0501-21 NY Times Crossword 1 May 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Ryan McCarty
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 19m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 One whose business is home-based? : UMP

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

14 Spot for an umbrella : BEACH

Our term “umbrella” ultimately derives from the Latin “umbra” meaning “shade, shadow”.

18 Fluffy four-footed friend : ANGORA CAT

The Turkish Angora is a breed of domestic cat that is often called simply an Angora or Ankara cat. The Angora is particularly prized for its white coat, although the breed can come in a variety of colors.

19 Fire ___ : ANT

Fire ants are stinging ants, and many species are known as red ants. Most stinging ants bite their prey and then spray acid on the wound. The fire ant, however, bites to hold on and then injects an alkaloid venom from its abdomen, creating a burning sensation in humans who have been nipped.

22 Popular camp assemblies : S’MORES

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!

28 They’re worn on the road : BALD TIRES

A retread tire is one that has been recycled, possibly more than once. The tread of the old tire is buffed away, and new rubber tread is applied to the “bare” tire using some special process that seems to work really well (except for truck tires, in my humble opinion!). Retreads are a lot cheaper, and obviously are relatively friendly to the environment.

31 Cozy chairs for pairs : LOVE SEATS

A love seat is a sofa made for two people. Lovely …

34 Side dish in Cajun cuisine : DIRTY RICE

“Dirty rice” is a white rice made to look “dirty” by cooking it with chicken liver, green peppers, celery and onion, with cayenne and black pepper. Dirty rice is a traditional Cajun dish.

Cajun cuisine is named for the French-speaking Acadian people who were deported from Acadia in Canada to Louisiana in the 18th century.

36 Vaccine target : ARM

A vaccine used to be a modified virus administered to an individual to stimulate the immune system into developing immunity (until RNA vaccines were introduced to combat COVID-19). British physician Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine, injecting people with the cowpox virus in order to prevent smallpox. The term “vaccination” comes from the Latin “vaccinus” meaning “from cows”, with “vacca” translating as “cow”.

39 Acute bronchitis, familiarly : CHEST COLD

Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways leading to the lungs, the bronchi. It is a condition that results in coughing, and is usually caused by a viral infection.

43 Motif in much Christian art : ADORATION

A motif is a recurring element in an artistic work or design.

45 Squirt-squirt-squirt-squirt : SPRITZ

A spritz is a squirt, a brief spray of liquid. The term “spritz” ultimately comes from German, possibly via Yiddish, in which language “spritzen” means “to squirt, spout”. A spritzer is a glass of wine with a spritz of carbonated water, and is a drink we’ve been enjoying since the early sixties.

49 W.W. I headgear : TIN HAT

The helmet worn by British and American soldiers for much of WWI was known colloquially as a “tin hat”, and more formally as a “Brodie helmet”. Inventor John Leopold Brodie patented the design in 1915 in London. The helmet was pressed from a single sheet of steel, lined with leather and included a leather chin strap.

53 Print source : FINGERTIP

In the world of criminology, there are three classes of fingerprints:

  • Patent prints are those which are obvious, easily spotted by the naked eye.
  • Impressed prints are those made when the fingertips apply pressure to a soft material or surface, such as the skin.
  • Latent prints are those that are invisible to the naked eye, but which can be detected using special equipment and materials.

57 Former home of the San Antonio Spurs : ALAMODOME

The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas opened for business in 1993, and was home to the San Antonio Spurs basketball team from 1993 to 2002. Today, the facility hosts many sporting events including football and ice hockey games. It is also used as a convention center.

The Spurs are the professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. The team was founded as the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1967.

Down

1 In-depth subject for a war historian? : U-BOAT

The term “U-boat” comes from the German word “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). U-boats were primarily used in WWII to enforce a blockade against enemy commercial shipping, with a main objective being to cut off the supplies being transported to Britain from the British colonies and the US. The epic fight for control of the supply routes became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.

2 Tip with ink : PEN NIB

“Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

3 Milk-producing : LACTEAL

The prefix “lacto-” is used in words from the fields of chemistry and biochemistry like “lactose”, “lactic” and “lactase”. The term comes from the Latin “lac” meaning “milk”.

4 Frequent setting on “Chicago Med” : ICU

“Chicago Med” is a medical drama TV show that started airing in 2015. It is part of what’s known as the “Chicago” franchise, which also includes “Chicago Fire”, “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Justice”.

5 Historic London venue : THE OLD VIC

The Old Vic is a very famous theater (or should I say “theatre”?) in London. It was previously known as the Royal Coburg Theatre and then the Royal Victorian Theatre (giving it the current name “The Old Vic”). The theater owes a lot of its fame and standing to the fact that it housed the National Theater of Great Britain after it was founded in 1963 by Sir Laurence Olivier. Today the National Theater has new, modern premises, but the Old Vic Theatre Company still garners a lot of attention.

