0525-22 NY Times Crossword 25 May 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Christopher Youngs
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: I, Um, Incorporated

Themed answers are common phrases with the suffix “-IUM” added to one word:

  • 17A Group of winners at a film awards show? : PODIUM CAST (from “podcast”)
  • 27A Target for William Tell? : CRANIUM APPLE (from “cranapple”)
  • 46A Where séance leaders get their degrees? : MEDIUM SCHOOL (from “med school”)
  • 62A Lo-o-ong lecture from a parent? : TEDIUM TALK (from “Ted Talk”)

Bill’s time: 14m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Monopoly token replaced by a cat in 2013 : IRON

The tokens included with a game of Monopoly have changed over the years. Two of the more interesting tokens are the battleship and cannon. These were created by Hasbro for a board game called Conflict. When Conflict failed in the market, the excess tokens were recycled and included with Monopoly.

15 Like the boondocks : RURAL

“Boondocks” (often shortened to “boonies”) is a term used in North America for a remote, usually rural area. Often the term is used derogatively, implying that a remote location is unsophisticated. “Boondocks” was first used by American soldiers stationed in the Philippines in the early 1900s. The word evolved from the Tagalog “bundok” meaning “mountain”.

16 “… ___ the twain shall meet” : NE’ER

The phrase “East is East” originated in a Rudyard Kipling poem from 1892 titled “The Ballad of East and West”. The full quotation is:

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.

Kipling’s reference here is to the British (the “West”) and the people of India (the “East”), and the lack of understanding that existed between the two in the days of the Raj.

17 Group of winners at a film awards show? : PODIUM CAST (from “podcast”)

“Podium” (plural “podia”) is the Latin word for “raised platform”.

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

27 Target for William Tell? : CRANIUM APPLE (from “cranapple”)

Supposedly, William Tell came from Uri, a canton in the German part of Switzerland. Altdorf is the capital of Uri and is the city where William Tell shot the apple off his son’s head using a crossbow, at least according to legend. There is a bronze statue of Tell that was erected in the city’s marketplace in 1895 to memorialize the event.

33 Singing Crow : SHERYL

Singer Sheryl Crow dated cyclist Lance Armstrong from 2003-2006. Armstrong has stated publicly more than once that Crow’s music cured his cancer.

36 Cause of some breathing problems : SMOG

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

37 F-, for one : ION

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

41 To boot : ALSO

The noun “boot” was once used to describe something of advantage in trying to accomplish a goal. This obsolete term really only exists in the adverb “to boot” meaning “in addition, over and above”, literally “to advantage”.

42 Comedian Wong : ALI

Ali Wong is a stand-up comedian from San Francisco who is a protégé of Chris Rock. She made two very successful Netflix stand-up specials “Baby Cobra” and “Hard Knock Wife”. She also worked as a writer for the hit sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat”.

43 Personification of Earth, in Greek myth : GAIA

The Greek goddess personifying the earth was Gaea (also “Gaia”, and meaning “land” or “earth” in Greek). The Roman equivalent goddess was Terra Mater, “Mother Earth”.

44 Tiny parts of archipelagoes : ISLETS

“Archipelago” is our spelling of the Italian “arcipelago”, a word that has Greek roots. The Aegean Sea was once known as the Archipelago. The usage of “Archipelago” migrated over time, eventually applying only to the Aegean Islands. As a result, we use the term “archipelago” today not for a sea, but for a group or chain of islands.

46 Where séance leaders get their degrees? : MEDIUM SCHOOL (from “med school”)

“Séance” is a French word meaning “sitting”. We use the term in English for a sitting in which a spiritualist tries to communicate with the spirits of the dead.

49 Unfinished crusade of the 1970s, in brief : ERA

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was written by the American suffragist leader, Alice Paul. Although Paul was successful in her campaign to get passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution (guaranteeing voting rights regardless of sex), her 1923 Equal Rights Amendment didn’t make it to the Senate floor until 1972. The amendment was passed by the Senate, and then headed to the state legislatures for the required ratification. 38 states had to approve the legislation for the amendment to be adopted, but only 35 states voted in favor before the deadline. The amendment is still pending, although about half of the fifty states have adopted the ERA into their state constitutions.

