0521-24 NY Times Crossword 21 May 24, Tuesday

Constructed by: Zachary David Levy
Edited by: Joel Fagliano

Today’s Reveal Answer: Babyproof

Themed answers each start with something that might PROVE there’s a BABY in the house:

  • 63A Make safer, in a way … or what the starts of 17-, 27-, 38- and 52-Across might be? : BABYPROOF
  • 17A Cheat sheets : CRIB NOTES
  • 27A Fruit also known as calabash : BOTTLE GOURD
  • 38A Outbuilding for many a historic home : CARRIAGE HOUSE
  • 52A Counterpart to a landline : MOBILE PHONE

Bill’s time: 6m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Ballet dancer’s bend : PLIE

The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees. A fondu is similar to a plié, except that only one leg remains on the ground.

14 Word after golden or slide : … RULE

The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, and is a basis for the concept of human rights. A version of the rule used in the Christian tradition is attributed to Jesus:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

A derivative phrase often heard today is “Love thy neighbor (as thyself)”.

The slide rule was invented in the early 17th century, with the design building on the work by John Napier on logarithms. As such, slide rules were introduced primarily to carry out multiplication and division. Here in the US, the device is sometimes referred to as a “slipstick”.

16 Canonized person : SAINT

The act of creating a saint is known as “canonization”. The term derives from the process of placing someone in the canon (or “calendar”) of saints.

17 Cheat sheets : CRIB NOTES

A crib is plagiarism. It is most commonly the copying of an answer in an examination.

19 Post-panel sesh : Q AND A

Session (abbreviated to “sess.” formally, and “sesh” informally)

21 Big name in public opinion research : PEW

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an NGO established in 1948 by the children of Joseph N. Pew, the founder of Sun Oil Company (now Sunoco). Its stated mission is to improve public policy, inform the public, and invigorate civil life. Pew also operates the Pew Research Center, the third-largest think tank in Washington, D.C.

27 Fruit also known as calabash : BOTTLE GOURD

The calabash is a vine that bears fruit that is often harvested for food, but also for use as a container. The fruit comes in a variety of shapes and can be quite large, perhaps over a meter in length. Alternative names for the calabash are bottle gourd, long melon and birdhouse gourd.

43 Millennial’s successor, informally : GEN-ZER

Definitions vary, but it seems that the term “Generation Z” is reserved for the children of “Generation X”, and for the generation that follows the “Millennials” (Generation Y). Gen-Zers are also known as “Zoomers”, a portmanteau of “Z” and “boomer” (as in “baby boomer”).

49 Fashion house whose logo features Medusa : VERSACE

Gianni Versace was an Italian fashion designer. Versace’s death was perhaps as famous as his life. He was murdered in 1997 outside his mansion in Miami Beach by one Andrew Cunanan. It is not certain that Cunanan knew who his victim was, as this was the last in a spree of five murders committed by him over a four month period. A few days after killing Versace, Cunanan used the same gun to commit suicide.

In Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the monstrous female creatures known as Gorgons. According to one version of the Medusa myth, she was once a beautiful woman. She incurred the wrath of Athena who turned her lovely hair into serpents and made her face hideously ugly. Anyone who gazed directly at the transformed Medusa would turn into stone. She was eventually killed by the hero Perseus, who beheaded her. He carried Medusa’s head and used its powers as a weapon, before giving it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield. One myth holds that as Perseus was flying over Egypt with Medusa’s severed head, drops of her blood fell to the ground and formed asps.

52 Counterpart to a landline : MOBILE PHONE

What we mostly call a “cell phone” here in North America is more usually referred to as a “mobile phone” in Britain and Ireland. My favorite term for the device is used in Germany, where it is called a “Handy”.

57 Middle name for Alec Baldwin and Carly Jepsen : RAE

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he made a name for himself by impersonating President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”. Famously, Baldwin was involved in a tragic incident while filming a Western movie titled “Rust” in 2021. He discharged a revolver being used as a prop during a rehearsal, but the gun was loaded with live ammunition. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured.

Carly Rae Jepsen is a singer/songwriter from Mission, British Columbia. She got her start on TV’s “Canadian Idol” when she placed third in the show’s fifth season. In addition to her music career, Jepsen has also dabbled in acting. She made her Broadway debut in 2014 playing the title in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Cinderella.”

68 Pageant topper : TIARA

The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.

71 One-___ bandit : ARMED

Slot machines earned the nickname “one-armed bandits” simply because they had “one arm”, the handle pulled to operate the machine. Well, they also rob your money!

Down

1 Airplane’s path on a flight map, often : ARC

When navigating between two points on the Earth, the shortest path is known as a great circle route. Using a globe, it’s easy to see that a great circle route is the shortest past. However, on a mercator projection map, a great circle route appears curved, because of the distortion caused by artificially making lines of longitude parallel. A straight line on a mercator projection map is known as a rhumb line. Navigators might follow a rhumb line for convenience, as the compass direction remains the same for such a course.

