0514-22 NY Times Crossword 14 May 22, Saturday

Constructed by: Ada Nicolle
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 15m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Incomplete Wikipedia entry : STUB

The Wikipedia community uses the term “stub” to denote an article considered too short. A stub is deemed inadequate in that it provides information about a subject that is insufficient for inclusion in an encyclopedia.

13 Part of many a software demo, informally : SCREENCAP

A screenshot (also “screen capture”, “screencap”, “screen grab”) is an image that shows the contents of a computer screen or perhap a still from a TV show.

17 Bug : ERROR

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term “bug” in the context of computing.

18 Piercing tool : AWL

An awl is a pointed tool used for marking a surface or for piercing small holes. The earliest awls were used to pierce ears, apparently. The tool then became very much associated with shoemakers.

19 Children’s toy that’s sprayed from a can : SILLY STRING

Silly String is a brand of aerosol string. The “string” exits the aerosol can as a liquid, with the solvent evaporating rapidly in mid-air resulting in a continuous strand. Aerosol string is used as a toy, an application that really annoys me (I’m an old grouch!). However, the military has a use for the product, spraying it over areas where tripwires are suspected. The string falls to the ground if none are present, but gets caught on tripwires that are present without activating any explosive.

25 Tautological words of resignation : IT IS WHAT IT IS

“Tautology” is one of my favorite words. It describes needless repetition, the redundant use of words to convey the same message, perhaps in the same sentence.

34 [not our typo] : [SIC]

[Sic] indicates that a quotation is written as originally found, perhaps including a typo. “Sic” is Latin for “thus, like this”. The term is more completely written as “sic erat scriptum”, which translates as “thus was it written”.

36 Room where a Peloton may double as a clothing rack : HOME GYM

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

Peloton is a New York-based company that manufactures exercise equipment, and also provides fitness classes. Those classes are streamed to touchscreens incorporated into the equipment itself. Participation in the classes requires a subscription.

In military terms, a platoon is a subdivision of a company-sized unit, and is usually divided into squads or sections. The term “platoon” arose in the 1630s from the French “peloton”. “Peloton” translates literally as “little ball”, and is used to this day to mean “agglomeration”. “Peloton” gives rise to our word “pellet”. Also, we use the Modern French “peloton” in English now to refer to the main body (agglomeration) of riders in a bicycle race.

38 Literally, “guilty mind” : MENS REA

“Mens rea” is Latin for “guilty mind” and is a central concept in criminal law. The concept is expanded to “actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea” meaning “the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind be also guilty”. In other words, someone should not be deemed guilty of an act, unless he or she had a “guilty mind”, intended to do wrong.

40 Codeshare partner of American Airlines : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. El Al is known for its high levels of security, both on the ground and in the air. Reportedly, the airline’s passenger aircraft have been operating with anti-missile technology for several years.

American Airlines was founded in 1930 through the acquisition of 82 existing small airlines, and initially operated as American Airways. The company name was changed to “American Air Lines” in 1934. Back then, airlines made their profits by carrying the US mail, and American became the first airline to turn a profit on a route that could solely carry passengers. It did so by working with Donald Douglas to develop the DC-3 passenger plane. At that time, American started calling its aircraft “Flagships” and introduced its more wealthy passengers to the first Admirals Club.

43 Most alert to social justice issues : WOKEST

The term “woke” can be used as a slang term, an adjective meaning “aware of issues of racial and social justice”.

47 Broadway star Phillipa : SOO

Phillipa Soo is an actress and singer who is perhaps best known for portraying Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, the title character’s wife in the Broadway production of “Hamilton”.

48 “Was ist ___?” : DAS

“Was ist das?” is German for “What is that?”

60 Tex-Mex brand : OLD EL PASO

Old El Paso is a Tex-Mex food brand that is owned today by General Mills. The original Old El Paso company started operating in El Paso, Texas in 1938. The original products produced were canned tomatoes and pinto beans.

62 Writer of the line “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” : MILNE

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

63 Extent of a commuter rail system, perhaps : METRO AREA

Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …

Down

2 Either side of Alaska? : SCHWA

A schwa is an unstressed and toneless vowel found in a number of languages including English. Examples from our language are the “a” in “about”, the “e” in “taken” and the “i” in pencil.

3 Online heckler : TROLL

In Internet terms, a troll is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response. I must admit to feeling sorry for people who have such sad lives …

Originally, the verb “to heckle” meant “to question severely”, and for many years was associated with the public questioning of parliamentary candidates in Scotland. In more recent times, the meaning has evolved into questioning that is less polite and that is directed at stand-up comics.