50 Inning : baseball :: ___ : curling : END

I think curling is such a cool game (pun!). It’s somewhat like bowls, but played on a sheet of ice. The sport was supposedly invented in medieval Scotland, and is called curling because of the action of the granite stone as it moves across the ice. A player can make the stone take a curved path (“curl”) by causing it to slowly rotate as it slides.

59 Green spot in a desert : OASIS

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

61 Actors who don’t play their roles subtly : HAMS

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

62 Lo-o-ong lecture from a parent? : TEDIUM TALK (from “Ted Talk”)

The acronym “TED” stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”. There are also TEDx events, which are locally-run talks presented under license from TED.

64 Early Ron Howard role : OPIE

Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

65 “___ you a little short for a stormtrooper?”: Princess Leia : AREN’T

The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka “Darth Vader”) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.

68 The Rockies, e.g. : RANGE

North America’s Rocky Mountains stretch from the very north of British Columbia in Canada to New Mexico in the US. The length of the range is over 3,000 miles. The highest point is Mount Elbert in Colorado, which has an elevation of 14,440 feet.

69 Drink from a Viking’s goblet : MEAD

Mead is a lovely drink that’s made from fermented honey and water.

The Vikings were a Germanic people from northern Europe who were noted as great seafarers. Key to the success of the Vikings was the design of their famous “longships”. Made from wood, the longship was long and narrow with a shallow hull, It was also light, so that the crew would actually carry it small distances over land and around obstacles. Longships were designed to be propelled by both sail and oars.

Down

1 Itinerant musician with a flute : PIPER

The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to medieval times. Recently there have been suggestions that the story is rooted in some truth, that the town of Hamelin did in fact lose many of its children, perhaps to plague. The suggestion is that the tale is an allegory. The use of the word “pied” implies that the piper dressed in multi-colored clothing. Our contemporary idiom “to pay the piper” means “to bear the cost of a poor decision”. It is a reference to townsfolk of Hamelin who refused to pay the Pied Piper for ridding the town of rats. They ultimately paid the cost when the piper lured their children away.

2 Patisserie allure : AROMA

A patisserie is a French bakery that sells pastries, or “tartes”.

3 “The Kiss” sculptor : RODIN

“The Kiss” is a beautiful sculpture created in 1889 by Auguste Rodin. I’ve had the privilege of standing beside a large, life-size marble version of the work on a few occasions in the Rodin Museum, my favorite of all museums in Paris. The Musée Rodin is very special in that the building and garden that hold all of the works were Rodin’s actual home and studio. Well worth a visit if you make it to Paris …

7 Baby buggy in Piccadilly Circus : PRAM

Another word used in Britain and Ireland that’s rarely used over here is “pram”, which in my day was the most common term for what is called a baby carriage in the US. “Pram” is short for “perambulator”.

London’s Piccadilly Circus is a major road junction in the West End of London. The junction is at one end of the thoroughfare called Piccadilly, hence the first part of the name. The junction’s shape is roughly circular, hence the use of “circus”, a Latin word meaning “circle”. Famously, there is a statue of Eros at the center of the junction.

9 Cher, voicewise : ALTO

“Cher” is the stage name used by singer and actress Cherilyn Sarkisian. Formerly one half of husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, she is often referred to as the Goddess of Pop. In her acting career, Cher was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in “Silkwood”. She went further in 1988 and won the season’s Best Actress Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in “Moonstruck”.

12 King of English theater : LEAR

Shakespeare was inspired to write his famous drama “King Lear” by the legend of “Leir of Britain”, the story of a mythological Celtic king.

18 Crime of great interest : 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.

22 Carpet type : SHAG

Shag carpet is one with a deep pile, one with a “shaggy” appearance.

25 Arabic “peace” : SALAAM

The word “salaam” is an Anglicized spelling of the Arabic word for “peace”. The term can describe an act of deference, and in particular a very low bow.

27 Alan Paton’s “___, the Beloved Country” : CRY

“Cry, the Beloved Country” is the most successful novel by the South African author Alan Paton. As with most of Paton’s most successful works, the novel has an anti-apartheid theme.

