0504-22 NY Times Crossword 4 May 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Eric Bornstein
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Attaché

Themed answers are each common phrases with an “É” ATTACHED to the end of one word:

  • 38A Embassy staffer … or a hint to 17-, 23-, 49- and 59-Across? : ATTACHÉ or ATTACH É
  • 17A People who acknowledge when they’ve been verbally bested? : TOUCHÉ TYPES (from “touch-types”)
  • 23A Ruins a shiny fabric, as a pet might? : GOES ON THE LAMÉ (from “goes on the lam”)
  • 49A Bad advice from grandpa? : PASSÉ JUDGMENT (from “pass judgment”)
  • 59A Managed to stomach a cracker spread? : GOT DOWN PATÉ (from “got down pat”)

Bill’s time: 8m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Stock index founded in 1885, informally : THE DOW

Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company’s most famous publication has to be “The Wall Street Journal”. In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day. The most famous of these metrics is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), also known as “the Dow 30” or simply “the Dow”.

15 Elder Levy in “Schitt’s Creek” : EUGENE

Eugene Levy is a Canadian actor. He is the only actor to have appeared in all of the “American Pie” movies. Levy plays the clueless, but loving, Dad.

16 Islanders’ grp. : NHL

The New York Islanders are an NHL team, one of three such franchises in the New York City area (along with the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers). When the team was founded in 1972, it was designated as a “Long Island franchise”, and it was expected to be named the Long Island Ducks, but “New York Islanders” it was to be.

17 People who acknowledge when they’ve been verbally bested? : TOUCHÉ TYPES (from “touch-types”)

When touch typing, the typist allows the four fingers of each hand to return to eight keys at the center of the keyboard. These “home keys” for the left hand are A-S-D-F, and for the right hand are J-K-L-; (semicolon).

“Touché” is a term from fencing, one acknowledging a successful “touch” in a duel. The usage has been extended to mean that a successful criticism or riposte has hit home in a conversation.

19 Berkeley, familiarly : CAL

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.

21 Two for a basket: Abbr. : PTS

That could be basketball …

23 Ruins a shiny fabric, as a pet might? : GOES ON THE LAMÉ (from “goes on the lam”)

Lamé is a fabric that has metallic yarns included in the weave. It is a popular fabric for stylish evening wear, and also in the sport of fencing. The metallic threads are conductive and so help register a touch by an épée.

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

27 Stratovolcano in Sicily : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” (sometimes “Muncibeddu”) in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

30 Computer scientist Turing : ALAN

Alan Turing was an English mathematician. He was well-respected for his code-breaking work during WWII at Bletchley Park in England. However, despite his contributions to cracking the German Enigma code and other crucial work, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He agreed to chemical castration, treatment with female hormones, and then two years later he committed suicide by taking cyanide. Turing’s life story is told in the 2014 film “The Imitation Game” with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead. I thoroughly enjoyed that film …

38 Embassy staffer … or a hint to 17-, 23-, 49- and 59-Across? : ATTACHÉ

“Attaché” is a French term which literally means “attached”, and is used for a person who is assigned to the administrative staff of some agency or other service. The term is most recognized as it applies to someone assigned to an Ambassador’s staff at an embassy. The word was extended to “attaché case” at the beginning of the twentieth century, meaning a leather case used for carrying papers. I guess that an attaché case might be “attached” to an attaché at an embassy …

40 “S.N.L.” alum Gasteyer : ANA

Ana Gasteyer is an actress best known for being a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) from 1996 to 2002. Gasteyer was famous on SNL for playing Martha Stewart … topless!

41 Colosseum country : ITALY

The Colosseum of Rome was the largest amphitheater in the whole of the Roman Empire in its day, and could seat about 50,000 people. The structure was originally called the “Amphitheatrum Flavium” but the name changed to “Colosseum” after a colossal statue of Emperor Nero was located nearby.

44 Skating jump : AXEL

An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.

