0516-19 NY Times Crossword 16 May 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Ramp Up

Today’s puzzle includes four “RAMPS”, each defined by 3 black squares extending diagonally upwards from left to right in the middle of the grid. These RAMPS replace the letters UP, and provide the central letters (UP) of themed answers that start at the bottom of each ramp, and end at the top:

  • 45D Increase rapidly … or a hint to connecting four pairs of answers in this puzzle : RAMP UP
  • 26A South American landmark whose name means “old peak” : MACHU PICCHU
  • 29A 2008 animated film set in ancient China : KUNG FU PANDA
  • 47A Start of a polite request : IF YOU PLEASE
  • 51A Fruit named for a region of France : D’ANJOU PEARS

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

Bill’s time: 19m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 One to whom you might say “Boo!” : REF

Back in the early 17th century, a referee was someone who examined patent applications. We started using the same term for a person presiding over a sporting event in the 1820s. “Referee” is derivative of the verb “to refer”, and literally describes someone who has the authority to make a decision by “referring to” a book, archive etc.

16 Word after Great or before Street : WALL

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications that was built and rebuilt over the centuries to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire. Most of the existing wall was reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty. This Ming wall is about 5,000 miles long. There is an urban myth that the Great Wall is visible from the Moon, or from space. NASA has shown that the Great Wall can only be discerned from low Earth orbit (about 100 miles), and that is no more or less visible than any other man-made structure.

New York’s famous Wall Street was originally named by the Dutch “de Waalstraat”.

18 Relatives of rhododendrons : AZALEAS

Azaleas are very toxic to horses, sheep and goats, but strangely enough cause no problem for cats or dogs. And if you go to Korea you might come across “Tug Yonju”, which is azalea wine made from the plant’s blossoms. Azaleas are usually grown as shrubs, but are also seen as small trees, and often indoors.

Rhododendron is a genus of woody plants that usually have showy flowers. The rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal, where the bloom is also considered edible.

21 Popular Samsung smartphone : GALAXY

The Galaxy is a series of mobile computing devices made by Samsung that was introduced in 2009. Almost all of the Galaxy devices have used Google’s Android operating system, until a Windows 10 Galaxy device was introduced by Samsung in 2016.

22 “Net” preceder : DOT

The .net domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

26 South American landmark whose name means “old peak” : MACHU PICCHU

Machu Picchu is known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, and it can be visited on a mountain ridge in Peru, 50 miles northwest of the city of Cuzco in the southeast of the country. The name Machu Picchu means “old peak”. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu originates about 50 miles from Cusco on the Urubamba River in Peru. It can take travelers about 5 days to trek the full length of the trail, passing through many Incan ruins before reaching the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain. The trail was becoming greatly overused, forcing the Peruvian government to limit the number of people on the trail each day to 500. Book early …

27 Jeong of “Crazy Rich Asians” : KEN

Ken Jeong is an actor from Detroit who is perhaps best known for playing the gangster Leslie Chow in the “The Hangover” series of films. Jeong isn’t only an actor; he has an M.D. degree and is a licensed physician in California.

29 2008 animated film set in ancient China : KUNG FU PANDA

“Kung Fu Panda” is a 2008 animated film from DreamWorks. It’s all about a panda who is expert in kung fu, as one might guess …

31 Class with breathing techniques : LAMAZE

The Lamaze technique for childbirth was developed by a French obstetrician called Fernand Lamaze. He introduced the technique in the west after observing similar practices in the Soviet Union during a visit there in 1951.

42 Wears pajamas all day, e.g. : LOLLS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

49 Low-hanging clouds : STRATI

Stratus (plural “strati”) clouds are very common, and as they are wider than they are tall and flat along the bottom, we might just see them as haze in a featureless sky above us. Stratus clouds are basically the same as fog, but some distance above the ground. Indeed, many stratus clouds are formed when morning fog lifts into the air as the ground heats up.

51 Fruit named for a region of France : D’ANJOU PEARS

The Anjou pear is a cultivar of the European Pear. The Anjou is thought to have originated in Belgium or France (Anjou is a province in the Loire Valley of western France).

53 Japanese floor coverings : TATAMIS

A tatami is a traditional mat used on floors in Japan. The term “tatami” comes from the Japanese word “tatamu” meaning “to fold”, reflecting the fact that the mat is designed to be folded up for storage.

57 Sgts. outrank them : CPLS

Sergeant (sgt.) is a rank above corporal (cpl.).

59 Kind of skirt : HULA

The hula skirt is a grass skirt.

The hula is a native dance of Hawaii that uses arm movements to relate a story. The hula can be performed while sitting (a noho dance) or while standing (a luna dance).

