0508-21 NY Times Crossword 8 May 21, Saturday

Constructed by: David Steinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 13m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 III, e.g., in “Richard III” : ACT

That would be act III of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III”.

“Richard III” is one of the more famous of William Shakespeare’s historical plays. A well-known 1955 version of the play was made for the big screen with Laurence Olivier playing the title role. The most oft-quoted words from “Richard III” are probably the opening lines “Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer by this sun of York”, and Richard’s plea at the climax of battle “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!”

14 Number of days it takes Mercury to orbit the sun : EIGHTY-EIGHT

Mercury is the smallest of the planets in our solar system, and is the nearest to the Sun. Mercury orbits the sun relatively rapidly compared to the other planets, and this fact may have led to it being given the name “Mercury”, the Roman deity who was the speedy messenger to the gods.

16 It becomes another question when its first letter is moved to the end : WHO?

“Who” becomes “how” …

17 “Wall Street” catchphrase : GREED IS GOOD

“Wall Street” is a very entertaining 1987 film from Oliver Stone starring Charlie Sheen as an up and coming stockbroker, and Michael Douglas as an amoral corporate raider named Gordon Gekko. Douglas’ portrayal of Gekko earned him a Best Actor Oscar, and deservedly so, I’d say …

18 Chump : SAP

“Sap” is slang for “fool, someone easily scammed”. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words are derived from “sapwood”, which is the softwood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

23 Day to post a throwback picture on social media: Abbr. : THU

“Throwback Thursday” is a thing. The idea is for social media users to post nostalgia-inducing images from their personal lives, on a Thursday. If you forget to post, there is always Flashback Friday …

27 ___ bowl : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

28 Perfumery compound : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

30 Actress Shields, mother of Brooke : TERI

Actress Brooke Shields started working as a child model when she was just 11 months old, appearing in an ad for Ivory soap in 1966. At 14, Shields became the youngest fashion model to ever appear on the cover of “Vogue” magazine. She was 12 years old when she had her first acting role, a leading part in 1978’s “Pretty Baby”. Her big break in films came with the 1980 film “The Blue Lagoon”, when she played alongside Christopher Atkins, portraying two teenagers marooned on a tropical island. Shields was married to tennis star Andre Agassi from 1997 to 1991.

31 One stoner to another : DUDE!

“Stoner” is a slang term for someone who is habitually intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.

39 Nibbles : NOSHES

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

40 Cheap cab, perhaps : HOUSE RED

The cabernet sauvignon (often just “cab”) grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

42 Org. with an annual Codebreaker Challenge : NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) runs an annual Codebreaker Challenge that is aimed mainly at the student population. As best I can tell, the focus of the challenge is reverse software engineering. Checking out the Codebreaker Challenge website suggests that the NSA runs this program in order to identify and attract potential new employees.

46 Irish name that’s a Slavic name backward : AIDAN

“Aidan” is “Nadia” written backwards.

51 Like some unpleasant comments : SNARKY

“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

54 Utah’s “Industry,” e.g. : MOTTO

When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag. In 1959, “Industry” was even chosen as the state motto, for the term’s association with the beehive.

56 Camper’s gear chain : REI

REI is a sporting goods store, with the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to climb Mount Everest.

58 It can lay a one-and-a-half-pound egg : EMU

Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs. It is the male emu that incubates the eggs. The incubation period lasts about 8 weeks, during which time the male neither eats nor drinks, just lapping up any morning dew that is nearby. While incubating a clutch of eggs, male emus lose about a third of their weight.

63 Calculator button next to cos : SIN

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

Down

5 Business letters : LTD

In Britain and Ireland, the most common type of business (my perception anyway) is one that has private shareholders whose liability is limited to the value of their investment. Such a company is known as a private limited company, and has the abbreviation “Ltd.” after the name. If the shares are publicly traded, then the company is a public limited company, and has the letters “plc” after the name.

7 Walt Whitman wrote one beginning “Lo, ’tis autumn” : SESTET

A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry. It is similar to a quatrain, a group of four lines.

