0522-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 May 13, Wednesday

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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: Kevin Christian
THEME: X and X Sounds … today’s themed answers each have two words, that are homophones, with the first ending with -X and the second ending with -CKS:

17A. Complaints about a Kentucky fort? : KNOX KNOCKS
36A. Place a levy on pushpins? : TAX TACKS
42A. Security for smoked salmon? : LOX LOCKS
62A. Piles of old soul records? : STAX STACKS
11D. Say no to some pro basketballers? : NIX KNICKS
35D. Critic Reed does major damage? : REX WRECKS

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 45s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … PREZ (pres!), ZESTA (Sesta!)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Afro-Cuban dance : RUMBA
The rumba is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.

10. Strained-at bug, in an idiom : GNAT
This one is new to me: “Don’t strain a gnat and swallow a camel”. The idiom comes from the Bible, the Gospel of Matthew: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” I think the idea being conveyed in the idiom is that one is making a big deal out of small thing while enduring bigger trials.

14. Crazy as ___ : A LOON
The slang term “loon” for a deranged person probably comes from the loud cry of the bird called the loon, but it is also probably influenced by the word “lunatic”.

17. Complaints about a Kentucky fort? : KNOX KNOCKS
Fort Knox is actually a US Army base, but it lends its name to the adjacent facility that is more correctly called the United States Bullion Depository. Most of the US gold reserves are in “Fort Knox”, although it isn’t the biggest gold repository in the US. That honor goes to the vault under the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan. Most of the gold stored in the New York vault belongs to foreign nations and banks.

23. “Winter’s Bone” heroine ___ Dolly : REE
“Winter’s Bone” is a 2010 drama film that was adapted from a novel of the same name by Daniel Woodrell. Star of the movie is Jennifer Lawrence, playing a teenage girl faced with the responsibility of protecting her family from eviction from their home in the Ozarks.

26. Soon, to a bard : ANON
“Anon” originally meant “at once” and evolved into today’s meaning of “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

27. Cohort of Athos : ARAMIS
The “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and their young protégé is D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for their prowess with their swords.

41. Mauna ___ : KEA
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed. So, the “real” height of the volcano (ignoring the ocean) is over 33,000 feet, which is significantly “taller” than even Mount Everest, which has an elevation of 29,029 feet above sea level.

42. Security for smoked salmon? : LOX LOCKS
Lox is a cured salmon fillet, finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon: Lachs.

44. Paul of “Mad About You” : REISER
“Mad About You” is a sitcom from the nineties that stars Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a couple living in New York City. Reiser and Hunt did well out of the success of the show, each earning one million dollars per episode for the last series.

46. “Specifically …” : TO WIT
The verb “to wit” means “to know”. The verb really isn’t used anymore except in the phrase “to wit” meaning “that is to say, namely”.

47. Hasbro action figures : GI JOES
G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I think this movie had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver at all.

49. Severely reprimand, with “out” : REAM
I must admit that I find the slang term “to ream”, with its meaning “to scold harshly”, quite distasteful. The usage of the word as a reprimand dates back to about 1950.

51. Kevin Bacon degree count : SIX
Kevin Bacon is an actor from Philadelphia who appeared first on the big screen in the 1978 comedy “National Lampoon’s Animal House”. That wasn’t to be the big break that Bacon needed though, which came with “Footloose” in 1984. A fun fact about him is that he is the subject of a popular trivia game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” in which players have to show that a particular actor can be related to Kevin Bacon in fewer than six links, with each link being a movie in which two actors appear together.

52. “Take Me Bak ___” (1972 Slade song) : ‘OME
Slade is a favorite band from my youth, a rock band from the north of England who made it big during the seventies. One of Slade’s hallmark marketing techniques was a deliberate misspelling of their song titles. Some of those titles are: “Merry Xmas Everybody”, “Gudbuy T;Jane” and my personal favorite “Cum On Feel the Noize”.

55. Polar bear’s resting spot : ICE FLOE
An ice floe is a sheet of ice that has separated from an ice field and is floating freely on the ocean.

62. Piles of old soul records? : STAX STACKS
Stax Records was founded in 1957 as Satellite Records. The biggest star to record with Stax was the great Otis Redding.

64. “My Way” lyricist : ANKA
The song “My Way” has lyrics that were written by Paul Anka in 1969, but the tune itself was composed two years earlier by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. The song had been released with completely different lyrics in France as “Comme d’habitude” (“As Usual”). When Anka heard the song on television in Paris he sought out and obtained the rights to use it himself, for free. Supposedly, “Comme d’habitude” has been recorded in more languages, by more artists, than any other song in the contemporary repertoire.

