0321-22 NY Times Crossword 21 Mar 22, Monday

Constructed by: John Ewbank & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Backup Singer

Themed answers each include the name of a SINGER BACKED UP, in the reverse direction:

  • 52A One helping in a band … or what can be found in each set of circled letters? : BACKUP SINGER
  • 20A Greater responsibility, often as part of a promotion : EXPANDED ROLE (backup “LORDE”)
  • 26A Pointing out minuscule annoyances : PICKING NITS (backup “STING”)
  • 38A Reality star sister of Kim and Kourtney : KHLOE KARDASHIAN (backup “DRAKE”)
  • 46A Goal of some core workouts : CHISELED ABS (backup “ADELE”)

Bill’s time: 6m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Actress Christina of “The Addams Family” : RICCI

Christina Ricci is an American actress who found fame on the big screen at an early age, playing the very young Wednesday Addams in the 1991 movie version of “The Addams Family”.

15 Taiwanese tech giant : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

17 Classic Sylvester Stallone part : RAMBO

“First Blood” was the original of the four “Rambo” films starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran. I thought “First Blood” was a pretty good film actually, but the sequels were terrible, and way too violent for me. But, action all the way …

18 Alfresco spot for a “spot” : TEA GARDEN

Our word “alfresco” means outdoors, in the fresh air. The term came into English from Italian.

20 Greater responsibility, often as part of a promotion : EXPANDED ROLE (backup “LORDE”)

“Lorde” is a stage name of the singer-songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Connor from New Zealand. Lorde’s cover version of the great Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was used in the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013). Her song “Yellow Flicker Beat” is included in the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”.

23 “College GameDay” broadcaster : ESPN

There are several sports shows on ESPN called “College GameDay”, the oldest of which is the one covering college football.

26 Pointing out minuscule annoyances : PICKING NITS (backup “STING”)

“Sting” is the stage name used by Gordon Sumner, who came to fame initially as the lead singer for the Police. Off stage, Sting is an avid chess player, and he once participated in an exhibition game with chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov.

33 Lo-o-ong time : EON

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

36 Flying saucer fliers, in brief : ETS

Disc-shaped flying objects have been reported in the sky since the Middle Ages. In the modern era, the event that launched the term “flying saucer” was a UFO sighting in 1947, which was covered widely in the media. Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine unidentified flying objects in formation near Mount Rainier in Washington. In describing the objects, he repeatedly used the words “saucer”, “disc” and “pie-plate”. Newspapers latched onto the terminology, and we’ve been seeing flying “saucers” ever since.

37 Org. for pet rescue : SPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

38 Reality star sister of Kim and Kourtney : KHLOE KARDASHIAN (backup “DRAKE”)

Khloé Kardashian, sister of Kim, managed to parlay her exposure on the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” into spin-offs called “Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami” and “Khloé & Lamar”.

42 Congers and morays : EELS

Conger eels can grow to be very, very large, perhaps up to 10 feet in length.

Morays are a large group of about 200 species of eels found across the world’s oceans. They are carnivorous and look pretty scary but they’re quite shy when confronted and present no threat to humans. One interesting thing about morays is that they will sometimes work in cooperation with the grouper fish found in reefs, the two helping each other hunt for food.

43 Academic’s degree : PHD

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

44 Jordanian landmark described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” : PETRA

The archaeological city of Petra in Jordan sounds like a fabulous sight, and is known for its beautiful buildings that have been carved out of the natural rock. Petra is Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction.

45 Sign of a packed performance : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

46 Goal of some core workouts : CHISELED ABS (backup “ADELE”)

“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. Her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US. “30” followed in 2021.

60 Rigorous email management strategy : INBOX ZERO

Oh, I must look at that …

63 Vital artery : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

65 Novelist Kingsley : AMIS

Kingsley Amis (what a great name!) was a very successful English writer, famous for producing entertaining, comedic novels. His most famous novel is probably his first, “Lucky Jim” published in 1954. That said, he won a Booker Prize for a later novel, “The Old Devils” published in 1986. He passed on some of his talent through his genes, it seems, as his son Martin Amis is a very successful novelist too.

66 Exams for aspiring attorneys, in brief : LSATS

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

67 Reedy wind instrument : OBOE

A double-reed instrument is one in which two pieces of cane vibrate against each other to produce sound. In a single-reed instrument, just one piece of cane vibrates the mouthpiece. The best-known examples of double-reed instruments are the oboe and the bassoon.

