0831-22 NY Times Crossword 31 Aug 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Five-Second Rule

The letter V, the Roman numeral for “Five”, is the second letter in each of today’s themed answers:

  • 35A Dubious food-eating guideline … or a hint to the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues : FIVE-SECOND RULE
  • 16A *Type of meal first sold by C.A. Swanson & Sons : TV DINNER
  • 24A *Hospital bagful : IV FLUID
  • 26A *Multimedia-focused school org. : AV CLUB
  • 44A *Camper’s place, maybe : RV PARK
  • 45A *Up-and-coming group in high school athletics : JV SQUAD
  • 57A *Federal tax incentive for buying a Tesla, say : EV CREDIT

Bill’s time: 6m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Chaps : MEN

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

4 Its 27-inch model was discontinued in 2022 : IMAC

The iMac is a desktop computer platform that Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such as strawberry, blueberry and lime.

8 Inundates with some junk : SPAMS

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 …

13 Card game cry : UNO!

In my youth I remember being taught a great card game by a German acquaintance of mine, a game called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that UNO! is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

14 Org. that sent Perseverance to 63-Across : NASA

There have been several rovers sent to Mars from Earth. The Soviet Union’s Mars 2 landed in 1971, and failed. Mars 3 landed the same year, and ceased operation just 20 seconds after landing. NASA’s Sojourner landed in 1997 (what a great day that was!) and operated from July through September. The British rover Beagle 2 was lost six days before its scheduled entry into the Martian atmosphere. NASA’s Spirit landed in 2004, and operated successfully for over six years before getting trapped in sand and eventually ceasing to communicate. NASA’s Opportunity also landed in 2004, and operated for over fourteen years. And then NASA’s Curiosity made a spectacular, hi-tech landing in 2012 and is continuing to explore the planet today. Based on the Curiosity design, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in 2021, along with the Mars helicopter named Ingenuity. The China National Space Administration landed its first rover, named Zhurong (“Rover” in English), five months after Perseverance started its mission on the planet.

16 *Type of meal first sold by C.A. Swanson & Sons : TV DINNER

The term “TV dinner”, which describes a prepackaged frozen meal, was actually a trademark for C. A. Swanson & Sons back in 1953. Swanson’s original prepackaged meal was sold as “TV Brand Frozen Dinner” and came in an aluminum tray so that it could be heated in an oven. Swanson stopped using the name in 1962, and now “TV dinner” is a generic term.

21 Oscar winner Witherspoon : REESE

“Reese” is not actually actress Witherspoon’s given name. She started out life as Laura Jeanne Witherspoon. “Reese” is her mother’s maiden name.

22 Michigan football rival, for short : OSU

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”. The school’s athletic mascot was introduced in 1965, and is an anthropomorphic buckeye nut named Brutus Buckeye.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is the oldest university in the state, having been founded in 1817 in Detroit. The move to Ann Arbor from Detroit was made in 1837. Michigan’s athletic teams are known as the Wolverines.

24 *Hospital bagful : IV FLUID

Intravenous (IV) drip

26 *Multimedia-focused school org. : AV CLUB

Audio-visual (AV)

31 Dictator Amin : IDI

Idi Amin received most of his military training in the British armed forces, eventually achieving the highest rank possible for a Black African in the British Colonial Army in 1959, that of Warrant Officer. On his return to Uganda Amin joined his country’s military and quickly rose to the rank of Deputy Commander of the Army. During that time he was quite the athlete. He was a noted rugby player and swimmer, and for nine years held the Ugandan national light-heavyweight boxing title. By the early seventies, Amin was commander of all the armed forces of Uganda and in 1971 seized power in a military coup, displacing the country’s president Milton Obote. There followed seven years of brutal rule by Amin during which it is estimated that between 100,000 and 500,000 people were murdered. Amin was ousted from power in 1979 after a war with Tanzania, and fled to Libya where he stayed for a year. He then moved to Saudi Arabia, where he was financially supported by the Saudi Royal Family for the remainder of his life. Amin died in 2003.

32 Up in the air, for short : TBD

To be determined (TBD)

35 Dubious food-eating guideline … or a hint to the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues : FIVE-SECOND RULE

There’s a myth that food dropped on the floor that is picked up within five seconds is free from contamination. The myth goes by the name “five-second rule”, or sometimes “ten-second rule”.

44 *Camper’s place, maybe : RV PARK

Recreational vehicle (RV)

45 *Up-and-coming group in high school athletics : JV SQUAD

Junior varsity (JV)

“Varsity” is an adjective used to describe a university or school team or competition. “Varsity” is a variant of the earlier term “versity” used in the late 17th century, which was a shortened form of “university”.

