0506-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 6 May 13, Monday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

CROSSWORD SETTER: Joel Fagliano
THEME: Vowels to Start … today’s themed answers start with a single letter, the vowels A, E, I, O & U:

20A. E. M. Forster novel A ROOM WITH A VIEW
3D. Grade meaning “Maybe you failed, but at least you tried” E FOR EFFORT
38A. “Count on me” I WON’T LET YOU DOWN
31D. Carol with the words “hear the angel voices” O HOLY NIGHT
51A. Signature song for MC Hammer U CAN’T TOUCH THIS

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 06m 01s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Orange tubers YAMS
Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the the world than they are in this country, and are especially found in Africa.

9. Woodworking tools ADZES
An adze (also adz) is similar to an axe, but different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe’s blade is set in line with the shaft.

14. Bistro CAFE
“Bistro” was originally a Parisian slang term for a “little wine shop or restaurant”.

15. The “U” of “Law & Order: SVU” UNIT
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a spin off the TV crime drama “Law & Order”. “SVU” has been on the air since 1999, and is set in New York City. Interestingly, since 2007 there has been a very successful Russian adaptation of the show that is set in Moscow.

17. Something smashed by Abraham, in Jewish tradition IDOL
According to Jewish tradition, Abraham was the son of Terah, an idol manufacturer. Abraham was uncomfortable with the occupation, and went so far as to smash the idols in the family shop while his father was traveling.

18. Viral phenomenon MEME
A “meme” (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

19. New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die,” e.g. MOTTO
“Live Free or Die” is the motto of the state of New Hampshire. The phrase comes from General John Stark, a native of New Hampshire who served in the Revolutionary War. Stark had to miss a reunion celebration in 1809 due to poor health, and instead sent a letter with his toast “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.”

20. E. M. Forster novel A ROOM WITH A VIEW
E.M. Forster’s novel “A Room with a View” was first published in 1908. There was a fantastic screen adaptation released in 1985 directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. There is a great cast, including Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Daniel Day-Lewis.

24. Pepsi ___, sugar-free cola ONE
Pepsi ONE is so called as it has one calorie per eight-ounce serving. The artificial sweetener known as Ace-K was approved by the FDA for use in our food in 1998, and one hour after the approval was given, PepsiCo announced the introduction of Pepsi ONE …

25. Sicilian secret society MAFIA
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 some 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.

27. Farming: Prefix AGRO-
The prefix agro- (and agri-) come from the Greek word “agros” meaning “field”.

34. Part of the Justice Dept. that conducts raids ATF
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice. The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

37. Chips ___! (cookie brand) AHOY
Chips Ahoy! is a Nabisco brand of chocolate chip cookies.

42. Enclosed body of water on a tropical island LAGOON
A lagoon is a shallow body of water, usually separated from the sea by sandbar or reef. The term comes from the Italian “laguna”, the word for a pond or lake. The original “laguna” is the “Laguna Veneta”, the enclosed bay in the Adriatic Sea on which Venice is located. In 1769, Captain Cook was the first to apply the word “lagoon” to the body of water inside a South Seas atoll.

43. Harper ___, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” LEE
Nelle Harper Lee is an author from Monroeville, Alabama. Lee wrote only one novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and yet that contribution to the world of literature was enough to earn her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Harper Lee was a close friend of fellow author Truman Capote who was the inspiration for the character named “Dill” in her novel.

45. Fe, chemically IRON
Iron has the chemical symbol Fe, from the Latin word for iron … “ferrum”.

48. General on a Chinese menu TSO
General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

51. Signature song for MC Hammer U CAN’T TOUCH THIS
Rapper MC Hammer (aka Hammer and Hammertime) was born Stanley Kirk Burrell, and was very popular in the 80s and 90s. Being around that early, MC Hammer is considered to be one of the forefathers of rap. Nowadays, MC Hammer is a preacher, and uses the initials MC to stand for “Man of Christ”.

58. Bulgaria’s capital SOFIA
Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Natives pronounce the name “Sofia” with the emphasis on the “o”, while the rest of us tend to stress the “i”. Bulgarians do agree with us though when it comes to the girl’s name “Sofia”, then they stress the “i” like we do!