67. Classic computer game, or its island world : MYST
In the days when I played the occasional video game, the best of the bunch was undoubtedly “Myst”. It is a game full of puzzles with the player wandering through a beautifully designed interactive world.

Down
2. ___ nerve (funny bone part) : ULNAR
The ulnar nerve runs alongside the ulna (one of the bones in the lower arm). The ulnar nerve is the largest unprotected (not surrounded by muscle or bone) nerve in the human body. The nerve can be touched under the skin at the outside of the elbow. Striking the nerve at this point causes and an electric type shock, known as hitting one’s “funny bone”.

3. “Sicko” documentarian : MOORE
Like all of his films, Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary “Sicko” tends to polarize the audience. The film deals with the health care system in the United States, comparing it with the systems in place in other countries. Having lived in two of the countries covered in the movie, France and the UK, I can attest that the basic facts presented about those foreign health care systems are accurate. Now Moore’s style of presentation of those facts … that might give rise to some debate …

5. Hippie’s cross : ANKH
The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life”. The ankh wasn’t just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world).

6. For the time being : PRO TEM
“Pro tempore” can be abbreviated to “pro tem” or “p.t.” “Pro tempore” is a Latin phrase that best translates as “for the time being”. It is used to describe a person who is acting for another, usually a superior.

7. “Arabian Nights” menace : ROC
The mythical roc is a huge bird of prey, reputedly able to carry off and eat elephants.

8. “Benevolent” order : ELKS
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome.

11. Say no to some pro basketballers? : NIX KNICKS
The New York Knickerbockers team is one of only two founding members of the original National Basketball Association that still plays in its original home city. The other is the Boston Celtics.

12. On the calm side : ALEE
“Alee” is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing “aweather”.

22. Where “K-I-S-S-I-N-G” occurs, as taunting kids say : IN A TREE
The somewhat cruel kid’s rhyme goes:

“Jack” and “Jill” sitting in a tree:
K-I-S-S-I-N-G
First comes love,
then comes marriage,
then comes baby in a golden carriage!

25. Cell division : MITOSIS
Mitosis is the process by which the complement of chromosomes in a cell nucleus replicates and then divides into two identical sets of new chromosomes. Mitosis is followed by division of the cell itself, resulting in two identical cells. Meiosis is a special type of cell division that results in reproductive cells that have half the full complement of chromosomes. The reproductive cells join together, with one cell coming from each parent, to form a new cell with a full complement of chromosomes. That new cell develops into offspring that have characteristics of both parents.

31. ___-Ball (arcade game) : SKEE
Skee Ball is that arcade game where you roll balls up a ramp trying to “bounce” it into rings for varying numbers of points. The game was first introduced in Philadelphia, in 1909.

32. Despot until 1917 : TSAR
The former Soviet Union (USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and was comprised of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

34. Suffix with buck : -AROO
The American English word “buckaroo” comes from “vaquero”, the Spanish for “cowboy”.

35. Critic Reed does major damage? : REX WRECKS
Rex Reed is a film critic who used to co-host “At the Movies”.

37. Reproduces, in a way : XEROXES
Xerox was founded in 1906 in Rochester, New York and originally made photographic paper and equipment. Real success came for the company in 1959 when it introduced the first plain-paper photocopier. Xerox named Ursula Burns as CEO in 2009, the first African American woman to head up a S&P 100 company. Burn was also the first woman to succeed another female CEO (replacing Anne Mulcahy).

40. U.P.S. delivery: Abbr. : PKG
United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky.

48. Born under a bad sign : JINXED
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.

50. Like the north sides of some trees : MOSSY
There is a traditionally-held belief that in the northern hemisphere there is a heavier growth of moss on the north-facing side of trees. The assumption is that the sun creates a drier environment on the south side of the tree, an environment that is less conducive to the growth of moss.

53. Starbucks order : MOCHA
Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean.

54. Glacial ridge : ESKER
Starbucks is a coffee company based in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest coffeehouse company in the world and has over 19,000 stores. In the 1990s, Starbucks was opening one new store every single day! Starbucks is named after the chief mate on the Pequod in the Herman Melville book “Moby Dick”.

55. Mosque leader : IMAM
An imam is a Muslim leader, often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.

56. Big Apple sch. : CCNY
The City College of New York is a college of the City University of New York. The City College was founded as the Free Academy of the City of New York in 1847, and was the first free public institution of higher education in the whole country.

