0520-20 NY Times Crossword 20 May 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Natan Last, Andy Kravis and the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Crosswords Cross Words

Themed answers comprise one word followed by the same word split into two separate words:

  • 18A French cheese tasting that lasts only a minute? : BRIEFEST BRIE FEST
  • 28A “That handlebar has gotta hurt!” : MUSTACHE MUST ACHE
  • 51A Headline about a pagan rotisserie shop? : HEATHENS HEAT HENS
  • 68A Screed about Old Glory that goes too far? : FLAGRANT FLAG RANT

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 GoFundMe contributor : DONOR

GoFundMe is what is known as a crowdfunding website, and is based in San Diego.

17 Part of the throat whose name comes from the Latin for “little grape” : UVULA

The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.

18 French cheese tasting that lasts only a minute? : BRIEFEST BRIE FEST

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert. Brie is often served baked in puff pastry.

22 Symbol of nakedness : JAYBIRD

The phrase “naked as a jaybird” dates back at least to 1943. Before that, back into the late 1800s, the equivalent phrase was “naked as a robin”. Going back further in time, the phrase “naked as a needle” was used in the late 1500s.

23 “Shining” place in “America the Beautiful” : SEA

When she was 33 years old, Katharine Lee Bates took a train ride from Massachusetts to Colorado Springs. She was so inspired by many of the beautiful sights she saw on her journey that she wrote a poem she called “Pikes Peak”. Upon publication the poem became quite a hit, and several musical works were adapted to the words of the poem, the most popular being a hymn tune composed by Samuel Ward. Bates’s poem and Ward’s tune were published together for the first time in 1910, and given the title “America the Beautiful”.

26 “Every kiss begins with ___” (jeweler’s slogan) : KAY

Kay Jewelers is perhaps the most famous store brand owned by Sterling Jewelers. Sterling is the largest fine jewelry chain in the country, with the company’s main competitor being Zale Corporation.

28 “That handlebar has gotta hurt!” : MUSTACHE MUST ACHE

On this side of the Atlantic, handlebar moustaches tend to be associated with the Wild West. On the other side of the Atlantic, the association is often with the members of the Royal Air Force during WWII.

38 Actress de Armas of “Knives Out” : ANA

Ana de Armas is an actress from Cuba. Having attended the National Theater School of Cuba, she moved to Spain at the age of 18. Thre, she made a name for herself in a Spanish TV series called “El Internado”. De Armas moved to Los Angeles in 2014, after which her performance opposite Ryan Gosling in 2017’s “Blade Runner 2049” earned her critical acclaim.

“Knives Out” is an intriguing murder mystery film released in 2019. There’s a great cast including Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette and Christopher Plummer. I really enjoyed this one, partly because it’s a clever, contemporary take on a classic whodunit movie …

39 ___ Chu, Nobel Prize-winning member of Obama’s cabinet : STEVEN

Steven Chu is a former Secretary of Energy in the Obama Cabinet. Chu is a physicist by trade, and a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997.

40 WikiLeaks source, perhaps : EMAIL

Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks, the website that is notorious for publishing information that governments and individuals would rather remain secret. Assange is currently in England and lost an appeal to avoid extradition to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault. Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London seeking political asylum in 2012. He was granted asylum and lived at the embassy for almost seven years before being arrested and incarcerated in a UK prison.

44 Canadian sketch comedy show of the 1970s-’80s : SCTV

“Second City Television” (SCTV) is a sketch show that was produced in Canada from 1976 to 1984. SCTV was very successful with audiences all over North America, and in effect launched the careers of several comedy greats. The list of SCTV alumni includes John Candy, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara, Harold Ramis and Martin Short.

45 Type of weasel : STOAT

The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is used for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.

Weasels are small mammals with long, thin bodies. That body shape is an advantage when weasels chase their prey into narrow burrows.

51 Headline about a pagan rotisserie shop? : HEATHENS HEAT HENS

Our term “heathen” comes from an Old English word meaning “neither Christian nor Jewish”.

