0515-20 NY Times Crossword 15 May 20, Friday

Constructed by: Christopher Adams
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 11m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Secular : LAICAL

Anything described as laic (or “laical, lay”) is related to the laity, those members of the church who are not clergy. The term “laic” ultimately comes from the Greek “laikos” meaning “of the people”.

20 Certain second attempt success : SPARE

In bowling, the downing of all ten pins in two balls in the same frame is called a spare, and scores ten points. The player gets a bonus, equal to the number of pins downed with the next ball, which could be up to ten. Hence, a spare can be worth up to 20 points

23 Gilbert and Sullivan princess : IDA

“Princess Ida; or, Castle Adamant” is a Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera. It was first performed in 1884 at the Savoy Theatre in London that was famous for staging the duo’s works.

24 Stand on deck : BAT NEXT

That would be baseball.

27 First lady between Bess and Jackie : MAMIE

Mamie Eisenhower was surely one of the most charming of all the First Ladies of the United States. Ms. Eisenhower suffered from an inner ear complaint called Ménière’s disease which caused her to lose her balance quite often. Because she was unsteady on her feet there were unfounded rumors floating around Washington that Ms. Eisenhower had a drinking problem. People can be very unkind …

Harry and Bess Truman met when they were very young children, at Sunday school. They were friends right through high school and became engaged in 1918 just before Harry went off to France during WWI, marrying the next year. Bess Truman never really took to the Washington scene when she became First Lady and stayed out of the limelight as much as she could. Perhaps that contributed to her longevity. Mrs. Truman lived to the age of 97, making her the longest living First Lady in US history.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born into a privileged family, the daughter of Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou Bouvier III. Ms. Bouvier moved in the same social circles as the Kennedy clan, and first met the then-US Representative John Kennedy at a dinner party hosted by mutual friends. Years later, after she saw her husband assassinated and then her brother-in-law (Bobby Kennedy) suffer the same fate, Jackie declared that she feared for the life of her children as they bore the Kennedy name. She left the country, eventually meeting and marrying Aristotle Onassis. Reportedly she was very satisfied that the Greek shipping magnate was able to provide privacy and security for her children.

29 FWIW part : IT’S

For what it’s worth (FWIW)

30 “The Great Movies” author : EBERT

“The Great Movies” is a series of four books published by film critic Roger Ebert. In those publications, Ebert lists 364 movies that he deemed “landmarks of the first century of cinema”.

32 First film collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro : MEAN STREETS

“Mean Streets” is a crime drama co-written and directed by Martin Scorsese, and released in 1973. The leads in the movie are played by Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel.

35 An official color of the University of Texas : BURNT ORANGE

The University of Texas at Austin was established back in 1883. UT Austin is known as one of the “Public Ivies”, a publicly-funded university at which a student can get an education comparable to that provided by the Ivy League. The school’s sports teams are known as the Texas Longhorns, named for the Longhorn cattle that is now the official “large animal” of the state of Texas.

36 Anna Wintour, e.g. : FASHIONISTA

The Spanish suffix “-ista” indicates a supporter or follower. Examples would be “fashionista” (a follower of fashion) and “Sandinista” (member of a Nicaraguan political party named for revolutionary Augusto César Sandino).

Anna Wintour is fashion editor in Britain, and is also the editor-in-chief of American “Vogue”. Lauren Weisberger wrote the book “The Devil Wears Prada” with the tyrannical main character apparently based on Wintour.

37 Coup d’état group : JUNTA

A junta is a group of military officers that rule a country, usually after having seized power forcibly. “Junta” is a Spanish word meaning “council”.

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We also use the abbreviated “coup” to mean “sudden, brilliant and successful act”.

38 Mixed martial arts org. : UFC

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the largest promoter in the world of mixed martial arts competitions. I think the idea is that competitors fight each other in various disciplines to see who is the “best of the best” …

48 Superhero role for 50-Across : THOR

50 Actor Hemsworth : CHRIS

The 2011 movie “Thor” is yet another film based on a comic book hero. Even though I won’t be seeing it (I don’t do comics), I must admit it does have an impressive cast. Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, supported by Natalie Portman, Rene Russo, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins. And to crown it all, Kenneth Branagh is the director.

