1224-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 12, Monday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

CROSSWORD SETTER: Michael Sharp aka Rex Parker
THEME: Vowel Sound Progression … our theme answers today all start with ST followed by each of the five vowel sounds in order, and then an L to finish off the first word:

17A. Yesterday’s joe : STALE COFFEE
24A. Scouring pad material : STEEL WOOL
35A. Bonus for showing panache : STYLE POINTS
47A. What Jackie Robinson did, famously, in the first game of the 1955 World Series : STOLE HOME
55A. Informant : STOOL PIGEON

COMPLETION TIME: 05m 45s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

11. Thérèse, for one: Abbr. : STE
Saint Thérèse de Lisieux is also known as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Back in Ireland we call her “The Little Flower of Jesus”.

14. The ___ State (New York) : EMPIRE
New York City became an economic giant following the building of the Erie Canal. The booming economy that spread throughout New York State led to it being called the Empire State.

The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of the Empire State.

16. Rite ___ (drugstore) : AID
What we know today as Rite Aid started out as one store in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1962. Rite Aid is now the biggest chain of drugstores on the East Coast of the United States and has operations all over the country.

17. Yesterday’s joe : STALE COFFEE
It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.

19. 33 1/3 r.p.m. discs : LPS
The first vinyl records designed to play at 33 1/3 rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first Long Play (LP) 33 1/3 rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

20. Cocktail with an umbrella : MAI TAI
The Mai Tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum.

21. Popular PBS pledge drive giveaway : TOTE
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) was founded in 1970, and is my favorite of the broadcast networks. I love PBS’s drama and science shows in particular, and always watch the election results coming in with the NewsHour team. PBS’s Big Bird made a bit of a splash in the last election cycle …

29. Banned insecticide : DDT
DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

35. Bonus for showing panache : STYLE POINTS
Someone exhibiting panache is showing dash and verve, and perhaps has a swagger. “Panache” is a French word used for a plume of feathers, especially in a hat.

39. Cosa ___ : NOSTRA
Apparently “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. Yje Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

45. They’re worth half of TDs : FGS
Field goals in American football are worth 3 points, and touchdowns are worth 6 points (so I am told!).

47. What Jackie Robinson did, famously, in the first game of the 1955 World Series : STOLE HOME
The great Jackie Robinson was of course the first African-American to play in baseball’s Major League. When Robinson made his first appearance MLB appearance, for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he did so in front of over 26,000 spectators. Well over half the crowd that day were African-Americans, there to witness the event. Major League Baseball universally retired Robinson’s number 42 in 1997. However, on the annual Jackie Robinson Day, all MLB players on all teams wear #42 in his honor.

54. Captain’s journal : LOG
The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

55. Informant : STOOL PIGEON
Stoolies, also called canaries, will sing to the cops given the right incentive. “Stoolie” is short for “stool pigeon”. A stool pigeon was a decoy bird tied to a stool so as to lure other pigeons. “Stoolies” were originally decoys for the police, rather than informers, hence the name.

60. East Lansing sch. : MSU
Michigan State University (MSU) is located in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU has the largest study-abroad program of any single-campus university in the US. Programs are offered on all continents of the world, including Antarctica.

62. Savanna grazers : ELANDS
A eland is a large African antelope, in fact the largest on the continent.

Down
1. “___ Misérables” : LES
The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London quite a few years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The old theater’s seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor that had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.

3. Automated in-box cloggers : SPAMBOTS
Spambots are nasty little computer programs that send out spam emails and messages, often from fake accounts. This blog gets about 300 spam comments a day that I have to delete, almost all of which are written by spambots.

4. Fictional weaver ___ Marner : SILAS
“Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe” is a novel written by George Eliot and first published in 1861. There’s an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, with Patsy Kensit playing Eppie, the young orphaned child that Marner takes under his wing.

5. “… ___ saw Elba” : ERE I
The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

– Able was I ere I saw Elba
– A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
– Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite words is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

8. Galoot : OAF
“Galoot” is an insulting term meaning an awkward or boorish man, an ape. “Galoot” comes from the nautical world, where it was originally what a sailor might call a soldier or marine.

