0504-21 NY Times Crossword 4 May 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Nina Sloan
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) Sweet, Yet Insulting Names

Themed answers are the names of candy bars that are also insults:

  • 23A Candy with an insulting name #1 : GOOBERS
  • 29A Candy with an insulting name #2 : AIRHEADS
  • 33A Candy with an insulting name #3 : BUTTERFINGERS
  • 40A Candy with an insulting name #4 : SLO POKES
  • 48A Candy with an insulting name #5 : DUM DUMS

Bill’s time: 6m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Big event for high school seniors : PROM

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

16 “The Hunchback of ___ Dame” : NOTRE

The title character in Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” is Quasimodo, the hunch-backed bell-ringer . Quasimodo falls for the beautiful Roma girl Esmeralda, and eventually rescues her just before she is due to be hanged. He carries Esmeralda into Notre-Dame crying out “Sanctuary!” There is some recent evidence that a hunchbacked stone carver, working at Notre-Dame at the same time Hugo was alive, may have been the inspiration for Quasimodo the bell-ringer.

17 Bank takeback, for short : REPO

Repossession (repo)

20 “The Addams Family” cousin : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

21 Annual celebration, for short : B-DAY

Birthday (b-day)

22 Big name in vapes : JUUL

The Juul is a brand of e-cigarette on sale in the US. Cigarette supplier Altria (formerly Philip Morris) purchased a 35% share in manufacturer Juul Labs in 2018.

23 Candy with an insulting name #1 : GOOBERS

Goobers are a brand of chocolate-coated peanuts. Introduced in 1925, the name “goober” is American English slang for “peanut”.

28 “La Bohème,” for one : OPERA

“La bohème” by Giacomo Puccini is the second-most frequently performed opera in the US (after “Madama Butterfly”, also by Puccini). The lead female role in the piece is Mimì, a seamstress.

29 Candy with an insulting name #2 : AIRHEADS

AirHeads taffy candy was introduced to the market in 1985. They are made in Erlanger, Kentucky.

33 Candy with an insulting name #3 : BUTTERFINGERS

The Butterfinger candy bar was introduced in 1923, with the name of the confection being chosen in a public contest. One of the early marketing campaigns for the product involved dropping Butterfinger bars from airplanes over major cities in the US. Drop … butterfingers … maybe that was the angle?

39 Little bird of mine? : CANARY

What we now know as the domestic canary was first brought to Europe from Macaronesia, off the coast of Africa, by Spanish sailors in the 1600s. Macaronesia is a collection of four archipelagos that includes the Canary Islands. The name of the islands comes from the Latin “Insula Canaria” meaning “island of dogs”, a reference to the many large dogs found locally. So, the canary bird is named for the Canary Islands, which in turn are named for dogs.

40 Candy with an insulting name #4 : SLO POKES

Slo Pokes are a brand of candy described as “caramel on a stick”, made by the Gilliam Candy Company.

44 1990s fitness fad : TAE BO

Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, even though it perhaps sounds like one. The discipline was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.

48 Candy with an insulting name #5 : DUM DUMS

Dum Dums are a brand of lollipops that were introduced in 1924 by the Akron Candy Company in Bellevue, Ohio.

50 Crafty online marketplace : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

51 ___ d’oeuvres : HORS

An hors d’oeuvre is a first course in a meal. “Hors d’oeuvre” translates from French as “apart from the work”, which really means “not the main course”.

53 Lamp dweller : GENIE

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

55 Peak viewable from Tokyo on a clear day : FUJI

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest and most famous mountain. Located just west of Tokyo, Mount Fuji is an active volcano, although its last eruption took place in 1707/1708.

56 Fitzgerald of jazz : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

57 Philly ivy : UPENN

The University of Pennsylvania (also “Penn” and “UPenn”) was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. Penn was the first school in the country to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses. Penn’s sports teams are known as the Quakers, and sometimes the Red & Blue.

60 One with a golden touch : MIDAS

King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold i.e. the Midas touch. That power became a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink, and even his children.

Down

1 Bit of basil : SPRIG

Traditionally, basil is considered “the king of herbs”. In fact, the herb’s name comes from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king”.

8 ___ PreCheck : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) operates its precheck program known as “TSA Pre✓” (or “TSA PreCheck”). Members of the program receive expedited screening at airports at most airports. In order to become a member, a traveler must apply online, appear in person at a designated office for a background check and fingerprinting, and pay a fee for a 5-year membership.

12 Terrier’s sound : ARF!

Most terrier breeds of dog originated in Britain and Ireland. Terriers were developed as working dogs, with the job of controlling populations of rats, rabbits and foxes by rooting them out above and below the ground. The name “terrier” comes via Middle French from the Latin “terra” meaning “earth”, a reflection of the breed’s habit of burrowing into the earth looking for its prey.

21 Bit of Special Forces headwear : BERET

The US Army Special Forces are known as the Green Berets because they wear … green berets. The Green Beret is also worn by the Royal Marines of the British Army. When US Army Rangers and OSS operatives were trained by the Royal Marines in Scotland during WWII, graduates of the gruelling training program were awarded green berets by their British instructors. The US soldiers, although proud of their new headgear, were not allowed to wear it as part of their uniform. They had to wait until 1961, when President Kennedy authorized the green beret for exclusive use by US Special Forces.

