0521-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 May 16, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jason Flinn
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME:23m 49s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

16. Fictional character with a ring of power : THE GREEN LANTERN
The Green Lantern is a comic book superhero who has had a number of alter egos through the life of the character. The Green Lantern is a member of the Justice League of America superhero team. Other members of the League include Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

19. Cloture voter: Abbr. : SEN
“Cloture” is a parliamentary process used to bring a debate to an early close. The procedure was first used in the French National Assembly, and “clôture” is a French word meaning “ending, conclusion”. The cloture process was introduced into the US Senate in 1917, but there is no equivalent maneuver existing in the US House.

20. 2016 Republican convention site: Abbr. : CLE
The 2016 Republican National Convention is scheduled for July 18-21, in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Assuming Donald Trump gets the nomination, he will the first Republican presidential candidate without political experience since 1952. That was when Dwight D. Eisenhower won the top of the ticket.

21. Cause of a certain dramatic departure : ASP
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

22. “You could’ve left some of that out” : TMI
Too much information! (TMI)

24. Eastern sovereign : RANI
A ranee (also spelled “rani”) is a queen or a princess, the female equivalent of a raja in India.

27. Mr. ___, protagonist in Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost” : OTIS
“The Canterville Ghost” is a short story by Oscar Wilde about a “Mr. Otis” and family who move into a home that is haunted by the Canterville Ghost. The most famous of many adaptations of the story is probably the 1944 film of the same name, starring Charles Laughton as the ghost.

33. Massage deeply : ROLF
Rolfing is a trademarked massage technique, developed by Ida Pauline Rolf in the fifties.

35. She battled Lucy in “Kill Bill: Volume 1” : UMA
“Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (so I haven’t seen it!). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There has been a lot of talk about making “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.

36. Finish better than fourth : MEDAL
In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

37. Presidential moniker on “The West Wing” : JED
In the excellent television show “The West Wing”, President Jed Bartlet is played by Martin Sheen. Leo McGarry was played very ably by John Spencer. If you haven’t seen them, the early seasons of “The West Wing” are just fabulous. I learned so much about the workings of the American government through this TV show.

40. It has base pairs : DNA
Nucleobases are molecules that form the backbone of DNA and RNA chains. It is the sequence of these bases in the DNA chain that makes up the so-called “genetic code”. In DNA the four bases are adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T) and cytosine (C). The same bases are found in RNA, except that thymine is replaced by uracil (U). In DNA, the nucleobases exist in “base pairs”.

41. Sistine Chapel setting : EDEN
I suppose it’s a little ironic that there were only five popes who took the name “Sixtus”, and not six. The Sistine Chapel, in the Pope’s residence in Rome, takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV who was responsible for restoring the old Capella Magna in the 15th century. It was about a century later (1508-1512) that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel under the patronage of Pope Julius II.

46. L’___ de droit (the rule of law) : ETAT
“État de droit” is a French term translated into English as “rule according to higher law”. The idea is that there can be a higher law than the law of a state. For example, the Allies used the principle in the Nuremberg trials following WWII, as some Nazi leaders claimed that they broke none of the laws extant in Nazi Germany during the war. Prosecutors argued that there was a higher law than those laid down by the German government.

48. Stan’s employer on “American Dad!” : CIA
“American Dad!” is an adult-oriented animated sitcom. Famously, one of the show’s creators is Seth MacFarlane, who also created “Family Guy”. Personally, I cannot stand either show …

49. “I forget the words” sounds : LAS
La la la la la …

51. Amsterdam of l’Océan Indien, e.g. : ILE
Île Amsterdam is a French island in the Indian Ocean. The island was discovered by the Spanish in 1522, but named by a Dutch explorer in 1633 in honor of his ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. The ship was in turn named for the settlement of New Amsterdam, which was to become New York City.

53. Old French narrative poem : LAI
In the mid-13th century a “lay” was a short song. “Lay” evolved from the Old French word “lai” meaning “song, lyric”.

Down
1. They may be on the house: Abbr. : MTGES
Our word “mortgage” comes from the Old French “mort gaige” which translated as “dead pledge”. The idea was that a pledge to repay a loan dies when the debt is cleared.

3. Rest period : SEVENTH DAY
According to the Book of Genesis:
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

6. Potpourri part : PETAL
The French term “pot pourri” literally translates to “rotten pot”, but in France it used to mean “stew”. Over time, the term “potpourri” evolved in English usage to mean a “medley”, and eventually a mixture of dried flowers and spices.

8. Anne Sexton’s palindrome-inspired poem “Rats Live ___ Evil Star” : ON NO
The poet Anne Sexton had a favorite palindrome: rats live on no evil star”. She used the palindrome as the title of a poem that was published in “The Death Notebooks” in 1974.

Anne Sexton was a poet from Massachusetts who won the 1967 Pulitzer for poetry for her collection titled “Live or Die”. Sexton’s style of poetry is sometimes classified as “confessional”, and reveals details of her private life, including her battle with depression. She finally committed suicide in 1974 at the age of 45.

