0505-21 NY Times Crossword 5 May 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Bryce Hwang, Rahul Sridhar and Akshay Ravikumar
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Numbers

Themed answers are classes of NUMBERS. The two numbers in the grid within each of those themed answers are examples of that class. Very, very clever …

  • 40A This puzzle’s theme : NUMBERS
  • 2D Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : PRIME (2 & 23 are prime numbers)
  • 9D Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : SQUARE (9 & 25 are squares)
  • 34D Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : FIBONACCI (34 & 55 are Fibonacci numbers)
  • 39D Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : ODD (39 & 43 are odd numbers)
  • 44D Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : EVEN (44 & 48 are even numbers)

Bill’s time: 9m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “All Things Considered” airer : NPR

“All Things Considered” is the flagship news broadcast by NPR that airs for two hours every evening.

4 Sloth, e.g. : SIN

“Sloth”, meaning “indolence, sluggishness”, comes from the Middle English word “slowe”, the same root for our contemporary word “slow”. The animal, the sloth, is so named as it exhibits slow-moving behavior.

13 Singer Grande, to fans : ARI

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four season on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

22 Word accompanying a lightning bolt : ZAP

The word “thunder” precedes the word “lightning” in the phrase “thunder and lightning”. However, thunder comes after lighting in reality, at least to the observer. The observer sees the flash of lightning and then seconds later hears the crash of thunder. That’s because light travels faster than sound.

28 King in the “Jungle Book” films : LOUIE

“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling was originally published in 1894, and is a collection of adventure stories or fables featuring the animals of the jungle and a young boy named Mowgli. Baloo is a sloth bear that teaches the cubs of a wolf pack the Law of the Jungle. Baloo’s most challenging pupil however is no lupine, but rather the man-cub Mowgli.

32 “The Good ___” : WIFE

“The Good Wife” is a legal drama show on CBS starring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, a litigator who returns to practicing law after spending 13 years as a stay-at-home mom. I binge-watched the show some time back and found it to be well-written, with a great cast and great acting …

35 Soap opera, e.g. : SERIAL

The original soap operas were radio dramas back in the fifties. Given the structure of society back then, the daytime broadcasts were aimed at women working in the home as housewives. For some reason the sponsors of those radio shows, and the television shows that followed, were soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. And that’s how the “soap” opera got its name …

37 Where It. is found : EUR

The continent of Europe was named for Europa, a Phoenician princess of Greek mythology.

42 Word with science or chocolate : LAB

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s. The name “Labrador Retriever” is simply a reference to the breed’s origin and behavior. Labs originally “retrieved” from the “Labrador Sea”.

43 Like Antarctica among all the continents : DRYEST

On average, Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest of all seven continents. Although Antarctica is very cold, it is essentially a desert, receiving only 8 inches of precipitation annually at the coasts and even less inland.

45 Historic enemy of the Iroquois : ERIE

The Erie people lived on lands south of Lake Erie, in parts of the modern-day US states of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Erie were sometimes referred to as the Cat Nation, a reference to the mountain lions that were ever-present in the area that they lived. The name “Erie” is a shortened form of “Erielhonan” meaning “long tail”, possibly a further reference to the mountain lion or cat, which was possibly used as a totem. The Erie people gave their name to the Great Lake.

48 YouTube statistics : VIEWS

YouTube is a video-sharing website that was launched in 2005 by three ex-PayPal employees. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Yep, $1.65 billion, less than two years after it was founded …

60 “Turandot” composer : PUCCINI

Giacomo Puccini was an Italian composer who was famous for his operas that are so often performed all over the world. Included in the list of his works are “La bohème”, “Tosca”, “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot”. Puccini died in Brussels, Belgium in 1924 having suffered from throat cancer. An audience attending a performance of “La bohème” in Rome heard of the composer’s death in the middle of the performance. At the news, the opera was stopped, and the orchestra instead played Chopin’s “Funeral March”.

Puccini never actually finished his celebrated opera “Turandot”. When he died, it was completed by composer and pianist Franco Alfano, making “Turandot” the work with which Alfano is most associated.

63 Shakespeare character who says “I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee” : OTHELLO

“I kissed thee ere I killed thee, no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.” is a line from Shakespeare’s “Othello”. The words are spoken by Othello as he kisses his wife Desdemona, whom he has just strangled, and then takes his own life in repentance.