22 Jam container : JAR

Jelly is made using strained juice from crushed fruit. Jam is similar, but the whole crushed fruit is used, and often includes seeds.

24 Ernie’s partner on TV : BERT

For many years, I believed that the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie were named after two roles played in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In the movie, the policeman’s name is Bert and his taxi-driving buddy is named Ernie. However, the “Sesame Street” folks have stated that the use of the same names is just a coincidence. Aww, I don’t wanna believe that’s a coincidence …

27 The Spartans of the Big Ten, in brief : MSU

Michigan State University’s sports teams used to be called the Aggies, as the school was founded as the State Agricultural College of Michigan. The team name was changed to the Spartans in 1925, reflecting the school’s shift in focus beyond agriculture-centered education. The school mascot Sparty hit the scene in 1989.

29 Italian luxury cars, familiarly : ALFAS

The “Alfa” in “Alfa Romeo” is actually an acronym, one standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.

31 Traveled in a parabola : ARCED

A parabola is roughly a u-shape curve. Parabolic mirrors have cross-sections that are parabolic curves. Such mirrors have the characteristic that light emanating from the parabolas focal point leaves the mirror as a parallel beam, a collimated beam.

36 1,000 of them equal a kilo : GRAMS

Today, the gram is defined as one thousandth of a kilogram, with the kilogram being equal to the mass of a physical sample preserved by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (well, up until 2019, when it became more hi-tech than I can explain!). Prior to 1960, the gram was defined as the weight of a cubic centimeter of pure water (at the temperature of melting ice).

38 … phi, chi, ___, omega : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

41 Green layer on the Statue of Liberty : 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.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the United States. It was designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and constructed in France by civil engineer Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame). The statue was disassembled, shipped to the US, and reassembled on its pedestal on Bedloe’s Island (now “Liberty Island). A ceremony of dedication was held in 1886. If you take a boat ride down the Seine in Paris you will probably see a one-third replica of Lady Liberty standing on a small island in the river, looking quite magnificent. That copy was given to the people of Paris by the city’s American community in 1889.

42 Mary-Kate and Ashley : OLSENS

I know very little about the Olsen twins, but I am told that many folks believe Mary-Kate and Ashley to be identical twins. They look very much alike, but are in fact fraternal twins. The sisters were cast as Michelle Tanner on the eighties sitcom “Full House”, taking turns playing the role.

46 Brunch dish : OMELET

Our word “brunch” is a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch”. The term was coined as student slang in Oxford, England in the late 1890s. However, “brunch” described a combined meal closer to the breakfast hour, and the term “blunch” was used for a meal closer to lunchtime.

48 Karate schools : DOJOS

The Japanese word “dojo” translates literally as “place of the way”. Originally the term applied to training halls that were found in or beside temples. The teaching in a dojo was not limited to the martial arts, but in the Western world we use the dojo as the name for a training facility for judo, karate and the like.

“Karate” is a Japanese word meaning “empty hand”, and the related word “karaoke” translates as “empty orchestra”.

51 Leviathan : HUGE

Something described as leviathan is huge, of immense size. The word was used for a sea monster mentioned in the Old Testament. As a result, “leviathan” has come to be associated with any large sea monster or creature.

53 Wrigley’s product : GUM

The Wrigley Company is the largest manufacturer of chewing gum in the world. Wrigley’s was founded in 1891 in Chicago by William Wrigley, Jr. to sell scouring soap. Wrigley switched to baking powder, and then began to offer two packs of gum as an incentive to buy a can of baking powder. The gum turned out to be more popular than the baking powder.

54 Prefix with center : EPI-

The epicenter is the point on the surface of the Earth that is directly above the focus of an earthquake.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Likewise” : SAME
5 Enthralled : RAPT
9 One in a stack for an English teacher to grade : ESSAY
14 Big event for high school seniors : PROM
15 Mine and yours : OURS
16 “The Hunchback of ___ Dame” : NOTRE
17 Bank takeback, for short : REPO
18 Length x width, for a rectangle : AREA
19 “___ Frozen Adventure” (2017 Disney film) : OLAF’S
20 “The Addams Family” cousin : ITT
21 Annual celebration, for short : B-DAY
22 Big name in vapes : JUUL
23 Candy with an insulting name #1 : GOOBERS
25 Wrestling duo : TAG TEAM
28 “La Bohème,” for one : OPERA
29 Candy with an insulting name #2 : AIRHEADS
30 Entertain with a story : REGALE
32 Debtor’s letters : IOU
33 Candy with an insulting name #3 : BUTTERFINGERS
38 Prefix with sexual : PAN-
39 Little bird of mine? : CANARY
40 Candy with an insulting name #4 : SLO POKES
44 1990s fitness fad : TAE BO
47 Stuck on a stake : IMPALED
48 Candy with an insulting name #5 : DUM DUMS
50 Crafty online marketplace : ETSY
51 ___ d’oeuvres : HORS
52 Crew neck or V-neck : TEE
53 Lamp dweller : GENIE
55 Peak viewable from Tokyo on a clear day : FUJI
56 Fitzgerald of jazz : ELLA
57 Philly ivy : UPENN
58 What coaches on star-laden teams must handle : EGOS
59 Swarm (with) : TEEM
60 One with a golden touch : MIDAS
61 Sticky spot? : NEST
62 Music and theater : ARTS

