0221-22 NY Times Crossword 21 Feb 22, Monday

Constructed by: Natalie Murphy
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Happy Presidents’ Day!

Themed answers each comprise three words, the first letters being the initials of US presidents:

  • 17A On a whim [#35] : JUST FOR KICKS (giving JFK)
  • 23A Denim pants with a red tab label [#36] : LEVI’S BLUE JEANS (giving LBJ)
  • 38A Where domestic meals are enjoyed [#32] : FAMILY DINING ROOM (giving FDR)
  • 48A “On the other hand …” [#33] : HAVING SAID THAT … (giving HST)
  • 59A In the distant past [#43] : GOING WAY BACK (giving GWB)

Bill’s time: 10m 59s!

Bill’s errors: 2

  • AA BOND (a T-bond!)
  • JAKOB (JT Kob!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Title character in a Tyler Perry film franchise : MADEA

Tyler Perry is an actor, comedian and writer who is perhaps best known in front of the camera for his drag performances as a tough elderly woman named Madea. Perry also created the sitcom “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” that ran for eight seasons from 2006 until 2012.

6 Actress Foster of “The Silence of the Lambs” : JODIE

The wonderful actress and director Jodie Foster got her big break in movies early in her life, playing a very young prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film “Taxi Driver”. Sadly, her appearance in “Taxi Driver” led to her being stalked by an obsessed John Hinckley, Jr. Hinckley called Foster on the phone, sent her love letters, and followed her on campus while she was attending Yale. In 1981, Hinckley famously shot and wounded President Reagan, claiming that he believed an assassination of the President would impress Foster.

“The Silence of the Lambs” is a 1991 psychological drama based on a novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. Jodie Foster plays FBI trainee Clarice Starling, and Anthony Hopkins plays the creepy cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. “The Silence of the Lambs” swept the Big Five Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay) for that year, being only the third movie ever to do so. The other two so honored were “It Happened One Night” (1934) and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975).

11 Actor Efron : ZAC

Zac Efron is an actor from San Luis Obispo, California. Apparently Efron is a heartthrob to “tweenyboppers”. His big break came with the hit Disney movie “High School Musical”.

17 On a whim [#35] : JUST FOR KICKS (giving JFK)

President John F. Kennedy was often referred to by his initials JFK, the F standing for Fitzgerald, his mother’s maiden name. The president’s brother Robert F. Kennedy was also referred to using his initials, RFK, with the F standing for his middle name Francis.

19 West with the classic movie line “I’m no 45-Across …” : MAE
(45A Heavenly sort : ANGEL)

Comic actress Mae West can be quoted so easily, as she had so many great lines delivered so well. Here are a few:

  • When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.
  • When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.
  • I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
  • Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.
  • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
  • Why don’t you come on up and see me sometime — when I’ve got nothin’ on but the radio.
  • It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.
  • To err is human, but it feels divine.
  • I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady.
  • I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
  • Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

20 Largest movie theater chain in the U.S. : AMC

The AMC theater chain used to go by the name American Multi-Cinema Inc., hence the initialism “AMC”.

22 Baseball slugger’s stat : RBIS

Runs batted in (RBIs)

23 Denim pants with a red tab label [#36] : LEVI’S BLUE JEANS (giving LBJ)

Levi Strauss was the founder of the first company in the world to manufacture blue jeans. Levi Strauss & Co. opened in 1853 in San Francisco. Strauss and his business partner were awarded a patent in 1873 for the use of copper rivets to strengthen points of strain on working pants.

Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was born in Stonewall, Texas to Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines.

35 Longtime electronics company : RCA

Radio Corporation of America (RCA)

38 Where domestic meals are enjoyed [#32] : FAMILY DINING ROOM (giving FDR)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the only child of Sara Delano and James Roosevelt Sr. The Delano family history in America goes back to the pilgrim Philippe de Lannoy, an immigrant of Flemish descent who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The family name “de Lannoy” was anglicized here in the US, to “Delano”. Franklin was to marry Eleanor Roosevelt, and apparently the relationship between Sara and her daughter-in-law was very “strained”.

44 Padlock fastener : HASP

The “hasp” of a lock might refer to more than one thing. The u-shape loop protruding from a padlock is often called a “lock hasp”, for example.

