0225-19 NY Times Crossword 25 Feb 19, Monday

Constructed by: Peter Gordon
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Triathlon

Themed answers each include a leg in a TRIATHLON as a hidden word:

  • 66A Race suggested by 19-, 39- and 59-Across? : TRIATHLON
  • 19A Proceeding well : GOING SWIMMINGLY (hiding “swimming”)
  • 39A Place to bring aluminum cans : RECYCLING CENTER (hiding “cycling”)
  • 59A No longer in contention : OUT OF THE RUNNING (hiding “running”)

Bill’s time: 5m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 The Cardinals, on scoreboards : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

4 Egyptian cobra : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

12 Little Red Riding ___ : HOOD

“Little Red Riding Hood” is a fairy tale that originated in Europe and was first published in France by Charles Perrault in 1697. The title translates into French as “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge”.

14 “Do ___ others …” : UNTO

The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, and is a basis for the concept of human rights. A version of the rule used in the Christian tradition is attributed to Jesus:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

15 Former Chicago mayor Richard : DALEY

Richard J. Daley was the Mayor of Chicago for 21 years (1955-1976), making him the longest-serving mayor for the city in history. His son, Richard M. Daley, was mayor from 1989 to 2011, and was the city’s second-longest serving mayor.

16 To a sickening degree : AD NAUSEAM

To do something “ad nauseam” is to do so to a ridiculous degree, to the point of nausea. “Ad nauseam” is the Latin for “to sickness”.

21 PC key : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

23 Netflix’s “Bill ___ Saves the World” : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on PBS for four years, from 1993-97.

31 Good name for a gemologist : OPAL

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%.

35 Hungarian composer Franz : LISZT

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer and a fabulous pianist. Particularly towards the end of his life, Liszt gained a tremendous reputation as a teacher. While he was in his sixties, his teaching profession demanded that he commute regularly between the cities of Rome, Weimar and Budapest. It is quite remarkable that a man of such advanced age, and in the 1870s, could do so much annual travel. It is estimated that Liszt journeyed at least 4,000 miles every year!

43 Paris subway : METRO

The Paris Métro is the busiest underground transportation system in western Europe. The network carries about 4.5 million passengers a day, which is about the same ridership as the New York City Subway. The system took its name from the company that originally operated it, namely “La Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris”, which was shorted to “Métro”. The term “Metro” was then adopted for similar systems in cities all over the world.

44 Peter and Gordon, e.g. : DUO

Peter and Gordon’s biggest hit was “A World Without Love”. Written by Paul McCartney, it is a favorite ballad of mine. Peter Asher (the “Peter” of Peter and Gordon) had a sister Jane. Jane dated Paul McCartney, and so Peter and Gordon got to sing a lot of McCartney compositions. Later in a his career, Peter Asher became a manager and record producer. Two of Asher’s clients were James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

46 English actor Idris : ELBA

English actor Idris Elba is probably best known in North America for playing the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally appears as a disk jockey using the name “DJ Big Driis”.

49 Poseidon’s domain : SEA

Poseidon was the god of the sea in Greek mythology as well as the “Earthshaker”, the god responsible for earthquakes.

51 Jack-in-the-___ : BOX

A Jack-in-the-box is child’s toy. It’s a box with a crank handle at the side. Turning the crank causes a tune to play (usually “Pop Goes the Weasel”), and at the right moment the lid pops open and a spring loaded clown character jumps up out of the box.

52 Help wanted sign? : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

57 On the ___ vive : QUI

“On the qui vive” is a phrase that means “on the alert”. The term “qui vive?” is French for “(long) live who?” and was used as a challenge by a sentry to determine what loyalty a person had.

66 Race suggested by 19-, 39- and 59-Across? : TRIATHLON

An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked to come up with the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finished first would be called “the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is the event that everyone wants to win.

69 Prima donna : DIVA

The Italian operatic term “prima donna” is used for the lead female singer in an opera company. “Prima donna” translates from Italian as “first lady”. The lead male singer is known as the “primo uomo”. The term “prima donna assoluta” is reserved for a prima donna who is generally accepted as being an outstanding performer. We tend to use “prima donna” for a female performer who has an inflated ego.

71 0, in World Cup scores : NIL

The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the sport of soccer. The competition has been held every four years (excluding the WWII years) since the inaugural event held in Uruguay in 1930. The World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, even outranking the Olympic Games.

Down

1 Kind of carpet : SHAG

Shag carpet is one with a deep pile, one with a “shaggy” appearance.

6 ___ horse (gymnastics apparatus) : POMMEL

The pommel horse is a piece of gymnastics apparatus, one traditionally used in male events. The pommel horse was originally developed to allow soldiers practise the mounting and dismounting. There are even claims that Alexander the Great used such a piece of equipment. However, the name “pommel horse” only dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. The term “pommel” dates back to the mid-1600’s when it was first used to mean a “front peak on a saddle”. Before that, a pommel was an ornamental knob.

