0511-21 NY Times Crossword 11 May 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Kevin Patterson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Low-Key

Themed answers are all in the down-direction. Each ends (LOW) with a KEY found on a keyboard:

  • 66A Casual … or a hint to the answers to the five starred clues : LOW-KEY
  • 3D *Steps taken in an emergency? : FIRE ESCAPE
  • 10D *What closets and attics provide : STORAGE SPACE
  • 21D *The pill, e.g. : BIRTH CONTROL
  • 25D *Running bill at a bar : OPEN TAB
  • 30D *Nine to five, at a factory : FIRST SHIFT

Bill’s time: 8m 01s

Bill’s errors: 3

  • FRANK OCEAN (Frank Olean)
  • FAV (fat!)
  • CIV (Lit)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Place to crash : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

11 One might say “Recalculating” after a wrong turn : GPS

Global positioning system (GPS)

14 Candy sold in pairs : TWIX

I remember Twix bars from way back in 1967 when they were introduced in Britain and Ireland. Twix bars made it to the US over a decade later, in 1979. The name “Twix” is a portmanteau of “twin bix”, short for “twin biscuit”.

15 Capital of Oman : MUSCAT

Muscat is the capital of Oman. The city lies on the northeast coast of the state on the Gulf of Oman, a branch of the Persian Gulf.

16 Harper ___, “To Kill a Mockingbird” novelist : LEE

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” was first published in 1960. The book is a mainstay in English classes all around the world. In my humble opinion, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a great ambassador for American literature.

17 About, on a memo : IN RE

The term “in re” is Latin, and is derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to” or “in the matter of”.

30 Tina of Pixar’s “Soul” : FEY

Comedian and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Fey is perhaps best known to television viewers as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (1997-2006), and as the creator and star of the sitcom “30 Rock” (2006-2013).

33 Theme park with the ride Soarin’ Around the World : EPCOT

EPCOT Center (now just called “Epcot”) is the theme park beside Walt Disney World in Florida. EPCOT is an acronym standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and is a representation of the future as envisioned by Walt Disney. Walt Disney actually wanted to build a living community for 20,000 residents at EPCOT, but he passed away without that vision being realized.

35 Carolyn ___, pen name on “Nancy Drew” books : KEENE

The “Nancy Drew” mystery stories were produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The founder of the Syndicate hired a team of writers to produce the “Nancy Drew” novels, but listed the author of each book as the fictional Carolyn Keene.

36 Wall St. debut : IPO

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

42 Division of Dante’s “Inferno” : CANTO

A canto is a section of a long poem, and is a term first used by the Italian poet Dante. “Canto” is the Italian for “song”.

44 Joe of “GoodFellas” : PESCI

Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in “Raging Bull” starring Robert De Niro, earning Pesci an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Goodfellas” and “Casino”. But I like Pesci’s comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the “Home Alone” films, the “Lethal Weapon” series, and my personal favorite, “My Cousin Vinny”. Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical “Jersey Boys”, which isn’t too surprising as he is one of the show’s producers.

The Martin Scorsese classic “Goodfellas” is a 1990 adaptation of a nonfiction book by Nicholas Pileggi called “Wiseguy”. The film tells the story of a mob family that succumbs to the FBI after one of their own becomes an informant.

46 Gymnast Korbut : OLGA

Olga Korbut is from modern-day Belarus, but was born during the days of the Soviet Union. Korbut competed for the USSR team in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. She was 17 when she appeared in the 1972 Munich Games, and had been training in a sports school since she was 8-years-old. The world fell in love with her as she was a very emotional young lady, readily expressing joy and disappointment, something that we weren’t used to seeing in athletes from behind the Iron Curtain. Korbut immigrated to the US in 1991 and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

47 Stand-up comic Kevin : HART

Kevin Hart is an actor and comedian from Philadelphia. Hart plays the lead role on a reality TV parody on BET called “Real Husbands of Hollywood”.

48 Where the Blues Brothers debuted, for short : SNL

The Blues Brothers blues band was created in 1978 for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. The original Blues Brothers were Dan Aykroyd (Elwood Blues) and John Belushi (“Joliet” Jake Blues). The band eventually made it to the big screen in a 1980 musical comedy called “The Blues Brothers”.

49 Separator of Ukraine and Turkey : BLACK SEA

The Black Sea is in southeastern Europe just south of Ukraine. In the north of the Black Sea is the Crimean Peninsula.

57 The “A” of I.P.A. : ALE

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

58 Enemy in “Mulan” : HUN

“Mulan” is a 1998 animated feature film made by Walt Disney studios. The film is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a woman who takes the place of her father in the army and serves with distinction for twelve years without reward. Disney’s lead character was given the name Fa Mulan. Donny Osmond provided the singing voice for one of the lead characters, after which his sons remarked that he had finally made it in show business as he was in a Disney film.

61 Gossip, informally : DIRT

Our word “gossip” comes from the Old English “godsibb” meaning “godparent”. Back then, the term was used for female friends who attended a birth, and later for anyone engaging in idle talk.

