1203-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 3 Dec 2017, Sunday

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Constructed by: David Steinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Shell Game

We’re participating in a shell game in today’s grid. Circled letters in the top half of the grid spell out three sources of shells, i.e. WALNUT, CASHEW and ALMOND. Those shells are shown in the bottom half of the grid, but have been moved around. There is a PEA visible outside the shells in the top half:

  • 31A. Popeye’s boy : SWEE’PEA
  • 12D. Like hounds and most bunny rabbits : FLOP-EARED

That PEA disappears under the middle shell in the bottom half (as a letter F). If we replace that letter F with the PEA in the intersecting clues, we get alternative answers, and alternative clues:

  • 65A. The clue for 128-Down, if this shell game weren’t a scam : ARCTIC EXPLORER
  • 128D. Cook in oil : FRY (or PEARY)
  • 86A. The clue for 127-Across, if this shell game weren’t a scam : ATTACK WITH A PAW
  • 127A. Like hand motions during a shell game : SWIFT (or SWIPE AT)

Bill’s time: 23m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Browns : SAUTES

“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

7. Four-hit achievement, in baseball lingo : CYCLE

Lingo is a specialized vocabulary, as in journalese and legalese, for example.

12. Mil. posts : FTS

Fort (ft.)

15. System used at Gallaudet Univ. : ASL

It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

Gallaudet University is a private school in Washington, D.C. that is focused on the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Gallaudet was founded in 1864 and is officially a bilingual institution, with classes held in both English and ASL.

18. The U.S., in Mexico : EL NORTE

“El Norte” is the term many people in Central America use for the United States and Canada. It translates as “the North” from Spanish.

20. Milo of “Romeo and Juliet,” 1968 : O’SHEA

Milo O’Shea was a great Irish character actor from Dublin who has appeared in everything from “Romeo and Juliet” to “The West Wing”. O’Shea passed away in 2013, in New York City.

The 1968 big screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” was directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It holds a special place in movie history in that it was the last Shakespearean film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. The title roles were played by teen actors Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, who were 17 and 16 years old respectively at that time. Apparently, Paul McCartney of the Beatles was approached to play the part of Romeo, before Whiting was cast cast in the role.

21. Hawaii’s ___ Day : LEI

What’s known as “May Day” around the world is also called “Lei Day” in Hawaii. Lei Day started in the twenties and is a celebration of native Hawaiian culture.

23. “Et tu?” and others : ACCUSALS

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, Brutus?). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

28. Joyful internet cry : WOOT!

Apparently “woot” is computer slang, and an expression of excitement of joy. It has been suggested that the term comes from the game “Dungeons and Dragons”, and is a contraction of “wow, loot”. Unknown to me outside of crosswords …

29. Bubbly mixer : TONIC

The original tonic water was a fairly strong solution of the drug quinine dissolved in carbonated water. It was used in tropical areas in South Asia and Africa where malaria is rampant. The quinine has a prophylactic effect against the disease, and was formulated as “tonic water” so that it could be easily distributed. In British colonial India, the colonial types got into the habit of mixing in gin with the tonic water to make it more palatable by hiding the bitter taste of the quinine. Nowadays, the level of quinine in tonic water has been dropped, and sugar has been added.

31. Popeye’s boy : SWEE’PEA

Originally Popeye used the nickname “Swee’pea” to address his girlfriend Olive Oyl. Then along comes a baby, found on Popeye’s doorstep.

34. Cartoon seller of Squishees : APU

The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …

35. Pyrex glass marking : PINT MEASURE

Pyrex is a brand of glassware that was developed by Corning. As well as being used in bakeware and laboratory glassware, Pyrex is often the material of choice for optics in large telescopes used in astronomy. Corning’s PYREX (note the capital letters) is made from borosilicate glass, the main ingredients of which are silica and boron trioxide. Such Corning products are only available now outside of the US. Corning divested its consumer products division in 1998, resulting in the formation of World Kitchen. World Kitchen purchased the rights to the “Pyrex” name in the US, and market it as “pyrex” (all lowercase letters). So “PYREX” glassware is made from borosilicate glass, and “pyrex” products are made from cheaper tempered soda-lime glass.

38. Jackson 5 member : TITO

The Jackson 5 singing group was originally made up of brothers Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. The four eldest brothers are still performing, now using the name “The Jacksons”.

39. Philip who wrote “Portnoy’s Complaint” : ROTH

Author Philip Roth’s two most famous works are probably his 1959 novella “Goodbye, Columbus” for which he won a National Book Award, and his extremely controversial 1969 novel “Portnoy’s Complaint”. The latter title was banned in some libraries in the US, and was listed as a “prohibited import” in Australia. The controversy surrounded Roth’s treatment of the sexuality of the main character, a young Jewish bachelor undergoing psychoanalysis for his “complaint”.

41. Cain and Abel’s younger brother : SETH

According to the Bible, Seth was the third son of Adam and Eve, coming after Cain and Abel. Seth is the only other child of Adam and Eve who is mentioned by name. According to the Book of Genesis, Seth was born after Cain had slain his brother Abel.

