0515-21 NY Times Crossword 15 May 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Sam Trabucco
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 22m 42s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Event with kings and queens : DRAG SHOW

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

9 Avon lady, for one : BRITON

There are actually four rivers called the Avon in England, but “Shakespeare’s Avon” lies mainly in Warwickshire, and so is sometimes known as the Warwickshire Avon. The name “Avon” comes from the Old English word “abona” meaning “river”. Stratford-upon-Avon was the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

17 Put off paying, say : OPEN A 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.

19 “Dumb and Dumber” duo : SILENT BS

The two letter Bs in the movie title “Dumb and Dumber” are silent letter Bs.

“Dumb and Dumber” is a 1994 comedy starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as two pretty dumb guys, Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne. There was a prequel released in 2003 titled “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd”, and a sequel in 2011 called “Dumb and Dumber To”.

20 Odorless hydrocarbon : ETHANE

Ethane is the second largest component of natural gas after methane. Ethane’s main use is in the production of ethylene, a compound that is widely used in the chemical industry.

21 Runs or walks : STAT

That would be baseball.

24 Dome of Notre-Dame? : TETE

In French, the “tête” (head) is the top of “le corps” (the body).

Notre-Dame de Paris is the spectacular Gothic cathedral that sits on the Île de la Cité, one of the islands in the middle of the River Seine in Paris. Notre Dame is home to many beautiful and significant artifacts, the most famous of which is the Crown of Thorns supposedly worn by Jesus Christ at his execution, placed in the cathedral in 1239. It’s also home to some magnificent gargoyles on the roof, and you can climb up to the roof and take a very close look at them. Well, you used to be able to, until the tragic fire of 2019.

25 Iconic sports cars, for short : ‘VETTES

The Chevrolet Corvette was introduced to the world in 1953, and was named after the small maneuverable warship called a corvette. The “Vette” has legs. It is the only American sports car that has been around for over 50 years.

29 Worked in Starbuck’s business : WHALED

The most famous whale-hunting ship in fiction has to be Herman Melville’s Pequod, which is featured in his novel “Moby Dick”. The Pequod is skippered by the maniacal Captain Ahab, and the young chief mate is the thoughtful and intellectual Starbuck. Starbuck’s name was lifted and used by the Seattle-based coffee company.

35 Co-star of TV’s “thirtysomething” : KEN OLIN

Ken Olin was one of the stars on the hit television series “thirtysomething”, playing Michael Steadman. After “thirtysomething”, Olin moved behind the camera and is now a producer and director.

37 Terra firma : DRY LAND

“Terra firma” is Latin for “solid ground”.

38 Apocalyptic event in Norse mythology : RAGNAROK

“Ragnarök” is the name given to a set of events in Norse mythology that resulted in the deaths of many famous gods, including Odin and Thor.

40 Revises : EMENDS

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

46 Word on a Champagne bottle : BRUT

Sparkling wines can be classified according to sweetness. These classifications are, from driest to sweetest:

  • Brut Nature
  • Extra Brut
  • Brut
  • Extra Dry
  • Dry
  • Semi-Dry
  • Sweet

47 Triangular sails : JIBS

A jib is a triangular sail that is set at the bow of a sailboat.

51 “___ Twain” (platinum album of 1993) : SHANIA

Shania Twain is a country and pop singer from Windsor, Ontario. Shania’s birth name is “Eileen Edwards”, and this changed to “Eilleen Twain” when her mother remarried. Twain changed her name to Shania in the early 1990s, around the same time that her musical career started to take off.

53 iPhone on display at an Apple Store, e.g. : DEMO UNIT

The technical support desk found in Apple Retail Stores is rather inventively called the Genius Bar. The certified support technicians are known as “Geniuses”. The trainees are called GYOs: Grow-Your-Own-Geniuses.

57 Fixed : SPAYED

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”.

58 Moonstone, for Florida : STATE GEM

Moonstone is a mineral that often has numerous colors, with light reflecting internally within the stone. It’s this unique visual effect that gives the gem the name of moonstone.

Down

1 Rubbish : DROSS

When metals are smelted, there is a scum made up of impurities that floats on the surface of the molten metal. This scum is called “dross” and is drawn off and discarded. The term “dross” has come to mean any waste or impure matter.

3 What’s on the fast track? : ACELA

The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, as it gets up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Introduced in 2000, the brand name “Acela” was created to evoke “acceleration” and “excellence”.

4 “The Balcony” playwright Jean : GENET

Jean Genet was a French playwright and novelist. Before he turned to writing, Genet was a homeless person with a criminal record. His debut novel was 1943’s “Notre-Dame-des-Fleur” (Our Lady of the Flowers), which is largely autobiographical and tells of a man’s life in the underworld of Paris.

5 Lead-in to son or song : SWAN-

The phrase “swan song” is used for a final gesture, a last performance. The expression derives from an ancient belief that swans are silent for most of their lives, but sing a beautiful song just before they die.

8 Safari destination : WEBSITE

Safari is Apple’s flagship Internet browser, one that is used on its Mac line of computers. A mobile version of Safari is included with all iPhones.