57. ___ James, singer played by Beyoncé : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

59. ‘Vette roof option : T-TOP
A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

60. Ukr. and Lith., once : SSRS
Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe that was a Soviet Republic before the dissolution of the USSR. In English we often call the country “the” Ukraine, but I am told that we should just say “Ukraine”.

The nation of Lithuania is a former Soviet Socialist Republic sitting on the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe.

63. Firth of Clyde port : AYR
Ayr is a port town on the Firth of Clyde in southwest Scotland. The famous poet Robert Burns was born just three miles from Ayr.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Afro-Cuban dance : RUMBA
6. Chief exec : PREZ
10. Strained-at bug, in an idiom : GNAT
14. Crazy as ___ : A LOON
15. Credits listing : ROLE
16. Get in a lather : RILE
17. Complaints about a Kentucky fort? : KNOX KNOCKS
19. Hatchet man : AXER
20. Hearing range : EARSHOT
21. No-goodnik : STINKER
23. “Winter’s Bone” heroine ___ Dolly : REE
24. Hebrew letter before nun : MEM
26. Soon, to a bard : ANON
27. Cohort of Athos : ARAMIS
30. Party desirables : A-LIST
33. Moved like a dragonfly : DARTED
36. Place a levy on pushpins? : TAX TACKS
38. Digger’s strike : ORE
39. Cause to topple : TIP OVER
41. Mauna ___ : KEA
42. Security for smoked salmon? : LOX LOCKS
44. Paul of “Mad About You” : REISER
46. “Specifically …” : TO WIT
47. Hasbro action figures : GI JOES
49. Severely reprimand, with “out” : REAM
51. Kevin Bacon degree count : SIX
52. “Take Me Bak ___” (1972 Slade song) : ‘OME
55. Polar bear’s resting spot : ICE FLOE
58. Bottom-line red ink : NET LOSS
61. Mid 13th-century year : MCCL
62. Piles of old soul records? : STAX STACKS
64. “My Way” lyricist : ANKA
65. Eyelid malady : STYE
66. Catchall category : OTHER
67. Classic computer game, or its island world : MYST
68. Gain from a quarterback sneak, perhaps : YARD
69. Nectar-yielding fruits : PEARS

Down
1. Do some fall cleanup : RAKE
2. ___ nerve (funny bone part) : ULNAR
3. “Sicko” documentarian : MOORE
4. Prime spot at a theater : BOX SEAT
5. Hippie’s cross : ANKH
6. For the time being : PRO TEM
7. “Arabian Nights” menace : ROC
8. “Benevolent” order : ELKS
9. Keebler cracker brand : ZESTA
10. Breakfast bar stuff : GRANOLA
11. Say no to some pro basketballers? : NIX KNICKS
12. On the calm side : ALEE
13. Okla., until 1907 : TERR
18. Given to wanderlust : NOMADIC
22. Where “K-I-S-S-I-N-G” occurs, as taunting kids say : IN A TREE
25. Cell division : MITOSIS
28. Double-check the addition of : RETOTAL
29. Discount, in store names : SAV
31. ___-Ball (arcade game) : SKEE
32. Despot until 1917 : TSAR
33. Dimwit : DOLT
34. Suffix with buck : -AROO
35. Critic Reed does major damage? : REX WRECKS
37. Reproduces, in a way : XEROXES
40. U.P.S. delivery: Abbr. : PKG
43. Not be rumpled, say : LIE FLAT
45. Put in solitary : ISOLATE
48. Born under a bad sign : JINXED
50. Like the north sides of some trees : MOSSY
53. Starbucks order : MOCHA
54. Glacial ridge : ESKER
55. Mosque leader : IMAM
56. Big Apple sch. : CCNY
57. ___ James, singer played by Beyoncé : ETTA
59. ‘Vette roof option : T-TOP
60. Ukr. and Lith., once : SSRS
63. Firth of Clyde port : AYR


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3 thoughts on “0522-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 May 13, Wednesday”

  1. I would agree, if the clue actually read "complains" (as in the verb). However, the clue says "complaints" (the noun), so I think the answer fits.

    That said, I can't tell you how many times I've misread a clue 🙂

    Thanks for leaving the comment.

  2. RE: Syndicated puzzle
    Sunday, Jan. 28th. Puzzle number 0121.
    The puzzle that comes up is 0522-13. 22nd of May 2013 a Wed.
    This entire week has been off after a format that was working great.
    My fault? Am I doing something wrong?

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