Down

1 Bit of basil : SPRIG
2 “Am not!” comeback : ARE TOO!
3 Shaggy hairdo : MOPTOP
4 “Punk rock’s moody younger sibling,” per Rolling Stone : EMO
5 Fit on a hard drive? : ROAD RAGE
6 Vibes : AURAS
7 Seals, to great white sharks : PREY
8 ___ PreCheck : TSA
9 Exasperated cry : ENOUGH!
10 Something that disappears in a chemistry experiment : SOLUTE
11 Stuffy atmosphere : STALE AIR
12 Terrier’s sound : ARF!
13 Affirmative : YES
21 Bit of Special Forces headwear : BERET
22 Jam container : JAR
24 Ernie’s partner on TV : BERT
25 Connection : TIE-IN
26 Hubbubs : ADOS
27 The Spartans of the Big Ten, in brief : MSU
29 Italian luxury cars, familiarly : ALFAS
31 Traveled in a parabola : ARCED
33 Lip lotion : BALM
34 Still in its original packaging : UNOPENED
35 Person who appreciates a walk in the woods, say : NATURIST
36 1,000 of them equal a kilo : GRAMS
37 Watched : EYED
38 … phi, chi, ___, omega : PSI
41 Green layer on the Statue of Liberty : PATINA
42 Mary-Kate and Ashley : OLSENS
43 Symbol of ownership : KEY
45 Profession of the protagonist Stevens in Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day” : BUTLER
46 Brunch dish : OMELET
48 Karate schools : DOJOS
49 Bursting at the ___ : SEAMS
51 Leviathan : HUGE
53 Wrigley’s product : GUM
54 Prefix with center : EPI-
55 Bog : FEN
56 Pilot’s announcement, for short : ETA

10 thoughts on “0504-21 NY Times Crossword 4 May 21, Tuesday”

  1. 7:33, no errors. Interesting theme entries. The only one that made me think of candy was “BUTTERFINGERS”. I do have a bit of a sweet tooth, but I guess I tend not to remember the names on those pesky wrappers that I’m trying to rip off … 😳.

  2. 5:49 Smooth sail. I was going to say that I guess I really know my candy, considering the speedy solve, but I am familiar with just 3 of the 5 listed.

  3. 8:53. And…now I’m hungry for something sweet. On a side note, BUTTERFINGERS pair very nicely with a good single malt Scotch. Don’t believe me?? Try it.🥃

  4. 7:51. I only knew 2 of the theme candies, but I loved BUTTERFINGERS as a kid. I haven’t had one in a few decades. Maybe I’ll run up to a convenience store and grab one. They’re best when eaten frozen, if I remember correctly.

    Didn’t know leviathan could also be an adjective. I always thought of it as just a noun. So that was a leviathan gap in my knowledge of the word?

    Without getting too arcane, the gram is now linked to a unit of energy rather than a physical “thing”. There’s a lot that went into this, but the big breakthrough was finding an exact value of Planck’s constant. All of this is measured in something called a Kibble balance which someone once described as looking like a time machine that was parked in a brewery….

    Interestingly and similarly, the meter is now described as the distance a beam of light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. It’s interesting because the speed of light is based on meters/second and the meter is now based on the speed of light…for which you need to know what a meter is. Chicken and egg stuff. Ultimately, the speed of light is what is immutable so they start with that.

    I digress…and am procrastinating

    Best –

    1. Not sure if my symbols will come thru. In the speed of light equation you have “C = Lambda * Nu”. I learned this in Physics 101.

      C = λ ν

      So walking around campus 50 years ago, when someone greeted me / us and asked “What’s New”, we of course replied C divided by lambda – and got lots of scrunched up, weird looks in return.

      ν = C / λ

      Once I got to quantum physics – Physics 104, we used a different equation for Nu that involved Energy E. E = h * nu (h being Planck’s constant, if I recall). This allowed us to vary our response to “What’s New”. And then I moved on to Fluid Mechanics and another definition of “nu”. Ah – us geeky engineers of yesteryear.

  5. Under 20 min. With no errors…I knew that my ability to recite the Greek alphabet in order would come in handy someday (not)😀
    Stay safe😀

  6. 7:12, no errors. Alternate theme for today could be “Name 5 candies BruceB didn’t like as a kid”. Although I had a sweet tooth, I would easily prefer Raisinets over Goobers; Milky Ways over Butterfingers; etc.

  7. According to the Sierra club, a bog and a fen are TOTALLY different things. I suppose Nina just needed the fit and chose to ignore accuracy…a common trait among many constructors it seems.

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