0531-20 NY Times Crossword 31 May 20, Sunday

Constructed by: Lewis Rothlein & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: What Goes Up Must Come Down

Themed answers are all in the across-direction, and each takes a detour in the grid. That detour heads UP the grid for a few letters, and then back DOWN. The detours are show with circled letters:

  • 32A Providers of books to remote locations : MOBILE LIBRARIES
  • 34A Unlawful activity by a minor : JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
  • 66A Some natural remedies : MEDICINAL PLANTS
  • 69A Cabinet position once held by Herbert Hoover : COMMERCE SECRETARY
  • 104A Untimely time : INOPPORTUNE MOMENT
  • 107A Great depth : ELABORATE DETAIL

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 20m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13 Feng ___ : SHUI

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese tradition of arranging objects, buildings and other structures in a manner that is said to improve the lives of the individuals living in or using the space. “Feng shui” translates as “wind-water”, a reference to the belief that positive and negative life forces ride the wind and scatter, but are retained when they encounter water.

19 Word whose rise in popularity coincided with the spread of the telephone : HELLO

Before the 1880s, the most popular greeting in English was “hallo” or “hullo”. The use of “hello” became popular along with the proliferation of telephones. When the telephone was invented, Alexander Graham Bell suggested that the greeting “Ahoy” be used when answering. Thomas Edison preferred “Hello”, which won out. By the end of the 1880s, telephone operators were being referred to as “hello-girls”.

20 It’s shorter on land than at sea : MILE

A nautical mile (sometimes “sea mile”) is a distance measurement that is about a one-minute arc of longitude at the equator. A nautical mile is also equal to about a one-minute arc of latitude along any meridian. The accepted length today is 1,852 meters. The unit of speed known as a “knot” is equal to one nautical mile per hour.

22 Traditional Hanukkah gift for kids : GELT

“Gelt” is the Yiddish word for “money”.

23 Computing machine displayed in part at the Smithsonian : ENIAC

The acronym ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (although many folks insist that the C was for “Computer”). ENIAC was introduced at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, at which time it was the first general-purpose electronic computer, and dubbed “Giant Brain” by the press. Its original purpose was the calculation of artillery firing tables, but it ended up being used early on to make calculations necessary for the development of the hydrogen bomb. Given its uses, it’s not surprising to hear that development of ENIAC was funded by the US Army during WWII.

25 Instrument heard in “Eleanor Rigby” : CELLO

When Paul McCartney was writing “Eleanor Rigby”, he started out with the title “Daisy Hawkins”. He also had a “Father McCartney” in the lyrics, but was afraid that folks would assume that was a reference to his Dad. So, he looked through the phone book and changed McCartney to McKenzie. The name Eleanor was borrowed from actress Eleanor Bron (a fine English actress who had a role in the movie “Help!”). The name Rigby came from Rigby & Evans Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers. Whatever it takes, I guess!

36 Land of the Po (not Poland) : ITALY

The Po flows right across northern Italy, and is the longest river in the country. The largest city on the Po is Turin.

39 Home of the world’s smallest country: Abbr. : EUR

Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.

40 Alias letters : AKA

Also known as (aka)

41 Demurring words : NOT I

To demur is to voice opposition, to object. It can also mean to delay and has its roots in the Latin word “demorare”, meaning “to delay”.

42 Member of the genus Helix : SNAIL

Snails and slugs are referred to collectively as gastropods. There are many, many species of gastropods, found both on land and in the sea. Gastropods with shells are generally described as snails, and those species without shells are referred to as slugs.

44 Marcel Duchamp, e.g. : DADAIST

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose works are associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. One of his most celebrated “works” is simply what he called “readymade” art, a urinal which he titled “Fountain”. Even though this work is considered to be “a major landmark in 20th century art”, the original that was submitted for exhibition was never actually displayed and had been lost forever. Replicas were commissioned by Duchamp, and are on display in many museums around the world. I have no further comment …

47 Genre for the Spice Girls or Backstreet Boys : TEEN POP

The five members of the English pop group the Spice Girls are:

  • Scary Spice (Melanie Brown, or Mel B)
  • Baby Spice (Emma Bunton, and my fave!)
  • Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell)
  • Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham)
  • Sporty Spice (Melanie Chisholm, or Mel C)

The Backstreet Boys (BSB) are a male vocal group that formed in 1993 in Orlando, Florida. In fact, the group’s first performance was in SeaWorld Orlando in May of that year. They’ve come a long way since SeaWorld, and have sold more records than any other boy band in history.

