0223-22 NY Times Crossword 23 Feb 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Rose Conlon
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Sign for Delivery

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as SIGNS of an impending DELIVERY, the birth of a child:

  • 37A Accept a package formally … or a hint to 17-, 29-, 45- and 62-Across? : SIGN FOR DELIVERY
  • 17A Sneaking suspicion : GUT FEELING
  • 29A An ironic punch line : THE KICKER
  • 45A Rough flight : BUMPY RIDE
  • 62A Reason to pause a workout : WATER BREAK

Bill’s time: 13m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Common hotel room item : BIBLE

Gideons International is an evangelical Christian group that focuses on distributing free copies of the Bible across the world, most visibly in bedside lockers in hotel rooms. Apparently, the Gideons are handing out free Bibles today at the rate of two per second.

6 Judi Dench, since 1988 : DAME

Dame Judi Dench is an outstanding English actress who has appeared for decades in her home country on stage and screen. Dench’s film career took off in the nineties with a relatively trivial role as “M” in the James Bond series of films. Since then she has played leading roles in several excellent movies including “Shakespeare in Love”, “Mrs. Brown”, “Notes on a Scandal” and “Philomena”.

10 Bruins’ sch. : UCLA

The UCLA Bruins’ mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be “mean” Bruin mascots but they weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” Bruin mascots at the games.

15 Puff piece? : E-CIG

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

16 Letters after pis : RHOS

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R. It is the 17th letter in the Greek alphabet.

20 Purl counterpart : KNIT

As all of us knitters know, the purl stitch and knit stitch are very similar, one being sort of the inverse of the other. Yes, I’ve knitted a few sweaters in my day …

21 Pirate whose hidden treasure inspired “The Gold-Bug” : KIDD

William Kidd was a Scottish privateer who went by the name “Captain Kidd”. Although Kidd was a privateer, someone authorized by the government to attack foreign shipping, he was eventually arrested and executed for piracy. There is a common opinion held today that the charges against Kidd were actually trumped up. Captain Kidd’s story was the basis of a 1945 film called “Captain Kidd” starring Charles Laughton in the title role. Laughton also appeared as Captain Kidd in 1952’s comic movie “Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd”.

“The Gold-Bug” is an Edgar Allan Poe short story, a mystery tale about a man who was bitten by a gold-colored bug. The story first appeared in three installments in the ”Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper” in 1843, and became very popular. Poe had submitted the story to a writing contest sponsored by the paper, and it was published as the winning entry. The grand prize also included $100 in cash, which was likely the largest sum that Poe ever received for a work in his lifetime.

22 Largest city in North Dakota : FARGO

Fargo, North Dakota is the biggest city in the state. The original name for the city was Centralia, when it was a stopping point for steamboats that traveled the Red River in the late 19th century. The town really grew with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway, so the name “Fargo” was adopted in honor of one of the railroad company’s directors, William Fargo (of Wells Fargo Express fame).

27 Doctrine : DOGMA

A dogma is a set of beliefs. The plural of “dogma” is “dogmata” (or “dogmas”, if you’re not a pedant like me!)

43 Reine’s husband : ROI

In French, a “reine” is married to a “roi” (king).

48 Get on a soapbox : ORATE

Back in the 1650s, a soapbox was just that, a wooden box for holding or transporting soap. Empty soapboxes were easily carried by a potential orator and used as a stand from which to deliver an address.

52 Architect Frank ___ Wright : LLOYD

The architect Frank Lloyd Wright embraced the philosophy of designing structures that were in harmony with the environment. One of his most famous works is an elaborate home in rural Pennsylvania known as Fallingwater, which is partially built over a waterfall.

53 1960s fashion style : MOD

“Mod” is short for “modernist”, and describes a subculture that originated in London in the late fifties. Young men who called themselves mods tended to wear tailored suits, listen to pop music and drive around on Italian motor scooters. Mods came into conflict with another subculture that emerged at the same time in the UK called the rockers. Rockers were into rock and roll music, and drove motorcycles I remember as a young kid in school having to declare myself as either a mod or a rocker. I don’t think our “gangs” back then were quite the same as they are today though …

55 Dallas player, informally : MAV

The Mavericks (also “Mavs”) are an NBA franchise in Dallas, Texas. The team was founded in 1980, and the Mavericks name was chosen by fan votes. The choice of “Mavericks” was prompted by the fact that the actor James Garner was a part-owner of the team, and Garner of course played the title role in the “Maverick” television series.

56 Like almost two-thirds of the earth’s population : ASIAN

Most of the world’s population lives in Asia (60%), and Asia is the largest continent in terms of landmass (30% of the world). Asia also has the highest population density (246 people per square mile), and the most populous city on the continent is Shanghai, China.

58 Costa ___ : RICA

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is remarkable in my opinion, a leader on the world stage in many areas. It has been referred to as the “greenest” country in the world, the “happiest” country in the world, and has a highly educated populace. In 1949, the country unilaterally abolished its own army … permanently!

