0621-24 NY Times Crossword 21 Jun 24, Friday

Constructed by: Billy Bratton
Edited by: Joel Fagliano

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 9m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Literally, “our thing” : COSA NOSTRA

Apparently, “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn several members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

16 Condescendingly spells out : 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”.

17 Chi-town daily : TRIB

“The Chicago Tribune” was first published in 1847. The most famous edition of “The Trib” was probably in 1948 when the headline was “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, on the occasion of that year’s presidential election. When it turned out that Truman had actually won, the victor picked up the paper with the erroneous headline and posed for photographs with it … a famous, famous photo, that must have stuck in the craw of the editor at the time.

19 Make sense of : PARSE

The verb “to parse” means “to state the parts of speech in a sentence”. “Parse” comes from the Latin word “pars” meaning “part”.

26 Sticky stuff on a shoe : VELCRO

The hook-and-loop fastener that we now call “Velcro” was invented in 1941 by Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer. Mestral noticed that the seeds of the burdock plant (burrs or burs) stuck to his clothes. Under the microscope he found hooks on the burrs that grabbed hold of loops in his clothing. After years of development, he came up with a way of simulating the natural hook using man-made materials, and Velcro was born.

31 One of 17 on a Clue board : DOOR

Clue is a board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

33 Nickname for a 3.2 million-year-old Australopithecus skeleton discovered in 1974 : LUCY

Hundreds of pieces of bone fossils, representing 40% of a female skeleton, were discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. The bones were dated to about 3.2 million years ago, and belonged to a hominin species known as Australopithecus afarensis. The team that worked to recover the skeleton made a habit of playing the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” loudly throughout the camp each evening. As a result, the skeleton was nicknamed “Lucy”.

35 Island that’s home to Popeye Village, a film-set-turned-theme-park : MALTA

The island state of Malta is relatively small (122 square miles), but its large number of inhabitants makes it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Malta’s strategic location has made it a prized possession for the conquering empires of the world. Most recently it was part of the British Empire and was an important fleet headquarters. Malta played a crucial role for the Allies during WWII as it was located very close to the Axis shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942, a prolonged attack by the Italians and Germans on the RAF and Royal Navy, and the people of Malta. When the siege was lifted, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta collectively in recognition of their heroism and devotion to the Allied cause. The George Cross can still be seen on the Maltese flag, even though Britain granted Malta independence in 1964.

“Popeye” is a 1980 film adaptation of the famous cartoon strip. Popeye was played by Robin Williams, and Olive Oyl by Shelley Duvall. “Popeye” was the first film in which Robin Williams made an appearance.

36 Peddled good : WARE

In its purest sense, a peddler is someone who sells his or her wares on the street or from door to door. The term probably comes from the Latin “pedarius” meaning “one who goes on foot”.

37 It erupts from time to time : GEYSER

The Great Geysir in Iceland is the first known geyser to have been discovered and documented. The name “Geysir” comes from the Icelandic and Old Norse word “geysa” meaning “to gush”. It is the Great Geysir that gives us our English word “geyser”.

41 Consideration for the Academy : OSCAR BID

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organization that gives the annual Academy Awards, also known as the “Oscars”. The root of the name “Oscar” is hotly debated, but what is agreed is that the award was officially named “Oscar” in 1939. The first Academy Awards were presented at a brunch in 1929 with an audience of just 29 people. The Awards ceremony is a slightly bigger event these days …

44 Airport with the most runways in the world (8) : O’HARE

O’Hare International was the world’s busiest airport from 1963 to 1998. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.

47 Screening org. : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

50 Feature of many a bodega : DELI

“Bodega” is a Spanish term describing a winery, or these days a grocery store.

51 Sign of sluggishness? : SLIME TRAIL

Snails and slugs are referred to collectively as gastropods. There are many, many species of gastropods, found both on land and in the sea. Gastropods with shells are generally described as snails, and those species without shells are referred to as slugs.

54 Rare shots : HOLES IN ONE

One well-documented hole in one (ace) was during a round of the British Open in 1973. American golfer Gene Sarazen achieved the feat that day, at the age of 71. A less well-documented series of holes in one was reported by the North Korean press in a story about the Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The report was that Kim Jong-il scored 11 holes in one in his first and only round of golf.