9 Who defeated Holyfield to become the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1992 : BOWE

Riddick Bowe is a former professional boxer from Brooklyn, New York. Bowe was Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1992. A few years later Bowe retired from boxing to join the US Marines. However, after just 11 days of basic training Bowe asked to quit, and the Marine Corps came into a lot of criticism for acceding to his request.

Evander Holyfield is a professional boxer from Atmore, Alabama. Holyfield was Undisputed World Champion twice over, once as a cruiserweight and then as a heavyweight. Since retiring, Holyfield has stayed in the limelight. He competed in “Dancing with the Stars” in 2005, and “Celebrity Big Brother (UK)” in 2014.

10 Butler in the old South : RHETT

In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, when Rhett Butler finally walks out on Scarlett O’Hara he utters the words “My dear, I don’t give a damn”. Most of us are more familiar with the slightly different words spoken by Clark Gable in the film adaption of the story: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

26 Halal cart fare, informally : STREET MEAT

“Halal” is a term describing an action or object that is permissible under Islamic Law. In particular “halal” is used to describe food that can be consumed. Anything that is not allowed is described as “haram”.

29 Sitcom station : WKRP

The sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” was produced by MTM, the production company established by Mary Tyler Moore and her husband for the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. “WKRP” was a successful enough show when it originally aired, but then became a blockbuster in syndication. It became MTM’s most-watched program, even outstripping the original “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”.

30 Where some sweaters hang : HEALTH SPA

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

31 Pet breed from Turkey : ANGORA CAT

The Turkish Angora is a breed of domestic cat that is often called simply an Angora or Ankara cat. The Angora is particularly prized for its white coat, although the breed can come in a variety of colors.

32 Sight from Big Ben : LONDON EYE

The London Eye is a very large Ferris wheel that sits right beside the River Thames in London. It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and was the tallest in the world when it was constructed in 1999. The London Eye is the most-visited paid tourist attraction in the whole country.

“Big Ben” is the name commonly used for the large bell in the Clock Tower (“Elizabeth Tower” since 2012) of the Palace of Westminster (aka “Houses of Parliament”). Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell, and there is some debate about the origins of the nickname. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall who supervised the bell’s installation, or perhaps the English heavyweight champion of the day Benjamin Caunt. Big Ben fell silent in 2017 to make way for four years of maintenance and repair work to the clock’s mechanism and the tower.

34 ___ disease : LYME

Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is becoming more and more common. The condition takes its name from the town of Lyme, Connecticut where several cases were diagnosed in 1975. Humans catch the disease when bitten by infected ticks. If caught early enough, the disease is usually treated successfully with antibiotics.

36 One getting pwned in online gaming : NOOB

“Noob” is a not-so-nice slang term for a “newbie”, and often refers to someone who is new to an online community.

39 Language spoken in Iraq : KURDISH

Most of the Kurdish people live in a region known as Kurdistan, which stretches into parts of Iran, Syria, Turkey as well as northern Iraq.

43 ___ Vallarta (popular gay vacation destination) : PUERTO

Puerto Vallarta is a resort city in Mexico on the Pacific Ocean. The name “Vallarta” comes from a former governor of the state, Ignacio Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta partly got on the map as a resort after the filming of the 1963 John Huston film “The Night of the Iguana”. There was a lot of publicity surrounding the making of the movie as Richard Burton brought Elizabeth Taylor to the shoot, with whom he was having an extramarital affair at the time.

45 Where a “houseboat” is a banana split : DINER

Diner lingo, the verbal slang used by the staff, can be very colorful. Here are a few examples:

  • Adam & Eve on a raft: two poached eggs on toast
  • Adam & Eve on a raft & wreck ’em: two scrambled eggs on toast
  • Burn one: put a hamburger on the grill
  • Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it: hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion
  • Down: on toast
  • Whiskey down: on rye toast

47 Southern refreshment : JULEP

A mint julep is a bourbon-based cocktail that is associated with the American South, and with the Kentucky Derby in particular. If you’d like to make yourself a mint julep, one recipe is:

  • 3 oz of Bourbon
  • 4-6 sprigs of mint
  • granulated sugar to taste

48 ___ Montoya, swordsman in “The Princess Bride” : INIGO

In the William Goldsmith novel “The Princess Bride”, the title character is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws that includes fencing master Inigo Montoya. In the 1987 film adaptation, Montoya is played by Mandy Patinkin.

