0622-22 NY Times Crossword 22 Jun 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Kate Hawkins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Find Closure

We FIND a type of CLOSURE used in clothing at the start of each themed answer:

  • 61A Accept and let go of something … or a hint to the starts of the answers to the starred clues : FIND CLOSURE
  • 17A *Drivers’ process when two lanes of traffic become one : ZIPPER MERGE
  • 26A *Garden plant that opens and shuts its “mouth” when squeezed : SNAPDRAGON
  • 38A *White pizza toppings : BUTTON MUSHROOMS
  • 49A *Design on some baseball uniforms : PINSTRIPES

Bill’s time: 8m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Athena’s winged companion : OWL

The Greek goddess Athena (sometimes “Athene”) is often associated with wisdom, among other attributes. In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today’s perception of the owl as being “wise”. Athena’s Roman counterpart was Minerva.

13 Diamond official : UMPIRE

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.

16 “___, fi, fo, fum” : FEE

The line “fee-fi-fo-fum” (with various spellings) comes from the famous English fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”. Within the story, the giant at the top of the beanstalk utters a little poem when he detects the presence of Jack:

Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.

17 *Drivers’ process when two lanes of traffic become one : ZIPPER MERGE

The “zipper merge” or “late merge” is encouraged by most traffic authorities when two lanes of traffic are merging into one. The alternative “early merge”, where cars move out of the lane that is closing before reaching the merge point, tends to be discouraged. The favored technique is to use both lanes until the merge point, and then alternate (zipper) from each lane through the merge itself. That said, one should always obey whatever instructions are given by the traffic authorities at the scene. And I know, I know … a lot of people think it rude to merge late …

19 Antitrust law enforcement org. : FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was established in 1914 with the mission of protecting consumers.

21 Bizarre : WEIRD

“Bizarre” is a French word, one with the same meaning in French as English. However, back in the 16th century, “bizarre” used to mean “handsome, brave” in French. So that’s what my wife means when she refers to me as “bizarre” …?

22 Ancient Greek market : AGORA

In early Greece, an agora was a place of assembly. The assemblies held there were often quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a marketplace. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

26 *Garden plant that opens and shuts its “mouth” when squeezed : SNAPDRAGON

Snapdragons are so called because the plant’s flower is said to resemble that of a dragon. The snapdragon genus is “antirrhinum”, which is derived from the Greek for “like a nose”.

28 Pony up : PAY

“To pony up” means “to pay”. Apparently, the term originated as a slang use of the Latin “legem pone” that was once used for “money”. “Legem Pone” was the title of the Psalm that was read out on March 25 each year, and March 25 was the first payday of the year in days gone by.

30 Brand of sunglasses : RAY-BAN

Ray-Ban sunglasses were introduced in 1937 for the US Army Air Corps. The Ray-Ban Aviator model of glasses became very popular with the pilots, and apparently with General Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur was wearing a pair when he was photographed “returning” to the Philippines in WWII.

31 Syria’s Bashar al-___ : ASSAD

Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad, whom he replaced as President of the Syrian Arab Republic in 2001. President Bashar al-Assad is a medical doctor, and speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman by birth.

34 French word after “vous” : … ETES

“Vous êtes” is the French for “you are”.

36 When you’re on it, you’re en pointe : TOE

“En pointe” is ballet dancing on the tips of the toes, and is a French term. A ballerina wears pointe shoes (sometimes “toe shoes”) to perform this delightful-looking, albeit unhealthy, feat (pun!).

48 Puncher’s 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.

49 *Design on some baseball uniforms : PINSTRIPES

The Chicago Cubs was the first professional baseball team to incorporate pinstripes into the design of the players’ uniforms.

52 Bus driver for Lisa and Bart : OTTO

Otto Mann drives the school bus on the TV show “The Simpsons”. He is a Germanic character voiced by Harry Shearer, and his name is a play on “Ottoman Empire”. Whenever Bart sees him, he greets Otto with the words “Otto, man!”

56 Darkest part of a shadow : UMBRA

A shadow usually has three distinct parts called the umbra, penumbra and antumbra, with the terms most often used with reference to the shadows cast by celestial bodies. The terms can also be used to describe the levels of darkness in sunspots. The umbra (Latin for “shadow”) is the innermost, darkest part of a shadow. The penumbra (“almost shadow”, from Latin) is a lighter part of a shadow, where part of the light source “leaks” around the body casting the shadow. The antumbra phenomenon is experienced when the object casting the shadow is sufficiently far away from the viewer so that it appears smaller than the light source, with an annular ring around it. When the eye is in the shadow cast by an object that has light passing around it, the eye is in the antumbra.

59 Burgle : ROB

The crime of burglary is the breaking into and entering of a building with the intent to steal. The actual theft itself is a separate crime.

64 Vitamin supplement retailer : GNC

General Nutrition Centers (GNC) is a retailer of health and nutrition supplements based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1935 as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh. There are now about 5,000 stores in the US. The GNC slogan is “Live Well”.

