0518-20 NY Times Crossword 18 May 20, Monday

Constructed by: Christina Iverson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Monopoly

Themed answers each start with a token found in the game Monopoly:

  • 64A Game whose tokens have included the starts of 16-, 20-, 26-, 49- and 55-Across : MONOPOLY
  • 16A Where Army recruits go to start training : BOOT CAMP
  • 20A Three goals by the same player : HAT TRICK
  • 26A Shell game : THIMBLE RIG
  • 49A British heavy metal band named for a torture device : IRON MAIDEN
  • 55A All tuckered out : DOG-TIRED

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Shakespeare, for one : BARD

The original bards were storytellers, poets and composers of music in medieval Britain and Ireland, with the term coming from the Old Celtic word “bardos” that described a poet or singer. I guess the most famous bard was William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon.

13 State that’s said to be “high in the middle” : OHIO

If we take a look at the word “Ohio” we might use the phrase “rounds on the ends and high in the middle”.

18 One placing a phone call : DIALER

The first patent for a rotary dial mechanism for a phone was granted in 1898, and the familiar rotary dial phones (with holes for the finger) were introduced by the Bell System in 1919. This form of dialing was called “pulse dialing”. When you dialed the number 5 say, the dial would rotate back to the start position, opening and closing electrical contacts five times and sending five pulses over the telephone line. I used to love rotary dial phones when I was a kid. My grandfather was a telephone engineer and he showed me how to “tap out” the pulses on the “hook” at the top of a pay phone. I was able to make free calls that way. He definitely contributed to the delinquency of a minor …

19 Houston-based food service giant : SYSCO

It’s hard to drive down any highway in the US without coming across a Sysco truck. It really is a huge company, the largest food service enterprise in the country. “Sysco” is an abbreviation for Systems and Services Company.

20 Three goals by the same player : HAT TRICK

A hat trick is the scoring of three goals by the same player in a game of say, soccer or hockey.

22 Actor Wilson : OWEN

Actor Owen Wilson was nominated for an Oscar, but not for his acting. He was nominated for co-writing the screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums” along with Wes Anderson.

25 Part of a Halloween costume : MASK

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

26 Shell game : THIMBLERIG

A shell game (also “thimblerig”) is a gambling game, at least at first sight. It is usually a confidence trick. Typically, a small ball is placed under three face-down containers on a flat surface. The containers are shuffled around, and a player wins if he or she can “follow the ball” and correctly guess which container has that ball. In an illegal street game say, the operator will often use sleight of hand to fool the players. The alternative name “thimblerig” comes from the fact that the con was originally played out using sewing thimbles.

30 Norway’s capital : OSLO

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiana.

34 “___ the land of the free …” : O’ER

The words “o’er the land of the free” come from the US national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.

35 Prefix with -vore or -scient : OMNI-

The term “omnivore” comes from Latin, meaning “one who devours all”. That would be me …

Omniscience is the quality of having complete knowledge and awareness. The term comes from the Latin “omnis” meaning “all” and “scientia” meaning “knowledge”.

36 Made snide verbal attacks : SNIPED

To snipe is to attack with snide criticism, especially from a safe distance. This usage of the term is an extension of the older meaning, to take a shot from a hidden position (as in “sniper”). Such a shot was originally taken when hunting the game birds called “snipes”.

40 ___ Arbor, Mich. : ANN

Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Supposedly, Allen and Rumsey originally used the name “Annsarbour” in recognition of stands of bur oak that were on the land they had purchased and in recognition of their wives, both of whom were called “Ann” (i.e. Anns’ Arbor)

45 Avocado dip, informally : GUAC

Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

47 Antidiscrimination inits. : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

49 British heavy metal band named for a torture device : IRON MAIDEN

Iron Maiden is a heavy metal band from London that has been around since 1975. Heavy metal – not really my cup of tea …

55 All tuckered out : DOG-TIRED

The exact etymology of the verb “to tucker”, meaning “to tire”, seems to be uncertain. However, it seems to have originated in New England, and at least dates back to the 1830s.

63 ___ borealis : AURORA

The adjective “boreal” means “northern”, as in “aurora borealis” (northern lights) for example. The term comes from “Boreas”, the Greek god of the north wind.

64 Game whose tokens have included the starts of 16-, 20-, 26-, 49- and 55-Across : MONOPOLY

The tokens included with a game of Monopoly have changed over the years. Two of the more interesting tokens are the battleship and cannon. These were created by Hasbro for a board game called Conflict. When Conflict failed in the market, the excess tokens were recycled and included with Monopoly.

