0909-22 NY Times Crossword 9 Sep 22, Friday

Constructed by: Brandon Koppy
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Tetris

Themed answers refer to the video game Tetris. And, we have some magnificent grid art, with all of the black squares representing game pieces. Very inventive …

  • 59D Best-selling video game celebrated in this grid : TETRIS
  • 7D Hugely successful film … or an apt description of a 59-Down player? : BLOCKBUSTER
  • 11D Trick of being suddenly nowhere to be found … or an apt description of victory for a 59-Down player? : DISAPPEARING ACT
  • 22D “Don’t be a stranger” … or an apt request from a 59-Down player? : DROP ME A LINE

Bill’s time: 21m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Got on board, in a way : LADED

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

14 Out of nothing, in creation myths : EX NIHILO

The Latin phrase “ex nihilo” means “out of nothing”. The extended phrase “creatio ex nihilo” describes the concept that God created the world out of nothing.

15 Spanish monarch beginning in 2014 : FELIPE

Felipe VI became King of Spain in 2014 when his father, King Juan Carlos I, abdicated. Felipe is quite the competitive sailor, and comes from a sailing family. He was a member of the Spanish sailing team in the 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona. His father and sister also sailed for Spain’s Olympic sailing team.

17 Sinks from not far away : TAPS IN

That is probably golf …

20 Many-headed monster : HYDRA

The Hydra of Lerna was a mythical sea snake that had multiple heads. Heracles had to slay the Lernaean Hydra as the second of his Twelve Labors. We now use the term “hydra” figuratively to describe a complex problem that presents new obstacles once one facet is resolved.

24 Org. that “Moscow Centre” represents in George Smiley novels : KGB
27 George Smiley, for one : BRIT

The “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti” (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

George Smiley is the protagonist in many of John le Carré’s spy novels.

26 Prefix with zone or pop : EURO-

The eurozone (also “euro area”) is a monetary and economic union within the European Union that uses the euro as a shared legal tender and sole currency.

Europop is a genre of pop music that is mainly associated with Sweden, but also applies to several other European countries. The most famous group associated with the genre is the Swedish sensation ABBA.

29 Mozz sticks and queso, e.g. : APPS

Mozzarella is an Italian cheese that is prepared using a spinning and cutting technique. It is the cutting that gives the cheese its name, as “mozzare” means “to cut” in Italian.

31 N.F.L. QB Tagovailoa : TUA

NFL quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was born to a Samoan family in Hawaii. His nickname “Tua” is short for “Tuanigamanuolepola”. Tagovailoa was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 2020 NFL draft. His younger brother Taulia was his backup quarterback at the University of Alabama, before Taulia transferred to the University of Maryland to become starting quarterback.

34 Anti-establishment cause : POPULISM

Populism is a political doctrine that appeals to the masses. Populists usually position themselves against the perceived “elite”.

36 Big name in multilevel marketing : AMWAY

Founded in 1959, Amway is still going strong. It is one of the largest privately-held companies in the United States, with sales of around $8 billion and about 13,000 employees.

39 Experiments with Zener cards : ESP TESTS

Zener cards were developed in the early thirties by psychologist Karl Zener for use in experiments related to extrasensory perception (ESP) that he conducted with his colleague J. B. Rhine. These five simple and distinctive cards replaced the standard deck of cards that had been used in trials up to that point. The five symbols used on the cards are a circle, a cross, three wavy lines, a square and a star.

46 Nicolas who directed “Don’t Look Now” : ROEG

Nicolas Roeg is a film director from England with quite the pedigree when it comes to association with great movies. He contributed to 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia”, and he himself directed noted films like “Walkabout” (1972), “Don’t Look Now” (1973) and “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976).

47 French, perhaps, in England : SNOG

“Snogging” is British slang of unknown origin that dates back to the end of WWII. The term is used for “kissing and cuddling”, what we call “making out” over here in the US.

A kiss that involves touching of tongues is known as a French kiss, but no one seems to know why. Paradoxically, in Northern France, giving the same type of kiss is known as “baiser anglais”, i.e. English kissing!

51 Mirror-and-prism system, in brief : SLR

The initialism “SLR” stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

52 Golden ___ : AGER

A golden ager is a senior citizen.

53 It can be shredded with an ax : GUITAR SOLO

In the world of music, “axe” is a slang term describing a musical instrument, especially a guitar or horn.

56 One of three things traditionally eaten to break a Ramadan fast : DATE

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is traditionally a period of fasting. The faithful who observe Ramadan refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk everyday, a lesson in patience, humility and spirituality.

57 Ironic-sounding plot device in “Total Recall” : AMNESIA

“Amnesia”, meaning “loss of memory”, is a Greek word that we imported into English in the 17th century. The Greek term comes from combining the prefixes “a-” meaning “not” and “mnesi-” meaning “remembering”.

