1228-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Dec 16, Wednesday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Brendan Emmett Quigley
THEME: The Carpenters
Today’s themed answers are names of celebrities, each of which includes a word associated with CARPENTRY:

35A. Pop group suggested by 17-, 25-, 47- and 58-Across : THE CARPENTERS

17A. Player of Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings” : ELIJAH WOOD
25A. “The Good War” Pulitzer Prize winner : STUDS TERKEL
47A. Boston Celtics coach beginning in 2013 : BRAD STEVENS
58A. Detective whose first book was “I, the Jury” : MIKE HAMMER

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 58s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Some pears : BOSCS
Bosc is a cultivar of the European Pear grown in the northwest of the United States. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck. I always seem to use the potato as my point of reference. How Irish am I …?

6. Joyous wedding dance : HORA
The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

10. Lethal injection providers? : ASPS
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

14. Electrified, as a Christmas tree : LIT UP
The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

15. Poet who wrote “If you want to be loved, be lovable” : OVID
The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is today known simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil.

16. Many a hockey shot : SLAP
A slapshot in ice hockey involves slapping the ice just behind the puck with the stick, causing the stick to bend and store up extra energy. When the stick finally hits the puck, all that extra energy is released along with the energy from the swing resulting in the hardest shot in hockey.

17. Player of Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings” : ELIJAH WOOD
Elijah Wood is an American actor who is most associated with his role as Frodo Baggins in the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

19. Nickname for baseball manager Terry Francona : TITO
Major League Baseball (MLB) manager Terry Francona is often referred to by the nickname “Tito”. Terry father is Tito Francona, who was an MLB outfielder from 1956 to 1970.

20. Hence : ERGO
“Ergo” is the Latin word for “hence, therefore”.

21. New England state sch. : URI
The University of Rhode Island (URI) was first chartered as an agricultural school, back in 1888. URI’s main campus today is located in the village of Kingston.

25. “The Good War” Pulitzer Prize winner : STUDS TERKEL
Studs Terkel was an author, historian and broadcaster. Terkel won a Pulitzer in 1985 for his book “The Good War”, an oral history of WWII consisting of interviews he conducted with many ordinary people about their experiences during the conflict.

29. Runner-advancing action : HIT
That would be in baseball.

30. Land west of Eng. : IRE
The island of Ireland is politically divided between the the Republic of Ireland in the south and Northern Ireland in the north. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, and covers about one-sixth of the island.

35. Pop group suggested by 17-, 25-, 47- and 58-Across : THE CARPENTERS
Karen Carpenter was an accomplished drummer, although she only started playing drums in high school, as a member of the school band. After she graduated she started playing jazz with her brother, Richard, and a college friend. Later, she and Richard played with a group called Spectrum, and submitted many demo tapes to recording companies, but all were unsuccessful. Finally, Karen and Richard got a recording contract with A&M Records, and when they had Karen take the lead on their songs, they hit the big time and toured as the Carpenters. Sadly, Karen passed away at only 32-years-old, dying from heart failure brought on by anorexia.

39. Renaissance Faire quaff : MEAD
Mead is a lovely drink, made from fermented honey and water.

42. Real heel : CAD
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

54. Worry after a raccoon attack : RABIES
“Rabies” is actually the Latin word for “madness”. The name is a good choice for the viral disease, as once the virus spreads to the brain the infected person or animal exhibits very tortured and bizarre behavior including hydrophobia, a fear of water. The virus is passed on to humans most often through a bite from an infected dog. It is curable if it is caught in time, basically before symptoms develop. Once the virus passes up the peripheral nervous system to the spine and the brain, there isn’t much that can be done.

The raccoon is native to North America. In captivity, raccoons can live to over 20 years of age, but in the wild they only live two or three years. The main causes for the shorter lifespan are hunting and road traffic.

55. Vehicle for the later years, for short? : IRA
Individual retirement account (IRA)

58. Detective whose first book was “I, the Jury” : MIKE HAMMER
Mike Hammer is the protagonist in a series of private detective novels by Mickey Spillane. The novels have been adapted for radio, television and the big screen. The actor most associated with Mike Hammer is Stacy Keach, who played the role in the TV series “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer” from 1984 to 1987.

“I, The Jury” is the first novel in the “Mike Hammer” series written by Mickey Spillane. The story was filmed twice, once in 1953 with Biff Elliot playing Hammer, and again in 1982 with Armand Assante taking the lead.

