0506-21 NY Times Crossword 6 May 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Right on Red

The grid includes four rebus squares containing the word “RED”. Themed answers are in the down-direction, and require us to turn RIGHT ON meeting a RED square:

  • 63A Traffic go-ahead that should be followed four times in this puzzle : RIGHT ON RED
  • 23A Kansas or Kentucky, politically : RED STATE
  • 29A Certain Miller beers : RED DOGS
  • 43A Rhetoric for the political base, figuratively : RED MEAT
  • 45A Warning sign : RED FLAG
  • 2D Drunkenness or hypnosis : ALTERED STATE
  • 9D Poodles, but not schnoodles or doodles : PUREBRED DOGS
  • 18D Something waved when a race is won : CHECKERED FLAG
  • 31D Pancetta or prosciutto : CURED MEAT

Bill’s time: 10m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Big kahuna : VIP

Like many words in Hawaiian, “kahuna” has several English translations, everything from a priest to an expert in some profession. The expression “the Big Kahuna” comes from the 1959 movie “Gidget”. The Big Kahuna was the leader of one of the surfing gangs in the film, and was played by Cliff Robertson.

10 Way up to go downhill : T-BAR

A T-bar is a ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of a T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, which is a similar device but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

16 Dance sometimes done to klezmer music : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also “horah”) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

19 A little cracked : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

20 Spanish for “weight” : PESO

The peso is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.

21 Presidential nickname of the 19th century : HONEST ABE

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the US. There are several stories told about how he earned the nickname “Honest Abe”. One story dates back to early in his career as a lawyer. Lincoln accidentally overcharged a client and then walked miles in order to right the wrong as soon as possible.

23 Kansas or Kentucky, politically : RED STATE

On political maps, red states are usually Republican and blue states usually Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

26 Cap’n’s mate : BOS’N

A boatswain works on the deck of a boat. He or she is unlicensed, and so is not involved in the navigation or handling of the vessel, and instead is in charge of the other unlicensed workers on the deck. “Boatswain” is pronounced “bosun” and this phonetic spelling is often used interchangeably with “boatswain”. The contraction “bo’s’n” is also very popular.

29 Certain Miller beers : RED DOGS

The Miller Brewing Company was founded by Frederick Miller in 1855 in Milwaukee. Miller is now in a joint venture with Coors.

36 Improv comic’s forte : AD LIB

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

38 Chicago-style pizza chain, familiarly : UNO’S

The chain of pizza parlors known today as Uno Chicago Grill used to be called Pizzeria Uno, or just “Uno’s”. Apparently, Uno’s created the world’s first deep-dish pizza.

40 Big Ten nickname : TERPS

The sports teams of the University of Maryland are called the Maryland Terrapins, or “the Terps” for short. The name dates back to 1932 when it was coined by the university’s president at the time, Curley Byrd. He took the name from the diamondback terrapins that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

48 “Cómo ___?” : ESTAS

“Cómo estas?” is Spanish for “how are you?”

52 Gomer Pyle’s outfit: Abbr. : USMC

Jim Nabors was discovered by Andy Griffith and brought onto “The Andy Griffith Show” as Gomer Pyle, the gas station attendant. Famously, Nabors then got his own show called “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” Gomer had a cousin on the “The Andy Griffiths Show” called Goober Pyle. Goober was played by George Lindsay. Lindsay had auditioned for the Gomer part, but that went to Nabors.

62 “___ Am Telling You” (song from “Dreamgirls”) : AND I

The Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” follows the lives of a fictional female singing trio named “The Dreams”. The stage musical was adapted for the big screen in a 2006 film of the same name starring Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles and Anika Noni Rose as the trio.

63 Traffic go-ahead that should be followed four times in this puzzle : RIGHT ON RED

If you’re sitting behind a car that doesn’t make a right on red, it may just be a rental car driven by someone from Europe. Speaking as someone who learned to drive over there, I must admit I held up a few people at red lights when I first visited this country. That’s because in Europe we aren’t allowed to make any move past a red light, unless there is an accompanying green arrow. So, if you’re driving overseas, take care …

66 Dance done to fiddle music : REEL

The reel is a Scottish country dance that is also extremely popular in Ireland.

67 Director Lee : ANG

Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

69 Lagerfeld of fashion : KARL

Karl Lagerfeld is a fashion designer from Germany, although he is based in Paris. Lagerfeld is the head designer at the Chanel fashion house.

70 ___ leaf (stew additive) : BAY

The seasoning known as bay leaf is the aromatic leaf of the bay laurel tree or shrub. Fresh bay leaves aren’t very flavorful and need to be dried and aged a few weeks before use in the kitchen.

