1211-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Dec 16, Sunday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Tom McCoy
THEME: Retronyms
Today’s themed answers are “retronyms”, words terms based on current technology that are used to describe an older technology:

21A. Dialect that was called 22-Across before the age of colonialism : BRITISH ENGLISH (used to be just “English”)
33A. System that was called 34-Across before the Internet : SNAIL MAIL (used to be just “mail”)
35A. Concept that was called 36-Across before research into the square root of negatives : REAL NUMBER (used to be just “NUMBER”)
52A. Food that was called 53-Across before Twizzlers and the like : BLACK LICORICE (used to be just “licorice”)
78A. Fastener that was called 80-Across before a rounded design was implemented : FLATHEAD SCREW (used to be just “SCREW”)
96A. Entertainment category that was called 97-Across before talkies : SILENT FILM (used to be just “FILM”)
98A. Object that was called 100-Across before electronic documents : PAPER COPY (used to be just “COPY”)
109A. Activity that was called 111-Across before pesticides : ORGANIC FARMING (used to be just “FARMING”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 17m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. “The cauldron of Democracy” : AMERICA
I think that it was Soong Mei-Ling who first described America as “the cauldron of democracy”.

Soong Mei-ling was the Republic of China’s First Lady from 1948 to 1975, the wife of President Chiang Kai-shek. Mei-Ling was also the sister-in-law of Sun Yat-sen, who founded the Republic.

8. Leaving word : ADIEU
“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

13. Figure skater Cohen : SASHA
Sasha Cohen is an American figure skater from Westwood, California. Cohen’s mother is a former ballet dancer who immigrated here from Ukraine. “Sasha” is a Russian diminutive of Cohen’s birth name of “Alexandra”.

18. Opponents of the Protestant Reformation : PAPISTS
The pejorative term “papist” was first used in the days of the Reformation in England, use by some in Henry VIII’s Church of England to refer to supporters of the Catholic Church (and the Pope, in particular).

26. Fever fit : AGUE
An ague is a fever, one usually associated with malaria.

29. “Fernando” band : ABBA
“Fernando” was a 1976 hit for ABBA, a followup to their smash hit “Dancing Queen”. “Fernando” was originally released as a solo single by one the ABBA band members: Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

35. Concept that was called 36-Across before research into the square root of negatives : REAL NUMBER (used to be just “NUMBER”)
“Real numbers” are numbers that can be written on a number line. Almost all numbers that we can think of are “real numbers”. Infinity is not a real number, and nor are “imaginary numbers”, e.g. the square root of minus 1.

An imaginary number is a number which is a multiple of the square root of “-1”. A complex number is the sum of a real number and an imaginary number. The use of the term “imaginary number” started in the 1600s as back then it was believed that multiples of the square root of “-1” had no practical use. However, I am reliably informed that such numbers are now found useful in science and engineering circles.

37. Airport figs. : ETDS
Estimated time of departure (ETD)

38. PBS’s “___ Can Cook” : YAN
“Yan Can Cook” is a PBS show about Chinese cooking presented by Martin Yan. Yan is Chinese-born American who arrived in the US via Hong Kong and Canada. Although his own show doesn’t run anymore, he still makes TV appearances and has been a judge several times on “Iron Chef America”.

39. Small newt : EFT
Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.

40. Coins that pay for passage over the River Styx : OBOLS
The obol was a silver coin used in Greece that was worth one sixth of a drachma.

The River Styx in Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or Hades). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

43. Gridiron gains: Abbr. : YDS
We never used the word “gridiron” when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for finding out relatively recently that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!

45. Terrier carrier : PET CRATE
Most terrier breeds of dog originated in the British Isles. Terriers were developed as working dogs, with the job of controlling populations of rats, rabbits and foxes by rooting them out above and below the ground. The name “terrier” comes via Middle French from the the Latin “terra” meaning “earth”, a reflection of the breeds habit of burrowing into the earth looking for its prey.

47. ___ splints (runner’s ailment) : SHIN
Pain along the inner edge of the tibia (shinbone) is referred to as “shin splints”. It is a common injury incurred by runners.

59. Symbol for density : RHO
Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”. Rho is the symbol used for density, i.e. mass/volume.