46 Nuclear experiments, for short : A-TESTS

The Atomic Age began with the detonation of the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945 at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico. The phrase “Atomic Age” was coined by William L. Laurence, the official journalist for the Manhattan Project. Laurence personally witnessed the Trinity Test, as well as the dropping of Fat Man on Nagasaki.

48 “On the other hand …” [#33] : HAVING SAID THAT … (giving HST)

The letter “S” in the middle of the name Harry S. Truman (HST) doesn’t stand for anything. The future-president was named “Harry” in honor of his mother’s brother Harrison “Harry” Young. The initial “S” was chosen in honor of young Harry’s two grandfathers: Anderson S-hipp Truman and S-olomon Young.

54 Schlep : TOTE

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

58 Magic spell : HEX

“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

59 In the distant past [#43] : GOING WAY BACK (giving GWB)

President George W. Bush (GWB) is named for his father, George H. W. Bush (GHWB). The “W” in the name of both father and son stands for “Walker”. Walker was the family name of President George H. W. Bush’s mother, Dorothy Walker.

64 Fútbol cheer : OLE!

“Fútbol” is the Spanish word for “football, soccer”.

65 One of a pair for a podcast listener : EARBUD

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

66 Juliet’s love : ROMEO

William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” doesn’t end well for the title characters. Juliet takes a potion as a ruse to fool her parents, to trick them into thinking she is dead. The potion puts her in a death-like coma for 24 hours, after which Juliet plans to awaken and run off with Romeo. Juliet sends a message to Romeo apprising him of the plan, but the message fails to arrive. Romeo hears of Juliet’s “death”, and grief-stricken he takes his own life by drinking poison. Juliet awakens from the coma, only to find her lover dead beside her. She picks up a dagger and commits suicide. Nobody lives happily ever after …

67 Photographer Goldin : NAN

Nan Goldin is an American photographer who works out of New York, Berlin and Paris. She is known for her work featuring LGBT models, and for images highlighting the HIV crisis and the opioid epidemic.

68 Dick ___, comic strip detective : TRACY

The “Dick Tracy” comic strip was created way back in 1931 by Chester Gould. Dick Tracy was always up to date with the latest crime fighting techniques and gadgets, and even had a few that weren’t in use in real life. Tracy’s most famous gadget was his two-way wrist radio, something he started using in 1946. The radio got an upgrade in 1964 when it became a two-way wrist TV!

Down

1 “The Naked ___” (Goya painting) : MAJA

María Cayetana de Silva was the 13th Duchess of Alba. She was a favorite subject of the Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The duchess is the subject in the famous portraits known as “La maja desnuda” (The Nude Maja) and “La maja vestida” (The Clothed Maja). “Maja” translates from Spanish as “beautiful lady”.

2 School reunion attendee, informally : ALUM

An alumnus (plural “alumni”) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural “alumnae”). The term comes into English from Latin, in which an alumnus is a foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or alumnus.

5 When happy hour often begins : AT FIVE

I personally think that Happy Hour is best enjoyed shaken, not stirred; and with a good crossword …

7 Kimono sash : OBI

The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied at the back in what is called a butterfly knot. The term “obi” is also used for the thick cotton belts that are an essential part of the outfits worn by practitioners of many martial arts. The color of the martial arts obi signifies the wearer’s skill level.

The lovely Japanese kimono is a garment worn by men, women and children. The word “kimono” translates simply as “thing to wear”, with “ki” meaning “wear” and “mono” meaning “thing”.

8 Only dwarf with a three-letter name : DOC

In the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale called “Snow White”, the seven dwarfs were not given any names. The names were added for the 1937 classic Disney film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The seven dwarfs are:

  • Doc (the leader of the group)
  • Grumpy (that would be me, according to my wife …)
  • Happy
  • Sleepy
  • Bashful
  • Sneezy
  • Dopey

11 Dance-based fitness program : ZUMBA

The Zumba exercise program was developed in the mid-nineties in Cali, Colombia by dancer and choreographer Beto Perez. Along with two partners, Perez introduced a series of fitness videos that they sold using infomercials. The name “Zumba” is just an arbitrary brand name.

13 “The Queen’s Gambit” game : CHESS

“The Queen’s Gambit” is a wonderful 2020 miniseries based on a 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. Anya Taylor-Joy plays a young chess prodigy who has a tough upbringing in an orphanage, and who then struggles with alcohol and drug dependency. The series was so popular with viewers that it sparked a renewed interest in the game of chess, with sales of chess sets and chess books increasing dramatically.

