0219-22 NY Times Crossword 19 Feb 22, Saturday

Constructed by: Billy Bratton
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 16m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Web browser with a majority market share : CHROME

Google’s Chrome is the most popular web browser by far, with Mozilla Firefox in second place and Apple’s Safari in third. I find Chrome to be much, much more user-friendly than Safari, and more featured than Firefox. Chrome also works very seamlessly with other Google products and with Android phones.

18 Like twill and faille : RIBBED

The verb “to twill” means to weave a cloth (called “twill”) that has a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs.

19 Rap’s Lil ___ Vert : UZI

“Lil Uzi Vert” is the stage name of rapper Symere Woods from Philadelphia.

23 Be in limbo : PEND

In the Roman Catholic tradition, “Limbo” is a place where souls can remain who cannot enter heaven. For example, infants who have not been baptized are said to reside in Limbo. Limbo is said to be located on the border of Hell. The name was chosen during the Middle Ages from the Latin “limbo” meaning “ornamental border to a fringe”. We use the phrase “in limbo” in contemporary English to mean “in a state of uncertainty”.

25 First national fraternity to officially welcome transgender members (2014), informally : SIGEP

The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity was founded in 1901 in Richmond, Virginia and is sometimes known as “SigEp”.

31 Dog that smells a lot : BASSET HOUND

The basset hound wouldn’t be my favorite breed of dog, to be honest. Basset hounds have a great sense of smell with an ability to track a scent that is second only to that of the bloodhound. The name “basset” comes from the French word for “rather low”, a reference to the dog’s short legs.

34 Group of commuters? : PAROLE BOARD

“Parole” is a French word that we use in English, with the French “parole” meaning “word, speech”. Of particular interest is the French phrase “parole d’honneur” which translates as “word of honor”. In the early 1600s we started using “parole” to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his “word of honor” not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.

37 Diesel often found in a muscle car : VIN

Vin Diesel is the stage name of actor Mark Sinclair Vincent. He was born in New York City with his twin brother Paul. The twins never knew their father, and their mother is an astrologer. Vincent was given the nickname of “Diesel” by his friends early in his life, as he was said to have a bottomless supply of energy.

By definition, a “muscle car” is a small vehicle with a large and maybe oversized engine.

42 Beauty brand : OLAY

Oil of Olay was developed in South Africa in 1952. When Oil of Olay was introduced internationally, it was given slightly different brand names designed to appeal in the different geographies. In Ireland we know it as Oil of Ulay, for example, and in France it is Oil of Olaz.

46 Musical lead-in to “So Fine” or “So Shy” : HE’S …

“He’s So Fine” is a great little song that was released by the Chiffons in 1962. Famously, the owners of the rights to the song sued George Harrison in 1971, claiming that he was guilty of plagiarizing “He’s So Fine” in writing his hit “My Sweet Lord”. Harrison was found guilty of “subconscious” plagiarism. In a strange twist, the Chiffons recorded a version of “My Sweet Lord” a year before the case was decided.

“He’s So Shy” was a hit in 1980 for the Pointer Sisters. Although the title is reminiscent of the 1963 hit for the Chiffons called “He’s So Fine”, there is no relationship between the two numbers.

52 Callous to an extreme : SADISTIC

A sadist is someone who derives pleasure from inflicting pain, with that pleasure often being sexual in nature. The term “sadist” comes from the Marquis de Sade, who was known to exhibit such tendencies.

54 Start of a snap count : HUT ONE …

The quarterback (QB) starts each play in football with a snap (also called a “hike”). He announces to his teammates the exact moment of the snap by calling out signals, usually including the word “hut” one or more times in a prearranged sequence.

55 Gorgon’s lock : SERPENT

The Gorgons were feared female creatures of Greek mythology. They were three sisters who had hair made up of living snakes. Anyone who looked at their faces would be turned to stone instantly.

Down

2 Band with the lyrics “When I was younger, I used to go and tip cows for fun, yeah / Actually, I didn’t do that ’cause I didn’t want the cow to be sad” : WEEZER

Weezer is an alternative rock band formed in LA in 1992. Apparently, Weezer’s music might be described as “emo” (emotional hardcore).

