0508-19 NY Times Crossword 8 May 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Stu Ockman
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Table Tennis

Themed answers each related to the sport of TABLE TENNIS. The circled letters in the grid spell out, and represent, a TABLE (TENNIS), NET, and BACKSPIN SERVE:

  • 37A Olympic sport since 1988 : TABLE TENNIS
  • 15A Its version of 37-Across was popular in the 1970s-’80s : ATARI
  • 63A With 65-Across, another name for 37-Across : PING …
  • 65A See 63-Across : … PONG
  • 30D [Item depicted here] : NET

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 8m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Arm twister? : ULNA

The humerus is the long bone in the upper arm. The bones in the forearm are the radius and ulna. “Ulna” is the Latin word for “elbow”, and “radius” is Latin for “ray”.

5 “Glengarry Glen Ross” playwright : MAMET

David Mamet is best known as a playwright, and indeed won a Pulitzer for his 1984 play “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Mamet is also a successful screenwriter and received Oscar nominations for the films “The Verdict” (1982) and “Wag the Dog” (1997).

“Glengarry Glen Ross” is a 1992 film adapted by David Mamet from his own award-winning stage play of the same name. This is a film with a very strong cast, including Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin and Kevin Spacey. The title comes from two real estate developments being pushed by the sales office, namely Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms.

15 Its version of 37-Across was popular in the 1970s-’80s : ATARI
(37A Olympic sport since 1988 : TABLE TENNIS)

Do you remember the arcade video game that was like a game of tennis, with paddles moving up and down to hit what looked like a ball, over what looked like a net? Well, that was Pong. The arcade version of Pong was introduced in 1972, with Atari selling a home version through Sears for the Christmas market in 1975.

16 Rapper/actor on “Law & Order: SVU” : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

17 Pro-war sort : HAWK

The dove is a symbol of peace, and the hawk is a symbol of war.

18 Hart of “Chicago” : ROXIE

The wonderful 1975 musical “Chicago” is based on a 1926 play of the same name written by a news reporter called Maurine Dallas Watkins. Watkins had been assigned to cover the murder trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the “Chicago Tribune”, and used the story that unfolded as the basis for her play. Annan became the character Roxie Hart, and Gaertner became Velma Kelly. I’ve only ever seen the movie version of “Chicago” and never a live performance …

20 I.C.U. hookups : IVS

One might see an intravenous drips (IV) in an intensive care unit (ICU) or an operating room (OR).

21 Encroach (on) : IMPINGE

Our verb “to encroach” came into English meaning “to acquire, get”, from the Old French “encrochier” meaning the same thing. The Old French term literally translated as “to catch with a hook”.

23 Particle created by dissolving table salt : ION

Sodium chloride (NaCl, common salt) is an ionic compound. It comprises a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na) ions in between the chlorides.

24 They’re nuts for dessert : PECANS

The pecan is the state nut of Alabama, Arkansas and California. Also, the pecan is the state tree of Texas.

34 Rosalinde’s maid in Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus” : ADELE

“Die Fledermaus” is a really lovely operetta composed by Johann Strauss II, first performed in 1874. “Fledermaus” is German for “bat” (literally “flying mouse”). The title comes from the fact that one of the characters (Falke) was abandoned drunk, dressed as a bat, in the center of town one evening. As Falke was subject to ridicule, the machinations of the story are designed as revenge for his humiliation.

37 Olympic sport since 1988 : TABLE TENNIS

Ping-Pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name. The name “Ping-Pong” was trademarked in Britain in 1901, and eventually sold to Parker Brothers in the US.

41 India’s smallest state : GOA

Goa is the smallest state in India, and is located in the southwest of the country. The Portuguese landed in Goa in the early 1500s, at first peacefully carrying out trade, but then took the area by force creating Portuguese India. Portugal held onto Portuguese India even after the British pulled out of India in 1947, until the Indian Army marched into the area in 1961.

46 Ralph who played Voldemort in the Harry Potter films : FIENNES

English actor Ralph Fiennes comes from a very aristocratic family, as one might guess from his full name, Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes. He is in fact an eighth cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne. Fiennes has played some nasty characters in his time, including the commandant of the concentration camp in “Schindler’s List” and the dreaded Lord Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” movies.

Lord Voldemort (born Tom Marvolo Riddle) is the main “bad guy” in the “Harry Potter” series of books. I heard author J. K. Rowling on the radio some time back and she tells us that “Voldemort” is supposed to be pronounced with a silent “t” on the end, so it sounds kind of French. But when the movies came out the actors went with the hard “t”, and that’s the pronunciation that seems to prevail now. It seems to be generally accepted that Rowling chose the name from the French “vol de mort” meaning “flight of death”.

