0521-20 NY Times Crossword 21 May 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Andrew Kingsley
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Red Cross

Themed answers are each common phrases starting with a color, but that color has been CROSSED with RED to produce a new shade:

  • 37D Organization with three Nobel Peace Prizes … or what “corrects” the answer to each of the starred clues : RED CROSS
  • 16A *Sycophant : BROWN-NOSER (red + green = brown)
  • 3D Tyrannosaurus rex, for one : PREDATOR
  • 27A *Classic gin-and-grenadine cocktail : PINK LADY (red + white = pink)
  • 21D Singer Fender with a 1975 hit that went to #1 on both the pop and country charts : FREDDY
  • 44A *Military medal : PURPLE HEART (red + blue = purple)
  • 40D Cash in : REDEEM
  • 59A *Annual Florida football game : ORANGE BOWL (red + yellow = orange)
  • 54D Overhaul : REDO

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 10m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

10 Something that might be kept in a bar : TAB

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

13 Like O negative vis-à-vis O positive : RARER

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

16 *Sycophant : BROWN-NOSER (red + green = brown)

To brown nose is to act in a very servile manner in order to attain advancement. It’s American military slang dating back to before WWII, and it has a pretty vulgar etymology.

A sycophant is a selfish person, one who flatters. The term comes from the Greek “sykophantes” which originally meant “one who shows the fig”. This phrase described a vulgar gesture made with the thumb and two fingers.

19 Condition for Jack Nicholson’s character in “As Good as It Gets,” in brief : OCD

Apparently, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.

“As Good as it Gets” is a very entertaining romantic comedy of sorts released in 1997 and starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear. Nicholson and Hunt won Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars for their performances. No other film has garnered both Best Actor and Best Actress Academy Awards since “As Good as it Gets”.

24 Oil-rich region : ARABIA

The Arabian Peninsula (also “Arabia”) is part of Western Asia that is located just north-east of Africa. The peninsula is bordered to the west by the Red Sea, to the northeast by the Persian Gulf, and to the southeast by the Indian Ocean. Most of the Arabian Peninsula is taken up by Saudi Arabia, but also included are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. And, it’s the largest peninsula in the world, covering about 1¼ million square miles.

29 Entrepreneur’s goal : GROWTH

An entrepreneur is someone who takes on most aspects of a business venture, from the original idea to the execution. The term is imported from French, with “entreprendre” meaning “to undertake”. The original usage in English dates back to the early 1800s, when it applied to a manager and promoter of a theatrical production.

32 Pieces that can go left or right : OP-EDS

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

33 One of L.B.J.’s presidential dogs : HER

Him and Her were two beagles owned by President Johnson and his family while they were living in the White House. Her died after only a year when she swallowed a stone. Him died at three-years-old when he was hit by a car while chasing a squirrel across the White House lawn.

40 Metaphor for experience : RODEO

“Not my first rodeo” means “not the first time I’ve done this”. The phrase started to be used after country singer Vern Gosdin released the song “This Ain’t My First Rodeo” in 1990. Gosdin said that he’d first heard the idiom from a workman who added an extra room over his garage.

42 Alternative to O : TYPE AB

The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a universal donor.

44 *Military medal : PURPLE HEART (red + blue = purple)

The Purple Heart is a military decoration awarded by the President to members of the US military forces who have been wounded or killed while serving. Today’s Purple Heart was originally called the Badge of Military Merit, an award that was established by George Washington 1782 while he was commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. The Purple Heart is a heart-shaped medal with a gold border bearing a profile of President Washington, and a purple ribbon.

49 Sonata closers : RONDOS

A rondo was often chosen by composers in the classical period for the last movement of a sonata (or symphony or concerto, for that matter). In rondo form there is a principal theme that alternates with a contrasting theme(s). So, the original theme anchors the whole piece in between secondary digressions.

A cantata is a piece of music that is sung, as opposed to a sonata, which is a piece that is played on some instrument, often a piano. A sonatina is in effect a sonata that has been labelled as something lighter and shorter.

50 1996 hit with the lyric “It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife” : IRONIC

“Ironic” is a 1996 song co-written and recorded by Alanis Morissette. A couple of lines in the song are:

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife

For an awards ceremony in 2004, Morissette changed these lyrics to demonstrate support for same-sex marriage:

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful husband

54 TV executive Arledge : ROONE

Roone Arledge was an executive at ABC. Arledge made a name for himself in sports broadcasting and then took over ABC News in 1977, a position he held until his death in 2002.

55 Rich source of omega-3 fatty acids : ROE

Fish oils are noted for containing omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits including the reduction of inflammation. Like so many essential nutrients that we get from animals, the only reason the animal has them is that it feeds on plants. In this case, fish cannot manufacture omega-3 fatty acids, and instead absorb them from algae. Omega-3 fatty acids are also readily found in other plant oils such as flaxseed oil.

59 *Annual Florida football game : ORANGE BOWL (red + yellow = orange)

The Orange Bowl is an annual college football game played in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Rose Bowl is the oldest of the bowl games (inaugurated in 1902), but the Sun Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl come in second. The first Orange Bowl was played on New Year’s Day 1935.

62 Biographer Leon : EDEL

Leon Edel wrote a highly respected biography of author Henry James, for which Edel won a Pulitzer Prize. Leon’s younger brother Abraham was a noted philosopher and ethicist.

63 Fix for shortsightedness : LASIK

LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

65 Egg ___ : TOSS

Egg tossing is a game usually associated with Easter. In 1978, one Johnny Dell Foley tossed a fresh hen’s egg a distance of over 323 feet to a Keith Thomas to create a world record.

66 Three of the last seven words in Joyce’s “Ulysses” : YESES

Here are the last seven words of the novel “Ulysses” by James Joyce:

… yes I said yes I will Yes.

Regular readers will know that I am unashamedly supportive of my native Irish culture, but I have to tell you that I can’t stand many of the works of James Joyce. I have spent many a fine day traipsing around Ireland learning about him, but I find myself more absorbed by Joyce’s life than by his writing. Having said that, “Ulysses” is an interesting novel in that it chronicles just one ordinary day in the life of a Dubliner named Leopold Bloom. There’s a huge celebration of “Ulysses” in Dublin every year on June 16th, called Bloomsday. The festivities vary from readings and performances of the storyline, to good old pub crawls. “Ulysses” was made into a film of the same name in 1967 starring Milo O’Shea.

Down

1 Ship that Athena helped build, in myth : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

2 Podcaster Maron : MARC

Stand-up comedian Marc Maron has been hosting the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” since 2009. The online show features interviews with comedians and celebrities. The list of interviewees is pretty impressive, and includes Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams and even President Barack Obama.

3 Tyrannosaurus rex, for one : PREDATOR

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T-rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

4 “BlacKkKlansman” director, 2018 : LEE

Film director Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has very much made New York City his home and place of work. Most of Lee’s films are set in New York City, including his first feature film, 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It”. That film was shot over two weeks with a budget of $175,000. “She’s Gotta Have It” grossed over $7 million at the US box office.

5 Physicist Mach who lent his name to a measure of speed : ERNST

The Mach number of a moving object (like say an airplane) is its speed relative to the speed of sound. A plane travelling at Mach 2, for example, is moving at twice the speed of sound. The term “Mach” takes its name from the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach who published a groundbreaking paper in 1877 that even predicted the “sonic boom”.

6 Measure opposed to strip mining, e.g. : ECO-LAW

Strip mining is a process used to mine minerals that are relatively close to the surface. A long strip of overlying soil and rock is first removed, and then the ore beneath is excavated. Once each long strip has been excavated then the overlying soil and rock is redeposited. Strip mining wouldn’t be the most environmentally friendly practice …

7 Landlocked African country : LESOTHO

Lesotho is an enclaved country that is completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa(RSA). The nation was ruled as a British colony from 1868 until 1966 under the name “Basutoland”. Basutoland regained its independence in 1966, and became the Kingdom of Lesotho.

8 Day in ancient Rome : IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

10 Jazz group : THE NBA

The Utah Jazz professional basketball team moved to Salt Lake City in 1979. As one might guess from the name, the team originated in New Orleans, but only played there for five seasons. New Orleans was a tough place to be based because venues were hard to come by, and Mardi Gras forced the team to play on the road for a whole month.

11 Classic work famously translated by John Dryden : AENEID

Aeneas was a Trojan hero of myth who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor of all Romans. Aeneas’s story is told in Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid”.

John Dryden was a highly influential poet and playwright in the late 1600s. He came from good literary stock, and was a cousin once-removed of Jonathan Swift. Dryden was made England’s first Poet Laureate, in 1668.

17 Japanese theater : NOH

Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, including the female parts.

28 Alternative to a pilsner : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

Pilsener (also “pilsner” or “pils”) is a pale lager. The name “pilsener” comes from the city of Pilsen, now in the Czech Republic. It was in Pilsen, in 1842, that the first bottom-fermented lager was produced. A bottom-fermented beer is much clearer that a top-fermented beer, and has a crisper taste. The “top” and “bottom” refers to where the yeast gathers during the brewing process.

30 Scalding : TOO HOT

In cooking, scalding a liquid is bringing it to just below the boiling point.

31 Land down under? : HADES

Hades was the god of the underworld to the ancient Greeks. Over time, Hades gave his name to the underworld itself, the place where the dead reside. The term “Hades” was also adopted into the Christian tradition, as an alternative name for hell. But, the concept of hell in Christianity is more akin to the Greek “Tartarus”, which is a dark and gloomy dungeon located in Hades, a place of suffering and torment.

37 Organization with three Nobel Peace Prizes … or what “corrects” the answer to each of the starred clues : RED CROSS

Back in 1859, a Swiss businessman called Henri Dunant went to meet French emperor Napoleon III, to discuss making it easier to conduct commerce in French-occupied Algeria. The Emperor was billeted at Solferino, where France and Austria were engaged in a major battle. In one day, Dunant witnessed 40,000 soldiers die in battle and countless wounded suffering on the battlefield without any organized medical care. Dunant abandoned his business agenda and instead spent a week caring for the sick and wounded. Within a few years he had founded the precursor to the Red Cross, and in 1901 he was awarded the first ever Nobel Peace Prize.

38 Actor McKellen : IAN

Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, one who is comfortable playing anything from Macbeth on stage to Magneto in an “X-Men” movie. On the big screen, McKellen is very famous for playing Gandalf in “The Lord of Rings”. In the UK, Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

39 New corp. hire, maybe : MBA

The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

41 Team named after its official state bird : ORIOLES

The Baltimore Orioles (also, the O’s, the Birds”) are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team had roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

The Baltimore oriole is a small bird with a largely yellow body. The male’s coloring of black and yellow resembles the colors of the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore, the first Governor of the Province of Maryland, and so the bird was given the name “Baltimore” oriole. It is the state bird of Maryland, and lends its name to the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

43 J.F.K. Library architect : PEI

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is a splendid structure located right beside the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts. President Kennedy chose the location for his library just one week before he was assassinated. The library itself was designed by architect I. M. Pei.

47 Online troublemakers : TROLLS

In Internet terms, a troll is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response. I must admit to feeling sorry for people who have such sad lives …

51 Singer whose name sounds like a cry of horror : ONO

Yoko Ono was born in 1933 in Tokyo into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Yoko’s father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great firebombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.

57 Cougars’ prey : ELKS

The elk (also “wapiti”) is one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …

The mountain lion is found in much of the Americas from the Yukon in Canada right down to the southern Andes in South America. Because the mountain lion is found over such a vast area, it has many different names applied by local peoples, such as “cougar” and “puma”. In fact, the mountain lion holds the Guinness record for the animal with the most number of different names, with over 40 in English alone.

60 Modern term of endearment : BAE

“Bae” is a contemporary term of endearment. It is a pet name that is an abbreviation of “babe, baby”, although I’ve also read that it is an acronym standing for “before anyone else”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bountiful : AMPLE
6 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
10 Something that might be kept in a bar : TAB
13 Like O negative vis-à-vis O positive : RARER
14 Turn over : CEDE
15 You, long ago : THEE
16 *Sycophant : BROWN-NOSER (red + green = brown)
18 Let (out) : RENT
19 Condition for Jack Nicholson’s character in “As Good as It Gets,” in brief : OCD
20 Arias, usually : SOLOS
21 Less coarse : FINER
22 All things considered : AT THAT
24 Oil-rich region : ARABIA
25 Before : UP TO
27 *Classic gin-and-grenadine cocktail : PINK LADY (red + white = pink)
29 Entrepreneur’s goal : GROWTH
32 Pieces that can go left or right : OP-EDS
33 One of L.B.J.’s presidential dogs : HER
34 ___ milk : OAT
36 Pitch in : AID
37 Lip : RIM
40 Metaphor for experience : RODEO
42 Alternative to O : TYPE AB
44 *Military medal : PURPLE HEART (red + blue = purple)
48 ___ Lewis, “The Taste of Country Cooking” writer : EDNA
49 Sonata closers : RONDOS
50 1996 hit with the lyric “It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife” : IRONIC
53 Good trait : ASSET
54 TV executive Arledge : ROONE
55 Rich source of omega-3 fatty acids : ROE
58 “Gotcha!” : I SEE!
59 *Annual Florida football game : ORANGE BOWL (red + yellow = orange)
61 Mine layer : SEAM
62 Biographer Leon : EDEL
63 Fix for shortsightedness : LASIK
64 Playful suffix with “best” : -EST
65 Egg ___ : TOSS
66 Three of the last seven words in Joyce’s “Ulysses” : YESES

Down

1 Ship that Athena helped build, in myth : ARGO
2 Podcaster Maron : MARC
3 Tyrannosaurus rex, for one : PREDATOR
4 “BlacKkKlansman” director, 2018 : LEE
5 Physicist Mach who lent his name to a measure of speed : ERNST
6 Measure opposed to strip mining, e.g. : ECO-LAW
7 Landlocked African country : LESOTHO
8 Day in ancient Rome : IDES
9 Suffix with rocket : -EER
10 Jazz group : THE NBA
11 Classic work famously translated by John Dryden : AENEID
12 Sell out : BETRAY
15 Pre-Olympic events : TRIALS
17 Japanese theater : NOH
21 Singer Fender with a 1975 hit that went to #1 on both the pop and country charts : FREDDY
23 Lug : TOW
24 Faceplanted, say : ATE IT
25 “Bleah!” : UGH!
26 Canada’s Grand-___ National Historic Site : PRE
28 Alternative to a pilsner : IPA
30 Scalding : TOO HOT
31 Land down under? : HADES
35 Bagged leaves? : TEA
37 Organization with three Nobel Peace Prizes … or what “corrects” the answer to each of the starred clues : RED CROSS
38 Actor McKellen : IAN
39 New corp. hire, maybe : MBA
40 Cash in : REDEEM
41 Team named after its official state bird : ORIOLES
43 J.F.K. Library architect : PEI
44 Prepare, as a pot roast : BRAISE
45 Sports column : LOSSES
46 Vote out : UNSEAT
47 Online troublemakers : TROLLS
51 Singer whose name sounds like a cry of horror : ONO
52 Just : NEWLY
54 Overhaul : REDO
56 Boo-boo : OWIE
57 Cougars’ prey : ELKS
59 Until now : YET
60 Modern term of endearment : BAE

4 thoughts on “0521-20 NY Times Crossword 21 May 20, Thursday”

  1. 15:06, no errors. I was a bit mystified by “RODEO”, but after reading Bill’s explanation, I realize that I have heard the phrase before..

  2. 28:59 I’m ashamed to admit I agonized over “betray”…I kept dividing the word into “bet-ray” and couldn’t make sense of it…. oops….

  3. 25:27, no errors. Had to do this one on my phone. For some reason my tablet kept going to the mini puzzle when I clicked on the regular Thursday link. Weird

  4. 28:13. The theme was easy enough although I drew a blank at first when I saw RED and GREEN cross. The other color combos were more obvious. My real issues came with a lot of the names etc in the fill. Nothing seemed to come easy to me. One of those puzzles I’m just glad are in my rear view mirror.

    LESOTHO got me as well, but when I finally got it via crosses, I recognized it from past crosswords.

    First thing that got filled in the SE was BAE. Apparently, I’ve been fooled by it one too many times. I almost just left the whole section blank rather than admit to knowing BAE…

    Best –

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