0212-21 NY Times Crossword 12 Feb 21, Friday

Constructed by: Grant Thackray
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Star Bucks, say? : NBA MVPS

The Bucks are the NBA team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who joined the league as an expansion team in 1968. There was a fan contest held to choose the team’s name, and the winning entry was “Robins”, in honor of Wisconsin’s state bird. However, the judges opted for “Bucks”, the second-most popular choice and a reference to the state’s official wild animal, the white-tailed deer.

15 Gal Gadot, by birth : ISRAELI

Gal Gadot is an actress and former Miss Israel. She played Gisele Yashar in the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, and then began portraying Wonder Woman in superhero movies.

21 Let someone know if you can go : RSVPED

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

24 “___ be in England …” : OH TO

Robert Browning met fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett in 1845. Elizabeth was a sickly woman, confined to her parents’ house in Wimpole Street in London, largely due to the conservative and protective nature of her father. Robert and Elizabeth eventually eloped in 1846, and lived in self-inflicted exile in Italy. Away from the country of his birth, Browning was moved to write his now famous “Home Thoughts, From Abroad”, the first line of which is “Oh, to be in England …”

25 Sister channel of HGTV : TLC

The cable channel known today as TLC started out life as The Learning Channel. Programming on TLC was originally focused on educational content, but today there is an emphasis on reality television.

28 Carrier for many a 15-Across : EL AL
(15A Gal Gadot, by birth : ISRAELI)

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Famously, El Al only operates six days a week, not flying on the Sabbath.

32 Company whose most famous product once claimed it “does what Nintendon’t” : SEGA

Sega is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out 1940 in the US as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.

33 Fail miserably : TANK

Apparently, the first use of the verb “to tank” to mean “to lose or fail” can be pinpointed quite precisely. Tennis great Billie Jean King used the verb in that sense in an interview with “Life” magazine in 1967, with reference to male players. A more specific use of “tanking” in recent years is “deliberately losing” a contest.

36 One of the few gemstones that naturally occur in a single color (olive green) : PERIDOT

Olivine is a relatively common mineral, but is rarely found with purity that is sufficient for use as a gemstone. When the olivine is pure enough to be used as a gem, it is called “peridot”. Peridot is always olive green in color, with its color intensity a function of how much iron is in the stone.

40 Russian prince nicknamed “Moneybag” : IVAN I

Ivan I was Prince of Moscow from 1325, succeeding his older brother Yuri III, who in turn succeeded their father Daniil Aleksandrovich. Daniil was the first Prince of Moscow, the first in a long line that culminated in Ivan the Terrible, who became the first Tsar of Russia.

41 It may be added to the mix : CHEX

Chex Mix is a party mix that includes Chex cereal as a major ingredient. The first recipe appeared on boxes of Chex cereal in 1952.

44 Sum of the first three prime numbers : TEN

The first three prime numbers are 2,3 and 5.

45 Beast vanquished by Oedipus : SPHINX

In Greek mythology, the creature known as the Sphinx has the body of a lion, the wings of a bird and the face of a woman. The Sphinx threatened to strangle and devour any person who could not answer a famous riddle: “Which creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?” Oedipus was able to save himself by answering correctly “Man”. The idea is that a man crawls on all fours as a baby, and then walks on two feet as an adult, and walks with a cane in old age. “Sphinx” is actually a Greek word, meaning “the strangler” …

47 Bath occupant, say : BRIT

Bath is a beautiful city in South West England of which I have very fond memories. It is an old Roman spa town, and the city’s name comes from the Roman baths that have been excavated and restored.

50 Semisynthetic fabrics : RAYONS

Rayon is a little unusual in the textile industry in that it is not truly a synthetic fiber, but nor can it be called a natural fiber. Rayon is produced from naturally occurring cellulose that is dissolved and then reformed into fibers.

54 Dangerous compound to mix with bleach : AMMONIA

Ammonia is a colorless gas with a very strong smell, and a chemical formula NH3. The name “ammonia” comes from salt deposits (actually the salt “ammonium chloride”) that the Romans collected near the Temple of Amun in ancient Libya.