A pagan is someone who holds religious beliefs that are different from the main religions of the world, and especially someone who believes in polytheism. In classical Latin, “paganus” means “villager, rustic”.

54 Sushi fish : EEL

Anyone going to a sushi restaurant can order all types of raw fish (known collectively as “sashimi”). However, eel is always served cooked, and that’s because the blood of eels contains a protein that cramps muscles if eaten. If the heart muscle “cramps”, the result can be death. The protein is easily rendered harmless by applying heat, i.e. by cooking.

56 Bit of Quidditch equipment : BAT

Quidditch is a game that is famously played in the “Harry Potter” series of books and films. The game is contested by two teams of seven wizards or witches flying on broomsticks. There are four animated balls and six ring-shaped goals floating in mid-air. One of the balls is the Golden Snitch, and one of the players is the Seeker. It is the Seeker’s sole purpose to capture the Golden Snitch and thereby win the game.

64 Garments typically fastened in the back : BRAS

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

68 Screed about Old Glory that goes too far? : FLAGRANT FLAG RANT

The person who coined the phrase “Old Glory” with reference to the American flag was Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts. As Driver was leaving on an 1831 voyage aboard the brig Charles Doggett, he unfurled the American flag that he had just been given by a group of friends. As the flag caught the breeze, he uttered the words, “Old Glory!”. That’s the story anyway. On that same voyage, Charles Doggett rescued the famous mutineers of the HMS Bounty, after he encountered them on Pitcairn Island.

71 Place to wear a toga : FORUM

The Latin “forum” (plural “fora”) translates as “marketplace, town square”. “The Roman Forum” is the most famous example of such a space. The Forum at the heart of the city of Rome is surrounded by the ruins of several ancient government buildings, and has been referred to as the most celebrated meeting place in the world.

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”.

72 Western town that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe : TAOS

The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began settling in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.

Georgia O’Keeffe was an influential American artist, one who led the introduction of American art into Europe. Famously, she was married to photographer Alfred Stieglitz who helped develop her career in the early days. Georgia O’Keeffe’s last home was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she had done a lot of her work during her lifetime. She died there in 1986, at the ripe old age of 98. One of her most famous paintings is from 1926, called “Black Iris III”.

73 Middle ship of three, it’s said : PINTA

Famously, Christopher Columbus used three ships in his first voyage across the Atlantic: the Santa Maria, the Niña and the Pinta. The Pinta was the fastest of the three, and it was from the Pinta that the New World was first spotted by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana who was a lookout on the fateful day. Pinta was a nickname for the ship that translated as “the painted one”. The Pinta’s real name has been lost in the mists of time.

Down

5 Zebra, slangily : REF

A football referee is sometimes called a “zebra”, a reference to the striped shirt that is part of the official uniform.

6 Org. with skyrocketing expenses? : NASA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

8 Tender kind of lettuce : BIBB

Bibb is a variety of lettuce in the cultivar known as butterhead. All butterhead varieties have loose-leafed heads and a buttery texture.

9 Asian wrap : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that it is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

10 Pregnancy estimation : DUE DATE

The normal gestation period for humans is 280 days, a little over 9 months. The gestation period can be a little shorter, or longer. Back in 1945, a pregnancy was confirmed at 375 days, which is just over 12 months.

11 Modern reproductive procedure: Abbr. : IVF

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

14 “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but ___”: The Economist : DATA

“The Economist” is a British publication dating back to 1843. It is read by a lot of people on this side of the Atlantic, and North America accounts for half of the magazine’s sales revenue.

27 Dish next to stuffing and cranberry sauce : YAMS

Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the world than they are in this country, and are especially common in Africa.

When early European settlers came across red berries growing in the bogs of the northern part of America, they felt that the plant’s flower and stem resembled the head and bill of a crane. As such, they called the plant “craneberry”, which evolved into “cranberry”.

28 Habitat for rails and bitterns : MARSH

Rails are birds of the family Rallidae (hence their name). Outside of America, the name “rail” tends to be reserved for long-billed species and the term “crake” is used for short-billed species.

