0520-19 NY Times Crossword 20 May 19, Monday

Constructed by: Gary Cee
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Hit It!

Themed answers each end with something that is HIT:

  • 39A “Start the music!” … or what one could do to the finish of the answer to each starred clue : HIT IT!
  • 17A *Government’s credit limit : DEBT CEILING (giving “hit the ceiling”)
  • 28A *Beanbag juggled with the feet : HACKY SACK (giving “hit the sack”)
  • 46A * ✓ : CHECK MARK (giving “hit the mark”)
  • 61A *Much-visited site in Jerusalem : WESTERN WALL (giving “hit the wall”)
  • 11D *Seafood topping that may be red or white : CLAM SAUCE (giving “hit the sauce”)
  • 34D *Part of a ship just above the hold : LOWER DECK (giving “hit the deck”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Stan’s co-star in over 100 early film comedies : OLLIE

Oliver Hardy was born Norvell Hardy in 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. Hardy used the stage name “Oliver” as a tribute to his father Oliver Hardy. His early performances were credited as “Oliver Norvell Hardy”, and off camera his nickname was “Babe Hardy”. Hardy appeared in several films that also featured the young British actor Stan Laurel, but it wasn’t until 1927 that they teamed up to make perhaps the most famous double act in the history of movies. The Laurel and Hardy act came to an end in 1955. That year, Laurel suffered a stroke, and then later the same year Hardy had a heart attack and stroke from which he never really recovered.

17 *Government’s credit limit : DEBT CEILING (giving “hit the ceiling”)

Historically speaking, increases in the US national debt expressed as a percentage of the gross domestic product are really dependent on only two major factors: either war or recession. So, we should just avoid both of those things …

20 Like many infield grounders : ONE-HOP

That would be baseball.

21 Lester Holt and Anderson Cooper : NEWSMEN

Lester Holt is a television journalist. When Holt became the permanent anchor of “NBC Nightly News” in 2015, he became the first African-American solo anchor for a daily network news program.

Anderson Cooper is a respected news personality on CNN and on various shows around the dial. Among my favorite appearances of his, although he would call them trivial I am sure, was as host of a great reality game show called “The Mole” that aired in 2001. Cooper’s mother was fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt.

23 Issa ___ of HBO’s “Insecure” : RAE

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.

24 Smith or Scialfa of rock : PATTI

Patti Smith is a singer-songwriter who was a big player in the seventies punk rock movement in New York City. Smith’s most successful song is “Because the Night”, a song co-written with Bruce Springsteen and recorded by Smith in 1978. Her influence in the punk rock scene earned Smith the nickname “Godmother of Punk”.

Patti Scialfa is a singer, songwriter and guitar player from Deal, New Jersey. She joined the E Street Band in 1984, having met Bruce Springsteen a few years earlier. Springsteen and Scialfa were married in 1991.

27 Vienna’s home: Abbr. : AUS

The name “Austria” is a Latin variant of the German name for the country, “Österreich”. “Österreich” itself means “Eastern borderlands”, a reference to the country’s history as a prefecture of neighboring Bavaria to the west.

Vienna is the capital of Austria. Vienna has a long musical tradition and was home to Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss (I and II), Josef Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler. As such, Vienna is sometimes called the “City of Music”. It is also called the “City of Dreams” as it was home to the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

32 Massage intensely : ROLF

Rolfing is a trademarked massage technique developed by Ida Pauline Rolf in the fifties.

36 Put on a black coat? : TAR

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call tarmac.

38 Great Plains tribe : OTOE

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

41 Vaping device, informally : E-CIG

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering the nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

45 Belles at balls, informally : DEBS

“Deb” is short for “debutante”, which translates from French as “beginner” when referring to a female.

48 “The ___ & Stimpy Show” : REN

“The Ren & Stimpy Show” is an animated television show created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, and which ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …

49 Labor organizer Chávez : CESAR

César Chávez was a Mexican American farm worker, and co-founder of the union today known as the United Farm Workers. Chávez was born in Yuma, Arizona, but moved to California as a child with his family. He never attended high school, dropping out to become a full-time migrant farm worker. In 1944, at 17 years of age, he joined the US Navy and served for two years. 5-6 years after returning from the military, back working as a farm laborer, Chávez became politically active and rose to national attention as an articulate union leader during some high profile strikes. He is remembered annually here in California on his birthday, March 31, which is a state holiday.

52 Resort with mineral waters : SPA

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

58 Reproductive part of a flower : PISTIL

The stamen is the male reproductive organ of a flower. The part of the stamen known as the anther sits on a stalk called the filament that carries the pollen. The pollen is picked up by insects, especially bees, who then transfer pollen from flower to flower. The pistil is the female reproductive organ, and it accepts the pollen.

60 18+, e.g., in order to be able to vote : AGE

The minimum age of voters was called out in the US Constitution when it was passed in 1787. This was set at 21 years, and applied only to white, male property owners. The minimum age of voters was lowered in the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the Constitution in 1971 as a response to student activism. Young people at that time were frustrated that they were mature enough to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, yet were not considered mature enough to vote in elections.