47 MCAT subj. : ANAT

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

49 Bad advice from grandpa? : PASSÉ JUDGMENT (from “pass judgment”)

“Passé” is a French word, meaning “past, faded”. We’ve imported the term into English, and use it in the same sense.

55 Desire : YEN

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

56 Spammer’s medium : EMAIL

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 …

58 Parabola piece : ARC

A parabola is roughly a u-shape curve. Parabolic mirrors have cross-sections that are parabolic curves. Such mirrors have the characteristic that light emanating from the parabola’s focal point leaves the mirror as a parallel beam, a collimated beam.

59 Managed to stomach a cracker spread? : GOT DOWN PATÉ (from “got down pat”)

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made from a mixture of ground meat and fat to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

62 Undefined ordinal : NTH

Ordinal numbers express a position in a series, i.e. first, second, third etc.

63 Feared fifth-century ruler : ATTILA

In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.

64 Diez menos dos : OCHO

In Spanish, “ocho” (eight) is “diez menos dos” (ten minus two)

67 Corral, e.g. : PEN

“Corral” is Spanish word that we’ve imported into English describing an enclosure for livestock. Ultimately, the term comes from the Vulgar Latin “currale” meaning “enclosure for carts”, itself coming from “currus”, the Latin for “cart”.

Down

1 Cylindrical pasta : ZITI

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

3 Dog owned by a talking mouse : PLUTO

Pluto is Mickey Mouse’s pet dog, as well as a star in his own right. Pluto is an unusual Disney character in that he is portrayed basically as a dog as opposed to a “humanized” version of a dog, as are the other Disney characters.

4 Equipment not needed in miniature golf : TEE

The game of miniature golf emerged in the early 1900s. The name “putt-putt” is quite commonly used for the game today in the US. This name comes from the Putt-Putt Fun Center chain of courses that was founded in Fayetteville, North Carolina and 1954. Putt-Putt courses are actually quite spartan compared to true miniature golf courses that are so often themed. Regardless, the names “putt-putt” and “miniature golf” have conflated over time.

5 Cabana : HUT

Our word “cabana” comes from the Spanish “cabaña”, the word for a small hut or a cabin. We often use the term to describe a tent-like structure beside a pool.

6 King Tut’s land : EGYPT

“King Tut” is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamun’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

9 Director Anderson : WES

Film director Wes Anderson’s most famous movie is probably “The Royal Tenenbaums” that was released in 2001, and is not my favorite film by any stretch. However, Anderson’s 2007 release “The Darjeeling Limited”, that I enjoyed.

11 Parent on a field trip, often : CHAPERONE

Traditionally, a chaperone (often “chaperon” in Britain and Ireland) was a woman accompanying a younger unmarried lady in public, with the term “chaperone” originating in France. The French word was used to mean “hood, cowl” going back to the 12th century, a diminutive of “chape” meaning “cape”. So, our word “chaperone” has the same roots as our word “cape” and indeed “cap”. The idea is that a chaperone is “covering” someone who is vulnerable socially.

14 Vet : SCREEN

The verb “to vet” comes from the term “veterinarian”. The idea is that to vet something is to subject it to careful examination, like a veterinarian checking out an animal.

22 Maggie Smith, for one : DAME

Dame Maggie Smith is a wonderful, wonderful actress from England. Although Smith has had an extensive stage career, she is perhaps best known outside of Britain as a film and television actress. She has won two Oscars, including Best Actress for playing the title character in 1969’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. TV audiences today know her best as the Dowager Countess on “Downton Abbey”. I saw her recently in the movie “The Second Best Marigold Hotel”, a movie that I wholeheartedly recommend …

25 International pact that ended in 2020 : NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a treaty between Canada, Mexico and the United States. When NAFTA came into force in 1994, it set up the largest free trade zone in the world. It was replaced by the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in 2020, an agreement that is often referred to as NAFTA 2.0 because it largely maintains the provisions in the original NAFTA treaty.

