0921-22 NY Times Crossword 21 Sep 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Matthew Stock
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Take an L

Themed answers each comprise three words, the third being the first after it has TAKEN A letter L:

  • 60A Accept defeat, informally … or what the last words of 19-, 24- and 49-Across do vis-à-vis the first : TAKE AN L
  • 19A Innate response to a threatening situation : FIGHT OR FLIGHT
  • 24A Ante up for participation : PAY TO PLAY
  • 49A AC/DC album after “Highway to Hell” : BACK IN BLACK

Bill’s time: 7m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Legal org. : ABA

The American Bar Association (ABA) was founded back in 1878 and is a voluntary association for lawyers and law students. The ABA focuses on setting academic standards for law schools and setting ethical codes for the profession.

8 Tree pose discipline : YOGA

The tree pose in yoga is more correctly known as “vriksasana”. It involves standing on one leg, with the other leg bent and the foot placed on the inner thigh of the straight leg. The hands are placed together and raised directly over the head.

12 Actress Watson : EMMA

Emma Watson is an English actress famous for playing Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series of movies. Watson continued her education while pursuing her acting career and studied at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

17 Lofty features of many nice hotels : ATRIA

In modern architecture, an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

18 Bryce Canyon’s state : UTAH

Bryce Canyon National Park truly is a beautiful part of America. The strange thing is that Bryce isn’t a canyon at all, but rather is a natural amphitheater created by erosion of sedimentary rocks that are part of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

22 Chimney components : FLUES

The flue in a chimney is a duct that conveys exhaust gases from a fire to the outdoors. An important feature of a flue is that its opening is adjustable. When starting a fire, the flue should be wide open, maximizing airflow to get help ignition.

28 The “P” of P.B.R. : PABST

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

31 Apple picker? : EVE

In the Christian tradition, the “fall of man” took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This went against the bidding of God, and was at the urging of the serpent. As a result, Adam and Eve were banished from Eden to prevent them from becoming immortal by eating from the tree of life. The first humans had transitioned from a state of innocent obedience to a state of guilty disobedience.

32 Channel for politics : C-SPAN

C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings.

45 Potato-and-pea pastry : SAMOSA

A samosa is quite the tasty appetizer. It is usually a triangular-shaped savory that often has a vegetarian filling. The word “samosa” is primarily used on Indian menus, and the name comes from “sanbosag”, the name for the dish in Persia.

49 AC/DC album after “Highway to Hell” : BACK IN BLACK

“Back in Black” is a 1980 song by Australian heavy metal band AC/DC. The band members wrote the song as a tribute to AC/DC’s former singer Bon Scott, who died earlier that year at the age of 33.

53 Bantu language with click consonants : XHOSA

The Xhosa are a Bantu people who live mainly in the southeast of South Africa. The Xhosa language is the second-most common in the country, after Zulu. Among the list of notable Xhosa people are former President Nelson Mandela and retired Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu.

59 Mardi Gras king : REX

“Mardi Gras” translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”, and gets its name from the practice of eating rich foods on the eve of the fasting season known as Lent. Lent starts on the next day, called Ash Wednesday.

60 Accept defeat, informally … or what the last words of 19-, 24- and 49-Across do vis-à-vis the first : TAKE AN L

Take a loss (take an L)

63 Nosh on : EAT

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

65 Soviet satellite launched in 1957 : SPUTNIK

The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite towards the end of 1957 in a development that shocked the establishment in the US. Within months, President Eisenhower created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Space Race had begun …

68 Early Jurassic, e.g. : EPOCH

The Jurassic geologic period lasted from about 200 to 145 million years ago, following the Triassic and followed by the Cretaceous. Limestone strata from the period were first identified in the Jura Mountains in the Western Alps. It is this mountain range that gives us the name “Jurassic”.

Down

2 Jaunty words upon departing : I’M OFF

Our words “jaunty” and “genteel” are related in that they both derive from the French “gentil” meaning “nice, pleasing”. In modern usage, someone described as jaunty has a buoyant air. Someone described as genteel is refined in manner.

