0504-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 May 16, Wednesday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today’s New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Jacob Stulberg
THEME: FitzFellow Line… the circled letters in today’s grid spell out the title of a 1944 song by the Ink Spots (featuring Ella Fitzgerald), which title is a line from the poem “The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”.

15A. Author of an 1841 poem that contains the line spelled out by the shaded squares : LONGFELLOW
64A. Vocalist known for the 1944 song whose title (and first line) appears in the shaded squares : FITZGERALD

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 09s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. “Dante Symphony” composer : LISZT
The “Dante Symphony” by Franz Liszt was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy”. The two-movement work is described by some as less a symphony and more like two symphonic poems. It was first performed in 1857.

6. “West Side Story” woman : ANITA
In Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”, the female lead character is Maria and her older friend, also in the gang called the Sharks, is Anita.

11. ___ Marino : SAN
San Marino is a small enclave in northern Italy with an area of just under 25 square miles. It is the oldest sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, and has the world’s oldest constitution (dating back to 1600). What is most impressive to me is that San Marino has no national debt and a budget surplus. One can only dream …

15. Author of an 1841 poem that contains the line spelled out by the shaded squares : LONGFELLOW

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

20. Speak the gospel : PREACH
“Gospel” is a term that came to us via Old English. The Old English term is “godspel” meaning “good story”, and referred to the glad tidings announced by Jesus. There are four Gospels in the Christian New Testament: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

22. Eastern European capital : SOFIA
Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Natives pronounce the name “Sofia” with the emphasis on the “o”, while the rest of us tend to stress the “i”. Bulgarians do agree with us though when it comes to the girl’s name “Sofia”, then they stress the “i” like we do!

23. Employers of dispatchers and brakemen: Abbr. : RRS
Railroads (RRs)

24. “Help!” : SOS
The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

25. Month in l’été : AOUT
In French, “août” (August) is a month in “l’été” (the summer). Note that the names of months are not capitalized in French.

27. Region, weatherwise : CLIME
Clime is just another word for climate, as in the expression “in search of warmer climes”.

29. Big house party? : LIFER
The “big house” is a slang term for “prison”.

36. Tulsa sch. : ORU
Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU was founded relatively recently, in 1963 by the late televangelist Oral Roberts. The campus includes a Prayer Tower at its center, a spectacular glass and steel structure designed by architect Frank Wallace. The tower includes an observation deck, and is a popular tourist attraction. The school’s sports teams are known as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

37. Oil holders, maybe : EASELS
The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey” would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

38. One-named athlete whose real first name is Edson : PELE
Pelé is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name Pelé for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been part of three World Cup winning squads, and is a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames is “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).

39. Chemical cousin : ISOMER
In the world of chemistry, isomers are two compounds with chemical formula i.e. the same atomic constituents, but with a slightly different arrangement of the atoms relative to each other. The differing arrangement of atoms often leads to different chemical properties.

41. Ceramic jar : OLLA
An olla is a traditional clay pot used for the making of stews. “Olla” was the Latin word used in Ancient Rome to describe a similar type of pot.

42. Secure, with “down” : BATTEN
“Battens” are strips of wood, especially those used to secure canvas covers over a ship’s hatches. The phrase “batten down the hatches” means “to prepare for disaster, the impending storm”.

44. Hand-held platform : IOS
iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system (OS), previously known as iPhone OS.

46. Old Testament peak : ARARAT
Mount Ararat is in Turkey. Ararat is a snow-capped, dormant volcano with two peaks. The higher of the two, Greater Ararat, is the tallest peak in the country. Ararat takes its name from a legendary Armenian hero called Ara the Beautiful (or Ara the Handsome). According to the Book of Genesis, Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat as the Great Flood subsided.

49. Snack with a chewy center : S’MORE
S’mores are treats peculiar to North America, 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!

51. Keyboard abbr. : ALT
The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

54. Simpson’s trial judge : ITO
Judge Lance Ito came in for a lot of criticism for his handling of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. The lead prosecutor in that trial was Marcia Clark, you might recall. I read the book that’s Clark wrote about the trial called “Without a Doubt”, and she pointed out one trait of Judge Ito that I think is quite telling. Ito would almost always refer to the prosecutor as “Marcia”, while addressing the men on both sides of the case as “Mister”.

55. Actress Lords : TRACI
Traci Lords is an actress and model who had a highly controversial start to her career. By faking her driver’s license, Lords was able to pose for nude photographs for “Penthouse” magazine when she was just 15 years old. She then appeared in illegal pornographic movies over the following two years. When it became clear that she was underage, the authorities demanded that distributors remove all of her films or risk prosecution for trafficking in child pornography.

60. Variety of sherry whose name means “little apple” : MANZANILLA
Manzanilla is a dry, pale sherry from Andalusia in Spain. The name “manzanilla” is Spanish for chamomile tea, a name that was chosen because the wine was said to have a taste reminiscent of the tea.