7 Chaps : MEN

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

8 Cello quartet : PEGS

A cello has four tuning pegs in a pegbox, one for each string.

The word “cello” (plural “celli” or “cellos”) is an abbreviation for “violoncello”, an Italian word for “little violone”, referring to a group of stringed instruments that were popular up to the end of the 17th century. The name violoncello persisted for the instrument that we know today, although the abbreviation “‘cello” was often used. Nowadays, we just drop the apostrophe.

9 Comedian Marc : MARON

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.

10 Peak overlooking Armenia’s capital : ARARAT

Mount Ararat is in Turkey. It is a snow-capped, dormant volcano with two peaks. The higher of the two, Greater Ararat, is the tallest peak in the country. Ararat takes its name from a legendary Armenian hero called Ara the Beautiful (or “Ara the Handsome”). According to the Book of Genesis, Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat as the Great Flood subsided.

Yerevan is the capital of Armenia, and the nation’s largest city. Yerevan was founded in 782 BC with the building of the fortress of Erebuni. That makes it one of oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world. Yerevan’s skyline is dominated by the twin peaks of Mount Ararat.

11 Backgammon accessory : DICE CUP

In the marvelous game of backgammon, each player is trying to remove all his or her men before the opponent. If such a victory can be achieved without the opponent removing even one man, then the player wins a “gammon” and gets double points.

12 2019 sci-fi film starring Brad Pitt : AD ASTRA

Brad Pitt’s first major role was the cowboy hitchhiker in the 1991’s “Thelma and Louise”. Pitt’s life offscreen garners as much attention as his work onscreen, it seems. The tabloids revel in the series of high-profile relationships in which he has been involved. He was engaged to Gwyneth Paltrow for a while, married to Jennifer Aniston and then to Angelina Jolie.

21 Where many a drive ends, unfortunately : WATER HAZARD

That would be golf.

32 Deep-fried British treat wrapped with sausage and bread crumbs : SCOTCH EGG

I used to love Scotch eggs when I was a student, great food with a pint or two of beer. A Scotch egg is made from a hard-boiled egg that is wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried. We hadn’t heard of cholesterol in those days …

35 Essayist who wrote “Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever lays one down without a feeling of disappointment” : ELIA

The “Essays of Elia” began appearing in “London Magazine” in 1820, and were immediate hits with the public. The author was Charles Lamb, and “Elia” was actually a clerk with whom Lamb worked. The most famous of the essays in the collection are probably “Dream-Children” and “Old China”.

37 Skink or gecko : REPTILE

Skinks are lizards with relatively small legs and without a pronounced neck. Most skink species have long tails that they can shed if it is grabbed by a predator. The tail can then be regenerated.

The word “gecko” comes from an Indonesian/Javanese word “tokek”, which is imitative of the reptile’s chirping sound. In making such a sound, geckos are unique in the world of lizards. More interesting to me than a gecko’s chirping is its ability to cling to walls and other vertical surfaces. Their feet are specially adapted with “toes” that make extremely intimate, close contact to a surface. The toes have millions of hairs called setae that enable the clinging. It isn’t suction that supports them, but rather van der Waals forces (weak “gravitational” attractions). Fascinating stuff …

42 Checkers cry : KING ME!

In the game of checkers, when a “man” reaches the other side of the board, it is promoted to “king”. The king is designated by placing a second piece on top of the first.

44 Online companion animal : NEOPET

Neopets.com is a website where one can own a virtual pet. I wouldn’t bother if I were you …

46 2021 Chinese zodiac sign : THE OX

The Chinese Zodiac is a scheme that relates each year to the attributes of a particular animal in a 12-year cycle. So, the Chinese Zodiac has one sign for each of twelve years, whereas the Western Zodiac has one sign for each of the twelve months.

50 Classic moonroof alternative : T-TOP

A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

A sunroof is a panel in the roof of a car that can be pulled back to let in light and air. A moonroof is similar, but in a moonroof there is an option to slide back a fabric-covered panel to expose a glass panel that allows in light, but not air.

