0526-23 NY Times Crossword 26 May 23, Friday

Constructed by: Hemant Mehta
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Resident of Seeb, Sohar or Sur : OMANI

Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman is a monarchy, and the official name of the state is the Sultanate of Oman. All of the country’s legislative, executive and judiciary power resides with the hereditary sultan.

6 Company whose name, aptly, is an anagram of GAMES minus a letter : SEGA

Sega is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out in 1940 as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, which at that time was a city in the US Territory of Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.

20 Idly moves (about) : MILLS

To mill about is to move around, usually en masse, in a disorderly fashion. The term “mill” was first used in the 19th century to describe cattle circling in a group, like the action of a mill wheel.

25 Tragic flaw for Oedipus : HUBRIS

Hubris is arrogance or overbearing pride.

“Oedipus Rex” (also “Oedipus the King”) is a tragedy penned by the Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles. The play tells the story of Oedipus, a man who becomes king of Thebes. Famously, Oedipus was destined from birth to murder his father and marry his mother.

29 One might read “Kiss the Cook” : APRON

In Old French, a “naperon” was a “small table-cloth”. The term was absorbed into English as “napron”, describing a cloth used to cover the front of a person at work. Over time, “a napron” was heard as “an apron”, giving us our contemporary noun “apron”.

30 Youth sports mismatch ender : MERCY RULE

A mercy rule in a sport is one that brings a game to an early conclusion when it is deemed that the losing team has no chance of making a comeback.

33 Flummox : STUMP

Back in the early 1400s, to “stump” was to stumble over an obstacle, like a “tree-stump”. By the early 1800s, the verb “to stump” was used more generally, to mean “to baffle, bring to a halt by presenting obstacles”.

35 Bacon bit? : ESSAY

The English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon wrote a celebrated and respected collection of essays called “The Essayes”, first published in 1597. My favorite of these essays is “Of Simulation and Dissimulation”, which observes

Dissimulation, in the negative; when a man lets fall signs and arguments, that he is not, that he is… Simulation, in the affirmative; when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends to be, that he is not.

38 Cologne’s place : RHINE

The river running through Europe that we know in English as the Rhine, is called “Rhein” in German, “Rhin” in French and “Rijn” in Dutch.

Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany, and is known as “Köln” in German.

44 “Purple” stuff : PROSE

Purple prose is writing that is overly ornate and flowery, so much so that it draws attention to itself, and detracts from the narrative.

45 Calculus concept : LIMIT

The Latin word “calculus” was originally used for a reckoning or an account, and originally applied to a pebble that was used to maintain a count. The Latin word came from the Greek for a pebble, “khalix”.

47 Stole from a drag show : BOA

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

55 Número de mosqueteros : TRES

In Spanish, “Los tres mosqueteros” (The Three Musketeers) is a great story.

56 Viral phenomenon : MEME

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

Down

2 Word on a check : MEMO

Checks and checking accounts caused me some language trouble when I first came to the US. Back in Ireland (and the UK) we write “cheques” using funds from our “current” accounts.

3 Seed case : ARIL

The casing surrounding many seeds is called the aril, and it may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and hence aids in the dispersion of the seeds.

4 Co. that produces the “Modern Love” podcast : 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.

7 Assessment, informally : EVAL

Evaluation (eval.)

15 Mutton chops? : LOINS

The meat of the domestic sheep is given a different name, depending on how old the animal was at time of slaughter. Generally speaking, lamb is the meat of sheep no more than one year old. Hogget is the meat of a juvenile, and mutton is the meat of an adult.

24 “Better Call Saul” network : AMC

“Better Call Saul” is a spin-off drama series from the hit show “Breaking Bad”. The main character is small-time lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, who featured in the original series. “Better Call Saul” is set six years before Goodman makes an appearance in the “Breaking Bad” storyline. The lawyer’s real name is James Morgan McGill, and his pseudonym is a play on the words “S’all good, man!”

31 Long and lean : LANK

The term “lank” can describe something that is straight and flat, particularly hair. The usage was extended in the early 1800s (especially in the form “lanky”) to mean “awkwardly tall and thin”.

32 Body parts that an owl can’t move : EYES

Owls can rotate their heads 270 degrees, allowing them to look around without moving their bodies.

37 Concorde, e.g.: Abbr. : SST

Supersonic transports (SSTs) like the Concorde broke Mach 1, the speed of sound. As a plane flies through the air, it creates pressure waves in front (and behind) rather like the bow and stern waves of a boat. These pressure waves travel at the speed of sound, so as an aircraft itself accelerates towards the speed of sound it catches up with the pressure waves until they cannot “get out of the way”. When the aircraft reaches the speed of sound, the compressed waves merge into one single shock wave, creating a sonic boom.

43 Dessert often eaten outdoors : S’MORE

S’mores are treats peculiar to North America that are usually eaten around a campfire. A s’more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!

46 Subject for gossips : ITEM

An unmarried couple known to be involved with each other might appear in the gossip columns. This appearance as “an item” in the papers, led to the use of “item” to refer to such a couple, but only since the very early seventies.

47 Ding-dong : BOZO

The unsavory word “bozo” describes a person with a low IQ, and someone who is usually quite muscular. The term has been used since the early 1900s, and possibly comes from the Spanish “bozal” that was used to describe someone who spoke Spanish poorly.

48 Nabisco offering : OREO

If you take a close look at the embossed design on the front and back of an Oreo cookie, you’ll spot the main elements of the Nabisco logo. Those elements are an oval with a cross on top, a cross with two bars. Usually the company name “Nabisco” is inside the oval, but for the cookie it’s the brand name “Oreo”. The current embossed design was introduced in 1952.

