 Juno’s husband : JOVE

Jupiter, also known as Jove, was the king of the gods in the Roman tradition, as well as the god of sky and thunder. Jupiter was the Roman equivalent to the Greek god Zeus.

Juno was the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, and also looked after the interests of the women of Rome. She was the sister and wife of Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods.

62 The Ivy League schools, e.g. : OCTET

The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

64 With 65-Across, underwater creature that actually IS a 65-Across despite a common misconception : ORCA …

65 See 64-Across : … WHALE

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

Down

1 Actor Goldblum of “The Fly” : JEFF

The 1986 sci-fi horror film “The Fly” stars Jeff Goldblum as a scientist who gradually turns into a fly-like creature as the result of a teleportation experiment that goes awry. The 1986 film is loosely based on a 1957 short story by George Langelaan. I saw the original 1958 movie adaptation of that story when I was just a lad, and it really scared me. I’ve managed to avoid the two sequels and the 1986 remake …

2 Cork’s land : EIRE

Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Cork has been a major port for many years, and was the last port of call for many, many Irish emigrants to America. When these Irish people reached the US it was common for them to give their point of origin as “Cork”, whereas they may have come from almost anywhere in Ireland. It’s because of this that many descendants of Irish immigrants who had been told they were from a Cork family often find out they were under a misapprehension as their ancestors just sailed from Cork.

3 Proud, loyal types, it’s said : LEOS

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

4 Window frame part : LINTEL

A lintel is a structural beam that spans an opening in a wall, usually a door or a window.

6 It changes length every four years: Abbr. : FEB

In terms of our Julian calendar, the Earth takes almost exactly 365¼ days to orbit the sun. For convenience, we use 365 days to define most of our years. We add an extra day at the end of every fourth February in order to sync our civil calendar with the astronomical calendar. Our contemporary leap day is February because of tradition dating back to Roman times. The early Roman calendar started in March and ended in December, leaving much of the winter as a monthless period. When a later Roman calendar introduced a 365-day year, along with the new months of January and February, the leap day was placed right before the start of the year in March.

10 Latte option : CHAI

Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.

11 Beer o’clock, in commercials : MILLER TIME

The Miller Brewing Company was founded by Frederick Miller in 1855 in Milwaukee. Miller is now in a joint venture with Coors.

13 Leftorium owner on “The Simpsons” : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer Simpson on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

26 Doctor ___ (Sonic the Hedgehog villain) : EGGMAN

Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character in a videogame and the mascot of Sega, the computer game developer. Sonic was set up as a rival to Nintendo’s mascot Mario.

27 cc’d, with “in” : LOOPED …

I wonder if the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle? A kind blog reader pointed out to me a while back that the abbreviation has evolved and taken on the meaning “courtesy copy” in our modern world.

29 One who sets the stage : ROADIE

A “roadie” is someone who loads, unloads and sets up equipment for musicians on tour, on the “road”.

30 Rare blood type : AB-NEGATIVE

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

34 Virtual city dweller : SIM

SimCity is a very clever computer game. Players build and grow cities and societies by creating the conditions necessary for people (the Sims) to move in and thrive. SimCity was launched in 1989, and to this day it is consistently ranked as one of the greatest computer games of all time.

35 “___-ching!” : CHA

The interjection “cha-ching!” is used to celebrate a windfall, the unexpected reception of lots of money. The term is imitative of the sound made by a mechanical cash register when ringing up a transaction. “Cha-ching!” was popularized by the 1992 movie “Wayne’s World”. It was also used around the same time in a TV spot for Rally’s hamburgers that featured a young Seth Green.

38 Biblical queendom : SHEBA

Sheba is referenced in the Bible several times. The Queen of Sheba is mentioned as someone who traveled to Jerusalem to behold the fame of King Solomon. No one knows for sure where the kingdom of Sheba was located, although there is evidence that it was actually the ancient Semitic civilization of Saba. The Sabeans lived in what today is Yemen, on the Arabian Peninsula.

42 45, for each row and column in a sudoku grid : SUM

Number puzzles similar to our modern-day Sudoku first appeared in French newspapers in the late 1800s. The format that we use today was created by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old freelance puzzle constructor from Connersville, Indiana and first published in 1979. The format was introduced in Japan in 1984 and given the title of “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru”, which translates to “the digits are limited to one occurrence”. The rather elaborate Japanese title was eventually shortened to Sudoku. No doubt many of you are fans of Sudoku puzzles. I know I am …

45 Southwest settlement : PUEBLO

A pueblo is a Native-American village found in the American Southwest. The buildings in a pueblo are usually made of stone and adobe mud.

48 Sgt.’s inferior : CPL

Sergeant (sgt.) is a rank above corporal (cpl.).

51 Corrida cheers : OLES

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

54 Author Silverstein : SHEL

Here is a poem by Shel Silverstein from his 1974 children’s poetry collection:

I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

55 French “noodle” : TETE

In French, a “penseur” (thinker) might use his or her “tête” (head) to produce an “idée” (idea).

