1227-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Dec 16, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Herre Schouwerwou
THEME: Double Take
Today’s themed answers is a DOUBLE-word, each of which often follows the word TAKE:

60A. Surprised reaction … or a hint to what can precede both halves of the answers to the starred clues : DOUBLE TAKE

17A. *Valentine outline : HEART SHAPE (giving “take heart” and “take shape”)
24A. *Cost to enter a bar, maybe : COVER CHARGE (giving “take cover” & “take charge”)
32A. *Folksy : DOWN HOME (giving “take down” & “take home”)
40A. *What to do when coming face to face with a bear : BACK AWAY (giving “take back” & “take away”)
47A. *Delayed consequence : AFTEREFFECT (giving “take after” & “take effect”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 51s

ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Tease good-naturedly : JOSH
When the verb “to josh” was first used in the 1840s, as an American slang term, it was written with a capital J. It is likely then that the term somehow comes from the proper name “Joshua”, but no one seems to remember why.

14. ___ Bunt, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” henchwoman : IRMA
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is the sixth of the James Bond series films, and the only one to star George Lazenby in the leading role. He wasn’t a great choice for 007 …

15. Gently protest : DEMUR
“To demur” is to voice opposition, to object. It can also mean to delay and has it roots in the Latin word “demorare”, meaning “to delay”.

16. Some music in Mumbai : RAGA
Raga isn’t really a type of music, but has been described as the “tonal framework” in which Indian classical music is composed. Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous raga virtuoso (to us Westerners). Western rock music with a heavy Indian influence might be called raga rock.

Mumbai is the most populous city in India, and the second most populous city in the world (after Shanghai). The name of the city was changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995.

17. *Valentine outline : HEART SHAPE (giving “take heart” and “take shape”)
Saint Valentine’s Day was introduced by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to honor various martyrs with the name Valentine. However, the saint’s’ day was dropped by the Roman Catholic church in 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Try telling that to Hallmark though …

20. Blood line : AORTA
The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

23. Summer clock setting: Abbr. : DST
On the other side of the Atlantic, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is known as “summer time”. The idea behind summer/daylight-savings is to move clocks forward an hour in spring (i.e. “spring forward”) and backwards in the fall (i.e. “fall back”) so that afternoons have more daylight.

27. Dress style : A-LINE
An A-line skirt is one that fits snugly at the hips and flares toward the hem.

29. “Excusez-___” : MOI
“Excusez-moi” is French for “excuse me”.

30. Controversial novel of 1955 : LOLITA
Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita” has a famously controversial storyline, dealing with a middle-aged man’s obsession and sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl. Although “Lolita” is considered a classic today, after Nabokov finished it in 1953 the edgy subject matter made it impossible for him to find a publisher in the US (where Nabokov lived). In 1955, he resorted to publishing it in English at a printing house in Paris. Publication was followed by bans and seizures all over Europe. A US printing house finally took on the project in 1958, by which time the title had such a reputation that it sold exceptionally quickly. “Lolita” became the first book since “Gone with the Wind” to sell over 100,000 copies in its first three weeks in stores.

38. Nonkosher entree : HAM
According to Jewish dietary law, “kosher” food is fit to eat, and food that is not fit to eat is referred to as “treif” (or “tref”).

45. What framed Roger Rabbit? : CEL
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was released in 1988, a clever film featuring cartoon characters that interact directly with human beings. The most memorable cartoon characters have to be the goofy Roger Rabbit, and the vampish Jessica Rabbit. The film is based on a novel written by Gary K. Wolf called “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” There is a prequel floating around that has never been produced, and it’s called “Who Discovered Roger Rabbit”.

46. Watch a season’s worth of episodes in one sitting, say : BINGE
I’m a big fan of binge-watching, the practice of watching perhaps two or three (even four!) episodes of a show in a row. My wife and I will often deliberately avoid watching a recommended show “live” and wait until whole series have been released on DVD or online. I’m not a big fan of “tune in next week …”

52. “Illmatic” rapper : NAS
Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …

56. Thor or Loki : GOD
In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of Odin. Thor wielded a mighty hammer and was the god of thunder, lightning and storms. Our contemporary word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s Day”.

Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki is bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing results in what we poor mortals experience as earthquakes.

62. “Just do it” sloganeer : NIKE
The Nike slogan “Just Do It” was created in an advertising meeting in 1988. Apparently the phrase was inspired by the last words of famed criminal Gary Gilmore. Gilmore faced execution by the state of Utah in 1977 and when asked if he had any last words he simply replied, “Let’s do it”. A few minutes later, Gilmore was executed by a firing squad.

63. Doldrums 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”.

The doldrums are a band of generally light winds and calms that span the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans near the equator. More formally known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone, the phenomenon occurs at the interface between the northeast and southeast trade winds. We have some to use the term “doldrums” colloquially, to describe a state of listlessness, inactivity or stagnation.

64. Forthwith, on a memo : ASAP
As soon as possible (ASAP)

Down
1. Crusade against “infidels” : JIHAD
In the Islamic tradition “jihad” is a duty, either an inner spiritual struggle to fulfill religious obligations or an outward physical struggle to defend the faith. Someone engaged in jihad is called a “mujahid” with the plural being “mujahideen”.

2. Stackable cookies : OREOS
How the Oreo cookie came to get its name seems to have been lost in the mists of time. One theory is that it comes from the French “or” meaning “gold”, a reference to the gold color of the original packing. Another suggestion is that the name is the Greek word “oreo” meaning “beautiful, nice, well-done”.

3. Know-it-all : SMART ALEC
Apparently the original “smart Alec” (sometimes “Aleck”) was Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

4. N.H.L.’s ___ Memorial Trophy : HART
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged to be most valuable for his team in the NHL. The award is named for Dr. David Hart, a Canadian who donated the original trophy to the league.

7. Verb that’s conjugated “amo, amas, amat …” : AMARE
Amo, amas, amat” … I love, you love, he/she/it loves”, in Latin.

10. ___ Kane, resident of soap TV’s Pine Valley : ERICA
“All My Children” was the first daytime soap opera to debut in the seventies. Star of the show was Susan Lucci who played Erica Kane. The show was cancelled in 2011 after having being on the air for 41 years.

13. “Purgatorio” and “Paradiso” poet : DANTE
Dante Alighieri (usually just “Dante”) was an Italian poet of the Middle Ages. Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is widely considered to be the greatest literary work ever written in the Italian language.

31. Ingredients in a Caesar salad, to Caesar? : OVA
“Ova” is Latin for “eggs”.

The Caesar Salad was created by restaurateur Caesar Cardini at the Hotel Caesar’s in Tijuana, Mexico. The original recipe called for whole lettuce leaves that were to be lifted up by the stem and eaten with the fingers.

34. Humorist who wrote “Candy / Is dandy / But liquor / Is quicker” : OGDEN NASH
Ogden Nash was a poet from Rye, New York who is remembered for his light and quirky verse. Nash had over 500 such works published between 1931 and 1972.

41. Pastoral piece? : ACRE
At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. This was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one furlong wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. A area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.

43. “___ ’em!” (canine command) : SIC
“Sic ’em” is an attack order given to a dog, instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.

46. One getting a bite at night? : BEDBUG
Bedbugs are parasites that feed on human blood, and their preferred habitat is the mattresses on which people sleep. Bedbugs have been around for thousands of years and were almost eradicated in the 1940s. However, infestations have been increasing since then. Dogs have been trained to detect bedbugs and are used by some pest control specialists.