26 Blast with a beam of photons : LASE

In the field of electromagnetic radiation, a photon is the basic unit of light, and an elementary particle. The photon is believed to have no mass, but this fact does seem to create some theoretical inconsistencies … which I just don’t understand!

29 Fussy in the extreme : ANAL

The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

30 Handel’s “La giustizia,” for one : ARIA

George Frideric Handel was the King of the Oratorio. Handel’s most famous oratorio is “Messiah”, which had its debut performance in Dublin, Ireland back in 1742.

31 Bacchanalian cry : LET’S PARTY!

A bacchanalia is a drunken spree. The term “bacchanalia” derives from the ancient Roman festival held in honor of Bacchus, the god of winemaking.

44 At the original speed, in scores : A TEMPO

“A tempo” is Italian for “in time”. The phrase is used on a musical score to instruct a performer to return to the main tempo of the piece, perhaps after slowing down or speeding up.

46 Psychoactive drug from a cactus : PEYOTE

The peyote is a small, spineless cactus that is native to southwestern Texas and Mexico. When ingested, the peyote is known to have a psychoactive effect. One of the psychoactive alkaloids in peyote is mescaline, a recreational drug of choice for the likes of Aldous Huxley and Pablo Picasso.

50 Volkswagen compact : JETTA

“Jetta” is one in a series of model names related to winds that has been used by Volkswagen. “Jetta” comes from the German for “jet stream”, and the model name “Passat” comes from the German for “trade wind”.

52 Org. co-founded by W. E. B. Du Bois : NAACP

The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it still uses the offensive term “colored people”. The NAACP was founded in 1909, by a group that included suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moskowitz. Another member of the founding group was W. E. B. Du Bois, the first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. The date chosen for the founding of the NAACP was February 12th, 1909, the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, the man most visibly associated with the emancipation of African-American slaves.

W. E. B. Du Bois was a sociologist and civil rights activist from Massachusetts. Du Bois was the first African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard, and went on to become a professor at Atlanta University. In 1909, he was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

53 10% offering : TITHE

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

57 Revolutionary Trotsky : LEON

Leon Trotsky was a Soviet politician and revolutionary, the founder and first leader of the Red Army as well as one of the first members of the Politburo. Trotsky was ousted and deported in 1929 when he opposed the policies of Joseph Stalin. Trotsky continued to be vocal in opposition to Stalin in Mexico, his place of exile. Stalin had him assassinated there in 1940.

59 Eight pts. : GAL

The name of our fluid measure called a “gallon” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin term “galleta” meaning “bucket, pail”.

A US pint comprises 16 fluid ounces, and an imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces. The term “pint” comes into English via Old French, ultimately from the Latin “picta” meaning “painted”. The name arose from a line painted on the side of a beer glass that marked a full measure of ale.

60 Fútbol cry : OLE!

“Fútbol” is the Spanish word for “football, soccer”.