63. Vaccine target : POLIO
Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher, famous for developing the first safe polio vaccine. In the fifties, especially after the 1952 epidemic, polio was the biggest health fear in the US because it killed thousands, left even more with disabilities and most of the victims were children. The situation was dire and the authorities immediately quarantined the family of any polio victim, and that quarantine was so strict that in many cases the families were not even permitted to attend the funeral of a family member who died from the disease.

64. Vocalist known for the 1944 song whose title (and first line) appears in the shaded squares : FITZGERALD
Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

66. Pince-___ : NEZ
Pince-nez are eyeglasses clipped to the bridge of the nose. “Pince-nez” is French, translating as “pinch the nose”.

Down
1. Imitates Sylvester the Cat : LISPS
Sylvester J. Pussycat was also known as Puddy Tat, and was a character who appeared in “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” cartoons. Sylvester was the cat who was often trying to get the better of Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales and Hippety Hopper. Sylvester’s trademark line is the exclamation “Sufferin’ succotash!”, which emphasizes the characters pronounced lisp.

4. Novelist ___ Neale Hurston : ZORA
Zora Neale Hurston was an American author, most famous for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. Like the author, the main character in the novel is an African American woman, a part played by Halle Berry in a television movie adaptation that first aired in 2005.

6. Muhammad’s successor, to Shiites : ALI
The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favoured the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.

7. Like hormones synthesized from amino acids : NON-STEROID
Amino acid-derived hormones are one of four main chemical classes of hormones. Examples of hormones derived from amino acids are melatonin and thyroxine.

8. Skinny : INFO
The use of the word “skinny” meaning information, comes from WWII military slang for “the truth”, probably a derivative of the expression “the naked truth” (and skinny-dipping).

9. Happy end-of-week cry : TGIF!
“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

11. Canon offering, for short : SLR
SLR stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

The Japanese company called Canon is largely known in the US for producing quality cameras. The company started out as Precision Optical Industry Laboratory in 1937 making camera bodies. The name was changed in 1947 to Canon.

16. And others : ET ALIA
Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

17. Guitarist Borland : WES
Wes Borland is a rock musician best known as the guitarist for the band Limp Bizkit. Borland is also lead vocalist for the band Black Light Burns. Apparently, he is quite the looker at concerts, using face and body paint, and wearing masks and uniforms.

21. ___ polloi : HOI
“Hoi polloi” is a Greek term, literally meaning “the majority, the many”. In English, “hoi polloi” has come to mean “the masses” and is often used in a derogatory sense.

26. Sci-fi craft : UFOS
Unidentified flying object (UFO)

32. Fed. management agency : GSA
The US Government’s General Services Administration (GSA), as the name suggests, provides general services to other federal agencies. So for example, the GSA manages office space for the other agencies, and transportation.

33. Sign of a crying jag : TEARSTAIN
The word “jag” is used to describe periods of unrestrained activity, particularly involving alcohol, and has been in use since the 1800s.

34. ___ Springs, Fla. : ALTAMONTE
Altamonte Springs is a city in the northern suburbs of Orlando. The city was settled in 1870 and named “Altamont”, with the name Altamonte Springs arising in 1882.

38. Grp. of pinheads? : PBA
Professional Bowlers Association (PBA)

39. With 53-Down, blogger’s bugbear : INTERNET
(53D. See 39-Down : TROLL)
In Internet terms, a “troll” is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person, as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response.

A bugbear is a character from English folklore, a goblin in the form of a bear who was said to eat naughty children. Our contemporary bugbear is less scary and is simply something that is annoying or irritating.

40. Missing name in the tongue twister “I saw ___ sawing wood …” : ESAU
The whole text of the Esau Wood tongue twister is (all together now!):

Esau Wood sawed wood. Esau Wood would saw wood. All the wood Esau Wood saw, Esau Wood would saw. In other words, all the wood Esau saw to saw, Esau sought to saw. Oh, the wood Wood would saw! And, oh the wood-saw with which Wood would saw wood! But one day, Wood’s wood-saw would saw no wood, and thus the wood Wood sawed was not the wood Wood would saw if Wood’s wood-saw would saw wood. Now, Wood would saw wood with a wood-saw that would saw wood, so Esau sought a saw that would saw wood. One day, Esau saw a saw saw wood as no other wood-saw Wood saw would saw wood. In fact, of all the wood-saws Wood ever saw saw wood, Wood never saw a wood-saw that would saw wood as the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood would saw wood, and I never saw a wood-saw that would saw as the wood-saw Wood saw would saw until I saw Esau Wood saw wood with the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood. Now Wood saws wood with the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood.

51. Where legends appear : ATLAS
The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas”.

52. “The Pearl Fishers” priestess : LEILA
“The Pearl Fishers” (“Les Pêcheurs de Perles”) is the second most famous opera produced by Georges Bizet, the French composer from the Romantic era. “The Pearl Fishers” is about two Ceylon fishermen (Nadir and Zurga) who are lifelong friends, but that friendship is threatened when the pair fall in love with the same woman (Leila).

54. Org. providing loans : IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established at the end of 1945 with 29 major economies supporting and funding an effort to stabilize economies across the globe after WWII. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., today the IMF has 187 member countries.