“Total Recall” is a very entertaining 1990 sci-fi action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film is loosely based on a short story by Philip K. Dick called “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”. The 1990 film was remade in 2012. The 2012 version stars Colin Farrell, and is very forgettable …

60 Iconic phrase in old “Dick and Jane” stories : SEE SPOT

In the “Dick and Jane” series of books for children, Spot was a cat back in the thirties, but then became a dog in later editions.

The “Dick and Jane” beginning reader series of books was originally written by William S. Gray and Zerna Sharp and first published in the 1930s. There are claims of plagiarism from an earlier pair of books published throughout the British Commonwealth that featured the characters Dick and Dora. Indeed, I grew up in Britain and Ireland with “Dick and Dora”, and always assumed that “Dick and Jane” were somehow their American cousins!

61 Irish ___ : SETTER

An Irish setter is a breed of dog …
… or maybe someone from Dublin who sets crosswords …

Down

3 Modern vaccine material : RNA

A vaccine used to be a modified virus administered to an individual to stimulate the immune system into developing immunity, until mRNA vaccines were introduced to combat COVID-19. British physician Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine, injecting people with the cowpox virus in order to prevent smallpox. The term “vaccination” comes from the Latin “vaccinus” meaning “from cows”, with “vacca” translating as “cow”.

5 Classic role for Nichelle Nichols and Zoë Saldana : UHURA

Lt. Nyota Uhura is the communications officer on board the Starship Enterprise, and was played by Nichelle Nichols in the original “Star Trek” television series. The role was significant in that Uhura was one of the first African American characters to figure front and center in US television. In a 1968 episode, Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Uhura kiss, the first interracial kiss to be broadcast in the US. Apparently the scene was meant to be shot twice, with and without the kiss, so that network executives could later decide which version to air. William Shatner claims that he deliberately ran long on the first take (with the kiss) and fluffed the hurried second take (without the kiss), so that the network would have no choice.

American actress Zoë Saldana played the Na’vi princess in “Avatar”, and Uhura in the 2009 movie “Star Trek” (and sequels). Saldana seems to pick the right movies, as she is the only actress to have three different films in the top twenty at the box office for three consecutive weeks (“Avatar”, “The Losers” and “Death at a Funeral”).

8 Picture of health? : SONOGRAM

A sonogram is an image made using ultrasound. “Ultrasound” is the name given to sound energy that has frequencies above the audible range.

10 Mont Blanc, par exemple : ALPE

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. The name “Mont Blanc” translates from French into “white mountain”. The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been generally accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

13 Like osmium among all the elements : DENSEST

Osmium is a metallic element in the platinum family. Osmium is the densest naturally occurring element, and is about twice as dense as lead.

15 Busy business around Mother’s Day : FTD

Back in 1910, fifteen florists from around America agreed to fulfill each other’s orders using the telegraph system, setting up what they called the Florists’ Telegraph Delivery. The concept grew so large that in 1965 the group started to offer international service, and changed its name to Florists’ Transworld Delivery (FTD).

Note the official punctuation in “Mother’s Day”, even though one might think it should be “Mothers’ Day”. President Wilson and Anna Jarvis, who created the tradition, specifically wanted Mother’s Day to honor the mothers within each family and not just “mothers” in general, so they went with the “Mother’s Day” punctuation.

19 1 of 2,297 for Hank Aaron : RBI

The great Hank Aaron (“Hammerin’ Hank” or “the Hammer”) has many claims to fame. One notable fact is that he is the last major league baseball player to have also played in the Negro League.

21 Bygone car named for its country of origin : YUGO

The Yugo is a notoriously unreliable subcompact car that was built by the Zastava corporation of Yugoslavia.

29 One of two 1978 Nobel Peace Prize winners : ANWAR SADAT

Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt right up to the time of his assassination in 1981. Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978, along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, for the role played in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1978 at Camp David. It was this agreement that largely led to Sadat’s assassination three years later.

33 Sacred syllables : OMS

“Om” is a sacred mystic word from the Hindu tradition. “Om” is sometimes used as a mantra, a focus for the mind in meditation.

35 Unit in Mario Kart games : LAP

“Mario Kart” is a go-kart racing video game series from Nintendo.

43 “Faust” playwright : GOETHE

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer (among many other things). Goethe’s most famous work is probably his play “Faust”. This epic work was published in parts, starting in 1808. The work was only published in toto after his death in 1832.

45 Distinctive peacock feature : PLUME

The male peafowl is known as a peacock, and the female a peahen. The peafowl’s young are sometimes called peachicks.

48 Actress Judy of “Arrested Development” : GREER

“Arrested Development” is a sitcom that originally aired on Fox from 2003 to 2006. Ron Howard was heavily involved in the show behind the camera, serving as executive producer and also as the show’s narrator. Fifteen new episodes of “Arrested Development” were filmed specifically for release on Netflix in 2013, and there may even be a movie on the way.

54 ___ Grande : RIO

The Rio Grande (Spanish for “big river”) is a waterway that forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Although we call the river the Rio Grande on this side of the border, in Mexico it is called the Río Bravo or Río Bravo del Norte (Spanish for “furious river of the north”).

