0524-20 NY Times Crossword 24 May 20, Sunday

Constructed by: Andrew Chaikin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: The Mystery of McGuffin Manor

There is a note with today’s puzzle:

This crossword contains a whodunit: “Thank you for coming, Inspector,” said Lady McGuffin. “The famed McGuffin Diamond has been stolen from my study! The eight members of the staff had a costume party tonight–it has to be one of them: the butler, driver, cook, baker, page, porter, barber or carpenter. They have all been confined to their respective rooms around the parlor [center of the grid].” Can you determine who stole the diamond … and where it is now?

The “rooms” are the eight white “spaces” in the grid defined by black squares, three at the top, three at the bottom, and two at the left and right (between the top and bottom).

  • 25A As you inspect each room, you find staff members dressed as ___ : APTLY NAMED CELEBRITIES
  • 39A They’re all ___, so you can easily identify them : WEARING NAME TAGS

The eight APTLY NAMED CELEBRITIES are:

  • 28A Suspect #1 : COLE (Porter)
  • 50A Suspect #2 : GERARD (Butler)
  • 65A Suspect #3 : TIM (Cook)
  • 101A Suspect #4 : CHET (Baker)
  • 114A Suspect #5 : MINNIE (Driver)
  • 115A Suspect #6 : KAREN (Carpenter)
  • 10D Suspect #7 : ELLEN (Page)
  • 13D Suspect #8 : TIKI (Barber)

We have a clue:

  • 85A In the study, you find that the thief accidentally left behind an ___ : APPLE SWEATSHIRT

So, the murderer is the cook! He is dressed as Tim Cook, Apple CEO, and wearing an Apple sweatshirt.

  • 102A “You caught me!,” says the thief, who then admits: “The diamond isn’t here in my room, but it’s hidden in ___” : THE ONE TO THE WEST OF HERE

The cook, wearing the TIM name tag, is in the “room” at the center-right of the grid. The diamond is hidden in the PARLOR to the west of Tim Cook’s room. The letters MCGUFFIN are arranged in a DIAMOND-shape in the PARLOR, around the plus-sign at the grid’s center.

Wow! Clever puzzle …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 18m 44s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • CIMINO (Camino)
  • TIKI (Taki)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Sprint competitor : RACER

That would be someone competing in a sprint, a race.

12 Pollen-producing plant part : STAMEN

The stamen is the male reproductive organ of a flower. The part of the stamen known as the anther sits on a stalk called the filament that carries the pollen. The pollen is picked up by insects, especially bees, who then transfer pollen from flower to flower. The pistil is the female reproductive organ, and it accepts the pollen.

18 About three miles : LEAGUE

A league is a unit of distance that dates back to the Middle Ages. No longer used, it was originally defined as the distance that a person could walk in an hour. In the English-speaking world, a league was equal to three miles on land, and three nautical miles at sea.

19 Excoriates : REVILES

To excoriate is to abrade or chafe. “Excoriate” also means “strongly denounce” something or someone.

21 “The Deer Hunter” director Michael : CIMINO

Director and producer Michael Cimino’s major work is the incredible “The Deer Hunter” from 1978. However, his 1980 movie “Heaven’s Gate” pulled in only $3 million dollars at the box office, after it had cost $42 million to make. So bad were the economics on this project, that it was a major contributor to the demise of the United Artists studio.

“The Deer Hunter” is a disturbing 1978 movie about three Russian Americans from Pennsylvania, and their time in the military during the Vietnam War. The “game” of Russian roulette features prominently in the film’s storyline. According to director Michael Cimino, Robert de Niro requested that a live cartridge be loaded into the gun during the main Russian roulette scene, to heighten the intensity of the atmosphere. Cimino agreed, although he was quite obsessive about ensuring that for each take, the bullet wasn’t next in the chamber.

22 An antique might have one : PATINA

Patina is the oxide film that develops on brass and similar metals over time. For example, it’s patina that makes Lady Liberty the lovely green color that she is.

