0514-19 NY Times Crossword 14 May 19, Tuesday

Constructed by: Damon Gulczynski
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: 42

Themed answers are each associated with the number 42:

  • 42 ← What this is for this puzzle : THEME
  • 18A What the computer Deep Thought was programmed to figure out in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” : THE MEANING OF LIFE
  • 37A Hall-of-Fame player whose number has been retired by every team in Major League Baseball : JACKIE ROBINSON
  • 56A He served between Bush 41 and Bush 43 : PRESIDENT CLINTON

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

Bill’s time: 8m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Rosters : LISTS

Our word “roster”, meaning “list, register”, actually comes from the same root as our word “roast”, would you believe. “Roster” came into English from the Dutch “rooster”, meaning “table, list”. An alternative use of the Dutch “rooster” was “gridiron”, from the “roosten” meaning “to roast”. The connection is that a roster of names is often listed on a sheet of paper that has grid lines resembling the marks left by a gridiron on roasted meat. Quite interesting …

6 Red ink : DEBT

To be in the red is to be in debt, to owe money. The expression “in the red” is a reference to the accounting practice of recording debts and losses in red ink in ledgers. The related phrase “in the black” means “solvent, making a profit”.’

16 Two-dimensional measure : AREA

The dimension of an object is defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify each point in the object. Therefore a line is one-dimensional, as you only need an x-coordinate to specify a particular point on the line. A surface is two-dimensional, as you need both an x-coordinate and a y-coordinate to locate a point on the surface. The inside of a solid object is then three-dimensional, needing an x-, y- and z-coordinate to specify a point, say within a cube.

17 “Tattered Tom” author Horatio : ALGER

Horatio Alger was an American writer of the late nineteenth century. Alger was a prolific writer of novels for young people and creates tales of poor children making it good in the world, achieving the American dream as it were.

18 What the computer Deep Thought was programmed to figure out in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” : THE MEANING OF LIFE

One of the themes in the Douglas Adams novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is the search for the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe and Everything”. The supercomputer called Deep Thought ponders this question for 7½ million years and comes to the conclusion that the answers is … 42.

21 Michael’s wife in “The Godfather” : KAY

In the Mario Puzo novel “The Godfather”, the story’s central character is Michael Corleone. Michael’s girlfriend, and eventually his second wife, is Kay Adams. In the 1972 film adaptation, Michael Corleone was played by Al Pacino, and Kay Adams-Corleone was played by Diane Keaton.

32 Common bar mixer : COLA

The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.

34 “u r 2 funny” : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

36 Pigeon sound : COO

Taxonomically, doves and pigeons are the only members of the order Columbidae. The terms “dove” and “pigeon” are often used interchangeably. Scientifically speaking, dove species tend to be smaller that pigeon species. Colloquially though, many refer to doves as the white or nearly white species in the family.

37 Hall-of-Fame player whose number has been retired by every team in Major League Baseball : JACKIE ROBINSON

The great Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in baseball’s Major League. When Robinson made his first MLB appearance, for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he did so in front of over 26,000 spectators. Well over half the crowd that day were African-Americans, there to witness the event. Major League Baseball universally retired Robinson’s number 42 in 1997. However, on the annual Jackie Robinson Day, all MLB players on all teams wear #42 in his honor.

43 Mer contents : EAU

In French, a “mer” (sea) is large body of “eau” (water).

46 Michael of “Superbad” : CERA

Michael Cera is a Canadian actor who played great characters on the TV show “Arrested Development”, and in the 2007 comedy-drama “Juno”. Cera is also quite the musician. He released an indie folk album titled “True That” in 2014.

“Superbad” is a comedy movie released in 2007. The script for the film was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Rogen and Goldberg started work on the script when they were just thirteen years old, with the first draft being completed by the time they were fifteen.

51 Setter or retriever : BIRD DOG

The breeds of dog known as setters are all gundogs and are used in hunting game.

The retriever is one of the three major types of gun dog, along with flushing spaniels and pointers.

53 TV’s “Murder, ___ Wrote” : SHE

“Murder, She Wrote” is a mystery television show with the lead character Jessica Fletcher, a mystery writer who is also an amateur detective. Fletcher is played by the charming Angela Lansbury. The show was created by Richard Levinson and William Link who had just failed with the TV series “Ellery Queen”, which was pulled after only one season. “Ellery Queen” was also about a mystery writer who was an amateur detective.

55 ___ Valley, neighborhood in San Francisco : NOE

Noe Valley is a neighborhood in San Francisco. The area is named after José de Jesús Noé who was the last Mexican mayor of Yerba Buena, which is what San Francisco was called when it was part of Mexico.

56 He served between Bush 41 and Bush 43 : PRESIDENT CLINTON

President Bill Clinton was born not as a Clinton, but as William Jefferson Blythe. Bill’s father was killed in a car accident just three months before he was born. His mother remarried a few years later, to Roger Clinton. Bill didn’t formally adopt the Clinton name until he was fourteen years old, although he used it as he was growing up.