7 Substitute for real money : SCRIP

Scrip isn’t legal tender, but operates just like currency in specific applications. It is in effect a form of credit. Originally the word “scrip” was used for a certificate giving one the right to receive something, often shares of a stock. “Scrip” is probably short for (sub)script(ion) receipt.

8 I.O.U. : CHIT

A chit is a note or a short letter. The term tends to be used these days in the sense of an amount owed (as in a poker game). The word used to be “chitty”, which is now obsolete but was closer to the original Hindi term. I feel a tad obsolete myself, because when we are at school we would be excused from class if we had a “chitty”.

I owe you (IOU)

10 Bamboozle big-time : ROB BLIND

It’s thought that the lovely word “bamboozle” came into English from the Scottish “bombaze” meaning “perplex”. We’ve been using “bamboozle” since the very early 1700s.

11 May birthstone : EMERALD

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl that is green in color due to traces of chromium. Beryl containing traces of vanadium are also considered to be emeralds, at least here in the US. “Vanadium emeralds” aren’t recognized as emeralds in Europe.

12 Common body types : SEDANS

The American sedan car is the equivalent of the British and Irish saloon car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in Britain and Ireland), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

17 They graduate quickly : DEGREE MILLS

A “diploma mill” or “degree mill” is a higher education institution that offers degrees and diplomas that aren’t really legitimate, and that can be obtained for a fee.

21 Flipped : WENT BANANAS

The expression “to go bananas” is one that I would have imagined had a clear etymology but that doesn’t seem to be the case. A further surprise is that we’ve only been “going bananas” since the sixties, in the days of flower power. One apt theory about the hippy roots of the phrase is that there was an unfounded belief that ingesting roasted banana peels had a similar hallucinogenic effect as magic mushrooms.

30 They catch flies : TOADS

The “warts” on the skin of a toad have no relation to the viral infection that can occur on human skin. A toad’s warts are colored bumps that are believed to help the animal blend more effectively into its environment.

33 Snookums : HON

The term of endearment “snookums” comes from the family name “Snooks”. Snooks was a name used in Britain in the 1800s for some hypothetical, unknown individual (as we would use the name “Joe Blow” today).

34 First foreign-language film to win Best Picture : PARASITE

“Parasite” is a 2019 comedy thriller movie from South Korea that became the nation’s highest-grossing film of all time. It was also the first movie not filmed in English to win the Oscar for Best Picture. I haven’t seen “Paradise” yet, but I hear great things from friends and family who have …

40 Clear Eyes rival : VISINE

Visine is a brand of eye drops made by Johnson & Johnson that are advertised to “get the red out”. The red in the eye is reduced because Visine contains tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, a vasoconstrictor. The blood vessels creating the redness constrict when Visine is applied, and you “get the red out” as the blood is “squeezed” away from the surface of the eye.

43 Actress/screenwriter Taylor : RENEE

Renée Taylor is perhaps best known for playing Fran Drescher’s mother in the sitcom “The Nanny”.

47 One of two for a Valkyrie’s horse : WING

In Norse mythology, the valkyries are beautiful female attendants of Odin who choose those who must die in battle and those who must live. Half of those who die go to Fólkvangr, the “army field” ruled over by the goddess Freyja. The other half of those who perish go to Valhalla, the hall of the slain that is ruled over by the god Odin. The etymology of “valkyrie” is Old Norse for “chooser of the slain”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Botheration!” : AW RATS!
7 Makes a point : SCORES
13 That’s a wrap : BEAR HUG
15 Web browser with a majority market share : CHROME
16 Let drop, say : REVEALED
18 Like twill and faille : RIBBED
19 Rap’s Lil ___ Vert : UZI
20 “Told ya!” : I KNEW IT!
22 Balconette or racerback : BRA
23 Be in limbo : PEND
25 First national fraternity to officially welcome transgender members (2014), informally : SIGEP
26 Close-knit group : CLAN
27 Pined away? : TREED
29 Coffee store : URN
30 Plugs away : TOILS
31 Dog that smells a lot : BASSET HOUND
34 Group of commuters? : PAROLE BOARD
35 Issue ultimatums, e.g. : MAKE DEMANDS
36 Commissions : HIRES
37 Diesel often found in a muscle car : VIN
38 Wait on : SERVE
42 Beauty brand : OLAY
43 Get across : RELAY
45 Earth : SOIL
46 Musical lead-in to “So Fine” or “So Shy” : HE’S …
47 “Hmm, let’s think where this leads us” : WELL NOW
49 Exercise : USE
50 Roots : ORIGIN
52 Callous to an extreme : SADISTIC
54 Start of a snap count : HUT ONE …
55 Gorgon’s lock : SERPENT
56 Uptight : ON EDGE
57 Takes for a while, in a way : LEASES

