0525-21 NY Times Crossword 25 May 21, Tuesday

Constructed by: Kristian House & Mike Dockins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) !!!!

Themed answers are common idiomatic expressions used as exclamations:

  • 20A “Really?!” : I DON’T BELIEVE IT!
  • 24A “Impo-o-ossible!” : NO FRIGGIN’ WAY!
  • 45A “Oh, come on now!” : GET OUTTA HERE!
  • 53A “How ridiculous!” : THAT’S CRAZY TALK!

Bill’s time: 7m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Lead-in to fall : PRAT-

“Prat” is a relatively new word for me, and is a slang term for the buttocks. A “prat-fall” is when someone falls and lands on the buttocks.

9 Expensive Super Bowl purchases : TV ADS

The Super Bowl is used for high-profile advertising because of the high viewership numbers. For example, Super Bowl XLIX (2015) had an average audience of 114 million viewers, making it the most-watched American TV program in history.

14 Actress Reid of “Sharknado” : TARA

Tara Reid is an actress known for roles she played on television and the big screen. My guess is that her best-known performances were in the “American Pie” series of movies in which she played Vicky. Sadly, Reid succumbed to the pressure to alter her looks with plastic surgery. In interviews, she has shared that her first experience under the knife “went wrong” leading to more surgeries in attempts to rectify the resulting deformity.

“Sharknado” is a 2013 tongue-in-cheek disaster movie that was made for the Syfy television channel. The basis of the plot is a freak hurricane that hits Los Angeles, resulting in a flood that leaves man-eating sharks roaming the city. I don’t think so …

15 Timber wolf : LOBO

The timber wolf is also known as the gray wolf, tundra wolf or lobo.

16 Snookums : HONEY

The term of endearment “snookums” comes from the family name “Snooks”. Snooks was a name used in Britain in the 1800s for some hypothetical, unknown individual (as we would use the name “Joe Blow” today).

22 First hit by the Moody Blues (whose title ends with an exclamation point) : GO NOW!

The song “Go Now” was written by Larry Banks and Milton Bennett, and first recorded by Larry’s wife Bessie Banks in 1962. The most famous version of the song was recorded by the Moody Blues, and released in the US in 1965 as “Go Now!” The exclamation point in the Moody Blues title wasn’t on the original song.

35 Capital of West Germany : BONN

After WWII, Bonn was chosen as the capital of West Germany. That choice was promoted by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who was from the area. After German reunification, the nation’s capital was moved to Berlin.

36 Party line? : CONGA

The conga line is a dance that originated as a Cuban carnival march. It became popular in the US starting in the thirties. The dance is apparently named after the Congo region of Africa, and it was originated by slaves who were brought from there to Cuba.

37 Tech sch. in Troy, N.Y. : RPI

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private school in Troy, New York. The university is named after its founder Stephen Van Rensselaer who set up the school in 1824. The goal of RPI has always been the “application of science to the common purposes of life”, an objective set by the founder. Given that, the name for the school’s sports teams is quite apt: the Engineers.

41 The Jetsons’ dog : ASTRO

“The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it debuted in 1963 on ABC, “The Jetsons” was the network’s first ever color broadcast. “The Jetsons” is like a space-age version of “The Flintstones”. The four Jetson family members are George and Jane, the parents, and children Judy and Elroy. Residing with the family in Orbit City are their household robot Rosie and pet dog Astro.

43 Handicraft website : 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.

44 Bouts of crying, say : JAGS

The word “jag” is used to describe periods of unrestrained activity, particularly involving alcohol, and has been in use since the 1800s.

60 Singer Brickell : EDIE

Edie Brickell is a singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas. Brickell has been married to fellow singer Paul Simon since 1991.

61 Throng : HORDE

A horde is a large crowd. “Horde” ultimately derives from the Turkish “ordu” meaning “camp, army”.

63 Tear down : RAZE

To raze (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “raise”, a homophone of “raze”, means “build up”.

64 Rival of Hydrox cookies : OREOS

The Oreo cookie was introduced in 1912. The Oreo was intended to be a competitor to the very similar Hydrox cookie which had debuted four years earlier. The Oreo won the resulting battle on the grocery store shelves …

65 Part of the body mentioned in “Oh! Susanna” : KNEE

“Oh! Susanna” is a song that was published in 1848, written by Stephen Foster. The song is often called “Banjo on My Knee”, an understandable slip given the words of the chorus. “Oh! Susanna” came to be associated with the Forty-Niners, the miners who traveled to California in the 1849 Gold Rush. The lyrics were changed to suit the Gold rush theme with “Alabama” being replaced by “California”, and “banjo” being replaced by “washpan”.

66 E.R.A. or R.B.I. : STAT

Those would be baseball stats.

Down

1 Cartoonist William who created Shrek : STEIG

Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” that was authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

3 First noble gas to be discovered : ARGON

The chemical element argon has the symbol Ar. Argon is a noble gas, and so by definition is relatively nonreactive. The name “argon” comes from the Greek word for “lazy, inactive”. There’s a lot of argon around, as it is the third-most abundant gas in our atmosphere.