60 Social media-induced anxiety, for short : FOMO

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

65 Shrek, e.g. : OGRE

Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” that was authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

66 Buffalo hockey player : SABRE

The Buffalo Sabres joined the National Hockey League in the 1970-71 season. The team took the name “Sabres” as the result of a fan contest.

67 Noted enforcer of Prohibition : NESS

Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. When Ness took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, for being on the take. Ness handpicked 50 prohibition agents who he thought he could rely on, later reducing the group to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That group of 11 earned the nickname “The Untouchables”, the agents who couldn’t be bought.

The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was a great victory for the temperance movement (the “dry” movement), and in 1919 ushered in the Prohibition era. Highly unpopular (with the “wet” movement), Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.

Down

5 When to take a cruise on la Seine : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) is a common time to go “en vacances” (on vacation), perhaps by the “mer” (sea).

The Seine is the river that flows through Paris. It empties into the English Channel to the north, at the port city of Le Havre.

6 Get fuzz out of : DELINT

“Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the Atlantic.

11 Like Sequoyah, for whom the tree is named : CHEROKEE

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma are descended from the Old Cherokee Nation that was forced to relocate from the Southeast in the late 1830s on the infamous Trail of Tears. Today’s Cherokee Nation numbers about 300,000 people, with almost two thirds of that population living in Oklahoma.

12 The “L” of LP : LONG

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.

13 Apropos of : AS TO

“Apropos”, meaning “relevant, opportune”, comes into English directly from French, in which language “à propos” means “to the purpose”. Note that we use the term as one word (apropos), whereas the original French is two words (à propos).

22 Letters accompanying a tip : FYI

For your information (FYI)

26 Mowgli’s friend in “The Jungle Book” : 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.

28 Speaks patronizingly, in a way : MANSPLAINS

If a man explains something in a condescending manner to a woman, he is said to be “mansplaining”, a portmanteau of “man” and “explaining”.

34 Truck, in Tottenham : LORRY

On the other side of the Atlantic, a truck is called a “lorry”, a term that probably comes from the English dialectal verb “to lurry” meaning “to drag, tug”.

Tottenham is an area in north London in England. It is home to a famous football (soccer) club called Tottenham Hotspur, the team that I used to follow as a kid many moons ago …

38 Shiba ___ (dog breed) : INU

The Shiba Inu is a Japanese breed of dog that was developed for hunting. Although the exact etymology of “Shibu” is unclear, the term translates as “brushwood”. “Inu” is Japanese for “dog”.

40 Angry outburst from a bodybuilder, maybe : ‘ROID RAGE

Steroids are found commonly in nature, with familiar examples being cholesterol and testosterone. The controversial class of drugs called anabolic steroids (known informally as “‘roids” or simply “steroids”) are artificially produced chemicals designed to mimic the effect of the male sex hormone, testosterone. They are termed “anabolic” as they build up cellular tissue (particularly muscle) in a process called anabolism. Taking anabolic steroids can be termed “juicing”, and the aggressive behavior that can be a side-effect is known as “‘roid rage”.

41 Apple product : IPOD

The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.

47 They run the show : EMCEES

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

49 Simple creature : 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.

50 Gluten-free Japanese soy sauce : TAMARI

Tamari is a variety of soy sauce that is made without wheat, and so is often used by those on a gluten-free diet.

Gluten is a protein mixture found in foods processed mainly from wheat. The sticky properties of gluten are used in making bread, giving dough its elasticity and making the final product chewy. “Gluten” is the Latin word for “glue”.

62 Concave cookware : WOK

“Wok” is a Cantonese word, and is the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.

63 Some STEM degs. : BSS

Bachelor of Science (BS)

The acronym “STEM” stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. An alternative acronym with a similar meaning is MINT, standing for mathematics, information sciences, natural sciences and technology.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Common hotel room item : BIBLE
6 Judi Dench, since 1988 : DAME
10 Bruins’ sch. : UCLA
14 Pinhead : IDIOT
15 Puff piece? : E-CIG
16 Letters after pis : RHOS
17 Sneaking suspicion : GUT FEELING
19 “Get ___!” : BENT
20 Purl counterpart : KNIT
21 Pirate whose hidden treasure inspired “The Gold-Bug” : KIDD
22 Largest city in North Dakota : FARGO
23 Cozy lodging : INN
24 Farm female : HEN
25 Turn down a request : SAY NO
27 Doctrine : DOGMA
29 An ironic punch line : THE KICKER
33 100% : ALL
35 Word in favor : AYE
36 Dynamic start? : AERO-
37 Accept a package formally … or a hint to 17-, 29-, 45- and 62-Across? : SIGN FOR DELIVERY
42 Burden : ONUS
43 Reine’s husband : ROI
44 Parrot : APE
45 Rough flight : BUMPY RIDE
48 Get on a soapbox : ORATE
52 Architect Frank ___ Wright : LLOYD
53 1960s fashion style : MOD
55 Dallas player, informally : MAV
56 Like almost two-thirds of the earth’s population : ASIAN
58 Costa ___ : RICA
60 Social media-induced anxiety, for short : FOMO
61 Pint-size : MINI
62 Reason to pause a workout : WATER BREAK
64 First world? : EDEN
65 Shrek, e.g. : OGRE
66 Buffalo hockey player : SABRE
67 Noted enforcer of Prohibition : NESS
68 Solutions : KEYS
69 Strait-laced : STAID