62. Cinnamon candies : RED HOTS
Red Hots are cinnamon-flavored candy pieces. I just found out that Red Hots are sometimes used in apple sauce …

65. Personal datum: Abbr. : SSN
Social Security number (SSN)

67. Jackson 5 #1 hit : ABC
“ABC” topped the charts for the Jackson 5 in 1970, and might perhaps be called the Jackson 5’s signature tune.

72. W.W. II danger : U-BOAT
“U-boat” stands for the German “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). Notably, a U-boat sank the RMS Lusitania in 1915, an event that helped propel the US into WWI.

74. Source of the saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive” : ACTS
The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the Christian New Testament. It is believed that the author of the Gospel of Luke was the same person who wrote “Acts”.

82. Dancer Duncan : ISADORA
Isadora Duncan was an American dancer, inventor of American modern dance. Duncan emphasised the torso in her moves, a break from the balletic tradition of moving from the feet. She left the US when she was 22 years old and moved to Europe around 1900, and from there emigrated to the Soviet Union. Duncan had a tragic passing. She loved to travel in open automobiles wearing a long, flowing scarf. One day her scarf got wrapped around the spokes and axle of the car in which she was travelling, and broke her neck.

86. Part of the names of four state capitals : CITY
The four state capitals that use the word “City” are:

  • Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Carson City, Nevada
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

93. Nickname of a “Game of Thrones” dwarf, with “the” : IMP
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy television drama that is adapted from a series of novels by George R. R. Martin called “A Song of Ice and Fire”. “Game of Thrones” is actually filmed in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland.

95. Realtor’s goal : SALE
“Real estate agent” is a general, generic term. “Realtor” is the name given to a member of the trade association known as the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR has gone so far as the trademark the term “Realtor” in the US.

102. ___ dixit : IPSE
“Ipse dixit” is Latin, meaning “he himself said it”. The term is used in contemporary English to describe an unsupported assertion, usually by someone in authority.

103. Part of Dixie: Abbr. : ALA
Alabama is known as the Yellowhammer State, in honor of the state bird. Alabama is also called the “Heart of Dixie”.

“Dixie” is a nickname sometimes used for the American South, and often specifically for the original 11 states that seceded from the Union just prior to the Civil War. It’s apparently not certain how the name “Dixie” came about. One theory is that it comes from the term “dixie” which was used for currency issued by banks in Louisiana. The 10-dollar bills had the word “dix” on the reverse side, the French for “ten”. From the banknote, the French speaking area around New Orleans came to be known as Dixieland, and from there “Dixie” came to apply to the South in general.

105. Something you might have a gut feeling about? : E COLI
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

106. Painter Jean : ARP
Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

117. Property recipient : ALIENEE
An alienee is one to whom ownership of property is transferred, alienated.

Down
1. Police broadcast, for short : APB
An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

4. Mass, e.g. : RITUAL
The principal act of worship in the Roman Catholic tradition is the Mass. The term “Mass” comes from the Late Latin word “missa” meaning “dismissal”. This word is used at the end of the Latin Mass in “Ite, missa est” which translates literally as “Go, it is the dismissal”.

9. Apple alternatives : DELLS
Dell, the computer manufacturer, is named after the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.

11. “Rosy-fingered” Greek goddess : EOS
In Greek mythology, Eos is the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos is Aurora.

16. Site of the infamous Hoa Lo Prison : HANOI
The infamous Hỏa Lò Prison in Vietnam was was known by Americans as the Hanoi Hilton. Sadly, it was home to many US prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. The prison itself was demolished in the 1990s, but the prison’s gatehouse persists to this day as museum. Included as exhibits in the museum are John McCain’s parachute and flight suit

20. Home of Haleakala National Park : MAUI
If you visit Maui, a visit to the Haleakala National Park is a must. One section of the park features the spectacular Haleakala Crater, where you would swear you are on the moon. The second part of the park is the Kipahulu section, which features the very picturesque pools accessed along the Road to Hana. When we visited (quite a few years ago), the Road to Hana was a tad undeveloped and rental car companies would not allow you to drive their cars there. Funnily enough, the only cars you’d meet on the Road to Hana were rental cars …

31. Mark of success in business? : CUBAN
Mark Cuban is a successful American businessman, and is the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. If you’ve seen the reality TV show “Shark Tank”, you’ll known Cuban as one of the investors putting up their money i.e. one of the “sharks”. If you’re a “Dancing with the Stars” fan, you might recall Cuban as a contestant on the 5th series of that show, partnered with Kym Johnson.