52 More chichi : TONIER

Something described as tony is elegant or exclusive. “Tony” is derived from the word “tone”.

Someone or something described as chichi is showily trendy and pretentious. “Chichi” is a French noun meaning “airs, fuss”.

56 Albert Einstein or Enrico Fermi : EMIGRE

An émigré (fem. “émigrée”) is an emigrant. The term is French in origin, and particularly applies to someone who is a political refugee from his or her native land.

After Albert Einstein moved to the US in 1933, he became quite a celebrity and his face was readily recognizable. Einstein was frequently stopped in the street by people who would naively ask him if he could explain what “that theory” (i.e. the theory of relativity) was all about. Growing tired of this, he finally learned to tell people that he was sorry, but folks were constantly mistaking him for Albert Einstein!

Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy. Fermi moved to the US just before WWII, largely to escape the anti-Semitic feelings that were developing in Italy under Mussolini. Fermi traveled from Rome to Stockholm in 1938 to receive that year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Instead of returning to Italy, Fermi and his family traveled on to New York City, where they applied for permanent residency. It was Fermi’s work at the University of Chicago that led to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi died at 53 years of age from stomach cancer . Cancer was a prevalent cause of death among the team working on that first nuclear pile.

59 They make waves in the ocean : SONARS

The British developed the first underwater detection system that used sound waves. Research was driven by defence demands during WWI, leading to production of working units in 1922. This new sound detection system was described as using “supersonics”, but for the purpose of secrecy the term was dropped in favor of an acronym. The work was done under the auspices of the Royal Navy’s Anti-Submarine Division, so ASD was combined with the “IC” from “superson-ic-s” to create the name ASDIC. The navy even went as far as renaming the quartz material at the heart of the technology “ASDivite”. By the time WWII came along, the Americans were producing their own systems and coined the term SONAR, playing off the related application, RADAR. And so, the name ASDIC was deep-sixed …

Down

1 Rapper on the 2001 #1 hit “Lady Marmalade” : LIL’ KIM

“Lil’ Kim” is the stage name of rap artist Kimberly Denise Jones from Brooklyn, New York. Lil’ Kim spent a year in jail in 2005 for lying to a jury in a case about a shooting.

“Lady Marmalade” is a song that was most famously recorded by Labelle in 1975. A 2001 cover version by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink was also very successful, released from the soundtrack of the film “Moulin Rouge!”. The song is noted for its suggestive chorus “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”, which translates from French as “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”

2 Mother in Tennessee Williams’s “The Glass Menagerie” : AMANDA

“The Glass Menagerie” is a play by Tennessee Williams that was first staged in 1944. This was the play that brought Williams to the public’s attention, due to its very positive reception.

4 Avian shelter : COTE

The Old English word “cote” was used for a small house. Our modern word “cottage” comes from “cote”. We now use “cote” to mean a small shelter on a farm for sheep or birds.

5 Contact information symbols, nowadays : ATS

The “at symbol” (@) originated in the commercial word, as shorthand for “each at, per” and similar phrases. I suppose we see the symbol most commonly these days as part of email addresses.

7 Nail care brand : CUTEX

Cutex introduced the first liquid nail polish in 1917. That polish was basically automobile paint.

8 Messenger ___ : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

10 One who’s used to adding pressure? : MATHLETE

A mathlete is someone who competes in mathematics competitions.

11 Desserts made with pâte à choux : ECLAIRS

The name for the pastry known as an “éclair” is clearly French in origin. The French word for lightning is “éclair”, but no one seems to be too sure how it came to be used for the rather delicious bakery item.

12 Rogue computer system in “The Terminator” : SKYNET

The 1984 movie “The Terminator” was directed by James Cameron. It was a relatively low-budget production, costing $6.4 million, but has grossed at least $80 million to date. No wonder the Terminator said “I’ll be back” …

17 Lowest rating for PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter : PANTS ON FIRE

PolitiFact is a project in which reporters and editors primarily from the “Tampa Bay Times” fact-check statements made by politicians and related parties. Statements can be graded from “True” at one extreme, to “Pants on Fire” at the other.