3 App with an envelope logo : GMAIL

Gmail is a free webmail service provided by Google, and my favorite of the free email services. Gmail made a big splash when it was introduced because it offered a whopping 1GB of storage whereas other services offered a measly 2-4MB on average.

5 A cappella part, say : ALTO

A cappella music is sung without instruments accompanying. “A cappella” translates from Italian as “in the manner of the chapel”.

6 Odom’s “Hamilton” role : BURR

Leslie Odom Jr. is the actor and singer who originated the role of Aaron Burr in “Hamilton” on Broadway.

11 Debris left by a phoenix : ASH

A phoenix is a fabulous bird of Greek mythology, which can also be found in the mythologies of Persia, Egypt and China. The phoenix is a fire spirit, which lives from 500 to 1000 years. At the end of its lifespan, it builds a nest for itself (a pyre) and self-ignites, burning itself and the nest, creating a pile of ashes. A young phoenix arises from the ashes and the cycle starts all over again.

13 Sucker : PATSY

The etymology of the word “patsy” meaning “fall guy” isn’t really understood. One colorful theory suggests that the term comes from an 1890s vaudeville character named Patsy Bolivar. Patsy always got the blame when something went wrong.

14 Kosher : Judaism :: ___ : Islam : HALAL

“Halal” is a term describing an action or object that is permissible under Islamic Law. In particular “halal” is used to describe food that can be consumed. Anything that is not allowed is described as “haram”.

20 Some races : HEATS

The term “heat”, meaning “qualifying race”, dates back to the 1660s. Originally, a heat was a run given to a horse to prepare it for a race, to “heat” it up.

21 Apple desktops : IMACS

When Apple chose the letter “I” prefix for the iMac in 1998, that letter “I” stood for “Internet”. Steve Jobs and his marketing team followed up with the message that I also stood for “individual, instruct, inform and inspire”.

25 Migratory seabird : TERN

Terns are a family of seabirds. They are similar to gulls, but are more slender and more lightly built. Many species of tern are known for their long-distance migrations, with the Arctic tern migrating so far that it is believed to see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

26 “Metamorphosis” poet : OVID

“Metamorphoses” is a narrative poem by Roman poet Ovid that deals with a lofty subject. It describes the history of the world from creation until the “present day”, that is Ovid’s “present day”, the era of Julius Caesar. A lot of the storyline makes use of Greek mythology (rather than Roman).

27 Rollerballs, e.g. : PENS

Rollerball pens differ from ballpoint pens in the type of ink that is delivered to the paper. Ballpoint pens use oil-based inks, and rollerball pens use water-based inks. Water-based inks tend to soak into the paper more easily and deeply, which gives the rollerball its distinctive writing quality.

29 City that’s home to the Taj Mahal : AGRA

Agra is a medieval city on the banks of the river Yamuna in India that was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
  • Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.

30 Big sound producers of the 1980s : BOOMBOXES

A boombox is a portable music player with speakers that includes an AM/FM radio as well as a recording device (originally cassette tapes, and later compact discs). The first boombox was introduced by Philips in 1966 as a “Radiorecorder”, a portable device that could record radio broadcasts without the need to use external cables and microphones. Boomboxes became very popular with young people in urban areas. The practice of playing loud music using boomboxes in neighborhoods led to the devices being labeled as “ghetto blasters”.

33 Ones providing cheep trills? : PARAKEETS

Parakeets are a group of bird species that are small parrots. The most common type of parakeet that we see in pet stores is the budgerigar.

34 Part of a neural connection : AXON

A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron. The long nerve fiber that conducts signals away from the neuron is known as the axon. The axon is surrounded by a myelin sheath, which acts as an electrical insulator and which increases the rate the impulses pass along the axon.

35 The “-spel” of “gospel,” etymologically : NEWS

“Gospel” is a term that came to us via Old English. The Old English term is “godspel” meaning “good story”, and referred to the glad tidings announced by Jesus. There are four Gospels in the Christian New Testament: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

44 Bench press muscles, informally : PECS

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

46 Improvises during a jazz performance : SCATS

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

48 Waterproof sealant : CAULK

The term “caulk” comes from old Norman French “cauquer”, and described the action of filling gaps with lime. “Caulk” has the same root as our word “chalk”.

