1121-22 NY Times Crossword 21 Nov 22, Monday

Constructed by: Brandon Koppy
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: World Cup

Themed answers are all things heard at a WORLD CUP soccer match:

  • 64A International event where 17-, 28- and 48-Across can be heard : WORLD CUP
  • 17A South African horn that produces only one note : VUVUZELA
  • 28A Repetitive cry of encouragement : OLE! OLE! OLE! OLE! OLE!
  • 48A Reeeeeeeeally long celebratory cry : GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!

Bill’s time: 6m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Largest of the Greek islands : CRETE

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands, and figures heavily in Greek mythology. Zeus was born in a cave at Mount Ida, the highest peak on the island. Crete was also home to the Labyrinth where the Minotaur was slain by Theseus. Icarus and Daedalus, after having crafted the Labyrinth, escaped from the island using wings that they crafted.

17 South African horn that produces only one note : VUVUZELA

A vuvuzela is a simple horn that produces a loud monotone note. The vuvuzela is a big hit with soccer fans in South Africa, and is now heard in stadiums all around the world after it was introduced to us in the 2010 FIFA World Cup that was held in South Africa. That said, many facilities and organizations are now banning the vuvuzela given that the noise levels produced can actually cause hearing loss.

21 Having a thermal exhaust port lead straight to the reactor of your Death Star, e.g. : FLAW

In the “Star Wars” universe, a Death Star is a huge space station that is the size of a moon. A Death Star is armed with a superlaser that can destroy entire planets.

23 California’s ___ Fernando Valley : SAN

The San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County is home to almost 2 million people, as well as some of the largest film studios, e.g. Warner Bros. and Walt Disney. Back in the 1970s, “the Valley” was also home to a multibillion-dollar pornography industry and many adult film production companies. This gave rise to some inventive nicknames, such as Porn Valley, Silcone Valley and San Pornando Valley.

24 Musical symbol resembling an ampersand : CLEF

“Clef” is the French word for “key”. In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on a stave. The bass clef is also known as the F-clef, the alto clef is the C-clef, and the treble clef is the G-clef.

Back in the day, when reciting the alphabet, it was common to emphasize that some letters could be used as a word in itself. One would say “A per se A, B, C, D … I per se I, J, K, L … denoting that the letters A and I are also their own words. It was common to add the & symbol at the end of the recitation, as if it were a 27th letter. So the alphabet ended with “X, Y, Z, & (and) per se and”. This “and per se and” statement was slurred to “ampersand”, giving the name that we use today for the & symbol.

28 Repetitive cry of encouragement : OLE! OLE! OLE! OLE! OLE!

In Spanish, a “fútbol” (football, soccer) supporter might shout “olé!” (bravo!).

34 Cheadle of the Avengers films : DON

Don Cheadle is a Hollywood actor who is perhaps best known for his lead role in the 2004 drama “Hotel Rwanda” that deals with the harrowing subject of genocide. Since then, Cheadle has been very active in campaigns to end genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

37 Air pollution portmanteau : SMAZE

“Smaze” is a weather phenomenon, a smoky haze that is like a fog but less damp. The term is a portmanteau of “smoke” and “haze”.

40 Mythical river of the underworld : 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”.

47 Rock’s ___ Leppard : DEF

Def Leppard is a hard rock band from Sheffield in England. Drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in a car crash, severed by an incorrectly-worn seat belt. With the encouragement of the band, he returned to the lineup by using a specially designed electronic drum set. Amazing indeed …

53 Harrison Ford’s “Star Wars” role : HAN SOLO

Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

55 Football stat: Abbr. : ATT

In football, a quarterback’s (QB’s) performance can be measured by attempts (ATT), a statistic (stat).

56 Salsas, e.g. … or salsa moves : DIPS

“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

The genre of music called salsa is a modern interpretation of various Cuban traditional music styles.

62 Kevin ___, former “Weekend Update” anchor on “S.N.L.” : NEALON

Actor and comedian Kevin Nealon is probably still best known for his time with the “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) cast from 1986 until 1995. He’s also a regular on the excellent Showtime comedy drama “Weeds” that ran from 2005 until 2012.

64 International event where 17-, 28- and 48-Across can be heard : WORLD CUP

The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the sport of soccer. The competition has been held every four years (excluding the WWII years) since the inaugural event held in Uruguay in 1930. The men’s World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, even outranking the Olympic Games. And, the women’s World Cup is fast catching up …

66 Requiring rare knowledge : ARCANE

Something that is arcane is understood by only a few, is something that might be described as mysterious.

