0522-19 NY Times Crossword 22 May 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Blue Suede Shoes?

Themed clues are the four lines from an old children’s rhyme (which are also reminiscent of the opening lines of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes”):

  • 19A One for the money : LEATHER WALLET
  • 24A Two for the show : BROADWAY TICKETS
  • 43A Three to get ready : STOP, DROP AND ROLL
  • 50A Four to go : ALL-WHEEL DRIVE

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

Bill’s time: 8m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Nutrition label unit : GRAM

Today, the gram is defined as one thousandth of a kilogram, with the kilogram being equal to the mass of physical sample preserved by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. Prior to 1960, the gram was defined as the weight of a cubic centimeter of pure water (at the temperature of melting ice).

5 Air of confidence, in slang : MOJO

The word “mojo”, meaning “magical charm, magnetism”, is probably of Creole origin.

14 Con, across the Pyrenees : AVEC

Our word “with” translates into “con” in Spanish, and into “avec” in French.

15 Take a taxi, informally : CAB IT

A hansom cab is a very specific design of horse and buggy that was patented by Joseph Hansom in 1834 in England. The “cab” in the name is short for “cabriolet”, an earlier design of carriage on which the hansom was based. It’s from “hansom cab” that we get our modern term “cab”.

16 Alternative to a taxi : UBER

The rideshare service Uber takes its name from the English colloquial word “uber” meaning “super, topmost”, which in turn comes from the German “über” meaning “above”.

17 “Etta ___” (old comic strip) : KETT

“Etta Kett” was a comic strip that first ran in 1925. The strip ceased to be published in 1974, when creator Paul Robinson passed away. The initial intent was to offer tips to teenagers on manners and social graces, hence the name of the title character Etta Kett (sounds like “etiquette”).

23 Diarist Nin : ANAIS

Anaïs Nin was a French author who was famous for the journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.

24 Two for the show : BROADWAY TICKETS

Broadway really is, and always has been, the Main Street of New York City. It started out as the Wickquasgeck Trail that was trampled into the Manhattan brush land by the Native Americans of the area. In the days of the Dutch, the trail became the man road though the island of Manhattan, down to the New Amsterdam settlement in the south. The Dutch described it as a “Breede weg”, a broad street or broad way. The name Broadway was adopted as the official name for the whole thoroughfare in 1899 … on Valentine’s Day.

33 Popular Japanese brew : KIRIN

Kirin lager is the oldest brand of beer in Japan. The “Kirin” name comes from the Japanese word for a mythical Chinese creature.

38 Nabokov title character : ADA

“Ada” is a 1969 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The story takes place in the 1800s on Antiterra, an Earth-like planet that has a history similar to ours but with interesting differences. For example, there is a United States, but that country covers all of North and South America. What we call eastern Canada is a French-speaking province called “Canady”, and western Canada is a Russian-speaking province called “Estody”. The storyline is about a man called Van Veen who, when 14 years old, meets for the first time his cousin, 11-year-old Ada. The two cousins eventually have an affair, only to discover later that they are in fact brother and sister.

39 Religion with an apostrophe in its name : BAHA’I

The Baha’i Faith is relatively new in the scheme of things, and was founded in Persia in the 1800s. One of the tenets of the religion is that messengers have come from God over time, including Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and most recently Bahá’u’lláh who founded the Baha’i Faith. Baha’i scripture specifies some particular architectural requirement for houses of worship, including that the building have nine-sided, circular shape. It is also specified that there be no pictures, statues or images displayed within a temple.

41 60 minuti : ORA

In Italian, there are “sessanta minuti” (sixty minutes) in an “ora” (hour).

42 Sticky stuff : 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.

43 Three to get ready : STOP, DROP AND ROLL

We all learned this one as kids, I hope. If one’s clothes or hair catches on fire, this is what I was taught to do:

  1. STOP … stop moving, so as not to fan the flames, and so as not to hamper anyone trying to render assistance.
  2. DROP … drop to the ground, lying horizontally, to get the flames away from one’s face (and cover the face with the hands if possible).
  3. ROLL … roll on the ground in a attempt to put out the flames by depriving them of oxygen. If there is a rug, blanket or coat nearby, one should try to roll that around oneself.

48 ___ fuzz : PEACH

“Peach fuzz” is the familiar name for “vellus hair”, the fine hair that is almost invisible on the skin of children and adult women. Vellus hair tends to be masked by what’s called terminal or androgenic hair in adult males. Vellus hair helps with cooling of the body. When a skin pore opens to sweat, the sweat wets a vellus hair, which provides a surface for evaporative cooling.

49 Rare outcome of a Scrabble game : TIE

The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions in publications like “The New York Times”.

55 Island NW of Oahu : KAUAI

Because the Hawaiian island of Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth, all the rainfall has helped to carve out magnificent canyons and left superb waterfalls. The island is often used as a backdrop for movies. The facilities at the island’s Lihue Airport reflect the pleasant climate enjoyed by the Hawaiian Islands. Check-in takes place completely outdoors!