59 Best-selling video game celebrated in this grid : TETRIS

Tetris is a very addictive video game that was developed in the Soviet Union in 1984. The name Tetris comes from a melding of the prefix “tetra-” (as all the game pieces have four segments) and “tennis” (a favorite sport played by the developer). Since 2005 there have been more than 100 million copies of the game installed on cell phones alone.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Troubles : PERTURBS
9 Got on board, in a way : LADED
14 Out of nothing, in creation myths : EX NIHILO
15 Spanish monarch beginning in 2014 : FELIPE
16 Tackle together : TEAM UP ON
17 Sinks from not far away : TAPS IN
18 Dreams for aspiring bands : RECORD DEALS
20 Many-headed monster : HYDRA
24 Org. that “Moscow Centre” represents in George Smiley novels : KGB
25 “___-yew!” : PEE
26 Prefix with zone or pop : EURO-
27 George Smiley, for one : BRIT
29 Mozz sticks and queso, e.g. : APPS
30 Utterly amazed : AGOG
31 N.F.L. QB Tagovailoa : TUA
32 Upright : HONEST
34 Anti-establishment cause : POPULISM
36 Big name in multilevel marketing : AMWAY
37 Had in mind : MEANT
38 Fyodor the Blessed, e.g. : TSAR
39 Experiments with Zener cards : ESP TESTS
42 Computer custom-built for playing games, in slang : RIG
44 Conflict of no consequence : SPAT
46 Nicolas who directed “Don’t Look Now” : ROEG
47 French, perhaps, in England : SNOG
49 One also known as Rahman : ALLAH
51 Mirror-and-prism system, in brief : SLR
52 Golden ___ : AGER
53 It can be shredded with an ax : GUITAR SOLO
56 One of three things traditionally eaten to break a Ramadan fast : DATE
57 Ironic-sounding plot device in “Total Recall” : AMNESIA
58 It’s just under one’s nose, informally : STACHE
60 Iconic phrase in old “Dick and Jane” stories : SEE SPOT
61 Irish ___ : SETTER

Down

1 Snit : PET
2 Suffix for many install files : EXE
3 Modern vaccine material : RNA
4 “___ and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” (comedy sketch series) : TIM
5 Classic role for Nichelle Nichols and Zoë Saldana : UHURA
6 Quite stinky : RIPE
7 Hugely successful film … or an apt description of a 59-Down player? : BLOCKBUSTER
8 Picture of health? : SONOGRAM
9 Direct : LEAD
10 Mont Blanc, par exemple : ALPE
11 Trick of being suddenly nowhere to be found … or an apt description of victory for a 59-Down player? : DISAPPEARING ACT
12 The “sacred disease,” to ancient Greeks : EPILEPSY
13 Like osmium among all the elements : DENSEST
15 Busy business around Mother’s Day : FTD
19 1 of 2,297 for Hank Aaron : RBI
20 Load : HEAP
21 Bygone car named for its country of origin : YUGO
22 “Don’t be a stranger” … or an apt request from a 59-Down player? : DROP ME A LINE
23 Bad lands? : ROGUE STATES
28 “Eww!” : THAT’S GROSS!
29 One of two 1978 Nobel Peace Prize winners : ANWAR SADAT
31 Coloring : TINT
33 Sacred syllables : OMS
35 Unit in Mario Kart games : LAP
40 Meh : SO-SO
41 Poker table giveaway : TELL
43 “Faust” playwright : GOETHE
44 Stories that might take a while : SAGAS
45 Distinctive peacock feature : PLUME
48 Actress Judy of “Arrested Development” : GREER
50 Trunk fastener : HASP
54 ___ Grande : RIO
55 Took a load off : SAT
59 Best-selling video game celebrated in this grid : TETRIS

6 thoughts on “0909-22 NY Times Crossword 9 Sep 22, Friday”

  1. 10:59, with about a minute or so to correct “till” to “TELL”.

    There was a version of Tetris for the PS2 called “The Next Tetris” where each block was of mixed color, and when the block landed in its spot, the colors could separate and cascade, which added an extra level of challenge to the game. Moreover, in head-to-head games, if you cleared multiple levels at once, your opponent’s board would spin around. Super fun game, but I don’t think that version appeared for any other console.

  2. 23:39. Indeed – clever construction on this one. I thought it was larger than a normal puzzle, but it’s just a 15×15 with the 4 extra letters at the bottom.

    Irish SETTER = Crossword constructor from Ireland? I think Bill has too much time on his hands these days….

    Best –

  3. 23:23, no errors. Inventive was the exact impression I got from this grid. Looked like I wouldn’t finish this one, until I finished it, last entry was TETRIS. Fell into a few traps: DNA before RNA; DISAPPEARED INTO before DISAPPEARING ACT. Did not fall for the misdirection of 53A.

  4. 21:27. Ex nihilo was new to me as well. A little perturbing. Clever construction of the Tetris grid. I liked it.

  5. 25:45
    Ooh, I had fun with the clue variety today and, of course, am appreciative of the clever grid design…can’t believe it hadn’t been done before.

    Happy weekend, everyone!

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