61 Italian dessert topped with crumbled macaroons : TORTONI

Biscuit Tortoni is an ice cream dessert made with eggs and heavy cream and usually enhanced with a couple of teaspoons of rum. “Tortoni” was apparently an 18th-century owner of an Italian café in Paris.

62 It flows with the wind : LEE TIDE

A leeward tide (sometimes “lee tide”) is one that runs in the same direction that the wind is blowing. A windward tide, on the other hand, runs in the opposite direction to the wind. I think that the main danger with a lee tide is when a boat is at anchor. If the tide and wind are acting in concert, then the anchor is more likely to slip.

64 Player of Warren Buffett in “Too Big to Fail” : ED ASNER

Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also canceled … on the very same day.

Warren Buffett is often referred to with nicknames “Wizard of Omaha” and “Oracle of Omaha”. Despite being one of the wealthiest men in the world, Buffet lives a relatively frugal and modest life. Buffett also has a very Jeffersonian attitude towards the role his wealth plays within his family. He has set up his estate so that his children will inherit enough money to be independent, but the vast majority of his assets are going to charity, both before and after he dies. My hero …

“Too Big to Fail” is a 2009 book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin that describes the events surrounding the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in particular. Sorkin’s book was adapted into an excellent HBO television movie of the same name in 2011.

Down

2 Eagles’ org. : BSA

The rank of Eagle Scout was introduced by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in 1911. A candidate for Eagle Scout must have first earned a minimum of 21 merit badges, and demonstrate leadership skills and embrace Scout Spirit. Prior to 1911, the highest rank attainable in the BSA was Wolf Scout.

4 Unnecessarily spell out, in a way : MANSPLAIN

If a man explains something in a condescending manner to a woman, he is said to be “mansplaining”, a portmanteau of “man” and “explaining”.

5 Sporty Chevy : ‘VETTE

The Chevrolet Corvette was introduced to the world in 1953, and was named after the small maneuverable warship called a corvette. The “Vette” has legs. It is the only American sports car that has been around for over 50 years.

7 Noted speaker of more than 20 languages : SIRI

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

9 Cry heard by Alice in “Alice in Wonderland” : I’M LATE!

The White Rabbit is a character who appears at the very start of Lewis Carroll’s novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Alice sees the White Rabbit checking his watch and mumbling “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!” Alice then follows him down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland.

12 Scrap of food : ORT

Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.

14 Musical acuity : EAR

Acuity is an acuteness of perception, a mental sharpness. The term comes into English via French from the Latin “acuere” meaning “to sharpen”.

20 Speckled, say : ROAN

A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.

25 It’s usually around 9/10 of a pound : THE EURO

Euro coins are issued by all the participating European states. The reverse side is a common design used by all countries, whereas the obverse is a design specific to each nation. For example, the one euro coin issued by Malta features the Maltese Cross. That Maltese euro is legal tender right across the eurozone. The Irish euro features a harp.

The official name of the currency of the UK is the pound sterling (plural “pounds sterling”). The most plausible suggestion for the etymology of the term “sterling” is that it derives from the Old English “steorra” meaning “star”, with the diminutive “-ling”. The resulting “little star” or “sterling” referred to a silver penny used by the English Normans. The pound sterling is the world’s oldest currency still in use.

27 Mollycoddles : COSSETS

To cosset is to pamper. The verb comes from the noun “cosset”, which was once used for a lamb that was brought up as a pet.

To mollycoddle is to be overprotective. Back in the mid-1700s, “mollycoddle” was an insulting term used to describe a man who was weak and effeminate.

35 Bowlers : DERBY HATS

I think that a bowler hat is usually called a derby here in the US. The bowler was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of “derby” comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race (a major race held annually in England).

37 Dreaded fate for a samurai : DISHONOR

Samurai were noble military officers in medieval and early-modern Japan who served particular clans and lords. Originally known as “bushi” in Japanese, the term “samurai” was introduced in the early part of the 18th century.

46 Coating produced by oxidation : PATINA

Patina is the oxide film that develops on brass and similar metals over time. For example, it’s patina that makes Lady Liberty the lovely green color that she is.