64 Cousin of a weasel : SABLE

Sables are small mammals, about two feet long, that are found right across northern Europe and northern Asia. The sable’s black pelt is highly prized in the fur trade. Sable is unique among furs in that it feels smooth no matter which direction it is stroked.

67 Sloughs off : SHEDS

To slough off is to cast off, especially when one is talking about the skin of a snake or other animal.

Down

1 Part of a Hanukkah meal : LATKE

A latke is a delicious potato pancake (I’m Irish, so anything made with potato is delicious!).

The term “Hanukkah” derives from the Hebrew for “to dedicate”. Hanukkah is a holiday lasting eight days that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem after successful Jewish revolt against the Seleucids in the 2nd-century BCE. The story of Hanukkah includes the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that kept the menorah alight for eight days.

2 “___ is Gorges” (T-shirt slogan) : ITHACA

The city of Ithaca sits right at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake in New York State. Named for the Greek island, Ithaca is famous as home to Cornell University, which is located just south of the city.

5 Cereal brand with a weight-loss challenge : SPECIAL K

We’ve been eating Special K since 1956. One has to give credit to the marketing folks at Kellogg’s, as I am sure we all view special K as a diet breakfast cereal. In fact, there is more fat in Special K than Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, and just one less calorie per serving.

6 One hell of a writer? : DANTE

Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” is an epic poem dating back to the 14th century. The first part of that epic is “Inferno”, which is the Italian word for “Hell”. In the poem, Dante is led on a journey by the poet Virgil, starting at the gates of Hell on which are written the famous words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.

7 Pennsylvania city : ERIE

Erie is a city in the very north of Pennsylvania, right on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city takes its name from the Erie Native American tribe that resided in the area. Erie is nicknamed the Gem City, a reference to the “sparkling” water of Lake Erie.

8 Economist Bernanke : BEN

Ben Bernanke was Chairman of the Federal Reserve for two terms, after being nominated by President George W. Bush in 2006 and renominated by President Barack Obama. It was Bernanke who was in charge of the Fed during the financial crisis of the late-2000s.

10 Michael’s family in “The Godfather” : 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.

The novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo, was best known for his book “The Godfather”, which he also co-adapted for the big screen. Puzo also wrote two sequels, “The Last Don” and “Omertà”, that latter being published after his death. His name is less associated with some very famous screenplays that he wrote, including “Earthquake”, “Superman” and “Superman II”. Puzo won two Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay: for “The Godfather” (1972) and for “The Godfather Part II” (1974).

11 Sterling silver and such : ALLOYS

The official name of the currency of the UK is the pound sterling (plural “pounds sterling”). The most plausible suggestion for the etymology of the term “sterling” is that it derives from the Old English “steorra” meaning “star”, with the diminutive “-ling”. The resulting “little star” or “sterling” referred to a silver penny used by the English Normans. The pound sterling is the world’s oldest currency still in use.

12 Some movie f/x : CGI

Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

“FX” (sometimes “f/x”) is an abbreviation for “effects”, as in “special effects”.

13 Yellow card issuer : REF

A series of colored penalty cards is used by referees and umpires in several sports, most notably in soccer. The cards were first used in the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, after language difficulties created confusion during the prior competition in 1966. The main cards used are a yellow card indicating a caution, and a red card indicating expulsion from the game.

20 First half of a Beatles title : OB-LA-DI

“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is one of many songs credited to Lennon/McCartney that was actually written by just one of the pair. Paul McCartney wrote this one, a song that John Lennon really did not like at all. Apparently, Lennon was quite obstructionist during the recording of the song and even walked out at one point.

26 California wine region : SONOMA

Did you know that there are far more wine grapes produced in Sonoma than Napa? Within Sonoma County some of the more well-known appellations are Chalk Hill, Anderson Valley and Russian River Valley. Personally, when I want to visit the wine country, I head for the Russian River Valley as it’s far less crowded and much more fun than Napa Valley.

27 Military academy freshman : PLEBE

“Plebe” is a slang for a freshman in the US military and naval academies. The term is probably short for “plebeian”, the name given to someone of the common class in Ancient Rome (as opposed to a Patrician). “Pleb” is a shortened version of “plebeian”, and is a term used outside of the military schools.

29 Bright night light : NEON

The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

30 Non-___ (label on many organic foods) : GMO

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is one with genetic material that has been altered by genetic engineering. One might argue that the oldest form of genetic engineering is selective breeding, the use of animals or plants with desired traits for the creation of the next generation.

37 Place to solve a crossword, maybe : JOHN

The use of “john” as a slang term for a toilet is peculiar to North America. “John” probably comes from the older slang term of “jack” or “jakes” that had been around since the 16th century. In Ireland, in less polite moments, we still refer to a toilet as “the jacks”.

40 Mideast royal name : SAUD

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world’s largest oil producer, home to the world’s largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring “true” Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saudi family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.