55 Shares on X, for short : RTS

Retweet (RT)

Down

2 Shape of the Crab Nebula : OVAL

The Crab Nebula is located in the constellation of Taurus. It was discovered in 1731 by English astronomer John Bevis, although it appears to correspond to a bright supernova reported by Chinese astronomers in 1054.

4 Green and others : ALS

Al Green is a gospel and soul music singer. He was born in Arkansas, where he started out as a gospel singer and moved into R&B. In 1974, Green was assaulted by a girlfriend who burned him badly on much of his body by pouring boiling grits over him (and then she committed suicide). The incident changed Green’s life and he turned to the church, becoming a pastor in Memphis in 1976. He continued to record music, but never really enjoyed the same success that he had in the early seventies with hits like “Let’s Stay Together” and “I’m Still In Love With You”.

5 Dummies : pacifiers :: ___ : diapers : NAPPIES

“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term “diaper” was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, “diaper” was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.

11 It takes suits from around the globe : WORLD COURT

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is commonly referred to as the World Court, and is based in the Hague in the Netherlands. Housed in a building known as the Peace Palace, the ICJ is the main judicial branch of the United Nations. One of the court’s functions is to settle disputes between UN member states. The US no longer accepts the jurisdiction of the ICJ, after the court’s 1986 decision that the USA’s covert war against Nicaragua was in violation of international law. The UN Security Council is charged with enforcing the ICJ rulings, and so the US used its veto power on the council in the Nicaragua v. United States case.

12 Vulcans, e.g. : ALIEN RACE

Vulcans are an alien race in the “Star Trek” franchise. The most famous (half-) Vulcan is Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy. Spock’s father is a Vulcan, and his mother is human.

20 Haggis ingredient : SUET

Haggis is the national dish of Scotland. It is a savory pudding made from the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep, mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices. The pudding was originally cooked in the sheep’s stomach but these days is usually prepared in a sausage casing.

21 Title in children’s literature : BR’ER

Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The “Uncle Remus” stories are adaptations of African American folktales that Harris collected across the Southern States. “Br’er” is an abbreviated form of “brother”.

23 Dutch ___ : OVEN

A Dutch oven is a cooking pot with a tight lid, usually made from cast-iron. Back in Ireland we call them casserole dishes.

24 Rings given to a lover : BOOTY CALLS

“Booty call” is a slang meaning “request for casual sexual relations”.

25 One might be nesting : DOLL

Matryoshka dolls are those wooden nesting dolls that are on sale at every tourist trap across Russia. “Matryoshka” is Russian for “little matron”.

27 Page for a bookmaker : DOPE SHEET

Our use of the word “dope” to mean “inside information” probably comes from horse racing. The idea is that a bettor might have information about which horse has been drugged (doped) to influence its performance.

35 Paltry : MERE

The contemporary adjective “paltry” comes from an older use of “paltry” as a noun meaning a “worthless thing”.

38 Sights on the Bollywood red carpet : SARIS

“Bollywood” is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay” (the former name of Mumbai), and “Hollywood”.

40 First Stuart king of England : JAMES I

The Royal House of Stewart (also “Stuart”) came to power in Scotland in the late 14th century, starting with Robert II of Scotland. The Stewarts extended their power to England and Ireland when the Tudor line became extinct as Queen Elizabeth I died without issue. James VI of Scotland became James I of England at that time. The last Stuart monarch was Anne, Queen of Great Britain who also died without issue, despite going through seventeen pregnancies. Assuming Prince William, Duke of Cambridge becomes the British monarch one day, then there will be a Stewart descendant on the throne again. William is the son of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Diana was descended from the Stewart monarchs.

42 Dome-icile? : IGLOO

The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”. The walls of igloos are tremendous insulators, due to the air pockets in the blocks of snow.

46 Pinged online : IM’ED

In the world of computer science, a ping is a test message sent over a network between computers to check for a response and to measure the time of that response. We now use the verb “to ping” more generally, meaning to send someone a message, usually a reminder.

47 Home of a 20th-century art colony : TAOS

The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began settling in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.