57 Redhead on kids’ TV : ELMO

The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” for many years was Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

58 Pioneering computer operating system : UNIX

Unix is a computer operating system that was developed at Bell Labs in 1969. The initial name for the project was Uniplexed Information and Computing Service (Unics), and this evolved over time into “Unix”.

59 Pakistan’s longest river : INDUS

The Indus river rises in Tibet and flows through the length of Pakistan before emptying into the Arabian Sea, a part of the Indian Ocean lying to the west of the Indian subcontinent. The Indus gives its name to the country of India as “India” used to be the name of the region along the eastern banks of the river, which paradoxically is now in modern-day Pakistan.

60 Reformer Jacob who wrote “How the Other Half Lives” : RIIS

Journalist Jacob Riis is famous for his photographs and newspaper articles that highlighted the plight of the impoverished in New York City. He wrote “How the Other Half Lives”, originally an extensive article that appeared in “Scribner’s Magazine” at Christmas 1889. The article had such an impact that Riis was commissioned to expand it into a book, which was published the following year.

61 Jazz singer Simone : NINA

“Nina Simone” was the stage name of Eunice Waymon. Simone was very much associated with jazz music, although she really wanted to be a classical musician early in her career. She was inspired by a love for the music of Bach.

62 Hyatt hiree : MAID

The Hyatt hotel chain takes its name from the first hotel in the group, i.e. Hyatt House at Los Angeles International Airport that was purchased in 1957. Among other things, Hyatt is famous for designing the world’s first atrium hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.

Down

1 Ancient land conquered by Caesar : GAUL

The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium. We use the term “Gallic” today, when we refer to something pertaining to France or the French.

2 Naïve sort : RUBE

A rube is person lacking sophistication, someone often described as a country bumpkin. The term derives from the masculine name “Reuben”, which was considered back in the early 1800s to be a typical name used in rural areas.

4 First first lady : MARTHA

Rather then being called the “First Lady”, a term coined after she had passed away, Martha Washington was known in her lifetime as “Lady Washington”. Lady Washington was born Martha Dandridge, and was the oldest daughter of a Virginia planter. When she was 18 years old, Martha married Daniel Curtis, a wealthy planter who was 20 years her senior. Daniel died in 1757, leaving Martha a very wealthy widow. Two years later, when she was 27, she married 27-year-old George Washington. Martha had been living with Daniel on an estate known as “White House”, and indeed George and Martha married at “White House”.

12 “The X-Files” extras, briefly : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that originally aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history. An “X-Files” reboot started airing in 2016 with Duchovny and Anderson reprising their starring roles.

15 Like some crying babies : COLICKY

Baby colic is a condition in which a baby cries for no apparent reason for extended periods. At least one study has shown that breastfed babies are about half as likely to suffer from colic.

21 China’s Chou En-___ : LAI

Zhou Enlai (also “Chou En-Lai”) was the first government leader of the People’s Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. Zhou Enlai ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon’s famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, with both deaths leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.

26 Prefix with -dontic : ORTHO-

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry dealing with the straightening of teeth. The name comes from the Greek “orthos” meaning “straight” and “dontia” meaning “teeth”.

27 Hoopla : ADO

The word “hoopla” means “boisterous excitement”. The term probably comes from “houp-là”, something the French say instead of “upsy-daisy”. Then again, “upsy-daisy” probably isn’t something said very often here in the US …

28 Muse for Lord Byron : ERATO

In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry. She is often depicted with a wreath of myrtle and roses, and playing a lyre.

George Gordon Byron, known simply as “Lord Byron”, was an English poet active in the early 1800s. Byron was equally as famous for his poetry as he was for the wild excesses in his personal life. Byron lived much of that life outside of England, and fought for revolutionaries in both Italy and Greece. He died from a fever contracted while fighting for the Greeks against the Ottomans.

35 “Semper ___” (Marine Corps motto) : FIDELIS

“Semper Fidelis” (often abbreviated to “semper fi”) is the motto of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The phrase is Latin and means “Always Faithful”. The US Marine Corps isn’t the only military unit using “Semper Fidelis” as a motto. It’s also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

36 Militant org. in a 1994 peace agreement : IRA

After many, many years of conflict in Northern Ireland, the Provisional IRA (Irish Republican Army) declared a ceasefire in 1994. This step marked an end to most of the violence and was an important step along the road to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

41 To whom Hamlet says “Get thee to a nunnery” : OPHELIA

In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Ophelia is courted by Hamlet. In Act III, Hamlet is pretty depressed and upset, and addresses Ophelia with the famous line “Get thee to a nunn’ry, why woulds’t thou be a breeder of sinners?” In this scene, Hamlet is denying that he ever loved Ophelia, and exorts her to “become a nun”, so that she may never have to give birth to someone as pitiful and sinful as himself.

45 Earth tones : OCHERS

Ocher is a light, yellowy-brown color, although variations of the pigment are possible such as red ocher and purple ocher. “Ocher” is usually spelled “ochre” on the other side of the pond.

