0414-22 NY Times Crossword 14 Apr 22, Thursday

Constructed by: Ashish Vengsarkar & Narayan Venkatasubramanyan
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: From Stem to Stern

Themed clues each have an intentional “typo” in that the lowercase “RN” is written as lowercase “M”. An example of such a ”typo” is STEM/stem coming from STERN/stern:

  • 56A Thoroughly … or a hint for parsing some lowercase letters in four of this puzzle’s clues : FROM STEM TO STERN
  • 17A Homer’s self-satisfied assertion? : WHAT A GOOD BOY AM I (“Horner” from “Homer”)
  • 29A Bums, for example? : SCOTTISH POET (“Burns” from “Bums”)
  • 35A Yam source, historically? : SPINNING WHEEL (“Yarn” from “Yam”)
  • 43A Place to find a comet? : BRASS SECTION (“cornet” from “comet”)

Bill’s time: 8m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Tour de France leg : STAGE

Back in the late 1800s, long-distance cycle races were used as promotional events, traditionally to help boost sales of newspapers. These races usually took place around tracks, but in 1902 the backers of the struggling sports publication “L’Auto” decided to stage a race that would take the competitors all around France. That first Tour de France took place in 1903, starting in Paris and passing through Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes and then back to Paris.

6 Showbiz grand slam : EGOT

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards. Also known as the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam”, there are relatively few individuals who have been so honored. The first five to do so were:

  1. Richard Rodgers in 1962
  2. Helen Hayes in 1977
  3. Rita Moreno in 1977
  4. John Gielgud in 1991
  5. Audrey Hepburn in 1994 (posthumously)

10 Potential con : PERP

Perpetrator (perp)

15 Kin of King Kong : GREAT APES

The tailless primates known as apes (also “hominoids”) are divided into two main branches: gibbons (lesser apes) and hominids (great apes). The hominids are the great apes, and belong to the family of primates called Hominidae. Extant genera that make up the family Hominidae are:

  • chimpanzees
  • gorillas
  • humans
  • orangutans

When RKO released the 1933 movie “King Kong”, the promotional material listed the ape’s height as 50 feet. During filming, a bust was created for a 40-foot ape, as well as a full-size hand that went with a 70-foot Kong.

17 Homer’s self-satisfied assertion? : WHAT A GOOD BOY AM I (“Horner” from “Homer”)

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said ‘What a good boy am I!

19 Aurora’s counterpart : EOS

Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn, and was equivalent to the Greek goddess Eos. According to myth, Aurora renewed herself each and every morning and then flew across the sky to announce the rising of the sun.

20 Multinational insurance inits. : AIG

“AIG” is an initialism used by the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation. After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers starting in 2008, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I’d say …

21 Kind of nut : LUG

A lug nut is a nut on which one side is tapered. Lug nuts are used to secure wheels to a vehicle.

22 Feasts, e.g. : REPASTS

Our word “repast”, meaning “meal”. came to us via French (in which language “repas” is “meal”). Ultimately the term comes from the Latin “repascere” meaning “to repeatedly graze”.

29 Bums, for example? : SCOTTISH POET (“Burns” from “Bums”)

Robert Burns is a cultural icon in Scotland and for Scots around the world. As a poet, Burns was a pioneer in the Romantic movement in the second half of the 18th century. One of his most famous works is the poem “Auld Lang Syne”, which has been set to the tune of a traditional Scottish folk song and is used to celebrate the New Year in the English-speaking world.

31 Court org. : USTA

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national organization governing the sport of tennis in the US. The USTA was founded way back in 1881 as the United States National Lawn Tennis Association.

34 Bug that no one likes : FLU

Influenza (the “flu”) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks, and other virus pandemics …

40 Québec street : RUE

The name of the province Québec comes from an Algonquin word “kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs.

43 Place to find a comet? : BRASS SECTION (“cornet” from “comet”)

The cornet is a brass instrument that resembles the trumpet, although it is quite a bit shorter. Despite the difference in length, the cornet and the trumpet have about the same length of tubing. The trumpet’s tube is coiled once, and the cornet is coiled twice.

48 Does the watusi, say : GYRATES

The dance called the Watusi was almost as popular as the twist in the early sixties. The Watusi took its name from the Batutsi tribe in Rwanda.

53 Steps on a scale? : LAS

The sol-fa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

55 Sweetheart : BAE

“Bae” is a contemporary term of endearment. It is a pet name that is an abbreviation of “babe, baby”, although I’ve also read that it is an acronym standing for “before anyone else”.

56 Thoroughly … or a hint for parsing some lowercase letters in four of this puzzle’s clues : FROM STEM TO STERN

The phrase “from stem to stern” means “entirely, from beginning to end”. It is nautical in origin. The stern is the back end of a sailing vessel, and the stem is an upright beam at the bow.

64 Arabian port : ADEN

Aden is a seaport in Yemen that is located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967. A native of Aden is known as an Adeni. Some believe that Cain and Abel are buried in the city.

65 Critical time : D-DAY

The most famous D-Day in history was June 6, 1944, the date of the Normandy landings in WWII. The term “D-Day” is used by the military to designate the day on which a combat operation is to be launched, especially when the actual date has yet to be determined. What D stands for seems to have been lost in the mists of time although the tradition is that D just stands for “Day”. In fact, the French have a similar term, “Jour J” (Day J), with a similar meaning. We also use H-Hour to denote the hour the attack is to commence.

Down

2 Lake in the Sierra Nevada : TAHOE

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. It is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general behind the five Great Lakes. Tahoe is also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

The American Sierra Nevada range lies in California and Nevada. The Spanish Sierra Nevada range is in Andalusia, with the name meaning “snowy range” in Spanish.

4 Grok : GET

To grok is to understand. “To grok” is a slang term that’s really only used in “techie” circles. “Grok” is the creation of science fiction author Robert Heinlein, who coined it in his 1961 novel “Stranger in a Strange Land”.

7 Subject of rationing in the old English navy : GROG

Edward Vernon was a naval officer with the nickname “Old Grog”. In 1740, Vernon ordered that the daily ration of rum for his sailors should be watered down, in order to reduce discipline problems caused by drunkenness. The diluted rum was sweetened with sugar, and lemon or lime added to help preserve it on long voyages. This recipe, found to reduce scurvy among sailors (because of the citrus) spread throughout the Royal Navy, and “grog” was born. As an aside, George Washington’s older half-brother named the famous Washington Mount Vernon Plantation in honor of Edward Vernon. We use the derivative term “groggy” to mean “unsteady on the feet”, as if under the influence of “grog”.

8 Work started by London’s Philological Soc. : OED

Work started on what was to become the first “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) in 1857. Several interim versions of the dictionary were published in the coming years with the first full version appearing, in ten bound volumes, in 1928. The second edition of the OED appeared in 1989 and is made up of twenty volumes. The OED was first published in electronic form in 1988 and went online in 2000. Given the modern use of computers, the publishing house responsible feels that there will never be a third print version of the famous dictionary.

9 Wood shop tool : TABLE SAW

A table saw comprises a circular saw blade mounted vertically below a table. The edge of the blade protrudes through a slot in the table. Wood (usually) is supported by the table as it is cut by the blade.

11 Water monitoring grp. : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

12 Band with the 4x platinum albums “Out of Time” and “Monster” : REM

R.E.M. was a rock band from Athens, Georgia that formed in 1980. Apparently, the name “R.E.M.” was chosen randomly from a dictionary.

13 Pitchfork-shaped letter : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

18 Cat, in Córdoba : GATO

Córdoba is a city in Andalusia in southern Spain that is sometimes referred to as “Cordova” in English. Córdoba might be the right destination for anyone seeking out a warm vacation spot in Spain. The city has the highest average summer temperatures in the whole of Europe.

23 Bubbly source : ASTI

Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. It is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine. Moscato d’Asti is produced from the same grape (Moscato Bianco). Moscato is a much sweeter wine with a lower alcohol content, and is usually served as a dessert wine.

26 Like some checking accounts : NO-FEE

Checks and checking accounts caused me some language trouble when I first came to the US. Back in Ireland (and the UK) we write “cheques” using funds from our “current” accounts.

27 Poker snafus : TELLS

“SNAFU” is an acronym standing for “situation normal: all fouled up” (well, that’s the polite version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

31 Shark’s racket : USURY

Usury used to be the practice of simply lending money at interest, but the term now refers to lending at rates of interest that are excessive.

32 Pickle unit : SPEAR

Often, a dill pickle is actually a pickled gherkin, as the gherkin and cucumber are different cultivars within the same species. Here in the US, dill is commonly added to the pickling vinegar or brine, but this wasn’t the case when I used to eat them back in Ireland (I can’t stand dill!). You might see jars labeled as “cornichons”, but they’re gherkins. “Cornichon” is the French word for “gherkin”.

37 Currier and ___ : IVES

Currier and Ives was a printmaking concern in New York City run by Nathaniel Currier and his partner James Merritt Ives from 1834 to 1907. The firm specialized in making affordable, hand-colored black and white lithographs.

38 Feature of many a Druid’s robe : HOOD

Druids were priests of Celtic Europe during the Iron Age.

39 Sea eagles : ERNS

The ern (sometimes “erne”) is also known as the white-tailed eagle or the sea eagle.

40 Onetime inits. on the Supreme Court : RBG

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) served on the US Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg was the second woman to join the Court, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During that time she did not miss one day on the bench. In 2009 Justice Ginsburg had surgery for pancreatic cancer, and was back to work 12 days later. She had left-lung lobectomy to remove cancerous nodules in 2018, which forced Justice Ginsburg to miss oral argument in January 2019, for the first time since joining the court 25 years earlier. She finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2020. Much of Ginsburg’s life is recounted in the excellent 2018 movie “On the Basis of Sex”.

44 King of Saudi Arabia beginning in 2015 : SALMAN

Salman of Saudi Arabia became the sovereign state’s king in 2015, following the death of his half-brother King Abdullah.

47 Info on a security badge, for short : ID NO

Identity document (ID)

51 Diamond figure : CARAT

The carat is a unit of mass equal to 200 mg (0.2 grams). It is used in sizing gemstones.

52 Home country of the two-time Olympic marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge : KENYA

Kenya lies on the east coast of Africa, right on the equator. The country takes her name from Mount Kenya, the second-highest peak on the continent (after Kilimanjaro). The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.

54 Facility often referred to by its first letter : YMCA

The YMCA (the Y) is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There, in 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of “a healthy spirit, mind and body”. The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.

56 Mortgage org. : FHA

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was set up in 1934 to insure loans made by lenders for the building and purchasing of homes. The FHA was created in response to the bank failures of the Great Depression, with the intent of creating a more favorable environment for lending.

59 Derrière : END

“Derrière” is a French term meaning “back part, rear”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Tour de France leg : STAGE
6 Showbiz grand slam : EGOT
10 Potential con : PERP
14 Keen : EAGER
15 Kin of King Kong : GREAT APES
17 Homer’s self-satisfied assertion? : WHAT A GOOD BOY AM I (“Horner” from “Homer”)
19 Aurora’s counterpart : EOS
20 Multinational insurance inits. : AIG
21 Kind of nut : LUG
22 Feasts, e.g. : REPASTS
25 Pours from one container to another : DECANTS
29 Bums, for example? : SCOTTISH POET (“Burns” from “Bums”)
31 Court org. : USTA
33 Spanish article : UNA
34 Bug that no one likes : FLU
35 Yam source, historically? : SPINNING WHEEL (“Yarn” from “Yam”)
40 Québec street : RUE
41 Egg: Prefix : OVI-
42 Some raw materials : ORES
43 Place to find a comet? : BRASS SECTION (“cornet” from “comet”)
48 Does the watusi, say : GYRATES
49 Laundry leftover : ODD SOCK
53 Steps on a scale? : LAS
54 That there : YON
55 Sweetheart : BAE
56 Thoroughly … or a hint for parsing some lowercase letters in four of this puzzle’s clues : FROM STEM TO STERN
62 Sensed without being sure : HAD A HUNCH
63 “Woo-hoo!” : OH YAY!
64 Arabian port : ADEN
65 Critical time : D-DAY
66 It may come in shells : PASTA

Down

1 Waste line : SEWER
2 Lake in the Sierra Nevada : TAHOE
3 Sounding shocked : AGASP
4 Grok : GET
5 Jazz Age, e.g. : ERA
6 Self-seeker : EGOIST
7 Subject of rationing in the old English navy : GROG
8 Work started by London’s Philological Soc. : OED
9 Wood shop tool : TABLE SAW
10 Discriminatory compensation practice : PAY GAP
11 Water monitoring grp. : EPA
12 Band with the 4x platinum albums “Out of Time” and “Monster” : REM
13 Pitchfork-shaped letter : PSI
16 Affect emotionally : TOUCH
18 Cat, in Córdoba : GATO
23 Bubbly source : ASTI
24 Peruse : SCAN
25 [Correct!] : [DING!]
26 Like some checking accounts : NO-FEE
27 Poker snafus : TELLS
28 Name that’s an alphabetic trio : STU
30 Caesar dressing? : TUNIC
31 Shark’s racket : USURY
32 Pickle unit : SPEAR
36 Certain facial decoration : NOSE STUD
37 Currier and ___ : IVES
38 Feature of many a Druid’s robe : HOOD
39 Sea eagles : ERNS
40 Onetime inits. on the Supreme Court : RBG
44 King of Saudi Arabia beginning in 2015 : SALMAN
45 Hide away : STASH
46 Like a wide grin : TOOTHY
47 Info on a security badge, for short : ID NO
50 Falls into line : OBEYS
51 Diamond figure : CARAT
52 Home country of the two-time Olympic marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge : KENYA
54 Facility often referred to by its first letter : YMCA
56 Mortgage org. : FHA
57 “Sweet!” : RAD!
58 It’s an honor : ODE
59 Derrière : END
60 Drench : SOP
61 “J to ___ L-O! The Remixes” (2002 album) : THA

16 thoughts on “0414-22 NY Times Crossword 14 Apr 22, Thursday”

  1. 10:32, no errors. I enjoyed the puzzle, but it touched a nerve: Why, I ask you, do we continue to use fonts in which an “rn” and an “m” can easily be mistaken for one another?! (That said, I think it was extremely clever of the setters to use “from stem to stern” as the motivating idea for (and/or the perfect description of) the puzzle … 😜.)

  2. 17:49, no errors. Woulda never gotten the gimmick…but didn’t need it. I wonder if the setters overthought this one since I recognized the long answers after they were partially revealed ny crosses. Didn’t need to know the gimmick to solve the grid.

  3. 18:35. Completely whiffed on the theme. Like Alaska Steve said, this was solvable without getting the theme fortunately.

    Currier and IVES was new to me. I guess I need to brush up on all printing companies that went out of business 115 years ago!

    My condolences to whoever the setter was for this puzzle. Apparently the person typing their name fell asleep on the keyboard. I guess we’ll never know who constructed this one…..

    Best –

    1. I didn’t understand your comment about “the person typing their name fell asleep on the keyboard” until I looked at the setters’ names. Very funny!

  4. 25:59, 4 errors. Screen resolution, combined with aging eyesight, made today’s theme completely invisible.

  5. Who actually got that totally obscure theme? It is actually clever but I never would have made that leap ? I had to google it to get it even with all the answers in ….

    1. I actually got it when I encountered the very first theme entry and it’s because, as I indicated above, the similarity of “rn” and “m” in certain fonts is such a pet peeve of mine. As I squinted at the clue, I suddenly realized what the setter had done.

    2. Got the theme from BRASSSECTION. I knew that was the answer but couldn’t figure out the clue until I guessed cornet for comet. When FROMSTEMTOSTERN arrived with the m and rn circled, everything fell into place. Still took me almost half an hour though.

  6. Never had a clue as to what the theme was. Still managed To finish in 33 minutes with no look ups or errors.

  7. Two things I didn’t get were the theme and how to pronounce the setters names🤪
    Stay safe😀

  8. Ha – rarely complete the Thursday puzzle but got this one without any errors and without knowing what grok was! Didn’t realize the theme until I came on here – just thought I really needed to schedule that cataract surgery!!

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