5 Commoner : PLEB

In ancient Rome, the patricians were the members of the families in the ruling classes. Those Romans who were not patricians by birth were known as plebs.

7 ___ Prize, annual award in mathematics : ABEL

The Abel Prize is awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of mathematics. It has been presented annually by the King of Norway since 2001, and is sometimes described as “the mathematician’s Nobel Prize”.

8 Literature Nobelist Morrison : TONI

Writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for coining the phrase “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.

9 Longtime singing competition hosted by Carson Daly : THE VOICE

“The Voice” is yet another reality television show. It is a singing competition in which the judges hear the contestants without seeing them in the first round. The judges then take on chosen contestants as coaches for the remaining rounds. “The Voice” is a highly successful worldwide franchise that originated in the Netherlands as “The Voice of Holland”.

Carson Daly is a radio and television personality who is perhaps best known today as host of the reality show “The Voice”. If you stay up late enough on New Year’s Eve, you might also know him from NBC’s “New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly”.

12 Bug repellent ingredient : DEET

“DEET” is short for “N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide”, an active ingredient in insect repellents. DEET is most often used to repel mosquitoes by applying it to the skin and/or clothing. It is also used to protect against tick bites.

13 Country once joined with Egypt as the United Arab Republic: Abbr. : SYR

The United Arab Republic (UAR) was a union between Egypt and Syria established in 1958. The UAR dissolved in 1961 when Syria pulled out of the arrangement.

19 North Atlantic shipping menace : BERG

An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that is floating freely after having broken away from a glacier or ice shelf. Our use of “iceberg” comes from the Dutch word for the same phenomenon “ijsberg”, which translates literally as “ice mountain”.

21 Start of every ZIP code in Washington, D.C. : TWO …

ZIP codes were introduced in 1963. The acronym “ZIP” stands for “Zone Improvement Plan”, a name indicating that mail travels more efficiently when the codes are included in the postal address.

25 Clarice Starling’s employer in “The Silence of the Lambs,” in brief : FBI

“The Silence of the Lambs” is a 1991 psychological drama based on a novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. Jodie Foster plays FBI trainee Clarice Starling, and Anthony Hopkins plays the creepy cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. “The Silence of the Lambs” swept the Big Five Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay) for that year, being only the third movie ever to do so. The other two so honored were “It Happened One Night” (1934) and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975).

26 Thesaurus eponym : ROGET

Peter Mark Roget was an English lexicographer. Roget was an avid maker of lists, apparently using the routine of list-making to combat depression, a condition he endured for most of his life. He published his famous thesaurus in 1852, with revisions and expansions being made years later by his son, and then in turn by his grandson.

The first person to use the term “thesaurus” to mean a “collection of words arranged according to sense” was Roget in 1852, when he used it for the title of his most famous work. Up to that point in time, a thesaurus was basically an encyclopedia. Before being used with reference to books, a thesaurus was a storehouse or treasury, coming from the Latin “thesaurus” meaning “treasury, treasure”.

27 Photo-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

29 New York Liberty’s org. : WNBA

The New York Liberty was founded in 1997 and was one the original eight teams to play in the WNBA. The franchise is based in Newark, New Jersey.

31 Turns sharply, as an aircraft : YAWS

The word “yaw” means to deviate from the line of a course and is used mainly at sea and in the air. “Yaw” is derived from the Old Norse word “jaege” which means “to drive, chase”. As such, “yaw” is etymologically related to our word “yacht”.

33 Quiet place to pray : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

39 Harsh cleaning agent : LYE

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide (NaOH), although historically the term “lye” was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

42 Soccer superstar Cristiano : RONALDO

Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional soccer player from Portugal who is often referred to as the finest player in the world. Ronaldo spent five years playing in the UK with Manchester United, and then relocated to Spain to play for Real Madrid starting in 2009.

46 Thomas Hardy title heroine : TESS

The full name of Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel is “Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented”. When it was originally published, “Tess …” received very mixed reviews, largely because it addressed some difficult sexual themes including rape, and sexual double standards (attitudes towards men vs women). I suppose the most celebrated screen adaptation is Roman Polanski’s “Tess” released in 1979. Polanski apparently made “Tess” because his wife, Sharon Tate, gave him Hardy’s novel as her last act before she was murdered by the Manson family. There is a dedication at the beginning of the movie that just says “To Sharon”.

51 Doolittle of “Pygmalion” : ELIZA

George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was “‘Enry ‘Iggins”.

52 Sport with clay targets : SKEET

There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:

  • Skeet shooting
  • Trap shooting
  • Sporting clays

53 God who wields the hammer Mjölnir : THOR

The hammer associated with the Norse god Thor is known as Mjölnir. The name “Mjölnir” translates as “crusher”.

54 “This Gun for ___” (film noir classic) : HIRE

“This Gun for Hire” is a 1942 movie based on a 1936 novel by Graham Greene. The big headliner in this film noir is femme fatale Veronica Lake, but the movie is perhaps best remembered for providing Alan Ladd’s breakthrough role.