54 Online qualifier : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

56 ___ Hoover, first lady before Eleanor Roosevelt : LOU

Lou Henry met her future husband Herbert Hoover while studying at Stanford University. The couple traveled extensively in their lives, even before Herbert became US president. In fact, when Herbert proposed to Lou, he was living in Australia while Lou was in the US. He proposed by cable, and she accepted with a return telegraph. The day after their marriage in Monterey, California, the Hoovers left for Shanghai, where they lived for a couple of years while Herbert pursued his career in mining. While there, Lou became proficient in Chinese. As such, Lou Hoover was to become the only First Lady of the US to have spoken an Asian language.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Like faces around a campfire at night : UPLIT
6 One whose business is home-based? : UMP
9 Part of a diplomatic address, maybe : MADAM
14 Spot for an umbrella : BEACH
15 Pickup line? : NEED A RIDE?
17 Perfectly timed : ON CUE
18 Fluffy four-footed friend : ANGORA CAT
19 Fire ___ : ANT
20 Smart remarks? : OWS
22 Popular camp assemblies : S’MORES
23 Aid in preventing a soup stain, maybe : TIE CLASP
26 Passes : ENACTS
28 They’re worn on the road : BALD TIRES
30 Seljuk Empire citizen : TURK
31 Cozy chairs for pairs : LOVE SEATS
33 Word with base or combat : … PAY
34 Side dish in Cajun cuisine : DIRTY RICE
36 Vaccine target : ARM
39 Acute bronchitis, familiarly : CHEST COLD
41 Bill : BEAK
43 Motif in much Christian art : ADORATION
45 Squirt-squirt-squirt-squirt : SPRITZ
47 Screwballs : NUTCASES
49 W.W. I headgear : TIN HAT
51 “It’s just OK” : MEH
52 With 60-Across, East Asian cuisine style : HOT …
53 Print source : FINGERTIP
55 Go off with a hitch? : ELOPE
57 Former home of the San Antonio Spurs : ALAMODOME
58 “Ha, fell right into my trap!” : GOT ‘EM
59 Neuter : DESEX
60 See 52-Across : … POT
61 Sudden blasts : GUSTS

Down

1 In-depth subject for a war historian? : U-BOAT
2 Tip with ink : PEN NIB
3 Milk-producing : LACTEAL
4 Frequent setting on “Chicago Med” : ICU
5 Historic London venue : THE OLD VIC
6 ___ triple play, baseball feat rarer than a perfect game : UNASSISTED
7 Chaps : MEN
8 Cello quartet : PEGS
9 Comedian Marc : MARON
10 Peak overlooking Armenia’s capital : ARARAT
11 Backgammon accessory : DICE CUP
12 2019 sci-fi film starring Brad Pitt : AD ASTRA
13 Came across : MET
16 Break : DOMESTICATE
21 Where many a drive ends, unfortunately : WATER HAZARD
24 Hunk : CLOD
25 Pursues for food, say : PREYS ON
27 Hit high in the air : SKY
29 Old-timey hearing aid : EAR TRUMPET
32 Deep-fried British treat wrapped with sausage and bread crumbs : SCOTCH EGG
35 Essayist who wrote “Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever lays one down without a feeling of disappointment” : ELIA
36 Focus of middle management? : ABS
37 Skink or gecko : REPTILE
38 Places where things are all tied up? : MARINAS
40 Throw back some Jack, say : DO SHOTS
42 Checkers cry : KING ME!
44 Online companion animal : NEOPET
46 2021 Chinese zodiac sign : THE OX
48 Inhibits : STEMS
50 Classic moonroof alternative : T-TOP
53 44-Downs, once : FAD
54 Online qualifier : IMO
56 ___ Hoover, first lady before Eleanor Roosevelt : LOU

8 thoughts on “0501-21 NY Times Crossword 1 May 21, Saturday”

  1. 12:18, no errors. Mercifully easy after a three-day encounter with an ancient and very interesting puzzle that I acquired from eBay (of which more later … as the spirit moves me 😜).

    1. Nonny,

      Just looked at last Saturday’s blog again and in response to your question about META puzzle. The WA Post site has a mini puzzle every day (as does the NYT site) and I’ve been doing those. The Mon – Sat puzzle then has something that once you solve those a META puzzle will accompany the Sat. link, asking you to look thru the Mon – Sat and come up with another theme / answer. Hope that makes sense

  2. 46:09 Unlike @TomR and @Nonny I found this one very difficult, especially after Friday’s romp. Think I fell for every bit of misdirection there was. after 35 minutes I had the left half done and parts of that weren’t right – for TIRES I went from BIKE to BARE to BALD. But eventually things started clicking.

    For my online pet I started with Exxxxx (since almost everything online is either E or I something) then to NETPET, etc. My first pickup line was NEWINTOWN then NEEDALIFT, then NEEDARIDE. Think you get the idea that I was out of sync with the setter and was grasping at straws all over the place

  3. Ugh. 36:41 with several assists from Bill’s answer key. Most of my problems were in the right third of the grid. Not in the zone today.

  4. 24:35. A few sticky points but otherwise not bad for a Saturday. NW was the last area to fall.

    Isn’t the “Vaccine target” actually the disease itself? The arm is simply one way to get to the target. The arm would be the target of the needle of the syringe that contains a vaccine, perhaps. But the vaccine target is the malady itself. Just a thought. It had no bearing on the solve itself.

    Best –

  5. 30:03 “Your honor, the defense maintains that last Thursday’s puzzle and today’s puzzle were switched at birth”

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