61 Game with the objective of winning all the cards : WAR

War is a card game, one played mainly by children.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Quickly microwave : ZAP
4 Stock index founded in 1885, informally : THE DOW
10 Cooler in glasses : ICE
13 Afflictions : ILLS
15 Elder Levy in “Schitt’s Creek” : EUGENE
16 Islanders’ grp. : NHL
17 People who acknowledge when they’ve been verbally bested? : TOUCHÉ TYPES (from “touch-types”)
19 Berkeley, familiarly : CAL
20 Paper opener : INTRO
21 Two for a basket: Abbr. : PTS
22 “Sweet!” : DOPE!
23 Ruins a shiny fabric, as a pet might? : GOES ON THE LAMÉ (from “goes on the lam”)
27 Stratovolcano in Sicily : ETNA
28 Shot taker : CAMERA
30 Computer scientist Turing : ALAN
33 “Should that be true …” : IF SO …
36 Determined to do : SET ON
37 Power, as an engine : REV
38 Embassy staffer … or a hint to 17-, 23-, 49- and 59-Across? : ATTACHÉ
40 “S.N.L.” alum Gasteyer : ANA
41 Colosseum country : ITALY
43 Lead-in to girl : ATTA …
44 Skating jump : AXEL
45 Numb, as a foot : ASLEEP
47 MCAT subj. : ANAT
49 Bad advice from grandpa? : PASSÉ JUDGMENT (from “pass judgment”)
54 Without : SANS
55 Desire : YEN
56 Spammer’s medium : EMAIL
58 Parabola piece : ARC
59 Managed to stomach a cracker spread? : GOT DOWN PATÉ (from “got down pat”)
62 Undefined ordinal : NTH
63 Feared fifth-century ruler : ATTILA
64 Diez menos dos : OCHO
65 Turn red, maybe : DYE
66 Summit attendee : LEADER
67 Corral, e.g. : PEN

Down

1 Cylindrical pasta : ZITI
2 ___ the way : ALONG
3 Dog owned by a talking mouse : PLUTO
4 Equipment not needed in miniature golf : TEE
5 Cabana : HUT
6 King Tut’s land : EGYPT
7 Profundity : DEPTH
8 “Be right with you” : ONE SEC
9 Director Anderson : WES
10 Payroll deduction : INCOME TAX
11 Parent on a field trip, often : CHAPERONE
12 Woman’s name that sounds like a letter of the alphabet : ELLE
14 Vet : SCREEN
18 Run the show, say : HOST
22 Maggie Smith, for one : DAME
24 “I’ll do that right away!” : ON IT!
25 International pact that ended in 2020 : NAFTA
26 Blast with a beam of photons : LASE
29 Fussy in the extreme : ANAL
30 Handel’s “La giustizia,” for one : ARIA
31 Bacchanalian cry : LET’S PARTY!
32 Overwhelming amount : AVALANCHE
34 Took a load off : SAT
35 Group of eight : OCTAD
38 “The ___ have it!” : AYES
39 Suspend : HANG
42 Without : LESS
44 At the original speed, in scores : A TEMPO
46 Psychoactive drug from a cactus : PEYOTE
48 “So true!” : AMEN!
50 Volkswagen compact : JETTA
51 Reversed : UNDID
52 Org. co-founded by W. E. B. Du Bois : NAACP
53 10% offering : TITHE
54 Castle material : SAND
57 Revolutionary Trotsky : LEON
59 Eight pts. : GAL
60 Fútbol cry : OLE!
61 Game with the objective of winning all the cards : WAR

7 thoughts on “0504-22 NY Times Crossword 4 May 22, Wednesday”

  1. 6:58, no errors. I was sorely tempted to take the risk of inserting a bit of word play in my comments, but I feared that it might become risqué! … 😜

  2. 13:49, no errors. Cool clues and answers. As an Australian Shepherd owner i especially liked 23A. 😁

  3. 17:01. In spite of my time, today’s puzzle seemed easier than yesterday. Fortunately the app doesn’t require l’accent aigu to be entered in the grid.

  4. 9:04. Clever theme. Somehow they keep coming up with new ones.

    I watched “The Imitation Game” about Alan Turing a couple of weeks ago. Agree with Bill that Benedict Cumberbatch (is that really a name??) was very good in it. I wish the movie had concentrated more on his code breaking processes than it did rather than so much on his personal life, but I’m likely in the minority there. Worth watching regardless.

    The guy sitting next to me on my flight back from Mexico on Monday was obviously drugged on something. I was guessing PEYOTE myself. I guess I’ll never know. He didn’t do well in the immigration line, and he was taken away for further questioning. The mystery will remain.

    Best –

  5. You might take “23A Ruins a shiny fabric, as a pet might? : GOES ON THE LAMÉ (from “goes on the lam”)” as ‘urinates’.

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