0524-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 May 17, Wednesday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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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 CONSTRUCTOR: Michael Hawkins
THEME: … As a Plumber
Each of today’s themed answers are “punnily” related to plumbing:

20A. Vacillates, as a plumber? : RUNS HOT AND COLD
26A. Exhausted, as a plumber? : ALL TAPPED OUT
43A. Wasted, to a plumber? : DOWN THE DRAIN
52A. Anxiety, to a plumber? : SINKING FEELING

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 24s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Rio dance : SAMBA
The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival known as Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

11. Body-scanning grp. : TSA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.

20. Vacillates, as a plumber? : RUNS HOT AND COLD
“Plumbum” is the Latin for lead, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of them was leaking.

25. Recipient of a ticker-tape parade, maybe : HERO
Stock price information used to be transmitted over telegraph lines by “stock tickers” that produced the famous “ticker tape”, a paper tape with stock symbols and prices printed on it. The “ticker” got its name from the noise it created when it was printing. Even though ticker tape is no longer used, the concept lives on in the scrolling electronic tickers that stream across the bottom of a television screen when there’s a financial program airing.

35. Homer’s father : ABE
In the animated TV show called “The Simpsons”, Grampa Abe Simpson is voiced by Dan Castellaneta, the same actor who provides the voice for Homer.

41. Whiskey drink : SOUR
A whiskey sour is made from whiskey, lemon juice and sugar, and is usually garnished with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

47. Athos, Porthos and Aramis, e.g. : TRIO
Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although the hero of the novel is their young protégé is D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for prowess with their swords.

49. Broadway’s “Mamma ___!” : MIA
The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

58. Outlook function : EMAIL
Outlook is the email management application that comes with Microsoft Office.

61. Major river starting in SE Switzerland : 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.

62. Actor Buddy of “The Beverly Hillbillies” : EBSEN
The actor Buddy Ebsen was best known for playing Jed Clampett in television’s “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Ebsen had been cast in the role of the Tin Man in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, but he developed an allergy to the aluminium dust that was used in the makeup. He ended up in hospital and had to walk away from the part. Ebsen blamed “The Wizard of Oz” on persistent problems that he had with his lungs in subsequent years. But Ebsen lived 16 years longers that any of the other major cast members of the film, so maybe he got the last laugh!

63. Part of r.p.m. : PER
Revolutions per minute (rpm)

64. Furniture store display : SOFAS
“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

Down
1. “Game of Thrones” family name : STARK
Ned Stark is the protagonist in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novel “A Game of Thrones”, although his character doesn’t exactly come out on top by the end of the story. Stark is played by actor Sean Bean in the HBO television adaptation of the novel.

4. Mrs. Truman : BESS
Harry and Bess Truman met when they were very young children, at Sunday school. They were friends right through high school and became engaged in 1918 just before Harry went off to France during WWI, marrying the next year. Bess Truman never really took to the Washington scene when she became First Lady and stayed out of the limelight as much as she could. Perhaps that contributed to her longevity. Mrs. Truman lived to the age of 97, making her the longest living First Lady in US history.

5. It’s used to pave the way : ASPHALT
The asphalt surface on roads (or basketball courts) is more properly called asphaltic concrete, because asphalt itself is just a sticky black liquid that comes from crude petroleum. Asphalt is used as a binder with aggregate to form asphaltic concrete.

6. The deadly sins, e.g. : SEPTET
The cardinal sins of Christian ethics are also known as the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins are:

  • Wrath
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Pride
  • Lust
  • Envy
  • Gluttony

8. Makeup maker : AVON
In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.

10. Gung-ho : PSYCHED
“Kung ho” is a Chinese expression meaning “work together, cooperate”. The anglicized version “gung ho” was adopted by a Major Evans Carlson as an expression of combined spirit for his 2nd Marine Raider Battalion during WWII. From there the term spread throughout the Marine Corps and back to America where it persists to this day.

13. Part of MoMA : ART
The founding of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City was very much driven by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller, son of the oil magnate. Working with two friends, Abby managed to get the museum opened in 1929, just nine days after the Wall Street Crash. The MoMA’s sculpture garden bears the name of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and has done so since 1949.