47. 007, e.g. : AGENT
James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …

50. Swords in modern pentathlons : EPEES
The original pentathlon of the ancient Olympic games consisted of a foot race, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus. When a new pentathlon was created as a sport for the modern Olympic Games, it was given the name the “modern pentathlon”. First introduced in 1912, the modern pentathlon consists of:

  1. pistol shooting
  2. épée fencing
  3. 200m freestyle swimming
  4. show jumping
  5. 3 km cross-country running

60. Mountain ___ (soda) : DEW
If you check the can, you’ll see that “Mountain Dew” is now marketed as “Mtn Dew”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Tease good-naturedly : JOSH
5. Knock down a notch : ABASE
10. Old-fashioned outburst : EGAD!
14. ___ Bunt, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” henchwoman : IRMA
15. Gently protest : DEMUR
16. Some music in Mumbai : RAGA
17. *Valentine outline : HEART SHAPE (giving “take heart” and “take shape”)
19. Cry at the start of a poker game : I’M IN!
20. Blood line : AORTA
21. “___ you nuts?” : ARE
22. Trail for a dog : SCENT
23. Summer clock setting: Abbr. : DST
24. *Cost to enter a bar, maybe : COVER CHARGE (giving “take cover” & “take charge”)
27. Dress style : A-LINE
29. “Excusez-___” : MOI
30. Controversial novel of 1955 : LOLITA
32. *Folksy : DOWN HOME (giving “take down” & “take home”)
37. With: Fr. : AVEC
38. Nonkosher entree : HAM
39. Excited and then some : AGOG
40. *What to do when coming face to face with a bear : BACK AWAY (giving “take back” & “take away”)
43. Partial rainbow near the horizon : SUN DOG
45. What framed Roger Rabbit? : CEL
46. Watch a season’s worth of episodes in one sitting, say : BINGE
47. *Delayed consequence : AFTEREFFECT (giving “take after” & “take effect”)
52. “Illmatic” rapper : NAS
55. Lose it completely : GO APE
56. Thor or Loki : GOD
57. “All ___ lost” : IS NOT
59. Follower of anything and everything : … ELSE
60. Surprised reaction … or a hint to what can precede both halves of the answers to the starred clues : DOUBLE TAKE
62. “Just do it” sloganeer : NIKE
63. Doldrums feeling : ENNUI
64. Forthwith, on a memo : ASAP
65. Throw in the trash : TOSS
66. Club in a sand trap : WEDGE
67. Actor Ifans of “The Amazing Spider-Man” : RHYS

Down
1. Crusade against “infidels” : JIHAD
2. Stackable cookies : OREOS
3. Know-it-all : SMART ALEC
4. N.H.L.’s ___ Memorial Trophy : HART
5. Billboards, e.g. : ADS
6. Babysitter’s request : BEHAVE
7. Verb that’s conjugated “amo, amas, amat …” : AMARE
8. Parent who “does it all” : SUPERMOM
9. Before, poetically : ERE
10. ___ Kane, resident of soap TV’s Pine Valley : ERICA
11. Devotee of eSports : GAMER
12. Ripening, as cheese : AGING
13. “Purgatorio” and “Paradiso” poet : DANTE
18. Silent, as an agreement : TACIT
22. Clamber up, as a pole : SHIN
25. Go ___ diet : ON A
26. Dairy animal : COW
28. Spank : LICK
30. Research site : LAB
31. Ingredients in a Caesar salad, to Caesar? : OVA
32. New Year’s ___ : DAY
33. Chill (with) : HANG
34. Humorist who wrote “Candy / Is dandy / But liquor / Is quicker” : OGDEN NASH
35. Sound from a 26-Down : MOO
36. Ingredient in a Caesar salad : EGG
38. Suffering from senility, say : HALF GONE
41. Pastoral piece? : ACRE
42. Tiny : WEE
43. “___ ’em!” (canine command) : SIC
44. Loosen, as a bow : UNTIE
46. One getting a bite at night? : BEDBUG
47. 007, e.g. : AGENT
48. Leaf of a book : FOLIO
49. Jobs to do : TASKS
50. Swords in modern pentathlons : EPEES
51. Lost’s opposite : FOUND
53. “Good to go” : A-OKAY
54. Staircase parts : STEPS
58. Symbol to the left of a zero on a phone : STAR
60. Mountain ___ (soda) : DEW
61. More than a fib : LIE

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14 thoughts on “1227-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Dec 16, Tuesday”

  1. Maybe a tad tougher than a usual Tuesday but not overly difficult. I forgot to even look for the theme.

    I was really confused by DEMUR. Then I realized I was thinking of the word "demure" and how it could possibly mean to protest.

