0522-21 NY Times Crossword 22 May 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Sid Sivakumar and Matthew Stock
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 21m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Take back, in a way : REPO

Repossession (repo)

14 Omega competitor : SEIKO

Watch manufacturer Seiko was founded as a watch and jewelry shop in Tokyo in 1881. The store was opened by one Kintaro Hattori, who started to produce clocks under the name Seikosha, which can be translated as “House of Exquisite Workmanship”. The first Seiko watches went on sale in 1924, and today the company suggests that the name “Seiko” is Japanese for “exquisite” and “success”.

Omega is a manufacturer of high-end watches based in Switzerland. An Omega watch was the first portable timepiece to make it to the moon, Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that James Bond has been wearing an Omega watch in the movies since 1995.

15 Something hitting a nerve? : AXON

A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron. The branched projections that receive electrochemical signals from other neurons are known as dendrites. The long nerve fiber that conducts signals away from the neuron is known as the axon. A neuron that has no definite axon is referred to as “apolar” or “nonpolar”. In apolar neurons the nerve impulses radiate in all directions.

16 Papyrus, e.g. : REED

The papyrus plant was commonly found in the Nile Delta of North Africa. The pith of the plant was used to make a thick paper-like material on which one could write. This writing material, which became known as papyrus (plural “papyri”), became a competitor for the most popular writing surface of the day known as parchment, which was made from animal skins.

21 Hoth, in “Star Wars” : ICE PLANET

The fictional planet known as Hoth is featured in the “Star Wars” movie “The Empire Strikes Back”. Hoth is an ice planet, and home to a secret base belonging to the Rebel Alliance.

24 Feudal figure : LIEGE

A liege was a feudal lord, one to whom service or allegiance was owed under feudal law. “Liege” was also the term used for one who owed allegiance or service to a lord. Apparently the term is influenced by the Latin verb “ligare” meaning “to tie, bind”. So, I guess both lord and servant were “bound” to each other.

26 Panegyric, e.g. : PRAISE

A panegyric was originally a formal speech made in public, the intent of which was to praise some person of some entity. Later, the term came to mean a laudatory verse, such as an ode. “Panegyris” is the Greek for “speech fit for a general assembly”.

42 Leaders at the Kaaba : IMAMS

An imam is a Muslim leader, and often the person in charge of a mosque and/or perhaps a Muslim community.

The Kaaba is a large, cube-shaped structure that resides in a mosque in Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. According to the Qur’an, the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham and his son, Ishmael. When Muslims turn to face Mecca during prayers, they are actually turning to the Kaaba.

46 Muscle worked in rowing exercises, for short : LAT

The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, and are the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.

48 Touches, e.g. : IPODS

The iPod Touch is a portable media player, personal digital assistant and gaming console with a Wi-Fi capability. Essentially, I think it’s a stripped-down version of an iPhone.

52 Many a Madrileño : SENOR

Madrid is the most populous city in Spain, and is the nation’s capital. It is located very close to the geographical center of the country. Madrid is the second-largest city in the European Union by population, after Berlin. People from Madrid called themselves Madrileños.

53 Enemy of Wonder Woman : ARES

Superhero Wonder Woman first appeared in print in 1941, in a publication from DC Comics. As she was created during WWII, Wonder Woman’s first foes were the axis powers. In the less realistic world her biggest foe was and still is Ares, a “baddie” named after the Greek mythological figure. Wonder Woman had several signature expressions, including “Merciful Minerva!”, “Suffering Sappho!” and “Great Hera!”. She also has several devices that she uses in her quest for justice, e.g. the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets and a tiara that can be used as a deadly projectile. Wonder Woman uses the name “Diana Prince” when “out of uniform”.

55 Certain Caribbean, informally : TRINI

A Trini is a person from the island of Trinidad, located off the coast of Venezuela.

Trinidad and Tobago is a republic in the southern Caribbean that largely comprises the two main islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Something related to Trinidad is Trinidadian.

57 What might help you get out of a rough spot? : IRON

That would be golf.

Down

4 Start of a modern inquiry : OK GOOGLE …

Google Assistant is a virtual assistant that can engage in two-way conversation. Google Assistant competes with Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

5 Drink similar to sarsaparilla : ROOT BEER

Root beer is a beverage that is very North American, and is rarely found elsewhere in the world. Root beer originated in the 1700s and was made from the root of the sassafras plant. The traditional root beer was a beverage with a very low alcohol content, and today there are many versions that contain no alcohol at all. The sassafras root was used as the primary flavor ingredient right up until 1960, when the FDA banned its use as tests determined that it was a carcinogen.

6 Co-star of 1984’s “Ghostbusters” : RAMIS

Harold Ramis was a real all-rounder; a very successful actor, director and writer. Indeed, in both “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes” he was a co-writer as well as playing a lead character. Ramis worked as writer-director on “Caddyshack”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, “Groundhog Day” and “Analyze This”.