65 They may come with bows and whistles : ENCORES

“Encore” is French for “again, one more time”, and is a shout that an audience member will make here in North America to request perhaps another song. But, the term is not used this way in France. Rather, the audience will shout “Bis!”, which is the Italian for “twice!”

68 Like the word “truthiness,” by Stephen Colbert : COINED

Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who hosted his own show on Comedy Central, “The Colbert Report”. Colbert’s first love was theater, and so he studied to become an actor. He then moved into comedy, and ended up on the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He left “The Daily Show” in 2005 to set up his own spin-off, “The Colbert Report”. In his own inimitable way, Colbert likes to use a “French” pronunciation for the name of his show, so “The Colbert Report” comes out as “The Col-bear Rep-oar”. Colbert took over the “Late Show” when David Letterman retired.

69 Besmirch : TAR

“Besmirch” is a derivative of “smirch”, with both words meaning to “make dirty”. In particular, to besmirch is to sully someone’s reputation.

70 Follower of red, pink or black : … EYE

There can be red dots in eyes in a flash photograph. This occurs when the pupil of the eye is wide open, and the flash goes off too quickly for the pupil to close down. As a result, light passes through the pupil, and reflects off the back of the eyeball. The reflected light is red due to the ample supply of blood at the back of the eyeball.

The conjunctivae are membranes on the outer surface of the eye and in the inner surface of the eyelid. If the conjunctivae get inflamed, due to an infection or perhaps an allergy, then this condition is called conjunctivitis, or more commonly “pinkeye”.

Down

1 Blue-skinned race in “Avatar” : NA’VI

In James Cameron’s epic “Avatar”, the “blue people” are the Na’vi, the indigenous species that lives on the lush moon called Pandora. The main Na’vi character featured in the film is the female Neytiri. According to Cameron, Neytiri was inspired by the character played by Raquel Welch in the movie “Fantastic Voyage” and the comic book character Vampirella.

2 Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : PRIME

A prime number is a number greater than 1 that can only be divided evenly by 1 and itself. There are still some unanswered questions involving prime numbers, perhaps most notably Goldbach’s Conjecture. This conjecture dates back to the 1740s and is assumed to be true, but has never been proven. It states that every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers.

5 Accelerator bit : ION

In a particle accelerator, the particles that are accelerated have to have a charge, and so are ions. The charged ions are subjected to high magnetic fields that propel them around a circular “racetrack”, before being smashed into something, just to see what happens!

7 Bird of myth : ROC

The mythical roc is a huge bird of prey, one reputedly able to carry off and eat elephants. The roc was said to come from the Indian subcontinent. The supposed existence of the roc was promulgated by Marco Polo in the accounts that he published about his travels through Asia.

8 DreamWorks’s first animated film : ANTZ

“Antz” was the first feature movie released by Dreamworks SKG, the studio founded by Steven Spielberg and two partners in 1994. “Antz” came out in 1998, and has a stellar cast that includes Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman and many, many other big names. The cartoon is quite unique in that the facial features of the voice actors are reflected in the animated characters.

12 “Dr.” who co-founded Death Row Records : DRE

“Dr. Dre” is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

15 Wyoming town named for a frontiersman : CODY

The city of Cody, Wyoming takes its name from one of the city’s founders Colonel William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill.

26 “Black Panther” princess/superhero : SHURI

Black Panther is a Marvel Comics character who was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in print in 1966. That made Black Panther the first superhero of African descent to appear in mainstream comic books in the US.

29 Loan-sharking : USURY

Usury used to be the practice of simply lending money at interest, but the term now refers to lending at rates of interest that are excessive.

30 Fry in a shallow pan : SAUTE

“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

31 Common street name in the Northeast : ELM

The most common street name in the US is “Second Street”. “First Street” comes in only at number three, and this is because many cities and towns forgo the use of “First” and instead go with “Main” or something more historical in nature. The spooky “Elm Street” appears on the list at number fifteen.

32 Language in which “Thank you very much” is “Diolch yn fawr iawn” : WELSH

The Welsh language is a Celtic tongue that is known as “Cymraeg” by its native speakers. The country of Wales is known as “Cymru” in Welsh.