28 Oscar ___, player of Poe Dameron in “Star Wars” films : ISAAC

Oscar Isaac is an actor from Guatemala who was raised in Miami. Before acting, Isaac played lead guitar in his own band called the Blinking Underdogs. Isaac played X-wing pilot Poe Dameron in several of the “Star Wars” movies.

29 One who calls people out : UMP

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.

32 Grandson of Adam and Eve : ENOS

Enos was the son of Seth, and therefore the grandson of Adam and Eve, and nephew of Cain and Abel. According to the ancient Jewish work called the Book of Jubilees, Enos married his own sister Noam.

43 Territory ceded by Spain to the U.S. in 1898 : GUAM

Guam is a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean, and is the largest of the Mariana Islands. Guam is also the first territory in the United States to see the sun rise on any particular day. As such, the territory has adopted the motto, “Where America’s day begins”. During WWII, the US territory of Guam was occupied by the Japanese for 31 months until it was liberated in the Battle of Guam in July 1944. Of the 18,000 Japanese men holding the island, only 485 surrendered, so almost all perished in the invasion. One Japanese sergeant hid out on the island for an incredible 28 years, finally surrendering in 1972!

45 Vice city : SODOM

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by God for the sins of their inhabitants, according to the Bible. The name Sodom has become a metaphor for vice and homosexuality, and gives us our word “sodomy”.

47 Van Gogh work that in 1987 became the most expensive painting ever sold : IRISES

Van Gogh painted his “Irises” while he was in an asylum in the south of France the year before he committed suicide. The original owner was a French art critic and supporter of van Gogh who paid 300 francs to purchase the painting. “Irises” was bought for $53.9 million in 1987, making it the most expensive painting sold up to that point. But, the buyer didn’t actually have the necessary funds, so it had to be resold in 1990. It was picked up by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where you can see it today.

51 ___ orange : OSAGE

The Osage orange is also known as the horse apple, and is a deciduous tree native to North America. The wood of the tree was prized by Native Americans, particularly the Osage nation, who used it to make bows. The Osage Orange was also called “bois d’arc” (meaning “bow-wood”) by early French settlers, a reference to the local usage. This French name was corrupted into “bodark” and “bodarc”, another name for the same tree.

52 Home on the Riviera, say : VILLA

“Riviera” is an Italian word meaning “coastline”. The term is often applied to a coastline that is sunny and popular with tourists. The term “the Riviera” is usually reserved for the French Riviera (the Mediterranean coastline in southeastern France), and the Italian Riviera (the Mediterranean coastline centered on Genoa).

55 Aria da ___ : CAPO

An “aria da capo” is an operatic aria which has three sections, with the final section being very similar to the first, a “recap” as it were. This form was very popular during the Baroque era. The composer quite often wrote out the first and second sections in full, and then simply specified “da capo” for the third section (literally “from the head”) indicating that the first section should be played and sung again in full.

56 Symbol on an “8” key : STAR

That would be the 8-key on a keyboard.

The name of the typographical symbol “asterisk” comes from the Greek word “asteriskos” meaning “little star”. The original use of the asterisk was by printers of family trees in feudal times. Back then it was a symbol indicating the date of birth.

57 Juno’s Greek counterpart : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and the goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth. She was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

Juno was the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, and also looked after the interests of the women of Rome. She was the sister and wife of Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods.

58 Mideast’s Gulf of ___ : ADEN

The Gulf of Aden is the body of water that lies south of the Red Sea, and just north of the Horn of Africa.

