0519-20 NY Times Crossword 19 May 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Trent H. Evans
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Tom Swiftys

Themed answers are “punny” adverbs, relative to the wording in the clue. Such phrases are known as Tom Swiftys:

  • 17A “This hot dog is absolute perfection!,” said Tom ___ : WITH RELISH
  • 24A “You’re making a grave mistake,” said Tom ___ : CRYPTICALLY
  • 38A “I can’t find a flower for ‘She loves me, she loves me not,'” said Tom ___ : LACKADAISICALLY
  • 47A “I’ve learned my lesson about feeding the tigers,” said Tom ___ : OFFHANDEDLY
  • 61A “Many thanks for your help in Paris,” said Tom ___ : MERCIFULLY

A “Tom Swifty” is a phrase consisting of a made-up quotation followed by a punning adverb. Such devices were common in the “Tom Swift” series of adventure novels for juveniles, hence the name. Examples would be:

  • “I’ll have a martini,” said Tom, dryly.
  • “Hurry up and get to the back of the ship!” Tom said sternly.
  • “Careful with that chainsaw,” Tom said offhandedly.
  • “I have no flowers,” Tom said lackadaisically.
  • “I dropped my toothpaste,” Tom said, crestfallen.

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Sound triggered by pollen : ACHOO!

The pollen of ragweed is the most common allergen of all pollens. It seems that the pollen season has been lengthening in recent years, probably due to global warming.

6 Frozen dessert chain : TCBY

TCBY is a chain of stores selling frozen yogurt that was founded in 1981 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The acronym TCBY originally stood for “This Can’t Be Yogurt”, but this had to be changed due to a lawsuit being pressed by a competitor called “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt”. These days TCBY stands for “The Country’s Best Yogurt”.

10 “Porgy and ___” : BESS

“Porgy and Bess” is an opera with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and libretto by DuBose Heyward. The storyline of the opera is based on the novel “Porgy” written by DuBose Heyward and his wife Dorothy. “Porgy and Bess” was first performed in 1935, in New York City, but really wasn’t accepted as legitimate opera until 1976 after a landmark production by the Houston Grand Opera. The most famous song from the piece is probably the wonderful aria “Summertime”.

17 “This hot dog is absolute perfection!,” said Tom ___ : WITH RELISH

A hot dog is a sausage served in a split roll. The term “hot dog” dates back to the 19th-century and is thought to reflect a commonly-held opinion that the sausages contained dog meat.

19 Lhasa ___ (dog) : APSO

The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.

20 Iowa State’s home : AMES

Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable milestones, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.

23 Opposite of FF : REW

We might fast-forward (FF) or rewind (REW) a recorded movie.

24 “You’re making a grave mistake,” said Tom ___ : CRYPTICALLY

A crypt is a chamber that is located partially or totally underground. The term “crypt” comes from the Greek “kryptos” meaning “hidden”.

41 Court legend Arthur : ASHE

Arthur Ashe was a professional tennis player from Richmond, Virginia. In his youth, Ashe found himself having to travel great distances to play against Caucasian opponents due to the segregation that still existed in his home state. He was rewarded for his dedication by being selected for the 1963 US Davis Cup team, the first African-American player to be so honored. Ashe continued to run into trouble because of his ethnicity though, and in 1968 was denied entry into South Africa to play in the South African Open. In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack and had bypass surgery, with follow-up surgery four years later during which he contracted HIV from blood transfusions. Ashe passed away in 1993 due to complications from AIDS. Shortly afterwards, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

44 Org. that cares what’s in your pockets : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

46 Insecticide whose 1972 ban led to the comeback of the bald eagle : DDT

DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

57 Place with balls and strikes : ALLEY

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

58 Native American tribe with a namesake lake : ERIE

The Erie people lived on lands south of Lake Erie, in parts of the modern-day US states of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Erie were sometimes referred to as the Cat Nation, a reference to the mountain lions that were ever-present in the area that they lived. The name “Erie” is a shortened form of “Erielhonan” meaning “long tail”, possibly a further reference to the mountain lion or cat, which was possibly used as a totem. The Erie people gave their name to the Great Lake.

Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

61 “Many thanks for your help in Paris,” said Tom ___ : MERCIFULLY

“Thank you” translates to “merci” in French, “gracias” in Spanish, and “danke” in German.

63 Olympic champion Lipinski : TARA

When American skater Tara Lipinski won the figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, she was only 15 years old. To this day, Lipinski is the youngest person to win an individual gold at the Winter Games.

