0529-21 NY Times Crossword 29 May 21, Saturday

Constructed by: Adam Aaronson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 20m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Rum-soaked treats : BABAS

Rum baba (also “baba au rhum” in French) is a small yeast cake saturated in rum, and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Rum baba is derived from the recipe for the tall “babka” yeast cake that was introduced to the world by the Polish communities. The Polish words “baba” and “babka” mean “old woman” or “grandmother” in English. I guess someone must have thought that all grandmothers were saturated in rum!

16 Actress Grant of “Weeds” : ALLIE

“Weeds” is a Showtime television series that originally aired from 2005 to 2012. It is a comedy-drama about a mother of two who has to turn to growing and selling marijuana to support her family after her husband dies. Mary-Louise Parker plays the lead, and does an excellent job …

20 Help out with a job : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

24 Chuck at a high speed : YEAGER

Chuck Yeager enlisted as a private in the US Army Air Forces in 1941, starting out as an aircraft mechanic. With the onset of the war at the end of the year, Yeager was able to enroll in flight school. In 1943 he was posted overseas, and flew P-51 Mustangs out of the south of England. He was shot down over France in 1944 and escaped to Spain with the aid of the French Resistance. His 11.5 accredited victories includes five downed aircraft in one mission (making him an “ace in a day”), and one of the first air-to-air kills of a jet fighter. Yeager didn’t live too far from here, and a friend of mine had the honor to have breakfast with him a couple of times …

29 Tuck’s partner : NIP

The phrase “nip and tuck” means “closely contested”, as in “it was nip and tuck until the final days of the campaign”. The phrase is also used to describe a skin-tightening cosmetic surgery procedure.

30 Nickname for a toy : PEKE

The pekingese (“peke”) breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier “pekes”.

36 Latin possessive : MEA

“Mea” is Latin for “my”.

40 Big names in the news : MASTHEAD

The masthead is a list often found on the editorial page of a newspaper that gives the members of a newspaper’s editorial board.

44 Father of Jörmungandr : LOKI

Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki is bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing results in what we poor mortals experience as earthquakes.

45 Inflation stat, for short : PSI

Pounds per square inch (PSI) is a measure of pressure.

48 Source of honeydew : APHID

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in Britain and Ireland where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

Honeydew is a sugary liquid secreted by some insects (such as aphids) when they feed on plant sap.

49 Ginger at a sushi bar : GARI

Gari is the Japanese name for thinly-sliced ginger that is often served with sushi.

51 Who can get in the way of what Alicia Keys feels for you, in a 2007 hit : NO ONE

“Alicia Keys” is the stage name of Alicia Cook, an R&B and soul singer from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.

54 Dummkopfs : DOPES

“Dummkopf” is a German word that translates literally as “dumb head”.

55 Aid in getting a smooth shot : STEADICAM

“Steadicam” is a brand of stabilizing camera mount that was introduced in 1975 by cameraman Garrett Brown, who named his invention the “Brown Stabilizer”. Brown received an Academy Award for Merit in 1978, in recognition of the importance of his creation.

57 Lines of communication in schools? : PA SYSTEMS

Public address (PA) system

Down

1 Annual June celebration : PRIDE

The first gay pride parades were held all on the same weekend in 1970, in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

2 About two-thirds of a 7-Eleven Double Gulp : LITER

The Big Gulp is a 32-ounce oversized soft drink available from 7-Eleven. You can also get a 64-ounce Double Gulp, and a 128-ounce Team Gulp.

5 Spreader of venom : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

6 Four-time Emmy winner from Coney Island, N.Y. : RHEA PERLMAN

Rhea Perlman’s most famous role has to be Carla Tortelli, the irascible waitress in the long-running sitcom “Cheers”. Perlman is also a successful children’s author, and has published a series of six books called “Otto Undercover”. She married Hollywood actor Danny DeVito in 1982.

Cony (or “coney”) is an old English word for rabbit or rabbit fur, and Coney Island in New York takes its name from the same root. The Dutch used the name “Conyne Eylandt” (Rabbit Island) after the large population of rabbits that was hunted there.

7 Bunch of hipsters? : MAN BUN

Man buns are topknots worn by men with long hair.

8 Use Uber Eats or DoorDash, say : ORDER IN

Uber Eats is a food-delivery platform offered by ride-sharing service Uber. For a delivery fee of a few bucks, users can order food from local restaurants using an app. That food might be delivered by car, bike or foot depending on the city and courier.

10 ___ hound : BASSET

The basset hound wouldn’t be my favorite breed of dog, to be honest. Basset hounds have a great sense of smell with an ability to track a scent that is second only to that of the bloodhound. The name “basset” comes from the French word for “rather low”, a reference to the dog’s short legs.