3 Roth of “Inglourious Basterds” : ELI

Eli Roth is one of a group of directors of horror movies known quite graphically as “The Splat Pack”. I can’t stand “splat” movies and avoid them as best I can. Roth is also famous for playing Donny Donowitz in the Quentin Tarantino movie “Inglourious Basterds”.

I tried hard to enjoy the 2009 movie “Inglourious Basterds”, but I find the violence in a Quentin Tarantino film so very hard to take. However, it got good reviews, so maybe you shouldn’t let me put you off.

4 Red scare? : DEBT

To be in the red is to be in debt, to owe money. The expression “in the red” is a reference to the accounting practice of recording debts and losses in red ink in ledgers. The related phrase “in the black” means “solvent, making a profit”.

8 Old car make named for Henry Ford’s son : EDSEL

The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel, son of Henry Ford. Sadly, the name “Edsel” has become synonymous with “failure”, which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced. When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel on 4 September 1957, Ford proclaimed the day to be “E Day”.

9 Abbr. on a lawyer’s business card : ESQ

The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So, a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank, say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.

11 Iniquitous : SINFUL

One might get corrupted in a den of iniquity. The phrase “den of iniquity” probably comes from “den of thieves”, words of Jesus quoted in the gospels of both Mark and Matthew.

18 Noggins : NOBS

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

22 Language in which “w” can be a vowel : WELSH

The Welsh language is a Celtic tongue that is known as “Cymraeg” by its native speakers. The country of Wales is known as “Cymru” in Welsh.

24 Australian boot brand : UGG

Uggs are sheepskin boots that were first produced in Australia and New Zealand. The original Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. “Ugg” is a generic term Down Under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.

25 Green dip, familiarly : GUAC

Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

26 Purifying filter acronym : HEPA

Air filters can be specified as “HEPA”, with the acronym standing for “high-efficiency particulate absorption”. To be given the name “HEPA”, the filter must remove 99.7% of particles with a size of 0.3 microns or larger.

28 November birthstone : TOPAZ

Topaz is a semiprecious stone made from silicate containing aluminum and fluorine. Topaz is the state gemstone of Utah, and the rare blue topaz is the state gemstone of Texas.

29 One purring in Peru : GATO

In Spanish, a “gato” (cat) is a “felino doméstico” (domestic feline).

30 Nonalcoholic beer brand : O’DOUL’S

I once did a blind taste test on all of the big-selling non-alcoholic beers with a friend of mine. O’Doul’s Amber won the day pretty decisively, which surprised us as it was the cheapest! But, the best non-alcoholic beer by far, by miles, is Guinness Zero …

32 Composer Rachmaninoff : SERGEI

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian pianist and composer who was active in the late Romantic Era. Rachmaninoff emigrated from Russia in 1917, having been driven away by the Russian Revolution. He eventually settled in the US, where he toured as a pianist for many years. Rachmaninoff’s most famous works are probably his “Piano Concerto No. 1” and his “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”.

37 Kind of motor used in robotics : SERVO

A servomechanism (also “servo”) is a control system in which usually a hydraulic or pneumatic arm or plunger is actuated by a low-energy signal received from a sensor. An example is the device operating the cruise control on a car. The servo pushes the gas pedal to accelerate and lets off to slow down. The signal to the servo comes from the speedometer.

40 Lead-in to mingle or mezzo : INTER-

The original intermezzo (plural “intermezzi”) was a comic interlude performed between acts of a more serious opera. By the 19th century, composers were writing intermezzi as instrumental pieces as short interludes between movements in larger works. Eventually, the term “intermezzo” was used more generally for a short piece of music.

45 Something a prenatal ultrasound can determine : SEX

“Ultrasound” is the name given to sound energy that has frequencies above the audible range.

46 Mafia code of silence : OMERTA

“Omertà” is a code of honor in southern Italian society. The term has been adopted by the Mafia to mean a code of silence designed to prevent a Mafioso from becoming an informer. For example, the famous Joe Valachi was someone who broke the code of silence in 1963, informing on the New York Mafia. Valachi’s story was told in the movie “The Valachi Papers”, with Charles Bronson playing the lead.

48 Classic video game with the catchphrase “He’s on fire!” : NBA JAM

NBA Jam is an arcade game that was introduced in 1993. It was successful enough to spawn a whole series of NBA Jam video games. Apparently, it became the highest-earning arcade game of all time, and took in over $1 billion dollars in quarters.

50 Biological catalyst : ENZYME

The names of enzymes usually include the suffix “-ase”. Enzymes are basically catalysts, chemicals that act to increase the rate of a particular chemical reaction. For example, starches will break down into sugars over time, especially under the right conditions. However, in the presence of the enzyme amylase (found in saliva) this production of sugar happens very, very quickly.