    Interesting tidbit on doldrums that I did not know.

    Best –

  2. 12:10, no errors. No significant problems, just a slow day I guess. Didn't really need to bother with the theme, could figure it out after the puzzle was finished.

  3. @Anonymous (from Saturday and yesterday) … I think I'm using a more common definition of "finish" than you are. When all the squares of a puzzle are filled in, the puzzle is finished. If all of the squares are filled in correctly, the finished puzzle is error-free.

    In 1951, when I was eight and began working on the small crossword puzzles that appeared in our newspaper, I made use of a 1938 edition of Webster's 2nd, an old set of "Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia", a rather poor world atlas, various almanacs, and such other reference works as I could locate in the tiny library of the one-room country school I attended. Sometimes I finished the puzzles and sometimes I didn't. Sometimes my solutions were error-free and sometimes they weren't. In any case, I learned as much, if not more, from those puzzles as I ever did from the standard curriculum. Now, I seldom need "outside" help to finish a puzzle, but I am not above making use of it (and reporting it here when I do). And I still learn a lot in the process.

    Actually, those who complain about the construction and editing of modern puzzles would do well to go back and try a few "easy" puzzles from the 50's, which often depended on the use of really obscure words (in particular, geographic references) than is the case now. Believe me, rebuses and playful puns are a lot more fun than some of the older alternatives. And, IMO, they're not impossible or unfair or stupid.

    Okay, off the soapbox, Grandpa … 🙂

  4. @John Billings … I should be the last person to offer help with French pronunciation, but … I have heard "ennui" pronounced something like AWN-WEE. Also, I agree with your definition of "doldrums" and I thought that the clue in question was a bit of a stretch …

  5. An okay Tuesday theme puzzle, maybe a bit less than AOKAY.

    @Dave K: Your "more common definition" of finish is inconsistent with the currently common use of DNF, which applies whenever a solver has to look something up or otherwise "cheat" to fill out all squares correctly.

  6. 9:09 today and no errors.

    Agree with Tom M's assessment, and with the prevailing thread. A few questionable clues here, which of course fall under the purview of our "esteemed" editor.

  7. @Tom M … There appears to be merit in what you say, though I am unable to find a definitive set of rules for the use of the initialism DNF. I do know that quite a few posters on Bill's blogs (more so on the LAT blog) simply accept Googling as a fact of life and do not describe their experience as a DNF. In fact, some posters have revealed that they use an online tool and turn on error-checking, so as to be immediately informed of any errors they make (something I would never do). My goal in a post here is simply to describe my solution process clearly, in sufficient detail to make it clear what my experience was, at which point the reader can characterize it using whatever terms he or she prefers.

    The situation has been complicated by my relatively recent transition from pen and paper to online tools: It used to be that I would declare a puzzle done, record my time, check my answers, and report whatever errors I found. Now, both the NYT and the LAT apps, when I fill in the last square, let me know if I have made an error (either by giving me an explicit message to that effect or by simply not giving me the "success" message) and the clock keeps on running. This tends to encourage me to find and fix whatever is wrong. And, again, I try to make it clear in my post here what has happened.

    Of course, one could ask, "Why post such information at all?" I do it mostly in emulation of Bill, but I will admit to an altogether human urge to see how I'm doing compared to others (even if that isn't always an ego booster).

  8. @Dave K: Thanks for your reply. You are right that there is no definitive and generally observed rule about use of the terms "finish" and "DNF". Having followed Rex Parker's blog for a number of years, I have gathered that most solvers there do consider that "finish" means completion without googling, electronic assistance, or any other kind of outside help. Yet, I have no way of really knowing to what extent that is the case. As for myself, I adhere to the standard that "finish" means a correct completion without help of any kind other than the clues themselves, and "DNF" means I didn't meet that standard for whatever reason. (It may be relevant that I am a die-hard paper and pen solver.)

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