48 Egyptian ophidian : ASP

In the animal kingdom, the group of reptiles known as snakes (and snake-like lizards) are called “ophidians”. “Ophi” is the Greek word for “serpent”.

56 Bris, bat mitzvah and others : RITES

A mohel is a man who has been trained in the practice of brit milah (circumcision). Brit milah is known as “bris” in Yiddish. The brit milah ceremony is performed on male infants when they are 8 days old.

A Jewish girl becomes a bat mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become bar mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

57 *Federal tax incentive for buying a Tesla, say : EV CREDIT

Electric vehicle (EV)

60 “___ Flux” (1990s MTV series) : AEON

“Æon Flux” is an animated science-fiction television show that originally aired on MTV in the nineties. The TV show inspired a 2005 movie of the same name that starred Charlize Theron in the title role.

62 Joneses for : WANTS

Back in the late 60s, “Jones” was a slang term for an intense desire or an addiction. This usage probably came from an earlier meaning for “Jones” as a synonym for “heroin”. The etymology of the heroin definition is very unclear.

Down

4 Tripadvisor recommendation, perhaps : INN

Tripadvisor.com is a travel website dedicated to helping users in most aspects of their travels. Much of Tripadvisor’s content is generated by users, in the form of reviews by travelers.

5 Nickname for Mowgli in “The Jungle Book” : MAN-CUB

“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling was originally published in 1894, and is a collection of adventure stories or fables featuring the animals of the jungle and a young boy named Mowgli. Baloo is a sloth bear that teaches the cubs of a wolf pack the Law of the Jungle. Baloo’s most challenging pupil however is no lupine, but rather the man-cub Mowgli.

10 Bye at the French Open? : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

The tennis tournament that we know in English as the French Open is officially named the Roland-Garros. Roland Garros was a pioneering aviator and a WWI fighter pilot. The Stade Roland-Garros, the major tennis stadium in Paris, is named for him. In turn, the French Open tournament held there every year is named for the stadium.

11 International athlete who twice made Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world : MESSI

Lionel “Leo” Messi is a soccer player from Argentina. Messi was awarded FIFA’s Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) award from 2009 to 2013. The Ballon d’Or is presented to the player who is considered the best in the world in the prior year.

17 Wagnerian princess : ISOLDE

“Tristan und Isolde” is an epic opera by Richard Wagner (Wagner … not one of my favorites!). Many see the work as the first serious move away from the traditional harmony and tonality of the classical and romantic eras.

26 Sporty Italian auto, informally : ALFA

The “Alfa” in “Alfa Romeo” is actually an acronym, one standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.

31 “My lotto ticket might be the winner” : I CAN DREAM

Originally, lotto was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

32 Toro or shiro maguro, at a sushi bar : TUNA

In a sushi restaurant, the dish called “toro” is the fatty tissue from the belly of the bluefin tuna.

36 Director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. He was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when he was given the 1998 Academy Honorary Award citing his lifetime achievement in the industry. Kazan also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

37 Real ID issuers, in brief : DMVS

What Americans know today as “Real IDs” are the result of the Real ID Act of 2005. One of the most visible results of the law are state-issued drivers’ licenses that meet new minimum security standards set by the federal government.

42 Something to think about? : IQ TEST

Although it is correct these days to say that the abbreviation IQ stands for “intelligence quotient”, the term was actually coined by German psychologist William Stern, and so is actually an abbreviation for the German “Intelligenz-Quotient”.

45 Eddie Bauer competitor : J.CREW

J.Crew is a clothing and accessory retailer. Never been there, but I’ve seen the name turn up on credit card statements somehow …

The Eddie Bauer clothing chain was established in Seattle in 1920 by an outdoorsman named Eddie Bauer (unsurprisingly!). Bauer was the man who patented the first quilted down jacket, in 1940.

46 “There you go!” : VOILA!

The French word “voilà” means “there it is”, and “voici” means “here it is”. The terms come from “voi là” meaning “see there” and “voi ici” meaning “see here”.

47 Smooth kind of finish : SATIN

The material known as “satin” takes its name from “Zayton”, the medieval Arabic name for the Chinese port city of Quanzhou. Quanzhou was used for the export of large amounts of silk to Europe.

51 Layer beneath the sclera and cornea : UVEA

The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The outer layer is called the fibrous tunic, and the inner layer is the retina.

The sclera is the white part of the human eye. The sclera is white in most mammals, but in horses it is black. Really! Go check …

The cornea is the transparent part of the eye in the front, and the part that covers the iris and the pupil. Even though the cornea is not part of the eye’s lens, it acts as a lens. In fact, the cornea does most of the work focusing light coming in through the eye. It is, in effect, a fixed-focus lens passing on light to the variable-focus lens that is inside the eye.

