0523-22 NY Times Crossword 23 May 22, Monday

Constructed by: Simon Marotte
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Cast

Themed answers each start with something that can be CAST:

  • 71A Action that can be done to the starts of 20-, 35-, 44- and 56-Across : CAST
  • 20A Topic of debate regarding online service providers : NET NEUTRALITY
  • 35A Feign sleep : PLAY POSSUM
  • 44A Helpful feature for tyops … um, typos : SPELL-CHECK
  • 56A Opposition party group in British politics : SHADOW CABINET

Bill’s time: 6m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Musical measures : BARS

Musical scores are divided into measures, although on the other side of the Atlantic the term “bar” is used instead of “measure”.

5 Stats for H.S. students : GPAS

Grade point average (GPA)

14 Corporate bigwig : EXEC

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

15 Figure on a Monopoly card : RENT

The commercial game of Monopoly is supposedly a remake of “The Landlord’s Game” created in 1903 by a Quaker woman named Lizzie Phillips. Phillips used her game as a tool to explain the single tax theory of American economist Henry George. The Landlord’s Game was first produced commercially in 1924. The incredibly successful derivative game called Monopoly was introduced in 1933 by Charles Darrow, who became a very rich man when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game just two years later in 1935.

16 Guy of Food Network fame : FIERI

Guy Fieri is a restaurant owner and television personality. Fieri is known as “the face of the Food Network” as several of his television series on that channel are very popular.

18 Ye ___ Shoppe : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

19 Pup’s peeves : FLEAS

Fleas are flightless insects, but they sure can jump. Their very specialized hind legs allow them to jump up to 50 times the length of their bodies.

An endoparasite is one that lives inside the host, an example being a parasitic worm. Parasites living outside the host, such as fleas and lice, are known as ectoparasites.

20 Topic of debate regarding online service providers : NET NEUTRALITY

The principle of Net neutrality holds that those entities managing the Internet should treat all data passing through equally. The term “Net neutrality” was coined in 2003 by Tim Wu, a media law professor at Columbia University.

23 And so forth: Abbr. : ETC

The Latin phrase “et cetera” translates as “and other things”. The term is usually abbreviated to “etc.”

24 Arab dignitary : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East in Islamic countries. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

33 Evil-repelling trinket : AMULET

Amulets are items worn to ward off disease or to protect against harmful magic spells.

Trinkets and baubles are small ornaments, and often pieces of jewelry.

35 Feign sleep : PLAY POSSUM

The idiom “playing possum” means pretending to be dead. The phrase is used in recognition of the behavior of the Virginia Opossum that does just that, plays dead as a defense mechanism. We often use the term “possum” colloquially for the opossum species that live here in North America, but in fact, the true “possums” are marsupials native to Australia.

39 Jacques ___, “Mon Oncle” filmmaker : TATI

Jacques Tati was a very famous filmmaker and comic actor in his homeland of France. Even though he only directed six feature-length movies, Tati is often cited by insiders as one of the greatest movie directors of all time.

Monsieur Hulot is a celebrated comedic character played by French actor Jacques Tati in several films in the fifties and sixties, including “Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot” (1953) and “Mon Oncle” (1959). Rowan Atkinson draws on the antics of Monsieur Hulot when he plays his “Mr. Bean”.

40 Basic trick at a skatepark : OLLIE

An ollie is a skateboarding trick invented in 1976 by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand. Apparently it’s a way of lifting the board off the ground, while standing on it, without touching the board with one’s hands. Yeah, I could do that …

41 Eighth mo. : AUG

As the first Emperor of Rome, Octavian was given the name Caesar Augustus. The month of August, originally called “Sextilis” in Latin, was renamed in honor of Augustus.

42 Personification of evil : SATAN

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

46 Novelist Hemingway : ERNEST

Ernest Hemingway moved around a lot. He was born in Illinois, and after leaving school headed to the Italian front during WWI. There he served as an ambulance driver, an experience he used as inspiration for “A Farewell to Arms”. He returned to the US after being seriously wounded, but a few years later moved to Paris where he worked as a foreign correspondent. He covered the Spanish War as a journalist, from Spain, using this experience for “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. During the thirties and forties he had two permanent residences, one in Key West, Florida and one in Cuba. In the late fifties he moved to Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide in 1961.

48 “___ out!” (ump’s shout) : YER

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

49 P, to Plato : RHO

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R. It is the 17th letter in the Greek alphabet.

Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle.

50 Its motto is “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” in brief : NYT

“The New York Times” (NYT) has been published since 1851, and is sometimes referred to as “the Gray Lady”. These days a viable alternative to buying the paper is to read the news online. NYTimes.com is the most popular online newspaper website in the country.

54 Product that’s often mint-flavored : GUM

Chicle is a natural gum or latex that can be extracted from the Manilkara chicle tree that is native to Mexico and Central America. Companies like Wrigley were major users of chicle prior to the sixties as the product was used as the base ingredient in chewing gum. Today chewing gum manufacturers generally use a synthetic rubber that is cheap to manufacture as a replacement for natural chicle. I am so happy I don’t chew gum!

