1207-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 7 Dec 16, Wednesday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Steinberg
THEME: Past Tense
Today’s themed answers comprise two words, each of which is a verb in the PAST TENSE:

58A. Like either word in the answers to the five starred clues : PAST TENSE

16A. *Expense independent of production : FIXED COST
23A. *How Clayton Kershaw pitches : LEFT-HANDED
36A. *One of a dozen for a sweetheart : CUT ROSE
38A. *Decathlon event : SHOT PUT
47A. *Something to make up : LOST GROUND

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 20s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2

WHA? (who?)
TAXCO (Toxco)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. One of two in “Hamilton” : ACT
“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 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.

16. *Expense independent of production : FIXED COST
In a statement of accounts, gross profit is the difference between revenue from sales and the cost of making goods or providing a service. So-called fixed costs, i.e. overhead, payroll, taxes and interest payments, are not included in gross profits. When these fixed costs have been deducted, what is left is called the net profit, also known as “the bottom line”.

18. Hoops : B-BALL
Basketball is truly a North American sport. It was created in 1891 by Canadian James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first “hoops” were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When a player got the ball into the “net”, someone had to clamber up and get the ball back out again in order to continue the game!

22. Bird on Canada’s $1 coin : LOON
The great northern loon is the provincial bird of Ontario, and the state bird of Minnesota. The loon once appeared on Canadian $20 bills and also appears on the Canadian one-dollar coin, giving the coin the nickname “the Loonie”.

23. *How Clayton Kershaw pitches : LEFT-HANDED
Clayton Kershaw is a pitcher for the LA Dodgers. Outside of baseball, Kershaw is noted for his charitable work, especially his efforts to raise money for an orphanage in Zambia.

28. “Frankenstein” author : SHELLEY
Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel has the full title of “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”. The subtitle underscores one of the themes of the book, a warning about man’s expansion into the Industrial Revolution.

30. ___ Duncan, Obama education secretary : ARNE
Long before Arne Duncan became Secretary of Education he was a professional basketball player, but not in the NBA. Duncan played for the National Basketball League of Australia, for the Eastside Spectres in Melbourne.

31. Org. that investigated Al Capone : IRS
The Chicago gangster Al Capone was eventually jailed for tax evasion. He was given a record 11-year sentence in federal prison, of which he served 8 years. He left prison suffering dementia caused by late-stage syphilis. Capone suffered through 7-8 sickly years before passing away in 1947.

34. Munch Museum’s city : OSLO
Edvard Munch was a Norwegian expressionist, most famous for his painting “The Scream”, painted in 1893. What a wonderful work that is, a true representation of expressionism. The Munch Museum in Oslo is dedicated to his work and life. In 2004, two of Munch’s paintings, “The Scream” and “Madonna”, were stolen from the Munch Museum by armed robbers who subdued the museum guards. The paintings were missing for two years, but recovered in 2006.

38. *Decathlon event : SHOT PUT
Shot put, or events like shot put, have been around for millennia, but the first events that truly resemble today’s track and field event had to come with the invention of the cannonball. Soldiers would “putt” (throw) cannonballs as far as possible in attempts to outperform each other. Shot put has been in the modern Olympic Games since day-one, with an American winning the gold in the first games in 1896, one Robert Garrett.

The decathlon event is a track and field competition, with the name “decathlon” coming from the Greek “deka” (ten) and “athlos” (contest). The ten events in the men’s decathlon are:

  • 100 meters
  • Long jump
  • Shot put
  • High jump
  • 400 meters
  • 110 meters hurdles
  • Discus throw
  • Pole vault
  • Javelin throw
  • 1500 meters

49. Fried ___ (Southern dish) : OKRA
The plant known as okra is mainly grown for it edible green pods. The pods are said to resemble “ladies’ fingers”, which is an alternative name for the plant. Okra is known as “ngombo” in Bantu, a name that might give us the word “gumbo”, the name for the name of the southern Louisiana stew that includes okra as a key ingredient.

53. Designated dwarf planet since 2006 : PLUTO
Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was welcomed as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto is relatively small in size, just one fifth of the mass of our own moon. In the seventies, astronomers began to discover more large objects in the solar system, including Eris, a “scattered disc object” at the outer reaches. Given that Eris is actually bigger than Pluto, and other objects really aren’t that much smaller, Pluto’s status as a planet was drawn into question. In 2006 there was a scientific definition for a “planet” agreed for the first time, resulting in Pluto being relegated to the status of “dwarf planet”, along with Eris.

54. A.P. Latin reading : AENEID
Aeneas was a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor of all Romans. Aeneas’s story is told in Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid”.

65. Adirondack chair part : SLAT
An Adirondack chair is a wooden chair designed for use outdoors. The original Adirondack chair was designed in 1903 by one Thomas Lee, who was vacationing in Westport, New York in the Adirondack Mountains.

