0507-20 NY Times Crossword 7 May 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Bruce Haight & Peter A. Collins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): MW Swap

Themed answers sound like common phrases, but with M- and W-sounds swapped. Also, black squares in the middle of the grid look like letters M and W:

  • 18A Australian’s caution against entering a battlefield? : BUT, MATE, THERE’S WAR (from “but wait, there’s more”)
  • 36A “Just a reminder: the golf course is reserved for the guys tomorrow,” e.g.? : MEN’S DAY WARNING (from “Wednesday morning”)
  • 58A “Would you mind getting that officer out of bed?” : CARE TO WAKE A MAJOR? (from “care to make a wager?)

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 9m 40s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Banned supplement : EPHEDRA

Ephedra is a plant extract used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of asthma and hay fever. Ephedra was banned by the FDA in 2004 as its use has been linked to many fatalities.

17 Simple skating jump : TOE LOOP

A toe loop is a relatively simple jump in figure skating (not that I could do one!). In a toe loop, the skater uses the toe pick on the skate to lift off on a backward outside edge, landing on the same backward outside edge.

20 Sean of “Stranger Things” : ASTIN

Sean Astin is best known for playing the title role in the 1993 film “Rudy” and the character Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings” movies. You might also have seen him playing Lynn McGill in the 5th season of “24”. Astin is the son of actress Patty Duke, and the adopted son of actor John Astin (of “The Addams Family” fame).

“Stranger Things” is a sci-fi horror TV show made for Netflix that aired its first season in 2016. I don’t do horror, and so haven’t seen it …

24 French city that was an objective for recapture on D-Day : CAEN

Caen, on the River Orne, lies in the Calvados department of France in the northwest of the country. Caen is famous for the WWII Battle of Caen that left the town practically destroyed. Caen is also the burial place of Norman King William I of England, also known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

25 Some famous last words : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

30 Big box co. : UPS

United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky. UPS often goes by the nickname “Brown”, because of its brown delivery trucks and brown uniforms.

33 ___ Diggory, student at Hogwarts : CEDRIC

Cedric Diggory is a fellow student of Harry Potter at Hogwarts. He is two years ahead of young Harry.

42 ___ Arizona : USS

The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor sits across the sunken hull of the battleship, the resting place of 1,102 out of 1,117 sailors of the Arizona who were killed during the 1941 attack. After the attack, the superstructure of the Arizona protruded above the surface of the water. This was removed during and after WWII, hence leaving just a submerged hull. The memorial itself was approved by President Eisenhower in 1958, and the building was opened in 1962. In 1999, the battleship USS Missouri was permanently moored in Pearl Harbor, docked nearby and perpendicular to the Arizona. It was on board the Missouri that the Japanese surrendered, marking the end of WWII.

46 Sporty car option : T-TOP

A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

50 Italian mount : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

52 Lady ___, powerhouse in college basketball : VOLS

The Tennessee Volunteers (the Vols) is the name given to the men’s sports teams at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The women’s teams are called the Lady Volunteers.

54 Frans ___, “The Merry Drinker” painter : HALS

Frans Hals was a painter in the Dutch Golden Age who was born in Antwerp but who lived and worked in Haarlem. Hals is best known for his portraits, the most famous of which is probably “The Laughing Cavalier”.

56 Musical artist behind the “War Is Over! (If You Want It)” campaign : ONO

John Lennon and Yoko Ono married at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969. The couple decided to use the inevitable publicity surrounding their wedding and honeymoon to promote peace in the world. They honeymooned in the Presidential Suite of the Amsterdam Hilton, inviting the world’s press to join them and to witness their “bed-in”. They spent the week talking about peace, and an end to war. The marriage and bed-in is chronicled by the Beatles in their song “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. A few weeks after the marriage, Lennon adopted the middle name “Ono” by deed poll.