1984’s “Ghostbusters” really is an entertaining movie. It stars Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, and was directed by Ivan Reitman (a trio that also worked together on 1981’s “Stripes”). The first draft of the screenplay was written by another star of the movie, Dan Aykroyd. Aykroyd originally envisioned “Ghostbusters” as a vehicle for himself and John Belushi, but sadly Belushi passed away before the project could be realized.

10 Designer with an eponymous hotel in the Burj Khalifa : ARMANI

Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer and founder of the company that has borne his name since 1975. Although Armani is famous for his menswear, the company makes everything from jewelry to perfume.

Burj Khalifa is a spectacular skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest man-made structure in the world, and has been so since the completion of its exterior in 2009. The space in the building came onto the market at a really bad time, during the global financial crisis. The building was part of a US$20 billion development of downtown Dubai that was backed by the city government which had to go looking for a bailout from the neighboring city of Abu Dhabi. The tower was given the name Burj Khalifa at the last minute, apparently as a nod to UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who helped to broker the bailout.

11 Currency units in West Africa : LEONES

Leones are the currency of Sierra Leone. The Leone was introduced in 1964 to replace the British West African pound. The move was a practical one, as the Leone is a decimal currency and replaces the old British system of pounds, shillings and pence.

13 “Golden Boy” playwright : ODETS

“Golden Boy” is a play written by Clifford Odets that was first performed in 1937 on Broadway. There was a film adaptation released in 1939 that starred a young William Holden. “Golden Boy” was the film that launched Holden’s career.

19 Actress Shawkat of “Arrested Development” : ALIA

Alia Shawkat is an actor who might be best known for playing Maeby Fünke on the sitcom “Arrested Development”. Shawkat is best friends with fellow actor Elliot Page (formerly Ellen Page), whom she met while filming the 2009 movie “Whip It”.

28 Great Hindu sage : MAHARISHI

A maharishi is a Hindu guru or spiritual teacher. “Maharishi” is derived from Sanskrit for “great seer”.

29 Late-Triassic flier : PTEROSAUR

The prefixes “pter-” and “ptero-” mean “pertaining to a wing or a feather”, and come from the Greek word “pteron” (feather). Examples of use would be in the words “pterosaur” and “pterodactyl”.

The Triassic period lasted from about 250 to 200 million years ago. It was during the Triassic that dinosaurs first appeared. A major extinction event at the end of the Triassic that allowed dinosaurs to dominate the landscape throughout the subsequent Jurassic period.

32 “100 Years … 100 Stars” and others, in brief : AFI LISTS

The American Film Institute (AFI) was founded in 1967 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). One of the AFI’s more visible programs is the “100 Year Series”, including lists of Best Movies in several categories and a list of the Best Movie Quotes in 100 years of movie-making.

33 The world’s largest desert capital, after Cairo, Egypt : LIMA, PERU

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem. Lima is home to the oldest university in all of the Americas, as San Marco University was founded in 1551 during the days of Spanish colonial rule.

38 Deity that becomes a given name when its fifth letter is moved to the front : AMON-RA

Amun-Ra (also “Amon, Amen”) was a god in Egyptian mythology. Amun lends his name to our word “ammonia”. This is because the Romans called the ammonium chloride that they collected near the Temple of Jupiter Amun, “sal ammoniacus” (salt of Amun).

41 So-called “Land of a Million Elephants” : LAOS

The present-day nation of Laos can trace its roots back to the historic Lao kingdom of Lan Xang that existed from 1354 to 1707. The full name of the kingdom was “Lan Xang Hom Khao”, which translates as “The Land of a Million Elephants and the White Parasol”.

44 Words not everyone understands : LINGO

Lingo is specialized vocabulary. Journalese and legalese would be good examples.

50 Indian honorifics : SRIS

“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Regarding : AS FOR
6 Take back, in a way : REPO
10 Start of an aside : ALSO …
14 Omega competitor : SEIKO
15 Something hitting a nerve? : AXON
16 Papyrus, e.g. : REED
17 “Take me with you!” : I’LL GO!
18 Begin flirting with someone, so to speak : MAKE A MOVE
20 Assign : ALLOT
21 Hoth, in “Star Wars” : ICE PLANET
22 ___ rule : MOB
23 They don’t hold water : STRAINERS
24 Feudal figure : LIEGE
26 Panegyric, e.g. : PRAISE
27 Sci-fi enemy collective, perhaps : EVIL EMPIRE
31 Ones born beginning in the early 2010s : GENERATION ALPHA
37 They might cut to the chase : HEIST FILMS
38 Electrically balanced, in chemistry : APOLAR
42 Leaders at the Kaaba : IMAMS
43 “Things are going great for me!” : I’M ON A ROLL!
46 Muscle worked in rowing exercises, for short : LAT
47 Portmanteau coinage for the uneducated and uncultured : BOOBOISIE
48 Touches, e.g. : IPODS
51 Special pawn move in chess : EN PASSANT
52 Many a Madrileño : SENOR
53 Enemy of Wonder Woman : ARES
54 Best Picture-nominated 2011 film based on a children’s book : HUGO
55 Certain Caribbean, informally : TRINI
56 Self-___ : MADE
57 What might help you get out of a rough spot? : IRON
58 Is just awful : SUCKS