33 Where I-15 meets I-86 : IDAHO

Interstate 15 runs north-south from the US-Canada border at Sweet Grass, Montana to San Diego, California.

Interstate 86 is a little unusual, in that it is actually an “intrastate” highway. It is located entirely within the state of Idaho. That said, there are also two relatively short sections of road called Interstate 86 back east, running through parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

34 Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : FIBONACCI

Leonardo of Pisa was a famous and respected Italian mathematician, also known as simply “Fibonacci”. He is remembered for writing about a number sequence (although he didn’t “discover” it) that later was given the name “Fibonacci sequence”. He wrote about the series of numbers in his book called “Liber Abaci”, a celebrated work that introduced Arabic numerals (i.e. 0-9) to the Western world.

47 Military alert system : DEFCON

The US military uses the DEFCON scale to move to different stages of readiness (DEFCON: the defense readiness condition). DEFCON 5 denotes normal peacetime readiness. DEFCON 1 is maximum readiness. The scale was created in 1959 by the Joint Chiefs. The highest DEFCON level ever reached (as far as we public folk know) was DEFCON 2 during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, although this only applied to Strategic Air Command. The military reached DEFCON 3 during the Yom Kippur War, and also during the attacks of September 11, 2001.

51 ___ Lane : LOIS

Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. One has to wonder how challenging the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …

53 Skateboarding maneuver : OLLIE

An ollie is a skateboarding trick invented in 1976 by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand. Apparently it’s a way of lifting the board off the ground, while standing on it, without touching the board with one’s hands. Yeah, I could do that …

54 Classic name for a parrot : POLLY

Scientists tell us that parrots are some of the most intelligent species of birds. Many of those species are able to imitate the human voice. Such characteristics have led to parrots becoming popular house pets, and a resulting drop in populations of parrots living in the wild.

56 Tucker out : TIRE

The exact etymology of the verb “to tucker”, meaning “to tire”, seems to be uncertain. However, it seems to have originated in New England, and at least dates back to the 1830s.

60 Chest muscle, for short : PEC

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

61 57-Across, en español : UNO
(57A “Take ___” : ONE)

“Español” is Spanish for “Spanish”.

62 Homer’s neighbor : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer Simpson on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

64 Big airport inits. : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “All Things Considered” airer : NPR
4 Sloth, e.g. : SIN
7 Wasn’t a smooth talker? : RASPED
13 Singer Grande, to fans : ARI
14 “___ soon?” : TOO
15 Vanquish : CONQUER
16 Price of a horror film? : VINCENT
18 Expand to 800% : OCTUPLE
19 Big online site for uploading photos and memes : IMGUR
20 Antique : OLD
22 Word accompanying a lightning bolt : ZAP
23 Spanish direction : ESTE
24 Spanish royal : REY
25 Balance : REST
28 King in the “Jungle Book” films : LOUIE
30 Be quietly angry : SEETHE
32 “The Good ___” : WIFE
35 Soap opera, e.g. : SERIAL
37 Where It. is found : EUR
38 Leave on the cutting room floor : EDIT OUT
40 This puzzle’s theme : NUMBERS
42 Word with science or chocolate : LAB
43 Like Antarctica among all the continents : DRYEST
45 Historic enemy of the Iroquois : ERIE
46 Poorly made : SHODDY
48 YouTube statistics : VIEWS
50 Put an edge on : HONE
51 Had the reins : LED
52 On : ATOP
55 Rearward : AFT
57 “Take ___” : ONE
58 Separates into groups that don’t communicate : SILOS
60 “Turandot” composer : PUCCINI
63 Shakespeare character who says “I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee” : OTHELLO
65 They may come with bows and whistles : ENCORES
66 Handle : USE
67 Indisposed : ILL
68 Like the word “truthiness,” by Stephen Colbert : COINED
69 Besmirch : TAR
70 Follower of red, pink or black : … EYE