Down

2 One who might say “Thank God it’s Friday”? : CRUSOE

In Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel “Robinson Crusoe”, the castaway encounters a companion that Crusoe calls “Friday”, because the two first met on that day. Friday soon becomes his willing servant. This character is the source of our terms “Man/Guy Friday” and “Girl/Gal Friday”, which are used to describe a particularly competent and loyal assistant.

3 Actress Betty of old Hollywood : HUTTON

Betty Hutton’s most famous performance was probably playing the title role in the 1950 movie, “Annie Get your Gun”. She got the part even though filming had already started with Judy Garland as the star. Garland had to withdraw due to exhaustion, giving Hutton the role of her career.

4 Custardy dessert : FLAN

Flan (also “crème caramel”) is a delicious dessert comprising a molded custard topped with a clear caramel sauce. The related crème brûlée is a dessert made from molded custard with a hard, burnt caramel layer on top.

9 Vasco da Gama’s homeland: Abbr. : POR

Portugal is the most westerly country in Europe, and is located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula alongside Spain. The name “Portugal” comes from the Latin “Portus Cale”, the name used by ancient Romans for Porto, now the country’s second largest city. Portugal was a far-reaching power in the 15th and 16th centuries, at the center of the world’s first truly global empire. A legacy of the Portuguese Empire is that today there are more than 240 million Portuguese speakers across the world.

Vasco da Gama left on his first voyage of discovery in 1497. da Gama journeyed around the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa, and across the Indian Ocean making landfall in India. Landing in India, his fleet became the first expedition to sail directly from Europe to the sub-continent. Vasco da Gama was well known for acts of cruelty, especially on local inhabitants. One of his milder atrocities was inflicted on a priest whom he labelled as a spy. He had the priest’s lips and ears cut off, and sent him on his way after having a pair of dog’s ears sewn onto his head.

10 Dickens clerk : HEEP

Uriah Heep is a sniveling and insincere character in the novel “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. The character is such a “yes man” that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way, then we might call that person a “Uriah Heep”.

11 Advertising icon with horns : ELSIE

Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. She is so famous and respected that she has been awarded the degrees of Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor of Human Kindness and Doctor of Ecownomics. Elsie was also given a husband named Elmer the Bull. Elmer eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer’s Glue.

13 Luau entree : ROAST PIG

Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of poi, the bulbous underground stems of taro.

14 Loan fig. : APR

Annual percentage rate (APR)

24 Where Jesus turned water into wine : CANA

According to the Christian Bible, Cana is the place where Jesus performed his first public miracle. Jesus was attending a wedding feast with his mother when the party ran out of wine. Jesus turned water into wine, wine subsequently deemed to be the best served at the feast.

26 Sch. whose initials are the reverse of 32-Down : USC
(32D Sch. whose initials are the reverse of 26-Down : CSU)

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private school in Los Angeles. Apart from its excellent academic record, USC is known for the success of its athletic program. USC Trojans have won more Olympic medals than the students of any other university in the world. The USC marching band is very famous as well, and is known as the “Spirit of Troy”. The band has performed with many celebrities, and is the only college band to have two platinum records.

California State University (CSU) is the largest university system in the country, with 23 campuses. About half of the bachelor’s degrees in the US awarded annually are from CSU.

28 Reason for corp. damage control : BAD PR

Public relations (PR)

29 Seafood staple of New England : SCROD

Scrod is the name given to fish that has been “scrawed” i.e. split open, dried and then broiled.

39 Son of Zeus : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

45 College in New Rochelle, N.Y. : IONA

Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name “Killian”.

49 Traditional gift for a 30th anniversary : PEARLS

Pearls form in oysters because of a reaction that is similar to an immune system response in higher animals. The pearl is formed as the oysters lay down successive layers of calcium carbonate around some microscopic foreign body that has penetrated the shell.

Some traditional gifts for wedding anniversaries are:

  • 5th: wooden
  • 10th: tin
  • 15th: crystal
  • 20th: china
  • 25th: silver
  • 30th: pearl
  • 40th: ruby
  • 50th: gold
  • 60th: diamond

51 Argus-eyed : ALERT

Argus Panoptes is a monster of Greek mythology. “Panoptes” means “all-seeing”, so over time Argus has been described as having many, many eyes. Argus was noted for being alert, always keeping some eyes open when sleeping. This characteristic led to Argus being used for a vigilant person, and has been adopted as the name for many newspapers. After the monster died, the goddess Hera transferred Argus’s eyes to the tail of the peacock.