65 Shaq’s surname : O’NEAL

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality shows: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

66 One of 354 in the Statue of Liberty : STEP

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the United States. It was designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and constructed in France by civil engineer Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame). The statue was disassembled, shipped to the US, and reassembled on its pedestal on Bedloe’s Island (now “Liberty Island). A ceremony of dedication was held in 1886. If you take a boat ride down the Seine in Paris you will probably see a one-third replica of Lady Liberty standing on a small island in the river, looking quite magnificent. That copy was given to the people of Paris by the city’s American community in 1889.

67 Designer Wang : VERA

Vera Wang’s first choice for a career was figure skating. Although she is a very capable skater, Wang failed to make the 1968 US Olympics team. She switched to the world of fashion, and is now famous for her designs of wedding dresses … and also costumes for figure skaters.

Down

2 Perjury or piracy : CRIME

An act of perjury is the willful giving of false testimony under oath. The term “perjury” ultimately comes from the Latin “per” meaning “away” and “iurare” meaning “to swear”.

4 Counterculture singer Phil : OCHS

Phil Ochs was an American protest singer who was active in the days of the Vietnam War. Sadly, the singer’s mental health declined at the very time the war was winding down. Saigon fell in 1975, and Ochs committed suicide in 1976.

5 “___ the fields we go …” : O’ER

The traditional Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was first published in 1857, penned by James Lord Pierpont. We associate the song with Christmas, although in fact Pierpont wrote it as a celebration of Thanksgiving.

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

6 Add up : TALLY

Back in the mid-1600s, a tally was a stick marked with notches that tracked how much one owed or paid. The term “tally” came from the Latin “talea” meaning “stick, rod”. The act of “scoring” the stick with notches gave rise to our word “score” for the number in a tally.

7 Like a brand-new dollar bill : CRISP

The dollar sign ($) was first used for the Spanish-American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become a model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the dollar sign.

9 “Fargo” assent : YAH

“Fargo” is one of my favorite films of all time, and stars perhaps my favorite actress, Frances McDormand. “Fargo” was directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Frances McDormand is Joel’s wife.

10 Transport onto the Enterprise, in a way : BEAM ABOARD

The USS Enterprise is a starship in the “Star Trek” universe (pun!). There have been several generations of starships with the name Enterprise, starting with the vessel numbered NCC-1701, which appeared in the original TV series. My favorite “Star Trek” series is “Next Generation”, which features USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

12 Rope fiber : SISAL

The sisal plant is an agave, the flesh of which is not generally used in making tequila. Sisal is grown instead for the fibers that run the length of its leaves. The fiber is used extensively for twine, rope, carpeting, wall coverings etc. My favorite application though, is in the construction of dartboards. Sisal takes its name from the port of Sisal in Yucatan, Mexico that was a major shipping point for sisal plants.

22 Where R.N.s treat critical patients : ICU

A registered nurse (RN) might work in an intensive care unit (ICU).

24 Actor Michael of “Juno” : CERA

Michael Cera is a Canadian actor who played great characters on the TV show “Arrested Development”, and in the 2007 comedy-drama “Juno”. Cera is also quite the musician. He released an indie folk album titled “True That” in 2014.

“Juno” is a great comedy-drama released in 2007 that tells the story of a spunky teenager who is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The title character is played by Ellen Page, with Michael Cera playing the father of her child. The film won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The relatively low-budget movie earned back its initial budget on the first day of its full release to the public. Low-budget blockbuster; my kind of movie …

25 Crucifix inscription : INRI

The letters written on the cross on which Jesus died were INRI. “INRI” is an initialism standing for the Latin “Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum”, which translates into English as “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”.

29 Pie ___ mode : A LA

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

30 Vegas intro : LAS …

Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present in the area courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by local farmers. Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1905, in the days when it was a stopping-off point for pioneers travelling west. It eventually became a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as travelers began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, which is still a popular attraction. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas is the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (Chicago is the most populous city founded in the 19th century, just in case you were wondering).

32 Truffle-finding animal : PIG

Truffles are rooted out by pigs, or specially trained dogs. The reason why pigs, especially sows, are so attracted to truffles is that there is a chemical compound found within the truffle that is very similar to androstenol, a sex pheromone found in the saliva of boars.

33 “___ the Force, Luke” : USE

The Force is a metaphysical power much cited in all of the “Star Wars” movies, and still today we may hear someone in real life say “May the Force be with you”.