21. Letter carrier at Hogwarts : OWL
Hedwig is the owl belonging to Harry Potter in the J. K. Rowling series of fantasy novels. Hedwig is a female owl, although she is played in the movies by male snowy owls. Male snowy owls are completely white, whereas females have dark patches on their plumage.

22. Voluminous ref. work : OED
Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

27. Espy or Emmy : AWARD
The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars from the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name of “Emmy” is a softened version of the word “immy”, the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras.

29. “Annabel Lee” poet : POE
“Annabel Lee” was the last complete poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. The opening lines are:

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;

The closing lines are:

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

37. Exclamation from Homer : D’OH!
“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

44. 20th-century author famous for her journals : NIN
Anaïs Nin was a French author, famous for her journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.

46. Sierra Nevada, for one : ALE
The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is powered almost exclusively by solar energy, and even has a charging station for electric vehicles at its brewery. The company also uses the cooking oil from its restaurant as biodiesel for its delivery trucks. Discarded yeast is used to make ethanol fuel, and spent grain is used as food for livestock. For its efforts to preserve the environment, Sierra Nevada won the EPA’s “Green Business of the Year” award for 2010.

53. Initialism whose third initial often isn’t true : IMHO
In my humble opinion (IMHO)

54. Babe in the woods : NAIF
A naïf is someone who is naive, as “naïf” is the French word for “naive”.

55. Actress Lollobrigida : GINA
Gina Lollobrigida is an Italian actress, and also a photojournalist and sculptor. After her career in movies started to slow down in the seventies, she turned to photojournalism. She has photographed many of the greats, including Paul Newman, Salvador Dali, Audrey Hepburn and even the German national soccer team. In fact, she was also able to arrange an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro, much to the chagrin of the world’s professional journalists.

57. Brief siesta : NAP
We use the word “siesta” to describe a short nap in the early afternoon, taking the word from the Spanish. In turn, the Spanish word is derived from the Latin “hora sexta” meaning “the sixth hour”. The idea is that the nap is taken at “the sixth hour” after dawn.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Rio dance : SAMBA
6. Not dull : SHARP
11. Body-scanning grp. : TSA
14. Corners : TREES
15. Places to hang holiday lights : EAVES
16. Poetic contraction : O’ER
17. Audibly appalled : AGASP
18. Person who’s all pretense : PHONY
19. Give the O.K. : LET
20. Vacillates, as a plumber? : RUNS HOT AND COLD
23. Caps Lock, e.g. : KEY
24. Dazzle : AWE
25. Recipient of a ticker-tape parade, maybe : HERO
26. Exhausted, as a plumber? : ALL TAPPED OUT
31. Black ball : EIGHT
34. Choice for a par 5 hole, often : WOOD
35. Homer’s father : ABE
36. High-airfare season, for short : XMAS
37. Place across the back of a chair, perhaps : DRAPE
39. Loafing around : IDLE
40. Lang. course : ENG
41. Whiskey drink : SOUR
42. Comes up short, say : LOSES
43. Wasted, to a plumber? : DOWN THE DRAIN
47. Athos, Porthos and Aramis, e.g. : TRIO
48. Type : ILK
49. Broadway’s “Mamma ___!” : MIA
52. Anxiety, to a plumber? : SINKING FEELING
57. Rabid fan : NUT
58. Outlook function : EMAIL
59. Give the O.K. : NOD TO
60. “___ You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” : ARE
61. Major river starting in SE Switzerland : RHINE
62. Actor Buddy of “The Beverly Hillbillies” : EBSEN
63. Part of r.p.m. : PER
64. Furniture store display : SOFAS
65. How sloppy kissers kiss : WETLY