9. “___ Maria” : AVE
“Ave Maria”, or “Hail Mary” in English, is the prayer at the core of the Roman Catholic Rosary, which itself is a set of prayers asking for the assistance of the Virgin Mary. Much of the text of the “Hail Mary” comes from the Gospel of Luke.

13. 1950s Ford duds : EDSELS
It was Henry Ford’s son Edsel who gave his name to the Edsel brand of automobile, a name that has become synonymous with “failure”.

18. Brewing oven : OAST
An oast is a kiln used for drying hops as part of the brewing process. Such a structure might also be called an “oast house”.

21. Dances à la Chubby Checker, say : TWISTS
The Twist is a dance that was born in the sixties, and was inspired by the Chubby Checker hit of 1960 called “The Twist”. Chubby Checker sang the song live in front of a crowd in Deland, Florida in October 2012. About 40,000 people danced along to the music, setting a new Guinness World Record for the most people “twisting” at the same time.

Ernest Evans was given the nickname “Chubby” by his boss at a produce market where he worked after school. When he went to make a recording for “American Bandstand” as Ernest Evans, Dick Clark’s wife asked what his friends called him. When she heard “Chubby”, she compared his name to that of “Fats” Domino. She then joked that “Checker” might be a better choice than Evans, given that Fats used “Domino”. And so, Chubby Checker was born.

23. Nabokov novel : ADA
“Ada” is a 1969 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The story takes place in the 1800s on Antiterra, an Earth-like planet that has a history similar to ours but with interesting differences. For example, there is a United States, but the country covers all of North and South America. What we call eastern Canada is a French-speaking province called “Canady”, and western Canada is a Russian-speaking province called “Estody”. The storyline is about a man called Van Veen who, when 14 years old, meets for the first time his cousin, 11-year-old Ada. The two cousins eventually have an affair, only to discover later that they are in fact brother and sister.

25. Spain’s longest river : EBRO
The Ebro is the longest river in Spain. The river was known by the Romans as the Iber, and it is the Iber or Ebro that gives the Iberian Peninsula its name.

27. South American plains : LLANOS
“Llano” is the Spanish word for “plain”.

30. Minnesota city that shares a harbor with Superior, Wis. : DULUTH
Duluth, Minnesota lies at the westernmost end of Lake Superior, and as such is the westernmost port of the Great Lakes. One has to travel 2,300 miles of inland waterway to get to the Atlantic Ocean from Duluth. The city of Duluth takes its name from the first European explorer of the region, the Frenchman Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut.

33. Barrymore and Kennedy : ETHELS
Ethel Barrymore was one of the famous Barrymore family of actors. Ethel was the sister of John and Lionel Barrymore. Ethel was a close friend of Winston Churchill, and some even say that Winston proposed marriage to her.

Ethel Kennedy is the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. Ethel was a roommate with Jean Kennedy, and through Jean met her brother Robert. Robert and Ethel had ten children together, with an eleventh child sadly arriving after Robert’s assassination in 1968.

36. Place to fill up in Canada : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company, as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

41. Ice, Iron or Bronze follower : AGE
Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.

Ancient societies can be classified by the “three-age system”, which depends on the prevalence of materials used to make tools. The three ages are:

– The Stone Age
– The Iron Age
– The Bronze Age

The actual dates defined by each age depend on the society, as the timing of the transition from the use of one material to another varied around the globe.

42. Source of “The Lord is my shepherd …” : PSALMS
Psalm 23 starts out with:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

44. 1986 Tom Cruise blockbuster : TOP GUN
“Top Gun” is an entertaining action movie released in 1986 starring Tom Cruise and the lovely Kelly McGillis. The movie is all about pilots training at the US Navy’s Fighter Weapons School. A lot of footage was shot on board the Navy’s carrier the USS Enterprise during flight operations. At one point in a day’s shooting, the commander of the Enterprise changed course as needed, but this altered the light for the cameras which were filming. Director Tony Scott asked for the course to be changed back, but was informed that a course change cost the Navy $25,000. Scott wrote out a check there and then, and he got another five minutes of filming with the light he needed.