59. Symbol in the center of a Scrabble board STAR
The game of Scrabble has been produced in many international versions, and each of these editions has its own tile distribution to suit the local language. For example, in English we have two tiles worth ten points: one “Q” and one “Z”. If you play the game in French then there are five tiles worth ten points: one “K”, one “W”, one “X”, one “Y” and one “Z”.

60. Turkish title AGHA
“Aga” (also “agha”) is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

62. Yellowstone and Yosemite PARKS
Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park to be established in the world, when it was designated as such by President Grant in 1872. What a great tradition it started! The American National Parks truly are a treasure.

President Abraham Lincoln passed a bill in 1864 creating the Yosemite Grant, which was the first piece of federal legislature that set aside park land for preservation and public use. The Yellowstone Grant paved the way for the creation of Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park in 1872.

64. Breakfast chain, briefly IHOP
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests …

Down
3. Grade meaning “Maybe you failed, but at least you tried” E FOR EFFORT
Apparently “E for Effort” was a WWII campaign in the US to help boost productivity in factories.

4. Nancy of the House of Representatives PELOSI
Nancy Pelosi is a former Speaker of the House, the 60th person to hold that position. Ms. Pelosi represents a district not far from here, which covers most of San Francisco. She is the first Californian, the first Italian-American and the first woman to be Speaker of the House. As Speaker, she was also second in line, after the Vice President, to take over if President Obama could not finish his term. That made Nancy Pelosi the highest-ranking female politician in US history.

7. “La Bohème” heroine MIMI
“La bohème” by Giacomo Puccini is the second most frequently performed opera in the US (after Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”). The lead female role in the piece is Mimì, a seamstress.

8. “Leave in,” to a proofreader STET
“Stet” is the Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

11. Penne alternative ZITI
Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends.

12. Villa d’___ ESTE
The Villa d’Este is a beautiful villa close to Tivoli near Rome, Italy.

21. Pictures that can make you dizzy OP ART
Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.

22. Jinx HOODOO
Hoodoo is a traditional African-American folk magic and spirituality has West African, Native American and European roots. Hoodoo is sometimes confused with Voodoo, especially as they both have West African connections. However, the two practices are very different.

A jinx is a charm or a spell, and the word “jinx” comes from an older word “jyng” from the 17th-century. A “jyng” was another word for the wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

29. Synthetic silk RAYON
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.

31. Carol with the words “hear the angel voices” O HOLY NIGHT
The Christmas carol known in English as “O Holy Night” is also known as “Cantique de Noël” in the original French. The melody was written by French composer Adolphe Adam, and the French lyrics are a poem called “Minuit, chrétiens” written by Placide Cappeau.

32. Home Depot rival LOWE’S
Lucius S. Lowe opened the first Lowe’s hardware store in 1921, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Lucius only knew the one store, as it was family who expanded the company after he passed away in 1940.

33. Units of force DYNES
An erg is a unit of energy or mechanical work. “Erg” comes from the Greek word “ergon” meaning “work”. A dyne is a unit of force. The name “dyne” comes from the Greek “dynamis” meaning “power, force”. Ergs and dynes are related to each other in that one erg is the amount of energy needed to move a force of one dyne over a distance of one centimeter.

36. Mama Cass ELLIOT
Cass Elliot was one of the four singers in the Mamas and the Papas, a sensational group from the sixties. Elliot was performing sold-out concerts in London in 1974 when she was found dead one morning, having had a heart attack. She was only 32 years old. Eerily, she died in the same flat (on loan from Harry Nilsson) in which the Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, would die just four years later.

47. Believers in the essential worth of all religions BAHA’IS
The Baha’i Faith is relatively new in the scheme of things, and was founded in Persia in the 1800s. One of the tenets of the religion is that messengers have come from God over time, including Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and most recently Bahá’u’lláh who founded the Baha’i Faith.

50. Film ogre voiced by Mike Myers SHREK
Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

Mike Myers does do a great British accent, witness his performance in the madcap “Austin Powers” movies. He has an advantage though, as both his parents are British, and live in Ontario, Canada.