34. Onetime title for Bernie Sanders : MAYOR
Bernie Sanders has served as US Senator from Vermont since 2007. Prior to doing so, Sanders served as Mayor of Burlington (from 1981 to 1989) and Vermont representative in the US House from 1991 to 2007. Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist, and used to appear on the ballot as an independent. Prior to joining the Democratic Party in 2015, Sanders had been the longest-serving independent in the history of the US Congress. has served as US Senator from Vermont since 2007. Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist, and used to appear on the ballot as an independent. Prior to joining the Democratic Party in 2015, Sanders had been the longest-serving independent in the history of the US Congress.

37. Former attorney general Holder : ERIC
Eric Holder was the Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2015, the first African American to hold the position. Holder was close to President Obama during the presidential campaign. Holder was the campaign’s legal advisor and was also one of the three members on the Obama vice-presidential selection committee that recommended future Vice President Joe Biden.

46. Spock’s rank: Abbr. : CMDR
Leonard Nimoy played the logical Mr. Spock in the original “Star Trek” television series. Spock has to be the most popular character on the show, and he keeps popping up in “Star Trek” spin offs to this day. Nimoy first worked alongside William Shatner (Captain Kirk) in an episode of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (I loved that show!), with Nimoy playing a bad guy and Shatner playing an U.N.C.L.E. recruit.

49. Target demographic for Hot Wheels : BOYS
The Hot Wheels brand of toy car was introduced by Mattel in 1968.

53. “The Simpsons” girl : LISA
Lisa Simpson is Bart’s brainy younger sister on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Lisa is voiced by actress Yeardley Smith.

56. Like the planet in “Dune” : ARID
The less than successful 1984 movie “Dune” (directed by David Lynch) was an adaptation of the spectacularly successful 1965 novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert.

68. Tea Partiers in Congress, e.g. : BLOC
The Tea Party Caucus in the US Congress is really inactive today. It was founded by and chaired by Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann. The stated focus for the caucus is fiscal responsibility and limited government, while adhering to the group’s interpretation of the US Constitution. Top contributors to the caucus are health professionals, retirees, the real estate industry and oil and gas interests.

69. Apparel also called clamdiggers : CAPRI PANTS
Capri pants first became popular on the island of Capri, apparently. They were invented in Europe in 1948, but only became stylish in the US in the sixties. Mary Tyler Moore often wore Capri pants on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and to some extent she sparked a fashion trend. After a lull in the seventies and eighties there was a resurgence in sales after Uma Thurman wore them (and danced in them) in “Pulp Fiction”. Can’t stand the look of them myself …

75. Purported rural shenanigan : COW TIPPING
Cow tipping is supposedly the pushing over of cows, for “fun”, as they sleep on their feet, and it’s an urban myth. Cows sleep lying down, and it’s practically impossible to push them over when they are standing up. No, I haven’t tried …

83. Court reporter, e.g. : STENO
Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

87. Caesar’s “Commentaries on the ___ War” : GALLIC
The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium. We use the term “Gallic” today, when we refer to something pertaining to France or the French.

90. “The Real Slim Shady,” for one : RAP SONG
“The Real Slim Shady” is a rap song recorded by Eminem.

91. Actor Bruce : WILLIS
Actor Bruce Willis started to hit the big time when he got a lead role in the comedy detective series “Moonlighting” in the late eighties. Willis was born in Germany, where his father was stationed while serving in the US Army. Willis’ mother was German.

96. “Brown Sugar” band, with “the” : STONES
Even though Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been the driving force behind the Rolling Stones for decades, they didn’t start the group. The band was the idea of guitarist and harmonica player Brian Jones, and it was he who invited Richards and Jagger to join, as well as Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts to make an original lineup of six band members. Jones called the band “Rollin’ Stone” back then in 1962, named for the song by Muddy Waters. Jones was the leader, manager and decision maker for the first few years until songs written by Richards and Jagger became hits and he started to lose artistic control. In 1967, Jones was arrested for drug possession, and again in 1968. When his trouble with the law prevented him from getting a US work visa, Jones wasn’t able to accompany the Stones on a 1969 US tour. That was the last straw, it seems, and Jones and the Stones parted company. Famously, one month later, Jones was found dead, at the bottom of his swimming pool.