45. Band with the 1989 platinum debut album “Junta” : PHISH

Phish is a rock and roll band that formed at the University of Vermont in 1983. After a hiatus from 2004 until 2009, the band is going strong to this day. The has been a “Phish Food” flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream since 1997.

47. Darryl, in the comic “Baby Blues” : DAD

“Baby Blues” is a comic strip that was launched in 1990 by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott. Initially, the strip told the story of married couple Darryl and Wanda MacPherson, along with their baby Zoe. The family now includes middle child Hammie and youngest child Wren.

54. The “K” in Kmart : KRESGE

Kmart is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. The company was founded by S. S. Kresge in 1899, with the first outlets known as S. S. Kresge stores. The first “Kmart” stores opened in 1962, with the “K” standing for “Kresge”. Kmart is famous for its promotions known as “blue light specials”, a program first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991. I remember being in a Kmart store soon after coming to live in the US. That evening an employee installed a light stand an aisle away from me, switched on a flashing blue light and there was some unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker system. I had no idea what was going on …

62. Plastic dispenser producer : PEZ

PEZ is an Austrian brand of candy sold in a mechanical dispenser. Famously, PEZ dispensers have molded “heads”, and have become very collectible over the years. The list of heads includes historical figures like Betsy Ross and Paul Revere, characters from “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”, and even British royalty like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (“William and Kate”). The name PEZ comes from the first, middle and last letters of “Pfefferminz”, the German word for “peppermint”.

65. The clue for 128-Down, if this shell game weren’t a scam : ARCTIC EXPLORER
128D. Cook in oil : FRY (or PEARY)

The famous American explorer Robert Peary, was supposedly the first man to reach the geographic North Pole, although that claim has been disputed even back in 1909 right after Peary returned from his trek across the polar ice. At issue is the accuracy of his navigation.

71. “Rights of Man” author, 1791 : PAINE

“Rights of Man” is a 1791 book by Thomas Paine, that argues in favor of a popular revolution when the government is deemed not to be protecting the rights of the people nor the national interest. As such, the book comes out heavily in favor of the French Revolution.

72. Early Cuzco dweller : INCA

Cusco (also “Cuzco”) is a city in the southeast of Peru. Historically, Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

77. Inside dope source : TIPSTER

Our use of the word “dope” to mean “inside information” probably comes from horse racing. The idea is that a better might have information about which horse has been drugged (doped) to influence its performance.

85. Cartoon seller of Duff Beer : MOE

The regulars on “The Simpsons” hang out at Moe’s Tavern, which is named for and run by Moe Szyslak. The most popular beer at Moe’s is Duff Beer. The name “Duff” is a reference to the real-life Duffy’s Tavern that used to be East 13th Street in Eugene, Oregon. “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening used to frequent Duffy’s regularly, and Moe’s looks very much like Duffy’s in terms of decor and floorplan.

91. All together : EN BLOC

To do something “en bloc” is to do it all together. “En bloc” is French for “in a block, lump”.

94. Country united in 1990 : YEMEN

Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, and lies just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office. Yemen has seen many rebellions over the centuries, and has been suffering through a Shia uprising since February 2015.

100. Westernmost of the ABC Islands : ARUBA

Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands located off the northern coast of Venezuela. “ABC Islands” is a name given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

105. Hosp. worker : LPN

Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

107. Prefix with caching : GEO-

Geocaching is a game rather like hide and seek that is played outdoors using hi-tech equipment. The idea is that someone places a waterproof container in a specific location with known GPS coordinates. The container has a logbook inside, so that players who find the “cache” can record their discovery along with any notes of interest. The location of the container is listed on special sites on the Internet for anyone to access. You can check out caches near you at www.geocaching.com. You will probably be surprised at how many there are! I know I was …

109. 2.5, for the set {1, 2, 3, 4} : MEAN

In a set of numbers, the mean is the average value of those numbers. The median is the numeric value at which half the numbers have a lower value, and half the numbers a higher value. The mode is the value that appears most often in the whole set of numbers.

114. Novel narrated by a soon-to-be mutineer : OMOO

Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for “Moby-Dick”). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for “Typee”). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for “Omoo”).

115. Material for small buildings? : LINCOLN LOGS

The toy known as “Lincoln Logs” was invented by John Lloyd Wright, the son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The toy was named after President Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a log cabin.

118. Proctor’s warning : SHH!

A proctor is a supervisor, especially of an examination in a school, or perhaps of a dormitory. The word “proctor” originated in the late 1500s, a contraction of the word “procurator”, the name given to an official agent of a church.

122. Edict : UKASE

In Imperial Russia, a “ukase” was a proclamation issued by the government or the tsar. We now use the term to describe any order issued by an absolute authority.

