NYT Crossword 1-1-21 Complete

Happy new year, everyone! A surprising and unsurprising puzzle at the same time. Either way, not such a bad start to the 2021 crossword season. But I definitely don’t mind that the weekend is here.

I pulled out 54A Work on software: DEBUG because the origins of that word are pretty cool. Whether or not apocryphal, the story goes that there was a problem with the Harvard Mark II calculator. It turned out that the issue was a moth that was stuck in Relay 70 that Admiral Grace Hopper recorded as “First actual case of bug being found.” Now, the word “actual” may mean that the term was used metaphorically and then a literal case was found. Either way, go Admiral Hopper!

Admiral Grace Hopper in front of the Harvard Mark II Calculator https://thehistoryproject.co.uk/posts.php?id=260

The theme of this puzzle was the new year.

11D 12/31: NYE. Not an inappropriate change from referencing Bill.
51A Passé: SOLASTYEAR. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is so last-last year, and we’re still fighting it.

And then the the answers with the numbers.

37A A fifth: 20PERCENT.
39A Fast-fashion retailer: FOREVER21. I didn’t know this store still existed, but the internet says that they have a new owner as of almost a year ago that has kept the stores open.
19D Inescapable bind: CATCH22. An oft-referenced book that few have read. I’m in the majority.
38D First graduates of the new millennium, informally: 01ALUMS. The new millennium started in 2001, just like how this decade started today.

The center of the puzzle is 2021.

Finished this one in 41:23.

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