0527-21 NY Times Crossword 27 May 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Barbara Lin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer Sylvester

Themed answers are common phrases pronounced with a lisp, like SYLVESTER J. Pussycat:

  • 58A Animated character who’s the subject of this puzzle’s theme : SYLVESTER
  • 17A Young woman living in a city, as 58-Across would say : URBAN MYTH (from “urban miss”)
  • 24A Minnie’s promise, as 58-Across would say : WORD OF MOUTH (from “word of mouse”)
  • 35A When an armistice is signed, as 58-Across would say : MOMENT OF TRUTH (from “moment of truce”)
  • 50A Looking pretty, as 58-Across would say : IN GOOD FAITH (from “in good face”)

Bill’s time: 10m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Peppery salad ingredient : CRESS

Garden cress is a leafy vegetable that is closely related to watercress and mustard. Cress is particularly popular in the UK where it is a common ingredient in sandwiches.

13 Pack down : TAMP

To tamp is to pack down tightly by tapping. “Tamp” was originally used specifically to describe the action of packing down sand or dirt around an explosive prior to detonation.

20 ___ d’Or (Cannes award) : PALME

The “Palme d’Or” (or “Golden Palm” in English) is the highest award given at the Cannes Film Festival. The Palme d’Or goes to the director of the film that is selected as the best shown at the festival that year. The palm was selected as an emblem for the award as there is a palm featured on the coat of arms of the Commune of Cannes.

24 Minnie’s promise, as 58-Across would say : WORD OF MOUTH (Sylvester says “word of mouse”)

Minnie Mouse is the daughter of farmer Marcus Mouse. Two of her grandparents are Marshal Mouse and Matilda Mouse. Minnie also has an Uncle Mortimer Mouse, as well as twin nieces Millie and Melody Mouse. Minnie’s boyfriend is Mickey Mouse.

28 Bureaucracy : RED TAPE

Back in the days of yore in England, official documents were bound in bundles with red ribbon. So, getting through all the paperwork required “cutting through the red tape”.

34 Beano competitor : GAS-X

“Gas-X” is a trade name for the anti-foaming agent called simethicone. Simethicone causes small gas bubbles in the stomach to combine into larger bubbles that can then be “burped” more easily.

Beano is a dietary supplement that is used to reduce gas in the digestive tract. It contains an enzyme that breaks down complex sugars found in many vegetables. This makes the food more digestible and apparently cuts down on gas.

42 ___ Day (May 1, in Hawaii) : LEI

What’s known as “May Day” around the world is also called “Lei Day” in Hawaii. Lei Day started in the twenties and is a celebration of native Hawaiian culture.

43 G.I. to be worried about : MIA

Missing in action (MIA)

46 Kidding around : JOSHING

When the verb “to josh”, meaning “to kid”, was coined in the 1840s as an American slang term, it was written with a capital J. It is likely that the term somehow comes from the proper name “Joshua”, but no one seems to remember why.

55 City that’s home to the N.C.A.A.’s College World Series : OMAHA

Back in 1947/48, the College World Series (CWS) was held in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and then in 1949 in Wichita, Kansas. Since 1950, the CWS has been held every year in Omaha, Nebraska.

58 Animated character who’s the subject of this puzzle’s theme : SYLVESTER

Sylvester J. Pussycat is also known as Puddy Tat, and is a character who appeared in “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” cartoons. Sylvester is the cat who is often trying to get the better of Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales and Hippety Hopper. Sylvester’s trademark line is the exclamation “Sufferin’ succotash!”, which emphasizes the characters pronounced lisp.

61 “Madama Butterfly” has four : ARIAS

Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” is the most-performed opera in the US. The opera that we see today is actually the second version that Puccini produced. The original version was first staged in 1904 at La Scala in Milan where it received a very poor reception. Puccini reworked the piece, breaking the second act into two new acts and making some other significant changes. The opera was relaunched a few months later and it was a resounding success.

62 Super Monkey Ball company : SEGA

Sega is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out in 1940 as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, which at that time was a city in the US Territory of Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.

65 Hand pic, maybe : TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

Down

3 Moseyed along : AMBLED

“Mosey” is American slang for “amble”, and is of unknown origin.

4 Something you might use a filter for : SPAM

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

5 Producer of the Jacksons? : ATM

The twenty-dollar bill is called a “Jackson” as it bears the portrait of President Andrew Jackson on the front side of the bill. Jackson’s image replaced that of President Grover Cleveland in 1928, and there doesn’t seem to be any record documenting just why that change was made. Over one-fifth of all notes printed today are 20-dollar bills. The average life of a Jackson is a little over 2 years, after which it is replaced due to wear.