51. Mail letters? USPS
The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.

53. Hairdo for Jimi Hendrix AFRO
Many of his contemporaries regarded Jimi Hendrix as the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music. Hendrix was from Seattle and didn’t really have a really stellar start to his working life. He failed to finish high school and fell foul of the law by getting caught in stolen cars, twice. The courts gave him the option of the army or two years in prison. Hendrix chose the former and soon found himself in the famous 101st Airborne. In the army, his less-than-disciplined ways helped him (as he would have seen it) because his superiors successfully petitioned to get him discharged after serving only one year of his two-year requirement, just to get him out of their hair.

54. Norway’s capital OSLO
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiana.

55. Great Salt Lake state UTAH
The Great Salt Lake in Utah is extremely shallow, and so the area of the lake fluctuates greatly with the changing volume of water. Back in 1963 the lake shrunk to 950 square miles, whereas in 1988 the area was measured at a whopping 3,300 square miles.

56. Hunter’s garb, for short CAMO
Our term “camouflage” evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting”.

61. Words With Friends, e.g. APP
“Words With Friends” is a word game application that can be played on smart phones and other electronic devices. “Words With Friends” is basically Scrabble under a different name, I hear.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Big first for a baby STEP
5. Orange tubers YAMS
9. Woodworking tools ADZES
14. Bistro CAFE
15. The “U” of “Law & Order: SVU” UNIT
16. Place for a watch WRIST
17. Something smashed by Abraham, in Jewish tradition IDOL
18. Viral phenomenon MEME
19. New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die,” e.g. MOTTO
20. E. M. Forster novel A ROOM WITH A VIEW
23. Glimpse ESPY
24. Pepsi ___, sugar-free cola ONE
25. Sicilian secret society MAFIA
27. Farming: Prefix AGRO-
30. Growth on old bread MOLD
34. Part of the Justice Dept. that conducts raids ATF
35. Peruse again REREAD
37. Chips ___! (cookie brand) AHOY
38. “Count on me” I WON’T LET YOU DOWN
41. Challenge DARE
42. Enclosed body of water on a tropical island LAGOON
43. Harper ___, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” LEE
44. Mexican miss: Abbr. SRTA
45. Fe, chemically IRON
46. Bottomless void ABYSS
48. General on a Chinese menu TSO
50. Bridge SPAN
51. Signature song for MC Hammer U CAN’T TOUCH THIS
58. Bulgaria’s capital SOFIA
59. Symbol in the center of a Scrabble board STAR
60. Turkish title AGHA
62. Yellowstone and Yosemite PARKS
63. Limping, say LAME
64. Breakfast chain, briefly IHOP
65. Wade noisily SLOSH
66. “Now I get it” OH OK
67. Call it a day STOP

Down
1. Biol. or chem. SCI
2. “Look what I did!” TADA!
3. Grade meaning “Maybe you failed, but at least you tried” E FOR EFFORT
4. Nancy of the House of Representatives PELOSI
5. Scrumptious YUMMY
6. All over again ANEW
7. “La Bohème” heroine MIMI
8. “Leave in,” to a proofreader STET
9. “This is the worst!” AW, MAN!
10. Sent up the wall DROVE MAD
11. Penne alternative ZITI
12. Villa d’___ ESTE
13. Put in the overhead bin, say STOW
21. Pictures that can make you dizzy OP ART
22. Jinx HOODOO
25. Some motel employees MAIDS
26. Fighting (with) AT WAR
27. Toward the back AREAR
28. Beginning, informally GET-GO
29. Synthetic silk RAYON
31. Carol with the words “hear the angel voices” O HOLY NIGHT
32. Home Depot rival LOWE’S
33. Units of force DYNES
36. Mama Cass ELLIOT
39. Tidy types NEATNIKS
40. Not fitting UNAPT
47. Believers in the essential worth of all religions BAHA’IS
49. Secret supply STASH
50. Film ogre voiced by Mike Myers SHREK
51. Mail letters? USPS
52. Unwanted stocking stuffer COAL
53. Hairdo for Jimi Hendrix AFRO
54. Norway’s capital OSLO
55. Great Salt Lake state UTAH
56. Hunter’s garb, for short CAMO
57. “Go on, git!” SHOO!
61. Words With Friends, e.g. APP

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Posted by Bill Butler
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