63 Tribe for which the 45th state is named : UTE

The Ute are a group of Native-American tribes who now reside in Utah and Colorado. The Ute were not a unified people as such, but rather a loose association of nomadic groups. The word “Ute” means “Land of the Sun”, and “Ute” also gave us the state name “Utah”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Green spot in a city : PARK
5 Top dog : ALPHA
10 ___ threat : IDLE
14 Monopoly token replaced by a cat in 2013 : IRON
15 Like the boondocks : RURAL
16 “… ___ the twain shall meet” : NE’ER
17 Group of winners at a film awards show? : PODIUM CAST (from “podcast”)
19 Reminder of a past injury : SCAR
20 Discharges : EMITS
21 Not real royals, maybe : IMPOSTORS
23 Executed, as a program : RAN
24 Team ___ : USA
26 Something to take up or let out : HEM
27 Target for William Tell? : CRANIUM APPLE (from “cranapple”)
33 Singing Crow : SHERYL
36 Cause of some breathing problems : SMOG
37 F-, for one : ION
38 Command-C, on a Mac : COPY
39 Turn into a film, e.g. : ADAPT
41 To boot : ALSO
42 Comedian Wong : ALI
43 Personification of Earth, in Greek myth : GAIA
44 Tiny parts of archipelagoes : ISLETS
46 Where séance leaders get their degrees? : MEDIUM SCHOOL (from “med school”)
49 Unfinished crusade of the 1970s, in brief : ERA
50 Inning : baseball :: ___ : curling : END
51 Eggs in a lab : OVA
54 Art of bone carving : SCRIMSHAW
59 Green spot in a desert : OASIS
61 Actors who don’t play their roles subtly : HAMS
62 Lo-o-ong lecture from a parent? : TEDIUM TALK (from “Ted Talk”)
64 Early Ron Howard role : OPIE
65 “___ you a little short for a stormtrooper?”: Princess Leia : AREN’T
66 Do more than just check out : OGLE
67 Fling : TOSS
68 The Rockies, e.g. : RANGE
69 Drink from a Viking’s goblet : MEAD

Down

1 Itinerant musician with a flute : PIPER
2 Patisserie allure : AROMA
3 “The Kiss” sculptor : RODIN
4 Heal, as a broken bone : KNIT
5 Word after long or strong : … ARM
6 One-named ancient satirist … or a Pokémon character : LUCIAN
7 Baby buggy in Piccadilly Circus : PRAM
8 Hinged bit of hardware : HASP
9 Cher, voicewise : ALTO
10 Part of a foot : INSTEP
11 Convert into a higher-level language, as computer code : DECOMPILE
12 King of English theater : LEAR
13 Muffs : ERRS
18 Crime of great interest : USURY
22 Carpet type : SHAG
25 Arabic “peace” : SALAAM
27 Alan Paton’s “___, the Beloved Country” : CRY
28 Oscar ___, player of Poe Dameron in “Star Wars” films : ISAAC
29 One who calls people out : UMP
30 Statement to a chair of a meeting : MOTION
31 In need of directions : LOST
32 Grandson of Adam and Eve : ENOS
33 Almost every get-rich-quick scheme : SCAM
34 Spot in a green : HOLE
35 Outer layer of skin : EPIDERMIS
40 Throw shade at : DIS
41 Monopolist’s portion : ALL
43 Territory ceded by Spain to the U.S. in 1898 : GUAM
45 Vice city : SODOM
47 Van Gogh work that in 1987 became the most expensive painting ever sold : IRISES
48 Chopping : HEWING
51 ___ orange : OSAGE
52 Home on the Riviera, say : VILLA
53 Didn’t contain one’s curiosity : ASKED
54 Attempt : SHOT
55 Aria da ___ : CAPO
56 Symbol on an “8” key : STAR
57 Juno’s Greek counterpart : HERA
58 Mideast’s Gulf of ___ : ADEN
60 Itsy-bitsy bit : ATOM
63 Tribe for which the 45th state is named : UTE

5 thoughts on “0525-22 NY Times Crossword 25 May 22, Wednesday”

  1. 14:09. Nice theme. It felt sort of Sunday-ish to me for some reason. SCRIMSHAW was new to me. It seems to be pretty common, and a lot of people know of it so maybe I’ve just been living under a rock all these years.

    I wonder why Monopoly got rid of the IRON. As best I can tell from my 15-second Google search, it was simply voted out in favor of the cat. I don’t remember getting a ballot in the mail about this. Actually it was an online survey.

    I spelled SHERYL “cHERYL” initially. Otherwise, a smooth solve.

    Best –

  2. 10:29, no errors. I figured out the “IUM” part early but it wasn’t until I finished that I actually saw the words I made by removing the IUM. I was on fire today speedwise at least. @Jeff, I’ve been in Alaska for over 30 years and not only did I know SCRIMSHAW, I own some.

  3. 17:25, 2 errors: HO(M)E; A(M)I. More familiar with seeing SCRIMSHAW on ivory rather than bone. I suppose conservation laws are making ivory products a thing of the past.

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