65 Munich Mrs. : FRAU

In German, a “Herr” (Mr.) is married to a “Frau” (Mrs.), and they live together in a “Haus” (house).

68 ___ mode : A LA

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

69 Major-leaguer who wears 49-Across at home : YANKEE
(49a *Design on some baseball uniforms : PINSTRIPES)

There is an urban legend that the New York Yankees introduced uniforms with pinstripes to make Babe Ruth look slimmer. Not so …

Down

1 Q preceder, in song : SUZIE

The song “Susie Q” was written by, and originally released by, Dale Hawkins in 1957. It was covered By Creedence Clearwater Revival (as “Suzie Q”) in 1968.

2 Poet Dickinson : EMILY

Emily Dickinson wrote nearly 1800 poems in her lifetime, with less than a dozen published before she died in 1886. Emily’s younger sister discovered the enormous collection, and it was published in batches over the coming decades.

3 Jobs creation : APPLE

Apple Computers was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The company incorporated the following year, but without Wayne. He sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak, for $800 …

5 Gaffer, best boy and others : CREW

Apparently, the word “gaffer” is a contraction of “godfather”, and so originally was used to me “old man”. This usage extended to a foreman or supervisor, and is used most often today to mean the chief electrician on a film set. That said, back in my part of the world we often refer to the “boss” at work as “the gaffer”.

In a film crew, a best boy is an assistant to the department heads known as the gaffer and the key grip. The gaffer heads up the electrical department, and the key grip heads up the lighting and rigging department. The term “best boy” comes from the old English apprentice system, in which it referred to the oldest and most experienced apprentice to the master craftsman.

6 Inquisition charge : HERESY

The Inquisition was a practice used by the Roman Catholic Church in a fight against heresy starting in the 12th century. The job of the Inquisition was to determine if one accused was actually a heretic, and then to hand over said heretic to secular authorities for punishment, which often included burning at the stake.

7 Work from Bellini or Rossini : OPERA

Vincenzo Bellini was a composer of operas active in the Italian bel canto era of the early 1800s. Bellini’s most famous works are probably “Il pirata” (1827) and “Norma” (1831). Sadly, Bellini died at only 33 years of age, in 1835.

Gioachino Rossini was a prolific and very successful composer from Pesaro, Italy. During his lifetime, Rossini was lauded as the most successful composer of operas in history. His best-known opera today is probably “The Barber of Seville”. His best-known piece of music is probably the finale of the overture from his opera “William Tell”.

11 Time keeper : METRONOME

A metronome is any device that produces a regular beat. The metronome was invented in 1815 by Johann Maelzel, who intended it to be an instrument for the use of musicians.

12 Pie nut : PECAN

The pecan is the state nut of Alabama, Arkansas and California. Also, the pecan is the state tree of Texas.

25 Old-fashioned shoe cover : SPAT

Spats are footwear accessories that cover the ankle and instep. Spats were primarily worn by men, and originally had the purpose of protecting shoes and socks from mud or rain. Eventually, spats became a feature in stylish dress. The term “spats” is a contraction of “spatterdashes”.

27 Inexact recipe amount : DASH

In cooking, the terms “dash”, “pinch” and “smidgen” can all be used for a very small measure, one that is often undefined. However, you can in fact buy some measuring spoons that define these amounts as follows:

  • a dash is 1/8 teaspoon
  • a pinch is 1/16 teaspoon
  • a smidgen is 1/32 teaspoon

33 “East of Eden” author : STEINBECK

John Steinbeck considered his 1952 novel “East of Eden” to be his magnum opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron Trask, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.

41 Home of the Viking Ship Museum : OSLO

The most famous exhibit in Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum is the completely intact Oseberg ship. Named for the farm where it was discovered, the Oseberg ship was excavated from a large burial mound that dates back to 834 AD. The interment is an example of a “ship burial”, in which a ship was used as a container for a dead body and associated grave goods. The Oseberg ship included the bodies of two elderly females, one of which may have been included as a human sacrifice.

46 Azerbaijan or Lithuania, once: Abbr. : SSR

Azerbaijan is a former Soviet Republic lying on the Caspian Sea just northeast of Iran. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established in 1918 and became the Muslim world’s first democratic and secular state. It didn’t last long though, as two years later it was absorbed into the Soviet Union.

The nation of Lithuania is a former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) sitting on the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, and 16 miles north of Vilnius is a point that is officially recognized as the geographic center of Europe.

50 Italian city in a “Kiss Me, Kate” song : PADUA

The city of Padua is in northern Italy, and not far from Venice. Padua has many claims to fame. For example, Galileo was one of the lecturers at the University of Padua, and William Shakespeare chose the city as the setting for his play “The Taming of the Shrew”.

“Kiss Me, Kate” is a musical written by Cole Porter first produced on Broadway in 1948. Cole Porter had a string of successes in the twenties and thirties including “Gay Divorce” and “Anything Goes”, but he found his career in decline in the forties. “Kiss Me, Kate” proved to be a dramatic comeback, and was the only one of his shows that ran for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway. Famously, “Kiss Me, Kate” is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”.