13 Caulking might prevent them : AIR LEAKS

The term “caulk” comes from old Norman French “cauquer”, and described the action of filling gaps with lime. “Caulk” has the same root as our word “chalk”.

23 Carpet type : SHAG

Shag carpet is one with a deep pile, one with a “shaggy” appearance.

24 Exclamation popularized by “Die Hard” : YIPPEE-KI-YAY

The 1988 action movie “Die Hard” is such a fun film. We always pull it out at Christmas when we want something “Christmassy”, but different from “The Bishop’s Wife” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The “Nakatomi Plaza” building that features so prominently in the film is actually “Fox Plaza” (headquarters for 20th Century Fox) in Los Angeles, which was built not long before filming started.

25 Said, informally : WENT

The duck said, “quack”; the duck went, “quack”.

26 Start of a cheer : SIS

Apparently, “Sis boom bah” is a popular cheer in American high schools and colleges (I didn’t know that!). The term was also used by Johnny Carson when he was playing the character Carnac the Magnificent.

31 Habitat for a starfish : TIDE POOL

A tidal pool (also “rock pool”) is a pool of seawater that is left along a rocky coastline after an ebb tide.

Starfish (sometimes known as “sea stars”) come in many shapes and sizes, but commonly have “pentaradial symmetry”, meaning they have symmetrical body-shapes with five points. Most starfish are predators, mainly living on a diet of mollusks such as clams and oysters.

32 Roger’s equivalent : YES

The term “roger”, meaning “yes” or “acknowledged”, comes from the world of radiotelephony. The British military used a phonetic alphabet in the fifties that included “Roger” to represent the letter “R”. As such, it became customary to say “Roger” when acknowledging a message, with R (Roger) standing for “received”.

34 Fruit rich in antioxidants and vowels : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

35 Source of Vibranium in the Marvel universe : WAKANDA

“Black Panther” is a 2018 superhero film starring Chadwick Boseman in the title role. Black Panther is a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. When not a superhero, Black Panther is the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, and goes by the name “T’Challa”.

37 Home to the world’s busiest airport : ATLANTA

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the world’s busiest airport, as measured by passenger traffic. Atlanta has had that distinction since 1998, and was the world’s busiest in terms of take-offs and landings from 2005 until 2013. Over 50% of Atlanta’s traffic comes from Delta Air Lines.

41 Packs : HORDES

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

43 Montana, e.g., informally : NINER

The 49ers football team in San Francisco takes its name from the gold prospectors who flooded into Northern California around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. These “1849 prospectors” became known as the “49ers”.

Joe Montana played most of his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, and the last two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. With the 49ers, Montana went to the Super Bowl four times, winning every time. In retirement one of his activities is to produce wine, so keep an eye out for his “Montagia” label.

45 “Ciao” : PEACE

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

47 Subjects for gossips : ITEMS

Our word “gossip” comes from the Old English “godsibb” meaning “godparent”. Back then, the term was used for female friends who attended a birth, and later for anyone engaging in idle talk.

53 Some E.R. cases : ODS

Overdose (OD)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Protection of a protagonist for narrative purposes, in slang : PLOT ARMOR
10 Rum-soaked treats : BABAS
15 Get in the pool, say : RIDE-SHARE
16 Actress Grant of “Weeds” : ALLIE
17 “Not always” : IT DEPENDS
18 Water from a water fountain : SPURT
19 Judge : DEEM
20 Help out with a job : ABET
21 Frequent book setting : SHELF
22 Elicit an “Oops!,” maybe : ERR
23 Goad : SPUR
24 Chuck at a high speed : YEAGER
25 Timely question? : WHEN IS IT?
27 Hot Chelle ___, rock group with the 2011 hit “Tonight Tonight” : RAE
28 Have a sneaking suspicion : FEAR
29 Tuck’s partner : NIP
30 Nickname for a toy : PEKE
31 All knotted up : TANGLY
33 Key arrangements made for house sitters? : SPARES
35 Lose one’s vigor : WILT
36 Latin possessive : MEA
38 Subj. for the 2009 Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to receive it : ECON
39 Typical taxi toppers : ADS
40 Big names in the news : MASTHEAD
42 Really into : KEEN ON
44 Father of Jörmungandr : LOKI
45 Inflation stat, for short : PSI
48 Source of honeydew : APHID
49 Ginger at a sushi bar : GARI
50 Ones who’ve split : SECT
51 Who can get in the way of what Alicia Keys feels for you, in a 2007 hit : NO ONE
52 Rude question following an unsolicited idea : AND YOU ARE?
54 Dummkopfs : DOPES
55 Aid in getting a smooth shot : STEADICAM
56 Email ___ : ALERT
57 Lines of communication in schools? : PA SYSTEMS