51 Academy recognition, for short : NOM

Nomination (nom.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Resident of Seeb, Sohar or Sur : OMANI
6 Company whose name, aptly, is an anagram of GAMES minus a letter : SEGA
10 Fail to include, say : SNUB
14 “Smart!” : VERY CLEVER!
16 Something that needs a key : CODE
17 Question from someone arriving in haste : AM I TOO LATE?
18 Get behind something, say : HIDE
19 [Cracking up] : [LOL]
20 Idly moves (about) : MILLS
21 Tough nut to crack : POSER
22 Pigs’ digs : PENS
23 Ones who live large, in slang : BALLERS
25 Tragic flaw for Oedipus : HUBRIS
28 Polite denial : NO, MA’AM
29 One might read “Kiss the Cook” : APRON
30 Youth sports mismatch ender : MERCY RULE
33 Flummox : STUMP
34 Really move : AWE
35 Bacon bit? : ESSAY
36 Shared a workspace, in modern parlance : HOT-DESKED
38 Cologne’s place : RHINE
39 Teacher’s sleeve, in a pinch : ERASER
40 They come out of their shells eventually : CHICKS
41 Gets to : AFFECTS
43 Action in the card game Spit : SLAP
44 “Purple” stuff : PROSE
45 Calculus concept : LIMIT
47 Stole from a drag show : BOA
50 Shows : AIRS
51 “Keep this between us” : NOT ONE WORD
53 Run time? : RACE
54 Like some land no longer good for livestock : OVERGRAZED
55 Número de mosqueteros : TRES
56 Viral phenomenon : MEME
57 Waves away : SHOOS

Down

1 Shaped like this answer’s first letter, say : OVAL
2 Word on a check : MEMO
3 Seed case : ARIL
4 Co. that produces the “Modern Love” podcast : NYT
5 Words from one extending an olive branch : I COME IN PEACE
6 Moves : SELLS
7 Assessment, informally : EVAL
8 Loses interest, say : GETS BORED
9 Equal : ARE
10 Knowledge, or a means to acquire it : SCHOLARSHIP
11 Nonmelodic genre : NOISE MUSIC
12 Milk it : UDDER
13 Some chasers : BEERS
15 Mutton chops? : LOINS
21 Jealous critics, in slang : PLAYER HATERS
22 Some formal attire : PROM DRESSES
24 “Better Call Saul” network : AMC
25 Discuss, with “out” : HASH …
26 As far as : UP TO
27 Inelegant way to solve a problem : BRUTE FORCE
28 Like posts at the top of a feed, typically : NEWER
30 Pursues a passion? : MAKES LOVE
31 Long and lean : LANK
32 Body parts that an owl can’t move : EYES
37 Concorde, e.g.: Abbr. : SST
40 Stick : CLING
41 Detached : APART
42 Man on a mission? : FRIAR
43 Dessert often eaten outdoors : S’MORE
46 Subject for gossips : ITEM
47 Ding-dong : BOZO
48 Nabisco offering : OREO
49 Interjects : ADDS
51 Academy recognition, for short : NOM
52 Infant’s cry : WAH!

13 thoughts on “0526-23 NY Times Crossword 26 May 23, Friday”

  1. 21:43. Strange solve. I thought the left half of the puzzle was very easy. All my issues were on the right half.

    I knew the MERCY RULE as the “ten-run rule” which didn’t fit. Got stuck there for too long.

    “Bacon bit?” for ESSAY wins clue of the day. That caught me completely off guard. Took me forever to see it.

    I’m ready for the Memorial Day weekend. It always feels like my first break of the new year….which isn’t all that new anymore.

    Best –

  2. 30:57, no errors. Surprised to get the completion screen upon entering the last letter. Expected to have to hunt for an error somewhere.
    I, also, had issues with the right side. Entering OMIT before SNUB made life difficult. Thought 21D would be some kind of SISTERS rather than HATERS.
    NOISE MUSIC?? Isn’t that oxymoronic?
    35A: the quote from Bacon sounds like an obervation of today’s culture wars.

    1. Contemplating recording again, though I don’t know what form that will take completely, but I do see a bit of where the demand comes after a couple of weeks (it’s interesting). Not sure if I’ll end up recording a lot of NYTimes stuff, but am trying to think of how to do something that would be helpful for solving instruction or other things. Not sure I’ll entertain too many stunt solves either (I did record I think five of them overall?), but we’ll see.

    1. @Anonymous …

      Googling “hot desking” and “noise music” is revealing. Both are recent coinages. Both exist. (And I didn’t know them either, so I had to get them from crosses … 🙂.)

      Language changes to keep up with the times …

      1. I’m “hot desking” though we don’t call it that.
        That’s a euphemism for “no desk for you.”
        I don’t like it. I have to book a desk before going to work. One pet peeve is having to re-adjust the seat, arm rest, and tilt, as well as desk and monitor height, every time to my liking. Ah well, it’s all pensionable time.

    2. All in the pursuit of having “debut terms”… either trends that happened and are done – recognized as dumb and completely forgotten come publication time or just plain bad ideas people have that will be forgotten once it costs enough.

      Ironically (for once), I was well aware of both, though hot desking is a definite high annoyance as described elsewhere. I’m not sure how common it is, but I can imagine it’s a rather strong inducement to find another position in any company that does it.

      1. It’s an annoyance but not worth quitting over if you’ve worked for the company a long time, you’re a union member and vested in the pension plan, have job security, and would be earning less $.

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