11. “___ Steps” (best-selling religious novel) : IN HIS
“In His Steps: What Would Jesus do?” is a novel written by Charles Monroe Sheldon and first published in 1897. “In His Steps” is one of the best-selling books in the world and has sold over 30 million copies. Sheldon wrote a sequel a few years later title “Jesus Is Here”.

12. Accelerando or ritardando negator : A TEMPO
“A tempo” is a Italian for “in time”. The phrase is used on a musical score to instruct a performer to return to the main tempo of the piece, perhaps after slowing down or speeding up.

Accelerando, abbreviated to “accel.”, is a musical direction to speed up the tempo.

Rit. (or sometimes ritard.) is the abbreviation for ritardando, a musical direction to slow down the tempo.

13. Girl’s name that’s a homophone of a cloth : TERI
Terry cloth is a fabric designed to absorb lots of liquid. The fabric has relatively large loops of thread that improve the absorption properties. The larger the loop, the more thread, the better the absorption.

14. Dyne-centimeters : ERGS
An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, as there are 10 million ergs in one joule. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off.

23. One denoted by a cross on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, for short : MIA
Missing in action (MIA)

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC was designed by Maya Lin. Lin is a Chinese American born in Athens Ohio, and is an artist and architect. She was only 21-years-old when she won a public design competition in 1981 to create the memorial. Although her design is very fitting, sadly Lin was not a popular choice for the work given her Asian heritage. As she said herself, she probably would not have been picked had the competition been judged with the knowledge of who was behind each submission.

25. Thunderdome, e.g. : ARENA
Thunderdome is a jousting arena that features in the 1985 movie “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”.

28. Southern home of Stillman College : TUSCALOOSA
The city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama was named in honor of Chief Tuskaloosa, head of a Muskogean-speaking tribe. The city was the capital of Alabama from 1826 to 1846.

Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is a Presbyterian school that was founded the Tuscaloosa Institute in 1876.

30. Lacking : SANS
“Sans” is the French word for “without”, and is a word that we’ve absorbed into English with the same meaning.

31. It gets clicks for flicks : IMDB
The website called the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering question one has about movies and actors.

The slang term “flick” meaning “movie” came into use in the mid-1920s. It comes from the “flickering” appearance of films back then.

42. Utah, once : DESERET
When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag.

45. Middle Passage transport : SLAVER
The transatlantic slave trade that existed from the late 1500s to the early 1800s is sometimes referred to as a triangular trading system, with ships sailing regularly between Europe, West Africa and the Americas. Commodities such as sugar, tobacco and cotton were transported from the Americas into Europe. Textiles and manufactured goods were then shipped to West Africa. And infamously, slaves were transported from West Africa to the Americas. The latter leg of the triangle was known as the Middle Passage.

52. Player of the villain in “The Man Who Knew Too Much” : LORRE
The marvelous actor Peter Lorre was born in what is now modern-day Slovakia. Lorre’s real name was Laszlo Lowenstein. He started acting in Vienna when he was quite young, only 17 years old. When Hitler came to power, the Jewish Lowenstein headed to Paris and then London, eventually ending up in Hollywood. Lorre found himself typecast as the wicked foreigner in American movies, but I think he sneered and snarled his way to the bank.

Alfred Hitchcock made two versions of the film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”. The first was made in 1934 while Hitchcock still lived in England. It starred Leslie Banks, Edna Best and Peter Lorre in his first English-speaking role. Hitchcock remade the original in 1956, with James Stewart and Doris Day playing the leads. And by the way, in that movie Doris Day sang the Oscar-winning song “Que Sera, Sera”.

54. Los ___, Calif. : ALTOS
Los Altos is a wealthy city located not far from here, and is a largely residential community serving Silicon Valley and San Francisco. “Los Altos” is Spanish for “the heights”.

55. T.S.A. request: Abbr. : IDENT
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks. TSA personnel carry out the baggage and body searches at US airports. The TSA has a Trusted Traveler program that allows certain passengers to move more quickly through security screening. These passengers pay the TSA a one-time fee that covers a background check after which successful applicants are issued a Known Traveler Number (KTN).

58. Tantrum thrower : DIVA
“Diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

59. Not worth ___ : A SOU
A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “an almost worthless amount”.

60. Partner in mapmaking : RAND
Rand McNally is a company long associated with the city of Chicago. Its roots go back to 1856 when William Rand opened a printing shop in the city. Two years later he hired an Irish immigrant named Andrew McNally and the pair turned to printing tickets and timetables for the railroad industry. They diversified into “railroad guides” in 1870, a precursor of what was to be their big success, the road atlas. When automobile travel started to become significant, Rand and McNally turned their attention to roads and they published their first road map, of New York City in 1904. Rand and McNally really popularized the use of highway numbers, and indeed erected many roadside highway signs themselves, long before the state and federal authorities adopted the idea.