Down

6 Onetime United competitor : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

7 Refuse to pick up the bill? : VETO

The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

9 Poodles, but not schnoodles or doodles : PUREBRED DOGS

The standard poodle breed of dog is considered by many to be the second-most intelligent breed, after the border collie. The name “poodle” comes from a Low German word meaning “to splash about”, reflecting the original use of the breed as a water retriever.

11 Nickname for tap-dancing legend Bill Robinson : BOJANGLES

Bill Robinson was a tap dancer and actor who often went by the nickname “Bojangles”. It was Bojangles who often danced with child star Shirley Temple in a whole series of films from the 1930s. He also starred in 1943’s “Stormy Weather”, a movie that was loosely based on Robinson’s own life.

12 ___ League : ARAB

The Arab League was formed in 1945 in Cairo with six founding members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. As a result of events during the 2011 Arab Spring, the Arab League has suspended Syria’s membership.

18 Something waved when a race is won : CHECKERED FLAG

The checkered flag is used to start and finish races.

24 P.D. alert : APB

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

28 Lord’s laborers : SERFS

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

31 Pancetta or prosciutto : CURED MEAT

Pancetta is a salt-cured meat made from pork belly.

The word “prosciutto” is used in Italian to mean “ham”, however it is prepared. In English, we use the word to describe the dry-cured ham that is served raw, in thin slices. Apparently, prosciutto can be made out of the meat from the leg of a pig, or from the thigh of a wild horse!

41 Glazier’s frame : SASH

A movable (up-and-down) window frame is called a sash, from the French word for a frame “châssis”. The term is also applied to that part of a door or window into which windows are set.

44 Pack down : TAMP

To tamp is to pack down tightly by tapping. “Tamp” was originally used specifically to describe the action of packing down sand or dirt around an explosive prior to detonation.

46 Long-bodied fish : GAR

“Gar” was originally the name given to a species of needlefish found in the North Atlantic. The term “gar” is now used to describe several species of fish with elongated bodies that inhabit North and Central America and the Caribbean. The gar is unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What I find interesting is that the gar’s swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

49 Bug that inspired Poe’s “The Gold-Bug” : SCARAB

Scarabs were amulets in ancient Egypt. Scarabs were modelled on the dung beetle, as it was viewed as a symbol of the cycle of life.

“The Gold-Bug” is an Edgar Allan Poe short story, a mystery tale about a man who was bitten by a gold-colored bug. The story first appeared in three installments in the ”Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper” in 1843, and became very popular. Poe had submitted the story to a writing contest sponsored by the paper, and it was published as the winning entry. The grand prize also included $100 in cash, which was likely the largest sum that Poe ever received for a work in his lifetime.

51 Persistently demanded payment from : DUNNED

To dun is to insist on payment of a debt. The etymology of the verb is unclear, but one suggestion is that it dates back to a well-known debt collector in London named Joe Dun.

54 French river in W.W. I fighting : MARNE

The River Marne runs roughly northwestward for over 300 miles, running into the River Seine just outside Paris. The Marne was the site of two major battles in WWI, one fought in 1914, and one in 1918.

56 Like yin but not yang : DARK

The yin and yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

57 Suited to serve : ONE-A

The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SSS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).

58 Simone known as the “High Priestess of Soul” : NINA

“Nina Simone” was the stage name of Eunice Waymon. Simone was very much associated with jazz music, although she really wanted to be a classical musician early in her career. She was inspired by a love for the music of Bach.

59 Punk’s Pop : IGGY

Iggy Pop is a punk rock performer from Muskegon, Michigan. When he was in high school, he was a drummer for a local band called the Iguanas, and so was given the nickname “Iggy”. He was the vocalist for a band called the Stooges, and is often referred to as the Godfather of Punk.

64 AAA offering : TOW

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

65 Nail polish brand with a Bubble Bath shade : OPI

Opi (originally “Odontorium Products Inc.”) is a manufacturer of nail polish based in North Hollywood, California. One of Opi’s marketing coups was the introduction of a line of Legally Blonde 2 polishes, which featured in the film.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “How to Be an Anti-___” (best-selling book of 2020) : RACIST
7 Big kahuna : VIP
10 Way up to go downhill : T-BAR
14 Totally original : ALL NEW
15 Bird that’s the source of Kalaya oil : EMU
16 Dance sometimes done to klezmer music : HORA
17 Play-by-play job? : STAGE ACTOR
19 A little cracked : AJAR
20 Spanish for “weight” : PESO
21 Presidential nickname of the 19th century : HONEST ABE
23 Kansas or Kentucky, politically : RED STATE
26 Cap’n’s mate : BOS’N
27 Details, details : SPECS
29 Certain Miller beers : RED DOGS
31 Gear tooth : COG
34 Soaks up a lot of sun : BAKES
36 Improv comic’s forte : AD LIB
38 Chicago-style pizza chain, familiarly : UNO’S
40 Big Ten nickname : TERPS
42 Architectural style of Nebraska’s capitol building, informally : DECO
43 Rhetoric for the political base, figuratively : RED MEAT
45 Warning sign : RED FLAG
47 Word with high or dive : SKY …
48 “Cómo ___?” : ESTAS
50 Follower of “Too bad,” in an expression of mock pity : … SO SAD
52 Gomer Pyle’s outfit: Abbr. : USMC
53 Low humming sounds : THRUMS
56 “Stay calm” : DON’T PANIC
60 Stand-up comedian Bargatze : NATE
62 “___ Am Telling You” (song from “Dreamgirls”) : AND I
63 Traffic go-ahead that should be followed four times in this puzzle : RIGHT ON RED
66 Dance done to fiddle music : REEL
67 Director Lee : ANG
68 No longer under wraps? : OPENED
69 Lagerfeld of fashion : KARL
70 ___ leaf (stew additive) : BAY
71 Over a large area : WIDELY