23 What a Venn diagram shows : OVERLAP

Englishman John Venn was an expert in the field of logic, and introduced the Venn diagram in his book “Symbolic Logic” in 1881. Venn diagrams are used in set theory, to illustrate the logical relationships between sets of variables.

28 Suspect #1 : COLE (Porter)

Cole Porter was a little unusual amongst his peers in that he was one of the few successful songwriters who wrote both lyrics and music for his compositions. Porter was seriously injured in a riding accident when in his forties and was left disabled and in pain. Despite this, he continued to work and produced his most successful work after the accident.

29 Start of a Christmas refrain : FA LA …

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in the 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la!”

31 Days of old : YORE

We use the word “yore” to mean “time long past” as in “the days of yore”. “Yore” comes from the Old English words for “of years”.

32 Word that sounds like a number … and is a letter backward : ATE

“Ate” sounds like “eight”, and is “eta” written backward.

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

33 Russian pancakes : BLINI

A blintz (also “blintze” and “blin”, plural “blini”) is a thin pancake similar to a crêpe, although unlike a crêpe, a blintz may contain yeast.

44 Popeye’s kid : SWEE’PEA

Originally Popeye used the nickname “Swee’Pea” to address his girlfriend Olive Oyl. Then along comes a baby, found on Popeye’s doorstep.

46 Delta competitor, in brief : UAL

United Airlines (UAL) has a complicated history, but can trace its roots back to Aviation Enterprises, founded in 1944 and later called Texas International. The first use of the “United” name in the company’s history was when airplane pioneer William Boeing merged his Boeing Air Transport with Pratt & Whitney to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC) in 1929. The Air Mail Act of 1934 required that UATC be broken up into United Aircraft (which became United Technologies), the Boeing Aircraft Company and United Air Lines.

50 Suspect #2 : GERARD (Butler)

Gerard Butler is an actor from Scotland, an actor who actually trained as a lawyer. While studying the law, Butler sang with a rock band. Perhaps that helped him land the title role in the 2003 musical film “The Phantom of the Opera”.

56 Tech debut of 1998 : IMAC

The iMac is a desktop computer platform that Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such as strawberry, blueberry and lime.

58 Tucson school, in brief : U OF A

The University of Arizona (UA, or “U of A”) was the first university founded in the state, opening its doors for students in Tucson in 1885 (which was actually 27 years before the territory was granted statehood).

61 California-based auto company : TESLA

Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 as a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The company followed the sports car with a luxury sedan, the Model S. The Model S was the world’s best selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2015. Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla in early 2017.

62 Bristle of grain : AWN

“Awn” is the name given to hair- or bristle-like structures found in numerous species of plants. In some species, like barley, the awns can contain photosynthetic tissue.

65 Suspect #3 : TIM (Cook)

Tim Cook was appointed as Apple’s CEO in 2011, when he succeeded Steve Jobs. Cook had joined the company back in 1998 as senior vice president in charge of worldwide operations. He came out as gay in October of 2014, making Cook the first openly gay CEO of a company on the Fortune 500 list.

71 Sly and the Family Stone genre : FUNK

Sly and the Family Stone are a rock, funk and soul band from San Francisco that’s still performing today, although their heyday was from 1966 to 1983. They were one of the first rock bands to have a racially-integrated lineup, as well as representatives of both sexes.

78 Some appliances : AMANAS

The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa. Today, the Amana name is very much associated with household appliances. The company was founded in 1934 to manufacture commercial walk-in coolers.

79 They catch dust bunnies : DRY MOPS

What we call “dust bunnies” in American English, have similar inventive names in other languages. The Finns know them as sheep, the Germans wool mice, the Hungarians dust kittens, the Italians dust cats, and the Swedish dust rats.

83 Musical family with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : OSMONDS

The Osmond Brothers were performing at Disneyland in the early sixties when they were spotted by Andy Williams’ father. He was so impressed by their performance that he told Andy to book them on his TV show, after which they became regulars from 1962-69.

88 Some sports cars : GTS

In the automotive world, “GT” stands for “Grand Touring” or “Gran Turismo”.