5 Table tennis equipment : NETS

Ping-Pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name. The name “Ping-Pong” was trademarked in Britain in 1901, and eventually sold to Parker Brothers in the US.

7 Horoscope symbol : SCALES

The constellation of Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac, and is named for the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is the only sign that isn’t named for a living creature.

10 Amos with the 1994 hit “Cornflake Girl” : TORI

“Cornflake Girl” is a 1994 song written and recorded by Tori Amos. Amos uses the term “cornflake girl” to describe someone who is apt to hurt you despite being a close friend.

11 Soba alternative : UDON

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. In Japan, the word “soba” tends to describe any thin noodle, in contrast with the thicker noodle called “udon”.

12 Icy detachment : BERG

An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that is floating freely after having broken away from a glacier or ice shelf. Our use of “iceberg” comes from the Dutch word for the same phenomenon “ijsberg”, which translates literally as “ice mountain”.

20 Genre for “Cowboy Bebop” and “The Mandalorian” : SPACE WESTERN

“The Mandalorian” is a TV series in the “Star Wars” universe that is set five years after the events in the 1983 film “Return of the Jedi”. The show was created by actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau, and has been well received. The title character is Din Djarin (played by Pedro Pascal), a bounty hunter with a ward named Grogu. Grogu is an infant of the same species as Yoda, and so is referred to by viewers as “Baby Yoda”.

26 Comedian Notaro : TIG

Tig Notaro is a stand-up comedian known for her deadpan delivery.

29 Day after Pi Day, e.g. : IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Actually, the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

The first three digits of the mathematical constant pi are 3.14. Pi Day has been celebrated on March 14th (3/14) every year since 1988, when it was inaugurated at the San Francisco Exploratorium. In countries where the day is usually written before the month, Pi Day is July 22nd, reflecting the more accurate approximation of pi as 22/7. Interestingly, March 14th is also Albert Einstein’s birthday.

32 Ensemble part : ROLE

In the most general sense, an ensemble is a group producing a single, harmonious effect. For example, a musical ensemble works together to perform a particular work, with no instrument really dominating the piece. An ensemble cast works on a movie, with the main actors sharing the spotlight relatively equally. An ensemble can also be a complete outfit of clothing and accessories that all work together to provide a harmonized look.

33 One member of Congress’s “Squad” : OMAR

Ilhan Omar has been representing Minnesota’s 5th congressional district in the US House since 2019. At that time, she became one of the first two Muslim women, as well as the first Somali American, to serve in the US Congress.

50 United hub : O’HARE

O’Hare International was the world’s busiest airport from 1963 to 1998. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.

United Airlines used the tagline “Fly the Friendly Skies” in its marketing materials from 1965 to 1996. It was then replaced with “It’s time to fly”. United chose George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” as the company’s theme music in 1976, and paid the Gershwin estate a fee of $500,000 for the privilege.

51 Stand for something : EASEL

The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey”, would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

53 Purchase at a military supplies store, informally : CAMO

Our word “camouflage” (often abbreviated to “camo”) evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern painted on the hulls of ships.

54 Anthony Hopkins’s character in the Marvel Universe : ODIN

The marvelous actor Anthony Hopkins got his big break in movies playing Richard the Lionheart in the 1968 historical drama “The Lion in Winter”. Hopkins hails from the south coast of Wales, and was encouraged in his early career by fellow Welshman Richard Burton, whom he met when he was a teenager. I’d say that Hopkins’ best-known film role was Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”.

55 Shade of green : NILE

Nile green is a pale bluish green, and is named for the river.

56 ___ yum (hot-and-sour Thai soup) : TOM

Tom yum is a delicious spicy soup served in Thai restaurants. It is usually described as “hot and sour”, and I love it …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Stagger : ASTONISH
9 Incomplete Wikipedia entry : STUB
13 Part of many a software demo, informally : SCREENCAP
15 Former Philadelphia mayor Wilson : GOODE
16 Unanticipated deficit : SHORTFALL
17 Bug : ERROR
18 Piercing tool : AWL
19 Children’s toy that’s sprayed from a can : SILLY STRING
21 Informal pronoun : Y’ALL
23 Prefix with pronoun : NEO-
24 You ___ (words before an amount after discount) : PAY
25 Tautological words of resignation : IT IS WHAT IT IS
31 Something to take home : PROFIT
34 [not our typo] : [SIC]
35 Adviser, e.g. : AIDE
36 Room where a Peloton may double as a clothing rack : HOME GYM
38 Literally, “guilty mind” : MENS REA
40 Codeshare partner of American Airlines : EL AL
41 Make a quick visit, with “in” : POP …
43 Most alert to social justice issues : WOKEST
44 “Let’s move on” : WE’RE DONE HERE
47 Broadway star Phillipa : SOO
48 “Was ist ___?” : DAS
49 Renders : DOES
53 They’re not always free with their advice : CONSULTANTS
58 “That’ll be the day!” : HAH!
59 “Mae alsalama,” across the Mediterranean : ADIOS
60 Tex-Mex brand : OLD EL PASO
62 Writer of the line “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” : MILNE
63 Extent of a commuter rail system, perhaps : METRO AREA
64 Gender-neutral pronoun : ONE’S
65 “This stays between us” : DON’T TELL