66. Certain female soldier : ANT
In an ant colony, soldier ants differ from worker ants in that they have stronger mandibles and are hence more suitable for fighting. However, when they aren’t fighting, that basically carry out the same functions as the workers. All worker and soldier ants are sterile females.

Down
2. Slacks material : CHINO
Chino is a twill cloth most often used to make hard-wearing pants. The pants have come to be referred to as chinos. Chino cloth was originally developed for use by the military, but quickly became popular with civilians.

3. Mexican tourist city known for its silver : TAXCO
Taxco de Alarcón is a small city in southern Mexico. Taxco is a center for silver mining, and is also well known for the production of silverware and fine items made using silver.

5. “___ momento” : UNO
“Uno momento” is Spanish for “one minute”.

6. Hosts : MCS
The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism standing for Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

8. Obese “Star Wars” character : JABBA
Jabba the Hutt is the big blob of an alien that appears in the “Star Wars” movie “The Return of the Jedi”. Jabba’s claim to fame is that he enslaved Princess Leia and kitted her out in that celebrated metal bikini.

10. Spy communication spots : DEAD DROPS
A “dead drop” is a system used by spies to pass along information. The dead drop is essentially a secret location in which a spy can leave information. A case officer, perhaps, picks up the information at a later time. This can be compared to a “live drop”, in which the individuals meet directly.

12. Subj. for many green card seekers : ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

A “green card” is more correctly called a US Permanent Resident Card. The informal term harks back to the period between 1946 and 1964 when the document was in fact green in color. In fact, the Permanent Resident Card was changed back to a green color in 2010.

14. Only four-term prez : FDR
Since the days of President George Washington, there was an informal tradition that a US President could hold office for two terms, but would not run for a third. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only president to break with this tradition. President Roosevelt was elected to office four times, and died a few months after starting his fourth term. It was President Roosevelt’s decision to ignore the term limit tradition that led to the adoption of the Twenty-Second Amendment of the Constitution, which provides that “no person shall be elected to the office of President more than twice”.

24. Vogue competitor : ELLE
“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.

25. ___ Rida (“My House” rapper) : FLO
Tramar Dillard is better known as rapper Flo Rida. As you might have guessed, Flo Rida was born in the state of Florida.

26. Jaded feeling : ENNUI
“Ennui” is the French word for boredom, a word that we now use in English. It’s one of the few French words we’ve imported that we haven’t anglicized and actually pronounce “correctly”.

31. Bluff-busting words : I CALL
That would be poker.

38. Actor Penn of “Milk” : SEAN
Actor Sean Penn is a two-time Oscar winner, for his roles in “Mystic River” released in 2003 and “Milk” released in 2008. Penn’s celebrity on screen is only matched with his fame off the screen. Apart from his “big name” marriages to singer Madonna and actress Robin Wright, Penn is also well known for political and social activism. He perhaps inherited some of his political views from his father, actor and director Leo Penn. As an actor, Leo refused to “name names” in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee and so was blacklisted in Hollywood and had to move into directing to put bread on the table. In later years as a director he gave his son Sean his first acting role, in a 1974 episode of “Little House on the Prairie”.

“Milk” is a 2008 biopic based on the life of activist and politician Harvey Milk, with Sean Penn playing the title role. In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Tragically, Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978 by former city supervisor Dan White.

41. Bug that thrives in the winter : FLU
Influenza (flu) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.

44. “I pity the fool” speaker : MR T
Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie “Rocky III”. In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, “No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool”. He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called “I Pity the Fool”, and produced a motivational video called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”.

48. Zip : GUSTO
“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto”, with great enjoyment.

50. Mombasa is its second-largest city : KENYA
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya (after the capital, Nairobi). Mombasa is located on the east coast of the country, on the Indian Ocean.

57. Sam Adams Rebel ___ : IPA
India Pale Ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

Samuel Adams was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, from Boston Massachusetts. Adams followed his father into the family’s malthouse business a few years after young Samuel graduated from Harvard. There were generations of Adams family members who were “maltsters” i.e. those producing malt needed for making beer. Samuel Adams is often described as a brewer, but he was actually a malster. The Samuel Adams brand of beer isn’t directly associated with the Adams family, but it is named in honor of the patriot.