67 Yellowfin 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.

68 Rowlands of “Gloria” : GENA

Gena Rowlands is an actress best known for the films made with her husband, actor and director John Cassavetes. Notably, Rowlands played a lead role opposite James Garner in the weepy, weepy 2004 film “The Notebook”. “The Notebook” was directed by her son Nick Cassavetes. Rowlands was nominated for Oscars for her performances in two films: “Gloria” (1980) and “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974).

69 Some eye sores : STYES

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

70 Big name in S.U.V.s : GMC

GMC is a division of General Motors (GM) that was established in 1901 and started out as “GMC Truck”.

71 What was all about Eve? : EDEN

According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers, including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

Down

3 Goddesslike pop or opera star : DIVA

The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. It is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

4 It means “plaster” in Italian : STUCCO

Stucco is a decorative coating that is applied to walls and ceilings. “Stucco” is the Italian name for the material, and a word that we imported into English.

5 Particulars, slangily : THE DEETS

“Deets” is slang for “details”.

6 N.Y.C.-based pioneer in instant messaging : AOL

Even though instant messaging (sending and receiving IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

12 Train service to 33 countries : EURAIL

In my days as a student, the way to backpack around Europe was using a Europass. Nowadays that is known as a Eurail pass. The Eurail pass gives you access to most trains (and some shipping lines) right across the continent.

16 ___ alla vodka : PENNE

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish with a sauce made of vodka, cream, tomatoes, onions and sausage or bacon.

18 Alternative to Venmo : ZELLE

Venmo is a smartphone payment app that is now owned by PayPal. The first version of the product was introduced in 2009 by two entrepreneurs who had met as freshman students at the University of Pennsylvania. They sold the company in 2012 for over $26 million, and then PayPal acquired it the following year for a whopping $800 million. I wonder if PayPal ever buys blogs …

22 Author Harper ___ : LEE

Nelle Harper Lee was an author from Monroeville, Alabama. For many years, Lee had only one published novel to her name, i.e. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That contribution to the world of literature was enough to earn her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Pulitzer Prize. Harper Lee was a close friend of fellow author Truman Capote who was the inspiration for the character named “Dill” in her novel. Lee was all over the news in 2015 as she had published a second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman”. The experts seem to be agreeing that “Go Set a Watchman” is actually the first draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Lee passed away less than a year after “Go Set a Watchman” hit the stores.

25 Latte art medium : FOAM

“Latte art” is the name given to the designs that can be drawn on the surface of coffee drinks. Some of those designs can be quite intricate.

27 Co. honchos : CEOS

Chief executive officer (CEO)

“Honcho” is a slang term meaning “leader”. The word comes to us from the Japanese military, in which language a “hancho” is a “squad” (han) “leader” (cho).

28 Sappho’s “___ to Aphrodite” : ODE

Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet born on the Greek island of Lesbos. Sappho was much admired for her work, although very little of it survives today. She was renowned for writing erotic and romantic verse that dealt with the love of women as well as men. It was because of this poetry that the word “lesbian” (someone from Lesbos) is used to describe a gay woman.

31 Grassy plain in South America : LLANO

Llano is the Spanish word for “plain, flat region”.

38 Places to find lions, tigers and bears : ZOOS

The world’s first zoo opened in Britain in 1820. Now known as “London Zoo”, the facility was referred to back then as the “Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society of London”. The term “zoo” is a shortening of “zoological”.

39 Requiring rare knowledge : ESOTERIC

Something described as esoteric is meant only for a select few with special knowledge. The term “esoteric” comes from the Greek “esoterikos” meaning “belonging to an inner circle”.

42 Athletic org. with a 2020 reboot : XFL

The XFL was an American Football league that only survived for one season. The intention of the league was to provide football fans with something to watch in the off-season, but the fans didn’t bother. There was discussion when the league was founded that “XFL” would stand for “Extreme” Football League, but the decision was made to let the “X” stand for nothing at all. The XFL was revived in 2020.

48 Accra’s country : GHANA

Accra sits on Ghana’s coast and is a major seaport as well as the country’s capital city. The name “Accra” comes from a local word “Nkran” meaning “ants”, a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.

49 Old westerns, informally : OATERS

The term “oater” that is used for a Western movie comes from the number of horses seen, as horses love oats!

50 QB protection squads : O-LINES

Offensive line (O-line)

51 Alley ___ : OOP

“Alley Oop” is a comic strip that ran for four decades starting in 1932. “Alley Oop” was drawn by V. T. Hamlin. The title character lived in the prehistoric kingdom of Moo, although for much of the strip’s life, Alley Oop had access to a time machine. Alley Oop also had a girlfriend called Ooola. I had assumed that Ooola’s name was a play on “hula hoop”, but that little toy wasn’t invented until the 1950s (a kind blog reader informs me) …

57 Branded freebies at an event : SWAG

Swag is loot, stolen property, and a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. “Swag” is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional version of “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.

