1115-21 NY Times Crossword 15 Nov 21, Monday

Constructed by: Ian Rathkey
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) You, Do Something for Me

Themed answers are well-known phrases, each in the format “VERB ME, NAME”:

  • 20A 1986 #1 hit by Falco : ROCK ME, AMADEUS
  • 31A Title lyric heard 41 times in a 1965 Beach Boys hit : HELP ME, RHONDA
  • 40A Red-haired toy craze of 1996 : TICKLE ME ELMO
  • 51A Request from the voracious plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” : FEED ME, SEYMOUR

Bill’s time: 6m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Alternative to subway or taxi : BUS

We use the term “bus” for a mode of transportation as it is an abbreviated form of the original “omnibus”. We imported “omnibus” via French from Latin, in which language it means “for all”. The idea is that an omnibus is a “carriage for all”.

4 Privately includes on an email : BCCS

A blind carbon copy (bcc) is a copy of a document or message that is sent to someone without other recipients of the message knowing about that extra copy.

8 Farm towers : SILOS

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

15 Most populous Hawaiian island : OAHU

Oahu has been called “The Gathering Place”, although the word “O’ahu” has no translation in Hawaiian. It seems that “O’ahu” is simply the name of the island. One story is that it is named after the son of the Polynesian navigator who first found the islands. The island is made up of two volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau, joined together by a broad valley, the O’ahu Plain.

19 French writer 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.

20 1986 #1 hit by Falco : ROCK ME AMADEUS

The Austrian pop singer Falco was the only artist to get to number one in the US with a German-language song, doing so in 1986 with “Rock Me Amadeus”. Sadly, Falco died at 40 years of age, in a collision with a bus in the Dominican Republic.

24 Prefix with -ceps : TRI-

The triceps brachii muscle is found at the back of the upper arm. The muscle’s name translates to “three-headed arm muscle”, fitting as it is actually made up of three bundles of muscles.

26 In ___ (as found) : SITU

“In situ” is a Latin phrase meaning “in the place”, and we use the term to mean “in the original position”.

27 Place that’s an appropriate rhyme for “aah” : 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 Title lyric heard 41 times in a 1965 Beach Boys hit : HELP ME, RHONDA

“Help Me, Rhonda” is a Beach Boys hit written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, and released in 1965. When the song was first issued as a track on the album “Today!”, the song was titled “Help Me, Ronda” (note the spelling of “Ronda”). When the song was released as a single a month later, the title used the spelling with which we are familiar: “Help Me, Rhonda”.

34 Big name in ice cream : EDY

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

35 Persian Gulf land: Abbr. : UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (states) in the Middle East. Included in the seven are Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the city of Abu Dhabi being the UAE capital and cultural center.

The Persian Gulf is in effect an inland sea, although it technically is an offshoot of the Indian Ocean. The outlet from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean is one of the most famous maritime “choke points” in the world, and is known as the Strait of Hormuz. About 20% of the world’s supply of petroleum passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

36 Designer item from Hermès or Kate Spade : BAG

Hermès is a high-end manufacturer of apparel. The company was founded in 1837 in Paris, by German immigrant Thierry Hermès.

Kate Spade fashion design house was founded as a supplier of handbags in 1993. The brand is named for founder Kate Brosnahan Spade. The equivalent male brand is called Jack Spade.

37 “Cogito ergo ___” : SUM

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”. Anything pertaining to the philosophy of Descartes can be described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

40 Red-haired toy craze of 1996 : TICKLE ME ELMO

The Tickle Me Elmo toy was a sensational fad in the late nineties, with stores raising prices dramatically above the recommended retail price to take advantage of demand. Reportedly, prices as high as $1500 were paid at the height of the craze. The toy’s manufacturer, Tyco, originally planned to market the “tickle” toy as Tickle Me Tasmanian Devil (after the “Looney Tunes” character), but then went with “Elmo” after they bought the rights to use “Sesame Street” names.

43 They say this “ain’t over until the fat lady sings” : OPERA

“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings” is an American colloquialism. The message is that the outcome isn’t clear until the final whistle, until it’s really, truly over. The reference is to Grand Opera, and the cliched perception that the soprano lead is always overweight.

46 “99 Luftballons” singer, 1984 : NENA

Nena is a German singer (“Nena” became the name of her band as well) who had a big hit in 1984 with one of my favorite songs of the eighties “99 Luftballons”. The English translation of the German title (“99 Red Balloons”) isn’t literal, with the color “red” added just so that the title had the right number of syllables for the tune. “Luftballon” is the name given to a child’s toy balloon in German.