8 Goldie of “Snatched” : HAWN

I remember watching the ditsy character played by Goldie Hawn on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”. Hawn used to give great performances on the show, convincing everyone that she was the stereotypical dumb blonde. Well, what a great career she was to carve out for herself!

13 “S.N.L.” alum Carvey : DANA

Dana Carvey, along with the likes of Phil Hartman and Kevin Nealon, was part of the new breed of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) comedians credited with resurrecting the show in the late eighties. One of Carvey’s most popular characters was the Church Lady, and he became so associated with her that among fellow cast members Carvey was often referred to simply as “the Lady”. Another favorite Carvey character was Garth Algar who went to feature in the “Wayne’s World” movies. Carvey had open-heart surgery in 1997 to clear a blocked artery, but the surgical team operated on the wrong blood vessel. To recover, he had to have five more procedures. He ended up suing for medical malpractice and donated his $7.5 million compensation payment to charity.

14 Pittsburgh-based N.Y.S.E. company : US STEEL

US Steel was founded in 1901 with a merger of Carnegie Steel, Federal Steel and National Steel. The resulting company immediately became the world’s first billion-dollar corporation. US Steel reorganized in 1986 and changed its name to USX Corporation, but reverted to the US Steel name in 2001. I think I’m right in saying that the USX name was chosen because US Steel is traded under the symbol “X” on the New York Stock Exchange …

20 “Mamma ___!” : MIA

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

25 Sword for an Olympian : EPEE

The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

26 “The ability to step on a man’s toes without messing up the shine on his shoes,” per Harry Truman : TACT

Harry Truman wanted to go to West Point having served with the Missouri Army National Guard on active duty in WWI, but he couldn’t get in because of his poor eyesight. Young Truman didn’t have the money to pay for college anywhere else. He did manage to study for two years towards a law degree at the Kansas City Law School in the twenties, but he never finished his schooling. So, Harry S. Truman was the last US President (out of a list of ten) who did not have a college degree.

28 Compete in a slalom : SKI

“Slalom” is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word “slalam” that translates as “skiing race”. There is a longer version of the traditional slalom that is called giant slalom

30 Seven “deadly” things : SINS

The cardinal sins of Christian ethics are also known as the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins are:

  • Wrath
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Pride
  • Lust
  • Envy
  • Gluttony

32 Instrument for a Muse : LYRE

The lyre is a stringed instrument most closely associated with Ancient Greece, and with the gods Hermes and Apollo in particular. According to myth, Hermes slaughtered a cow from a sacred herd belonging to Apollo and offered it to the gods but kept the entrails. Hermes used the entrails to make strings that he stretched across the shell of a tortoise, creating the first lyre. Apollo liked the sound from the lyre and agreed to accept it as a trade for his herd of cattle.

In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:

  • Mneme (memory)
  • Melete (meditation)
  • Aoede (song)

37 Any digit in a googol after the first one : ZERO

A googol is 10 raised to the power of 100. The term “googol” was coined by the nine-year-old nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner. The uncle had asked the boy to come up with an interesting name for “a very large number”. Kasner then came up with the name “googleplex”, which he defined as 1 followed by as many zeros one could write before getting tired. He later refined to definition of a googolplex to be 10 to the power of a googol. And yes, the search engine called “Google” is a deliberate misspelling of “googol”, and Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California is called the Googleplex, a similar deliberate misspelling.

38 Big dinosaur, for short : T REX

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

47 “Close ___ no cigar” : BUT

The expression “close but no cigar” is a reference meaning that one can come close in a competition, but may not win the prize, the cigar.

48 Actor Kutcher : ASHTON

Ashton Kutcher played the character Michael Kelso on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show”. Kelso was Kutcher’s breakthrough acting role. Kutcher then starred in the sitcom “Two and a Half Men”, replacing the “disgraced” Charlie Sheen. In 2009, Kutcher became the first user on Twitter to get over 1 million followers. I wasn’t one of them …

52 Composer known as the “March King” : SOUSA

John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor from Washington, D.C. Sousa was well known for his patriotic marches and earned himself the nickname “The American March King”. He served as a member of the US Marine Band from 1868 to 1875, and after leaving the Marines learned to conduct and compose. One of the Sousa compositions that is well-known around the world is called “The Liberty Bell”, a tune used as the musical theme for BBC Television’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Sousa also wrote “Semper Fidelis”, which is the official march of the US Marine Corps.

56 Gymnast Strug : KERRI

Kerri Strug is that plucky little gymnast who made an outstanding final vault in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics despite having an injured ankle. I think we all remember her being carried off after her vault in the arms of the US team coach Bela Karolyi.

61 Iranian currency : RIAL

Rial is the name of the currency of Yemen (as well as Oman, Iran, Cambodia and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in a rial.