62. “___ plaisir” : AVEC
“Avec plaisir” is French for “with pleasure”.

66. Collapse in frustration : PLOTZ
The verb “to plotz” is slang for “faint, collapse from surprise or exhaustion”.

Down
3. Bad mark : STIGMA
A stigma (plural “stigmata), in a social sense, is a distinguishing mark of disgrace. For example, one might have to suffer the stigma of being in prison. The term derives from the Greek “stigma”, which was a mark or brand.

4. 1981 thriller whose title character is a St. Bernard : CUJO
“Cujo” is a Stephen King horror novel, which means that I have never read it (I don’t do horror). The character Cujo is a rabid St. Bernard dog which besieges a young couple for three days in their stalled car. King tells us that he lifted the dog’s name from real life, as Cujo was the nickname of Willie Wolfe, one of the men responsible for the 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

5. Where you might get rubbed the right way : 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”.

18. Hiking signal : HUT
The quarterback (QB) starts each play in football with a “snap” (also called a “hike”). He announces to his teammates the exact moment of the snap by calling out signals, usually including the word “hut” one or more times in a prearranged sequence.

25. Guideline for a freelancer, for short : SPEC
The term “free lance” was coined by Sir Walter Scott in his 1820 novel “Ivanhoe”, using it to describe a medieval mercenary warrior. Forty years later, a freelancer was a journalist who did work for more than one publication without a long-term commitment.

26. There might be a spat about this : SHOE
Spats are footwear accessories that cover the ankle and instep. Spats were primarily worn by men, and originally had the purpose of protecting shoes and socks from mud or rain. Eventually, spats became a feature in stylish dress. The term “spats” is a contraction of “spatterdashes”.

32. America’s Cup competitor : YACHTSMAN
The America’s Cup is a trophy that has been awarded for yacht racing since 1851. It was first presented to the winner of a race around the Isle of Wight in England that was won by a schooner called “America”. The trophy was eventually renamed to “the America’s Cup” in honor of that first race winner.

37. Tudor symbol : ROSE
The Wars of the Roses was a series of civil wars fought for the throne of England between the rival Houses of Lancaster and York. Ultimately the Lancastrians emerged victorious after Henry Tudor defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry was crowned King Henry VII, and so began the Tudor dynasty. Henry Tudor united the rival houses by marrying his cousin Elizabeth of York. Henry VII had a relatively long reign of 23 years that lasted until his death, after which his son succeeded to the throne as Henry VIII, continuing the relatively short-lived Tudor dynasty. Henry VIII ruled from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry VIII was the last male to lead the the House of Tudor, as his daughter Queen Elizabeth I died without issue. When Elizabeth died, the Scottish King James VI succeeded to the throne as James I of England and Ireland. James I was the first English monarch of the House of Stuart.

39. Country singer Martina : MCBRIDE
Martina McBride is a country music singer and songwriter. She is sometimes known as the “Céline Dion of Country Music”, which means nothing to me!

49. Minnesota team, for short : VIKES
The Minnesota Vikings joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1960. Founded in Minnesota, the team’s name reflects the location’s reputation as a center of Scandinavian American culture.

53. Dollar alternative : HERTZ
The Hertz car rental company was started in 1918 by Walter L. Jacobs in Chicago. He began with just twelve model T Ford cars available for rent. In 1923, the car rental operation was bought out by John D. Hertz who incorporated it into his truck and coach manufacturing company.

56. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL
Emil Jannings was an actor from Switzerland, who also held German and Austrian citizenship. Jannings was the first person to receive an Oscar, as the star of the 1928 silent movie called “The Last Command”. He also starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 classic “The Blue Angel”.