65 Unit of resistance : OHM

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Purges (of) : RIDS
5 Teensy bit : TAD
8 Largest of the Greek islands : CRETE
13 Give off, as light : EMIT
14 Tilling tool : HOE
15 “Be quiet!” : HUSH UP!
17 South African horn that produces only one note : VUVUZELA
19 Whole : ENTIRE
20 Zoned (out) : SPACED
21 Having a thermal exhaust port lead straight to the reactor of your Death Star, e.g. : FLAW
23 California’s ___ Fernando Valley : SAN
24 Musical symbol resembling an ampersand : CLEF
26 Victory of all victories : EPIC WIN
28 Repetitive cry of encouragement : OLE! OLE! OLE! OLE! OLE!
32 Word before or after spa : DAY
33 List-ending abbr. : ET AL
34 Cheadle of the Avengers films : DON
35 The “E” of 27-Down, for short : EXEC
37 Air pollution portmanteau : SMAZE
40 Mythical river of the underworld : STYX
43 Small but important machine part : COG
45 Inquisitive to a fault : NOSY
47 Rock’s ___ Leppard : DEF
48 Reeeeeeeeally long celebratory cry : GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!
53 Harrison Ford’s “Star Wars” role : HAN SOLO
54 Shock : STUN
55 Football stat: Abbr. : ATT
56 Salsas, e.g. … or salsa moves : DIPS
58 Puts in office : ELECTS
62 Kevin ___, former “Weekend Update” anchor on “S.N.L.” : NEALON
64 International event where 17-, 28- and 48-Across can be heard : WORLD CUP
66 Requiring rare knowledge : ARCANE
67 Yellowfin tuna : AHI
68 Rowlands of “Gloria” : GENA
69 Some eye sores : STYES
70 Big name in S.U.V.s : GMC
71 What was all about Eve? : EDEN

Down

1 Races, as an engine : REVS
2 “My turn!” : I’M UP!
3 Goddesslike pop or opera star : DIVA
4 It means “plaster” in Italian : STUCCO
5 Particulars, slangily : THE DEETS
6 N.Y.C.-based pioneer in instant messaging : AOL
7 Like many sign language users : DEAF
8 Pennypincher : CHEAPO
9 Go crazy : RUN WILD
10 Superlative suffix : -EST
11 “Unacceptable!” : THIS WON’T DO!
12 Train service to 33 countries : EURAIL
16 ___ alla vodka : PENNE
18 Alternative to Venmo : ZELLE
22 Author Harper ___ : LEE
25 Latte art medium : FOAM
27 Co. honchos : CEOS
28 Sappho’s “___ to Aphrodite” : ODE
29 Far from strict : LAX
30 Something to maintain during a conversation : EYE CONTACT
31 Grassy plain in South America : LLANO
36 Sounds from babies and pigeons : COOS
38 Places to find lions, tigers and bears : ZOOS
39 Requiring rare knowledge : ESOTERIC
41 Vote in favor : YEA
42 Athletic org. with a 2020 reboot : XFL
44 Exclamation of approval : GOOD ONE!
46 “___ regret that!” : YOU’LL
48 Accra’s country : GHANA
49 Old westerns, informally : OATERS
50 QB protection squads : O-LINES
51 Alley ___ : OOP
52 Feeling anxious : ON EDGE
57 Branded freebies at an event : SWAG
59 Included on an email, briefly : CC’ED
60 Ditty : TUNE
61 Wingtip-to-wingtip measurement : SPAN
63 “___ it on me!” : LAY
65 Unit of resistance : OHM

3 thoughts on “1121-22 NY Times Crossword 21 Nov 22, Monday”

  1. 12:12, no errors. Slow time for a Monday. Never heard of ZELLE, also needed to go back over the grid to find and fix 60D which somehow got entered as TUNA.

  2. 7:49. A little tricky for a Monday. Fitting theme for the start of the World Cup, obviously.

    Bruce – I use ZELLE all the time. It’s an app developed by the banks themselves as a means to transfer money. Best of all, it’s absolutely free. All major U.S. banks use it. Bank of America even has it as part of its own app. That said, I’m often surprised how many people have never heard of it. You’re not alone.

    After 5 years of living out west, I’m still getting used to all the STUCCO out here. I had a beautiful brick house in Houston, but I haven’t seen a brick since I left. I’ve asked why brick is never used out here and why stucco is so universally used out here, but no one seems to have a good answer.

    Best –

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