Down

1 Unceremonious : ABRUPT
2 Band with the lyrics “When I was younger, I used to go and tip cows for fun, yeah / Actually, I didn’t do that ’cause I didn’t want the cow to be sad” : WEEZER
3 Ditch : RAVINE
4 Be with a group? : ARE
5 Language in which “thank you” is “khàawp khun” : THAI
6 Shows moodiness : SULKS
7 Substitute for real money : SCRIP
8 I.O.U. : CHIT
9 Earth, poetically : ORB
10 Bamboozle big-time : ROB BLIND
11 May birthstone : EMERALD
12 Common body types : SEDANS
14 Smarter than smart : GENIUS LEVEL
17 They graduate quickly : DEGREE MILLS
21 Flipped : WENT BANANAS
24 Michael E. ___, pioneer in coronary bypass surgery : DEBAKEY
26 Transcript list : COURSES
28 Lead-ins to some prank calls : DARES
30 They catch flies : TOADS
32 Earth : SOD
33 Snookums : HON
34 First foreign-language film to win Best Picture : PARASITE
35 Endurance test in gym : MILE RUN
36 Cry on Christmas : HO! HO! HO!
39 Ways : ROUTES
40 Clear Eyes rival : VISINE
41 Puts in a seat : ELECTS
43 Actress/screenwriter Taylor : RENEE
44 Make a long-distance call? : YODEL
47 One of two for a Valkyrie’s horse : WING
48 Bug : WIRE
51 Mr. High-and-Mighty? : GOD
53 Many a beauty therapist’s employer : SPA

10 thoughts on “0219-22 NY Times Crossword 19 Feb 22, Saturday”

  1. 10:10. Smooth solve. I wasn’t familiar with that particular Weezer song, but knowing a bit of their oeuvre from my college days in the mid-90s, it wasn’t a hard guess after I got the WEE. Also originally had WENT BERZERK, which was not only wrong but misspelled. But getting VIN Diesel got me to BANANAS.

  2. 26:21, no errors. A difficult one for me. At the end, I paused for some time over the “Z” of “WEEZER” and “Lil UZI Vert”, neither of which are part of my conscious memory base, but I finally closed my eyes and went for it (and was gratified when it turned out to be correct).

  3. 26:44. Ditto on the guessing of the Z for the UZI/WEEZER nexus. Never heard of either.

    Was about to enter WENT BAt —- , but I realized that wouldn’t make it into a crossword.

    If GENIUS LEVEL is “Smarter than smart”, does that mean if you’re a GENIUS you aren’t smart? Then this puzzle made me feel like a GENIUS….

    Best –

  4. I was just interrupted on my new iPad by a notification about an important system update, required, in part, to fix an issue that could cause Braille displays to stop responding. So I started the update … and a bit later I thought, “Braille displays? On an iPad? How does that work?”

    Did I just fall for an unbelievably cheeky scam? … 😜 … 😳.

    1. Apparently not. Update completed. Nothing amiss, as far as I can tell. Still no evidence of Braille displays, though (of any status) … 🤪.

  5. 19:29. 8:16 at the halfway point. Couldn’t get a foothold in the NW and circled all the way around to end there. Weezer..ha ha ha. This geezer knew Weezer.

  6. Made it everywhere else except NW corner
    WEEZER got me and I couldn’t get TREED …

    Had to do a lookup.

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