62 Nastase of tennis : ILIE

I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to give the crowd a laugh. After retiring from the sport, he had a few novels published (in French) during the eighties. Then Nastase went into politics, making an unsuccessful run for the mayorship of Bucharest in 1996. He made a successful run for the Romanian Senate though, and was elected senator in 2014.

63 ___ Scotia : NOVA

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia (NS) lies on the east coast of the country and is a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The area was settled by Scots starting in 1621, and Nova Scotia is Latin for “New Scotland”.

64 Pesky insect : GNAT

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and to vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 The Cardinals, on scoreboards : STL
4 Egyptian cobra : ASP
7 Bracelet trinket : CHARM
12 Little Red Riding ___ : HOOD
14 “Do ___ others …” : UNTO
15 Former Chicago mayor Richard : DALEY
16 To a sickening degree : AD NAUSEAM
18 Steal, informally : SWIPE
19 Proceeding well : GOING SWIMMINGLY (hiding “swimming”)
21 PC key : ALT
22 Harness strap : REIN
23 Netflix’s “Bill ___ Saves the World” : NYE
24 Rainy : WET
27 “Definitely so” : YES
29 Falls behind : LAGS
31 Good name for a gemologist : OPAL
33 Barely make, with “out” : EKE
35 Hungarian composer Franz : LISZT
39 Place to bring aluminum cans : RECYCLING CENTER (hiding “cycling”)
43 Paris subway : METRO
44 Peter and Gordon, e.g. : DUO
45 100% positive : SURE
46 English actor Idris : ELBA
49 Poseidon’s domain : SEA
51 Jack-in-the-___ : BOX
52 Help wanted sign? : SOS
55 Twilight time : DUSK
57 On the ___ vive : QUI
59 No longer in contention : OUT OF THE RUNNING (hiding “running”)
65 Grammarian’s concern : USAGE
66 Race suggested by 19-, 39- and 59-Across? : TRIATHLON
67 Fashion : STYLE
68 Like a thermometer that’s put in the mouth : ORAL
69 Prima donna : DIVA
70 Liability’s opposite : ASSET
71 0, in World Cup scores : NIL
72 Break a hunger strike : EAT

Down

1 Kind of carpet : SHAG
2 Big fuss : TO-DO
3 Comedian Love who co-hosts “The Real” : LONI
4 Once again : ANEW
5 Step between two floors : STAIR
6 ___ horse (gymnastics apparatus) : POMMEL
7 Music format popular in the 1990s : CD SINGLE
8 Goldie of “Snatched” : HAWN
9 Straighten : ALIGN
10 ___ all (email button) : REPLY
11 “As if!” : MY EYE!
13 “S.N.L.” alum Carvey : DANA
14 Pittsburgh-based N.Y.S.E. company : US STEEL
17 Hideous : UGLY
20 “Mamma ___!” : MIA
24 Fishhook squirmer : WORM
25 Sword for an Olympian : EPEE
26 “The ability to step on a man’s toes without messing up the shine on his shoes,” per Harry Truman : TACT
28 Compete in a slalom : SKI
30 Seven “deadly” things : SINS
32 Instrument for a Muse : LYRE
34 Conclusion : END
36 Ticket leftover : STUB
37 Any digit in a googol after the first one : ZERO
38 Big dinosaur, for short : T REX
40 Sudden loss of courage : COLD FEET
41 Fellow told to “hop on the bus” in Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” : GUS
42 Like the three branches of the U.S. government : COEQUAL
47 “Close ___ no cigar” : BUT
48 Actor Kutcher : ASHTON
50 Uncle’s wife : AUNT
52 Composer known as the “March King” : SOUSA
53 Removes from office : OUSTS
54 Doesn’t leave : STAYS
56 Gymnast Strug : KERRI
58 Like many TV broadcasts : IN HD
60 Look at with lust : OGLE
61 Iranian currency : RIAL
62 Nastase of tennis : ILIE
63 ___ Scotia : NOVA
64 Pesky insect : GNAT

10 thoughts on “0225-19 NY Times Crossword 25 Feb 19, Monday”

  1. 9:27. Decent theme for a Monday. I thought the clue for 31A “Good name for a gemologist” was unusual. Normally it’s something like STU as being a good name for a cook. But are there people named OPAL? Maybe I’ve just never heard of anyone by that name.

    Best –

  2. 5 minutes no errors. Good start to the week, even though my paper actually runs the Monday on Sunday since they don’t publish on Monday.

  3. 8:41. Stumped on “qui vive”. Fun. Loved the theme. My son is an Ironman person so at least I was familiar with that!

  4. Normal Monday cruise, but the theme seemed a bit more playful than usual. Wondered where the second A in trialthlon disappeared to, but, of course, there isn’t one. Doesn’t everybody say TRIATH-A-LON?

  5. First time I have ever solved the three 15 letter across theme answers first, before all others. But they were rather transparent.
    Didn’t bother with the fill. Typical Monday.

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