61. Onetime big inits. in car financing : GMAC
GMAC is short for General Motors Acceptance Corporation. General Motors has only a small stake in GMAC now, and indeed the name has been officially changed to Ally Bank. You and me, we are the biggest shareholders in GMAC/Ally today, since the US government gave the bank $12.5 billion to bail it out in 2008-2009.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Pockets : MISAPPROPRIATES
16. Fictional character with a ring of power : THE GREEN LANTERN
17. Got back on the horse : GAVE IT ANOTHER GO
18. One who’s always positive : ETERNAL OPTIMIST
19. Cloture voter: Abbr. : SEN
20. 2016 Republican convention site: Abbr. : CLE
21. Cause of a certain dramatic departure : ASP
22. “You could’ve left some of that out” : TMI
24. Eastern sovereign : RANI
27. Mr. ___, protagonist in Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost” : OTIS
31. “Gotcha,” in old lingo : I’M HIP
33. Massage deeply : ROLF
35. She battled Lucy in “Kill Bill: Volume 1” : UMA
36. Finish better than fourth : MEDAL
37. Presidential moniker on “The West Wing” : JED
38. Stuffs one’s face with : ODS ON
40. It has base pairs : DNA
41. Sistine Chapel setting : EDEN
43. Totally rules : ROCKS
44. Accepts as true : BUYS
46. L’___ de droit (the rule of law) : ETAT
48. Stan’s employer on “American Dad!” : CIA
49. “I forget the words” sounds : LAS
51. Amsterdam of l’Océan Indien, e.g. : ILE
53. Old French narrative poem : LAI
56. Was kind and generous : HAD A HEART OF GOLD
62. Handy sofa item : UNIVERSAL REMOTE
63. “Why should I?!” : GIVE ME ONE REASON!
64. Film come-on : STAR-STUDDED CAST

Down
1. They may be on the house: Abbr. : MTGES
2. Start of a lament : I HATE …
3. Rest period : SEVENTH DAY
4. The presidency, notably : AGER
5. Standard : PRINCIPLE
6. Potpourri part : PETAL
7. Less of a dream : REALER
8. Anne Sexton’s palindrome-inspired poem “Rats Live ___ Evil Star” : ON NO
9. Fall heavily : PLOP
10. Retro do : RATTAIL
11. “___ Steps” (best-selling religious novel) : IN HIS
12. Accelerando or ritardando negator : A TEMPO
13. Girl’s name that’s a homophone of a cloth : TERI
14. Dyne-centimeters : ERGS
15. Impudent twerp : SNOT
23. One denoted by a cross on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, for short : MIA
25. Thunderdome, e.g. : ARENA
26. Zone, so to speak : NOD
28. Southern home of Stillman College : TUSCALOOSA
29. “Nothing’s broken” : I’M OK
30. Lacking : SANS
31. It gets clicks for flicks : IMDB
32. Ordering aid : MENU
34. Stuff down the throat of : FORCE-FEED
37. Exec’s perk : JET
39. “Boy, ___!” : DO I
42. Utah, once : DESERET
45. Middle Passage transport : SLAVER
47. Like peers : TITLED
50. They may cut a sentence short : AHEMS
52. Player of the villain in “The Man Who Knew Too Much” : LORRE
54. Los ___, Calif. : ALTOS
55. T.S.A. request: Abbr. : IDENT
56. Clasps : HUGS
57. Pick ___ (fault-find) : A NIT
58. Tantrum thrower : DIVA
59. Not worth ___ : A SOU
60. Partner in mapmaking : RAND
61. Onetime big inits. in car financing : GMAC

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9 thoughts on “0521-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 May 16, Saturday”

  1. 19:21, no errors (on my iPad, which I'm kind of making my peace with, after doing 111 puzzles on it … 🙂 I still find one-finger typing to be time-consuming and error-prone, but it's beginning to feel more natural. A nice puzzle. The long entries at the top and bottom of the grid were intimidating but, in the end, not all that difficult.

  2. 28:22, 2 errors. 37A RED, 37D RET (ie. retirement). Not a West Wing watcher, and the Exec they had in mind had much bigger perks than the one I envisioned.

  3. 15:47, no errors (second solve, on paper this time). Doing the puzzles twice, with five weeks in between, has been an interesting experiment. Frequently, the second time around, it seems, at least at first, that I have no memory of the puzzle whatsoever, but my solution times suggest otherwise. Occasionally, with the harder puzzles, I consciously remember some of the clues, but not the corresponding answers, which can be quite frustrating; I'm better off leaving the remembering to my subconscious mind.

    @Bruce … Both times, I first filled in NED and NET (as in a bail-out safety net), only changing it at the last minute to JED and JET.

    I do check the blog the first time I do the puzzle, but I'm a bit inhibited about commenting at that point, as I miss the comments from others (even when I disagree with them … 🙂

  4. had a snafu with my stopwatch, so didn't get a time, but I'm always happy to finish a Saturday at all, especially with no errors. 1 DOWN was a real groaner, with an equally poor clue. Aside from that, this was actually easier than yesterday's….

  5. Well, this one defeated us. We got the bottom pretty well, but the top totally killed us. We got NOTHING up there. We also missed a few in the middle. We are in awe of those who finished it.

  6. I see there's no "description" or comment on 26 Down — "Zone, so to speak" as "Nod"? How does that work? Unless I'm missing something, it's a pretty lousy "clue".
    The only thing I can think of is the broadest stretch, "the land of Nod"?

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