52 Noir’s counterpart in a game of les échecs : BLANC

In French, the “roi” (king) is the most important piece in the game of “échecs” (chess).

In French, “blanc” (white) is the opposite of “noir” (black).

53 Super-vision? : X-RAY

X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901, Röntgen’s work on X-rays won him the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded.

58 River with a mythical ferryman : STYX

The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

62 Disease research org. : NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) organization is made up of 27 different institutes that coordinate their research and services. Examples of member institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Up there : HIGH
5 Legal org. : ABA
8 Tree pose discipline : YOGA
12 Actress Watson : EMMA
13 Like some stuffed toys : PLUSH
15 Two in a row? : OARS
16 Complain : MOAN
17 Lofty features of many nice hotels : ATRIA
18 Bryce Canyon’s state : UTAH
19 Innate response to a threatening situation : FIGHT OR FLIGHT
22 Chimney components : FLUES
23 Entertain : AMUSE
24 Ante up for participation : PAY TO PLAY
28 The “P” of P.B.R. : PABST
31 Apple picker? : EVE
32 Channel for politics : C-SPAN
36 Cause for much boasting : EGO
37 Some races : SPRINTS
40 Cancel : AXE
41 “No ___, Bob!” : PROB
43 “Thus …” : AND SO …
44 Ship’s front : PROW
45 Potato-and-pea pastry : SAMOSA
47 Deeps : OCEANS
49 AC/DC album after “Highway to Hell” : BACK IN BLACK
53 Bantu language with click consonants : XHOSA
55 Worst possible soccer score : NIL
56 They take advantage : USERS
59 Mardi Gras king : REX
60 Accept defeat, informally … or what the last words of 19-, 24- and 49-Across do vis-à-vis the first : TAKE AN L
63 Nosh on : EAT
64 Verb that sounds like its second letter : ARE
65 Soviet satellite launched in 1957 : SPUTNIK
66 Adjudicate : TRY
67 “OK!” : YES!
68 Early Jurassic, e.g. : EPOCH
69 Word with safe or same : … SEX

Down

1 Fashion line : HEM
2 Jaunty words upon departing : I’M OFF
3 App with an envelope logo : GMAIL
4 Emotional inhibitions : HANG-UPS
5 A cappella part, say : ALTO
6 Odom’s “Hamilton” role : BURR
7 “Like that’d ever happen” : AS IF
8 “Oh, stop it, fellas” : YOU GUYS
9 Sworn statements : OATHS
10 Whence subway air : GRATE
11 Debris left by a phoenix : ASH
13 Sucker : PATSY
14 Kosher : Judaism :: ___ : Islam : HALAL
20 Some races : HEATS
21 Apple desktops : IMACS
25 Migratory seabird : TERN
26 “Metamorphosis” poet : OVID
27 Rollerballs, e.g. : PENS
28 Hypes (up) : PEPS
29 City that’s home to the Taj Mahal : AGRA
30 Big sound producers of the 1980s : BOOMBOXES
33 Ones providing cheep trills? : PARAKEETS
34 Part of a neural connection : AXON
35 The “-spel” of “gospel,” etymologically : NEWS
38 Musician Anderson .___ : PAAK
39 Wrench or gouge : TOOL
42 Feathery accessories : BOAS
44 Bench press muscles, informally : PECS
46 Improvises during a jazz performance : SCATS
48 Waterproof sealant : CAULK
50 Patronize a tattoo parlor : INK UP
51 Abuela’s grandchild : NIETO
52 Noir’s counterpart in a game of les échecs : BLANC
53 Super-vision? : X-RAY
54 Roll call call : HERE!
57 Like blue lobsters : RARE
58 River with a mythical ferryman : STYX
61 Copy : APE
62 Disease research org. : NIH

2 thoughts on “0921-22 NY Times Crossword 21 Sep 22, Wednesday”

  1. 9:11. Only kinda sorta paid attention to the theme.

    Pretty sure that when I was choosing a language to take in high school, XHOSA wasn’t offered….

    The word SPUTNIK in Russian simply means “satellite”. So which came first, the name or the generic word? It’s as if we named the Apollo missions “Rockets”

    Best –

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