60. Eponymous Belgian tourist locale : SPA
The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. One of two in “Hamilton” : ACT
4. Back end of a horse : RUMP
8. Form an impression of : JUDGE
13. Question asked with an open mouth : WHA?
14. Border with many posts : FENCE
15. Some are restricted : AREAS
16. *Expense independent of production : FIXED COST
18. Hoops : B-BALL
19. Pop open, as a bottle : UNCORK
20. Does something naughty : IS BAD
22. Bird on Canada’s $1 coin : LOON
23. *How Clayton Kershaw pitches : LEFT-HANDED
28. “Frankenstein” author : SHELLEY
30. ___ Duncan, Obama education secretary : ARNE
31. Org. that investigated Al Capone : IRS
34. Munch Museum’s city : OSLO
35. Disposed (to) : PRONE
36. *One of a dozen for a sweetheart : CUT ROSE
38. *Decathlon event : SHOT PUT
40. Surrounding : ABOUT
41. Phobia : FEAR
42. Girl in the fam : SIS
43. Things that may be locked or sealed : LIPS
44. High-end British sports car : MCLAREN
47. *Something to make up : LOST GROUND
49. Fried ___ (Southern dish) : OKRA
53. Designated dwarf planet since 2006 : PLUTO
54. A.P. Latin reading : AENEID
56. Trickery : WILES
58. Like either word in the answers to the five starred clues : PAST TENSE
61. Disjointed : APART
62. Essayist’s starting point : TOPIC
63. “Sure do” : YEP
64. Final authority : SAY-SO
65. Adirondack chair part : SLAT
66. Certain female soldier : ANT

Down
1. Like an epic fail : AWFUL
2. Slacks material : CHINO
3. Mexican tourist city known for its silver : TAXCO
4. Impulsive : RECKLESS
5. “___ momento” : UNO
6. Hosts : MCS
7. Diminutive, fashionwise : PETITE
8. Obese “Star Wars” character : JABBA
9. Some street scenes : URBAN ART
10. Spy communication spots : DEAD DROPS
11. Square dance party? : GAL
12. Subj. for many green card seekers : ESL
14. Only four-term prez : FDR
17. Many, many years : EONS
21. Unlikely to ask someone out : SHY
24. Vogue competitor : ELLE
25. ___ Rida (“My House” rapper) : FLO
26. Jaded feeling : ENNUI
27. Specifics, slangily : DEETS
29. “I don’t give a ___” : HOOT
31. Bluff-busting words : I CALL
32. Florida senator Marco : RUBIO
33. Blows the whistle : STOPS PLAY
35. Dermatologist’s concern : PORE
37. Cattle thieves : RUSTLERS
38. Actor Penn of “Milk” : SEAN
39. Working diligently : HARD AT IT
41. Bug that thrives in the winter : FLU
44. “I pity the fool” speaker : MR T
45. Takes over : CO-OPTS
46. Zip : NONE
48. Zip : GUSTO
50. Mombasa is its second-largest city : KENYA
51. Up : RISEN
52. Skilled : ADEPT
55. Besides others: Abbr. : ETC
56. Used to be : WAS
57. Sam Adams Rebel ___ : IPA
59. I.S.P. whose logo contains a period : AOL
60. Eponymous Belgian tourist locale : SPA

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9 thoughts on “1207-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 7 Dec 16, Wednesday”

  1. No errors but I have two remaining questions. I do not understand 11Down "Square dance party" yielding GAL. Nor do I know what the letters A and P stand for in the clue for 54Across preceding "Latin reading" and yielding AENEID. Does anyone know what these two items from the clueing mean?

  2. 13:08, no errors. Quite a few slang terms today: WHA, B BALL, DEETS. I also had a few entries that needed correction; originally entered 46D NADA for NONE; 57D ALE before IPA.

    About a decade ago, wife and I vacationed in Zihuatanejo; about 300 miles from TAXCO. The gift shops were full of silver items from that area. We bought a couple of solid silver jewelry boxes. What stuck in my mind the most, was that all the silver wares were sold by weight. You picked out an item, brought it to the shop keeper, he would put it on a scale, and tell you the price.

  3. @Dale: Right or wrong, here is my take on the clues in question.

    'Square dance party' uses the word party as in 'party of two'. A square dance pairing would be a guy and a GAL.

    'A.P. Latin reading' the A.P. (I would guess) stands for 'Advanced Placement', a designation that is used for High School classes which are college preparatory or college level. The AENEID would be read in its original latin in such a class.

  4. Same outcome as Bill's, but taking much more time, of course. I like David Steinberg's puzzles. This one plays more like a later-in-the-week puzzle to me.

  5. 12:57, same two errors as everyone else.

    13 across is one of the favorites for **worst** fill of 2016. It is NOT a word. Perhaps a clue referencing the defunct and short-lived World Hockey Association might have been better. At least it would have been **correct**.

  6. Thanks, BruceB, for your comments about the two clues. I am sure that you have it right. After reading your comment about "party", I was trying to think of some examples. What came to mind was the old Lily Tomlin skit on TV's Laugh-in. She played the part of a telephone operator. I always got a laugh when she would say the line "Is this the party to who I am speaking?".

  7. We got 'em all, with no difficulty. "WHO?" is pronounced with the lips pursed. "WHA?" is pronounced with the mouth open. RTFC! I think I've known for 50 years that TAXCO is known for silver artifacts, so of course I got it. Pronouncing it, however, is a different matter. I haven't the foggiest, except to know that pronouncing it phonetically in English is wrong.

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