50 Automaker based in Bavaria : AUDI

The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch’s young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that “horch” was German for “hear” and he suggested “Audi” as a replacement, the Latin for “listen”.

Bavaria in southeast Germany is the largest state in the country. The capital and largest city in Bavaria is Munich.

56 Santa ___, Calif. : ANA

Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, California and takes its name from the Santa Ana River that runs through the city.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Nutrition label unit : GRAM
5 Air of confidence, in slang : MOJO
9 Aftermath : WAKE
13 Distinctive quality : AURA
14 Con, across the Pyrenees : AVEC
15 Take a taxi, informally : CAB IT
16 Alternative to a taxi : UBER
17 “Etta ___” (old comic strip) : KETT
18 Pizzeria fixtures : OVENS
19 One for the money : LEATHER WALLET
22 Casual greetings : HIS
23 Diarist Nin : ANAIS
24 Two for the show : BROADWAY TICKETS
31 Crew member’s item : OAR
32 Spots : ADS
33 Popular Japanese brew : KIRIN
34 Be decisive : OPT
35 One way to sway : FRO
36 Hardly welcoming : ICY
38 Nabokov title character : ADA
39 Religion with an apostrophe in its name : BAHA’I
41 60 minuti : ORA
42 Sticky stuff : TAR
43 Three to get ready : STOP, DROP AND ROLL
48 ___ fuzz : PEACH
49 Rare outcome of a Scrabble game : TIE
50 Four to go : ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
55 Island NW of Oahu : KAUAI
57 Redhead on kids’ TV : ELMO
58 Pioneering computer operating system : UNIX
59 Pakistan’s longest river : INDUS
60 Reformer Jacob who wrote “How the Other Half Lives” : RIIS
61 Jazz singer Simone : NINA
62 Hyatt hiree : MAID
63 Stuff : SATE
64 Part of a musical note : STEM

Down

1 Ancient land conquered by Caesar : GAUL
2 Naïve sort : RUBE
3 Domain : AREA
4 First first lady : MARTHA
5 Launches an offensive : MAKES WAR
6 Completed : OVER
7 Passages to planes : JETWAYS
8 One-eighth of a circle : OCTANT
9 Surfboard/kayak hybrid : WAVESKI
10 Act as a lookout for, say : ABET
11 Next of ___ : KIN
12 “The X-Files” extras, briefly : ETS
15 Like some crying babies : COLICKY
20 Took cover : HID
21 China’s Chou En-___ : LAI
24 Numbskulls : BOOBS
25 Knock on, as a door : RAP AT
26 Prefix with -dontic : ORTHO-
27 Hoopla : ADO
28 Muse for Lord Byron : ERATO
29 Like some currents : TIDAL
30 Tangle : SNARL
35 “Semper ___” (Marine Corps motto) : FIDELIS
36 Militant org. in a 1994 peace agreement : IRA
37 Guaranteed to succeed : CAN’T LOSE
40 Give a hand : APPLAUD
41 To whom Hamlet says “Get thee to a nunnery” : OPHELIA
44 Lacking polish : RAW
45 Earth tones : OCHERS
46 Completed : DID
47 Syndicated fare : RERUNS
50 Automaker based in Bavaria : AUDI
51 Send out : EMIT
52 Not yet out of the running : IN IT
53 Tree hugger? : VINE
54 One might be taken orally : EXAM
55 Most common Korean surname : KIM
56 Santa ___, Calif. : ANA

10 thoughts on “0522-19 NY Times Crossword 22 May 19, Wednesday”

  1. I love you Bill
    For the interesting info about the Kilogram ( which is about to change BTW), for the tidbit about McAdam which was originally sans tar and for the myriad of trivia that I have a hard time storing in my brain.

    And Yes Ochers threw me. could not get myself to spell it thusly.

  2. Struggled a bit in the north-central before I changed AIRWAYS to JETWAYS, the J then giving me MOJO which I should have gotten from the git-go. French word held me up too. Tricky for a Wednesday; no errors.

  3. 11:07, no errors. Slowed by confusion about a couple of spelling variations. Spelling COLICKY with a K didn’t seem right, and (even tough I have lived my entire life on this side of pond) I am more familiar with seeing OCHRE. Still don’t care for clues like the French/Spanish connection in 14A. If you crossed the Pyrenees in the other direction, the answer would be ‘estupido’. Funny how the gram was the original standard for mass, and the kilogram is defined as ‘one thousand grams’, hence the name. So if the standard is now the kilogram, and the gram is defined as ‘one one-thousandth of a kilogram’, shouldn’t the gram be renamed ‘millikilogram’??

  4. Great puzzle. Hitting on all cylinders. Just the right amount of difficulty to make it still fun.

    I agree, Bill, with “Blue Suede Shoes” as a title for the theme. That phrase from the Elvis song immediately ran through my mind as I worked the puzzle. “Go, cat, go!”

  5. I think Bill is being a bit overly generous in his interpretation of the theme. The clues by themselves are not the theme; the answers, all four, have to complement them.

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