Down

1 Blue-skinned race in “Avatar” : NA’VI
2 Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : PRIME
3 Telephones : RINGS
4 Binaural : STEREO
5 Accelerator bit : ION
6 Infamy : NOTORIETY
7 Bird of myth : ROC
8 DreamWorks’s first animated film : ANTZ
9 Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : SQUARE
10 Person pulling the strings? : PUPPETEER
11 Fish with tiny scales : EEL
12 “Dr.” who co-founded Death Row Records : DRE
15 Wyoming town named for a frontiersman : CODY
17 Tonkatsu, in Japanese cuisine : CUTLET
21 Bad look : LEER
26 “Black Panther” princess/superhero : SHURI
27 Cut short : TERSE
29 Loan-sharking : USURY
30 Fry in a shallow pan : SAUTE
31 Common street name in the Northeast : ELM
32 Language in which “Thank you very much” is “Diolch yn fawr iawn” : WELSH
33 Where I-15 meets I-86 : IDAHO
34 Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : FIBONACCI
36 Inverted : INSIDE OUT
39 Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : ODD
41 Closest pal : BESTIE
44 Like the two 40-Across in the grid for this answer : EVEN
47 Military alert system : DEFCON
49 Tiny purchase for a plumber : WASHER
51 ___ Lane : LOIS
53 Skateboarding maneuver : OLLIE
54 Classic name for a parrot : POLLY
56 Tucker out : TIRE
59 Only : SOLE
60 Chest muscle, for short : PEC
61 57-Across, en español : UNO
62 Homer’s neighbor : NED
64 Big airport inits. : TSA

15 thoughts on “0505-21 NY Times Crossword 5 May 21, Wednesday”

  1. 14:12 Didn’t make sense of the theme until I had finished. Just never wrapped my head around it. Unfamiliar with IMGUR and SHURI

  2. 8:25, no errors. I forgot to go back and figure out the theme when I finished the puzzle last night. Just now, even after reading Bill’s explanation, it took me a couple of minutes to understand it. And I agree with Bill: very, very clever!

  3. 15:55. I got the theme early because I went after the reveal early. Agree with everyone else – very clever theme and I suspect a nightmare to construct.

    Jack hates two setter puzzles. How’s he going to react to 3 setters?

    Never saw the movie Avatar. What shade of blue were these people? Did they call that shade NAVI blue? If they spent too much time at the beach, did they turn purple?

    Best –

  4. 13:34 same as Ron, finished the puzzle, but took a while of reading, staring and rereading the blog to understand the theme….I did better solving candy names 🙂

  5. 11:16, including problems with my Kindle Fire keyboard not always recording my input. I knew numbers were involved in the theme, but wow! Very clever. Thaks Bill for the explanation.

  6. 8:40, no errors. Didn’t notice the theme for most part, there really wasn’t one in this puzzle. Another good evidence that themes really don’t do anything positive for these things.

    1. Oh, come on, Glenn … of course there was a theme!

      I remember kicking myself for failing to go back and look for this one. (More and more, I’m beginning to behave like the canine pilots in the movie “Up” – far too easily distracted by the equivalent of the word “squirrel” – and I’m disgusted with myself when it happens. 🤨 😳 😜)

      It’s true that some themes are of minor interest, but there are some, like this one, that provide an extra sort of metapuzzle, solving which creates a sense of awe at the prowess of the constructor. Just shrugging it off by saying, “It really didn’t help me solve the puzzle,” strikes me as more than a little self-centered.

  7. No errors despite 3 setters and all the “never heard of” clues linked together as they usually are.
    So yes @Jeff Jack ain’t too thrilled👎
    Stay safe😀

  8. Not to seem too persnickety, but
    36D clue should be “everted” for
    “inside out”. “Inverted” means
    “upside down.”

  9. Never heard of Imgur or SHURI.
    Didn’t fully grok the theme but once I got ‘numbers’ , Prime & Fibonacci & others made sense.
    Very challenging & clever for a Wed.

  10. I’m probably posting this too late to have much impact, but … FWIW … my “American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language” (3rd edition, 1992) defines “invert” as “to turn inside out or upside down”. That said, I wouldn’t be too surprised to find that another dictionary begs to differ. Most of my dictionaries are still in boxes in my basement; as I locate more of them, I’ll try to remember to check this out. In any case, I think the usage in the puzzle is defensible.

  11. This was one of the most engaging puzzles I have done in a very long time. My heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Hwang.

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