36 Golfer Ernie : ELS

Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els is a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).

37 Science educator Bill : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on PBS for four years, from 1993-97.

40 Women’s rights pioneer Elizabeth ___ Stanton : CADY

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the earliest leaders of the women’s rights and women’s suffrage movements in the United States. Notably, she opposed the extension of voting rights to African American men (the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments), even though she was an outspoken abolitionist. She believed that increasing the number of male voters in the country would just make it harder for women to get the vote.

47 Ovens for drying hops : OASTS

An oast is a kiln used for drying hops as part of the brewing process. Such a structure might also be called an “oast house” or “hop kiln”. The term “oast” can also apply to a kiln used to dry tobacco.

49 Lighted distress signal : FLARE

The most commonly used flare gun was invented by an American naval officer, called Edward Wilson Very. He put his name to his invention (from the late 1800s), so we often hear the terms Very pistol, Very flare, and maybe even Very “light”. A Very pistol is indeed a gun, with a trigger and a hammer that’s cocked and can be reloaded with Very flares.

50 Big name in farm equipment : DEERE

John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”. The Deere company that John founded uses the slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and has a leaping deer as its logo.

53 Ring around Hawaii? : LEI

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

56 “Gangnam ___” (first YouTube video to pass a billion views) : STYLE

“PSY” is the stage name of South Korean rapper Park Jae-sang. PSY became an international star when his 2012 music video “Gangnam Style” went viral on YouTube. That video had over 1 billion views on YouTube in about six months, making it the most viewed YouTube video clip of all time.

59 Moon goddess : LUNA

“Luna” is the Latin word for “moon”, and is the name given to the Roman moon goddess. The Greek equivalent of Luna was Selene. Luna had a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome but it was destroyed during the Great Fire that raged during the reign of Nero.

61 VH1 sister channel : MTV

The first video played at the launch of MTV the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” (I love that song), followed by Pat Benatar singing “You Better Run”.

62 Keyless car key : FOB

A fob is attached to an object to make it easier to access. And so a key fob is a chain attached to a key so that it can be retrieved easily. There are also watch fobs, and the pocket in a vest in which a watch can be placed is called a fob. In fact, the original use of the term “fob” was for a small pocket in which one could carry valuables.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Sound triggered by pollen : ACHOO!
6 Frozen dessert chain : TCBY
10 “Porgy and ___” : BESS
14 Faintest amount : TRACE
15 4,700 square feet, for a basketball court : AREA
16 Kind of row with extra legroom : EXIT
17 “This hot dog is absolute perfection!,” said Tom ___ : WITH RELISH
19 Lhasa ___ (dog) : APSO
20 Iowa State’s home : AMES
21 In addition : ALSO
22 “Er … well … um …” : I MEAN …
23 Opposite of FF : REW
24 “You’re making a grave mistake,” said Tom ___ : CRYPTICALLY
26 Cleaned one’s plate : ATE
28 Pencil at the end of its life : NUB
29 End of a walk down the aisle : ALTAR
31 ___ of the moment : SPUR
34 Like some minds and marriages : OPEN
38 “I can’t find a flower for ‘She loves me, she loves me not,'” said Tom ___ : LACKADAISICALLY
41 Court legend Arthur : ASHE
42 Advantage : EDGE
43 Greeted the day : AROSE
44 Org. that cares what’s in your pockets : TSA
46 Insecticide whose 1972 ban led to the comeback of the bald eagle : DDT
47 “I’ve learned my lesson about feeding the tigers,” said Tom ___ : OFFHANDEDLY
54 Possesses : HAS
57 Place with balls and strikes : ALLEY
58 Native American tribe with a namesake lake : ERIE
59 Where choirs sing and artists paint : LOFT
60 Fly high : SOAR
61 “Many thanks for your help in Paris,” said Tom ___ : MERCIFULLY
63 Olympic champion Lipinski : TARA
64 Gait faster than a walk : TROT
65 Shaq’s surname : O’NEAL
66 One of 354 in the Statue of Liberty : STEP
67 Designer Wang : VERA
68 Moisten, as a turkey : BASTE