67 Apache and Sioux, for two : TRIBES

The Apache are a group of Native American peoples originally from the Southwest US. The Navajo are a separate but related people, through culture and language, and are often described as “Apachean”.

The Sioux are a group of Native American peoples who are also known as the Dakota. There are three divisions of Sioux, based on language: the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota.

68 Beetles, e.g., for short : VWS

“VW” stands for “Volkswagen”, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. Hitler awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.

69 It leads the orchestra in tuning : OBOE

When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance, you’ll note (pun!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

70 ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES

Estes Park is a town in a beautiful part of the US, in northern Colorado. Estes Park is home to the headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park.

71 Word before lion, level or legs : SEA

There are three families of seals. The first is the walrus family, the second the eared seals (like sea lions), and thirdly the earless seals (like elephant seals).

Down

1 Short hairstyles : BOBS

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

2 Greeting to a “matey” : AHOY!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

5 4.0 is a superb one, in brief : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

7 Student who’s no longer a frosh : SOPH

The term “sophomore” has been used for a student in the second year of university since the 1680’s. The original meaning of the word was “arguer”. The term has Greek roots, from two Greek words that have been artificially combined in English. The Greek “sophos” means “wise”, and “moros” means “foolish”.

“Frosh” is a slang term for a college freshman. We call such a person a fresher back in Ireland …

9 Controversial cosmetics ingredient : SHARK OIL

Shark liver oil is one of those substances that is oft-touted as medication for a large variety of ailments, from the common cold to cancer. However, those claims have never been scientifically proven. The oil is a popular dietary supplement, but again, the benefits have never been proven.

10 Its capital is Bamako : MALI

Bamako is the capital of the African country of Mali. It is the fastest growing city on the whole continent. Located on the Niger River, the name “Bamako” translates from the local language as “crocodile river”.

11 Trump impersonator Baldwin : ALEC

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he is known for impersonating President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.

15 Pet collar attachments : ID TAGS

Identity document (ID)

17 Some rodeo riders : COWBOYS

“Rodeo” is a Spanish word that is usually translated into English as “round up”.

21 “What ___?” (end of a riddle) : AM I

Here’s a lightbulb riddle:

Question: How many mystery authors does it take to change a light bulb?Answer: Two! One to screw it almost all the way in, and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

24 “99 Red Balloons” singer : NENA

Nena is a German singer (“Nena” became the name of her band as well) who had a big hit with one of my favorite songs of the eighties “99 Luftballons”. The English translation of the German title (“99 Red Balloons”) isn’t literal, with the color “red” added just so that the title had the right number of syllables for the tune. “Luftballon” is the name given to a child’s toy balloon in German.

26 Some fraternity party getups : TOGAS

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

27 Actor Ledger : HEATH

A ledger is an account book. The term ”ledger” comes from the Middle English “leggen” meaning “to lay”. The original ledger was a large book “laid” in one particular place permanently, an example being a breviary in a church.

29 Rock Starr? : RINGO

Sir Ringo Starr’s real name is Richard Starkey. Before he joined the Beatles, replacing drummer Pete Best, Starkey played with the Raving Texans. It was with the Raving Texans that he adopted the name “Ringo Starr”, because he wore a lot of rings and he thought it sounded “cowboyish”. Back then his drum solos were billed as “Starr Time”.

32 Flood blocker : LEVEE

A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, that runs along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

33 Ancient theater : ODEON

In ancient Greece an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning a “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

46 Senator Klobuchar : AMY

Amy Klobuchar was elected to the US Senate in 2006, and became the first elected female senator for Minnesota when she took her seat in the following January. Former Second Lady of the US Muriel Humphrey was Minnesota’s first female senator. Ms. Humphrey was appointed to serve out the balance of her husband’s term after Hubert Humphrey died.

51 Cold treat on a stick : ICE POP

The term “ice pop” has largely been supplanted in the US by “popsicle”, as the Popsicle brand of ice pop became so popular. We still use “ice pop” in Ireland, and in the UK the same thing is called an “ice lolly”, and in Australia it’s an “ice block”.

56 “___ is not to reason why …” : OURS

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was the Poet Laureate for much of the reign of Queen Victoria. There are many phrases we use today that were first penned by Tennyson, including:

  • ‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all
  • Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die

58 License bureaus, for short : DMVS

In most states, the government agency responsible for vehicle registration and the issuing of driver’s licenses is called the DMV. This initialism usually stands for the Department of Motor Vehicles, but there are “variations on the theme”. For example, in Arizona the responsible agency is called the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and in Colorado the familiar abbreviation “DMV” stands for Division of Motor Vehicles.