51 Request from the voracious plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” : FEED ME, SEYMOUR

“Little Shop of Horrors” is a 1982 rock musical based on the cult 1960 film “The Little Shop of Horrors”. The stage musical was adapted into a 1986 film of the same name, directed by Frank Oz. Not my cup of tea …

59 Christopher who directed “Dunkirk” : NOLAN

British director Christopher Nolan is best known for “rescuing” the floundering Batman movie franchise. In that series, Nolan directed “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”. He was also at the helm of a couple of sci-fi movies that I really enjoyed, namely “Inception” (2010) and “Interstellar” (2014).

“Dunkirk” is a 2017 film about the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk during WWII. Directed and written by Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk” has been praised for how realistic it is in depicting the conditions and events that took place on that day.

61 Falco of “The Sopranos” : EDIE

Actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

Down

1 Call to Little Bo-Peep : BAA!

The lines that are most commonly quoted from the rhyme about “Little Bo Peep” are:

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, And they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.

But, there are actually four more verses, including this one:

It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Into a meadow hard by,
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.

2 Mil. branch for sailors : USN

US Navy (USN)

3 On the down-low : SECRETLY

Something described as on the down low is secret. The phrase “on the down low” is often shortened to “on the DL”, The same abbreviated expression can also mean “on the disabled list” in sports.

5 Completely zen : CALM

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

6 World’s fastest land animal (up to 70 m.p.h.) : CHEETAH

The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal, achieving speeds of 70-75 mph. The name “cheetah” comes into English from Sanskrit via Hindi, from the word for “variegated”. Something that is variegated has different colored zones, like the mottled hide of the cheetah.

9 Lemonade + ___ = Arnold Palmer : ICED TEA

The drink named for golfer Arnold Palmer is made from lemonade and ice tea. The drink named for fellow golfer John Daly is also made from lemonade and ice tea, but with vodka added …

12 Superiors to cpls. : SGTS

Sergeant (sgt.) is a rank above corporal (cpl.).

18 Mo. for trick-or-treaters : OCT

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

22 Arthur ___ Stadium, U.S. Open locale : ASHE

Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York opened in 1997, and is the largest outdoor, tennis-only venue in the world. The stadium was often criticized for not having a retractable dome to protect the playing surface from inclement weather. Well, that changed in 2016 when the stadium debuted its new retractable roof, a $150 million investment in the facility.

27 Italy’s Blue Grotto is a famous one : SEA CAVE

The island of Capri off the coast of Southern Italy has been a tourist resort since the days of ancient Rome. Capri is home to the famous Blue Grotto, a sea cave that is illuminated with sunlight that’s colored blue as it passes through the seawater into the cave.

28 School for 3- and 4-year-olds, informally : PRE-K

Pre-kindergarten (pre-K)

32 Conservationist John who co-founded the Sierra Club : MUIR

John Muir was a famous American naturalist, although he was born in Scotland. Muir founded the Sierra Club in 1892. He published “My First Summer in the Sierra” in 1911, which described one of Muir’s favorite places in the country, the Sierra Nevada range in California.

43 Large feline kept as a pet by Salvador Dalí : OCELOT

The ocelot is a wildcat found mainly in South and Central America, although there have been sightings as far north as Arkansas. An ocelot doesn’t look too different from a domestic cat, and some have been kept as pets. Perhaps most famously, Salvador Dali had one that he carried around everywhere with him.

44 Classic Spanish rice dish : PAELLA

Paella is sometimes referred to as the Spanish national dish, but not by Spaniards. In Spain, paella is regarded as a typical regional dish from Valencia. The name “paella” means “frying pan” in Valencian, and is a reference to the shallow vessel traditionally used to cook the dish over an open fire.

49 Adidas competitor : ASICS

ASICS is a Japanese company based in Kobe that produces athletic gear, including running shoes. The company name comes from the first letters of the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano”, which translates to “a healthy soul in a healthy body”.

50 Big inits. in 1990s internet : AOL

Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the initialism AOL was used in order to shake off the “America-centric” sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL’s success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That’s when users referred to AOL as “Always Off-Line”.

51 Signs of nearby sharks : FINS

Shark finning is a cruel fishing practice driven by the demand for Chinese shark fin soup. Millions of sharks every year are captured, have their fins sliced off at sea and are then thrown back into the ocean still alive. The mutilated sharks don’t last very long and are usually eaten because they cannot maneuver very easily without their dorsal fins.