59. Resting place : SOFA
“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. “Dante Symphony” composer : LISZT
6. “West Side Story” woman : ANITA
11. ___ Marino : SAN
14. ___ deep : IN TOO
15. Author of an 1841 poem that contains the line spelled out by the shaded squares : LONGFELLOW
18. Shows signs of waking : STIRS
19. Enter surreptitiously, as an organization : INFILTRATE
20. Speak the gospel : PREACH
22. Eastern European capital : SOFIA
23. Employers of dispatchers and brakemen: Abbr. : RRS
24. “Help!” : SOS
25. Month in l’été : AOUT
27. Region, weatherwise : CLIME
29. Big house party? : LIFER
31. Purchase at an Army-Navy store : KIT BAG
33. Civilize : TAME
36. Tulsa sch. : ORU
37. Oil holders, maybe : EASELS
38. One-named athlete whose real first name is Edson : PELE
39. Chemical cousin : ISOMER
41. Ceramic jar : OLLA
42. Secure, with “down” : BATTEN
44. Hand-held platform : IOS
45. Just : ONLY
46. Old Testament peak : ARARAT
47. Free of fluid : DRAIN
49. Snack with a chewy center : S’MORE
50. Become absorbed in thought : MUSE
51. Keyboard abbr. : ALT
54. Simpson’s trial judge : ITO
55. Actress Lords : TRACI
58. Drum up : MUSTER
60. Variety of sherry whose name means “little apple” : MANZANILLA
63. Vaccine target : POLIO
64. Vocalist known for the 1944 song whose title (and first line) appears in the shaded squares : FITZGERALD
65. Phrase often following a superlative : … OF ALL
66. Pince-___ : NEZ
67. Present, e.g. : TENSE
68. Like the sounds “m” and “n” : NASAL

Down
1. Imitates Sylvester the Cat : LISPS
2. It’s just for starters : INTRO
3. Dumps : STIES
4. Novelist ___ Neale Hurston : ZORA
5. Proportional : TO SCALE
6. Muhammad’s successor, to Shiites : ALI
7. Like hormones synthesized from amino acids : NON-STEROID
8. Skinny : INFO
9. Happy end-of-week cry : TGIF!
10. Not steady, as a light : AFLICKER
11. Canon offering, for short : SLR
12. It might stop a break-in : ALARM BELL
13. “Just kidding” : NOT REALLY
16. And others : ET ALIA
17. Guitarist Borland : WES
21. ___ polloi : HOI
26. Sci-fi craft : UFOS
28. “Them’s fightin’ words!” : IT’S ON!
30. Where legends are born? : RUMOR MILLS
32. Fed. management agency : GSA
33. Sign of a crying jag : TEARSTAIN
34. ___ Springs, Fla. : ALTAMONTE
35. Subway : METRO
38. Grp. of pinheads? : PBA
39. With 53-Down, blogger’s bugbear : INTERNET
40. Missing name in the tongue twister “I saw ___ sawing wood …” : ESAU
43. Livestock attachment : EAR TAG
45. Having an advantage over : ONE UP ON
48. Belief system : ISM
51. Where legends appear : ATLAS
52. “The Pearl Fishers” priestess : LEILA
53. See 39-Down : TROLL
54. Org. providing loans : IMF
56. Suffix with high numbers : -AIRE
57. Family : CLAN
59. Resting place : SOFA
61. [Snore] : ZZZ
62. Summer cooler : ADE

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6 thoughts on “0504-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 May 16, Wednesday”

  1. 17:45, no errors. Recognized the theme about 1/2 way through, things went quicker after that. Some tough clues for a Wednesday, ISOMER comes to mind. Also, not a fan of multilingual clues in an English puzzle; even though I still remember the months of the year in French, from grade school.

  2. No errors. No erasures. Several of my entries were only calculated guesses. The theme made all the difference although I was not aware of either the poem or the song.

  3. Five weeks ago, I did this one in 13:46 on my iPad; just now, I repeated it on paper and it still took me 11:16. No errors, either way. I did not know the theme phrase came from a Longfellow poem and I appreciated seeing it. I also had not seen the tongue-twister and appreciated reading (or, at least, trying to read) that.

  4. Here in Colorado, the word "pinhead" is often used to refer to a telemark skier (I think because of the way in which the boots are attached to the skis), and some online sources (Wiktionary, for example) list that meaning. However, I was unable to find a source listing "pinhead" as a term for a bowler (in spite of the fact that I came across several sites that seemed to use it with that meaning). Odd …

  5. Embarrasingly, we missed one, in spite of having an exhaustive knowledge of geography. We put University of Pittsburgh football star DAN Marino instead of SAN Marino, and wondered what a DLR might be. Sheesh! Other than that, it was a clever puzzle, with the theme interspersed with several clues. Nice job!

  6. Completed with 5 letters off. Good showcase of my ignorance of Florida geography (and geo in general evidently) and types of sherry. And Lou isn't the only one who thought of Dan Marino instead of anything else.

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