Down

1 One no longer using a sippy cup, say : BIG KID
2 “Beats the heck out of me” : I DUNNO
3 Acerbic : BITING
4 Certain overhead apartment : LOFT
5 When to take a cruise on la Seine : ETE
6 Get fuzz out of : DELINT
7 “Salt Fat ___ Heat” (popular cookbook) : ACID
8 Imagination : MIND’S EYE
9 To use this you’ll need to get cracking : EGG
10 One who recreationally explores sewers and underground tunnels : URBAN CAVER
11 Like Sequoyah, for whom the tree is named : CHEROKEE
12 The “L” of LP : LONG
13 Apropos of : AS TO
18 Scrape (out) : EKE
22 Letters accompanying a tip : FYI
24 What 12 is, to this clue’s number : HALF
26 Mowgli’s friend in “The Jungle Book” : AKELA
28 Speaks patronizingly, in a way : MANSPLAINS
30 Supermodel Gigi or Bella : HADID
31 Go astray : ERR
32 Family name on HBO’s “Succession” : ROY
34 Truck, in Tottenham : LORRY
37 Cry hard : SOB
38 Shiba ___ (dog breed) : INU
39 Teeth disappear under them : GUM LINES
40 Angry outburst from a bodybuilder, maybe : ‘ROID RAGE
41 Apple product : IPOD
46 Over there, quaintly : YON
47 They run the show : EMCEES
49 Simple creature : AMOEBA
50 Gluten-free Japanese soy sauce : TAMARI
51 Drew out, as a smile : EVOKED
54 Implement with a flat head : OAR
56 “You can say that again!” : AMEN!
57 Faction : SIDE
59 “Just doing my job” : I TRY
60 Bunch of brothers, for short : FRAT
62 Concave cookware : WOK
63 Some STEM degs. : BSS

18 thoughts on “0223-22 NY Times Crossword 23 Feb 22, Wednesday”

  1. 9:21 Totally missed the theme. That said, I was not present for my daughter’s birth, since I knew I would pass out….

  2. 9:50 Also completely missed the theme. Got hung up in the center-right section of the grid, not knowing AKELA and ROY and never heard of 10D.

    I never had kids, but did manage to arrive a bit late for the birth of a few friends’ kids. Good timing, I’d say.

  3. 12:09. I was happy with that time until I came here. Didn’t really grasp the theme until WATER BREAK made is so obvious.

    I’ve tried TAMARI, and to me it was indistinguishable from soy sauce. TAMARI has about a third the sodium of soy sauce so it’s a good substitute for anyone on a low sodium diet.

    Best –

  4. 20:15 – two cheats AKELA and HADID.

    I’m happy with that for what I thought was a little difficult Wednesday.

    I would’ve never gotten the theme even if you put a gun to my head. Guess I’m just too crossword challenged …

    Be Well.

  5. Lou Iu, instead of the gun to the head, may I suggest the Moscow Mules? Or maybe just vodka shots prior to solving🤣🤣

  6. Missed HADID. had HADED and ROE for 43A… severely missed the whole REINE is french thing.

    Oh well.

    1. Same here. The grid was the same as shown here. The clue set was not. I gave up when I realized that there were too many missing clues or clues that started in the middle of a word. Seems like there are chronic problems with local rags publishing syndicated features. My paper mangles the Bobby Wolff bridge column regularly.

      1. Same here. So confusing. Wasted my time (again). Not the first time this has happened. The Baltimore Sunpapers.

  7. Thanks Bill, even after solving the puzzle couldn’t grasp the theme. Kept wanting to relate it to packages. clever

  8. Wrong clue set in the Baltimore Sun. Got right one from Pittsburgh Post. I get mine through my Vancouver library which has a program called ‘PressReader’ where you can view newspapers & print custom area’s like NYT crossword.. Check your local library

  9. After having read your comment I checked in the Oxford English Dictionary. For “concave” they write: having an outline or surface that curves inwards like the interior of a circle or sphere. For “convex” they write: having an outline or surface curved like the exterior of a circle or sphere. These definitions seem to correspond to your interpretation. However, this not how we define convex and concave functions in mathematics. A concave function is a function that is underestimated by linear interpolation, and convex function is a function that is overestimated by linear interpolation, like a U-shaped curve. See
    https://www.google.com/search?q=convex+function&rlz=1C1GCEA_enCA949CA949&oq=convex+function&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i512l9.6651j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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