41 Value of snake eyes : TWO

“Snake eyes” is the slang term for a roll of two dice in which one pip turns up on each die.

51 Tom’s love in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” : BECKY

In “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer“, young Tom is infatuated with Becky Thatcher.

54 Obsessive fan, in modern slang : STAN

“Stan” is a song by rapper Eminem (featuring Dido) that was recorded in 2000. The title refers to a fictional Eminem fan named “Stan” who becomes obsessed with the rapper, and who grows irate when his letters to his idol go unanswered. Stan’s final act is to make a voice recording as he drives into a river, with his pregnant girlfriend locked in the trunk. One of the legacies of the song is that “stan” is now used as a slang term for an obsessed and maniacal fan.

57 Kia model : RIO

South Korean automaker Kia have been making the subcompact model called the Rio since 2000.

58 Skill tested by Zener cards, for short : ESP

Zener cards were developed in the early thirties by psychologist Karl Zener, for use in experiments related to extra-sensory perception (ESP). These five simple and distinctive cards replaced the standard deck of cards that had been used in trials up to that point. The five symbols used on the cards are a circle, a cross, three wavy lines, a square and a star.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Rosters : LISTS
6 Red ink : DEBT
10 Showing the overall view : MACRO
15 Enjoyed no end : ATE UP
16 Two-dimensional measure : AREA
17 “Tattered Tom” author Horatio : ALGER
18 What the computer Deep Thought was programmed to figure out in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” : THE MEANING OF LIFE
21 Michael’s wife in “The Godfather” : KAY
22 Give as an example : CITE
23 Life lines? : BIO
24 Environmental destruction : ECOCIDE
26 Spreading out : SPLAYING
31 Mystiques : AURAS
32 Common bar mixer : COLA
33 Wine glass part : STEM
34 “u r 2 funny” : LOL
35 In good shape : TONED
36 Pigeon sound : COO
37 Hall-of-Fame player whose number has been retired by every team in Major League Baseball : JACKIE ROBINSON
41 Young ‘un : TOT
42 ← What this is for this puzzle : THEME
43 Mer contents : EAU
44 Sharpen : WHET
46 Michael of “Superbad” : CERA
47 Safe place : VAULT
49 Surges : ONRUSHES
51 Setter or retriever : BIRD DOG
53 TV’s “Murder, ___ Wrote” : SHE
54 Line of clothing? : SEAM
55 ___ Valley, neighborhood in San Francisco : NOE
56 He served between Bush 41 and Bush 43 : PRESIDENT CLINTON
62 Supermarket section : AISLE
63 Bill : BEAK
64 Cousin of a weasel : SABLE
65 Uses performance-enhancing drugs : DOPES
66 Quite gaunt : BONY
67 Sloughs off : SHEDS

Down

1 Part of a Hanukkah meal : LATKE
2 “___ is Gorges” (T-shirt slogan) : ITHACA
3 “Peace out” : SEE YOU LATER
4 Belly, in babyspeak : TUM
5 Cereal brand with a weight-loss challenge : SPECIAL K
6 One hell of a writer? : DANTE
7 Pennsylvania city : ERIE
8 Economist Bernanke : BEN
9 Playground game : TAG
10 Michael’s family in “The Godfather” : MAFIA
11 Sterling silver and such : ALLOYS
12 Some movie f/x : CGI
13 Yellow card issuer : REF
14 Rock band? : ORE
19 Buttresses : AIDS
20 First half of a Beatles title : OB-LA-DI
25 Swamp snapper : CROC
26 California wine region : SONOMA
27 Military academy freshman : PLEBE
28 “That’s impossible!” : IT COULDN’T BE!
29 Bright night light : NEON
30 Non-___ (label on many organic foods) : GMO
32 Kitchen gadgets : CORERS
35 Snicker sound : TEHEE
37 Place to solve a crossword, maybe : JOHN
38 Had a hankering : ITCHED
39 Close one : NEAR MISS
40 Mideast royal name : SAUD
41 Value of snake eyes : TWO
45 Skirmish : TUSSLE
47 Serum container : VIAL
48 Like a 14-year-old vis-à-vis the Little League World Series : TOO OLD
50 Acts skittish : SHIES
51 Tom’s love in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” : BECKY
52 Family inheritance : GENES
54 Obsessive fan, in modern slang : STAN
56 Something to jot notes on : PAD
57 Kia model : RIO
58 Skill tested by Zener cards, for short : ESP
59 Draw back : EBB
60 Prefix with natal : NEO-
61 “I don’t think so” : NAH

2 thoughts on “0514-19 NY Times Crossword 14 May 19, Tuesday”

  1. 14:13. I didn’t get the theme until the blog largely because I didn’t know the “Hitchhiker’s Guide…” significance of the number 42. I knew JACKIE ROBINSON was number 42, but I didn’t make the connection with Pres #42. Clever.

    Best –

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