0501-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 1 May 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Steinberg
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 19m 09s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

17. Riviera hot spot : MONTE CARLO CASINO
Monte Carlo is an administrative area in the Principality of Monaco that covers just under a quarter of a square mile. The area is known in particular as the location of the famous Monte Carlo Casino. “Monte Carlo” translates as “Mount Charles”, and was named in 1866 for Charles III of Monaco who was ruling the principality at the time.

“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).

18. Provider of an A in English? : THE SCARLET LETTER
Hester Prynne is the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter”. When Hester is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” (for “adultery”) on her clothing for the rest of her life, hence the novel’s title, “The Scarlet Letter”.

19. Literally, “fool” : SOT
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

20. Locales for many schools : REEFS
You can find schools of fish in coral reefs.

21. Brit in the news : HUME
The TV journalist Brit Hume’s full name is Alexander Britton Hume.

24. Surrey carriage : PRAM
Another word used in the UK 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”.

Surrey is an English county located just to the southwest of London. Among the many historic locations in Surrey is Runnymede, famous for the signing of Magna Carta by King John in 1215.

35. Reason for some recalls : E COLI
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

36. “A thousand times good night!” speaker : JULIET
William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is all about the love between the two title characters, which is forbidden as the pair come from two families who are sworn enemies. Early in the play, Romeo (a Montague) sneaks into a masquerade ball being held by the Capulets in the hope of meeting a Capulet girl named Rosaline. Instead, he meets and falls for Juliet, also a Capulet. Tragedy ensues …

41. “___ Meninas” (Velázquez painting) : LAS
“Las Meninas” is a painting by Diego Velázquez, the name of which translates to “The Maids of Honor”. “Las Meninas” is the most famous painting owned by the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

43. Orwellian drudge : PROLE
George Orwell introduced us to the “proles”, the working class folk in his famous novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Collectively, the proles make up the section of society known as the proletariat.

44. Phencyclidine, colloquially : ANGEL DUST
Phencyclidine is a recreational drug usually referred to on the street as PCP or “angel dust”.

47. Refuse at a bar : LEES
The dregs in wine, the sediment that settles during fermentation (and sometimes in the bottle), is also called “lees”.

52. “Coming to America” role : AKEEM
“Akeem” is an Arabic name meaning “wise”, and is a variation of “Hakeem” that is common in Africa.

“Coming to America” is a 1988 comedy film starring Eddie Murphy as Akeem, an African crown prince who comes to the US to find a bride. Murphy also created the story on which the screenplay was based.

58. Many an extreme athlete : ADRENALINE JUNKIE
The naturally occurring hormone adrenaline is also known as epinephrine. Adrenaline takes its name from the adrenal glands that produce the hormone. The glands themselves take their name from their location in the body, right on the kidneys (“ad-renes” meaning near or at the kidneys in Latin). The alternative name of epinephrine has a similar root (“epi-nephros” meaning upon the kidney, in Greek).

Down
1. Lifesavers, briefly : EMTS
Emergency medical technician (EMT)

2. Westminster district : SOHO
The area of London called Soho had a very poor reputation for most of the 20th century as it was home to the city’s red light district. Soho has been transformed though, and has been a very fashionable neighborhood since the 1980s.

3. Big tech review site : CNET
c|net is an excellent technology website. c|net started out in 1994 as a television network specializing in technology news. The host of “American Idol”, Ryan Seacrest, started off his career as a host on a c|net show.

4. @ @ @ : ATS
The “at symbol” (@) originated in the commercial word, as shorthand for “each at, per” and similar phrases. I suppose we see the symbol most commonly these days as part of all email addresses.

5. Bench press target, informally : PEC
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

6. Relative of euchre : ECARTE
Écarté is a card game that comes to us from France, with a name that translates into ‘discarded”. Écarté is a game like whist but is played with a stripped-down deck and involves only two players.

Euchre is a card game that probably came to the US from Germany, introduced by German farmers who settled in Wisconsin. Euchre is a trick-taking game usually played by four people in two partnerships. Unlike bridge, Euchre is played with a stripped down deck of 24 or 32 cards.