61 *Much-visited site in Jerusalem : WESTERN WALL (giving “hit the wall”)

The Western Wall (also called “the Wailing Wall”) is a remnant of an ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The wall is a sacred site for the faithful, and has been a place for prayer and pilgrimage for centuries. The term “Wailing” was assigned in English as many Jewish people came to the site to mourn the destruction of the Temple.

64 Sleuth, in slang : TEC

“Tec” is a slang term for a private detective, a private investigator (PI).

The word “sleuth” came into English from Old Norse as far back as 1200 when it meant the “track or trail of a person”. In the mid-1800s, a sleuthhound described a keen investigator, a hound close on the trail of the suspect. Sleuthhound was shortened to “sleuth” and was used for a detective in general.

66 Girl Scout cookie with a geographical name : SAMOA

Depending on which bakery makes the particular variety of Girl Scout cookie, the name can vary. For example, Little Brownie Bakers makes the Samoa cookies, while ABC Bakers uses the same recipe and calls the cookies Caramel deLites. The assumption is that these cookies have the exotic name of “Samoa” because they contain the tropical ingredients of coconut and cocoa. The most popular variety of Girl Scout cookie sold are Thin Mints.

Down

2 Actress Davis of “The Accidental Tourist” : GEENA

As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Davis is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …

“The Accidental Tourist” is a 1985 novel by Anne Tyler. The book was famously adapted into a 1988 movie starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance).

3 Edward who wrote “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” : ALBEE

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is an Edward Albee play that premiered on Broadway in 1962. The play won a Tony in 1963, and was adapted in a successful film in 1966 starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal and Sandy Dennis. The stage version is a lengthy production lasting over three hours.

5 Onetime police officer : EX-COP

“To cop” was northern British dialect for “to seize, catch”, and is still a slang term meaning “to get hold of, steal”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.

6 Dish made from taro root : POI

I am a big fan of starch (being an Irishman I love potatoes). That said, I think that poi tastes horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant by cooking the corm in water and mashing it until the desired consistency is achieved.

7 None’s opposite : ALL

“All or none”.

10 Motorized two-wheelers : SEGWAYS

The Segway PT is self-balancing two-wheel electric vehicle introduced to the world in 2001 by American inventor Dean Kamen.

13 Illuminating gas : 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.

18 Org. concerned with ecosystems : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

25 Language in Bangkok : THAI

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. The exact etymology of the name “Bangkok” seems unclear, although “bang” is a Thai word for “a village situated on a stream”.

26 Served raw, as steak : TARTARE

Steak tartare was first served in French restaurants in the early 1900s. Back then, the dish went by the name “steak à l’Americaine”, would you believe? It was basically raw, seasoned beef mixed with egg yolk. A later version of l’Americaine, without the egg yolk and with tartar sauce served on the side, was dubbed “steak tartare”. Over time the two versions became one, and the steak tartare moniker won out. By the way, if you order steak tartare in Switzerland, I believe you are served horse meat. There are now similar “tartare” dishes made with raw salmon, or raw tuna.

29 McKinnon of “S.N.L.” : KATE

Comedian and impressionist Kate McKinnon’s career took off when when she became a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 2013. Famously, McKinnon portrayed in Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. She also co-starred in the 2016 reboot of the movie “Ghostbusters”, playing Dr. Jillian Holtzmann.

32 Military program for coll. students : ROTC

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

33 “Alternatively …,” in texts : OTOH …

On the other hand (OTOH)

35 Practices épée, e.g. : FENCES

The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

47 Develops a glitch : ACTS UP

“Glitch” comes into English from German via Yiddish. The original German word is “glitschen” meaning “to slip”. It is a relatively new term, and generally applied to computer software bugs.

53 Person in a cockpit : PILOT

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the original “cockpit” was a “pit” used for fighting “cocks”. The term was then applied nautically, as the name for the compartment below decks used as living quarters by midshipmen. The cockpit of a boat today, usually on a smaller vessel, is a sunken area towards the stern in which sits the helmsman and others (who can fit!). The usage extended to aircraft in the 1910s and to cars in the 1930s.

56 Double-curved molding : OGEE

An ogee is a type of S-curve. Specifically it is a figure consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (which is not necessarily true for an S).