68 Civil rights icon Parks : ROSA

Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

Down

2 Extra-large movie format : IMAX

The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.

3 Workers’ ___ (on-the-job insurance) : COMP

In general terms, workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that pays out in the event that a worker gets injured in the course of employment.

4 Havana is its capital : CUBA

Havana is the capital of Cuba. The city was founded by the Spanish in the early 1500s after which it became a strategic location for Spain’s exploration and conquest of the Americas. In particular, Havana was used as a stopping-off point for treasure-laden ships on the return journey to Spain.

5 Excavation site for a steelmaker : IRON MINE

Steel is an alloy that is composed mainly of iron, with a small percentage of carbon.

6 Suitable for all ages, as a movie : RATED G

The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

21 QB Marino : DAN

Dan Marino played his entire professional football career with the Miami Dolphins. He is widely regarded as one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks, even though he never played on a team that won the Super Bowl.

24 Pumpkin seed, by another name : PEPITA

Pumpkin seeds are also known as “pepitas”, from the Mexican Spanish term “pepita de calabaza” meaning “little seed of squash”.

25 Like diets that cut out bread and pasta : NO-CARB

Perhaps most notably, the eating of relatively few carbohydrates is central to the diet proposed by Robert Atkins. Atkins first laid out the principles behind the Atkins diet in a research paper published in 1958 in the “Journal of the American Medical Association”. He popularized his diet starting in 1972 with his book “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution”.

28 String quartet instruments : CELLOS

A standard string quartet is made up of two violins, a viola and a cello. A string quintet consists of a standard string quartet with the addition of a fifth instrument, usually a second viola or cello.

29 Evil organization on “Get Smart” : KAOS

The satirical comedy series called “Get Smart” was the creation of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, and starred Don Adams as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart. Agent 86 worked for the spy agency CONTROL, alongside the lovely Agent 99 (played by Barbara Feldon). CONTROL’s sworn enemy was the criminal organization called KAOS. Smart’s shoe phone was a hilarious prop used in almost every episode. When Smart dialed the number 117, the shoe converted into a gun. Cool stuff …

30 Dorky sorts : NERDS

I consider “dork” and “adorkable” to be pretty offensive slang. “Dork” originated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.

32 Airport screening grp. : TSA

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

39 Speed measure on European hwys. : KPH

Kilometers per hour (kph)

40 Some sushi tuna : AHI

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

41 Kellogg’s breakfast cereal : SPECIAL K

We’ve been eating Special K since 1956. One has to give credit to the marketing folks at Kellogg’s, as I am sure we all view special K as a diet breakfast cereal. In fact, there is more fat in Special K than Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, and just one less calorie per serving.

46 Cajole : COAX

To coax is to cajole, to influence using gentle persuasion. Back in the 16th century, “coax” was a noun meaning “fool”, and was used in the sense of “make a coax of, make a fool of”.

48 ___ Vegas, Nev. : LAS

Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present in the area courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by local farmers. Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1905, in the days when it was a stopping-off point for pioneers traveling west. It eventually became a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as travelers began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, which is still a popular attraction. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas is the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (Chicago is the most populous city founded in the 19th century, just in case you were wondering).

50 Steakhouse option : T-BONE

The T-bone and porterhouse are related cuts of meat, with the latter being a larger version of the former, and both being cut from the short loin.

53 Industry bigwig : CZAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

54 ___ Sabe (the Lone Ranger, to Tonto) : KEMO

“Kemosabe” is a term used by the Tonto character in the iconic radio and television program “The Lone Ranger”. “Kemosabe” doesn’t really mean anything outside of the show, and in fact was written as “ke-mo sah-bee” in the original radio show scripts. The term was created by longtime director of “The Lone Ranger” Jim Jewell. To come up with the term, Jewell used the name of a boy’s camp that his father-in-law established called Kamp Kee-Mo Sah-Bee.

55 Leon ___, “Exodus” author : URIS

“Exodus” is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris that was first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, a character played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.