56 Opposition party group in British politics : SHADOW CABINET

Members of Parliament in the UK are mostly “backbenchers”, members of the rank and file who sit in the “backbenches” in the House of Commons. The Front Bench of the party in power is composed of those who hold government office e.g. Cabinet ministers. The Front Bench of the party in opposition is called the Shadow Cabinet.

In the Westminster system, the Cabinet is a group of sitting politicians chosen by the Prime Minister to head up government departments and also to participate collectively in major governmental decisions in all areas. In the US system, the Cabinet is made up not of sitting politicians, but rather of non-legislative individuals who are considered to have expertise in a particular area. The Cabinet members in the US system tend to have more of an advisory role outside of their own departments.

62 Created for a certain purpose, as a committee : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and disbanded after making its final report.

64 Fish’s breathing organ : GILL

A fish’s gills are the organs equivalent to the lungs of many land animals. The gills can extract oxygen dissolved in water and excrete carbon dioxide.

65 Nativity gift givers : MAGI

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar (also “Gaspar”): a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

67 Fruit with a cedilla in its name : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

A cedilla is the diacritical mark found under the letter C in many French words, as in the words “garçon” and “façade”.

69 Pieces that are typically sacrificed in gambits : PAWNS

In the game of chess, the pawns are the weakest pieces on the board. A pawn that can make it to the opposite side of the board can be promoted to a piece of choice, usually a queen. Using promotion of pawns, it is possible for a player to have two or more queens on the board at one time. However, standard chess sets come with only one queen per side, so a captured rook is often used as the second queen by placing it on the board upside down.

A gambit is a chess opening that intrinsically involves the sacrifice of a piece (usually a pawn) with the intent of gaining an advantage. The term “gambit” was first used by the Spanish priest Ruy Lopez de Segura who took it from the Italian expression “dare il gambetto” meaning “to put a leg forward to trip someone”. Said priest gave his name to the common Ruy Lopez opening, which paradoxically is not a gambit in that there is no sacrifice. The chess term dates back to the mid-1600s. We’ve been using “gambit” more generally for any opening move designed to gain advantage since the mid-1800s.

Down

1 Noggin : BEAN

Slang terms for “head” are “bean”, “coconut”, “gourd”, “noodle” and “noggin”.

5 Mustachioed Marx brother : GROUCHO

Groucho Marx’s real name was Julius Henry Marx. By the time Groucho started his successful, post-Hollywood career hosting the quiz show “You Bet Your Life”, he was sporting a real mustache. For all his movies, his mustache had been painted on with greasepaint.

13 “___ the season …” : ‘TIS

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in the 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la!”

21 French word for a leg of the Tour de France : ETAPE

“Étape” is the French word for stage, as in a “stage” in the Tour de France. The term is used in English military circles to describe where troops halt overnight, but can also describe the section of the march itself. So, a march can be divided into stages, into étapes.

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.

22 Actor Hemsworth of “The Hunger Games” : LIAM

Liam Hemsworth is an Australian actor who is best known these days for playing Gale Hawthorne in “The Hunger Games” series of films. Hemsworth met Miley Cyrus while working on the movie “The Last Song”, and the two actors were engaged for a while. Liam is a younger brother of actor Chris Hemsworth, who plays the superhero “Thor” on the big screen.

28 Like commands given to Siri and Alexa : SPOKEN

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with Amazon Echo smart speakers. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

29 ___ Queen, crime novel pseudonym : ELLERY

The Ellery Queen series of detective novels was somewhat unique in that Ellery Queen was the hero of the tales, and was also the pen name of the author. Actually, the “author” was a pair of writers; two cousins from Brooklyn, New York.

30 “The X Factor” or “The Voice” : TALENT SHOW

“The X Factor” is another one of Simon Cowell’s TV shows. It is in effect a spin-off of the UK show “Pop Idol” (produced as “American Idol” here in the US). And, “The X Factor” is here in America as well. Oh joy …

“The Voice” is yet another reality television show. It is a singing competition in which the judges hear the contestants without seeing them in the first round. The judges then take on chosen contestants as coaches for the remaining rounds. “The Voice” is a highly successful worldwide franchise that originated in the Netherlands as “The Voice of Holland”.

34 Destination of the Mormon migration : UTAH

When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag. In 1959, “Industry” was even chosen as the state motto, for the term’s association with the beehive.

44 Mate for a mare : STUD

The word “stud”, meaning “male horse kept for breeding”, is derived from the Old English word “stod”, which described a whole herd of horses. The term “stud” can be used figuratively for a “ladies’ man”.

52 Attire on many Roman statues : TOGAS

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

53 How many times Bette Davis won Best Actress : TWICE

I must confess that I have a problem watching movies starring Bette Davis. I think I must have seen her play one of her more sinister roles when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares or something. So, I have never seen the 1950 classic “All About Eve”, given that Bette Davis gets top billing. But, the title role of Eve Harrington was played by Anne Baxter, and Ms Baxter’s movies I do enjoy. Coincidentally, on the epic television series “Hotel”, when Bette Davis became ill, it was Anne Baxter who was chosen to take on her role.