Walt Whitman is considered to be one of the greatest American poets. He was born in 1819 on Long Island, and lived through the American Civil War. Whitman was a controversial character, even during his own lifetime. One view held by him was that the works attributed to William Shakespeare were not actually written by Shakespeare, but rather by someone else, or perhaps a group of people.

10 Sorority letter : RHO

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.

12 It involves much ear-tugging and head-shaking : CHARADES

In the parlor game known as charades, players take turns acting out words or phrases. “Charade” is a French word describing a literary puzzle that was popular in 18th-century France. In said game, the word or phrase was broken into its constituent syllables, with each syllable being described somewhat enigmatically. This puzzle evolved into “acted charades”, which we now refer to simply as “charades”.

15 Notable examples of crossing a line, in brief : TDS

That would be football.

22 Noodle dish whose name indicates its cuisine : PAD THAI

The delicious dish called pad Thai is a meld of stir-fried rice noodles with tamarind juice, red chili pepper plus a mix of vegetables and possibly tofu, meat or fish. It is usually topped with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime. The name “pad Thai” translates as “fried Thai-style”.

26 Pumbaa’s friend in “The Lion King” : TIMON

Timon and Pumbaa are a pair of characters in Disney’s 1994 animated film “The Lion King”. Timon is a meerkat, and was voiced by the great Nathan Lane. Pumbaa is a warthog, and was voiced by Ernie Sabella.

37 Correction for a wild pitch : AUTO-TUNE

Auto-Tune is a proprietary audio process that is primarily used to alter pitch in a recorded track. One of the main uses of Auto-Tune is to correct voice tracks that are slightly off-pitch, which probably explains why even professional singers tend to sound better on a recording than they do live. More extreme levels of Auto-Tune adjustment are now quite common, creating a sound effect that distorts vocals. Such sound effects really took off with the release of Cher’s 1998 hit song “Believe”, in which you can really notice the vocal distortion.

38 “Marriage Story” Oscar winner : DERN

Actress Laura Dern is the daughter of the actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. Among her many notable roles, Laura Dern played the Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the 2008 movie “Recount”, and Dr. Ellie Sattler in the 1993 blockbuster “Jurassic Park”.

“Marriage Story” is a 2019 movie starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a couple going through a messy divorce. The critics loved this one. Me, not so much …

40 Dumpster fire : HOT MESS

“Dumpster” is one of those words that we use generically, even though it is actually a brand name. The original “Dumpster” was patented by the Dempster Brothers of Knoxville, Tennessee. “Dumpster” is derived from “dump” and “Dempster”.

48 Annual genre writing award : AGATHA

The Agathas are literary awards given annually for mystery and crime writers producing exceptional works in the “cozy mystery” genre. “Cozies” are crime fiction in which there is a dearth of sex and violence, and in which the crime is committed and solved in a small community or gathering. The awards are named for the queen of the cozy mystery genre, Agatha Christie.

61 Grocery store found in Michigan? : IGA

The letter string “iga” is found in the word “Michigan”.

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Supreme court member? : NBA ALL-STAR
11 III, e.g., in “Richard III” : ACT
14 Number of days it takes Mercury to orbit the sun : EIGHTY-EIGHT
16 It becomes another question when its first letter is moved to the end : WHO?
17 “Wall Street” catchphrase : GREED IS GOOD
18 Chump : SAP
19 Just a bit : ATOM
20 Like the last in a line : NTH
21 Wear : SPORT
23 Day to post a throwback picture on social media: Abbr. : THU
24 What a nod might mean : I GET IT
27 ___ bowl : ACAI
28 Perfumery compound : ESTER
30 Actress Shields, mother of Brooke : TERI
31 One stoner to another : DUDE!
32 Satisfied sigh : AAH!
34 What a shrug might mean : NO MATTER
36 Was up, in a sense : BATTED
39 Nibbles : NOSHES
40 Cheap cab, perhaps : HOUSE RED
42 Org. with an annual Codebreaker Challenge : NSA
43 More than suspicious of : ONTO
44 Be in the works : BREW
46 Irish name that’s a Slavic name backward : AIDAN
50 The old you? : THOU
51 Like some unpleasant comments : SNARKY
53 Kind of trip taken solo : EGO
54 Utah’s “Industry,” e.g. : MOTTO
56 Camper’s gear chain : REI
57 Throw (together) : SLAP
58 It can lay a one-and-a-half-pound egg : EMU
59 “Hold on!” : WAIT A MINUTE!
63 Calculator button next to cos : SIN
64 Words after “The end”? : NIGHTY-NIGHT
65 Lead-in to stars or daylight : SEE …
66 Soft, green food : MASHED PEAS