58 “___, Brute?” : ET TU

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

59 Carpenter’s file : RASP

A carpenter is a woodworker. “Carpenter” came into English via French from the Latin “carpentarius” meaning “wagon maker”. The earlier “carpentum” is Latin for “wagon”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Actress Christina of “The Addams Family” : RICCI
6 Amusement park attraction : RIDE
10 Ink “oops” : BLOT
14 French romance : AMOUR
15 Taiwanese tech giant : ACER
16 Assistant : AIDE
17 Classic Sylvester Stallone part : RAMBO
18 Alfresco spot for a “spot” : TEA GARDEN
20 Greater responsibility, often as part of a promotion : EXPANDED ROLE (backup “LORDE”)
22 Furious : MAD
23 “College GameDay” broadcaster : ESPN
26 Pointing out minuscule annoyances : PICKING NITS (backup “STING”)
33 Lo-o-ong time : EON
35 “Let me clarify …” : I MEAN …
36 Flying saucer fliers, in brief : ETS
37 Org. for pet rescue : SPCA
38 Reality star sister of Kim and Kourtney : KHLOE KARDASHIAN (backup “DRAKE”)
42 Congers and morays : EELS
43 Academic’s degree : PHD
44 Jordanian landmark described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” : PETRA
45 Sign of a packed performance : SRO
46 Goal of some core workouts : CHISELED ABS (backup “ADELE”)
49 This, in Spanish : ESTO
51 Anatomical pouch : SAC
52 One helping in a band … or what can be found in each set of circled letters? : BACKUP SINGER
60 Rigorous email management strategy : INBOX ZERO
63 Vital artery : AORTA
64 “Dagnabbit!” : DARN!
65 Novelist Kingsley : AMIS
66 Exams for aspiring attorneys, in brief : LSATS
67 Reedy wind instrument : OBOE
68 Civil rights icon Parks : ROSA
69 Really energize : KEY UP

Down

1 Uncommon : RARE
2 Extra-large movie format : IMAX
3 Workers’ ___ (on-the-job insurance) : COMP
4 Havana is its capital : CUBA
5 Excavation site for a steelmaker : IRON MINE
6 Suitable for all ages, as a movie : RATED G
7 Like many a summertime beverage : ICED
8 Cherished : DEAR
9 Latin “therefore” : ERGO
10 Exposes, as one’s teeth or soul : BARES
11 Part of the eye that blinks : LID
12 Poem of praise : ODE
13 “Count to ___” (calming advice) : TEN
19 Certain tavern pours : ALES
21 QB Marino : DAN
24 Pumpkin seed, by another name : PEPITA
25 Like diets that cut out bread and pasta : NO-CARB
26 Spearlike weapons of medieval times : PIKES
27 Text from a waiting car pool driver : I’M HERE
28 String quartet instruments : CELLOS
29 Evil organization on “Get Smart” : KAOS
30 Dorky sorts : NERDS
31 “___ be my pleasure!” : IT’D
32 Airport screening grp. : TSA
34 Grandmas : NANAS
37 Backyard building : SHED
39 Speed measure on European hwys. : KPH
40 Some sushi tuna : AHI
41 Kellogg’s breakfast cereal : SPECIAL K
46 Cajole : COAX
47 Spanish wife : ESPOSA
48 ___ Vegas, Nev. : LAS
50 Steakhouse option : T-BONE
53 Industry bigwig : CZAR
54 ___ Sabe (the Lone Ranger, to Tonto) : KEMO
55 Leon ___, “Exodus” author : URIS
56 What glasses rest on : NOSE
57 Color of an overcast sky : GRAY
58 “___, Brute?” : ET TU
59 Carpenter’s file : RASP
60 Altar promise : I DO
61 Catch in the act : NAB
62 Dude : BRO

9 thoughts on “0321-22 NY Times Crossword 21 Mar 22, Monday”

  1. 16:17 “I’ll take ‘Themes I Never Would Have Seen’ for 400, Ken” Although I openly, and maybe proudly, admit that I hadn’t heard of Khloe of the useless Kardasshian family….purposely misspelled that….

  2. 7:54. No idea what the theme was until I came here.

    I think INBOX ZERO is nothing but a pipedream in my case.

    Best –

  3. 6:18, no errors.

    I typically store some things in my inbox, so it’s never all zero. Especially when I get puzzles on subscription.

  4. Didn’t know PETRA, guessed PERRA ..
    So PEPITA became PEPIRA. Didn’t know that either.

    I had a boss who managed his inbox like he managed his office. There were stacks and piles of paper everywhere. A poster child for a fire hazard. So his inbox was full with one twist. He put all his “important” Emails as icons on his computer desktop. Hundreds of icons on his screen. Some stacked on each other.
    In his defense, he knew where everything was. I was not that way.

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