8 Baubles : CHARMS

Trinkets and baubles are small ornaments, and often pieces of jewelry.

9 Sporting event in a ring : RODEO

“Rodeo” is a Spanish word that is usually translated into English as “round up”.

18 Movement associated with crystal healing : NEW AGE

The New Age Movement is a western philosophy with roots that date back to the early 1800s. The movement focuses on achieving the highest human potential as an individual and embraces many traditionally eastern spiritual practices, but eschews all religious doctrines. New Age music is composed with the intent of supporting this philosophy. It tends to be very minimalistic, very tonal and harmonic. It is often used as a backdrop for relaxation or meditation.

22 Curator’s deg. : MFA

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The term “curator” is Latin and applies to a manager, guardian or overseer. In English, the original curators were the guardians and overseers of minors and those with mental disease.

27 “Imperio” or “Crucio” in the Harry Potter books : HEX

“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

35 17-time host of the Academy of Country Music Awards : MCENTIRE

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007. She is sometimes referred to as “The Queen of Country”.

37 Major exporter of mineral water : FIJI

The island nation of Fiji is an archipelago in the South Pacific made up of over 330 islands, 110 of which are inhabited. Fiji was occupied by the British for over a century and finally gained its independence in 1970.

Fiji Water, as one might guess, is a brand of water from the Fiji Islands. I just think that bottling water and sending it around the world is absolutely insane …

38 Go at a clip : TROT

A clipper was a three-masted sailing ship commonly crossing the seas in the 19th century. Clippers were built for speed, so were narrow and had less room for carrying freight than many vessels used in trade. They were developed largely due to the demand for speedy delivery of fresh tea from China to Europe. The name comes from the term “to clip” meaning to move swiftly (as in “at a clip”). Perhaps the most famous clipper ship is the Cutty Sark built in 1869, the last clipper to be built as a merchant vessel. The Cutty Sark owes her fame to the fact that she is on display as a museum ship in a dry dock in Greenwich in London.

39 Do some farrier’s work on : RESHOE

A blacksmith is someone who forges and shapes iron, perhaps to make horseshoes. A farrier is someone who fits horseshoes onto the hooves of horses. The term “blacksmith” is sometimes used for one who shoes horses, especially as many blacksmiths make horseshoes and fit them as well.

40 Mahershala of “Green Book” : ALI

Mahershala Ali is an actor and sometime rapper. Among the more memorable roles Ali has had are lobbyist Remy Danton in TV’s “House of Cards”, and Colonel Boggs in “The Hunger Games” series of movies. He also won Best Supporting Actor Oscars for playing Juan in the 2016 drama “Moonlight”, and Dr. Don Shirley in 2018’s “Green Book”.

“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 …

43 Salon foam : MOUSSE

Our word “mousse” is an Old French term meaning “froth”.

56 Car sticker fig. : MSRP

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)

57 The Golden Bears of the N.C.A.A., familiarly : CAL

The California Golden Bears are the athletic teams of the University of California, Berkeley. The University of California, Berkeley (Cal) is the most difficult public university to get into in the world. It opened in 1869 and is named for Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley.

59 JFK alternative : LGA

The three big airports serving New York City (NYC) are John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Sites for whirlpools : SPAS
5 Some time ___ : AGO
8 Peppery salad ingredient : CRESS
13 Pack down : TAMP
14 It’s been called “the art of making a point without making an enemy” : TACT
16 Toots one’s horn : HONKS
17 Young woman living in a city, as 58-Across would say : URBAN MYTH (Sylvester says “urban miss”)
19 Oreos at an ice cream parlor, say : ADD-IN
20 ___ d’Or (Cannes award) : PALME
21 Subject of a squabble between airplane passengers : ARMREST
23 Dedicated work : ODE
24 Minnie’s promise, as 58-Across would say : WORD OF MOUTH (Sylvester says “word of mouse”)
28 Bureaucracy : RED TAPE
30 “How ___ it?” : WAS
31 Epitome of simplicity : PIE
32 Word with secret or talent : … AGENT
34 Beano competitor : GAS-X
35 When an armistice is signed, as 58-Across would say : MOMENT OF TRUTH (Sylvester says “moment of truce”)
40 Hunger (for) : ACHE
41 Lines of power : WIRES
42 ___ Day (May 1, in Hawaii) : LEI
43 G.I. to be worried about : MIA
46 Kidding around : JOSHING
50 Looking pretty, as 58-Across would say : IN GOOD FAITH (Sylvester says “in good face”)
53 “Starter” starter : NON-
54 Shaky : TENUOUS
55 City that’s home to the N.C.A.A.’s College World Series : OMAHA
57 Tickets : CITES
58 Animated character who’s the subject of this puzzle’s theme : SYLVESTER
61 “Madama Butterfly” has four : ARIAS
62 Super Monkey Ball company : SEGA
63 Small stream : RILL
64 Offer from a volunteer : LET ME!
65 Hand pic, maybe : TAT
66 Livens (up) : PEPS