Down

1 Annual June celebration : PRIDE
2 About two-thirds of a 7-Eleven Double Gulp : LITER
3 Farther out there : ODDER
4 Brim : TEEM
5 Spreader of venom : ASP
6 Four-time Emmy winner from Coney Island, N.Y. : RHEA PERLMAN
7 Bunch of hipsters? : MAN BUN
8 Use Uber Eats or DoorDash, say : ORDER IN
9 Break : REST
10 ___ hound : BASSET
11 α : ALPHA
12 Like some tropical seas : BLUE-GREEN
13 Caulking might prevent them : AIR LEAKS
14 Release : SET FREE
23 Carpet type : SHAG
24 Exclamation popularized by “Die Hard” : YIPPEE-KI-YAY
25 Said, informally : WENT
26 Start of a cheer : SIS
28 Blind optimist’s downfall : FALSE HOPE
30 Goad : PROD
31 Habitat for a starfish : TIDE POOL
32 Roger’s equivalent : YES
34 Fruit rich in antioxidants and vowels : ACAI
35 Source of Vibranium in the Marvel universe : WAKANDA
37 Home to the world’s busiest airport : ATLANTA
40 Low-key : MODEST
41 Packs : HORDES
43 Montana, e.g., informally : NINER
45 “Ciao” : PEACE
46 “Get out!” : SCRAM!
47 Subjects for gossips : ITEMS
49 [I’m in shock!] : [GASP!]
50 Fit : SUIT
53 Some E.R. cases : ODS

15 thoughts on “0529-21 NY Times Crossword 29 May 21, Saturday”

  1. 30:10 I was 1/2 done in under 8 minutes – then came the hard part, to wit, almost the entire bottom half. I just kept entering and then erasing entries until something stuck. Wasn’t sure how to spell KIYAY for a long time was only a small part of it. I won’t bore you with all my miscues that are WAY too numerous to mention.

    @Bill – the math didn’t make sense for 2D. One liter is approx. 1/2 of 64 oz., not 2/3. I did a bit of snooping and 7-11 apparently downsized the Double Big Gulp to 50 oz. some years ago just so the cup could fit in most car cup holders.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/7-eleven-downsizes-double-gulp-just-156-your-stomachs-capacity/326927/

  2. 19:04, no errors. Not familiar with PLOT ARMOR or Hot Chelle RAE … and who knew LOKI was a father? (Where did he get that name Jörmungandr from?) Chuckle of the week (maybe month): “Bunch of hipsters?” for MAN BUN!

    Good puzzle. (Very puzzling in spots … 😜.)

  3. A real toughie. 28:56 with a couple of lookups. It always amazes me when one lookup can free up an entire quadrant. I guess that’s how we learn.

  4. 33:10. One of the things I like about coming here is seeing other people’s times especially in cases like today when I can tell myself “Ok – it’s not just me”. Tough one.

    I believe the quote was HIPPEE KIYAY ************ . Watch the movie to fill in the stars…

    Ah yes. Carnac. I believe one of the most famous usages was A: “Sis boom baa”. Q: What is the sound when a sheep explodes?

    ATLANTA airport. Oh how I hate that place. The old joke is still applicable: When you die and go to heaven, you have to go through Atlanta….

    Best –

  5. Again saving last place for me!! 1:01:07, SW took all the time, never saw Black Panther, leaving that corner to finish while waiting 30 minutes for a seat at lunch. Guess I’m showing my age when I remember watching Johnny Carson as Carnac with the “sound of exploding sheep” response to “sis boom baa”

  6. Not sure I’d say that sis is the “start” of a cheer — think the whole cheer is rah, rah, sis boom bah.

  7. Yep, tough one.. messed up on TANGLY, PLOT ARMOR, MAN BUN.

    I had PLOT ACTOR, TANGRY, TINBIT.. needless to say, didn’t come close to RHEA PEARLMAN.. so I had 1,2,3, … oh whatever..
    I like it but I’ve got to remember this author.

  8. When I saw the clue for 1A I should have stopped right there but the stubborn old goat kept going and got down to 31 & 33A and the rest was mostly blank…boo hiss 👎👎
    Stay safe😀

  9. I’m proud of myself for finishing this one with no mistakes even though it took me one hour and eight minutes.

  10. Never having watched Die Hard, I associate “yippee kiyay” more with “git along, little dogie” …

  11. I couldn’t get in synch with most of these clues, but finished with no errors after coming back to it on Sunday and today (Monday). Stopped caring about superheroes when I was in high school, although I should have remembered Wakanda as I’ve read a few reviews of the film. I’m guessing my time was about 90 minutes. Good puzzle!

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