51 French novelist ___ France : ANATOLE

“Anatole France” was the pen name for French poet and novelist François-Anatole Thibault. France won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921.

52 Ones making writers write right?: Abbr. : EDS

Editor (ed.)

53 MP3-sharing service of the early 2000s : NAPSTER

Sean Parker came to national attention in 1998 as co-founder of Napster, the file-sharing service for music that caused such a fuss in the recording industry. He started to advise the founders of Facebook in 2004, and became the company’s first president later that year. If you watch the very entertaining movie about Facebook called “The Social Network” you’ll see Parker played by Justin Timberlake. Parker comes across as very obnoxious in the film.

55 Sydney’s state: Abbr. : NSW

New South Wales (NSW) is the most populous state in Australia and is home to Sydney, the most populous city in the country. New South Wales was founded in 1788. When the British took over New Zealand in 1840, New Zealand was actually governed for a while as part of New South Wales.

Sydney is the most populous city in Australia. People from Sydney are known as “Sydneysiders”.

58 Sweet cake : TORTE

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

60 ___ Bator : ULAN

The name of Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar (formerly anglicized as “Ulan Bator”) translates as “the Red Hero”. The “Red Hero” name was chosen in honor of the country’s national hero Damdin Sükhbaatar. Sükhbaatar fought alongside the Soviet Red Army in the fight for liberation from Chinese occupation.

61 Perfume compound : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

Down

9 Supermodel Cheryl : TIEGS

Cheryl Tiegs was only 17-years-old when she appeared as a model on the cover of “Glamour” magazine. After that Tiegs became famous for sequential appearances in the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” throughout the seventies.

10 Carnival host : RIO

The celebration of carnival comes right before the Lenten period in some Christian traditions. It is thought that carnival perhaps arose from the need to “eat and drink up” any excess food and drink before the beginning of Lent.

12 “Is it live or is it …?” sloganeer : MEMOREX

Memorex is a brand of data storage products owned by Imation. Memorex started out in 1961 in Silicon Valley as a company making computer tapes, eventually adding storage disks and other media to its portfolio of products. A famous advertising campaign featured singer Ella Fitzgerald singing a note that shattered a glass. A recording of that note was then played, which also shattered the glass. The tag line to the ad became very famous: Is it live, or is it Memorex?”

13 Jule who wrote the music for “Funny Girl” : STYNE

Jule Styne was an English songwriter who made a name for himself in America with a series of popular musicals. Styne wrote a number of famous songs including “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl”, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from “Gypsy”.

25 Skee-Ball locales : ARCADES

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.

31 Drink sold by the yard : ALE

A yard of ale is a very tall glass, one that is just under a yard (three feet) long. It holds about 60 fluid ounces of beer. I’ve tried drinking out of one, and it is extremely difficult. There is a bulb at the bottom of the glass. When you get towards the end of the drink, that bulb causes a kind of airlock and the remainder of the beer rushes to the top of the glass splashing you in the face.

38 Element before carbon on the periodic table : BORON

Boron is the chemical element with the atomic number of 5 and symbol B. It lies over to the right in Group 13 of the Periodic Table of the Elements. Uncombined, elemental boron is not found naturally on Earth. The boron that is mined is found in oxide form, not as uncombined boron.

43 Nickname for Yale : OLD ELI

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut was founded in 1701, making it the third-oldest university in the US. Originally called the Collegiate School, it was renamed to Yale University in honor of retired merchant Elihu Yale, who made generous contributions to the institution. Yale University’s nickname is “Old Eli”, in a nod to the benefactor.

44 Otto on “The Simpsons,” e.g. : BUSMAN

Otto Mann drives the school bus on the TV show “The Simpsons”. Otto is a Germanic character voiced by Harry Shearer, and his name is a play on “Ottoman Empire”. Whenever Bart sees him, he greets Otto with the words “Otto, man!”

48 ___ Howard, first African-American player on the Yankees (1955) : ELSTON

Elston Howard was the first African American to play for the New York Yankees, and was the first African American to become the American League’s MVP, an honor he received in 1963. Howard also goes down in history as the inventor of the batting donut, the lead weight that slips around a bat to make it feel heavier.

54 Mlle., across the Pyrenees : SRTA

“Señorita” (Srta.) is Spanish, and “Mademoiselle” (Mlle.) is French, for “Miss”.