54 Military cafeteria : MESS

“Mess” first came into English about 1300, when it described the list of food needed for a meal. The term comes from the Old French word “mes” meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into “mess” meaning a jumbled mass of anything, from the concept of “mixed food”. The original usage, in the sense of a food for a meal, surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a “mess” was a communal eating place.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Alternative to subway or taxi : BUS
4 Privately includes on an email : BCCS
8 Farm towers : SILOS
13 “Hold on ___!” : A SEC
15 Most populous Hawaiian island : OAHU
16 Scoring 100% on : ACING
17 Last runner in a relay : ANCHOR LEG
19 French writer Jean : GENET
20 1986 #1 hit by Falco : ROCK ME AMADEUS
22 Capable : ADEPT
24 Prefix with -ceps : TRI-
25 Dance with clicking sounds : TAP
26 In ___ (as found) : SITU
27 Place that’s an appropriate rhyme for “aah” : SPA
29 Ones foretelling the future : SEERS
31 Title lyric heard 41 times in a 1965 Beach Boys hit : HELP ME, RHONDA
34 Big name in ice cream : EDY
35 Persian Gulf land: Abbr. : UAE
36 Designer item from Hermès or Kate Spade : BAG
37 “Cogito ergo ___” : SUM
40 Red-haired toy craze of 1996 : TICKLE ME ELMO
43 They say this “ain’t over until the fat lady sings” : OPERA
45 “Yes, cap’n” : AYE
46 “99 Luftballons” singer, 1984 : NENA
47 “No ___ do!” : CAN
48 Large wine container : VAT
50 Bonus item : ADD ON
51 Request from the voracious plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” : FEED ME, SEYMOUR
55 “Color me impressed!” : I’LL BE!
56 Comment after getting off a dizzying amusement park ride : I FEEL SICK
59 Christopher who directed “Dunkirk” : NOLAN
60 V.I.P.s at board meetings : CEOS
61 Falco of “The Sopranos” : EDIE
62 Symbols in movie ratings : STARS
63 Stitches : SEWS
64 Which came first … this or the chicken? : EGG

Down

1 Call to Little Bo-Peep : BAA!
2 Mil. branch for sailors : USN
3 On the down-low : SECRETLY
4 When tripled, catchphrase of the Muppets’ Swedish Chef : BORK
5 Completely zen : CALM
6 World’s fastest land animal (up to 70 m.p.h.) : CHEETAH
7 Icing, essentially : SUGAR
8 It’s a long story : SAGA
9 Lemonade + ___ = Arnold Palmer : ICED TEA
10 Like the equation y = 2x + 3 : LINEAR
11 Outdoes in a back-and-forth : ONE-UPS
12 Superiors to cpls. : SGTS
14 Slice and dice : CHOP UP
18 Mo. for trick-or-treaters : OCT
21 Call wrongly : MISNAME
22 Arthur ___ Stadium, U.S. Open locale : ASHE
23 Ran out of battery : DIED
27 Italy’s Blue Grotto is a famous one : SEA CAVE
28 School for 3- and 4-year-olds, informally : PRE-K
30 Sharp part of a knife : EDGE
32 Conservationist John who co-founded the Sierra Club : MUIR
33 Heed : OBEY
37 Activity for a snow day : SLED RIDE
38 “Er, I think I’ll pass” : UM, NO
39 Gripe : MOAN
40 Make the rounds? : TEND BAR
41 Penalty for missing the payment deadline : LATE FEE
42 Ultimate purpose : END USE
43 Large feline kept as a pet by Salvador Dalí : OCELOT
44 Classic Spanish rice dish : PAELLA
49 Adidas competitor : ASICS
50 Big inits. in 1990s internet : AOL
51 Signs of nearby sharks : FINS
52 Clothing store department : MEN’S
53 “#@&%! My toe!” : YEOW!
54 Military cafeteria : MESS
57 “Butt” : CIG
58 Large beer container : KEG

3 thoughts on “1115-21 NY Times Crossword 15 Nov 21, Monday”

  1. 8:26. A little tough for a Monday. I knew all the theme answers except FEED ME SEYMOUR.

    I prefer the Monty Python version of Descartes’ Cogito ergo sum – Bibo ergo sum. I drink therefore I am….I guess it doesn’t rhyme in Latin.

    Best –

  2. 6:48. Also felt a little tougher than the usual Monday. Also unfamiliar with needing to feed Seymour. Maybe the Python’s saying should have been – “I am, therefore I drink” –> especially nowadays.

    Being named Ron, back in 8th grade catholic school a cute girl occasionally sang “Help me Ronnie”, when I was around. I was too young and stupid to really pay attention!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.