Down

1 File type : RASP
2 Drunkenness or hypnosis : ALTERED STATE
3 It may be dismissed : CLASS
4 Some metal castings : INGOTS
5 “Get it?” : SEE?
6 Onetime United competitor : TWA
7 Refuse to pick up the bill? : VETO
8 “That’s my cue!” : I’M ON!
9 Poodles, but not schnoodles or doodles : PUREBRED DOGS
10 “How strange …” : THAT’S ODD …
11 Nickname for tap-dancing legend Bill Robinson : BOJANGLES
12 ___ League : ARAB
13 Unusual : RARE
18 Something waved when a race is won : CHECKERED FLAG
22 Common mixer : SODA
24 P.D. alert : APB
25 Udder end : TEAT
28 Lord’s laborers : SERFS
30 Warped, as a sense of humor : SICK
31 Pancetta or prosciutto : CURED MEAT
32 “My treat!” : ON ME!
33 Becomes insolvent : GOES UNDER
35 Inkblot, e.g. : SPLOTCH
37 Early man? : BOY
39 Behaved for a haircut, say : SAT STILL
41 Glazier’s frame : SASH
44 Pack down : TAMP
46 Long-bodied fish : GAR
49 Bug that inspired Poe’s “The Gold-Bug” : SCARAB
51 Persistently demanded payment from : DUNNED
54 French river in W.W. I fighting : MARNE
55 Metaphor for strength : STEEL
56 Like yin but not yang : DARK
57 Suited to serve : ONE-A
58 Simone known as the “High Priestess of Soul” : NINA
59 Punk’s Pop : IGGY
61 Water whirl : EDDY
64 AAA offering : TOW
65 Nail polish brand with a Bubble Bath shade : OPI

15 thoughts on “0506-21 NY Times Crossword 6 May 21, Thursday”

  1. 13:54 23A helped me realize it was a rebus. But I started out immediately with 1A as VAXXER, then VACCER, then I got the right answer. Also started with 31D as HAM. Once I got the rebus it went smoothly from there.

  2. 7:10, my record for a Thursday since I subscribed in January. The theme came pretty quickly.

    1. Hmmm. I remember having a tiny nit to pick with this one: From the standpoint of an observer moving from letter to letter as each theme entry is written in, the turns are to the left, rather than to the right, are they not?

      Hmmm. I think I remember now why I didn’t post this nitpick five weeks ago. Please feel free to ignore me … 😜.

  3. 16:27. Nice to see Ed Sessa over here at the NYT. I used to see him a lot when I did the LA Times puzzles.

    I learned how to pronounce all those Italian cured meats like prosciutto, capacola etc by watching The Sopranos. Apparently James Gandolfini went out of his way to perfect his pronunciations of those.

    I think if you go right on red in England you have more problems that just getting a ticket. …

    Best –

  4. No errors.. it got clever in the NW corner.. File type? RASP? Spanish for weight? PESO? I was stuck there for awhile.

  5. Under 30 min. No errors…good time for me.
    Another incident where the theme actually helped👍
    Stay safe 😀

  6. 24:03, no errors. Hard time grasping many of the vague clues. Did catch the theme entries which included the ‘right’ (I agree with Nonny, if one was driving in the direction of the letters, all the turns would be lefts) turn. Did not catch on that the entry after the turn made sense in its own right.

    1. “… made sense in its own right.” … LOL … I love it! … 😜😜😜

      Good work, Bruce! 👍👍👍

  7. 1D – Fruit with it’s center removed.
    3A – William Tell’s son’s headwear.

    Feeble, I know
    Sorry. 🙂

  8. Wonderful theme! My wife, who has only been doing the NYT crosswords with me for 3-4 years, has never figured out a rebus. Until now. She’s in an altered state. I’m an NYT puzzle vet; red meat for me. When we saw the checkered flag, we both exhaled. Prosciutto and melon for supper tonight!!

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