The Pyrénées is a mountain range that runs along the border between Spain and France. Nestled between the two countries, high in the mountains, is the lovely country of Andorra, an old haunt of my family during skiing season …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Arm twister? : ULNA
5 “Glengarry Glen Ross” playwright : MAMET
10 Butts : RAMS
14 Start to do well? : NE’ER
15 Its version of 37-Across was popular in the 1970s-’80s : ATARI
16 Rapper/actor on “Law & Order: SVU” : ICE-T
17 Pro-war sort : HAWK
18 Hart of “Chicago” : ROXIE
19 “Goodness!” : OH MY!
20 I.C.U. hookups : IVS
21 Encroach (on) : IMPINGE
23 Particle created by dissolving table salt : ION
24 They’re nuts for dessert : PECANS
26 Intense : SEVERE
28 Fir coat? : BARK
29 “___ lighter note …” : ON A
32 Christmas light locale : EAVE
33 Full-screen mode exit key : ESC
34 Rosalinde’s maid in Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus” : ADELE
36 Latin “king” : REX
37 Olympic sport since 1988 : TABLE TENNIS
40 “___ ever!” : DO I
41 India’s smallest state : GOA
42 Less drunk : SOBERER
46 Ralph who played Voldemort in the Harry Potter films : FIENNES
50 Unidentified date : PLUS ONE
51 French novelist ___ France : ANATOLE
52 Ones making writers write right?: Abbr. : EDS
53 MP3-sharing service of the early 2000s : NAPSTER
55 Sydney’s state: Abbr. : NSW
56 ___-sec (wine designation) : DEMI
58 Sweet cake : TORTE
59 “Me? Are you kidding?!” : NOT I!
60 ___ Bator : ULAN
61 Perfume compound : ESTER
62 Knowledgeable of : IN ON
63 With 65-Across, another name for 37-Across : PING …
64 Sweeties : DEARS
65 See 63-Across : … PONG

Down

1 Behind the times : UNHIP
2 Not touch : LEAVE BE
3 It may include sports and weather : NEWSCAST
4 Neighbor of La. : ARK
5 Some schoolteachers, quaintly : MARMS
6 Resting on : ATOP
7 Calf coverer : MAXI
8 Popular Irish girl’s name : ERIN
9 Supermodel Cheryl : TIEGS
10 Carnival host : RIO
11 Reaches, as great heights : ACHIEVES
12 “Is it live or is it …?” sloganeer : MEMOREX
13 Jule who wrote the music for “Funny Girl” : STYNE
21 It might be a blot on your record : INK
22 Superwide shoe spec : EEE
25 Skee-Ball locales : ARCADES
27 An ay for an aye, e.g.? : VARIANT
29 Verse from an admirer : ODE
30 [Item depicted here] : NET
31 Drink sold by the yard : ALE
34 Turned off : ALIENATED
35 Bridge experts : ENGINEERS
38 Element before carbon on the periodic table : BORON
39 Musical insensitivity : NO EAR
42 Hastened : SPED UP
43 Nickname for Yale : OLD ELI
44 Otto on “The Simpsons,” e.g. : BUSMAN
45 Lie : REPOSE
46 More rewarding, as a paycheck : FATTER
47 “Stop! You’re doing it all wrong!” : NO NO NO!
48 ___ Howard, first African-American player on the Yankees (1955) : ELSTON
49 Tailor’s skill : SEWING
54 Mlle., across the Pyrenees : SRTA
57 Like Mozart’s Symphonies Nos. 15, 27 and 32 : IN G
59 Bit of a bite : NIP

13 thoughts on “0508-19 NY Times Crossword 8 May 19, Wednesday”

  1. 10:45. About as well as I’ll ever do on a Wednesday. I suspect Will Shortz loved this theme given his passion for the game. In the NYT blurb in Wordplay, the setter admits to using it as a means to get his puzzle published. I guess it worked.

    Best –

  2. 12:29, no errors. Interesting layout and nice symmetry of all the theme related entries, including ATARI and PING PONG.

  3. No errors but a tedious slog. Once I got the theme, however, it moved quickly after that. I couldn’t help but think of Will Shortz’s passion for TABLE TENNIS as I saw the theme develop. It’s interesting what Jeff shared above about Stu Ockman using a theme that Shortz couldn’t resist. Ockman himself must surely play also because of the accurate depiction of a perfect BACKSPIN SERVE in the grid.

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