63 23andMe sample : DNA

23andMe was the first company to offer direct-to-consumer genetic testing, doing so in 2007. Initially, 23andMe offered a test that determined a subject’s predisposition to a list of specific genetic traits, including baldness and blindness. The company now offers a cost-effective ancestry DNA test as well. The name “23andMe” is a reference to the 23 pairs of chromosomes in the cells of a human.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Musical measures : BARS
5 Stats for H.S. students : GPAS
9 Positive quality : ASSET
14 Corporate bigwig : EXEC
15 Figure on a Monopoly card : RENT
16 Guy of Food Network fame : FIERI
17 Additionally : ALSO
18 Ye ___ Shoppe : OLDE
19 Pup’s peeves : FLEAS
20 Topic of debate regarding online service providers : NET NEUTRALITY
23 And so forth: Abbr. : ETC
24 Arab dignitary : EMIR
25 Much of a Facebook feed : ADS
28 “Ready, ___, go!” : SET
31 “Now I get it!” : AHA!
33 Evil-repelling trinket : AMULET
35 Feign sleep : PLAY POSSUM
39 Jacques ___, “Mon Oncle” filmmaker : TATI
40 Basic trick at a skatepark : OLLIE
41 Eighth mo. : AUG
42 Personification of evil : SATAN
43 Not spoil : KEEP
44 Helpful feature for tyops … um, typos : SPELL-CHECK
46 Novelist Hemingway : ERNEST
48 “___ out!” (ump’s shout) : YER
49 P, to Plato : RHO
50 Its motto is “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” in brief : NYT
51 Stroke on a golf green : PUTT
54 Product that’s often mint-flavored : GUM
56 Opposition party group in British politics : SHADOW CABINET
62 Created for a certain purpose, as a committee : AD HOC
64 Fish’s breathing organ : GILL
65 Nativity gift givers : MAGI
66 Go “Zzzz” : SNORE
67 Fruit with a cedilla in its name : ACAI
68 Worshiped figure : IDOL
69 Pieces that are typically sacrificed in gambits : PAWNS
70 “This email is finished” button : SEND
71 Action that can be done to the starts of 20-, 35-, 44- and 56-Across : CAST

Down

1 Noggin : BEAN
2 Rod through two wheels : AXLE
3 Pause, on sheet music : REST
4 British biscuit : SCONE
5 Mustachioed Marx brother : GROUCHO
6 Bombard, as with snowballs : PELT
7 Comedian Eric : ANDRE
8 Hot shower emanation : STEAM
9 Declare confidently : AFFIRM
10 Riverbank deposit : SILT
11 “Hasta la vista!” : SEE YA LATER!
12 Distinctive period : ERA
13 “___ the season …” : ‘TIS
21 French word for a leg of the Tour de France : ETAPE
22 Actor Hemsworth of “The Hunger Games” : LIAM
26 Unfasten : DETACH
27 Drunk, in dated slang : STINKO
28 Like commands given to Siri and Alexa : SPOKEN
29 ___ Queen, crime novel pseudonym : ELLERY
30 “The X Factor” or “The Voice” : TALENT SHOW
32 Right away : ASAP
34 Destination of the Mormon migration : UTAH
36 Cry of pain : YIPE!
37 Take to court : SUE
38 Unattractive : UGLY
42 Wash with elbow grease : SCRUB
44 Mate for a mare : STUD
45 Passport or driver’s license : LEGAL ID
47 What_the_underlines_in_this_clue_show : SPACES
52 Attire on many Roman statues : TOGAS
53 How many times Bette Davis won Best Actress : TWICE
55 Imitate : MIMIC
57 Common center of a steering wheel : HORN
58 Tight-knit tribe : CLAN
59 Zilch, zip, zero : NADA
60 Senses of self-worth : EGOS
61 Be at an angle : TILT
62 Nile serpent : ASP
63 23andMe sample : DNA

6 thoughts on “0523-22 NY Times Crossword 23 May 22, Monday”

    1. Nonny, is there a way to make NYT printed grids larger? I can barely see the clues on Sundays.

      Miles

  1. 8:12. I saw the theme when I saw the reveal, but that was at the end of the puzzle.

    I spent another 8:12 trying to think of something intelligent or witty to say about today’s puzzle, but I failed.

    I hate Mondays. Have you ever had so much to do that you don’t want to do anything? That’s my day today. At least we get next Monday off.

    Best –

  2. 8:13 @Steve and @Jeff nosed me out in a photo finish, it seems. How often are three of us separated by 2 seconds —> 8:11, 8:12:, and 8:13. didn’t know this was a sprint. But since @Nonny bested all of us, I finish out of medal contention by a mere second.

    My issue was with 1D. I had HEAD (same EA location as BEAN) and it took a bit to then figure out 20A since I also had 21D as STAGE. Didn’t read that clue closely enough until the end.

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