7. Stud finders? : MARES
The word “stud”, meaning “a male horse kept for breeding”, is derived from the Old English word “stod”, which described a whole herd of horses.

8. First name in mystery : ERLE
I must have read all of the Perry Mason books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

9. Start of a score : CLEF
Clef is the French word for “key”. In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on the stave. The bass clef is also known as the F-clef, and the treble clef is the G-clef.

11. ___ tear (knee injury) : ACL
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments that support the knee.

12. Dunsinane disavowal : NAE
Dunsinane Hill in Perthshire, Scotland gets a mention in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”.
Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.

13. Connecting strips : ISTHMI
The word “isthmus” (plural “isthmi”) comes the Greek word for “neck”. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land that usually connects two large land masses. The most notable examples of the formation are the Isthmus of Corinth in the Greek peninsula, and the Isthmus of Panama connecting North and South America.

14. The “s” of Lasik : SITU
LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

25. Nicolas who directed “The Man Who Fell to Earth” : ROEG
Nicolas Roeg is film director from England with quite the pedigree when it comes to association with great movies. He contributed to 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia”, and he himself directed noted films like “Walkabout” (1972), “Don’t Look Now” (1973) and “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976).

The 1976 British film “The Man Who Fell to Earth” is perhaps most famous for its star, David Bowie. The movie was directed by Nicolas Roeg, and is based on a 1963 novel of the same name written by Walter Tevis.

27. Street in Hollywood : DELLA
Della Street was Perry Mason’s very capable secretary in the Erle Stanley Gardner novels. Street was played in the TV show by the lovely Barbara Hale.

29. Noodle request : NO MSG
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

31. Female George : ELIOT
George Eliot was the pen name of English novelist Mary Anne Evans. As one might think, Evans chose a male pen name in order that her work might be best appreciated in the Victorian era. Eliot wrote seven novels including “Adam Bede” (1859), “The Mill on the Floss” (1860), “Silas Marner” (1861) and “Middlemarch” (1871-72).

32. Stoned : ON POT
“Potiguaya” is the Mexican-Spanish word for “marijuana leaves”. The slang name “pot” comes from “potiguaya”.

36. Youngest of a baseball trio : JESUS ALOU
Jesus Alou played major league baseball, as did his brothers Matty and Felipe, and as does Felipe’s son Moises.

40. Crossword designer? : ERTE
I don’t think the artist Erte had any particular link to crosswords, but he sure does turn up a lot in crosswords. “Erte” is a classic example of “crosswordese”.

Words described as “crosswordese” are those that are found frequently as answers in crosswords, but which do not appear nearly so often in everyday speech.

45. First name in mystery : ELLERY
The Ellery Queen series of detective novels was somewhat unique in that Ellery Queen was the hero of the tales, and was also the pen name of the author. Actually, the “author” was a pair of writers; two cousins from Brooklyn, New York.

48. Calvin of the P.G.A. : PEETE
Calvin Peete was the most successful African American golfer on the PGA tour before Tiger Woods hit the circuit. He was a member of the Ryder Cup teams of 1983 and 1985. Peete passed away in 2015.

50. Noodle product : IDEA
“Noodle” and “bean” are slang terms for the head.

54. Lady in “Idylls of the King” : ENID
“Idylls of the King” is a cycle of twelve poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson that retells the tale of King Arthur. One of the “idylls” is the story of Geraint and Enid. Tennyson’s Enid gave her name to the city of Enid, Oklahoma.

56. Property restriction : LIEN
A lien is the right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

60. V-mail overseer : APO
Army Post Office (APO)

V-mail was a mailing system used during WWII primarily by civilians corresponding with soldiers stationed abroad. The person sending the message wrote it on small sheets of letter paper, after which the mail censors had at it. The redacted message was photographed onto microfilm for transportation to various destinations around the world. At the destination, each message would be blown up to original size and printed for delivery to the recipient.