62 Orangutan or gorilla : APE

The tailless primates known as apes (also “hominoids”) are divided into two main branches: gibbons (lesser apes) and hominids (great apes). The hominids are the great apes, and belong to the family of primates called Hominidae. Extant genera that make up the family Hominidae are:

  • chimpanzees
  • gorillas
  • humans
  • orangutans

63 Prophet : ORACLE

In ancient Greece and Rome, an oracle was someone believed to be inspired by the gods to give wise counsel. The word “oracle” derives from the Latin “orare” meaning “to speak”, which is the same root for our word “orator”. One of the most important oracles of ancient Greece was Pythia, the high priestess to Apollo at Delphi.

64 Vehicles in some tabloid photos : UFOS

“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs Wellcome) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, which described newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

65 Half of a Chinese symbol for dualism : YIN

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.

67 Online craft fair, of sorts : 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.

Down

1 Injury from a jellyfish : STING

Jellyfish are found all over the ocean, right across the whole planet. They have been around for 500-700 million years, and so are the oldest multi-organ animal extant.

2 Sports team bigwig : OWNER

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

10 *What closets and attics provide : STORAGE SPACE

In Old French a “clos” was an enclosure, with the diminutive form “closet” describing a small enclosure or private room. Over time this evolved into our modern usage of “closet”, describing a cabinet or cupboard.

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

21 *The pill, e.g. : BIRTH CONTROL

“The Pill” is more correctly called “the combined oral contraceptive pill”. The formulation is a combination of an estrogen called estradiol and a progestogen called progestin.

25 *Running bill at a bar : OPEN TAB

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

29 “The Tonight Show” host before and after O’Brien : LENO

Jay Leno was born James Leno in New Rochelle, New York. Jay’s father was the son of Italian immigrants, and his mother was from Scotland. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and actually dropped out of school on the advice of a high school guidance counsellor. However, years later he went to Emerson College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. Leno also started a comedy club at Emerson in 1973. Today Jay Leno is a car nut and owns about 200 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website: www.jaylenosgarage.com.

Before Conan O’Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host, he was a writer. He wrote for both “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons”. While attending Harvard, O’Brien was president of “The Harvard Lampoon”.

30 *Nine to five, at a factory : FIRST SHIFT

In a three-shift working system, the shifts are known by various names:

  1. First shift, day shift
  2. Second shift, swing shift
  3. Third shift, night shift, graveyard shift

31 “Lawrence of Arabia,” for one : EPIC

“Lawrence of Arabia” is a 1962 movie that recounts the real life story of T. E. Lawrence, a British army officer who was famous for his role in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I. The title role in the film is played by Irish actor Peter O’Toole. The role of Sherif Ali ibn el Kharish is played by Omar Sharif.

32 One who studies asanas and pranayama : YOGI

A yogi is a practitioner of yoga.

35 Checker that makes it to the other side of the board : KING

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.

43 Quickly, in music : ALLEGRO

The tempo (plural “tempi”) of a piece of music is usually designated with an Italian word on the score. For example, “grave” is slow and solemn, “andante” is at a walking pace, “scherzo” is fast and light-hearted, and “allegro” is fast, quickly and bright.

50 Implement in a soup tureen : LADLE

A terrine (also “tureen”) is a cooking dish with a tightly-fitting lid made from glazed earthenware. A terrine is used for cooking in an oven, and for serving soups and stews.

51 French bread? : EUROS

The euro is divided into 100 cents, sometimes referred to as “euro cents”. Some countries within the European Union (Ireland, for example) have taken steps to withdraw the 1-cent and 2-cent coins from circulation by allowing cash transactions to be rounded to the nearest five cents. I found it a little odd when buying something in Ireland recently that was priced at 99 cents, and getting no change after handing over a euro coin …

52 Anxious : ANTSY

The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

53 Neuter, as a pet : SPAY

Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

54 Arizona tribe : HOPI

Many members of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.

55 Actor Wilson : OWEN

Actor Owen Wilson was nominated for an Oscar, but not for his acting. He was nominated for co-writing the screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums” along with Wes Anderson.