22 Tyrannosaurus ___ : REX

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T-rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

24 Actor Morales : ESAI

Actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

25 Jungle vine : LIANA

Liana (also “liane”) is a vine that generally grows in moist areas such as rain forests. Lianas grow using the trees in the forest as structural support. My bet is that Tarzan swung from tree to tree on liana vines …

27 Israeli statesman Abba : EBAN

Abba Eban was an Israeli diplomat and politician. He was born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban in Cape Town, South Africa. While working at the United Nations after WWII, Eban changed his given name to “Abba”, the Hebrew word for “father”. Reportedly, he made this change as Eban saw himself as the father of the nation of Israel.

28 “Fear of Flying” author Erica : JONG

Author Erica Jong’s most famous work is her first: “Fear of Flying”, a novel published in 1973. Over twenty years later, Jong wrote “Fear of Fifty: a midlife memoir”, published in 1994.

30 Patron saint of Norway : OLAV

Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated, as he was canonized and made the patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or “Olaf the Fat”) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of “Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae”, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

34 Actress Jovovich of “The Fifth Element” : MILLA

Milla Jovovich is a model and actress who was born in Kiev in the former Ukrainian SSR. Jovovich left the USSR when she was five years old and came to Sacramento, California via London. She started getting modeling jobs from the age of nine, but always wanted to be an actress. Jovovich played the female lead in “Return to the Blue Lagoon” when she was 16 years old. Her big break in movies came with a starring role in “The Fifth Element” opposite Bruce Willis, playing Leeloo the alien who helps save the planet.

“The Fifth Element” is a 1997 French film, with an English screenplay that was co-written by director Luc Besson. Besson wrote the storyline for “The Fifth Element” when he was still in his teens, and ended up directing Bruce Willis in the lead role in 1997.

37 Electrical units : AMPS

The unit of electric current is the ampere, which is abbreviated correctly to “A” rather than “amp”. It is named after French physicist André-Marie Ampère, one of the main scientists responsible for the discovery of electromagnetism.

39 Country singer Loretta : LYNN

Singer Loretta Lynn is sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Country Music. Lynn was born in 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky to a coal miner and his wife, and so famously is also referred to as “the Coal Miner’s Daughter”. Her much younger sister (by 19 years) is the singer Crystal Gayle.

40 Safecracker : YEGG

“Yegg” is a slang word for a burglar and often for a safe-cracker. The origin of the term appears to be unknown.

41 Relative of an ostrich or emu : RHEA

The rhea is a flightless bird that is native to South America. It takes its name from the Greek Titan Rhea. That’s an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.

49 “The Jungle Book” wolf : AKELA

Akela is the wolf in “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling. The wolf gave his name to a cubmaster in the scouting movement, who is now known as “Akela”.

“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling was originally published in 1894, and is a collection of adventure stories or fables featuring the animals of the jungle and a young boy named Mowgli. Baloo is a sloth bear that teaches the cubs of a wolf pack the Law of the Jungle. Baloo’s most challenging pupil however is no lupine, but rather the man-cub Mowgli.

50 One of Santa’s reindeer : VIXEN

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
  • Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)

Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

51 He troubleshoots Macs and PCs : IT GUY

Information technology (IT)

52 Pulitzer-winning columnist Maureen : DOWD

Maureen Dowd is a celebrated columnist for “The New York Times” as well as a best-selling author. Dowd won a Pulitzer for her columns about the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

56 Frozen drink brand : ICEE

Icee and Slurpee are brand names of slushy drinks. Ugh …

57 Some boxing decisions, in brief : TKOS

In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

61 Savings for old age, for short : IRA

Individual retirement account (IRA)

62 “S.N.L.” network : NBC

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) has had a number of different logos in its history, including the famous peacock with which we are familiar today. The first peacock logo was introduced in the early days of color television and was designed to illustrate how wonderful color television would be, so go buy one! (NBC was owned by RCA, and so had a vested interest in sales of color television sets).