Down

1 Test for purity : ASSAY
2 Either side of Alaska? : SCHWA
3 Online heckler : TROLL
4 “The Strife Is ___, the Battle Done” (Easter hymn) : O’ER
5 Table tennis equipment : NETS
6 Luxury home installation with a vanishing edge : INFINITY POOL
7 Horoscope symbol : SCALES
8 Makes sacred : HALLOWS
9 “Oh, never mind – you clearly don’t want to talk about it” : SORRY I ASKED
10 Amos with the 1994 hit “Cornflake Girl” : TORI
11 Soba alternative : UDON
12 Icy detachment : BERG
14 Practice : PLY
15 Try to say : GET AT
20 Genre for “Cowboy Bebop” and “The Mandalorian” : SPACE WESTERN
22 Subjects of some parental speeches : LIFE LESSONS
26 Comedian Notaro : TIG
27 “What’s eating ___?!” : HIM
28 Exhaust : TIRE
29 Day after Pi Day, e.g. : IDES
30 Parking spot? : SEAT
31 “That was a close call!” : PHEW!
32 Ensemble part : ROLE
33 One member of Congress’s “Squad” : OMAR
37 Part of many a three-day weekend: Abbr. : MON
39 Here-there connection : NOR
42 Biked : PEDALED
45 Put out : DOUSE
46 Give in person : HAND TO
50 United hub : O’HARE
51 Stand for something : EASEL
52 Large mass of swimming fish : SHOAL
53 Purchase at a military supplies store, informally : CAMO
54 Anthony Hopkins’s character in the Marvel Universe : ODIN
55 Shade of green : NILE
56 ___ yum (hot-and-sour Thai soup) : TOM
57 Blank on a sign-up sheet : SLOT
61 Down ___ : PAT

11 thoughts on “0514-22 NY Times Crossword 14 May 22, Saturday”

  1. 19:04, no errors. After Friday’s fiasco, I’ll take it! As usual, I slowed down in the second half as I was under 7 minutes at the halfway point.

  2. 16:50…same year as the Battle of Dunbar.

    Agree with above comments. This happens once in a while, but yesterday’s and today’s puzzles seem to have been switched at birth. I wonder if there’s any other criteria besides difficulty that differentiate a Friday and Saturday puzzle. Can a hard Friday be more difficult than an easy Saturday puzzle and both puzzles be legit Friday/Saturday puzzles respectively? Maybe Glenn can shed some light on that. (e.g. word count, average word length, whatever?)

    I hate the phrase IT IS WHAT IT IS. It’s tired and overused. It’s cringeworthy to me. I’ll boast that I have never used that expression under any circumstances. It’s just not something I’d utter. Same thing with Y’ALL despite living in Texas for 3 decades. I’d use the word WOKEST, but only in a derisive manner…

    Sorry, Bill. I loved playing with SILLY STRING as a kid….

    Best –

  3. 16:11, no errors.

    @Jeff
    I can’t say I’ve ever read anything on it. But they don’t stick to any standard on anything, including the “rules” they’re supposed to be abiding by like indicators in the cluing. So if I did read anything I wouldn’t believe it anyway.

  4. 58:26 no errors…I felt pretty good about finishing this one error free in under an hour until I read all the comments about the ease of this one.
    Who besides someone who lives or lived in Philadelphia would know 15A?
    Stay safe😀

  5. Agree with others. I did much better on this one than Friday’s.

    They were mostly “normal” clues. No foreign words or hipster references. Just clues.

  6. Once again, a puzzle many of you found to be easy, I found to be an interminable slog. Had all y’all found this difficult, I would have found it easy. More proof that I must live in a parallel universe. That’s my silly string theory and I’m sticking with it. After all, it is what it is. Until it isn’t.

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