51 Bug experts, informally : IT PEOPLE

Information technology (IT)

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term “bug” in the context of computing.

55 Breathtaking sight in the ocean? : GILL

A fish’s gills are the organs equivalent to the lungs of many land animals. The gills can extract oxygen dissolved in water and excrete carbon dioxide.

62 GPS’s guesses : ETAS

A global positioning system (GPS) is known as a satellite navigation system (Sat Nav) in Britain and Ireland.

64 Montezuma, for one : AZTEC

Montezuma I and Montezuma II were Aztec emperors. Montezuma II was the ninth Aztec emperor and ruled from 1502 until 1520. He was the leader of the Aztec Empire when the Spanish first made contact and started the conquest of Mexico. Montezuma II was killed in a battle with the Spanish, although the details of his demise are not clear.

69 Cabinet position once held by Herbert Hoover : COMMERCE SECRETARY

The US Department of Commerce is charged with the promotion of the nation’s economic growth. It was created in 1903 as the Department of Commerce and Labor. It was future US president Herbert Hoover who really established Commerce as a major cabinet post, while he was Secretary of Commerce from 1921 to 1928. Hoover was so active and visible in the role that he became known as “Secretary of Commerce and Under-Secretary of all other departments”.

President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa, and is the only president to have been born in that state. His birthplace is now a National Landmark, and he and his wife were buried in the grounds of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch. President Hoover died at the age of 90 years old in 1964, outliving his nemesis Franklin Delano Roosevelt by almost 20 years.

73 Basic knowledge, with “the” : ROPES

As one might expect perhaps, the phrase “learning the ropes” is nautical in origin. A new recruit on a sailing vessel would have to learn how to tie the appropriate knots and learn which rope controlled which sail or spar.

79 Classic brand of candy wafers : NECCO

Necco Wafers were the best-known product line of the candy manufacturer called the New England Confectionery Company. The firm’s name was abbreviated to “NECCO”, an acronym that became synonymous with the wafers.

80 Magical teen of Archie Comics : SABRINA

The hit TV show “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” is based on a comic book series of the same name. The title character is played by actress Melissa Joan Hart. Sabrina lives with her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda, who are both 600 years of age. There’s also a cat called Salem, who has magical powers.

82 Give kudos to : HAIL

Our word “kudos” means “acclaim given for an exceptional achievement”. “Kudos” is both a singular and plural noun, and comes from the Greek “kyddos” meaning “glory, fame”.

84 Pop a wheelie? : GET A FLAT

Here’s another example of terms that change as we cross the Atlantic Ocean. When talking about tires (“tyres” in Britain and Ireland), a defect can cause a “flat” (“puncture” in Britain and Ireland).

95 DNA carrier : GENE

DNA contains nucleotide base sequences called genes, which are blueprints used in the manufacture of proteins needed by the body. Our DNA is also “decorated” with epigenetic markers that modify the activity level of genes, and can even turn genes off. These epigenetic markers respond to environmental conditions, so that organisms with the same DNA can exhibit differences in behavior and appearance, as a result of differing environments. This explains why identical twins develop differences in appearance over time.

100 1%-er in D.C.?: Abbr. : SEN

The US Senate comprises 100 senators, with each of the fifty states being represented by two popularly elected senators. US senators were appointed by their state legislators from 1798 through 1913, until the Seventeenth Amendment called for popular elections.

102 ’60s war zone : NAM

By some definitions, the official involvement of Americans in the Vietnam War started in 1955. At that time, President Eisenhower deployed a Military Assistance Advisory Group to assist in the training of the South Vietnamese Army. American involvement in the conflict officially ended in 1973, with the signing of an agreement that came out of the Paris Peace Accords.

109 Myth propagated to promote social harmony, in Plato’s “Republic” : NOBLE LIE

The greatest work of the Greek philosopher Plato is said by most to be his treatise called “The Republic”. The work takes the form of a Socratic dialogue, meaning that it features Plato’s teacher Socrates in dialogue with others discussing the subject matter. Much of the text deals with justice and various forms of government.