Bitterns are wading birds in the heron family. Unlike most of their heron cousins, bitterns tend to have short necks.

29 Anagram and antonym of 34-Down : UNITE

An antonym is an “anti-synonym”. A synonym is a word having the same sense as another, and an antonym the opposite. For example, “love” is an antonym of “hate”, and “stop” is an antonym of “go”.

30 Girl Scout cookie variety : SAMOA

Depending on which bakery makes the particular variety of Girl Scout cookies, the name can vary. For example, Little Brownie Bakers makes Samoa cookies, while ABC Bakers uses the same recipe and calls the cookies Caramel deLites. The assumption is that these cookies have the exotic name “Samoa” because they contain the tropical ingredients of coconut and cocoa. The most popular variety of Girl Scout cookies sold are Thin Mints.

32 Captain America portrayer Chris : EVANS

Chris Evans’ Hollywood career really took off when he was cast as the Human Torch in the “Fantastic Four” movies starting in 2005. He portrayed another superhero in 2011, playing the title role in “Captain America: The First Avenger”.

33 Concert tees and the like : MERCH

Merchandise (“mdse.” or “merch.”)

37 Keebler crew : ELVES

The famous Keebler Elves have been appearing in ads for Keebler since 1968. The original head of the elves was J. J. Keebler, but he was toppled from power by Ernest J. Keebler in 1970. The Keebler Elves bake their cookies in the Hollow Tree Factory.

42 Overfill : SATE

“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

48 Small Indian drum : TABLA

A tabla is a percussion instrument used mainly in the Indian subcontinent. The tabla consists of a pair of hand drums and is similar to bongos.

49 Capt.’s announcement : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

52 “Frozen” queen : ELSA

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Spoiler alert: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles seems to be a good guy for most of the film, but turns out to be a baddie in the end. And, a snowman named Olaf provides some comic relief.

56 Contacts list faves : BFFS

Best friend forever (BFF)

58 Pacific root vegetable : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

62 Some people believe swamp gas causes them, for short : UFOS

Unidentified flying object (UFO)

The hydrocarbon gas that forms when organic material decays in the absence of air is called “marsh gas” or “swamp gas”. The major component of marsh gas is methane.

65 McNally’s partner : RAND

Rand McNally is a company long associated with the city of Chicago. Its roots go back to 1856 when William Rand opened a printing shop in the city. Two years later he hired an Irish immigrant named Andrew McNally and the pair turned to printing tickets and timetables for the railroad industry. They diversified into “railroad guides” in 1870, including the first Rand McNally map in the December 1872 edition. When automobile travel started to become significant, Rand and McNally turned their attention to roads and they published their first road map in 1904, a map of New York City. Rand and McNally popularized the use of highway numbers, and indeed erected many roadside highway signs themselves, long before the state and federal authorities adopted the idea.

67 Van Gundy of the N.B.A. : STAN

Stan Van Gundy is an NBA basketball coach. Stan’s brother Jeff Van Gundy also coached in the NBA. Stan and Jeff’s father was head basketball coach at Brockport State University in Western New York.

70 Transcript stat : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 GoFundMe contributor : DONOR
6 Snatches : NABS
10 Cubed … or played with cubes : DICED
15 Something an athlete should bring : A-GAME
16 Beethoven’s “Ah! perfido,” e.g. : ARIA
17 Part of the throat whose name comes from the Latin for “little grape” : UVULA
18 French cheese tasting that lasts only a minute? : BRIEFEST BRIE FEST
21 Convince : SELL
22 Symbol of nakedness : JAYBIRD
23 “Shining” place in “America the Beautiful” : SEA
24 She-sheep : EWE
26 “Every kiss begins with ___” (jeweler’s slogan) : KAY
28 “That handlebar has gotta hurt!” : MUSTACHE MUST ACHE
38 Actress de Armas of “Knives Out” : ANA
39 ___ Chu, Nobel Prize-winning member of Obama’s cabinet : STEVEN
40 WikiLeaks source, perhaps : EMAIL
41 Edges : RIMS
43 Gas station adjunct : MART
44 Canadian sketch comedy show of the 1970s-’80s : SCTV
45 Type of weasel : STOAT
47 Stir up : INCITE
50 Dig up dirt : HOE
51 Headline about a pagan rotisserie shop? : HEATHENS HEAT HENS
54 Sushi fish : EEL
55 Massachusetts’ Buzzards ___ : BAY
56 Bit of Quidditch equipment : BAT
59 Predictably : AS USUAL
64 Garments typically fastened in the back : BRAS
68 Screed about Old Glory that goes too far? : FLAGRANT FLAG RANT
71 Place to wear a toga : FORUM
72 Western town that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe : TAOS
73 Middle ship of three, it’s said : PINTA
74 Poker-faced : STONY
75 Estimation words : OR SO
76 Recipe phrase : ADD IN