60. Finsteraarhorn, e.g. : ALP
The Finsteraarhorn is the highest of the Alps that lies outside of the main chain, actually in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. The Finsteraarhorn is the ninth highest peak in the whole of the Alps.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Some pears : BOSCS
6. Joyous wedding dance : HORA
10. Lethal injection providers? : ASPS
14. Electrified, as a Christmas tree : LIT UP
15. Poet who wrote “If you want to be loved, be lovable” : OVID
16. Many a hockey shot : SLAP
17. Player of Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings” : ELIJAH WOOD
19. Nickname for baseball manager Terry Francona : TITO
20. Hence : ERGO
21. New England state sch. : URI
22. Really enjoys : IS INTO
24. Thickheaded : DIM
25. “The Good War” Pulitzer Prize winner : STUDS TERKEL
27. [Surely you can’t mean …!] : GASP!
29. Runner-advancing action : HIT
30. Land west of Eng. : IRE
31. “Yo!” : HEY!
33. “Your point being …?” : SOO …
34. Beat (off) : FEND
35. Pop group suggested by 17-, 25-, 47- and 58-Across : THE CARPENTERS
39. Renaissance Faire quaff : MEAD
40. Playfully obtuse, maybe : COY
41. Dog command : SIT
42. Real heel : CAD
43. Hesitating sounds : UHS
44. Part of a Facebook feed : NEWS
47. Boston Celtics coach beginning in 2013 : BRAD STEVENS
52. “Like I’m supposed to believe THAT!” : HAH!
54. Worry after a raccoon attack : RABIES
55. Vehicle for the later years, for short? : IRA
56. Gutter cleaner’s work area : EAVE
57. “Game over!” : I WIN!
58. Detective whose first book was “I, the Jury” : MIKE HAMMER
61. Word with blind or expiration : DATE
62. “___ plaisir” : AVEC
63. Maximum : LIMIT
64. Looked over : EYED
65. Home in the forest : NEST
66. Collapse in frustration : PLOTZ

Down
1. Run, as colors : BLEED
2. Pumping station : OIL RIG
3. Bad mark : STIGMA
4. 1981 thriller whose title character is a St. Bernard : CUJO
5. Where you might get rubbed the right way : SPA
6. Text to which one might respond “im gr8” : HOW R U
7. Egg-shaped : OVOID
8. Where gymnast Simone Biles won Olympic gold : RIO
9. Housing expansions : ADDITIONS
10. Moving about : ASTIR
11. More sinuous and graceful : SLINKIER
12. Dressmaking aids : PATTERNS
13. Wound, as thread : SPOOLED
18. Hiking signal : HUT
23. Ready to go : SET
25. Guideline for a freelancer, for short : SPEC
26. There might be a spat about this : SHOE
28. Lose, as a coat : SHED
32. America’s Cup competitor : YACHTSMAN
33. One with a phony passport, maybe : SPY
34. Big party : FETE
35. Quickly detachable : TEAR-AWAY
36. Ate something : HAD A BITE
37. Tudor symbol : ROSE
38. Some decorative containers : TINS
39. Country singer Martina : MCBRIDE
43. It can decrease value : USE
45. “Kapow!” : WHAMMO!
46. “I don’t want to hear any of your excuses” : SAVE IT
48. Ate by candlelight, say : DINED
49. Minnesota team, for short : VIKES
50. Upright : ERECT
51. “Skip it” : NAH
53. Dollar alternative : HERTZ
56. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL
59. “Now ___ heard everything” : I’VE
60. Finsteraarhorn, e.g. : ALP

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10 thoughts on “1228-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Dec 16, Wednesday”

  1. This took me a little longer than most Wednesdays; perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so much. An awful lot of answers I had to get via crosses, guile and guesses, but I managed.

    PLOTZ, Spat SHOEs, and STUDS TERKEL, just to name a few, were new to me. ASPS for "Lethal injection providers" wins groaner of the day. Lots of SOO, HAH, HEY, HOW R U and UHS were tough as well.

    I never thought about it before, but COY and "ironic" actually mean almost the same thing. The first definition of "ironic" (one of the most misused words in the Engish language IMHO) is the use as in an "ironic smile" – one where you are humoring the other person even though you know better…ie feigned ignorance…i.e. being COY (just with a bit of an attitude) Whenever I see ironic used as a synonyn for a coincidence, my head explodes.

    End of sidebar –

    Best –

  2. @Tom M … Thanks again for the discussion of what "DNF" means in some quarters. I'm inclined to stick with my own more common-sense (IMO) interpretation. A few months ago, I think I offended some of the posters over on Bill's LAT blog by bad-mouthing the use of Google as an aid in finishing a crossword; since then, my attitude has softened considerably. Why should a rank beginner (perhaps, the modern-day equivalent of my eight-year-old self, using every reference work I could find) be discouraged from doing another crossword by being told that, after all, he or she didn't *really* finish the last one? Far better that each individual be free to determine what rules to follow, based on his or her own particular talent set and skill level …

    You mentioned Rex Parker's blog. I followed that for a while and got more than a little tired of the self-aggrandizing, hyper-critical comments indulged in by a lot of the posters there (starting with Mr. Parker himself). I'm not above an occasional nitpick, but in general I find the NYT puzzles to be of exceptional quality and a more-than-suitable adornment to my drab, wretched existence … 🙂

  3. Dave – Interesting discussion. I tend to think of finishing as meaning unaided, but there is certainly no shame in finishing using googles. That's how I began and also how I learned how not to need them. There are still grids that I need Google's help on once in a while. I just think of it as either finishing unaided or finishing with 2 Googles or 3 Googles or whatever. Then there are some I can't finish even with Google.

