1211-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 11 Dec 2017, Monday

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Constructed by: Brian Thomas
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme:Headphones

Themed answers are HEADED by types of PHONES:

  • 63A. They bring music to one’s ears … or a hint to 17-, 21-, 33-, 45- and 54-Across : HEADPHONES
  • 17A. Service organization with a wheel logo : ROTARY CLUB (giving “rotary phone”)
  • 21A. Prison unit : CELL BLOCK (giving “cell phone”)
  • 33A. Domicile with wheels : MOBILE HOME (giving “mobile phone”)
  • 45A. Wiseass : SMART ALECK (giving “smartphone”)
  • 54A. Action taken by a company in distress : PAY FREEZE (giving “pay phone”)

Bill’s time: 5m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Georgetown athlete : HOYA

The athletic teams of Georgetown University are known as the Hoyas. The name is derived from “Hoya Saxa”, a traditional cheer yelled out at Georgetown games as far back as 1893. The term is a mixture of Greek and Latin, with the Greek word “hoya” meaning “such” or “what”, and “saxa” translating from Latin as “rocks” or “small stones”. The cheer is usually rendered in English as “what rocks!”.

14. Genesis garden : EDEN

According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

15. Sign after Virgo : LIBRA

The constellation of Libra is named for the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is the only sign of the zodiac that isn’t named for a living creature.

The astrological sign of Virgo is associated with the constellation of the same name. The Virgo constellation is related to maidens (virgins), purity and fertility.

16. First word in a fairy tale : ONCE

The stock phrase “Once upon a time” has been used in various forms as the start of a narrative at least since 1380. The stock phrase at the end of stories such as folktales is often “and they all lived happily ever after”. The earlier version of this ending was “happily until their deaths”.

17. Service organization with a wheel logo : ROTARY CLUB (giving “rotary phone”)

The first Rotary Club meeting was held in 1905 in Chicago in the office of one of the four businessmen who attended. The name “Rotary Club” was chosen as the plan was to “rotate” the locations of the meetings to the offices of each of the club’s members in turn.

23. Where Siberia is : ASIA

Siberia is a vast area in Northern Asia. The region’s industrial development started with the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway from 1891 to 1916, which linked Siberia to Russia in the west.

25. Connecticut Ivy : YALE

The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

38. Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were ___” : NONE

“Ten Little Indians” is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie. The story was adapted for the big screen several times, including a 1989 version that used the same title as the novel. An earlier 1974 version used the title “And Then There Were None”. Actor Herbert Lom appeared in both versions.

42. London’s Old ___ : VIC

The Old Vic is a very famous theater (or I should I say “theatre”?) in London, previously known as the Royal Coburg Theatre and then the Royal Victorian Theatre (giving it the current name “The Old Vic”). The theater owes a lot of its fame and standing to the fact that it housed the National Theater of Great Britain after it was founded in 1963 by Sir Laurence Olivier. Today the National Theater has new, modern premises, but the Old Vic Theatre Company stills garners a lot of attention. American actor Kevin Spacey was the artistic director of the company from 2003 until 2015.

43. Something a strawberry has on the outside : SEED

An achene is a simple, one-seeded dry fruit that is produced by some flowering plants. The so-called “seeds” of strawberries are actually achenes. The strawberry’s seed is found inside the achene. The strawberry itself is an aggregate fruit with lots of achenes that are attached to accessory tissue, albeit very delicious accessory tissue.

45. Wiseass : SMART ALECK (giving “smartphone”)

Apparently the original “smart Alec” (sometimes “Aleck”) was one Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

47. Neighbor of Jordan : SYRIA

The modern state that we know as Syria was established after WWI as a French mandate. Syria was granted independence from France in 1946.

The nation that we know as Jordan takes its name from the River Jordan that forms part of the country’s border with Israel and Palestine to the west. Jordan achieved independence in 1946 after the UN approved the end of the British Transjordan Mandate. The Kingdom of Transjordan changed its name to Jordan in 1948.

50. Christmas trees : FIRS

Firs are evergreen coniferous trees, with several species being popular as Christmas trees. The most commonly used species during the holidays are the Nordmann fir, noble fir, Fraser fir and balsam fir. We also see a lot of Douglas fir trees at Christmas, but they’re not actually true firs.

53. Place where a mother might sing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” : CRIB

“Rock-a-Bye Baby” is a lullaby, the history of which is much debated. Some say it originated in England, and others claim that it was the first poem that was written on American soil.

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

68. “Let’s ___ a Deal” : MAKE

The game show “Let’s Make a Deal” first aired way back in 1963. For many years the show was hosted by Monty Hall, from 1963 until 1986, and again briefly in 1991. In more recent years, Wayne Brady took over as host in 2009.

70. Broadway award : TONY

Sardi’s is a renowned restaurant in the Theater District of Manhattan that was opened in 1927 by Italian immigrant Vincent Sardi, Sr. Sardi’s is famous for attracting celebrities who pose for caricatures that are then displayed on the restaurant’s walls. After the death of actress and director Antoinette Perry in 1946, her friend and partner Brock Pemberton was having lunch at Sardi’s and came up with idea of a theater award that could be presented in Perry’s honor. The award was to be called the Tony Award. In fact, Vincent Sardi, Sr. was presented with a special Tony at the first award ceremony, held in 1947.

Down

1. Zeus’ wife : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

3. Dubious sighting in the Himalayas : YETI

The yeti, also called the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

4. Prehistoric Southwest culture : ANASAZI

The Ancient Pueblo Peoples were Native Americans who lived in what is now called the Four Corners area of the US. Archaeologists sometimes refer to these ancestral Pueblo peoples as the Anasazi, a Navajo word meaning “Ancient Ones”. The Pueblo name was given by early Spanish explorers in reference to the villages that they found. “Pueblo” is Spanish for “village”.

