0525-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 25 May 17, Thursday

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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: Erik Agard
THEME: I’ll Go First
Each of today’s themed answers are common phrases with a letter I in the last word moved to the front of that word, moved to the FIRST position:

54A. Trailblazer’s declaration … or a hint to 17-, 19-, 34- and 51-Across : I’LL GO FIRST

17A. Possible result of spilling grape juice on a map of the Middle East? : PURPLE IRAN (from “Purple Rain”)
19A. Pet with a dewlap and a beret? : FRENCH IGUANA (from “French Guiana”)
34A. Pantheon list? : ROLL OF ICONS (from “roll of coins”)
51A. Guard the 2001 N.B.A. M.V.P.? : COVER IVERSON (from “cover version”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 12m 22s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Central Italian river : ARNO
The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, passing through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

9. Letters on a bottle at the beach : SPF
In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

12. Symbol gotten by typing Ctrl+Alt+E, in Microsoft Word : EURO
The euro sign (€) looks like a letter C, but with two horizontal lines drawn across the middle. Inspiration for the design comes from the Greek letter epsilon.

15. Cameo role at the end of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” : LEIA
The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.

17. Possible result of spilling grape juice on a map of the Middle East? : PURPLE IRAN (from “Purple Rain”)
“Purple Rain” is a 1984 song by Prince that is the title track from an album of the same name. The album in turn was a soundtrack, of the film “Purple Rain”. The song reached #2 in the charts in 1984, but then made it to #1 soon after Prince’s death in 2016.

19. Pet with a dewlap and a beret? : FRENCH IGUANA (from “French Guiana”)
An iguana is a lizard, and as such is cold-blooded. There are times when pet iguanas need heat from an IR lamp to maintain body temperature.

A dewlap is a flap of skin that hangs below the neck of some creatures. Dewlaps are found on anything from dogs to iguanas.

Guiana (often “French Guiana”) is an overseas department of France that is located on the northeast coast of South America. Guiana is home to the infamous Devil’s Island (Île du Diable) that France used as a penal colony for just over a century, up until 1953. The territory is also home to the Guiana Space Centre that is frequently used for launches by the European space industry.

24. Shakespeare title word : ADO
“Much Ado About Nothing” is a play by William Shakespeare, and is a favorite of mine. It is a comedic tale of two pairs of lovers with lots of mistaken identities and double meanings. I once saw it performed in the fabulous Globe Theatre in London … by an all-female cast. Such a performance was somewhat ironic, given that in Shakespeare’s day the practice was to use an all-male cast.

25. “___ favor” : POR
“Por favor” is Spanish for “please”.

26. “Jeopardy!” boardful : CLUES
The TV show “Jeopardy!” first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek has been host since 1984.

30. Blue Angels performances : AIR SHOWS
“Blue Angels” is the popular name for the US Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron. The group was formed in 1946 and is the oldest of the US military’s flying aerobatic teams. The squadron took its nickname back in ‘46 from the Blue Angel nightclub that was around at that time in New York City.

32. Year that Michelangelo started “David” : MDI
When Michelangelo’s famous statue of David was unveiled in 1504, it was at a time when the city-state of the Florentine Republic was threatened by rival states (including Rome). The statue depicts David after he has decided to fight Goliath, and the subject is sporting what is described as a “warning glare”. David was originally placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of government in Florence, and that warning glare was directed very deliberately in the direction of its enemy, Rome. The original statue of David can be seen in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, where it has resided since 1873. There is a replica of the statue in its original location in the public square outside of the Palazzo della Signoria.

34. Pantheon list? : ROLL OF ICONS (from “roll of coins”)
A pantheon is the set of all gods in a particular religion or mythology. The term comes from the Greek “pan” (all) “theon” (of gods). “Pantheon” is also the name given to a temple dedicated to all deities.