106. “O mio babbino caro,” for one : ARIA
“O mio babbino caro” is a really beautiful aria from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Gianni Schicchi”.

110. Charles, par exemple : ROI
“Roi” is the French word for “king”.

111. Ice Bucket Challenge, for one : FAD
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a viral phenomenon in which participants are challenged to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured over their heads. Each participant then gets to nominate up to three other people to do the same. Usually the nominees are given a day or two to comply, but can make a charitable donation is they want to avoid the icy shower. Happily, many participants opt to take the challenge, and also make a donation.

112. Quaff in Middle-earth : ALE
“Quaff” is both a verb and a noun. One quaffs (takes a hearty drink) of a quaff (a hearty drink).

113. Opposite of paleo- : NEO-
The prefix “paleo-” means “prehistoric, primitive”. It comes from the Greek word “palaios” which means “old, ancient”. The prefix “neo-” would be the opposite, meaning “new, recent”.

114. Goal for some dropouts, for short : GED
The General Educational Development (GED) tests are a battery of five tests designed to demonstrate that a student has the academic skills of someone who has graduated from an American or Canadian high school.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. “The cauldron of Democracy” : AMERICA
8. Leaving word : ADIEU
13. Figure skater Cohen : SASHA
18. Opponents of the Protestant Reformation : PAPISTS
19. Pickup truck’s capacity, maybe : ONE TON
20. Common word in insurance company names : MUTUAL
21. Dialect that was called 22-Across before the age of colonialism : BRITISH ENGLISH (used to be just “English”)
23. Giving heat? : ARMING
24. Share : CUT
25. Dummy symbols in ciphers : NULLS
26. Fever fit : AGUE
28. ___ point : TO A
29. “Fernando” band : ABBA
31. Stops : CEASES
33. System that was called 34-Across before the Internet : SNAIL MAIL (used to be just “mail”)
35. Concept that was called 36-Across before research into the square root of negatives : REAL NUMBER (used to be just “NUMBER”)
37. Airport figs. : ETDS
38. PBS’s “___ Can Cook” : YAN
39. Small newt : EFT
40. Coins that pay for passage over the River Styx : OBOLS
41. Believes (in) : TRUSTS
43. Gridiron gains: Abbr. : YDS
45. Terrier carrier : PET CRATE
47. ___ splints (runner’s ailment) : SHIN
48. Machinelike : ROBOTIC
51. Cackle from a greedy person : ALL MINE!
52. Food that was called 53-Across before Twizzlers and the like : BLACK LICORICE (used to be just “licorice”)
54. Skimobile, informally : SLED
55. “Tell me how you really feel!” : SAY IT!
57. Gross : ICKY
58. Squeeze (out) : EKE
59. Symbol for density : RHO
62. Cinnamon candies : RED HOTS
65. Personal datum: Abbr. : SSN
67. Jackson 5 #1 hit : ABC
70. Against : ANTI
72. W.W. II danger : U-BOAT
74. Source of the saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive” : ACTS
78. Fastener that was called 80-Across before a rounded design was implemented : FLATHEAD SCREW (used to be just “SCREW”)
82. Dancer Duncan : ISADORA
85. Belonging to the highest level : TOP-RANK
86. Part of the names of four state capitals : CITY
87. Escapes : GETS AWAY
88. Whoop : CRY
89. Rids of vermin, in a way : DERATS
91. Peddler’s stock : WARES
92. Quaint contraction : ‘TIS
93. Nickname of a “Game of Thrones” dwarf, with “the” : IMP
95. Realtor’s goal : SALE
96. Entertainment category that was called 97-Across before talkies : SILENT FILM (used to be just “FILM”)
98. Object that was called 100-Across before electronic documents : PAPER COPY (used to be just “COPY”)
101. “Good enough” : IT’LL DO
102. ___ dixit : IPSE
103. Part of Dixie: Abbr. : ALA
104. Ages and ages : EONS
105. Something you might have a gut feeling about? : E COLI
106. Painter Jean : ARP
107. Horror and mystery : GENRES
109. Activity that was called 111-Across before pesticides : ORGANIC FARMING (used to be just “FARMING”)
115. Degree : EXTENT
116. Not belonging to anybody : NO ONE’S
117. Property recipient : ALIENEE
118. Aids in filing : RASPS
119. Main points : GISTS
120. “Oh, jeez!” : DEAR GOD!

