0513-21 NY Times Crossword 13 May 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Natan Last, Andy Kravis and The J.A.S.A. Crossword Class
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) Cinematic Q&As

Each themed clue is a film title that asks a question. Each themed answer is a film that provides a viable answer to the question in the clue:

  • 18A “Dude, Where’s My Car?” [1979] : “‘SALEM’S LOT”
  • 24A “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” [2019] : “PARASITE”
  • 38A “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” [1995] : “THE USUAL SUSPECTS”
  • 50A “How the West Was Won” [1969, 2010] : “TRUE GRIT”
  • 58A “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” [1990] : “HOME ALONE”

Bill’s time: 9m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Thymus, e.g. : GLAND

The thymus is an organ located behind the breastbone. It is within the thymus that T cells mature. T cells are a group of white blood cells that are essential components of the body’s immune system. T cells are so called because they mature in the thymus. Animal thymic tissue can be offered on a restaurant’s menu, where it is described as “sweetbread”.

6 Man’s name that can follow “v” or “r” to form an English word : IGOR

Adding V and R to “Igor” makes “vigor” and “rigor”.

14 Food staple referred to as “the gold of the Incas” : QUINOA

Quinoa is a grain crop that is more closely related to beetroots and spinach that it is to cereals and grasses. Quinoa is mainly cultivated for its edible seeds, which are high in protein. The seeds are also gluten free, which seems to be a big deal these days. I do like my quinoa …

15 PlayStation’s creator : SONY

Sony introduced the PlayStation line of video game consoles in 1994.

16 Prego alternative : RAGU

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce was introduced in 1937. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is a little off. In Italian, the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

The Prego brand of pasta sauce is owned by the Campbell Soup Company. It is actually based on the family recipe of one of the company’s chefs. “Prego” literally means “I pray” in Italian, but it translates best in English as “you’re welcome” when it is used after a “thank you” (“grazie”, in Italian).

18 “Dude, Where’s My Car?” [1979] : “‘SALEM’S LOT”

“Dude, Where’s My Car?” is a 2000 comedy film starring Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott. It’s a so-called “stoner” movie, and is about two friends who get wasted one night and can’t find their car the next day.

“’Salem’s Lot” is a 1979 two-part television miniseries adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. Starring David Soul, the miniseries was also edited down and released as a cinematic movie.

20 What’s on the agenda : ITEM

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

23 Cheese akin to cheddar : COLBY

Colby is a cheese that is similar to cheddar. It was developed in 1874 in a cheese factory near the Wisconsin village of Colby, hence the name.

Cheddar cheese takes its name from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Over 50% of the cheese sold in the UK is cheddar. Here in the US, cheddar is the second-most popular cheese sold, behind mozzarella.

24 “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” [2019] : “PARASITE”

“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” is a 1993 film adapted from a 1991 novel of the same name by Peter Hedges. The film stars Johnny Depp in the title role, and Leonardo DiCaprio as Gilbert’s mentally disabled brother.

“Parasite” is a 2019 comedy thriller movie from South Korea that became the nation’s highest-grossing film of all time. It was also the first movie not filmed in English to win the Oscar for Best Picture. I haven’t seen “Paradise” yet, but I hear great things from friends and family who have …

27 Wood strip : LATH

The words “lath” and “lattice” have the same root in Old French. Laths are thin strips of wood that are nailed across a frame forming a backing to which plaster can be applied to finish a wall. The term is also used for the main elements in a trellis, or the lengths of wood in a roof to which shingles are nailed.

28 Snazziness : ELAN

Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style, flair”.

30 Hill figure, for short : POL

The designer of Washington D.C., Pierre L’Enfant, chose the crest of a hill as the site for the future Congress House. He called the location “Jenkins Hill” and “Jenkins Heights”. Earlier records show the name as “New Troy”. Today we call it “Capitol Hill”.

32 Pal of Porthos and Aramis : ATHOS

Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although the hero of the novel is the trio’s young protégé D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for prowess with their swords.

35 Key of Beethoven’s “Eroica” : E-FLAT

Beethoven originally dedicated his “Symphony No. 3” to Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethoven admired the principles of the French Revolution and as such respected Bonaparte who was “born” out of the uprising. When Napoleon declared himself Emperor, Beethoven (and much of Europe) saw this as a betrayal to the ideals of the revolution so he changed the name of his new symphony from “Bonaparte” to “Eroica”, meaning “heroic, valiant”.