57 Parisian pal : AMIE

“Mon ami” is French for “my friend”, when referring to a male. The phrase “mon amie” is used for a female.

58 Male swan : COB

An adult male swan is a cob, and an adult female is a pen. Young swans are swanlings or cygnets.

59 The Buckeyes of the Big Ten, in brief : OSU

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”.

60 ___ Long, Union general at the Battle of Selma : ELI

Eli Long served in the Union army during the Civil War, was wounded five times, and decorated five times for bravery.

The Battle of Selma was fought towards the end of the Civil War, in Selma, Alabama. In 1865, Selam had strong defenses, but lacked the men needed to make good use of them. The Union soldiers broke through the defensive line in several places and the Confederates surrendered the city in less than a day.

61 Jungfrau, for one : ALP

The Jungfrau is a peak in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. “Jungfrau” translates from German as “maiden” or “virgin”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “___ so!” (German “I see!”) : ACH
4 With 22-Across, common lapel attachments for presidents : FLAG …
8 Banned supplement : EPHEDRA
15 One and only : TRUE LOVE
17 Simple skating jump : TOE LOOP
18 Australian’s caution against entering a battlefield? : BUT, MATE, THERE’S WAR (from “but wait, there’s more”)
20 Sean of “Stranger Things” : ASTIN
21 Clause connector : NOR
22 See 4-Across : … PINS
23 Blow one’s horn : TOOT
24 French city that was an objective for recapture on D-Day : CAEN
25 Some famous last words : ET TU?
27 On the way : SENT
28 Ones playing things low-key? : BASSES
30 Big box co. : UPS
31 “That’s out of the question” : I CAN’T
33 ___ Diggory, student at Hogwarts : CEDRIC
36 “Just a reminder: the golf course is reserved for the guys tomorrow,” e.g.? : MEN’S DAY WARNING (from “Wednesday morning”)
40 Overly fixated (on) : HUNG UP
41 Chip away at : ERODE
42 ___ Arizona : USS
43 Inveighed : RAILED
46 Sporty car option : T-TOP
50 Italian mount : ETNA
52 Lady ___, powerhouse in college basketball : VOLS
53 Air freshener scent : PINE
54 Frans ___, “The Merry Drinker” painter : HALS
56 Musical artist behind the “War Is Over! (If You Want It)” campaign : ONO
57 #1 of 24 : ALPHA
58 “Would you mind getting that officer out of bed?” : CARE TO WAKE A MAJOR? (from “care to make a wager?)
62 Strain, as a muscle : OVERUSE
63 For the most part : ALL IN ALL
64 Closest friend : BEST BUD
65 “Jeepers!” : YIPE!
66 Intersection intersectors: Abbr. : RDS

Down

1 Baseball statistic : AT-BATS
2 One who might say “Thank God it’s Friday”? : CRUSOE
3 Actress Betty of old Hollywood : HUTTON
4 Custardy dessert : FLAN
5 Subdivision subdivision : LOT
6 Bird: Sp. : AVE
7 Turn malicious : GET NASTY
8 Forever, poetically : ETERNE
9 Vasco da Gama’s homeland: Abbr. : POR
10 Dickens clerk : HEEP
11 Advertising icon with horns : ELSIE
12 Market woe : DOWNTURN
13 Luau entree : ROAST PIG
14 Loan fig. : APR
16 Giving off : EMITTING
19 Garden store equipment : HOES
24 Where Jesus turned water into wine : CANA
26 Sch. whose initials are the reverse of 32-Down : USC
28 Reason for corp. damage control : BAD PR
29 Seafood staple of New England : SCROD
32 Sch. whose initials are the reverse of 26-Down : CSU
34 Squelch : END
35 Nutritionist’s recommendation : DIET PLAN
36 Something indispensable : MUST HAVE
37 Traps : ENSNARES
38 “I mean … I guess” : WELL … OKAY
39 Son of Zeus : ARES
40 Coral or aquamarine : HUE
44 Maintained : AVOWED
45 College in New Rochelle, N.Y. : IONA
47 Container near a cash register : TIP JAR
48 Temporarily suspended : ON HOLD
49 Traditional gift for a 30th anniversary : PEARLS
51 Argus-eyed : ALERT
55 Ticket part : STUB
57 Parisian pal : AMIE
58 Male swan : COB
59 The Buckeyes of the Big Ten, in brief : OSU
60 ___ Long, Union general at the Battle of Selma : ELI
61 Jungfrau, for one : ALP