Down
1. “Game of Thrones” family name : STARK
2. Squabble : ARGUE
3. Nasty person : MEANY
4. Mrs. Truman : BESS
5. It’s used to pave the way : ASPHALT
6. The deadly sins, e.g. : SEPTET
7. [LOL] : HA-HA!
8. Makeup maker : AVON
9. Tear to pieces : REND
10. Gung-ho : PSYCHED
11. Booths are set up in them : TOLL ROADS
12. Have some trouble focusing : SEE DOUBLE
13. Part of MoMA : ART
21. Letter carrier at Hogwarts : OWL
22. Voluminous ref. work : OED
26. Sounds made during medical checkups : AHS
27. Espy or Emmy : AWARD
28. ___ psychology : POP
29. “Annabel Lee” poet : POE
30. Aids for football kickers : TEES
31. Marked (out) : EXED
32. “Maybe ask someone else” : I’M NOT SURE
33. One doing sketch work? : GAG WRITER
37. Exclamation from Homer : D’OH!
38. Lament : RUE
39. Atom in any salt : ION
41. Steamship workers : STOKERS
42. Used, although one can hardly tell : LIKE NEW
44. 20th-century author famous for her journals : NIN
45. Some armory contents : RIFLES
46. Sierra Nevada, for one : ALE
49. In the ___ of : MIDST
50. Contents of a presidential briefing : INTEL
51. Having one’s wisdom teeth pulled, e.g. : AGONY
53. Initialism whose third initial often isn’t true : IMHO
54. Babe in the woods : NAIF
55. Actress Lollobrigida : GINA
56. Brain part : LOBE
57. Brief siesta : NAP

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15 thoughts on “0524-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 May 17, Wednesday”

  1. Agree – very straightforward for a Wednesday. I read the setter's comments after doing this one last night and even he said when he did it, he saw it as a tough Monday or easy Tuesday puzzle, and here it is on a Wednesday.

    Best –

  2. 17:32 with a handful of errors that were avoidable in retrospect. Didn't mind the (relatively) easy Wednesday

  3. Chrissy, I believe "trees" is an old hunting term. When a pack of dogs chases a fox it generally has no escape except to climb a tree. Thus it's a present tense verb rather than a plural noun e.g. "This hunt is over when the pack of dogs successfully trees the fox". It's similar to cornering a rat after a chase. It has no place to go.

  4. 12:23, no errors. Thought I was going to blow through this quicker than a Monday puzzle. Then I confidently entered I'M SWAMPED into 32D…….

    @Douglas: excellent explanation of the term 'TREES'.

  5. Liked this one. Overall easy, except some bite with STARK since I don't watch Game of Thrones, and STOKERS. Crosses, as usual, help solve all. Theme is pretty good, too, IMHO.

  6. No errors. This has been a good week so far with good, straight-up puzzles. I hope it can continue into tomorrow.

    TREE used to confuse me also. I also relate it to hunting. I have seen a pack of dogs tree a possum. (It does not end well for the possum). CORNER, on the other hand, would more specifically mean backed-up with no way out at ground level. Both words are easy to use so I do not see any point to adapt new meanings. But so it is. We cannot always expect language to make perfect sense.

  7. 14 mins 13 seconds, no errors. Once more, although I made a meal of it, I escaped error free, albeit with many re-entries as I stumbled through the grid.

    Dale, you know you jinxed it, right? Tomorrow will likely feature the evilest of rebus-infested, trickery-fouled puzzles ever foisted upon an unsuspecting NYT readership!!! And all because you piped up!! 😀

  8. 23 minutes, 0 errors. Pretty much the usual. As Jeff says, it does feel a lot like a hard Monday or a easy Tuesday, but had a couple of stiff sections which probably did kick it into Wednesday territory.

  9. I do these crosswords 4 or so weeks late so I don't expect any replies, but if you are in my straits I would love for you to respond. Love all the comments especially from anonymous, he's a kick. Believe most of them, but not all. Been following for a year or so but needed my son to help me post. Will post once an a while, and if I get a response will post more often. Bill Butler you are a god to me. Roger and Tom

  10. Roger, like you, I get the puzzle a month later. If you check the dates on the comments,
    you'll see there are many of us. Good luck on future puzzles and posts.

  11. Roger and Tom –
    Welcome to the crossword world and specifically Bill's blog. I have to subscribe to the NYT (my local paper carries the LA Times) so I do these as they are publishes – 5 weeks before most commenters. But I almost always check back to see what others say even though my comments are 5 weeks old at that point.

    By all means, comment as often as you like.

    Best –

  12. First time doing crosswords. Any body else do the crosswords in the " Giant Sunday crossword books " by the NYT ?

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