92 “That’s ___” : AMORE

“That’s Amore” is a pop standard written by Harry Warren and Jack Brooks in 1952. “That’s Amore” became the signature song for Dean Martin after he sang it (with some help from Jerry Lewis) in the 1953 comedy film “The Caddy”. “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore …”

100 Hershey toffee bar : SKOR

Skor is a candy bar produced by Hershey’s. “Skor” is Swedish for “shoes”, and the candy bar’s wrapping features a crown that is identical to that found in the Swedish national emblem. What shoes have to do with candy, I don’t know …

101 Suspect #4 : CHET (Baker)

The famous jazz trumpeter Chet Baker was noted for his heroin addiction, a problem that nearly put an end to his performing career. He managed a comeback in the late seventies, mainly appearing and recording in Europe. But he never kicked the drug habit and was found dead one day after falling from his hotel room window in Amsterdam.

108 “Hungry” game characters : HIPPOS

Hungry Hungry Hippos is a children’s game in which players use plastic hippos to gobble up marbles.

112 Joined at an angle, as two pieces of wood : MITERED

A miter joint is one in which two pieces of wood are joined at ninety degrees, with the ends of each individual piece of wood cut at 45 degrees. The four joints in the corners of a picture frame are often miter joints.

114 Suspect #5 : MINNIE (Driver)

Minnie Driver is an actress from London who has made quite a name for herself in Hollywood. Some of my favorite films in which Driver appears are “Circle of Friends”, “Grosse Pointe Blank”, “Good Will Hunting”, “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Return to Me”.

115 Suspect #6 : KAREN (Carpenter)

Karen Carpenter was an accomplished drummer, although she only started playing drums in high school, as a member of the school band. After she graduated she started playing jazz with her brother, Richard, and a college friend. Later, she and Richard played with a group called Spectrum, and submitted many demo tapes to recording companies, but all were unsuccessful. Finally, Karen and Richard got a recording contract with A&M Records, and when they had Karen take the lead on their songs, they hit the big time and toured as the Carpenters. Sadly, Karen passed away at only 32-years-old, dying from heart failure brought on by anorexia.

Down

1 Source of the robe material for Incan royalty : ALPACA

Alpacas are like small llamas, but unlike llamas were never beasts of burden. Alpacas were bred specifically for the fleece. As such, there are no known wild alpacas these days, even in their native Peru.

5 Brooklyn Coll. is part of it : CUNY

New York City’s public university system is called the City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY is made of 24 institutions and is the largest urban university in the whole country. It is also the third largest university system in the US, after the State University of New York and California State University.

6 Thomas who chaired the 9/11 Commission : KEAN

Thomas Kean served as Governor of New Jersey from 1982 until 1990. President George W. Bush called on Kean to head up the 9/11 Commission that was tasked with providing a full account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks. President Bush had originally appointed former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as head of the commission, but Kissinger was forced to resign after just a few weeks due to potential conflicts with his private consulting business.

8 Salon brand : AVEDA

Horst Rechelbacher was travelling in India in 1970 when he was introduced to the Hindu science of longevity called Ayurveda, which inspired him to set up his own company of skin and hair care products that he called Aveda. The company opened its doors in 1978 and is based in Blaine, Minnesota.

9 Magazine audience fig. : CIRC

Circulation (circ.)

10 Suspect #7 : ELLEN (Page)

Canadian actress Ellen Page came to prominence playing the female lead in the 2007 hit film “Juno”. Page also played the female lead in one of my favorite films of recent time, namely 2010’s “Inception”.

11 Style for Edward Hopper and George Bellows : REALISM

Edward Hopper was an artist from Nyack, New York. He was a celebrated realist painter best known for his works using oils.

13 Suspect #8 : TIKI (Barber)

Tiki Barber is a retired running back who played for the New York Giants from 1997 to 2006. Tiki is the identical twin of cornerback Ronde Barber, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1997 to 2012. Tiki and Ronde have written several children’s books together.

15 “Despicable Me” character : MINION

“Despicable Me” is a 2010 animated comedy film. The main voice actor in the movie is the very funny Steve Carell. “Despicable Me” is a Universal Pictures production, although all of the animation was done in France. The 2010 film was followed by a sequel “Despicable Me 2” released in 2013, with a prequel/spin-off film called “Minions” released in 2015.

19 Elie Wiesel’s homeland : ROMANIA

Romania sits just east of Hungary and north of Bulgaria in Europe. Romania was formed from the union of two principalities in 1859, Moldavia and Wallachia. The Kingdom of Romania grew larger in size after WWI with the addition of three new regions, including the “vampirish” Transylvania.

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.

20 Lowest of the eight major taxonomic ranks : SPECIES

Taxonomy is the classification of organisms or into groups or categories known as taxons (plural “taxa”). We are most familiar with the classification of organisms in the major taxonomic ranks (taxa):

  • Life
  • Domain
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus (plural “genera”)
  • Species

26 Flambé : AFIRE

“Flambé” is the French word for “flamed”, and was originally a term used to describe certain types of porcelain. The word “flambé” crept into cookery just after 1900.

27 Japanese box lunch : BENTO

A bento is a single-person meal that is eaten quite commonly in Japan. A bento can be purchased as a take-out meal, or it may be packed at home. A bento is usually sold as a “bento box”.

34 Org. in “Die Hard” : LAPD

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is the third-largest local law enforcement agency in the country, after New York PD and Chicago PD. Among other things, LAPD is famous for creating the first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in the US, in 1965.

The 1988 action movie “Die Hard” is such a fun film. We always pull it out at Christmas when we want something “Christmassy” but different from “The Bishop’s Wife” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The “Nakatomi Plaza” building that features so prominently in the film is actually “Fox Plaza” (headquarters for 20th Century Fox) in Los Angeles, which was built not long before filming started.

36 Teri with a “Tootsie” role : GARR

Actress Teri Garr had a whole host of minor roles in her youth, including appearances in nine Elvis movies. Garr’s big break came with the role of Inga in “Young Frankenstein”, and her supporting role in “Tootsie” earned Garr an Academy Award nomination. Sadly, Teri Garr suffers from multiple sclerosis. She is a National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“Tootsie” is a hilarious 1982 comedy starring Dustin Hoffman in the title role, a male actor who adopts a female identity in order to land an acting job. Jessica Lange won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the film. “Tootsie” also provided Geena Davis with her first movie role.

37 It might be snowy : EGRET

The snowy egret is a small white heron that is native to the Americas. At one time the egret species was in danger of extinction due to hunting driven by the demand for plumes for women’s hats.

40 Chip dip, familiarly : 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”.

41 Badger : NAG

To badger is to harass. The verb “to badger” comes from the cruel practice of badger-baiting, which dates back to medieval times. Badger-baiting is a blood sport in which a dog is used as bait for a badger in its den, to draw it out into the open. The den is an artificial structure built to resemble a natural badgers’ den, complete with a tunnel entrance. The dog is sent down the tunnel causing the badger and dog to lock their jaws on each other. The badger and dog are then removed from the den by pulling on the dog’s tale. Horrible …

42 Diamond family name : ALOU

Jesus Alou played Major League Baseball, as did his brothers Matty and Felipe, and as did Felipe’s son Moises.

48 Britain’s Broadway : WEST END

The West End of London is a part of the central area of the city that contains many tourist attractions and in particular a large number of theaters. The West End of London is also home to the most expensive office space in the world.

49 City near Monterey Bay : SALINAS

Salinas is a California city located south of the San Francisco Bay Area, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Salinas was the hometown of Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck, and was the setting of his 1952 novel “East of Eden”.

52 Like a Debbie Downer : NO FUN

“Debbie Downer” is a slang phrase describing someone who knows how to bring down the mood. There was a character on “Saturday Night Live” with the name Debbie Downer played by comic actress Rachel Dratch.

57 Very, in Veracruz : MUY

Veracruz is one of Mexico’s 31 states, and is located on the country’s east coast. The state takes its name from the city of Veracruz, which is a major port city in the state. Veracruz is not the state capital, however, That honor goes to the city of Xalapa.

60 Getaway for two lovebirds? : ARK

Genesis 6:19-20 states that Noah was instructed to take two animals of every kind into the ark. Later, in Genesis 7:2-3 Noah was instructed to take on board “every clean animal by sevens … male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth”. Apparently, “extras” (7 rather than 2) were needed for ritual sacrifice.

67 Ireland’s best-selling solo artist : ENYA

Irish singer Enya co-wrote and performed two songs for the 2001 film “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”. Her song “May It Be” was nominated to that season’s Best Original Song Academy Award. The second number, called “Aniron”, was sung in Tolkien’s Elvish language called Sindarin.

68 Home of the original Busch Gardens : TAMPA

The Florida city of Tampa has been known as “the Big Guava” since the seventies. The term is imitative of New York’s “Big Apple”, and refers to the unsuccessful search for the reported wild guava trees that were once hoped to be the basis of a new industry for the area. Tampa has also been called “Cigar City”, a reference to the cigar industry that fueled the area’s growth starting in the 1880s.

The Busch Gardens group of theme parks was originally envisioned as a vehicle for the promotion of Anheuser-Busch products, so free beer samples were made available to patrons (but no longer!). The Tampa location was the first of the parks to be opened, in 1959. The Tampa property has an African theme, whereas Williamsburg, Virginia property has a European theme. There are plans to open a third park in Dubai, although the project has been put on hold due to the current financial climate.

71 Hardy bean : FAVA

The fava bean is also known as the broad bean. “Broad bean” is used “broadly” (pun!) in the UK, whereas “fava bean” is common in the US. “Fava” is the Italian name for the broad bean.

72 Campfire treat : S’MORE

S’mores are treats peculiar to North America that are usually eaten around a campfire. A s’more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!

75 Jr.’s junior : 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”.

78 Leader whose name means, literally, “commander” : AMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East in Islamic countries. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

80 Kilt feature : PLEAT

The lovely Scottish garment called a kilt is pleated, but only at the rear.

83 Seeped (through} : OSMOSED

Osmosis is the movement of a solvent (often water) across a semipermeable membrane. In the process of osmosis, the solvent tends to flow from an area of less concentration to an area of higher concentration. This sense of absorbing water effortlessly gives rise to the expression “learning by osmosis”.

84 Low on dough : SHORT

Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, scratch, cheddar, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.

86 Big launch of 1957 : SPUTNIK

The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite towards the end of 1957. The first in a series of space missions, that first satellite was just a 23-inch diameter “ball” trailing four antennas. Sputnik 2 was launched just a month later, and carried the first living passenger into orbit, namely a dog named Laika. The word “sputnik” means “co-traveller” in Russian.

88 Fictional city inspired by New York City : GOTHAM

“Gotham” had been a nickname for New York City long before it was picked up by comic books as a setting for Batman tales. The term was coined by Washington Irving in a periodical that he published in 1807. Irving was lampooning New York politics and culture, and lifted the name from the village of Gotham in Nottinghamshire, England. The original Gotham was, according to folklore, inhabited by fools.

89 Sauce put on falafel : TAHINI

“Tahini” is the Arabic name for a paste made from ground sesame seeds. Tahini is a major ingredient in hummus, one of my favorite dishes.

Falafel is a ball of ground chickpeas or fava beans that has been deep fried and served in pita bread. I love chickpeas, but falafel is often too dry to me …

93 Springsteen’s birthplace, in song : THE USA

“Born in the USA” is a 1984 song (and album) written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen. The song was written three years earlier as the title song for a movie, but was never used. That film ultimately was released as “Light of Day” starring Michael J. Fox. The original intention was for Springsteen to star in the film himself.

99 Thucydides had one : THETA

The Greek letter theta is the one that looks like the number zero with a horizontal line across the middle.

When written in Greek, the name “Thucydides” starts with a letter theta.

Thucydides was a historian from ancient Greece who has been dubbed “the father of scientific history”, a nod to his rigorous gathering and analysis of evidence.

103 Anika ___ Rose, 2004 Tony winner : NONI

Anika Noni Rice is a singer from Bloomfield, Connecticut who is known to moviegoers as the star of the 2006 film “Dreamgirls”. More recently, Rice played Beneatha Younger in a revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” on Broadway.

