Monday May 23 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0418
Grok /ˈɡrɒk/ is a word coined by Robert A. Heinlein for his 1961 science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. While the Oxford English Dictionary summarizes the meaning of grok as “to understand intuitively or by empathy, to establish rapport with” and “to empathize or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment”, Heinlein’s concept is far more nuanced… [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok].
And don’t forget the American classics with: Laura Hillenbrand at 18A: SEABISCUIT (*1938 Horse of the Year); and Margaret Mitchell’s Great American Novel, 33A: BELLE (Scarlett O’Hara, for one). And yes, I have actually read all these books. (Have I missed any authors mentioned?)
I guess I need also to remember: 15A: AESOP (Fable writer), whose stories I have read and quoted hundreds (thousands?) of times; and 7D: ISAK (Dinesen who wrote “Out of Africa” — a book I have not yet read).
There also were a slew of actors in today’s crossword, including: 2D: LONI (Actress Anderson who was once married to 21-Down); and 21D: BURT (Actor Reynolds who was once married to 2-Down). Loved “WKRP in Cincinnati,” and “Smokey and the Bandit”!
The inner puzzle was not too challenging. The key was at 37A: BREAD (Moolah … or the makeup of the ends of the answers to the starred clues), which include: 18A: SEABISCUIT; 54A: STUDMUFFIN (*Hunk); 4D: BANKROLL (*Provide funds for); and 38D: MEATLOAF (*”Bat Out of Hell” singer), also an actor in at least a couple of great movies, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Fight Club” (my favorite movie of all time, and from a book written by my all-time favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk).