0422-22 NY Times Crossword 22 Apr 22, Friday

Constructed by: Daniel Sheremeta
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 18m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Cheap trick, perhaps : LIFE HACK

A life hack is a technique that makes a routine task easier or more efficient. The term was coined in 2004 by journalist Danny O’Brien when describing less-than-elegant shortcuts used by IT professionals.

15 “Stupid me!” : I’M A MORON!

The unsavory word “moron” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with a degree of mental retardation. The term comes from the Greek “moros” meaning “foolish, dull”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

  • “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
  • “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
  • “moron” …IQ of 51-70

16 Recherché : ARCANE

Something that is arcane is understood by only a few, something that might be described as mysterious.

The adjective “recherché” can mean “exquisite, choice” or “exotic, rare”. The term is French in origin, in which language it means “sought out”. We use it in the sense of carefully seeking out something special.

20 Who wrote “The poetry of earth is never dead” : KEATS

“On the Grasshopper and Cricket” is an 1884 poem by John Keats:

The poetry of earth is never dead;
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead.
That is the grasshopper’s, – he takes the lead
In summer luxury, – he has never done
With his delights; for, when tired out with fun,
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never.
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems, to one in drowsiness half lost,
The grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

23 Rivals of the 1980s “Showtime” Lakers, to fans : CELTS

The Boston Celtics NBA basketball team was founded just after WWII, in 1946. The Celtics won eight league championships in a row from 1958 to 1966. That’s the longest consecutive championship winning streak of any professional sports team in North America.

24 Part of a pool : GENE

The set of all genes in a particular population is known as the “gene pool”, a term coined in Russian by geneticist Aleksandr Sergeevich Serebrovskii in the 1920s. In general, the larger the gene pool, the more diverse and robust the population.

25 Regulation followers, for short : OTS

Overtime (OT)

34 Works with 17 units : HAIKUS

A haiku is a very elegant form of Japanese verse. When writing a haiku in English we tend to impose the rule that the verse must contain 17 syllables. This restriction comes from the rule in Japanese that the verse must contain 17 sound units called “moras”, but moras and syllables aren’t the same thing. Sadly, the difference is not so clear to me. Here’s an example of a Haiku:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense
Refrigerator

37 Wade in the Baseball Hall of Fame : BOGGS

Wade Boggs is a former Major League Baseball player. He was a third baseman noted for his hitting ability.

38 Manhattan campus around Washington Sq. Park : NYU

The main campus of the private New York University (NYU) is located right in Manhattan, in Washington Square in the heart of Greenwich Village. NYU has over 12,000 resident students, the largest number of residents in a private school in the whole country. NYU’s sports teams are known as the Violets, a reference to the violet and white colors that are worn in competition. Since the 1980s, the school’s mascot has been a bobcat. “Bobcat” had been the familiar name given to NYU’s Bobst Library computerized catalog.

Washington Square Park in New York City is largely surrounded by buildings belonging to New York University. The park’s most prominent feature in the park is the magnificent Washington Square Arch, a triumphal marble arch erected in 1892 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the nation’s first president in 1789.

41 Where to set une couronne : TETE

In French, one might set “une couronne” (a crown) on one’s “tête” (head).

42 Name spelled with six dashes and six dots : MORSE

The word “Morse” is written as “–/—/.-./…/.” in Morse code.

43 Air : MIEN

One’s mien is one’s bearing or manner. “Mien” shares the same etymological root as our word “demeanor”.

44 Where Wonder Woman first worked: Abbr. : OSS

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

Superhero Wonder Woman first appeared in print in 1941, in a publication from DC Comics. As she was created during WWII, Wonder Woman’s first foes were the axis powers. In the less realistic world her biggest foe was and still is Ares, a “baddie” named after the Greek mythological figure. Wonder Woman had several signature expressions, including “Merciful Minerva!”, “Suffering Sappho!” and “Great Hera!”. She also has several devices that she uses in her quest for justice, e.g. the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets and a tiara that can be used as a deadly projectile. Wonder Woman uses the name “Diana Prince” when “out of uniform”.

46 “Gotcha” : ROGER

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”.

47 Soak up the sun, say : PHOTOSYNTHESIZE

Photosynthesis is the process used by plants (mainly) in which light energy is harnessed to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate molecules. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy breathing, oxygen is released as a waste product of photosynthesis.

50 What I might be in a lab? : IODINE

Here is a list of all the single-letter element symbols:

  • B = boron
  • C = carbon
  • F = fluorine
  • H = hydrogen
  • I = Iodine
  • K = potassium
  • N = nitrogen
  • O = oxygen
  • P = phosphorus
  • S = sulfur
  • U = uranium
  • V = vanadium
  • W = tungsten
  • Y = yttrium

51 Multiheaded dog guarding the gates of the underworld, in myth : CERBERUS

Cerberus is a dog with three heads that appears in both Greek and Roman mythology. Cerberus had the job of guarding the gates of Hades and preventing those who had crossed the River Styx from ever escaping. A sop is a piece of food that has been dipped in some liquid, as one might sop a piece of bread in soup. There is an idiomatic expression, “to give a sop to Cerberus”, which means “to give someone a bribe, pay someone off”. The idea is that if one could bribe Cerberus, give him a sop to eat, then he would let you pass and escape from Hades.

Down

1 What an aphrodisiac boosts : LIBIDO

“Libido” is a term popularized by Sigmund Freud. Freud’s usage was more general than is understood today, as he used “libido” to describe all instinctive energy that arose in the subconscious. He believed that we humans are driven by two desires, the desire for life (the libido, or Eros) and the desire for death (Thanatos).

The word “aphrodisiac” is used for something that imbues sexual excitement. The word is derived from the “Aphrodite”, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

2 Eastern lodging : IMARET

Imarets were inns or hostels used by pilgrims throughout the Ottoman Empire. The network of imarets was set up to provide food to anyone in need, so they also served as soup kitchens, as it were.

3 North Atlantic island group : FAROES

The Faroe Islands (also “Faeroe Islands”) are a group of islands lying halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark and were granted the power of self-governance in 1948.

4 Tweak : EMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

6 Modern “art” : ARE

“Thou art” became “you are” quite a while ago.

10 Greek counterpart of Discordia : ERIS

In Greek mythology, Eris was the goddess of discord. The name “Eris” is derived from the Greek word for strife, and translates into Latin as “Discordia”. In Greek her counterpart was Harmonia, and in the world of the Roman gods, Concordia. The largest dwarf planet in our solar system is called Eris, named after the goddess.

11 See 18-Down : ACT
18 High school alternatives to the 11-Down : SATS

ACT is an abbreviation for American College Testing. The ACT is an entrance exam used by many universities. It has four sections, English, Reading, Math and Science, and an optional 30-minute essay.

Today, the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation “SAT”.

14 They’re saved for a rainy day : NEST EGGS

A nest egg is an amount of money laid down as a reserve. This is the figurative use of “nest egg” that originally described an artificial egg left in a nest to encourage a hen to lay real eggs in that spot. So our financial nest egg is set aside in anticipation of continued growth, more eggs being laid.

23 After Kipling, the youngest-ever Literature Nobelist (1957, 44 years) : CAMUS

Albert Camus was a French author, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Sadly, Camus died in a car accident just two years after he received the prize, at only 46 years of age.

Rudyard Kipling was a British poet and writer famous for his tales of the British Raj, the rule of the British Empire in India. Kipling was actually born in Bombay, but returned with his family to England when he was very young. After being educated in England, he returned to India and from there traveled the world. Kipling’s most famous works are the stories “The Jungle Book”, “Just So Stories”, “The Man Who Would Be King”, and the poems “Mandalay”, “Gunga Din” and “If-”.

27 Historically Germanic observances : YULES

Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

31 It ends after midnight in New York, with “The” : … LATE SHOW

The “Late Show” with David Letterman ran on CBS from 1993 until Letterman’s retirement in 2015. Letterman had produced a similar show called “Late Night with David Letterman” on NBC from 1982 to 1993. The current iteration of the show is the “Late Show” with Stephen Colbert, which first aired in September 2015.

32 Pepsi Max, e.g. : DIET SODA

Diet Pepsi Max was introduced to the soft drink market in 2007. The “Diet” was dropped from the name in 2009. In 2015, the name was further changed to “Pepsi Zero Sugar”.

33 Spots for archaeologists : DIG SITES

“Archaeology” is a word that looks like it’s British English, and one might be forgiven for using the spelling “archeology” in American English. Even though the latter spelling has been around for a couple of hundred years, the former is the standard spelling on both sides of the Atlantic.

38 Sushi variety : NIGIRI

Nigirizushi (“hand-pressed sushi”) is prepared by pressing a mound of rice into a ball and then draping seafood over the top.

39 2013 #1 album from Kanye West : YEEZUS

Kanye West is a rap singer who was born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago. He also spent some time in Nanjing, China as a child, where his mother was teaching as part of an exchange program. West is married to reality star Kim Kardashian.

42 Biblical figure with a large staff : MOSES

Moses is an important prophet in Christianity and Islam, and the most important prophet in Judaism. It fell to Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt across the Red Sea. He was given the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and then wandered the desert with his people for forty years. Moses then died within sight of the Promised Land.

43 Walk in a leisurely way : MOSEY

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

46 “___: Duets” (2007 country album) : REBA

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom “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”.

48 Main component of britannium : TIN

Britannia metal (also called “britannium”) is an alloy made from 92% tin, 6% antimony and 2% copper. Britannia metal is a type of pewter.

49 Invoice info: Abbr. : HRS

An invoice is an itemized bill. The term comes from the Middle French “envois” meaning “dispatch (of goods)”. The root verb is “envoyer”, which translates as “to send”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Cheap trick, perhaps : LIFE HACK
9 Apply pressure to : LEAN ON
15 “Stupid me!” : I’M A MORON!
16 Recherché : ARCANE
17 Food, water, a place to live, etc. : BARE NECESSITIES
19 Decreases? : IRONS
20 Who wrote “The poetry of earth is never dead” : KEATS
21 Drawing method : LOT
22 “___ I do!” (informal assent) : ‘DEED
23 Rivals of the 1980s “Showtime” Lakers, to fans : CELTS
24 Part of a pool : GENE
25 Regulation followers, for short : OTS
26 Cuts (down) : PARES
27 “Wassup, my dude” : YO, DOG
28 Intended : AIMED
29 Winter slopes activity : TUBING
30 One born in the wrong generation, maybe : OLD SOUL
33 Expands : DILATES
34 Works with 17 units : HAIKUS
35 Like speeders, often : FINED
36 Features of some glasses : STEMS
37 Wade in the Baseball Hall of Fame : BOGGS
38 Manhattan campus around Washington Sq. Park : NYU
41 Where to set une couronne : TETE
42 Name spelled with six dashes and six dots : MORSE
43 Air : MIEN
44 Where Wonder Woman first worked: Abbr. : OSS
45 Words of agreement : SO DO I
46 “Gotcha” : ROGER
47 Soak up the sun, say : PHOTOSYNTHESIZE
50 What I might be in a lab? : IODINE
51 Multiheaded dog guarding the gates of the underworld, in myth : CERBERUS
52 Features of some accents : TWANGS
53 James Baldwin, e.g. : ESSAYIST

Down

1 What an aphrodisiac boosts : LIBIDO
2 Eastern lodging : IMARET
3 North Atlantic island group : FAROES
4 Tweak : EMEND
5 Sweeties : HONS
6 Modern “art” : ARE
7 Young male chicken : COCKEREL
8 Prepared to propose, perhaps : KNEELED
9 Holds up : LASTS
10 Greek counterpart of Discordia : ERIS
11 See 18-Down : ACT
12 “Perfect!” : NAILED IT!
13 Dealing directly (with) : ONE-ON-ONE
14 They’re saved for a rainy day : NEST EGGS
18 High school alternatives to the 11-Down : SATS
23 After Kipling, the youngest-ever Literature Nobelist (1957, 44 years) : CAMUS
24 Turn : GO BAD
26 Reverential : PIOUS
27 Historically Germanic observances : YULES
28 Offer to help : ASK ME
29 Shade : TINGE
30 “You’re such a tease!” : OH, STOP IT!
31 It ends after midnight in New York, with “The” : … LATE SHOW
32 Pepsi Max, e.g. : DIET SODA
33 Spots for archaeologists : DIG SITES
35 As an exception : FOR ONCE
37 Word with shop, shot or shape : BODY …
38 Sushi variety : NIGIRI
39 2013 #1 album from Kanye West : YEEZUS
40 Civil disturbance : UNREST
42 Biblical figure with a large staff : MOSES
43 Walk in a leisurely way : MOSEY
45 Track, say : SONG
46 “___: Duets” (2007 country album) : REBA
48 Main component of britannium : TIN
49 Invoice info: Abbr. : HRS

7 thoughts on “0422-22 NY Times Crossword 22 Apr 22, Friday”

  1. 14:27. KNEELED threw me for a loop, as I think I always use “knelt.” Clever cluing for PHOTOSYNTHESIZED.

  2. This was a real slog for me…30:20 with no errors. I finally got a foothold in the SE but the whole grid stymied me for about 15 minutes before I finally broke through. Agree with Tom on PHOTOSYNTHESIZE.

  3. 30:43. Really bogged down in some areas.

    I enjoyed the clue for MORSE. Surprised they didn’t use anything from The Jungle Book for BARE NECESSITIES. I guess that would have been BEAR…, however.

    In desperate need of a weekend.

    Best –

  4. 50:17, your times are all safe now. Same as start as BruceB, but with 15 more minutes of “enjoyment”. Did try to fit “basic” into where “bare” ended up, other than that, just my usual slow self. Side note: tested positive for Covid, looks like I’ll have some time for solving now…don’t worry, I’m wearing my mask as I type this :- )

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