104 Sunrise direction, in Seville : ESTE

The city of Seville (“Sevilla” in Spanish) is the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain. Seville is a favored setting for many operas including “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini, “Fidelio” by Beethoven and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Battlefield cry : ATTACK!
7 Sprint competitor : RACER
12 Pollen-producing plant part : STAMEN
18 About three miles : LEAGUE
19 Excoriates : REVILES
21 “The Deer Hunter” director Michael : CIMINO
22 An antique might have one : PATINA
23 What a Venn diagram shows : OVERLAP
24 Like : AKIN TO
25 As you inspect each room, you find staff members dressed as ___ : APTLY NAMED CELEBRITIES
28 Suspect #1 : COLE (Porter)
29 Start of a Christmas refrain : FA LA …
30 “I like it!” : NICE!
31 Days of old : YORE
32 Word that sounds like a number … and is a letter backward : ATE
33 Russian pancakes : BLINI
35 Burn slightly : SINGE
38 Refusals : NOS
39 They’re all ___, so you can easily identify them : WEARING NAME TAGS
44 Popeye’s kid : SWEE’PEA
46 Delta competitor, in brief : UAL
47 Woes : SORROWS
50 Suspect #2 : GERARD (Butler)
51 Have trouble swallowing : GAG ON
53 Like beloved books, often : REREAD
55 Showers : RAINS
56 Tech debut of 1998 : IMAC
58 Tucson school, in brief : U OF A
61 California-based auto company : TESLA
62 Bristle of grain : AWN
63 What it all adds up to : SUM
64 A ways away : FAR
65 Suspect #3 : TIM (Cook)
66 Spawn : BEGET
69 Music for the masses? : HYMN
71 Sly and the Family Stone genre : FUNK
72 Public spat : SCENE
74 Considered : SEEN AS
76 ___ fusion (type of cuisine) : ASIAN
78 Some appliances : AMANAS
79 They catch dust bunnies : DRY MOPS
82 It might get a licking: Abbr. : ENV
83 Musical family with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : OSMONDS
85 In the study, you find that the thief accidentally left behind an ___ : APPLE SWEATSHIRT
88 Some sports cars : GTS
91 Lots : A HEAP
92 “That’s ___” : AMORE
93 Some modern ones are smart : TVS
96 Four-letter word for a four-letter word : OATH
98 In ___ (stuck) : A RUT
100 Hershey toffee bar : SKOR
101 Suspect #4 : CHET (Baker)
102 “You caught me!,” says the thief, who then admits: “The diamond isn’t here in my room, but it’s hidden in ___” : THE ONE TO THE WEST OF HERE
108 “Hungry” game characters : HIPPOS
109 What each person gets in an election : ONE VOTE
110 Spark : AROUSE
111 Ordain : ANOINT
112 Joined at an angle, as two pieces of wood : MITERED
113 Clothes hanger? : TASSEL
114 Suspect #5 : MINNIE (Driver)
115 Suspect #6 : KAREN (Carpenter)
116 “Easy now …” : STEADY …