52 Translation material : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA. An added complication is that small changes in the sequence of amino acids specified by DNA sometimes takes place in a process known as RNA editing. This RNA editing occurs after the nucleotide sequence has been transcribed from DNA, but before it is translated into protein.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Literally, “our thing” : COSA NOSTRA
11 What might come between “that” and “that” : … WAS …
14 They go downhill fast : AVALANCHES
15 Notes taken by a single person? : SOLO
16 Condescendingly spells out : MANSPLAINS
17 Chi-town daily : TRIB
18 Colorado’s ___ Mountains : ELK
19 Make sense of : PARSE
20 Industry for marketing majors : SALES
21 Scrap : BIT
22 “That seems like a bad idea” : I WOULDN’T
24 Scottish fold and Russian blue, e.g. : BREEDS
26 Sticky stuff on a shoe : VELCRO
27 Roughly half of mice : DOES
28 Genesis : ONSET
30 Piece of wall décor at a lake house, perhaps : OAR
31 One of 17 on a Clue board : DOOR
32 Like some covers : BLOWN
33 Nickname for a 3.2 million-year-old Australopithecus skeleton discovered in 1974 : LUCY
34 Word at the bottom of some marketing emails : OPT
35 Island that’s home to Popeye Village, a film-set-turned-theme-park : MALTA
36 Peddled good : WARE
37 It erupts from time to time : GEYSER
39 Word with failure or terror : ABJECT …
41 Consideration for the Academy : OSCAR BID
43 In China, it’s 1 at birth : AGE
44 Airport with the most runways in the world (8) : O’HARE
45 Filth : GRIME
47 Screening org. : TSA
50 Feature of many a bodega : DELI
51 Sign of sluggishness? : SLIME TRAIL
53 Fish that can survive for several hours on land : EELS
54 Rare shots : HOLES IN ONE
55 Shares on X, for short : RTS
56 “Hang on!” : HOLD IT A SEC!

Down

1 Turned up : CAME
2 Shape of the Crab Nebula : OVAL
3 Didn’t go down well? : SANK
4 Green and others : ALS
5 Dummies : pacifiers :: ___ : diapers : NAPPIES
6 Like much adult programming : ON LATE
7 Leave damaged : SCAR
8 🚨 “Serious situation developing!” 🚨 : THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
9 Extend, in a way : RENEW
10 Fool : ASS
11 It takes suits from around the globe : WORLD COURT
12 Vulcans, e.g. : ALIEN RACE
13 Blue yarn? : SOB STORY
15 Repeat an interviewer’s question, perhaps : STALL
20 Haggis ingredient : SUET
21 Title in children’s literature : BR’ER
23 Dutch ___ : OVEN
24 Rings given to a lover : BOOTY CALLS
25 One might be nesting : DOLL
27 Page for a bookmaker : DOPE SHEET
29 Covid test component : SWAB
31 Holier-than-thou type : DO-GOODER
32 Biting comment : BARB
33 Intertwine : LACE
35 Paltry : MERE
36 “Yeah, yeah, yeah” : WE GET IT
38 Sights on the Bollywood red carpet : SARIS
40 First Stuart king of England : JAMES I
42 Dome-icile? : IGLOO
46 Pinged online : IM’ED
47 Home of a 20th-century art colony : TAOS
48 Function that can be derived from a unit circle : SINE
49 ___ Burks, N.B.A. shooting guard since 2011 : ALEC
51 Sound in the stacks : SHH!
52 Translation material : RNA

5 thoughts on “0621-24 NY Times Crossword 21 Jun 24, Friday”

    1. (Later) Trying to remember where I “bogged down”: I’ve heard the phrase, but I’m not familiar with “DOPE sheet”, so that was part of the problem. For “One might be nesting”, I came up with FOWL and BOWL before DOLL. And I think I have a little less negative view of a DO-GOODER than the clue “Holier-than-thou type” would seem to suggest. A good puzzle, in any case … 🙂.

  1. 16:38. Same experience as Dave. Went ODDSSHEET on 27D at first and stuck with it for far too long. Once I erased that entire section and refocused, things finally made sense.

    On a side note, there appears to be a subtle bump up in the difficulty levels over the last 3 days. If true, I’m curious how tomorrow’s grid is going to turn out. (Hoping the setter won’t be Sam Ezersky or Rich Norris ;-))

    Cheers, all!

  2. 29:41, nothing unusual about my usually slow time. Started it In Minneapolis, finished it in Fargo, so lots of starts and stops

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