37 “Qué ___?” : PASA

In Spanish, ¿Qué pasa? translates literally as “what’s happening?” It is used to mean “how are things going for you?”.

38 “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” [1995] : “THE USUAL SUSPECTS”

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is a clever 1988 film featuring cartoon characters that interact directly with human beings. The most memorable cartoon characters have to be goofy Roger Rabbit, and vampish Jessica Rabbit. The film is based on a novel written by Gary K. Wolf called “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” There is a prequel floating around that has never been produced, which is titled “Who Discovered Roger Rabbit”.

“The Usual Suspects” is somewhat of a cult film now, released in 1995. The cast is amazing, including Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak and Kevin Spacey. The title comes from one of the most memorable lines in movie history, from the film “Casablanca”. In that 1942 movie, Captain Renault (played by Claude Rains) pronounces, “Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects.”

41 C.D. holders, maybe : IRAS

Individual retirement account (IRA)

A certificate of deposit (CD) is like a less-flexible and higher-paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period, one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.

43 Much-abbreviated Latin phrase : ID EST

“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.

44 NPR’s ___ Radio Hour : TED

“TED Radio Hour” is an NPR podcast hosted by Guy Raz that uses excerpts from prior TED Talks to examine various subjects of interest.

46 “Swans Reflecting Elephants,” e.g. : DALI

“Swans Reflecting Elephants” is a painting that Salvador Dali completed in 1937. The title is somewhat self-explanatory. The scene features some swans on a lake, along with their reflections. In the reflection the swans take on the appearance of elephants, with the swans’ necks becoming elephant trunks and wings becoming ears.

48 Spur : EGG ON

The verb “to edge” has been used to mean to incite, to urge on, from the 16th century. Somewhere along the way “edge” was mistakenly replaced with “egg”, giving us our term “to egg on” meaning “to goad”.

50 “How the West Was Won” [1969, 2010] : “TRUE GRIT”

“How the West Was Won” is an epic Western movie released in 1962. It follows the lives of a family through four generations, from 1830 to 1889. The family starts off in western New York, and ends up in San Francisco. The film is narrated by Spencer Tracy, and has a tremendous cast led by the likes of James Stewart, Gregory Peck, George Peppard and Henry Fonda.

The classic 1969 Western movie “True Grit” starring John Wayne is a screen adaptation of a 1968 novel by Charles Portis. The Coen brothers released another big screen adaption of the novel using the same title in 2010 starring Jeff Bridges in the Rooster Cogburn role previously played by John Wayne.

54 One of 150 in the Bible : PSALM

The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.

55 Award-winning Streep : MERYL

Meryl Streep has had more nominations for an Academy Award than any other actor, which is both a tribute to her talent and the respect she has earned in the industry. I am not a huge fan of her earlier works but some of her recent movies are now on my list of all-time favorites. I recommend “Mamma Mia!” (you’ll either love it or hate it!), “Julie & Julia”, “It’s Complicated” and ”Hope Springs”.

57 Hindu avatar : RAMA

In the Hindu tradition, the god known as Vishnu has several different avatars i.e. incarnations or manifestations. Rama is the seventh of these avatars.

58 “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” [1990] : “HOME ALONE”

“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is a 2000 comedy-drama written, produced and directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. It’s all about the three convicts who escape from a chain gang. Those convicts are played by George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson. Set in rural Mississippi, elements of the storyline are inspired by Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey”.

“Home Alone” is a 1990 film starring Macaulay Culkin that has become a Christmas classic. Culkin was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for his performance, becoming the youngest actor ever to be so honored.

62 “You said it, sister!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

63 Woody and Buzz’s owner in “Toy Story” : ANDY

In the 1995 Pixar hit “Toy Story”, the toys are owned by a boy named Andy Davis. Andy’s neighbor is a not-so-nice boy named Sid Phillips. Sid gets a big kick out of destroying and torturing his own toys, and those owned by others.

64 What was cool for a long time? : ICE AGE

Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.

Down

1 Sanjay of CNN : GUPTA

Sanjay Gupta is an American neurosurgeon who is best known as CNN’s chief medical correspondent. In 2009, Gupta was offered the post of Surgeon General in the Obama administration, but he declined.

5 “Fiddlesticks!” : DANG IT!

We’ve been using “fiddlesticks” to mean “nonsense” since the early 17th century. Prior to that time, “fiddlestick” referred to the bow of a fiddle.