54 4×4, for one : ATV

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

55 Rapper Kool ___ Dee : MOE

“Kool Moe Dee” is the stage name of rap artist Mohandas Dewese. Kool Moe Dee had the honor of being the first rap artist to perform at the Grammys, and was one of the first rappers to actually win a Grammy Award.

56 TV/film star who became a pro wrestler : MR T

Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie “Rocky III”. In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, “No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool”. He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called “I Pity the Fool”, and produced a motivational video called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”.

59 “___ to a Superhero,” Weird Al’s parody of “Piano Man” : ODE

“Weird Al” Yankovic is a singer-songwriter who is noted for writing and performing parodies of popular songs. Of the 150 or so such songs, the best known are probably “Eat It” (parodying “Beat It” by Michael Jackson) and “Like a Surgeon” (parodying “Like a Virgin” by Madonna).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Star Bucks, say? : NBA MVPS
8 Trap : PIE HOLE
15 Gal Gadot, by birth : ISRAELI
16 Major retail outlets : EMPORIA
17 A famous one is often connected with a school : PAINTER
18 True celeb : A-LISTER
19 It’s always up to something : STAIRCASE
21 Let someone know if you can go : RSVPED
24 “___ be in England …” : OH TO
25 Sister channel of HGTV : TLC
28 Carrier for many a 15-Across : EL AL
29 Influenced : SWAYED
31 Follower of boo or woo : -HOO
32 Company whose most famous product once claimed it “does what Nintendon’t” : SEGA
33 Fail miserably : TANK
34 Melon seeds? : IDEAS
36 One of the few gemstones that naturally occur in a single color (olive green) : PERIDOT
38 Goes past : EXCEEDS
40 Russian prince nicknamed “Moneybag” : IVAN I
41 It may be added to the mix : CHEX
43 Trick : RUSE
44 Sum of the first three prime numbers : TEN
45 Beast vanquished by Oedipus : SPHINX
47 Bath occupant, say : BRIT
48 Record finish? : -EST
49 Cope, with “it” : HACK …
50 Semisynthetic fabrics : RAYONS
52 “You can figure it out” : DO THE MATH
54 Dangerous compound to mix with bleach : AMMONIA
57 Postdelivery announcement, maybe : IT’S A BOY!
61 Italian dessert topped with crumbled macaroons : TORTONI
62 It flows with the wind : LEE TIDE
63 One who’s out of action? : VETERAN
64 Player of Warren Buffett in “Too Big to Fail” : ED ASNER

Down

1 Chilly quality : NIP
2 Eagles’ org. : BSA
3 Comedian Shaffir : ARI
4 Unnecessarily spell out, in a way : MANSPLAIN
5 Sporty Chevy : ‘VETTE
6 Accepts, as a lesser charge : PLEADS TO
7 Noted speaker of more than 20 languages : SIRI
8 Swell : PEACHY KEEN
9 Cry heard by Alice in “Alice in Wonderland” : I’M LATE!
10 Released in segments : EPISODIC
11 Trick, in slang : HOSE
12 Scrap of food : ORT
13 “No ___!” : LIE
14 Musical acuity : EAR
20 Speckled, say : ROAN
21 Letup : RESPITE
22 Arms repositories? : SLEEVES
23 Drifter : VAGRANT
25 It’s usually around 9/10 of a pound : THE EURO
26 Adds, as a disk to a disk drive : LOADS IN
27 Mollycoddles : COSSETS
30 Accessory that might hang out of a waistcoat : WATCH CHAIN
35 Bowlers : DERBY HATS
37 Dreaded fate for a samurai : DISHONOR
39 Adult and then some : XXX-RATED
42 Sharp increase : HIKE
46 Coating produced by oxidation : PATINA
51 Lost : AT SEA
52 Heap love (on) : DOTE
53 One of 3,365 in U.S. Route 20 : MILE
54 4×4, for one : ATV
55 Rapper Kool ___ Dee : MOE
56 TV/film star who became a pro wrestler : MR T
58 Storage option : BIN
59 “___ to a Superhero,” Weird Al’s parody of “Piano Man” : ODE
60 “___ out!” : YER