The full rhyme used by children to deride someone not telling the truth is:

Liar, liar, pants on fire,
Hang them up on the telephone wire.

21 Opposite of laissez-faire : RESTRICTIVE

“Laissez-faire” is a French term that we use to describe non-interference in the affairs of others. The literal translation is “to let to allow”.

33 Bad “Wheel of Fortune” buy for NATURAL RESOURCE : AN I

Contestants have been spinning the “Wheel of Fortune” since the game show first aired in 1975.

34 Univ. peer leaders : RAS

A resident assistant/adviser (RA) is a peer leader found in a residence hall, particularly on a college campus.

40 Singer Grande : ARIANA

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four season on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

41 Guide : MENTOR

A mentor is a trusted teacher or counselor. The term comes from Homer’s “Odyssey” in which there is a character called Mentor. Mentor is a friend of Odysseus, although he is a relatively ineffective old man. However, the goddess Athena takes on Mentor’s appearance in order to guide Odysseus’s young son Telemachus through difficult times.

42 Video spots : PIXELS

A pixel is a dot, and the base element that goes to make up a digital image.

46 Six-part exams, for short : LSATS

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

49 World capital where Lettish is spoken : RIGA

Riga is the capital city of Latvia. The historical center of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared as such because of the city’s magnificent examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

51 Strait of ___ de Fuca, waterway separating Washington State from Vancouver Island : JUAN

The major bodies of water between the south-western tip of British Columbia and the north-western tip of Washington state are the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound. Since 1988, the whole network of coastal waterways in this area have been referred to as the Salish Sea. The term was coined by marine biologist Bert Webber who wanted to raise awareness of the need to manage the region’s waters and ecosystems collectively.

53 Little bit of work : ERG

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. It has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

55 Comedian Margaret : CHO

Margaret Cho is a very successful stand-up comedian, but she is also a fashion designer with her own line of clothing. Cho acts as well, and you might have seen her in the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage movie “Face/Off” in which she played John Travolta’s FBI colleague.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Secular : LAICAL
7 Lines on a record : CRIMES
13 “These feelings have got me pretty down” : I’M NOT OK
15 Work through, as feelings : UNPACK
16 What to do just before you’re done : LAST STEP
18 How bowstrings are strung : TAUTLY
19 It’s used for kicks : KNEE
20 Certain second attempt success : SPARE
22 Follower of greater or lesser : … THAN
23 Gilbert and Sullivan princess : IDA
24 Stand on deck : BAT NEXT
26 Golfer’s consideration : LIE
27 First lady between Bess and Jackie : MAMIE
29 FWIW part : IT’S
30 “The Great Movies” author : EBERT
32 First film collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro : MEAN STREETS
35 An official color of the University of Texas : BURNT ORANGE
36 Anna Wintour, e.g. : FASHIONISTA
37 Coup d’état group : JUNTA
38 Mixed martial arts org. : UFC
39 Impress : STAMP
43 Body art, slangily : INK
44 Without words : TACITLY
47 Portuguese king : REI
48 Superhero role for 50-Across : THOR
50 Actor Hemsworth : CHRIS
51 “We said the same thing!” : JINX!
52 More chichi : TONIER
54 Clear out : EVACUATE
56 Albert Einstein or Enrico Fermi : EMIGRE
57 What about 40% of the U.S. corn crop is used for : ETHANOL
58 Fixes a mislabeling of on social media : RETAGS
59 They make waves in the ocean : SONARS