Down

1 Battling : AT WAR
2 Perjury or piracy : CRIME
3 View in order to mock or criticize, perhaps : HATE-WATCH
4 Counterculture singer Phil : OCHS
5 “___ the fields we go …” : O’ER
6 Add up : TALLY
7 Like a brand-new dollar bill : CRISP
8 Intoxicate : BESOT
9 “Fargo” assent : YAH
10 Transport onto the Enterprise, in a way : BEAM ABOARD
11 Kick out : EXPEL
12 Rope fiber : SISAL
13 Like New England fields : STONY
18 Musician’s asset : EAR
22 Where R.N.s treat critical patients : ICU
24 Actor Michael of “Juno” : CERA
25 Crucifix inscription : INRI
27 Accept blame : TAKE THE RAP
29 Pie ___ mode : A LA
30 Vegas intro : LAS …
31 Low-spirited : SAD
32 Truffle-finding animal : PIG
33 “___ the Force, Luke” : USE
35 Glaring inconsistencies in story lines : PLOT HOLES
36 Golfer Ernie : ELS
37 Science educator Bill : NYE
39 Student leader? : DEAN
40 Women’s rights pioneer Elizabeth ___ Stanton : CADY
45 Perhaps : SAY
47 Ovens for drying hops : OASTS
48 Parade entry : FLOAT
49 Lighted distress signal : FLARE
50 Big name in farm equipment : DEERE
51 2 + 2 = 5, for example : ERROR
52 Authoritative pronouncements : DICTA
53 Ring around Hawaii? : LEI
55 Black piano key above G : A-FLAT
56 “Gangnam ___” (first YouTube video to pass a billion views) : STYLE
59 Moon goddess : LUNA
61 VH1 sister channel : MTV
62 Keyless car key : FOB

15 thoughts on “0519-20 NY Times Crossword 19 May 20, Tuesday”

  1. 6:08, no errors. I was a big fan of Tom Swiftys, though I don’t think I ever read any of the books from which they got their name. I was just reminded of the “Hardy Boy” books, though; number 29, published in 1950, was called “The Secret of the Lost Tunnel”, and apparently impressed my 7- or 8- or 9-year-old self enough so that I recognized it in a list of the books in the series. It would be interesting to reread it and see what I think of it now … 😜

    1. In fact, I now have two copies – the original, from 1950, that I read as a kid, and a rewrite, from 1968, that was created, in part, to remove the shameful depictions of African-American characters that tainted the original (depictions that went over my head as a seven- or eigh. I intend to read both, but have other things on my plate at the moment.

      1. Meant to write “ … as a seven- or eight-year-old boy in Iowa)”, but an errant click on my iPad resulted in a premature post that I cannot edit.

        It is always disturbing to me to come across evidence of the casual racism to which I was exposed as a child. Who knows how much of that I internalized and how much of it still has a subtle effect on my adult self?

  2. 8:05. I got a kick out of the theme, and that was before coming to the blog to find out there’s an actual name for such a pun. Never heard of a Tom Swifty, but I will remember them from now on. I think my favorite was the “crestfallen” Swifty Bill mentions.

    Best –

  3. 9:35 and I commit the crime of asking for “no relish” on Chicago style hot dogs,..I just don’t relish relish….

    1. All the fuss about no ketchup on hot dogs, etc, is silly. There is no right or wrong
      way, nor are there any food police to harass you. Do what you like!

  4. Well that was weird. I was the first to comment. Then it disappeared. Maybe it was my “offhandedly” comment about being bitten by a moray eel.

  5. No errors… Why does this puzzle give me dejavu?? Does anyone else remember doing this puzzle before??

    Or are there enough repeats of clues from other puzzles to seem that way.,?

    1. I occasionally get that “deja vu” feeling while doing a puzzle and I’ve been able to come up with an explanation a few times. Usually, it has been the use of a similar theme or a somewhat unusual clue that stuck in my head because I was intrigued by it … but not enough to remember the details. (FWIW. it didn’t happen with this one … )

  6. No errors.

    Since first encountering Tom Swiftys right here in the NYT puzzles, I have wondered if they were used as such in the original stories. The answer appears to be—-“no”. The sentence structure was the same but there was no attempt by the original authors to create puns. I did read a few of the Tom Swift books as a boy and also revisited them in my adulthood. I thought maybe the puns might have gone over my head but—-no—-they were never there in the first place. The English author, Charles Dickens, was, however, known to use such puns occasionally in his works.

    Also as an aside, I was under the impression that the Tom Swiftys used in today’s puzzle were originals by the puzzle constructor. Not necessarily so. At least some of what was used today was lifted from classic Swiftys that other people have already come up with.

    I would like to see more future puzzles continue with the Swifty themes. They are fun to do. And relatively easy.

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