121 Opposite of une adversaire : AMIE

In French, an “ami” (friend) is the opposite of an “adversaire” (adversary).

122 Selfie taker’s concern : ANGLE

A selfie is a self-portrait, one usually taken with a digital camera or cell phone. A “group selfie” is sometimes referred to as a “groufie” or “wefie”. A “couple selfie” is known as an “usie” or “ussie”, although those terms are sometimes also used for a group picture.

123 Liberal arts college in Portland, Ore. : REED

Reed College in Portland is known for many things, including ownership of the world’s only nuclear reactor that is primarily run by students!

125 Recipe amts. : TSPS

Teaspoon (tsp.)

127 Cavity filler’s deg. : DDS

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

Down

1 Mayonnaise ingredient : EGG

Mayonnaise originated in the town of Mahon in Menorca, a Mediterranean island belonging to Spain. The Spanish called the sauce “salsa mahonesa” after the town, and this morphed into the French word “mayonnaise” that we use in English today.

6 QB Manning : ELI

Eli Manning is a retired footballer who played quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning retired from football as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2015. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback. Eli, Peyton and Archie co-authored a book for children titled “Family Huddle” in 2009. It describes the Mannings playing football together as young boys.

8 Former New York City mayor with the autobiography “Mayor” : KOCH

Ed Koch was a Democratic Representative in the US Congress from 1969-73, and then Mayor of New York City from 1978-89. From 1997 to 1999 Koch was a “judge” on the TV show “The People’s Court”. And in 2004, he collaborated with his sister Pat Koch, and wrote a children’s book called “Eddie, Harold’s Little Brother”, a tale about Ed’s own childhood experiences.

10 Org. in “Argo” : CIA

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be very frightening …

11 Jet set : ELITE

The jet set comprises wealthy individuals who frequent the fashionable resorts around the world. The term “jet set” was coined in 1951, and actually predated (slightly) the introduction of jet planes for commuter flights.

14 State capital in Lewis and Clark County : HELENA

Helena is the capital of the state of Montana, and is known as the Queen City of the Rockies. Helena’s main street has a very colorful name, i.e. Last Chance Gulch.

16 2017 hit movie about an Olympic skater : I, TONYA

“I, Tonya” is a 2017 comedy biopic about the life of figure skater Tonya Harding, with a focus on the 1994 attack on Harding’s rival Nancy Kerrigan. Harding is played by Australian actress Margot Robbie. I haven’t seen this one, but it’s on my list as I hear good things …

25 What A.P. exams grant incoming freshmen : COURSE CREDIT

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school (HS). After being tested at the end of an AP course, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

29 IHOP beverages : OJS

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests.

33 Water safety org. : EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up during the Nixon administration and began operation at the end of 1970.

35 U.S. broadcasting service : VOA

The United States Information Agency (USIA) was established under President Eisenhower in 1953, and continued operating until 1999. It’s mission was “public diplomacy”, another term for propaganda broadcast over radio airwaves. The intent from day one was to avoid having the broadcasts identified as propaganda. Speaking as a former listener to the USIA’s Voice of America (VOA) over in Europe, there were a lot of fun programs that had one coming back to hear more, but we all knew it was propaganda quite frankly …

42 Conductor Georg : SOLTI

Sir Georg Solti was a great Hungarian-British conductor, who spent 22 years as music director of the Chicago Symphony, one of many prestigious positions he held in the world of classical music and opera. Solti was awarded 31 Grammy Awards, the most won by any individual in any genre of music. I think it’s kind of cool that Solti’s name comprises two notes in the solfa scale: sol-ti …

43 Long river of Siberia : LENA

The Lena is in Siberia, and is the third-longest river in Asia. It rises in the Baikal Mountains in the south, and runs almost 2,800 miles to empty into the Laptev Sea in the Arctic Ocean.

45 Places for hustlers? : DISCOS

The hustle is a genre of disco dance that was popular in the seventies. The dance form really took off when Van McCoy released a song called “The Hustle”, to which an accompanying line dance became a big craze in 1975.

50 Cutting tool : ADZ

An adze (also “adz”) is similar to an axe, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe blade is set in line with the shaft.

52 Catamounts, by another name : PUMAS

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.