Down

1 Daze : STUPOR
2 Marching band event : PARADE
3 Moseyed along : AMBLED
4 Something you might use a filter for : SPAM
5 Producer of the Jacksons? : ATM
6 ___ rights, cause long championed by the Mattachine Society : GAY
7 Eightsome : OCTAD
8 Baubles : CHARMS
9 Sporting event in a ring : RODEO
10 Finally reaches : ENDS UP AT
11 Easy to scare : SKITTISH
12 ID theft target : SSN
15 Comfy couch accessory : THROW
18 Movement associated with crystal healing : NEW AGE
22 Curator’s deg. : MFA
25 Tournament type : OPEN
26 Counterpart of own : RENT
27 “Imperio” or “Crucio” in the Harry Potter books : HEX
29 Gentle : TAME
33 Service station offering : TOW
34 Say all sorts of nice things : GUSH
35 17-time host of the Academy of Country Music Awards : MCENTIRE
36 Slow-on-the-uptake cry : OH, I GET IT!
37 Major exporter of mineral water : FIJI
38 Go at a clip : TROT
39 Do some farrier’s work on : RESHOE
40 Mahershala of “Green Book” : ALI
43 Salon foam : MOUSSE
44 “Affirmative” : I DO
45 “Don’t make ___!” : A FUSS
47 Drawn : IN A TIE
48 Totally useless : NO HELP
49 Twists into deformity : GNARLS
51 When many New Year’s parties begin to die down : ONE AM
52 So far : AS YET
56 Car sticker fig. : MSRP
57 The Golden Bears of the N.C.A.A., familiarly : CAL
59 JFK alternative : LGA
60 Sight at a brewpub : VAT

15 thoughts on “0527-21 NY Times Crossword 27 May 21, Thursday”

  1. 12:15 I kept looking for something more complicated, especially after I got SYLVESTER. The phrases that are supposedly “lisped” over are ones that a person would generally not say – Moment of Truce, Word of Mouse, etc. I’ve not heard those expressions. It just all seemed strained as a theme

  2. 12:52, no errors, no objections. I think the point is that, if someone with a lisp were to say “Moment of Truth” to me, I would have to wonder a little whether they were actually trying to say “Moment of Truce”. An amusing bit of musing (for me, at least … but sometimes I’m easily amused … 😜).

  3. 30:57 my biggest stumble was trying to establish anything in the southeast to get which cartoon character was the reveal. After that it was off to the turtle races.

  4. 21:08. Felt like I spent 20 minutes trying to figure SYLVESTER and the rest of the theme then about a minute to finish the other 80% of the puzzle. Very inefficient today.

    ATM for “Producer of the Jacksons?” went completely over my head. I think I need some sleep. Just got home after 8 days of travel.

    Best –

  5. No errors.. as far as the theme?? Never got it..

    @alaska steve-i get that!!

    That NE corner slowed me down. Plus watching game 3 of CWS. 2 home rubs in one inning for MISS STATE

  6. DNF…I just couldn’t come up with JOSHING OR TENUOUS.
    A patron walks in a bar and with a lisp orders a beer…the bartender replies “coming right up” also with a lisp…the patron says, are you making fun of me? The bartender says no…Another patron comes in and orders a beer but does not lisp…the bartender says “coming right up and does not lisp…the first patron objects”I thought you weren’t making fun of me to which the bartender replies,”I’m not, I was making fun of him.
    Stay safe😀

  7. Bill — in your review, I think you reversed the S and TH sounds. It’s SYLVESTER who says URBAN MYTH, not URBAN Miss. Consider, e.g., THuffering THuccotash, which Sylvester would say, instead of Suffering Succotash.

  8. “Minnie Mouse is the son of farmer Marcus Mouse.”

    Son? I must have missed the cartoon where Minnie decided to switch her gender identity (NTTAWWT).

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