Down

1 Applies with a cotton ball : DABS
2 Fairy tale menace : OGRE
3 It might be painted in the bathroom : NAIL
4 Breakfast dish from a “station” : OMELET
5 Zebra, slangily : REF
6 Org. with skyrocketing expenses? : NASA
7 La-di-da : ARTY
8 Tender kind of lettuce : BIBB
9 Asian wrap : SARI
10 Pregnancy estimation : DUE DATE
11 Modern reproductive procedure: Abbr. : IVF
12 Pool necessities : CUES
13 “Or ___!” : ELSE
14 “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but ___”: The Economist : DATA
19 Oust : EJECT
20 Nettles : IRKS
25 Is, in retrospect : WAS
27 Dish next to stuffing and cranberry sauce : YAMS
28 Habitat for rails and bitterns : MARSH
29 Anagram and antonym of 34-Down : UNITE
30 Girl Scout cookie variety : SAMOA
31 Coop up : HEM IN
32 Captain America portrayer Chris : EVANS
33 Concert tees and the like : MERCH
34 Let loose, in a way : UNTIE
35 Secret supply : CACHE
36 Flirt with : HIT ON
37 Keebler crew : ELVES
42 Overfill : SATE
46 Private employer? : THE ARMY
48 Small Indian drum : TABLA
49 Capt.’s announcement : ETA
52 “Frozen” queen : ELSA
53 Animal crossing : HYBRID
56 Contacts list faves : BFFS
57 Much : A LOT
58 Pacific root vegetable : TARO
60 Quaint preposition : UNTO
61 Headliner : STAR
62 Some people believe swamp gas causes them, for short : UFOS
63 Furthermore : ALSO
65 McNally’s partner : RAND
66 Opposing : ANTI
67 Van Gundy of the N.B.A. : STAN
69 Rev, as an engine : GUN
70 Transcript stat : GPA

12 thoughts on “0520-20 NY Times Crossword 20 May 20, Wednesday”

  1. 16:22 Even after completing the puzzle I had to reread the answers to see how the themed answers fit the clues…shows you how bright I’m not 🙂

  2. 15:50, no errors. Cute theme. Sometimes I can easily parse these “hidden” words within words, sometimes it’s a little more difficult. Ah, the satisfaction when I get it. Enjoyable Wednesday puzzle.

  3. 16:31. Two good themes in a row. I got caught up trying to think of others while solving but came up blank.

    For 62D – Do people think that swamp gas creates the appearance of a UFO, or do they actually believe the gases create UFO’s and spit them out somehow??

    Best –

  4. No errors.. Stumbled for a few minutes on 8D and 7D… Didn’t know BIBB and ARTY seemed a little quirky.

    I used to watch SCTV. Fun stuff..

    BTW , What was the plug for JASA in this puzzle??

  5. 9:33, no errors.

    @Anon Mike
    JASA is Jewish Association Serving the Aging. I understand it’s some kind of community center in New York City. The listed constructors run a class every so often on crossword construction and co-op a puzzle with the individuals that show up.

  6. 35:15 no errors…give me a million years and I’m sure I could come up with something like 18,28,51 or 68A……NOT.
    Good puzzle.
    Stay safe.

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