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

63 ___ constrictor : BOA

Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Title character in a Tyler Perry film franchise : MADEA
6 Actress Foster of “The Silence of the Lambs” : JODIE
11 Actor Efron : ZAC
14 Select group of celebs : A-LIST
15 Relatively safe investment security : AA BOND
16 “That tastes terrible!” : UGH!
17 On a whim [#35] : JUST FOR KICKS (giving JFK)
19 West with the classic movie line “I’m no 45-Across …” : MAE
20 Largest movie theater chain in the U.S. : AMC
21 Facts and figures, in brief : INFO
22 Baseball slugger’s stat : RBIS
23 Denim pants with a red tab label [#36] : LEVI’S BLUE JEANS (giving LBJ)
29 Complete one round of reps : DO A SET
31 It may fill up during a vacation : INBOX
32 Inter ___ (among others) : ALIA
33 “Love your work!” : I’M A FAN!
35 Longtime electronics company : RCA
38 Where domestic meals are enjoyed [#32] : FAMILY DINING ROOM (giving FDR)
42 Den fixtures : TVS
43 Give an earful : YELL AT
44 Padlock fastener : HASP
45 Heavenly sort : ANGEL
46 Nuclear experiments, for short : A-TESTS
48 “On the other hand …” [#33] : HAVING SAID THAT … (giving HST)
53 “That’s a joke” : I KID
54 Schlep : TOTE
55 Chart-topper : HIT
58 Magic spell : HEX
59 In the distant past [#43] : GOING WAY BACK (giving GWB)
64 Fútbol cheer : OLE!
65 One of a pair for a podcast listener : EARBUD
66 Juliet’s love : ROMEO
67 Photographer Goldin : NAN
68 Dick ___, comic strip detective : TRACY
69 Calms : EASES

Down

1 “The Naked ___” (Goya painting) : MAJA
2 School reunion attendee, informally : ALUM
3 Denies any association with : DISCLAIMS
4 “To the max” suffix : -EST
5 When happy hour often begins : AT FIVE
6 ___ Dylan, lead singer of the Wallflowers : JAKOB
7 Kimono sash : OBI
8 Only dwarf with a three-letter name : DOC
9 Pen fluid : INK
10 Mag. staffers : EDS
11 Dance-based fitness program : ZUMBA
12 Once more : AGAIN
13 “The Queen’s Gambit” game : CHESS
15 Pound sounds : ARFS
18 “Don’t bet ___” : ON IT
22 Tyrannosaurus ___ : REX
24 Actor Morales : ESAI
25 Jungle vine : LIANA
26 Not suitable, as for a job : UNFIT
27 Israeli statesman Abba : EBAN
28 “Fear of Flying” author Erica : JONG
29 Absurd or foolish : DAFT
30 Patron saint of Norway : OLAV
33 Keeps the engine running, without moving : IDLES
34 Actress Jovovich of “The Fifth Element” : MILLA
35 Christmas entrees : ROAST HAMS
36 Tag line? : COST
37 Electrical units : AMPS
39 Country singer Loretta : LYNN
40 Safecracker : YEGG
41 Relative of an ostrich or emu : RHEA
45 Assistance : AID
46 Lead-in to girl : ATTA …
47 “And ___ off!” (start of a race) : THEY’RE
48 Spousal greeting : HI, HON
49 “The Jungle Book” wolf : AKELA
50 One of Santa’s reindeer : VIXEN
51 He troubleshoots Macs and PCs : IT GUY
52 Pulitzer-winning columnist Maureen : DOWD
56 Frozen drink brand : ICEE
57 Some boxing decisions, in brief : TKOS
59 Understand : GET
60 Rowboat propeller : OAR
61 Savings for old age, for short : IRA
62 “S.N.L.” network : NBC
63 ___ constrictor : BOA

9 thoughts on “0221-22 NY Times Crossword 21 Feb 22, Monday”

  1. 7:26 Also found this a bit more difficult for a Monday. Interesting that the first row is all proper names followed by ALIST and then AA bond on the 2nd row – a coincidence here?? And it just seemed like a lot of proper names overall in the grid.

  2. 8:59…I think. I swear when I finished I saw 8:59 clear as a bell. However, when I look at my official stat for the day, it lists me at 9:00 even. I’m going with 8:59 since it sounds much quicker than 9 minutes…. The M at MAJA/MADEA was a mystery to me so I just did an alphabet run there.

    Good theme and quite timely.

    YEGG was unknown to me except perhaps as a typo for a runn YEGG…

    “The Queen’s Gambit” is indeed the best thing Netflix has ever produced.

    Best –

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