53 1960s counterculture figure : LEARY

Timothy Leary was a psychologist and writer, an icon of the sixties counterculture and a promoter of the use of LSD. Leary popularized the phrase “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” in the sixties. After he died, some of Leary’s ashes were “buried” in space, launched aboard a rocket that contained the ashes of 24 other people including “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry.

54 Play awards : ESPYS

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

60 Plains structure : TEPEE

A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.

63 Low-hanging clouds : STRATI

Stratus (plural “strati”) clouds are very common, and as they are wider than they are tall and flat along the bottom, we might just see them as haze in a featureless sky above us. Stratus clouds are basically the same as fog, but some distance above the ground. Indeed, many stratus clouds are formed when morning fog lifts into the air as the ground heats up.

67 Atahualpa’s subjects : INCAS

Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro discovered the Incas in 1526, marking the beginning of the end for an ancient civilization that was to be ravaged by brutal Spanish colonists and by imported smallpox. The last leader of the Inca was Atahualpa. Pizarro staged a mock trial and then condemned Atahualpa to execution by burning. A Spanish friar intervened on behalf of the condemned man, as Atahualpa believed that if he was burned his soul would not move on to the afterlife. Pizarro, was kind enough to have Atahualpa garroted instead.

70 Sports Illustrated named him “Sportsman of the Century” in 1999 : MUHAMMAD ALI

The boxer Muhammad Ali is recognized on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the greatest sports figures of the 1900s. In 1999, Ali was named “Sportsman of the Century” by “Sports Illustrated” and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.

80 Coverage in Africa? : SAFARI HAT

“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.

85 Disinfectant brand : LYSOL

The disinfectant called Lysol takes its name from the words “lysosome” and “solvent”. Lysosomes are structures found within cells that have the job of breaking up waste material and cellular debris.

89 Like most haikus : UNTITLED

A haiku is a very elegant form of Japanese verse. When writing a haiku in English we tend to impose the rule that the verse must contain 17 syllables. This restriction comes from the rule in Japanese that the verse must contain 17 sound units called “moras”, but moras and syllables aren’t the same thing. Sadly, the difference is not so clear to me. Here’s an example of a Haiku:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense
Refrigerator

92 Fighting Tigers’ sch. : LSU

The Tigers are the sports teams of Louisiana State University (LSU). They are officially known as the Fightin’ Tigers, and the school mascot is “Mike the Tiger”. The name comes from the days of the Civil War, when two Louisiana brigades earned the nickname the “Louisiana Tigers”. Given the French/Cajun history of Louisiana, the LSU fans use the cheer “Geaux Tigers” instead of “Go Tigers”.

97 Heavy winter wear : ANORAK

Anoraks really aren’t very popular over here in America. Everyone has one in Ireland! An anorak is a heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur (or fake fur), and is an invention of the Inuit people.

98 Margot who played the titular role in 16-Down : ROBBIE

“I, Tonya” is a 2017 comedy biopic about the life of figure skater Tonya Harding, with a focus on the 1994 attack on Harding’s rival Nancy Kerrigan. Harding is played by Australian actress Margot Robbie. I haven’t seen this one, but it’s on my list as I hear good things …

111 Museum sections, perhaps : ERAS

The term “museum” comes from the ancient Greek word “mouseion” that denoted a temple dedicated to the “Muses”. The Muses were the patrons of the arts in Greek mythology.

117 JFK alternative : LGA

The three big airports serving New York City (NYC) are John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).