56 45 spinners : DJS

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

58 Org. for retirees : SSA

The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to be 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 With 6-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 6-Across : JELLY-
6 See 1-Across : -FISH
10 “Let’s go!” : C’MON!
14 MacDonald’s jingle? : E-I-E-I-O
15 ___-1 (“Ghostbusters” vehicle) : ECTO
16 Comb home : HIVE
17 Part of a palm : FROND
18 Reddish-purple side dish : BEET SALAD
20 Uncle of 1960s TV : FESTER
22 Security ___ : DETAIL
23 With 25-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 25-Across : ELECTRIC …
25 See 23-Across : … EEL
28 Kazakhstan’s ___ Sea : ARAL
31 Conformists, metaphorically : SHEEP
32 Mythical ship that sailed to Colchis : ARGO
33 Burglarize : ROB
34 Lieu : STEAD
35 Gas brand with a triangular logo : CITGO
36 With 38-Across, underwater creature that’s not actually a 38-Across (nor a 36-Across, for that matter) : MANTIS …
38 See 36-Across : … SHRIMP
39 Classical performance hall : ODEUM
40 High-ranking Turkish officer : PASHA
43 ___ Jemison, first Black woman in space : MAE
44 Actress Diana of “The Avengers” : RIGG
45 Arouse, as interest : PIQUE
46 Remain to be seen : PEND
47 With 48-Across, underwater creature that’s certainly not a 48-Across : SEA …
48 See 47-Across : … CUCUMBER
50 Capital that ends with its state’s first two letters : TOPEKA
52 Yankees’ div. : AL EAST
56 They’re chucked in a chuck and bored in a board : DRILL BITS
59 Have a soak : BATHE
60 Juno’s husband : JOVE
61 Rings at a luau : LEIS
62 The Ivy League schools, e.g. : OCTET
63 Gets the picture : SEES
64 With 65-Across, underwater creature that actually IS a 65-Across despite a common misconception : ORCA …
65 See 64-Across : … WHALE

Down

1 Actor Goldblum of “The Fly” : JEFF
2 Cork’s land : EIRE
3 Proud, loyal types, it’s said : LEOS
4 Window frame part : LINTEL
5 Sing in a high range? : YODEL
6 It changes length every four years: Abbr. : FEB
7 It’s often made hot and served cold : ICED TEA
8 Had the wheel : STEERED
9 Insight from an insider : HOT TIP
10 Latte option : CHAI
11 Beer o’clock, in commercials : MILLER TIME
12 Egg cells : OVA
13 Leftorium owner on “The Simpsons” : NED
19 Kind of fly : SAC
21 Pauses from playing : RESTS
24 That, in Italian : CHE
26 Doctor ___ (Sonic the Hedgehog villain) : EGGMAN
27 cc’d, with “in” : LOOPED …
28 Equips for battle : ARMORS
29 One who sets the stage : ROADIE
30 Rare blood type : AB-NEGATIVE
32 Word before drop or ball : AIR-
34 Virtual city dweller : SIM
35 “___-ching!” : CHA
37 Barge tower : TUG
38 Biblical queendom : SHEBA
40 More difficult to please : PICKIER
41 Like the five animals in this puzzle’s theme : AQUATIC
42 45, for each row and column in a sudoku grid : SUM
45 Southwest settlement : PUEBLO
46 “You said it!” : PREACH
48 Sgt.’s inferior : CPL
49 Place to find a crook : ELBOW
51 Corrida cheers : OLES
53 Lead-in to girl : ATTA …
54 Author Silverstein : SHEL
55 French “noodle” : TETE
56 45 spinners : DJS
57 Preschool group? : ROE
58 Org. for retirees : SSA

9 thoughts on “0209-22 NY Times Crossword 9 Feb 22, Wednesday”

  1. 12:47 No major problems, no interruptions by my daughter’s cat, no adult beverage influence, and as an added bonus, figured out the theme👍

  2. 10:16, no errors. Interesting theme, with five (count ‘em, five!) elements, positioned a bit differently in the grid than one would normally expect. Cool … 😜.

    Still working on that old puzzle. I’d quit, but every so often I track down – online or in one of my abridged dictionaries – another obscure word that fits in the grid. (Did you know that “adag” is a Scottish Gaelic term for “haddock”? Well, sure, now you do! … 😜.)

  3. 8:03. I must have been in a good zone. The last x number of years we’ve learned that an ORCA is a big dolphin, not a whale, per se. Now I’m not sure which is correct. I just know that they are fun to watch, especially if you get to see a breach.

  4. 11:19. Fun theme, but NOTHING regarding a sea horse?? Silverfish (an annoying insect I just had to eradicate from my bathroom)?? Hobie cat (sailboat, not a feline)?? How about alcohol free beer that isn’t really beer at all? Does that count?

    Bill’s explanation for 33A illustrates that “Burglarize” is not a suitable clue for ROB.

    I haven’t heard the expression “beer o’clock” in years. I’ll have to work that into a conversation one of these days.

    Best –

  5. 12:44, no errors.
    Have lived in the Pacific Northwest almost 60 years, and have seen Killer Whales, Orca (or Orcas). Have not heard the expression ORCA WHALE.

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