54 Linzer ___ (pastry) : TORTE

A Linzer Torte is a torte with a lattice design on the top of the pastry. The torte is named for the Austrian city of Linz.

62 Glass of “This American Life” : IRA

“This American Life” is a radio show that is broadcast weekly on National Public Radio (NPR). Host of the show is the much-respected Ira Glass. I was interested to learn that one of my favorite composers, Philip Glass, is Ira’s first cousin.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Word before bar or party : SEARCH …
7 Athena’s winged companion : OWL
10 Hype (up) : AMP
13 Diamond official : UMPIRE
14 Sulk : POUT
16 “___, fi, fo, fum” : FEE
17 *Drivers’ process when two lanes of traffic become one : ZIPPER MERGE
19 Antitrust law enforcement org. : FTC
20 Sick : ILL
21 Bizarre : WEIRD
22 Ancient Greek market : AGORA
24 The windows to the soul, it’s said : EYES
26 *Garden plant that opens and shuts its “mouth” when squeezed : SNAPDRAGON
28 Pony up : PAY
30 Brand of sunglasses : RAY-BAN
31 Syria’s Bashar al-___ : ASSAD
34 French word after “vous” : … ETES
36 When you’re on it, you’re en pointe : TOE
38 *White pizza toppings : BUTTON MUSHROOMS
42 Sacramento-to-San Diego dir. : SSE
43 Long stretches : EONS
44 What you’ve got going for you : ASSET
45 Threaten, as a cat might : HISS AT
48 Puncher’s tool : AWL
49 *Design on some baseball uniforms : PINSTRIPES
52 Bus driver for Lisa and Bart : OTTO
56 Darkest part of a shadow : UMBRA
57 They’re sworn : OATHS
59 Burgle : ROB
60 Brown who wrote “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” : DEE
61 Accept and let go of something … or a hint to the starts of the answers to the starred clues : FIND CLOSURE
64 Vitamin supplement retailer : GNC
65 Munich Mrs. : FRAU
66 Official declarations : EDICTS
67 Laugh sound : YUK
68 ___ mode : A LA
69 Major-leaguer who wears 49-Across at home : YANKEE

Down

1 Q preceder, in song : SUZIE
2 Poet Dickinson : EMILY
3 Jobs creation : APPLE
4 “Let ‘er ___!” : RIP
5 Gaffer, best boy and others : CREW
6 Inquisition charge : HERESY
7 Work from Bellini or Rossini : OPERA
8 Popular blogging platform : WORDPRESS
9 Tote : LUG
10 Espresso-over-ice cream desserts : AFFOGATOS
11 Time keeper : METRONOME
12 Pie nut : PECAN
15 Like some people at weddings and funerals : TEARY
18 Lowest part of a range, for short : MIN
23 Chitter-chatter : GAB
25 Old-fashioned shoe cover : SPAT
27 Inexact recipe amount : DASH
29 Hubbub : ADO
31 They can be sculpted and chiseled : ABS
32 You might order ahi tuna or yellowtail from it : SUSHI MENU
33 “East of Eden” author : STEINBECK
34 Moving : EMOTIONAL
35 Wine vessel : TUN
37 Abbr. on a cornerstone : EST
39 Close by : NEAR
40 Uncooked : RAW
41 Home of the Viking Ship Museum : OSLO
46 Azerbaijan or Lithuania, once: Abbr. : SSR
47 Wizard’s accessory : STAFF
48 Daughter of Joe and Jill Biden : ASHLEY
49 Chubby : PUDGY
50 Italian city in a “Kiss Me, Kate” song : PADUA
51 [waves hand in a circle] : [ETC]
53 Something weighed at a weigh station : TRUCK
54 Linzer ___ (pastry) : TORTE
55 Very corpulent : OBESE
58 Pop : SODA
62 Glass of “This American Life” : IRA
63 Missing letters in “transgre_s_o_,” appropriately : SIN

6 thoughts on “0622-22 NY Times Crossword 22 Jun 22, Wednesday”

  1. 11:50. Didn’t pay much attention to the theme, but I saw it when I got the reveal.

    I think ZIPPERMERGE was in a crossword a few weeks ago, and that was the first time I’d heard of it.

    I wouldn’t have guessed the origin of the term “pony up” in a million years. Interesting.

    I hadn’t heard of AFFOGATOS either, but it’s apparently just vanilla ice cream (or gelato) drowned in a shot of espresso. AFFOGATO means “drowned” in Italian. Sounds really good. How could I not know of its existence?? I need to get out more.

    If you were afraid of open spaces but only open spaces outside of Greece, would you still be considered agoraphobic?

    Best –

  2. 15:31. No problem with ZIPPERMERGE, but had to hit the Wiki to find out what the heck AFFOGATOS are. Learn something new every day.

    1. Lou lu – I believe Nonny is somewhere in the Caribbean on a cruise. Not sure when he’s returning, but I assume he’ll check in when he gets back.

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