119 Amts. “gained” or “lost” : YDS

That would be football.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 … and the rest: Abbr. : ETC
4 Small bit : SPECK
9 Chilled : ICED
13 Feng ___ : SHUI
17 Takes off : GOES
19 Word whose rise in popularity coincided with the spread of the telephone : HELLO
20 It’s shorter on land than at sea : MILE
21 Bit of change : CENT
22 Traditional Hanukkah gift for kids : GELT
23 Computing machine displayed in part at the Smithsonian : ENIAC
24 Beachgoer’s item : PAIL
25 Instrument heard in “Eleanor Rigby” : CELLO
26 Bits of regalia : TIARAS
28 “Git!” : SHOO!
30 Get hammered : TIE ONE ON
32 Providers of books to remote locations : MOBILE LIBRARIES
34 Unlawful activity by a minor : JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
36 Land of the Po (not Poland) : ITALY
37 Special ___ : OPS
38 ___-cone : SNO
39 Home of the world’s smallest country: Abbr. : EUR
40 Alias letters : AKA
41 Demurring words : NOT I
42 Member of the genus Helix : SNAIL
44 Marcel Duchamp, e.g. : DADAIST
47 Genre for the Spice Girls or Backstreet Boys : TEEN POP
49 Passion : ZEAL
51 Bug experts, informally : IT PEOPLE
55 Breathtaking sight in the ocean? : GILL
56 Back : ENDORSE
58 This and others : CLUES
59 Downed : ATE
62 GPS’s guesses : ETAS
64 Montezuma, for one : AZTEC
65 Assign new functions to, as keyboard keys : REMAP
66 Some natural remedies : MEDICINAL PLANTS
69 Cabinet position once held by Herbert Hoover : COMMERCE SECRETARY
72 Give one’s take : OPINE
73 Basic knowledge, with “the” : ROPES
77 Went after, in a way : SUED
78 ___ admin : SYS
79 Classic brand of candy wafers : NECCO
80 Magical teen of Archie Comics : SABRINA
82 Give kudos to : HAIL
84 Pop a wheelie? : GET A FLAT
86 “I’ve got that covered” : ON IT
87 Paid to play : ANTED UP
91 Work requiring some intelligence? : SPY FILM
93 ___ Bahama (clothing label) : TOMMY
95 DNA carrier : GENE
96 Word after “so” or “go” : … FAR
99 Middle of many similes : AS A
100 1%-er in D.C.?: Abbr. : SEN
102 ’60s war zone : NAM
103 Not reflective : MATTE
104 Untimely time : INOPPORTUNE MOMENT
107 Great depth : ELABORATE DETAIL
109 Myth propagated to promote social harmony, in Plato’s “Republic” : NOBLE LIE
110 Faux cough : AHEM
112 “Aw, hell!” : DAMMIT!
113 Shady outdoor area : ARBOR
114 Collection of stock : HERD
116 4×100, e.g. : RELAY
118 Sole : ONLY
120 Put down : LAID
121 Opposite of une adversaire : AMIE
122 Selfie taker’s concern : ANGLE
123 Liberal arts college in Portland, Ore. : REED
124 Just makes, with “out” : EKES …
125 Recipe amts. : TSPS
126 Serious-minded : STAID
127 Cavity filler’s deg. : DDS

Down

1 Mayonnaise ingredient : EGG
2 Directly opposed : TOE-TO-TOE
3 Like a virgin : CELIBATE
4 Cut : SHEAR
5 Good thing to have after work : PENSION PLAN
6 QB Manning : ELI
7 Number of concern to a teacher : CLASS SIZE
8 Former New York City mayor with the autobiography “Mayor” : KOCH
9 Tow truck’s destination : IMPOUND LOT
10 Org. in “Argo” : CIA
11 Jet set : ELITE
12 Precisely describe : DELINEATE
13 It’s made up of lines : SCENE
14 State capital in Lewis and Clark County : HELENA
15 Crack : UNLOCK
16 2017 hit movie about an Olympic skater : I, TONYA
18 Songbird with dark, iridescent plumage : STARLING
25 What A.P. exams grant incoming freshmen : COURSE CREDIT
27 Unit of hope : RAY
29 IHOP beverages : OJS
31 Supply : EQUIP
32 Make, as money : MINT
33 Water safety org. : EPA
35 U.S. broadcasting service : VOA
42 Conductor Georg : SOLTI
43 Long river of Siberia : LENA
45 Places for hustlers? : DISCOS
46 “Rent me” sign : TO LET
48 What marriage merely is, to some : PIECE OF PAPER
50 Cutting tool : ADZ
52 Catamounts, by another name : PUMAS
53 1960s counterculture figure : LEARY
54 Play awards : ESPYS
57 Remote control button : REC
59 A part of : AMONG
60 Plains structure : TEPEE
61 Order from above : EDICT
63 Low-hanging clouds : STRATI
67 Atahualpa’s subjects : INCAS
68 Bawl : SOB
70 Sports Illustrated named him “Sportsman of the Century” in 1999 : MUHAMMAD ALI
71 Villain : MEANY
74 Places for strollers : PROMENADES
75 German article : EIN
76 Something a crab might be found in : SNIT
80 Coverage in Africa? : SAFARI HAT
81 Penance : ATONEMENT
83 Shin guards of old : LEG ARMOR
85 Disinfectant brand : LYSOL
88 Held up : DETAINED
89 Like most haikus : UNTITLED
90 Source of zest : PEEL
92 Fighting Tigers’ sch. : LSU
94 Evil: Fr. : MAL
96 Pilot’s opposite : FINALE
97 Heavy winter wear : ANORAK
98 Margot who played the titular role in 16-Down : ROBBIE
101 Utmost degree : NTH
103 Stage ___ : MOM
105 Moves like an elephant : PLODS
106 Bustles (with) : TEEMS
108 Howled like a wolf : BAYED
111 Museum sections, perhaps : ERAS
115 Criticize in no uncertain terms : RIP
117 JFK alternative : LGA
119 Amts. “gained” or “lost” : YDS