49. “What happens in ___ …” : VEGAS
“What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” is a marketing campaign slogan created for the city in 2004. The slogan helped bring a record 37.4 million visitors to Las Vegas in the year it was launched.

55. Filthy digs : STY
“Digs” is short for “diggings” meaning “lodgings”, but where “diggings” came from, no one seems to know for sure.

58. Keats dedicated one to a nightingale : ODE
The poet John Keats is famous for writing a whole series of beautiful odes. The most renowned are the so-called “1819 Odes”, a collection from the year 1819 that includes famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.

59. Secretive org. : NSA
The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Irish girls : LASSES
7. Yacht, e.g. : BOAT
11. Thérèse, for one: Abbr. : STE
14. The ___ State (New York) : EMPIRE
15. Roof extension : EAVE
16. Rite ___ (drugstore) : AID
17. Yesterday’s joe : STALE COFFEE
19. 33 1/3 r.p.m. discs : LPS
20. Cocktail with an umbrella : MAI TAI
21. Popular PBS pledge drive giveaway : TOTE
22. Quick punches : JABS
24. Scouring pad material : STEEL WOOL
28. Enthusiastic response to “Who wants cookies?” : I DO
29. Banned insecticide : DDT
31. Credits over newspaper stories : BYLINES
32. Cake: Fr. : GATEAU
34. Regions : AREAS
35. Bonus for showing panache : STYLE POINTS
38. Not a dry eye in the ___ : HOUSE
39. Cosa ___ : NOSTRA
42. Protections for inventors : PATENTS
45. They’re worth half of TDs : FGS
46. Floor cover : RUG
47. What Jackie Robinson did, famously, in the first game of the 1955 World Series : STOLE HOME
49. Feeling, slangily : VIBE
50. Concert stage equipment : AMPS
51. Had an in-flight wedding? : ELOPED
54. Captain’s journal : LOG
55. Informant : STOOL PIGEON
60. East Lansing sch. : MSU
61. Unfreeze : THAW
62. Savanna grazers : ELANDS
63. RR stop : STN
64. Big laughs : YUKS
65. Snapple rival : NESTEA

Down
1. “___ Misérables” : LES
2. Tsp. or tbsp. : AMT
3. Automated in-box cloggers : SPAMBOTS
4. Fictional weaver ___ Marner : SILAS
5. “… ___ saw Elba” : ERE I
6. Splinter group : SECT
7. Prove suitable for : BEFIT
8. Galoot : OAF
9. “___ Maria” : AVE
10. Golf ball raiser : TEE
11. Swinging-door establishment : SALOON
12. Walk very, very quietly : TIPTOE
13. 1950s Ford duds : EDSELS
18. Brewing oven : OAST
21. Dances à la Chubby Checker, say : TWISTS
22. Lively Irish dance : JIG
23. Nabokov novel : ADA
25. Spain’s longest river : EBRO
26. Scrutinizing : EYEING
27. South American plains : LLANOS
29. The beginning : DAY ONE
30. Minnesota city that shares a harbor with Superior, Wis. : DULUTH
33. Barrymore and Kennedy : ETHELS
34. Galoot : APE
36. Place to fill up in Canada : ESSO
37. Loudly critical : STRIDENT
40. Massage : RUB
41. Ice, Iron or Bronze follower : AGE
42. Source of “The Lord is my shepherd …” : PSALMS
43. No more than : AT MOST
44. 1986 Tom Cruise blockbuster : TOP GUN
45. Tumbled : FELL
48. Cat calls : MEOWS
49. “What happens in ___ …” : VEGAS
52. Tournament that takes all comers : OPEN
53. Heap : PILE
55. Filthy digs : STY
56. Wed. follower : THU
57. Acorn bearer : OAK
58. Keats dedicated one to a nightingale : ODE
59. Secretive org. : NSA

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