Down

1 Home to 41-Down : ASIA
2 Convince : SELL
3 “I wanna know all the details” : FILL ME IN
4 Start of a modern inquiry : OK GOOGLE …
5 Drink similar to sarsaparilla : ROOT BEER
6 Co-star of 1984’s “Ghostbusters” : RAMIS
7 Right on : EXACT
8 Aces with aces? : POKER PROS
9 Like some households : ONE-PARENT
10 Designer with an eponymous hotel in the Burj Khalifa : ARMANI
11 Currency units in West Africa : LEONES
12 Grievous : SEVERE
13 “Golden Boy” playwright : ODETS
19 Actress Shawkat of “Arrested Development” : ALIA
24 Assignment for an anchor : LEG
25 “___ noticed …” : I’VE
28 Great Hindu sage : MAHARISHI
29 Late-Triassic flier : PTEROSAUR
30 It can be found right on a clock : III
32 “100 Years … 100 Stars” and others, in brief : AFI LISTS
33 The world’s largest desert capital, after Cairo, Egypt : LIMA, PERU
34 Like a relationship with an ex, maybe : PLATONIC
35 Utterance while chewing on a pencil : HMM …
36 One often sent packing? : ASS
38 Deity that becomes a given name when its fifth letter is moved to the front : AMON-RA
39 Beat : POOPED
40 Looking to steal, say : ON BASE
41 So-called “Land of a Million Elephants” : LAOS
43 Building support : I-BEAM
44 Words not everyone understands : LINGO
45 Intimate : LET ON
49 Hit on the head, in slang : DONK
50 Indian honorifics : SRIS

13 thoughts on “0522-21 NY Times Crossword 22 May 21, Saturday”

  1. 15:25. Pretty happy with that time for a fairly difficult puzzle with a pleasing grid. The SW slowed me down the most, as I was only vaguely familiar with EN PASSANT and have never heard the term BOOBOISIE.

    1. Now that I look more closely at the grid, I can almost see a Swastika in it – especially 3D-5D hitting 31A, taking a hard right until 32D-34D and then taking a turn southward. Not quite so much in the SW to NE direction.

      But then again, maybe I’m just seeing things.

      1. I don’t really see it. In any case, I meant that the grid is more like a traditional Saturday with big corner quadrants and not too much overlap between them.

  2. 23:20 with one lookup. With my first pass I had maybe 5-6 entries then somehow I was 1/2 done in 7 minutes. Guess I was ONAROLL, but then the NE corner was almost completely blank and last to fall. I had PSST for my aside and got stymied there.
    For 49D I had BONK, then CONK, finally DONK – just needed an alphabet run.
    Unfamiliar with 31A and 47A

  3. 14:28, no errors. DONK certainly gave me pause, but the crosses seemed solid. After the fact, I did manage to find a reference to the word online, but I don’t think it’s all that common. Maybe people just like the “ONK” sound?

    (BONK, CONK, DONK, HONK, WONK, and ZONK seem to be taken, but a lot of the rest are up for grabs … any takers? 😜)

  4. 28:37…but with a few lookups. Totally out of sync today and surprised it only took a few peeks at the answer grid. Kudos to those who got this one!

  5. 28:19. Doing this one 2 weeks late as I was out of town when it came out originally. Not too bad except in a few spots.

    BOOBOISIE? Really?? I might have to start using that one.

    Best –

  6. Too many variants for me.. I crashed and burned on several. But they sound like they could work anyway with all the LINGO being used… that SW corner did me in. The one I didn’t get but makes the most sense is POOP(ed)…. ha!

  7. A few letters away from cracking this tough egg, stymied by a tag team of constructors. I’ve been on a Fri/Sat roll but am now properly humbled.

  8. Take one NYT Saturday puzzle, add in two setters and a pinch of foreign crap and it all equals one DNF👎👎👎👎
    The entire SE corner was blank.
    Hats off to the big boys with the great times😀
    Stay safe😀

  9. Nobody complaining about “54 Best Picture-nominated 2011 film based on a children’s book : HUGO”
    Film was 2011, but nominated in 2012………
    Just plain misleading.

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