56 Pompeii, e.g. : RUIN

The ancient city of Pompeii is situated close to Naples in Italy. Pompeii was destroyed in AD 79 by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. The city was completely lost from that time, and was only rediscovered in 1748. Excavations have uncovered the remarkably well-preserved buildings and roads, and Pompeii now attracts over 2 million visitors annually.

59 Comedian Margaret : CHO

Margaret Cho is a very successful stand-up comedian, and also a fashion designer with her own line of clothing. Cho acts as well, and you might have seen her in the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage movie “Face/Off” in which she played John Travolta’s FBI colleague.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Evidence of a recent scrape : SCAB
5 Lead-in to fall : PRAT-
9 Expensive Super Bowl purchases : TV ADS
14 Actress Reid of “Sharknado” : TARA
15 Timber wolf : LOBO
16 Snookums : HONEY
17 Many a graduate of 37-Across: Abbr. : ENGR
18 “Not just that …” : EVEN BETTER …
20 “Really?!” : I DON’T BELIEVE IT!
22 First hit by the Moody Blues (whose title ends with an exclamation point) : GO NOW!
23 Word with fishing or lightning : … ROD
24 “Impo-o-ossible!” : NO FRIGGIN’ WAY!
32 Showed up : CAME
35 Capital of West Germany : BONN
36 Party line? : CONGA
37 Tech sch. in Troy, N.Y. : RPI
38 Store clearance event : BIG SALE
40 Gesture meaning “thank you” : BOW
41 The Jetsons’ dog : ASTRO
43 Handicraft website : ETSY
44 Bouts of crying, say : JAGS
45 “Oh, come on now!” : GET OUTTA HERE!
48 Little Rock-to-Chicago dir. : NNE
49 Reminder of an old flame? : ASHES
53 “How ridiculous!” : THAT’S CRAZY TALK!
59 Hot seasoning made with peppers : CHILI SAUCE
60 Singer Brickell : EDIE
61 Throng : HORDE
62 What some ships and hearts do : SINK
63 Tear down : RAZE
64 Rival of Hydrox cookies : OREOS
65 Part of the body mentioned in “Oh! Susanna” : KNEE
66 E.R.A. or R.B.I. : STAT

Down

1 Cartoonist William who created Shrek : STEIG
2 “On it!” : CAN DO!
3 First noble gas to be discovered : ARGON
4 With no exceptions : BAR NONE
5 Commoner : PLEB
6 Go here and there : ROVE
7 ___ Prize, annual award in mathematics : ABEL
8 Literature Nobelist Morrison : TONI
9 Longtime singing competition hosted by Carson Daly : THE VOICE
10 Said “nay” : VOTED NO
11 Saying “nay” : ANTI
12 Bug repellent ingredient : DEET
13 Country once joined with Egypt as the United Arab Republic: Abbr. : SYR
19 North Atlantic shipping menace : BERG
21 Start of every ZIP code in Washington, D.C. : TWO …
25 Clarice Starling’s employer in “The Silence of the Lambs,” in brief : FBI
26 Thesaurus eponym : ROGET
27 Photo-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA
28 Grind, as the teeth : GNASH
29 New York Liberty’s org. : WNBA
30 Really eager : AGOG
31 Turns sharply, as an aircraft : YAWS
32 Rocky outcropping : CRAG
33 Quiet place to pray : APSE
34 Something for a chef to have on hand? : MITT
38 Awards for some hunters : BOUNTIES
39 Harsh cleaning agent : LYE
42 Soccer superstar Cristiano : RONALDO
44 Court cutups : JESTERS
46 Thomas Hardy title heroine : TESS
47 Output from a sci-fi weapon : RAY
50 Attacked : HAD AT
51 Doolittle of “Pygmalion” : ELIZA
52 Sport with clay targets : SKEET
53 God who wields the hammer Mjölnir : THOR
54 “This Gun for ___” (film noir classic) : HIRE
55 Winery container : CASK
56 Pompeii, e.g. : RUIN
57 Adolescent outburst? : ACNE
58 “___ and Luther” (onetime Disney Channel sitcom) : ZEKE
59 Comedian Margaret : CHO

11 thoughts on “0525-21 NY Times Crossword 25 May 21, Tuesday”

  1. 13:43 So far this year, if I remember correctly, we’ve had “unfreaking believable” and now “no friggin way”. I find answers like these amusing, but they likely would fall in the Jeopardy category of “Answers You Wouldn’t See In A 1975 NYT Crossword” 🙂

  2. 9:08 As with Monday’s puzzle I was 1/2 done in 2:30. Then came the harder stuff, which, for me was the NE corner for some reason – not sure why.

  3. 10:07. A lot more thinking than I’m used to on a Tuesday puzzle. I’d say the theme is actually idiomatic expressions used as exclamations – specifically in disbelief.

    Best –

  4. Messed up on STEIG. I had SKEIG. I thought about TARA first, but then I thought, why would they use that kind of clue for such an obvious answer. Oh well.

  5. One error at the STEIG/GO NOW cross. I had an N for the G. I went with the N only because Stein is by far the more common name than Steig.

    Otherwise, I did not care much for the puzzle. It had too many proper names. Also, I dislike euphemisms like FRIGGIN’. If you are going to say the word then have the guts to go ahead and use the real word!

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