15 thoughts on “0531-20 NY Times Crossword 31 May 20, Sunday”

  1. 46:13 after, once again, failing to get the happy music, searching for the error, finding it, and fixing it. It turned out that I had put in “SPY FIRM” (which made some sense to me) instead of “SPY FILM”, giving me “RSU” for the “Fighting Tigers” (of which I know nothing). C’est la vie … 😜.

    Cool gimmick in the theme answers … 😜.

      1. Uh, no (if I understand what you’re trying to say). My error gave me an “R” instead of an “L” in the square numbered 92. It did not affect the reading of “INOPPORTUNE MOMENT”.

  2. 42:22. Got the theme early enough with JUVENILE DELINQUENCY. After that, I went after the theme answers proactively, and I think that helped.

    GELT got me for the second day in a row. At least it was different cluing from yesterday, and I eventually figured it out.

    Nice challenge overall.

    Best –

  3. Well, I was pretty slow today but I finally got it all with no errors. But check out my time! How often would that happen? 1:11:11. Cute gimmick with the “what goes up must come down.”

  4. 1:42:37 Alaska Steve you were a rocket by comparison! Just couldn’t find my way through this one, took me over an hour to figure out the theme… mistakes that I was able to correct galore, ie “Sahara hat” instead of “safari hat”…I could go on, but you get the picture…. I need a Monday….

  5. 1:43:54 with one very dumb error..a typical Jeff Chen and partner (as always) puzzle…I’m just not sharp enough to enjoy Mr. Chen’s puzzles.
    Stay safe

  6. 35:57, no errors, many erasures. 25A BUGLE before CELLO (back of mind was thinking of the piccolo trumpet from Penny Lane); 80A TABITHA before SABRINA; 32D EARN before MINT.

    Impressive construction.

  7. 53:05 Got the theme about 25 minutes in. Definitely helped.
    Agree with @BruceB that it’s an impressive construction. Originally had Earn for make money (32D). Have to log MINT somewhere in the cobwebs of my brain.

  8. I’m happy, if not jealous, for everyone above who seemed to figure out “What Goes up Must Come Down”. Enjoyed the crossword, as usual, but help me with the meaning of the circled letters please? Perplexed in Canada.

    1. I’m not sure I can improve much on Bill’s description of this, but I’ll give it a shot: The clue for 32 across is “Providers of books to remote locations” and the answer is “MOBILE LIBRARIES”. Note that, in “MO BILELIB RARIES”, we see the palindrome “BILELIB”. So, if we put “MOBRAIRIES” in the normal position for the answer and stack the “I”, the “L”, and the “E” above the “B”, we can read out the full answer by starting with the “M”, moving right to the “O”, right to the “B”, up to the “I”, up to the “L”, up to the “E”, back down to the “L”, down to the “I”, down to the “B”, right to the “R”, and to the right for all the rest. All the letters of the vertical stack are circled to help the solver see what’s going on. The same gimmick is used for all six of the theme answers. Aaannnddd … I’m not at all sure that my description will be of any help, but there it is … 😜.

      A bit mystifying if you’ve not encountered this kind of shenanigans before … 😜.

      Where are you in Canada? My dad grew up in Alberta, near a little town called Therien. He moved back to the US in 1925. I still have relatives in Canada, but have lost contact with all of them.

  9. 5 errors. Had DAMNIT for 112A and that caused several misjudgments on my part… Also had GIRL for 55A… Guess my mind was in the gutter and not the ocean!!! Took me at least hour and a half..

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