Down

1 Void : NEGATE
2 Once-in-a-lifetime events : BIRTHS
3 Get too old : AGE OUT
4 “I’m right here” : AHEM!
5 Business letters : LTD
6 Horizontal : LYING
7 Walt Whitman wrote one beginning “Lo, ’tis autumn” : SESTET
8 Turn right, say : TIGHTEN
9 Years ___ : AGO
10 Sorority letter : RHO
11 “How adorable!” : AW, SO CUTE
12 It involves much ear-tugging and head-shaking : CHARADES
13 Grade-A : TOP-TIER
15 Notable examples of crossing a line, in brief : TDS
22 Noodle dish whose name indicates its cuisine : PAD THAI
24 Steaming : IRATE
25 Club type : IRON
26 Pumbaa’s friend in “The Lion King” : TIMON
29 Goes on a dinner date, e.g. : EATS OUT
33 They may be used in a pinch : HERBS
35 Composition test : ASSAY
36 Easy friendliness : BONHOMIE
37 Correction for a wild pitch : AUTO-TUNE
38 “Marriage Story” Oscar winner : DERN
40 Dumpster fire : HOT MESS
41 Lacks : DEARTHS
45 Ring in the holiday spirit? : WREATH
47 Flood : DELUGE
48 Annual genre writing award : AGATHA
49 Common complex rule : NO PETS
52 Celebrity portmanteau beginning in 2012 : KIMYE
55 Accept the blame for : OWN
57 Impertinent sort : SNIP
60 Archery need : AIM
61 Grocery store found in Michigan? : IGA
62 Pete Buttigieg’s home state: Abbr. : IND

10 thoughts on “0508-21 NY Times Crossword 8 May 21, Saturday”

  1. 11:49. About average difficulty for a Saturday for me. I had to move around the grid a bit, but didn’t really get bogged down anywhere. And yay to fully vaccinated! I’m looking forward to impending approval of Pfizer’s for 12-16 so I can get my two youngest vaccinated this summer.

  2. 23:38. It was a little easier than I thought it would be given the setter. It’s interesting that the difficulty in his puzzles seems to come more from clever cluing than from the difficulty of the answers.

    Best –

  3. Bill, please check 30A: “Shields was married to tennis star Andre Agassi from 1997 to 1991.”

    Cheers to all you whiz kids — I really struggled with this one!

    I feel extra foolish because I live in Utah and couldn’t figure out “Motto.” ugh.

  4. 14:53, no errors. Surprising to see this out of Steinberg…

    @Rochelle
    KIMYE = Kim and Kanye. It’s old news now.

  5. No errors.. took a long time for me.
    Never heard of KIMYE even after the explanation above. Never heard of BON HOMIE either. Feel good about this. My saturday average is getting better.

  6. Three game sweep. Thu., Fri. and Sat.. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, or to the big brains of the crossword community, but I’m LOVING it. Good Day all!

  7. 16:10, no errors. Early on, didn’t look like I was going anywhere with this puzzle. Was totally unaware of KIMYE, and don’t believe I will see it again, outside of crossword puzzles. Also didn’t know BONHOMIE. Familiar with ‘bon homme’ (good man); and ‘bon ami’ (good friend) which is pronounced exactly the same as BONHOMIE.

  8. Just under an hour with 4 wrong letters…I thought Mr Steinberg went on to bigger and better things…no such luck👎👎👎
    Stay safe😀

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