62. ___ Holman, early basketball great : NAT
Nat Holman was one of the very early professional basketball players, retiring from the game as a player in 1930. He played for the Original Celtics (no relation to the Boston Celtics).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. They’ll help you out : ESCAPE MECHANISMS
17. Riviera hot spot : MONTE CARLO CASINO
18. Provider of an A in English? : THE SCARLET LETTER
19. Literally, “fool” : SOT
20. Locales for many schools : REEFS
21. Brit in the news : HUME
22. Things going to your head? : HATS
24. Surrey carriage : PRAM
27. Give to a bank, maybe : DONATE
30. Cutthroat : FEROCIOUS
35. Reason for some recalls : E COLI
36. “A thousand times good night!” speaker : JULIET
37. Indefinite power : NTH
38. Tangy dessert : LEMON MERINGUE PIE
41. “___ Meninas” (Velázquez painting) : LAS
42. Faux fireplace feature : GAS LOG
43. Orwellian drudge : PROLE
44. Phencyclidine, colloquially : ANGEL DUST
46. Notepad user : JOTTER
47. Refuse at a bar : LEES
48. Transparent piece : PANE
49. Ratchet (up) : DIAL
52. “Coming to America” role : AKEEM
55. White-haired : OLD
58. Many an extreme athlete : ADRENALINE JUNKIE
63. Unit in population statistics : METROPOLITAN AREA
64. Simple : EASY TO UNDERSTAND

Down
1. Lifesavers, briefly : EMTS
2. Westminster district : SOHO
3. Big tech review site : CNET
4. @ @ @ : ATS
5. Bench press target, informally : PEC
6. Relative of euchre : ECARTE
7. Stud finders? : MARES
8. First name in mystery : ERLE
9. Start of a score : CLEF
10. Steam source : HOT SPRING
11. ___ tear (knee injury) : ACL
12. Dunsinane disavowal : NAE
13. Connecting strips : ISTHMI
14. The “s” of Lasik : SITU
15. Memory: Prefix : MNEM-
16. Cross : SORE
22. Saintly presence : HALO
23. All excited : ATINGLE
25. Nicolas who directed “The Man Who Fell to Earth” : ROEG
26. Not just consider : ACT UPON
27. Street in Hollywood : DELLA
28. Body resting in bed? : OCEAN
29. Noodle request : NO MSG
30. Rolls up : FURLS
31. Female George : ELIOT
32. Stoned : ON POT
33. Valuable : UTILE
34. Transparent : SHEER
36. Youngest of a baseball trio : JESUS ALOU
39. Took home : MADE
40. Crossword designer? : ERTE
45. First name in mystery : ELLERY
46. Preserves preserver : JAM JAR
48. Calvin of the P.G.A. : PEETE
49. Woman in a hard-boiled detective story : DAME
50. Noodle product : IDEA
51. Newspaper section : ARTS
53. Ceramist’s need : KILN
54. Lady in “Idylls of the King” : ENID
55. Stew thickener : OKRA
56. Property restriction : LIEN
57. No longer working : DEAD
59. “___ cool!” : NOT
60. V-mail overseer : APO
61. Little ___ : UNS
62. ___ Holman, early basketball great : NAT

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5 thoughts on “0501-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 1 May 15, Friday”

  1. :38 for me. I finally got a hold at the bottom and worked my way up. Decent grid. With all the JAM and PIE and OKRA, I'm getting hungry.

    FWIW, Calvin (48D) PEETE passed away two days ago, age 71.

  2. Bill, thank you again for your wonderful blog. You've de-mystified me more times than I can count! — I have a nit to pick with 14 Down, though. According to my dictionary (Webster's New World College), LASIK comes from LAS(er-assisted I(n situ) K(eratomileusis)– so the S doesn't stand for "situ" or indeed for much of anything. Maybe dictionaries differ. But I have to say I expect a little more rigorous editing from The New York Times! — Lela

  3. @Anonymous (1):

    But I solved it. And others solved it. And, like me, they probably enjoyed the challenge. And we're not mind-readers. Keep at it for another decade or three and you, too, may be able to solve such puzzles and enjoy them. (My two cents worth … )

  4. @Lela
    Thanks for the kind words about the blog, and for pointing out the potential issue with the LASIK clue. I just took a look around the Web and found several explanations for the acronym LASIK, including the one that you mention. I guess I feel like giving Mr. Steinberg the benefit of the doubt, seeing as there is some confusion 🙂

    You make a very good point, though!!

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