Down
1. Police broadcast, for short : APB
2. Disfigure : MAR
3. Climax of many a fantasy novel : EPIC BATTLE
4. Mass, e.g. : RITUAL
5. Doubter’s question : IS IT?
6. Small monetary amts. : CTS
7. Light-colored wood : ASH
8. Rod user : ANGLER
9. Apple alternatives : DELLS
10. Reply to 5-Down : IT IS
11. “Rosy-fingered” Greek goddess : EOS
12. Releases, dramatically : UNHANDS
13. Without a doubt : SURELY
14. Something to bank on : ATM
15. Look for business? : SUIT AND TIE
16. Site of the infamous Hoa Lo Prison : HANOI
17. ___ bloom (result of fertilizer pollution) : ALGAL
19. Burdens : ONUSES
20. Home of Haleakala National Park : MAUI
22. Empower : ENABLE
27. Stomach-related : GASTRIC
29. South American corn cakes : AREPAS
30. Happened to : BEFELL
31. Mark of success in business? : CUBAN
32. Portrays feelings : EMOTES
33. Was horrible : STUNK
34. Onetime title for Bernie Sanders : MAYOR
36. “Me neither” : NOR I
37. Former attorney general Holder : ERIC
41. “Oof!” : THAT HURTS!
42. They go about two feet : SOCKS
44. Ailing : SICK
46. Spock’s rank: Abbr. : CMDR
47. Declined : SLID
49. Target demographic for Hot Wheels : BOYS
50. Bee follower : CEE
52. “Ta-ta!” : BYE!
53. “The Simpsons” girl : LISA
56. Like the planet in “Dune” : ARID
60. “lol” : HA-HA!
61. Upright : ON END
63. Observe : OBEY
64. Drag away : TOW
66. Zilch : NADA
67. Opposite of fore : AFT
68. Tea Partiers in Congress, e.g. : BLOC
69. Apparel also called clamdiggers : CAPRI PANTS
71. Agrees to fight : TAKES ON
73. Like many wedding cakes : TIERED
75. Purported rural shenanigan : COW TIPPING
76. Lags : TRAILS
77. Argument-ending reply : SAYS ME
79. “Go ahead, I’m listening” : TRY ME
80. Like snakes : SCALY
81. Ticket : CITE
83. Court reporter, e.g. : STENO
84. Helper: Abbr. : ASST
87. Caesar’s “Commentaries on the ___ War” : GALLIC
90. “The Real Slim Shady,” for one : RAP SONG
91. Actor Bruce : WILLIS
94. Primps : PREENS
96. “Brown Sugar” band, with “the” : STONES
97. Not as lax : FIRMER
98. Vibrating device : PAGER
99. Siri : iPhone :: ___ : Amazon Echo : ALEXA
100. Go for : COST
101. “___ even” : I CAN’T
105. I’s : EGOS
106. “O mio babbino caro,” for one : ARIA
108. Be an agent (for) : REP
110. Charles, par exemple : ROI
111. Ice Bucket Challenge, for one : FAD
112. Quaff in Middle-earth : ALE
113. Opposite of paleo- : NEO-
114. Goal for some dropouts, for short : GED

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7 thoughts on “1211-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Dec 16, Sunday”

  1. On my iPad: 30:05, no errors, but … When I filled in the final square, I got the "almost there" message, at which point I remembered a square I had meant to go back and check: I had AREVAS and VET CRATE instead of AREPAS and the obvious PET CRATE. I've never had arepas … must find someplace to sample them …

  2. When you find a place to get AREPAS, it's likely to be a rural eating place where there are no sanitary inspections. Make sure they DERAT it first. DERAT, indeed. A really lame word in a puzzle with a pretty clever theme. 😉

  3. No errors. I agree it was relatively easy today. I can usually tell after having about 10% filled if the rest is going to be easy or not.

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