    Maybe we just need more categories. Finishing without any outside aids should be distinguished from finishing with aid. They are indeed 2 different levels of accomplishment.

    As for Rex Parker, I've never visited his site. It sounds like I may just keep it that way. Agree with you on NYT puzzles in general, and I'd add the same for the LAT puzzles.

    Best –

  4. 11:41, no errors. I, too, had several silly missteps. I read the clue for 1A as 'Some peers' rather than 'Some pears', so BOSCS was entered entirely by cross fills. For some reason, I remember STUDS TERKEL as Studs Merkel, so 9D ADDITIONS took longer than it should have.

    As a child, growing up in New York City, I was always hearing conversations filled with great Yiddish words that sounded like their meanings. PLOTZ, schlep and nosh are a few examples.

  5. @Dave K: We're on the same wavelength, I think. I felt the same way about outside help in my early years of NYT solving, and imposed more limits on myself as I learned more about what to look for and how to interpret clues and answers.

    I like @Jeff's suggestion about distinguishing between finishing with and without aid. "DNF" by itself seems a bit unforgiving when you've done all but a very small piece of a puzzle without any help.

    Rex Parker's blog takes some getting used to, learning what to expect. There are some very good kernels of wheat there from among the posters, as well as a lot of chaff. Rex is in a class by himself. I've grown to respect his super-critical expertise without always liking it.

  6. 11:36 today, and no errors. Not threatening Bill's time by any means, but then, I seldom do that anyway.

    Back to the theme of DNF: @Dave: nothing is to stop a beginner from using crutches to develop skills over time. But, one using outside aid should be under no illusion: he or she simply DID NOT FINISH said puzzle (on their own), and they're deluding themselves and/or deceiving others if they think otherwise. They would otherwise be stumped, and leave some spaces blank.

    One can make educated (or even exasperated) guesses to *complete* a grid, but, when one checks to see how one did, one should properly qualify the results and own up to any mistakes. So, you could say "I finished, but with 2 errors", or how ever many it ended up being. Or, if you employ Google or find a willing kibbitzer to help you fill in those last few troublesome squares, the best you could say is that "you finished, with help on X spaces or Y clues". I cannot be convinced you can claim the same result as someone who filled in every square correctly on their own, with no aid.

    In my eyes, it's all in being honest about your performance on the puzzle. This puzzle in particular is not easy, and takes YEARS to progress and see progress. That's why I'm such a stickler on how people report their results. It cheapens the feat to have "anybody with a Google link" able to say they finished the puzzle, when in fact, they couldn't.

  7. No errors, proud to say. My own personal rule is—-no help of any kind. After I have finished I come to Bill's site to check myself. From there on I can Google as much as I want to my heart's content. But not before.

    It was good today to see that some of the posters on this blog had some hits and misses along the way. I went through this puzzle smoothly without a single erasure and every word connecting in sequence right down to the final fill. Having said that, I want you to know that I look up to you all as role models for me. You are way,way ahead of me and I do aspire to someday reach your level.

    Also, just to be honest, I do not work the crosswords for "time". I work them at a pace just as it comes to me. I have often wondered if those of you who do work for a good "time" could have less trouble if you were not under the pressure of the clock….and how much difference would that make.

  8. We often finish with no outside help. We do not time ourselves. One step down from finishing with no help is using Wikipedia to check an answer that we've filled in but aren't sure of. If we were right, we don't regard it as any (or much) less than finishing with no help. If we are ready to give up on a grid, we look an answer up on Wikipedia or, less often, on Google. We count that as not succeeding, but we still persist and try to finish. It's surprising how often looking up just one answer leads to filling in many more. Very occasionally we just give up and either come here or use Wikipedia and Google to finish it out. That, we regard as failure to finish.

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