Down

1 Rapper on the 2001 #1 hit “Lady Marmalade” : LIL’ KIM
2 Mother in Tennessee Williams’s “The Glass Menagerie” : AMANDA
3 Clothing line : INSEAM
4 Avian shelter : COTE
5 Contact information symbols, nowadays : ATS
6 Tons, informally : LOTSA
7 Nail care brand : CUTEX
8 Messenger ___ : RNA
9 “Where did ___ my keys?” : I PUT
10 One who’s used to adding pressure? : MATHLETE
11 Desserts made with pâte à choux : ECLAIRS
12 Rogue computer system in “The Terminator” : SKYNET
14 Wasn’t a stranger : KEPT IN TOUCH
17 Lowest rating for PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter : PANTS ON FIRE
21 Opposite of laissez-faire : RESTRICTIVE
24 Tailgater’s headgear : BEER HAT
25 Really small : TEENTSY
28 “___ confess …” : I MUST
31 Brought forth, biblically : BEGAT
33 Bad “Wheel of Fortune” buy for NATURAL RESOURCE : AN I
34 Univ. peer leaders : RAS
35 “That’s a sure bet” : BANK ON IT
36 2015 winner of Best Musical : FUN HOME
37 Nervous feeling : JITTER
40 Singer Grande : ARIANA
41 Guide : MENTOR
42 Video spots : PIXELS
45 Approximately three for a baseball field : ACRES
46 Six-part exams, for short : LSATS
49 World capital where Lettish is spoken : RIGA
51 Strait of ___ de Fuca, waterway separating Washington State from Vancouver Island : JUAN
53 Little bit of work : ERG
55 Comedian Margaret : CHO

19 thoughts on “0515-20 NY Times Crossword 15 May 20, Friday”

  1. 14:04, no errors. The final letter I entered was the “D” of “IDA” and “AMANDA”, which seemed like the only logical choice, even though I was unfamiliar with those two entries. Otherwise, a straightforward solve …

  2. 28:12 “Amanda” was simply a wild guess for me, took some time to figure out where I “fat fingered” a couple of letters…oops.

    1. The lay person is generally someone who plays a part in a religious observance, but is not an “official” member of a religious order. For example, in Catholicism, the Knights of Columbus are considered laical. The assist in the rites, but they are not ordanined.

    2. I completed it. But I’ve never heard the word teensty before. I’ve heard teeny-tiny, and teensy (not sure of the exact spelling of either). But I’ve never heard that second “t” sound in the word before

  3. 17:24, no errors. A good time for me for a Friday puzzle. Started in the NE and circled around to finish in the NW. More sun today in Alaska, so more biking today.

  4. 23:25. I sabotaged myself in several places. I had “priors” before CRIMES and put “Eminem” before LIL KIM. Eminem was the only rap artist that I knew whose name ends in “M”, and it fit so….

    I always have to give a plug to U of Texas at Austin. I’ve mentioned I went to grad school there about 100 times here. 101 now. Supposedly BURNT ORANGE was chosen as their color because it’s the color of the Texas sunset – esp. out on a west Texas ranch.

    Best-

  5. 25:00 or so…didn’t really feel on my game today, but it’s sunny in Scottsdale and it won’t hit 100F and it’s in May. I guess that counts for something. 🙂

  6. 2 dumb errors.. Didn’t get the MATHLETE… I had MATHTETE … That gave me TIE for 26A.. Didn’t know where my head was at.. Time to go to bed I guess.

  7. Struggled some, but finished WNE. North west was the last to fall;
    luckily Li’l Kim is one of three or four rappers whose name I recognize, so that helped. Happy to set myself up for Saturday.

  8. 1:35:00 no errors…I spent a very long time in the NW corner.
    A lot of the clues in this puzzle were like the outfielders when Mike Trout comes to bat (way out there).
    Stay safe

  9. Reasonably challenging puzzle. 28 minutes. No errors. I also originally had Eminem which held me up for a little bit.

  10. 21:04, 2 errors: LAIC(I)L; (I)TS. Thinking of Information Techs. Got off in the weeds entering 20A CHARM before SPARE (guess that’s success on the third attempt); 43A TAT before INK, which led to CAN’T LOSE in 35D before BET ON IT.

    1. For anyone interested: “Pâte à choux, or choux paste, is a paste made of flour, water, butter, and eggs — it’s slightly thicker than a batter, but not quite as thick as a dough. … “Pâte” means paste and “choux” means cabbage — the name comes from the resemblance to little cabbages when the puffs come out of the oven.” It’s the ‘puff pastry’ used in eclairs, cream puffs, etc.

  11. Bruce B — thanks for that, I was just about to look it up.

    SteveA — I’m with you, don’t think teensty is a word.

    1. You’ve both misspelled it. What’s in the grid is “TEENTSY”, and I was slightly dubious about it, too, but all the crosses work and it is in the dictionary.

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