49 “Carmen” composer : BIZET

Georges Bizet was a French composer active in the Romantic era. Bizet’s most famous work has to be his opera “Carmen”. “Carmen” initially received a lukewarm reception from the public, even though his fellow composers had nothing but praise for it. Sadly, Bizet died very young at only 36, before he could see “Carmen’s” tremendous success.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Event with kings and queens : DRAG SHOW
9 Avon lady, for one : BRITON
15 Beverage such as huangjiu or cheongju : RICE WINE
16 “We absolutely aren’t doing that!” : OH NO! NO!
17 Put off paying, say : OPEN A TAB
18 What might go through the wringer : WET MOP
19 “Dumb and Dumber” duo : SILENT BS
20 Odorless hydrocarbon : ETHANE
21 Runs or walks : STAT
22 Willing participant? : HEIR
24 Dome of Notre-Dame? : TETE
25 Iconic sports cars, for short : ‘VETTES
27 Jolly laugh : HO HO!
29 Worked in Starbuck’s business : WHALED
33 Patronize farm stands and farmer’s markets, say : EAT LOCAL
35 Co-star of TV’s “thirtysomething” : KEN OLIN
37 Terra firma : DRY LAND
38 Apocalyptic event in Norse mythology : RAGNAROK
40 Revises : EMENDS
41 Lumber : PLOD
42 Locks you pick? : TOUPEE
44 Took some steps : TROD
46 Word on a Champagne bottle : BRUT
47 Triangular sails : JIBS
51 “___ Twain” (platinum album of 1993) : SHANIA
53 iPhone on display at an Apple Store, e.g. : DEMO UNIT
55 Rise : ASCEND
56 “You don’t need to tell me …” : I REALIZE …
57 Fixed : SPAYED
58 Moonstone, for Florida : STATE GEM
59 No fans : HATERS
60 Hip joints : HOTSPOTS

Down

1 Rubbish : DROSS
2 Smack a baseball hard : RIP IT
3 What’s on the fast track? : ACELA
4 “The Balcony” playwright Jean : GENET
5 Lead-in to son or song : SWAN
6 Drop down suddenly : HIT THE DIRT
7 With money at stake : ON A BET
8 Safari destination : WEBSITE
9 Who defeated Holyfield to become the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1992 : BOWE
10 Butler in the old South : RHETT
11 Short : IN THE HOLE
12 Incapable fighter, in boxing slang : TOMATO CAN
13 Start of a two-part thought : ON ONE HAND …
14 Informal denial : NOPE
23 Perceptive sense : READ
25 Soccer star Carlos : VELA
26 Halal cart fare, informally : STREET MEAT
28 Mother and father, slangily, with “the” : … OLDS
29 Sitcom station : WKRP
30 Where some sweaters hang : HEALTH SPA
31 Pet breed from Turkey : ANGORA CAT
32 Sight from Big Ben : LONDON EYE
34 ___ disease : LYME
36 One getting pwned in online gaming : NOOB
39 Language spoken in Iraq : KURDISH
43 ___ Vallarta (popular gay vacation destination) : PUERTO
45 Where a “houseboat” is a banana split : DINER
47 Southern refreshment : JULEP
48 ___ Montoya, swordsman in “The Princess Bride” : INIGO
49 “Carmen” composer : BIZET
50 Sticks in the mud? : STEMS
51 It’s fit for a queen : SASH
52 Puts on : ADDS
54 Overnight ___ (trendy breakfast) : OATS

11 thoughts on “0515-21 NY Times Crossword 15 May 21, Saturday”

  1. 29:49. Several clever clues stumped me for a while, especially in the NW. I kept thinking 15A would be types of tea. Also had HEAD for 23D for a long time – as in “she has a head for this sort of thing”. 7D was ONABET and just 4 clues later was already INTHEHOLE. Guess the bet didn’t go so well. Also had TRASH for the longest time. Once I landed on DROSS, then the rest started to fall. Clever clue for 42A and 8D.

  2. 11:08. Originally had RAGNOROK (despite having seen “Thor: Ragnarok” many times, as it is my favorite Marvel movie). And Ididn’t know VELA or KEN OLIN, so it took me a minute or so to get that area straight. Tough cluing and a more traditional Saturday-style grid that we’ve seen in a while. Good puzzle.

  3. My final letter turned out to be the “L” at the intersection of Carlos VELA (of whom I had never heard) and KEN OLIN (a name I have seen that didn’t come readily to mind); to my shame, I tried several other letters first. By the time I finally put in the “L”, the elapsed time was 21:13 and my first thought was, “KENO LIN? Who’s that?!?” Silly me … 😜.

    So … 21:13, with a one-square error … I’ll take it … 🤪.

    And, to salve my bruised ego, I would observe that, last night, along with this puzzle, I did several others, three of which – yesterday’s Croce, today’s Newsday (a non-Stumper-they-say), and a BEQ “Marching Bands” from 2005 – were pretty brutal and I did them without any errors. So there, puzzle-makers, nyah-nyah-nyah … 😜.

  4. 30:51. All kinds of things I didn’t know here but somehow managed to finish. Same plight as most comments above especially in the NW.

    I read SILENT BS a bit differently from its intended meaning. My only thought was – it wasn’t SILENT, but it was indeed……well anyway..

    I am not now nor have I ever been a fan of Jim Carey. The guy is fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

    Good tough one today –

    Best –

  5. 24:58, no errors. Surprised and happy for an error free fill. Coming within a couple minutes of Bill’s time is icing on the cake.

  6. Just over an hour with 3 errors…typical Saturday NYT result for me👎
    Stay safe😀
    Has anyone ever heard of 12D?

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