Down

1 Source of the robe material for Incan royalty : ALPACA
2 Home brewer : TEAPOT
3 Tell : TATTLE
4 Spry : AGILE
5 Brooklyn Coll. is part of it : CUNY
6 Thomas who chaired the 9/11 Commission : KEAN
7 Enjoy deeply : REVEL IN
8 Salon brand : AVEDA
9 Magazine audience fig. : CIRC
10 Suspect #7 : ELLEN (Page)
11 Style for Edward Hopper and George Bellows : REALISM
12 What might come with fencing? : SCAR
13 Suspect #8 : TIKI (Barber)
14 Goodwill : AMITY
15 “Despicable Me” character : MINION
16 Intestinal: Prefix : ENTERO-
17 Some knotted ropes : NOOSES
19 Elie Wiesel’s homeland : ROMANIA
20 Lowest of the eight major taxonomic ranks : SPECIES
26 Flambé : AFIRE
27 Japanese box lunch : BENTO
33 Oenology : wines :: zythology : ___ : BEERS
34 Org. in “Die Hard” : LAPD
36 Teri with a “Tootsie” role : GARR
37 It might be snowy : EGRET
39 Move off the bottle : WEAN
40 Chip dip, familiarly : GUAC
41 Badger : NAG
42 Diamond family name : ALOU
43 Like a bad loser : SORE
44 Major source of oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere : SEAWEED
45 Janitor’s tool : WRINGER
48 Britain’s Broadway : WEST END
49 City near Monterey Bay : SALINAS
50 Latches (onto) : GRABS
51 Delta preceder : GAMMA
52 Like a Debbie Downer : NO FUN
54 Women of honour : DAMES
56 Kinda : -ISH
57 Very, in Veracruz : MUY
59 Swing and completely miss : FAN
60 Getaway for two lovebirds? : ARK
67 Ireland’s best-selling solo artist : ENYA
68 Home of the original Busch Gardens : TAMPA
70 The compass points : N-S-E-W
71 Hardy bean : FAVA
72 Campfire treat : S’MORE
73 “Too busy” : CAN’T
75 Jr.’s junior : SOPH
77 Suffix with serpent : -INE
78 Leader whose name means, literally, “commander” : AMIR
80 Kilt feature : PLEAT
81 Space to maneuver a ship : SEA ROOM
83 Seeped (through} : OSMOSED
84 Low on dough : SHORT
86 Big launch of 1957 : SPUTNIK
87 “Time for a break” : TAKE TEN
88 Fictional city inspired by New York City : GOTHAM
89 Sauce put on falafel : TAHINI
90 Squash : STEP ON
93 Springsteen’s birthplace, in song : THE USA
94 Knowledgeable (in) : VERSED
95 Hard : STEELY
97 Music to a hitchhiker’s ears : HOP IN
99 Thucydides had one : THETA
100 Said a 96-Across : SWORE
101 Went with : CHOSE
103 Anika ___ Rose, 2004 Tony winner : NONI
104 Sunrise direction, in Seville : ESTE
105 “Best. Day. ___!” : EVER
106 Stable diet? : OATS
107 Rushing group, informally : FRAT

20 thoughts on “0524-20 NY Times Crossword 24 May 20, Sunday”

  1. 50:02 I didn’t read the note until after I got “Karen” and “Tiki” and figured I was missing something. My initial thought on my first pass was that it was referencing the game “Clue”. Then I read the note and it was off to the(much slower compared to you pros!)races. This one was addictive enough that I stayed up past 2 AM to finish it. How the constructors come up with these is beyond me, but what a great puzzle!

  2. 25:12, no errors. I finished the entire puzzle using crosses and then spent several minutes trying to figure out what it all meant before it finally occurred to me to look for the explanatory note. I had already found the diamond by that time, but it took me several more minutes to understand “everything“, complicated slightly by the fact that “Gerard Butler” and “Tiki Barber“ are unknown to me. So … I agree that it’s a marvelous construction, but I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I probably should have … 😜)

  3. So I have a question for any golfers on the blog: During a very long walk yesterday, I came across a golf ball half-buried in a sandy embankment near a road. It’s a perfectly ordinary dimpled “Wilson” golf ball with the labels “Pro Staff” and “2” on it, except that … it’s egg-shaped, rather than spherical! Is this a novelty item for use as a gag gift, the result of a manufacturing defect, or … what?

    1. More … Google tells me that there is a New Zealand game called “golf cross” or “goal golf” that is played with oval (sort of football-shaped) balls. I also found pictures of egg-shaped balls, but with little to no explanation what they’re for.

  4. 42:06. Same error(s) as Bill.

    I read the puzzle’s preamble (in this case it felt more like a pre-ramble), but it really didn’t help much. It mostly just helped me understand the theme after I had finished. It did help me with a name or two, I’ll admit. Cleverly constructed, but it seemed such a busy and gimmicky theme that I mostly ignored it. Maybe I just solved this with too much of an attitude.

    Sputnik means a lot of things in Russian. It’s primarily used as their word for “satellite”. But it can also mean companion, companion traveler (as Bill states) or an attendant.