38. “Love & Basketball” co-star, 2000 : OMAR EPPS
Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Forman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Forman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Grant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

41. Thespian’s quest : PART
A thespian is an actor. The term derives from the name of the Greek poet of the 6th century, Thespis, who is known as the father of Greek tragedy.

45. That is to say : ID EST
“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.

47. Start of many a chain email : FWD
Forward (fwd.)

51. Guard the 2001 N.B.A. M.V.P.? : COVER IVERSON (from “cover version”)
Allen Iverson is a professional basketball player who played in the NBA for several years. Iverson signed up to play for a Turkish basketball team in 2010. He played in Turkey for two seasons and retired from the game in 2013.

59. Promote shamelessly : FLOG
“To flog” is a slang term meaning “to sell, to promote vigorously”.

61. “___ Sings Gershwin” (1950 jazz album) : ELLA
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.

George Gershwin was a remarkable composer in so many ways, not least in that he was respected for both his popular and classical compositions. Gershwin’s best known works for orchestra are the magnificent “Rhapsody in Blue” from 1924 and “An American in Paris” from 1928. Another noted work is the opera “Porgy and Bess” that was first performed in 1935. Surprisingly, Porgy and Bess was a commercial failure, and so Gershwin moved to Hollywood and started composing very successful film scores. He was only 38 years old when he died in 1937, from a brain tumor.

Down
1. “___ Comedy Jam” : DEF
“Def Comedy Jam” ran on HBO from 1992-97, and returned in 2006. I think it is a stand-up comedy show …

2. Way through une ville : RUE
In France, one might drive along a “rue” (road) through “une ville” (a town).

5. Wood that doesn’t burn easily : ASPEN
The “quaking” aspen tree is so called because the structure of the leaves causes them to move easily in the wind, to “tremble, quake”.

8. Dogie, e.g. : ORPHAN
“Dogie” (sometimes “dogy”) is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.

9. Mexican shawl : SERAPE
“Serape” is the English pronunciation and spelling of the Spanish word “zarape”. A zarape is like a Mexican poncho, a soft woolen blanket with a hole in the middle for the head. Most serapes have colorful designs that use traditional Mayan motifs.

10. Challenges for movers : PIANOS
What was remarkable about the piano when it was invented, compared to other keyboard instruments, was that notes could be played with varying degrees of loudness. This is accomplished by pressing the keys lightly or firmly. Because of this quality, the new instrument was called a “pianoforte”, with “piano” and “forte” meaning “soft” and “loud” in Italian. We tend to shorten the name these days to just “piano”.

15. Emmy-nominated Lucy : LIU
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”.

21. Record label for Usher, Pitbull and Pink : RCA
Usher is the stage name of R&B singer Usher Terry Raymond IV.

Pitbull is the stage name of Cuban-American rap artist Armando Perez. Pitbull is from Miami and was born to Cuban immigrants.

P!nk is the stage name of American singer Alecia Beth Moore. I known so little about “modern” music, but I do like the P!nk song “Just Give Me a Reason” …

22. 2010 title role for Denzel Washington : ELI
2010’s “The Book of Eli” is one of those “end of the world” type movies, with Denzel Washington playing a tough guy traveling across what is left of the United States after some apocryphal event.

23. “Hamilton” duelist : BURR
Aaron Burr was the third vice-president of the US, serving under Thomas Jefferson. In the final year of his term in office, Burr fought an illegal duel and killed his political rival Alexander Hamilton. Burr wasn’t brought to justice, but he did pay the price politically. Thomas Jefferson dropped him from his ticket in the election held the following year.

“Hamilton” is a 2015 musical based on the life or US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, as described in the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow. The show opened off-Broadway in February 2015, and transferred to Broadway in August of the same year. Advance ticket sales for the Broadway production were unprecedented, and reportedly amounted to $30 million. The representations of the main characters is decidedly ground-breaking. The show is rooted in hip-hop and the main roles such as Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are all played by African-American and Hispanic actors.

29. One who might get down to Alabama? : LINE DANCER
Alabama is a band from Fort Payne, Alabama that performs a blend of country music and southern rock.

32. ___ Nashville (major country label) : MCA
Today’s MCA Nashville country music label started out in 1945 as the country music division of Decca Records, and was based in New York. The division was moved to Nashville in 1955.

33. Cool Ranch chip : DORITO
The product that was to become Doritos was a creation at the Casa de Fritos in Disneyland in the early sixties. A marketing executive from Frito-Lay noticed how well the snack was selling in the park, and made a deal to produce the chips under the name “Doritos”, starting in 1964. “Doritos” translates from Spanish as “little bits of gold”.

39. Anti-bullying ad, e.g., for short : PSA
Public service announcement (PSA)

42. Renowned Harlem venue : APOLLO
The Apollo Theater in the Harlem district of Manhattan, New York was opened in 1914 as Hurtig & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. The original facility was a whites-only venue. When it was opened to African Americans in 1934, the name was changed to the Apollo.

43. Maker of Almay cosmetics : REVLON
Revlon was founded in the depths of the Great Depression in 1932, by Charles and Joseph Revson. The “S” in the Revson name was replaced by the “L” from Charles “Lachman”, a chemist who partnered with the two brothers.

The Almay brand of cosmetics was established back in 1931. Almay was founded by Alfred and Fanny May Woititz, who melded their given names to come up with the brand name (Al-may). The couple were driven to invent the products as Fanny May needed cosmetics that did not irritate her skin.

48. Service symbolized by a dot and three curved lines : WI-FI
“Wi-Fi” is nothing more than a trademark, a trademark registered by an association of manufacturers of equipment that use wireless LAN (Local Area Network) technology. A device labeled with “Wi-Fi” has to meet certain defined technical standards, basically meaning that the devices can talk to each other. The name “Wi-Fi” suggests “Wireless Fidelity”, although apparently the term was never intended to mean anything at all.

52. Cobb salad ingredient : EGG
Ty Cobb’s first cousin, Robert H. Cobb, owned the Brown Derby chain of restaurants. One of his regular customers was the famous Sid Grauman, who ran Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Late one night, Grauman asked for a snack, and Cobb came up with a chopped salad simply made from ingredients he happened to have in the refrigerator. Grauman liked it so much that continued to request it, and the Cobb salad was born.

53. Consumer advocate Brockovich : ERIN
Erin Brockovich is an environmental activist who is famous for the role she played in building a case against Pacific Gas & Electric for contaminating drinking water. Her story was told in a 2000 film title “Erin Brockovich” that starred Julia Roberts. Brockovich herself actually appeared in the film as she was given a cameo as a waitress in a restaurant scene.

57. Org. with Card games : MLB
The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

58. Faux ___ : PAS
The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Go on a little too long : DRAG
5. Central Italian river : ARNO
9. Letters on a bottle at the beach : SPF
12. Symbol gotten by typing Ctrl+Alt+E, in Microsoft Word : EURO
13. Goes high : SOARS
15. Cameo role at the end of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” : LEIA
16. “How do you ___?” : FEEL
17. Possible result of spilling grape juice on a map of the Middle East? : PURPLE IRAN (from “Purple Rain”)
19. Pet with a dewlap and a beret? : FRENCH IGUANA (from “French Guiana”)
21. Public relations pivot : REBRAND
24. Shakespeare title word : ADO
25. “___ favor” : POR
26. “Jeopardy!” boardful : CLUES
27. Bronze-ish : TAN
29. Just in case : LEST
30. Blue Angels performances : AIR SHOWS
32. Year that Michelangelo started “David” : MDI
34. Pantheon list? : ROLL OF ICONS (from “roll of coins”)
37. Toast option : RYE
38. “Love & Basketball” co-star, 2000 : OMAR EPPS
41. Thespian’s quest : PART
44. Branch : ARM
45. That is to say : ID EST
46. Copy : APE
47. Start of many a chain email : FWD
49. Erode : EAT AWAY
51. Guard the 2001 N.B.A. M.V.P.? : COVER IVERSON (from “cover version”)
54. Trailblazer’s declaration … or a hint to 17-, 19-, 34- and 51-Across : I’LL GO FIRST
55. Wait in a strategic location, in video game lingo : CAMP
59. Promote shamelessly : FLOG
60. Less welcoming : ICIER
61. “___ Sings Gershwin” (1950 jazz album) : ELLA
62. Direction to which a pointer may point : YON
63. Prefix meaning “internal” : ENDO-
64. Barbecue dish : RIBS

Down
1. “___ Comedy Jam” : DEF
2. Way through une ville : RUE
3. Word between “facts” and “facts” : ARE
4. Many a Trump property : GOLF RESORT
5. Wood that doesn’t burn easily : ASPEN
6. Another go : ROUND TWO
7. Drug cop : NARC
8. Dogie, e.g. : ORPHAN
9. Mexican shawl : SERAPE
10. Challenges for movers : PIANOS
11. Some derivative drawings : FAN ART
14. Declined : SLID
15. Emmy-nominated Lucy : LIU
18. Bigheadedness : EGO
20. In haste : RASHLY
21. Record label for Usher, Pitbull and Pink : RCA
22. 2010 title role for Denzel Washington : ELI
23. “Hamilton” duelist : BURR
28. Regarding : AS FOR
29. One who might get down to Alabama? : LINE DANCER
31. Sporting chant : OLE!
32. ___ Nashville (major country label) : MCA
33. Cool Ranch chip : DORITO
35. Heavily engaged (in) : IMMERSED
36. Erupt : SPEW
39. Anti-bullying ad, e.g., for short : PSA
40. Piggery : STY
41. Appease : PACIFY
42. Renowned Harlem venue : APOLLO
43. Maker of Almay cosmetics : REVLON
44. Tips, e.g. : ADVICE
47. Back to? : FRO
48. Service symbolized by a dot and three curved lines : WI-FI
50. Space science, for short : ASTRO
52. Cobb salad ingredient : EGG
53. Consumer advocate Brockovich : ERIN
56. “Moonlight” star Mahershala : ALI
57. Org. with Card games : MLB
58. Faux ___ : PAS

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13 thoughts on “0525-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 25 May 17, Thursday”

  1. Less tricky than a typical Thursday, but I'll take it. 26 minutes, no error. At least now I know how to make the euro sign in Microsoft Word. If only I had a reason….

    Best –

  2. Not too difficult for a Thursday; still took me 22:22 tho, with several errors. At some point I'll stop reverting to "Reveal Word," but it's so tempting to click on that when I'm stuck.

  3. Took most time on getting the ICON and IVERSON themers; otherwise went pretty smoothly. YON seemed way out there all by itself, as did the clue.

  4. 19 mins 7 secs, 3 errors centered around having ETTA (James) instead of ELLA Fitzgerald, and having no idea of what the down cross fills were to help me spot the error.

    Absolutely HATED the "theme," if you can even call it that. Just NONSENSE these days. Also found that word description of the WIFI symbol pretty dubious.

  5. @Anonymous: A bit of unsolicited advice: Just keep doing these puzzles. You'll feel better about them as time goes on.

  6. No, I'm always going to gripe about things I don't think are fair. Case in point. The clue today for 57 down: that was purposely written to confuse, with "capital-C" card games. Literally dozens of ways to make that clue more straightforward. Just one example: "Org. with Padres and Angels." But no, they went with one that's almost nonsensical, and they bank on you to not notice the C, instead of a c which your brain might just kind of "closure" fill in for you.

    I'm a huge baseball fan and I never saw Cardinals in that clue.

    That's just plain dirty pool. I blame Will Shortz for the at best shoddy and at worst mean-spirited editing we've been getting for years now.

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