53 “Blue Ribbon” brewer : PABST

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

54 Toffee bar brand since 1928 : HEATH

The HEATH bar is a Hershey product that was introduced in the 1930s by brothers Bayard and Everett Heath. The candy was promoted back then with the line “Heath for better health!”, a reference to the “healthy” ingredients of the best milk chocolate and almonds, creamery butter and pure sugarcane. Different times …

65 Shelley’s “To a Skylark,” for one : ODE

“To a Skylark” is an 1820 poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The opening line “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit” is the inspiration used by Noël Coward for the title of his famous comic play “Blithe Spirit”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Hit a serve past : ACED
5 Ballet dancer’s bend : PLIE
9 Lightens (up) : EASES
14 Word after golden or slide : … RULE
15 Often-discarded part of a fruit : RIND
16 Canonized person : SAINT
17 Cheat sheets : CRIB NOTES
19 Post-panel sesh : Q AND A
20 Male cat : TOM
21 Big name in public opinion research : PEW
23 It might be poked : FUN
24 Cry of disgust that sounds like 24-Down : UGH!
27 Fruit also known as calabash : BOTTLE GOURD
31 “Yeah, I suppose” : GUESS SO
33 Soup kitchen utensils : LADLES
34 Stare open-mouthed : GAPE
35 Target, as a wide receiver : PASS TO
38 Outbuilding for many a historic home : CARRIAGE HOUSE
43 Millennial’s successor, informally : GEN-ZER
44 Tennis do-overs : LETS
46 “That’s pretty nifty!” : OH NEAT!
49 Fashion house whose logo features Medusa : VERSACE
52 Counterpart to a landline : MOBILE PHONE
55 Appreciative text : THX
56 Schedule abbr. : ETA
57 Middle name for Alec Baldwin and Carly Jepsen : RAE
58 Go the other way : ZAG
60 Indian royals : RAJAS
63 Make safer, in a way … or what the starts of 17-, 27-, 38- and 52-Across might be? : BABYPROOF
68 Pageant topper : TIARA
69 Often-discarded part of a fruit : STEM
70 Inactive : IDLE
71 One-___ bandit : ARMED
72 Biblical pronoun : THEE
73 Nonnegotiable thing : NEED

Down

1 Airplane’s path on a flight map, often : ARC
2 Junkyard dog : CUR
3 Roth of “Inglourious Basterds” : ELI
4 Red scare? : DEBT
5 Sneak previews : PROMOS
6 Happening, in modern parlance : LIT
7 Bumbling : INEPT
8 Old car make named for Henry Ford’s son : EDSEL
9 Abbr. on a lawyer’s business card : ESQ
10 Highly rated, as a bond : AAA
11 Iniquitous : SINFUL
12 Stick it out : ENDURE
13 Array at a farmer’s market : STANDS
18 Noggins : NOBS
22 Language in which “w” can be a vowel : WELSH
24 Australian boot brand : UGG
25 Green dip, familiarly : GUAC
26 Purifying filter acronym : HEPA
28 November birthstone : TOPAZ
29 One purring in Peru : GATO
30 Nonalcoholic beer brand : O’DOUL’S
32 Composer Rachmaninoff : SERGEI
36 Ripen : AGE
37 Kind of motor used in robotics : SERVO
39 Down-to-earth : REAL
40 Lead-in to mingle or mezzo : INTER-
41 Ticket assignment : SEAT
42 Cut quite a figure? : ETCH
45 Something a prenatal ultrasound can determine : SEX
46 Mafia code of silence : OMERTA
47 Windbag’s output : HOT AIR
48 Classic video game with the catchphrase “He’s on fire!” : NBA JAM
50 Biological catalyst : ENZYME
51 Collect what’s been sown : REAP
53 “Blue Ribbon” brewer : PABST
54 Toffee bar brand since 1928 : HEATH
59 Beam : GRIN
61 “What ___ the odds?” : ARE
62 Down in the dumps : SAD
64 Wax producer : BEE
65 Shelley’s “To a Skylark,” for one : ODE
66 World Cup chant : OLE!
67 Put quarters in, as a meter : FED

5 thoughts on “0521-24 NY Times Crossword 21 May 24, Tuesday”

  1. 11:49, no errors. Today’s $EX and Sunday’s A$$HAT highlight letter combinations which can be used in the crossword, but must never be used together in the comments, unless printed in Leet speech. This is not exclusive to Bill’s blog, but a surprising number of common words are often printed using asterisks in articles nowadays.

  2. Don’t worry Alaska Steve, I’m here to make you look good with my 18:39. “Bottle Gourd” was a new one for me, which meant the whole north became a slog.

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