56 Frequent result between two chess grandmasters : DRAW

“Grandmaster” (GM) is a title held for life that is awarded by the World Chess Association (FIDE). The only FIDE title higher than Grandmaster is World Champion. Despite the masculine appearance of the title, it is awarded to both men and women.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Place to crash : SOFA
5 Letter-shaped building girders : I-BEAMS
11 One might say “Recalculating” after a wrong turn : GPS
14 Candy sold in pairs : TWIX
15 Capital of Oman : MUSCAT
16 Harper ___, “To Kill a Mockingbird” novelist : LEE
17 About, on a memo : IN RE
18 2012 Grammy winner for “Channel Orange” : FRANK OCEAN
20 Born: Fr. : NEE
21 Recycling receptacle : BIN
22 Most spooky : EERIEST
23 Became old enough for : GREW INTO
26 Twitter thumbs-up, informally : FAV
27 Tender spot : SORE
28 Promote, as a product : PLUG
30 Tina of Pixar’s “Soul” : FEY
33 Theme park with the ride Soarin’ Around the World : EPCOT
35 Carolyn ___, pen name on “Nancy Drew” books : KEENE
36 Wall St. debut : IPO
37 Not go well together : CLASH
38 Dew Drop ___ (historic New Orleans nightclub) : INN
39 Bit of mint : SPRIG
41 Join a call, with “on” : HOP …
42 Division of Dante’s “Inferno” : CANTO
44 Joe of “GoodFellas” : PESCI
45 Have to pay : OWE
46 Gymnast Korbut : OLGA
47 Stand-up comic Kevin : HART
48 Where the Blues Brothers debuted, for short : SNL
49 Separator of Ukraine and Turkey : BLACK SEA
53 Exclaimed : SHOUTED
57 The “A” of I.P.A. : ALE
58 Enemy in “Mulan” : HUN
59 Networks that deliver electricity : POWER GRIDS
61 Gossip, informally : DIRT
62 Orangutan or gorilla : APE
63 Prophet : ORACLE
64 Vehicles in some tabloid photos : UFOS
65 Half of a Chinese symbol for dualism : YIN
66 Casual … or a hint to the answers to the five starred clues : LOW-KEY
67 Online craft fair, of sorts : ETSY

Down

1 Injury from a jellyfish : STING
2 Sports team bigwig : OWNER
3 *Steps taken in an emergency? : FIRE ESCAPE
4 Log splitter : AXE
5 “Don’t worry about me” : I’M FINE
6 Like toast left too long in the toaster : BURNT
7 That: Sp. : ESA
8 Teen’s facial woe : ACNE
9 Tease, with “of” : MAKE FUN …
10 *What closets and attics provide : STORAGE SPACE
11 Great delight : GLEE
12 They’re often served mushy in England : PEAS
13 Email folder : SENT
19 Western ___ (college course, informally) : CIV
21 *The pill, e.g. : BIRTH CONTROL
24 Tries to win over : WOOS
25 *Running bill at a bar : OPEN TAB
29 “The Tonight Show” host before and after O’Brien : LENO
30 *Nine to five, at a factory : FIRST SHIFT
31 “Lawrence of Arabia,” for one : EPIC
32 One who studies asanas and pranayama : YOGI
33 Reverberating sound : ECHO
34 Prepare a field for seeding : PLOW
35 Checker that makes it to the other side of the board : KING
40 Free snacks in the break room, e.g. : PERK
43 Quickly, in music : ALLEGRO
47 One-named singer with the 2019 #1 hit “Without Me” : HALSEY
48 Take to court : SUE
50 Implement in a soup tureen : LADLE
51 French bread? : EUROS
52 Anxious : ANTSY
53 Neuter, as a pet : SPAY
54 Arizona tribe : HOPI
55 Actor Wilson : OWEN
56 Frequent result between two chess grandmasters : DRAW
60 “Disgusting!” : ICK!
61 Expected : DUE

13 thoughts on “0511-21 NY Times Crossword 11 May 21, Tuesday”

  1. 11:35. We are traveling and I’m struggling a bit with my wife’s iPad. But it’s a beautiful morning here, just outside of Sedona. Like @Bill, I also had Western LIT vs. CIV and it took a few minutes to figure that out, being unfamiliar with Frank Ocean.

  2. Once again, I must observe that Bill is a remarkably gracious host! At about the 7:30 mark, I had exactly the same errors as his: FRANK OLEAN instead of FRANK OCEAN, Western LITerature instead of CIVilization, and FAT instead of FAV. It took me another five minutes to see how I might have gone off the rails and fix my errors, so I finally got all the trappings of “success” at 12:53, and now, thanks to Bill, I am basking in the warm glow of Schadenfreude … 😜.

  3. 7:24. Not sure how I avoided the LIT trap. Western CIV was the first thing that popped into my head. Oh well. Miracles happen.

    Didn’t see the theme until after I finished the puzzle.

    Best –

  4. 10:11 Never would have seen the theme without reading Fearless Leader’s blog. No issue in the LIT/CIV quandary only because I had “fav” and “eeriest” established early on.

  5. About 20 min. No errors…I too had the same 3 problems as everyone else but got lucky…a little much for a Tuesday IMO.
    Stay safe 😀

  6. 7:45, same 3 errors as Bill and others. We ‘pencil & paper’ solvers don’t get the ‘you’re not done yet’ assist. Didn’t think Western Civilization was taught on college campuses anymore…

  7. Ditto for me on that nasty three-entry cross. I muddled over it for a long time. I tried all different combinations of letters. Finally something began to dawn and I thought that I could vaguely remember FRANK OCEAN from a previous puzzle. Even then I had to come here before I finally realized that indeed I had it all correct.

  8. Having totally guessed at proper names HART and HALSEY, I was very discouraged to see OCEAN/CIV/FAV that I missed … until I came here. I made the same mistake as the “best of them”

    The entire North went down quickly, and then proper name crosses grinded me to a halt. The downs did help with muddling through the South.

    Seemed like a Monday puzzle to me, but there isn’t much difference between the two easy days.

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