9 Manhattan component : RYE

The cocktail called a manhattan is made from whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. I favor my own version of a brandy manhattan, using brandy, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.

14 Bon mot : QUIP

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

19 Thom ___ (shoe brand) : MCAN

Thom McAn footwear was introduced in 1922 by the Melville Corporation (now CVS Caremark). The brand was named after a Scottish golfer called Thomas McCann. The Thom McAn line is epitomized by the comfortable leather casual and dress shoe, so sales have really been hurt in recent decades by the growing popularity of sneakers.

26 Musical featuring the Jellicle Ball : CATS

Jellicle cats are the creation of T. S. Eliot in his unpublished poem “Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats”, with the title being a corruption of “poor little dogs and dear little cats”. Eliot later wrote another poem “The Song of the Jellicles”, which is included in his collection “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. Famously, this collection was the inspiration for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Cats”.

34 Psy-ops, say : HEAD GAMES

Psychological Operations (“PSYOP” or “psy-ops”) is a contemporary name for propaganda, the “winning of hearts and minds” in a combat zone.

37 Breeders’ documents : PEDIGREES

A genealogical chart showing the descent from an ancestor is branched and was once said to look like the footprint of a bird, a crane in fact. The Old French for “foot of a crane” is “pied de gru”, from which we get our word “pedigree”. Interesting …

45 Film that lost to “Green Book” for Best Picture : “ROMA”

The 2018 movie “Roma” won that season’s Oscar for Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), and in doing so became the first foreign-language film to win in that category. “Roma” was also the first Mexican entry to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

“Green Book” is a 2018 comedy film that is based on the true story of a 1962 tour of the Deep South by Florida-born classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley. Shirley, an African American, hires Italian-American bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga as his driver and bodyguard. I haven’t seen this one, but I hear that audiences and critics loved it …

47 Café order : AU LAIT

“Café au lait” (coffee with milk) is usually strong drip coffee to which one adds steamed milk. Well, that’s the way we tend to make it here in the US.

50 Low pocket pair in Texas hold ’em : TREYS

A trey is a three in a deck of cards. The term “trey” can also be used for a domino with three pips, and even for a three-point play in basketball.

52 P.R. concern : IMAGE

Public relations (PR)

53 Stun, in a way : TASE

Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

55 Like early Elvis records : MONO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers that are often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

Elvis Aron Presley (aka “the King”) was the younger of two identical twins. His brother was stillborn, and delivered 35 minutes before Elvis. The brother was named Jesse Garon Presley. So, although born a twin, Elvis was raised as an only child.

56 Codas : ENDS

In music, a coda is primarily a passage that brings a movement to a conclusion. “Coda” is Italian for “tail”.

59 Chocolate ___ : LAB

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814. The breed comes in three registered colors: black, yellow and chocolate.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Thymus, e.g. : GLAND
6 Man’s name that can follow “v” or “r” to form an English word : IGOR
10 Blown away : AWED
14 Food staple referred to as “the gold of the Incas” : QUINOA
15 PlayStation’s creator : SONY
16 Prego alternative : RAGU
17 Direction of some subway trains : UPTOWN
18 “Dude, Where’s My Car?” [1979] : “‘SALEM’S LOT”
20 What’s on the agenda : ITEM
21 Excessively showy : GAUDY
23 Cheese akin to cheddar : COLBY
24 “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” [2019] : “PARASITE”
26 Petulant retort : CAN SO!
27 Wood strip : LATH
28 Snazziness : ELAN
30 Hill figure, for short : POL
32 Pal of Porthos and Aramis : ATHOS
35 Key of Beethoven’s “Eroica” : E-FLAT
37 “Qué ___?” : PASA
38 “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” [1995] : “THE USUAL SUSPECTS”
41 C.D. holders, maybe : IRAS
42 Obsess in front of the mirror : PREEN
43 Much-abbreviated Latin phrase : ID EST
44 NPR’s ___ Radio Hour : TED
45 Memorization : ROTE
46 “Swans Reflecting Elephants,” e.g. : DALI
48 Spur : EGG ON
50 “How the West Was Won” [1969, 2010] : “TRUE GRIT”
54 One of 150 in the Bible : PSALM
55 Award-winning Streep : MERYL
57 Hindu avatar : RAMA
58 “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” [1990] : “HOME ALONE”
60 Settings for some courts : ARENAS
62 “You said it, sister!” : AMEN!
63 Woody and Buzz’s owner in “Toy Story” : ANDY
64 What was cool for a long time? : ICE AGE
65 Supermodel Holliday : TESS
66 Top dog : BOSS
67 One of a noted quintet : TASTE