61 Parent company of Kool-Aid : KRAFT

The Kraft brand name originated with Canadian James L. Kraft. It was James L. Kraft who first patented processed cheese

The drink we know today as Kool-Aid was invented by Edward Perkins and his wife in Perkins’ mother’s kitchen in southwest Nebraska. Kool-Aid is now the Official Soft Drink of the state.

62 Not many tracks are found on them, for short : EPS

An extended-play (EP) record, CD or download contains more music than a single, but less than an LP.

Down

1 Superhero with a lightning bolt symbol : SHAZAM

“Shazam” is a word that was coined in the “Captain Marvel” comics in 1940. Billy Batson is a boy who can transform himself into the superhero Captain Marvel (aka “Shazam”) by speaking the magic word “Shazam”.

3 “Three Days of the Condor” director : POLLACK

I haven’t read the novel “Six Days of the Condor” by James Grady, but the 1975 movie adaptation “Three Days of the Condor” is an excellent thriller. The film stars Robert Redford as a relatively low-level CIA employee who gets caught up in agency politics and murders. Grady wrote a follow-up novel that was published in 1978 called “Shadow of the Condor”.

6 A student might bring this up in an intro class : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

9 Buildings with circular floor plans : ROTUNDAS

In architecture, “rotunda” describes a building with a circular ground plan. Often the building has a dome, but that isn’t a strict requirement for a “rotunda”. The term can also refer to a round room within a building. The most famous example in this country is the Rotunda in the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

10 Music genre for Weezer : EMO

Weezer is an alternative rock band formed in LA in 1992. Apparently, Weezer’s music might be described as “emo”.

12 Goodie bag contents : SWAG

“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, and a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. “Swag” is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional version of “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.

14 ___ fly : SAC

That would be baseball.

15 Toast at a Jewish wedding : L’CHAIM!

“L’Chaim!” is a Hebrew toast meaning “to life”, with “chai” being the Hebrew word for “life”.

19 Raises from the dead? : EXHUMES

Our word “exhume” ultimately comes from the Latin “ex” (out of) “humus” (earth).

22 Vandal : DEFILER

A vandal is someone who destroys something beautiful or valuable. The term comes from the Germanic tribe called the Vandals who sacked Rome in the year 455. Our contemporary term “vandalism” was coined by Henri Grégoire in 1794, when he was describing the destruction of artwork during the French Revolution.

27 Org. disbanded in 1991 : KGB

The “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti” (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

28 Angela who played Tina Turner : BASSETT

Angela Bassett is an actress from New York who is best known for playing Tina Turner in the film about her life “What’s Love Got to Do with It”.

32 Wrinkly fruit : UGLI

The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine that was first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.

43 Money in Malmö : KRONOR

Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg.

46 Moonshiners’ equipment : STILLS

The illegal distilled spirits known as moonshine can also be referred to as white lightning, mountain dew and hooch.

48 One-named singer with an “ö” in her name : BJORK

Björk is a rather eccentric singer-songwriter from Iceland who is a big hit in the UK in particular. Björk is the daughter of a nationally-recognized union leader in her home country.

50 Rae who created “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” : ISSA

Issa Rae is a Stanford University graduate who created a YouTube web series called “Awkward Black Girl”. Rae also plays the title role in the series, a young lady named “J”. “Awkward Black Girl” was adapted into an HBO comedy-drama called “Insecure”, in which Issa Rae stars.

52 Small carp : NIT

The word “carp” used to mean simply “talk” back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian “karpa” meaning “to brag”. A century later, the Latin word “carpere” meaning “to slander” influenced the use of “to carp” so that it came to mean “to find fault with”.

53 Not kosher, in Jewish law : TREF

According to Jewish dietary law, kosher food is fit to eat, and food that is not fit to eat is referred to as treif (or “tref”). The usage of “kosher” has extended to include anything considered legitimate.

54 N.C.A.A.’s Big ___ Conference : SKY

The Big Sky Conference is a college athletic conference that was founded in 1963 and is made up of schools from the western US.