61 Certain YouTube posting : VLOG

A video blog is perhaps what one might expect, a blog that is essentially a series of video posts. The phrase “video logging” is often shortened to “vlogging”.

66 Secretive government org. : NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Shakespeare, for one : BARD
5 Product of Chevron or Shell : GAS
8 Many an electoral chart, in brief : US MAP
13 State that’s said to be “high in the middle” : OHIO
14 Con’s opposite : PRO
15 Take a deep breath : INHALE
16 Where Army recruits go to start training : BOOT CAMP
18 One placing a phone call : DIALER
19 Houston-based food service giant : SYSCO
20 Three goals by the same player : HAT TRICK
22 Actor Wilson : OWEN
25 Part of a Halloween costume : MASK
26 Shell game : THIMBLE RIG
30 Norway’s capital : OSLO
34 “___ the land of the free …” : O’ER
35 Prefix with -vore or -scient : OMNI-
36 Made snide verbal attacks : SNIPED
38 Ostentatiously ornamented : GAUDY
40 ___ Arbor, Mich. : ANN
42 Shade akin to army green : OLIVE
43 “Finally!” : AT LAST!
45 Avocado dip, informally : GUAC
47 Antidiscrimination inits. : EEO
48 What snakes and lizards do periodically with their skin : SHED
49 British heavy metal band named for a torture device : IRON MAIDEN
52 What trees do in the wind : SWAY
54 Coordinate, informally : SYNC
55 All tuckered out : DOG-TIRED
59 Go deeply (into) : DELVE
63 ___ borealis : AURORA
64 Game whose tokens have included the starts of 16-, 20-, 26-, 49- and 55-Across : MONOPOLY
67 Apache and Sioux, for two : TRIBES
68 Beetles, e.g., for short : VWS
69 It leads the orchestra in tuning : OBOE
70 ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES
71 Word before lion, level or legs : SEA
72 Square ones won’t fit into round holes : PEGS

Down

1 Short hairstyles : BOBS
2 Greeting to a “matey” : AHOY!
3 Rivers, in Mexico : RIOS
4 Company doing business mostly online : DOT-COM
5 4.0 is a superb one, in brief : GPA
6 Cost an ___ and a leg : ARM
7 Student who’s no longer a frosh : SOPH
8 Cups and quarts : UNITS
9 Controversial cosmetics ingredient : SHARK OIL
10 Its capital is Bamako : MALI
11 Trump impersonator Baldwin : ALEC
12 Become more attentive, with “up” : PERK
15 Pet collar attachments : ID TAGS
17 Some rodeo riders : COWBOYS
21 “What ___?” (end of a riddle) : AM I
23 Stately tree : ELM
24 “99 Red Balloons” singer : NENA
26 Some fraternity party getups : TOGAS
27 Actor Ledger : HEATH
28 Cry made while chest-thumping : I RULE!
29 Rock Starr? : RINGO
31 Observed secretly : SPIED
32 Flood blocker : LEVEE
33 Ancient theater : ODEON
37 Slangy turndown of a request for help : NO CAN DO
39 Expectant papas : DADS-TO-BE
41 Convent residents : NUNS
44 Bejeweled bands : TIARAS
46 Senator Klobuchar : AMY
50 Loaf with seeds : RYE
51 Cold treat on a stick : ICE POP
53 Tangle behind a computer, maybe : WIRES
55 Calendar info : DATE
56 “___ is not to reason why …” : OURS
57 Stick-to-itiveness : GRIT
58 License bureaus, for short : DMVS
60 Part of an ear or brain : LOBE
61 Certain YouTube posting : VLOG
62 Seeing things? : EYES
65 Be indebted to : OWE
66 Secretive government org. : NSA

4 thoughts on “0518-20 NY Times Crossword 18 May 20, Monday”

  1. 6:16, no errors. “Thimblerig” is a word I’ve “known” forever without having the slightest idea what it meant. Odd.

  2. After a good Sunday puzzle, I must have used up all my smarts. A lot of bad entries had to be erased. 12:37, no errors. But a humbling experience.

  3. 6:22 even after I tried to call Shakespeare a BARb. Maybe it’s because my mind is telling me I need a barber after 10 weeks without a haircut. My normal timeframe is cutting it every 4 weeks. Part of me is enjoying the shaggy feel. Reminds me of high school in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

    Wish I’d known Bill’s payphone trick back when there were payphones.

    Best –

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