57 State bird of Hawaii : NENE

The nene is a bird that is native to Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful. The nene was named State Bird of Hawaii in 1957.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Wide open, as the mouth : AGAPE
6 Treaties : PACTS
11 “What ___ I say?” : CAN
14 “Whoa, ease up!” : RELAX!
15 Stan’s co-star in over 100 early film comedies : OLLIE
16 Made-up story : LIE
17 *Government’s credit limit : DEBT CEILING (giving “hit the ceiling”)
19 Hubbub : ADO
20 Like many infield grounders : ONE-HOP
21 Lester Holt and Anderson Cooper : NEWSMEN
23 Issa ___ of HBO’s “Insecure” : RAE
24 Smith or Scialfa of rock : PATTI
27 Vienna’s home: Abbr. : AUS
28 *Beanbag juggled with the feet : HACKY SACK (giving “hit the sack”)
32 Massage intensely : ROLF
36 Put on a black coat? : TAR
37 Guarantee : ASSURE
38 Great Plains tribe : OTOE
39 “Start the music!” … or what one could do to the finish of the answer to each starred clue : HIT IT!
41 Vaping device, informally : E-CIG
42 Full-time resident of a college community : TOWNIE
44 “___ you through?” : ARE
45 Belles at balls, informally : DEBS
46 * ✓ : CHECK MARK (giving “hit the mark”)
48 “The ___ & Stimpy Show” : REN
49 Labor organizer Chávez : CESAR
52 Resort with mineral waters : SPA
55 Like a gift from above : GODSENT
58 Reproductive part of a flower : PISTIL
60 18+, e.g., in order to be able to vote : AGE
61 *Much-visited site in Jerusalem : WESTERN WALL (giving “hit the wall”)
64 Sleuth, in slang : TEC
65 Bury, as ashes : INURN
66 Girl Scout cookie with a geographical name : SAMOA
67 Cry of fright : EEK!
68 Barely warm : TEPID
69 “E” on a gas gauge : EMPTY

Down

1 Intense devotion : ARDOR
2 Actress Davis of “The Accidental Tourist” : GEENA
3 Edward who wrote “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” : ALBEE
4 Trail : PATH
5 Onetime police officer : EX-COP
6 Dish made from taro root : POI
7 None’s opposite : ALL
8 Medical facility : CLINIC
9 Fork prong : TINE
10 Motorized two-wheelers : SEGWAYS
11 *Seafood topping that may be red or white : CLAM SAUCE (giving “hit the sauce”)
12 Assistant : AIDE
13 Illuminating gas : NEON
18 Org. concerned with ecosystems : EPA
22 Figured (out) : SUSSED
25 Language in Bangkok : THAI
26 Served raw, as steak : TARTARE
29 McKinnon of “S.N.L.” : KATE
30 Place for a baby to sleep : CRIB
31 Beer barrels : KEGS
32 Military program for coll. students : ROTC
33 “Alternatively …,” in texts : OTOH …
34 *Part of a ship just above the hold : LOWER DECK (giving “hit the deck”)
35 Practices épée, e.g. : FENCES
36 Not us : THEM
40 Ticks off : IRKS
43 “No surprise to me!” : I KNEW IT!
47 Develops a glitch : ACTS UP
50 First full month of Major League Baseball, often: Abbr. : APR
51 Get the suds out : RINSE
52 Post office purchase : STAMP
53 Person in a cockpit : PILOT
54 Ease, as fears : ALLAY
55 Concert proceeds : GATE
56 Double-curved molding : OGEE
57 State bird of Hawaii : NENE
59 Did a backstroke, say : SWAM
62 Prefix with state : TRI-
63 Conclusion : END

13 thoughts on “0520-19 NY Times Crossword 20 May 19, Monday”

  1. Love steak tartare with the best example to be found at Le Stella in Paris 16th arrondissement where rue de la Pompe meets ave Victor Hugo. One of the few places where the waiters are polite but not fakely subservient, aloof but caring. A rarity in Paris nowadays. They even treat unaccompanied Americans as human beings as many of my friends have attested.

    This said I thought steak tartare was named so after the mongols (tatars) whom are said to cook their horse meat under their saddle and thus eating it rawlike.
    The egg yolk I was told was added to increase the fat content of the leaner horse meat. Sadly Boucherie Chevalines or Horse butcher shops have altogether disappeared from France. Though horses generally dispute the “sadly” adverb. And so do I when in polite society…

    1. @Jose Imenez … Wow! A month ago (on my first trip ever to Paris), I was within a couple of blocks of that restaurant. If only I had known … 😜.

      1. yes its a very good example of a neighborhood restaurant and its been there for ever. I think my first trip there was in the mid to late seventies and I have gone there once a year at least ever since. Don’t recall ever be disappointed. when I worked in Paris, I took my french friends and my US masters there all the time. Took and sent plebe and aristocrats there alike and I have never heard anything but good things from these folks whether they went with me or by themselves.

    1. @LarryA … Well, it is in various dictionaries (my old copy of Webster’s Third, for example). Curiously, though, it’s not in my more recent college dictionaries. And, to acknowledge your point, I’m familiar with it almost exclusively from its use in crossword puzzles.

    2. @LarryA—-I seem to remember Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in “The Big Sleep” referring to himself as a “TEC”. I could certainly be wrong. As I remember it, he was telling someone (maybe, Lauren Bacall?) who he was and why he was on the case.

  2. 10:51, no errors. Slowed down by entering IRES in 40D before IRKS; and trying to find down entries which would make 61A WAILING WALL. Enjoyed Bill’s explanations, as always, I learn new things.

  3. Bill—-I have always thought that the SAMOA Girl Scout cookie was a play on the sound of the word. Like “Now that I have eaten these cookies, I want SAMOA!” (I want some more).

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