    Nonny – I’ve played golf my whole life, but I’ve never come across one of those egg shaped golf balls. Looks like it’s for an entirely different sport originating in New Zealand. The only other thing even remotely similar I’ve seen was a practice device that was made aerodynamically so the device could only travel a certain distance as the harder you hit it, the more air resistance it encountered thus limiting its flight.

  5. Well, next time I’ll read the notes! Nevertheless, through patience…and crosses I finally finished. 101:52, no errors. I probably spent 6-8 minutes looking for 2 wrong letters which got me the “almost there” message. This was another one that I had a hard time getting started on.

  6. Did the puzzle with paper and pencil directly from the New York Times Magazine. Numbering in lower right corner was screwed up. Spent some time unraveling that because initially thought this might be part of the theme. Grrr!!

    Otherwise thought it was a great puzzle.

    93d, 94d, 95d were listed as 92d, 93d 94d in grid with 92 appearing twice. Clue numbering was correct but didn’t match grid. Sorry my explanation wasn’t better

  7. Hi! What was the deal with 92-95 Across/Down??? If that is a misprint, I must say it’s a first! That hung me up for a LONG time.

    I would love a reply!

    1. I noticed the same thing! I came here looking for something (guidance on what I was missing about the numbers, maybe) but I see that we all are puzzled by the mistake in the numbering. Strange.

    2. I found the puzzle to be quite easy (got the suspects). I always use a pen. But, I am perplexed by the “rooms”. Where are they? I read your instructions but didn’t understand them. And thus I don’t know what west of here means. Help!
      Thanks!

      1. I don’t understand the rooms thing either. I even tried to go back and find the word PARLOR somewhere and couldn’t. But if you assume the grey areas are rooms (regardless of names) the McGuffin diamond in the center is the grey space directly west of where 65a gives you TIM.

  8. The numbers were indeed screwed up: 92 across occurs 2x, and so the clues for 93, 94, and 95 down are off by one number. But what really gets me is that Will Shortz, the puzzle editor, does not explain these mistakes in today’s NYT–he should have caught them. Nor does he apologize for them. He is, after all, the editor, and the buck stops with him.

  9. 1:26:20 and after all that I had PUNK for FUNK…I never did get the theme and still don’t but that’s just dump me…however when I got up this morning I had a hunch that someone was going to ask me the source of robe material for Incan royalty and guess what?
    Stay safe.

  10. 45:28, 2 errors: C(A)MINO; T(A)KI. Unfamiliar with Micheal CIMINO; and, for some reason always conflate TIKI Barber’s name with Kiki VanDeWeghe (different sports, I know). Stopped the timer when all boxes were filled, and did not include the time to solve the Clue puzzle. Only knew half the celebrities, fortunately TIM Cook was one that I knew.

    Can’t imagine the effort it must have taken to construct this grid.

  11. APTLY NAMED CELEBRITIES ???
    Sorry, but Tim Cook is NOT a celebrity. (of some renown maybe)
    Never heard of Tiki Nobody
    Never heard of Aveda either

  12. 32:56, no errors. Creative and a lot more top-flight than the average Sunday fare, but stumbles a bit in execution as others have said.

  13. My version of the puzzle is printed in our newspaper and there was no explanatory note provided. That note may have been a great help today.

  14. Worked with a printed puzzle in the Seattle Times – numbering was correct, and the explanatory note was there.

    For Fri, Sat, and Sun it often takes me a few days of working a puzzle off and on – and this one was no exception. But I did get it done. Errors:

    24A – AMINTO (am into) / 13D – TIMI

    I thought something must be wrong for there to be a TIM and a TIMI (especially with the weird spelling), but what do I know about celebrity names?

    Took me longer than it should have to find the McGuffin.

  15. No errors,.. Yay me! Took about an hour. I figured out where the diamond was.. But didn’t get the celebrity.. I guessed MINNIE or KAREN…

    Like others, don’t agree on the whole celebrity label. Several of these are hardly celebrities. But , again, like all the crossword writers, you can call them whatever you want as long as the editor says ok.

    Be safe!

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