Down

1 Sanjay of CNN : GUPTA
2 One of about five of blood in the average adult body : LITER
3 Out of the ordinary : ANOMALOUS
4 Partner of here : NOW
5 “Fiddlesticks!” : DANG IT!
6 Children, in legalese : ISSUE
7 Spur : GOAD
8 Word before child or human : ONLY …
9 Manhattan component : RYE
10 Firebug’s activity : ARSON
11 Room for art : WALL SPACE
12 Results of flattery : EGO BOOSTS
13 ___-free : DUTY
14 Bon mot : QUIP
19 Thom ___ (shoe brand) : MCAN
22 Fundamentally : AT HEART
25 Fresh stuff : SASS
26 Musical featuring the Jellicle Ball : CATS
28 “What ___?” : ELSE
29 Get a load of this! : LAUNDRY
31 Have legs, so to speak : LAST
32 Beavering away : AT IT
33 More than a couple : THREESOME
34 Psy-ops, say : HEAD GAMES
36 Scram : FLEE
37 Breeders’ documents : PEDIGREES
39 “___ reflection …” : UPON
40 Rug buyer’s consideration : PILE
45 Film that lost to “Green Book” for Best Picture : “ROMA”
47 Café order : AU LAIT
49 Valleys : GLENS
50 Low pocket pair in Texas hold ’em : TREYS
51 Charged : RAN AT
52 P.R. concern : IMAGE
53 Stun, in a way : TASE
54 Cool, ’90s-style : PHAT
55 Like early Elvis records : MONO
56 Codas : ENDS
59 Chocolate ___ : LAB
61 Elvis’s record label : RCA

12 thoughts on “0513-21 NY Times Crossword 13 May 21, Thursday”

  1. 14:52 Caught on to the theme with the 3rd movie – just needed crosses to help me to the answers. Started out with 1A as ORGAN and @Bill immediately described it as an organ so I feel a bit vindicated. This was pretty straightforward for a Thurs.

  2. 7:31. THREESOME for “more than a couple” made me chuckle. I always worry a bit about movie themes because I’m not a film buff, but fortunately none of the theme answers were obscure.

  3. 9:19, no errors. I quickly understood that the theme answers were movie titles, but I didn’t grok the Q-and-A thing until I was almost done. (At one point, I briefly contemplated the possibility that each clue/answer pair was a winner/loser pair in some Oscar year, so 45D gave me a false “aha” moment, but, soon after, I realized that there had to be another explanation. I think, at that point, the lights came on and the fog cleared.) In any case, once more … AWTEW … 😜. Very cute … 🙂.

  4. 13:17 as the NYT continues to assault my weak areas as they’ve been doing a lot lately. Maybe I just have too many of them. I did know some of the movies, but there were a lot I didn’t know.

    I tried sweetbreads in New Orleans once without knowing what they were. They were quite good actually, but I haven’t had them since for some reason….

    Origin of PEDIGREE is something I wouldn’t have imagined in a million years.

    Manhattans need to be made with bourbon IMO. For such a simple drink, it’s hard to find a decent one.

    Best –

  5. Not to worry Alaska Steve, I got ya covered in the slowpoke department with 32:44. My two biggest weaknesses in trivia are books and movies, so the movie references were of no help. 🙁

  6. No errors.. I picked up on the theme but some of movies were on tip of my tongue.. had to wait for crosses. Some of them I’ve never seen.

  7. 26 minutes. No errors etc. One thing that slowed me down was miss reading the clue for 21 across as “slowly” instead of “showy” . Old eyes.

  8. Just over 40 min. No errors….once I got Home Alone via crosses I got the theme.
    1 setter, 2 setters, now 2 setters and a whole class…what’s next?
    Stay safe😀

  9. Pretty easy and not very tricky for a Thursday.
    The best Manhattan is made with Bourbon and you can skip the bitters.

  10. 13:38, no errors. Did not see the connection for the theme clues until the end, so the theme was no help. I admire symmetry of the theme answers; and the discipline of the setters to use only symmetrically placed theme answers. I can see several other possibilities, for example 64A Frozen > ICE AGE; but they would break the simplicity of the Q&A theme, as well as its symmetry. Other movie titles I found in the grid: Tess; Igor; Boss; Head Games and Andy.

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