56 Letters between two names : AKA

Also known as (aka)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bread used for soup : SOP
4 Perspective : ANGLE
9 One to whom you might say “Boo!” : REF
12 “Begone!” : SHOO!
13 Sports replay effect : SUPER SLO-MO
16 Word after Great or before Street : WALL
17 Person behind the curtain? : STAGE ACTOR
18 Relatives of rhododendrons : AZALEAS
21 Popular Samsung smartphone : GALAXY
22 “Net” preceder : DOT
26 South American landmark whose name means “old peak” : MACHU PICCHU
27 Jeong of “Crazy Rich Asians” : KEN
28 Try to win at auction : BID ON
29 2008 animated film set in ancient China : KUNG FU PANDA
31 Class with breathing techniques : LAMAZE
32 [groan] : [UGH]
35 Hung pieces of art : MOBILES
37 Put in stitches? : SEW
38 Doofus : GOOBER
42 Wears pajamas all day, e.g. : LOLLS
43 Powder holder : KEG
47 Start of a polite request : IF YOU PLEASE …
48 Sound made while clasping oneself : BRR!
49 Low-hanging clouds : STRATI
51 Fruit named for a region of France : D’ANJOU PEARS
53 Japanese floor coverings : TATAMIS
54 Inert : STATIONARY
57 Sgts. outrank them : CPLS
58 Button-downs? : KEYSTROKES
59 Kind of skirt : HULA
60 Cry accompanying a fist pump : YES!
61 Parent company of Kool-Aid : KRAFT
62 Not many tracks are found on them, for short : EPS

Down

1 Superhero with a lightning bolt symbol : SHAZAM
2 “Well, ain’t that fancy!” : OO LA LA!
3 “Three Days of the Condor” director : POLLACK
4 Test, in a way : ASSAY
5 “Dagnabbit!” : NUTS
6 A student might bring this up in an intro class : GPA
7 Large military unit : LEGION
8 Not slouching : ERECT
9 Buildings with circular floor plans : ROTUNDAS
10 Music genre for Weezer : EMO
11 One side of a debate : FOR
12 Goodie bag contents : SWAG
14 ___ fly : SAC
15 Toast at a Jewish wedding : L’CHAIM!
19 Raises from the dead? : EXHUMES
22 Vandal : DEFILER
24 Go out for a bit : DOZE
25 Once again : ANEW
27 Org. disbanded in 1991 : KGB
28 Angela who played Tina Turner : BASSETT
30 Place name lead-in to -folk or -wich : NOR-
31 Shepherd’s locale : LEA
32 Wrinkly fruit : UGLI
33 Blunder : GOOF
34 High time in Judaism : HOLY DAYS
36 Part of a race : LEG
39 Swells : BLOATS
41 Swimmer’s woe : EARACHE
43 Money in Malmö : KRONOR
45 Increase rapidly … or a hint to connecting four pairs of answers in this puzzle : RAMP UP
46 Moonshiners’ equipment : STILLS
48 One-named singer with an “ö” in her name : BJORK
49 Speak, as thou might : SAYST
50 Rae who created “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” : ISSA
52 Small carp : NIT
53 Not kosher, in Jewish law : TREF
54 N.C.A.A.’s Big ___ Conference : SKY
55 Ball holder : TEE
56 Letters between two names : AKA

18 thoughts on “0516-19 NY Times Crossword 16 May 19, Thursday”

  1. 14:41, no errors. Cute. It helped that Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for years (though I’ve kind of given up on my prospects for ever going there).

  2. 1 hour and 2 min…..DNF….even with Bills explanation I don’t have a clue what this theme is all about , but then again it is Jeff Chen

  3. Kind of got it, but really didn’t. Managed to put three letters in each “ramp” because I wasn’t sure of the spellings. F(OOP) for example;
    KUNG FOO PANDA. Should have dawned on me to drop the middle and be left with UP. Small victory in remembering BJORK, although I couldn’t whistle one of her songs.

  4. Well gee thanks. Not a fun way to start my day. This rarely happens. I had it all done but still couldn’t figure it out ! I had to see what other people thought. I kept looking at “icchu “ and knowing it something to do with Machu picchu, or what the hell is a danjo- knowing it was Anjou. Very frustrating. Well done

  5. Sorry, I still don’t get it. Sometimes these puzzle are too clever. And even Bill’s explanation doesn’t always help. But then if the puzzles were easy…well what would be the fun in that.

  6. 27:50, no errors. Had a lot of difficulty with this one, but it eventually came together and made sense; including the theme. Fell into a lot of traps: 11D had CON before FOR; never considered a STAGE ACTOR as ‘behind the curtain’; can’t recall seeing D’ANJOU pears in the market, have always seen Anjou pears.

  7. This was a stupid assed puzzle. Whoever made this needs to stop, go get a beer and rethink your life. 🙂

  8. The usual Jeff Chen bullsh*t. Can’t make a straightforward, unpretentious puzzle to save his life… or a few wasted minutes of ours.

  9. I completed the puzzle with no errors (well over an hour, off and on) and never did find the theme. Even after seeing it, I had problems finding the other part of the word. Not satisfying at all.

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