17 thoughts on “0507-20 NY Times Crossword 7 May 20, Thursday”

  1. 32:15 Had a typically hard time to get started, had a hard time to get ‘er done. Never would have seen the theme without Bill’s explanation. I make Captain Obvious look good….

  2. 25:19. Did this under the influence of several Budweisers and a couple of shots of tequila. I had to keep my consecutive streak alive – not that I’m a slave to the NYT app or anything!! Very curious if I would have done any better sans Bud or tequila? Hmmmm

    Fun one anyway. Took me a couple of looks to see the M and W black squares.

    Fly back to Las Vegas tomorrow. We’re starting to open up on Saturday.

    Best –

  3. The EPA suggests distancing oneself 6 miles from A Nonny Muss’s ⛽ on account of its toxicity.

    1. Hmmmmm. How puzzling. Something from “The Morland Dynasty” (which I’d never heard of)? A departure from the usual pattern … 😳.

  4. No errors.. Didn’t get the theme or see the M’s and W’s… But the phrases had a certain ring I just couldn’t pin down… It had Mr Haights name on it So I imagined some sort of twist to it.. Just couldn’t find it.. At a certain point, I decide I’m not doing a crossword and it’s some sort of enigma then I clock out.. Like listening to a Beatles album backwards at 33 1/3 to hear the hidden messages….

  5. 37:51 no errors…when I first saw that this was a two setter puzzle I thought “here we go again” but for once it worked out ok.
    Stay safe

  6. Bill,

    Though it’s been 45 years since I took any French, don’t
    possessive pronouns and their objects have to agree by gender?
    Isn’t it mon cher and ma cherie? Wouldn’t it be mon ami and
    ma amie or m’amie?

    Just wondering.

    1. In general the answer is ‘oui’:
      if the thing/person is masculine (le), then you generally use mon to translate ‘my’;
      if the thing/person is feminine (la), then you generally use ma to translate ‘my’;
      if the thing/person is plural (les), then you use mes to translate ‘my’

      However, as in English, there are exceptions:
      In the singular, the word for my is also mon if the following word is feminine and begins with a vowel. Thus, the French for “my female friend” is mon amie (not *ma amie). Similarly, the French for “my school” is mon école: even though the word école is feminine (and so we’d expect to use ma), it begins with a vowel, and so mon is used instead.

      http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/grammar/how_to_say_my_in_french.shtml

  7. 17:44, 2 errors: (S)AEN; (S)ANA. Got through the upper third quickly, then bogged down in the middle and lower thirds.

  8. To follow up on Tom M.’s comment—-I had the same experience—-no errors and failed to see the M-W gimmick. But I absolutely consider this to be a “finish”. I consider a theme to be there as an aid to the solvers. Usually it does help in that way. But if one does not grasp the theme it makes no difference—-the important thing is that the puzzle still got solved.

  9. @Dave E—-In my experience (which is way less that many on this board) I would make a guess that the black squares have relevance maybe 1 out of 100 times. It is usually a graphic representation of an object; say, for example, a table or a top hat or a stairway. I try to get into the habit of glancing at the black squares before starting the puzzle to see if perhaps it might give some clue as to what is in store for the solving.

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