55 “Mr. Roboto” band, 1983 : STYX

“Mr. Roboto” is a song on the 1983 album “Kilroy Was Here” by the Chicago band Styx. The first lines of the song are:

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,
Mata ah-oo hima de
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,
Himitsu wo shiri tai

which translates as:

Thank you very much, Mr. Robot
Until the day (we) meet again
Thank you very much, Mr. Robot
I want to know your secret

58 O.R. staffers : RNS

A registered nurse (RN) might work in an operating room (OR).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Chaps : MEN
4 Its 27-inch model was discontinued in 2022 : IMAC
8 Inundates with some junk : SPAMS
13 Card game cry : UNO!
14 Org. that sent Perseverance to 63-Across : NASA
15 Academy enrollee : CADET
16 *Type of meal first sold by C.A. Swanson & Sons : TV DINNER
18 Spice in springerle cookies : ANISE
19 Only about one-sixth of these in humans is visible : EYES
20 Call from a cornfield : CAW
21 Oscar winner Witherspoon : REESE
22 Michigan football rival, for short : OSU
24 *Hospital bagful : IV FLUID
26 *Multimedia-focused school org. : AV CLUB
29 Hard or soft finish? : -NESS
30 Goes first : LEADS
31 Dictator Amin : IDI
32 Up in the air, for short : TBD
35 Dubious food-eating guideline … or a hint to the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues : FIVE-SECOND RULE
39 Pub pick : ALE
40 Code component : LAW
41 – : MINUS
42 “Let’s do this” : I’M IN
44 *Camper’s place, maybe : RV PARK
45 *Up-and-coming group in high school athletics : JV SQUAD
48 Egyptian ophidian : ASP
49 Covers : COATS
50 Horror film cry : RUN!
52 Some daily temps : LOWS
56 Bris, bat mitzvah and others : RITES
57 *Federal tax incentive for buying a Tesla, say : EV CREDIT
59 Good name for a home renter? : ELISE
60 “___ Flux” (1990s MTV series) : AEON
61 Help with the dishes : DRY
62 Joneses for : WANTS
63 See 14-Across : MARS
64 Possible reason for a PG-13 rating : SEX

Down

1 You might be on it during a meeting : MUTE
2 Be covetous of : ENVY
3 Connection point : NODE
4 Tripadvisor recommendation, perhaps : INN
5 Nickname for Mowgli in “The Jungle Book” : MAN-CUB
6 Away from land : ASEA
7 It’s lowered in the drive-thru line : CAR WINDOW
8 Devours, with “down” : SCARFS …
9 Some convention offerings : PANELS
10 Bye at the French Open? : ADIEU
11 International athlete who twice made Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world : MESSI
12 Charger : STEED
17 Wagnerian princess : ISOLDE
23 Figure (out) : SUSS
25 Miner discovery? : VEIN
26 Sporty Italian auto, informally : ALFA
27 Cover, in a way : VEIL
28 Give in : CAVE
31 “My lotto ticket might be the winner” : I CAN DREAM
32 Toro or shiro maguro, at a sushi bar : TUNA
33 Busy day, in retrospect : BLUR
34 Division of a newsroom : DESK
36 Director Kazan : ELIA
37 Real ID issuers, in brief : DMVS
38 ___ effect : RIPPLE
42 Something to think about? : IQ TEST
43 Dishevels : MUSSES
44 Longstanding ill will : RANCOR
45 Eddie Bauer competitor : J.CREW
46 “There you go!” : VOILA!
47 Smooth kind of finish : SATIN
51 Layer beneath the sclera and cornea : UVEA
53 Track figures : ODDS
54 Certain money transfer : WIRE
55 “Mr. Roboto” band, 1983 : STYX
58 O.R. staffers : RNS

5 thoughts on “0831-22 NY Times Crossword 31 Aug 22, Wednesday”

  1. 22:42 Lost time on “mancub” and the SW in general. All caught up for the last three days, road trip tomorrow so no idea when I’ll get to Thursday’s

  2. 15:40. Took too long to glom onto the theme. When I was in college it was the 3 SECOND RULE. Now I feel shortchanged…

    I feel bad for mohels who perform the bris. Delicate work and it doesn’t pay very well. As I understand it, they make most of their money from tips……

    Best –

  3. 16:40, no errors. Didn’t pay much attention to the theme until I was nearly done, but enjoyed it in retrospect. I find the 5 second rule to be very flexible, depending on what is dropped and how hungry I am.

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