6. Pagan religious practice : WICCA

Wicca is a relatively new phenomenon. It is a Neopagan religion that developed in the twentieth century. Typically, followers of Wicca worship one goddess and one god, namely the Moon Goddess and the Horned God. A follower of Wicca is called a Wiccan or a Witch.

9. “Se ___ español” : HABLA

“Habla español?” is Spanish for “Do you speak Spanish?” “Aqui se habla español” translates as “Spanish is spoken here”.

10. Kind of logic in which all values are either true or false : BOOLEAN

In elementary algebra, the variable used can represent any number. In Boolean algebra, the variables can only have the values of 1 or 0 i.e. true or false.

11. Prefix with -plasm : ENDO-

The endoplasm is the inner part of a cell’s cytoplasm, and the ectoplasm is the outer part.

12. “Back in Black” rock band : AC/DC

The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in Australia. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

22. Diner sandwich, for short : BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

27. $$$ : MONEY

The “$” sign was first used for the Spanish American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become the model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the “$” sign.

28. Li’l ___ of the funnies : ABNER

“Li’l Abner” was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he went so far as to apologize to his long-standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt that the quality of his work had gone down in those latter years. The comic strip character’s full name is “Li’l Abner Yokum”.

35. ___ Mae (Whoopi’s role in “Ghost”) : ODA

Oda Mae Brown is the psychic medium in the movie “Ghost”, and is played by Whoopi Goldberg.

36. Onetime Russian space station : MIR

The Russian Mir Space Station was a remarkably successful project. It held the record for the longest continuous human presence in space at just under 10 years, until the International Space Station eclipsed that record in 2010. Towards the end of the space station’s life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in 2001. “Mir” is a Russian word meaning “peace” or “world”.

52. “___ evil …” : SEE NO

The old adage “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” originated in the 17th century. The phrase comes as an interpretation of a wood carving over a door in a shrine in Nikko, Japan. The carving depicts the “Three Wise Monkeys”:

  • Mizaru, covering his eyes
  • Kikazaru, covering his ears
  • Iwazaru, covering his mouth

59. Word after lock or glom : … ONTO

“Glom” is a slang term meaning “steal”, although it can also be used to mean “latch onto” when used as “glom onto”. The term probably comes from the Scots word “glam” meaning “to snatch at”.

60. Unpaid intern, jocularly : PEON

A peon is a lowly worker with no real control over his/her working conditions. The word comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Georgetown athlete : HOYA
5. Path left behind by a mower : SWATH
10. Item on a Native American moccasin : BEAD
14. Genesis garden : EDEN
15. Sign after Virgo : LIBRA
16. First word in a fairy tale : ONCE
17. Service organization with a wheel logo : ROTARY CLUB (giving “rotary phone”)
19. 10:1 or 3:2 at a racetrack : ODDS
20. Get up : ARISE
21. Prison unit : CELL BLOCK (giving “cell phone”)
23. Where Siberia is : ASIA
25. Connecticut Ivy : YALE
26. Wowed : AMAZED
29. Bird of prey’s claw : TALON
33. Domicile with wheels : MOBILE HOME (giving “mobile phone”)
38. Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were ___” : NONE
39. No room at the ___ : INN
40. Praising : LAUDING
42. London’s Old ___ : VIC
43. Something a strawberry has on the outside : SEED
45. Wiseass : SMART ALECK (giving “smartphone”)
47. Neighbor of Jordan : SYRIA
49. Cleans, as a chalkboard : ERASES
50. Christmas trees : FIRS
53. Place where a mother might sing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” : CRIB
54. Action taken by a company in distress : PAY FREEZE (giving “pay phone”)
58. Breadth : SCOPE
62. Hawaiian feast : LUAU
63. They bring music to one’s ears … or a hint to 17-, 21-, 33-, 45- and 54-Across : HEADPHONES
65. Big vases : URNS
66. Rage : ANGER
67. Surmounting : ATOP
68. “Let’s ___ a Deal” : MAKE
69. Always telling people what to do : BOSSY
70. Broadway award : TONY

Down

1. Zeus’ wife : HERA
2. Smell : ODOR
3. Dubious sighting in the Himalayas : YETI
4. Prehistoric Southwest culture : ANASAZI
5. Crafty : SLY
6. Pagan religious practice : WICCA
7. Qualified : ABLE
8. Yours ___ (letter sign-off) : TRULY
9. “Se ___ español” : HABLA
10. Kind of logic in which all values are either true or false : BOOLEAN
11. Prefix with -plasm : ENDO-
12. “Back in Black” rock band : AC/DC
13. Place for a laptop other than a lap : DESK
18. Flip, as a property : RESELL
22. Diner sandwich, for short : BLT
24. Notions : IDEAS
26. Not quite right : AMISS
27. $$$ : MONEY
28. Li’l ___ of the funnies : ABNER
30. Amours : LOVES
31. In reserve : ON ICE
32. Long, narrow parts of bottles : NECKS
34. Good engine sound : HUM
35. ___ Mae (Whoopi’s role in “Ghost”) : ODA
36. Onetime Russian space station : MIR
37. Opposite of exit : ENTER
41. Obtrusively bright and showy : GARISH
44. Not concentrated, as light : DIFFUSE
46. Researcher’s wear : LAB COAT
48. Televise : AIR
51. Program for addicts : REHAB
52. “___ evil …” : SEE NO
53. Gives up, as territory : CEDES
54. Juicy fruit with a pit : PLUM
55. Mystique : AURA
56. Tug sharply : YANK
57. Veers the other way : ZAGS
59. Word after lock or glom : … ONTO
60. Unpaid intern, jocularly : PEON
61. Catch sight of : ESPY
64. Not mind one’s own business : PRY