125. Style influenced by Cubism : ART DECO

Art deco is a style of design and architecture of the 1920s that actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe before arriving in North America. Celebrated examples of art deco architecture are the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City completed in 1930, and the GE Building that sits in the middle of Rockefeller Center also in New York City, with the address of “30 Rock”.

In the art movement known as Cubism, objects that are the subject of a painting are broken up and reassembled in an abstract form. The pioneers of the Cubist movement were Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.

131. Month of l’année : MAI

In French, “mai” (May) is a month of “l’année” (the year”).

132. Singer Reed : LOU

Lou Reed was best known as a rock musician and songwriter, and was especially associated with the fabulous 1973 hit “Walk on the Wildside”. Reed is less well known as a photographer, but he published two collections of his work. The first was released in 2003 under the title “Emotions in Action”, and the second in 2006 called “Lou Reed’s New York”. Reed passed away in 2013.

133. Four-time World Series-winning manager : TORRE

As a manager, Joe Torre was part of four World Series wins, all of them with the New York Yankees baseball team. Torre is an Italian American who was born in Brooklyn, New York. During the run up (pun intended!) to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Torre carried the Olympic flame part of the way through Florence in Italy, handing it over to the next runner at the famous Ponte Vecchio. I’d guess that was quite a thrill for him …

135. Superfund org. : EPA

The 1980 law called the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) is more usually referred to as “Superfund”. Superfund gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to compel polluters to clean up contaminated sites.

138. Pincher : KLEPTO

Kleptomania is the compulsion to steal, whether or not one is in need of what is stolen. The term derives from the Greek word for “to steal”, “kleptein”, with the suffix “-mania”.

Down

1. England and Spain fought one in 1588 : SEA WAR

The most famous Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England in order to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I in 1588. It failed in its mission, partly due to bad weather encountered en route. Ironically, the English mounted a similar naval attack against Spain the following year, and it failed as well.

2. Smirnoff Ice, e.g. : ALCOPOP

Alcopops are flavored alcoholic drinks, with the term being a portmanteau of “alcohol” and “pop”. Examples are Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Breezer, and Jack Daniel’s Hard Cola.

6. Walks or runs, for short : STAT

That would be baseball.

8. Fashion inits. : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

10. Degree of freedom : LEEWAY

Our word “leeway” meaning “spare margin” is nautical in origin. A vessel’s leeway is the amount of drift motion away from her intended course that is caused by the action of the wind.

14. Guru, maybe : SIKH

Sikhism is a religion that was founded in the Punjab region, which straddles the India-Pakistan border. Even though Sikhism was established relatively recently, it is now the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Sikhism was founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak.

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

16. Johannesburg neighborhood much in the news during apartheid : SOWETO

Soweto is an urban area in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. The name comes from SOuth WEstern TOwnship, a black township that was set up the days of apartheid. The famous Soweto Uprising took place in 1976, triggered by government policy forcing education to be given in Afrikaans rather than in English.

17. Underground locale : LONDON

The official name “London Underground” is a little deceptive, as over half of the track system-wide is actually “over ground”, with the underground sections reserved for the central areas. It is the oldest subway system in the world, having opened in 1863. It was also the first system to use electric rolling stock, in 1890. “The Tube”, as it is known by Londoners, isn’t the longest subway system in the world though. That honor belongs to the Shanghai Metro. My personal favorite part of the Tube is the Tube map! It is a marvel of design …

27. Typical Vanidades reader : LATINA

“Vanidades” is a Spanish-language women’s magazine. “Vanidades” was first published in Cuba back in 1931, but the headquarters of the magazine moved to Miami, Florida when Fidel Castro took power.

32. Port. is part of it : EUR

Portugal is the most westerly country in Europe, and is located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula alongside Spain. The name “Portugal” comes from the Latin “Portus Cale”, the name used by ancient Romans for Porto, now the country’s second largest city. Portugal was a far-reaching power in the 15th and 16th centuries, at the center of the world’s first truly global empire. A legacy of the Portuguese Empire is that today there are more than 240 million Portuguese speakers across the world.

36. One caring for a bebé : MADRE

In Spanish, a “madre’s” (mother’s) treasure is her “bebe” (baby).

37. Classical poem : EPODE

An epode is a lyric poem made up of couplets in which the first line is long, and the second line much shorter. The form was invented by the Greek poet Archilochus, and was most famously used by the Roman poet Horace.

40. Email openers : HIS

Hi there …

41. Egghead? : SHORT E

The first/head letter in the word “egg” is a short E.

48. Grp. with lots of pointers : AKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the organization that handles registration of purebred dogs The AKC also promotes dog shows around the country including the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

50. Like the verbs “eat” and “drink”: Abbr. : IRR

Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)

52. Bobcat relative : OCELOT

The ocelot is found mainly in South and Central America, although there have been sightings as far north as Arkansas. An ocelot doesn’t look too different from a domestic cat, and some have been kept as pets. Perhaps most famously, Salvador Dali had one that he carried around everywhere with him.

The lynx is a wild cat, of which there are four species. These are:

  • The Eurasian lynx: the biggest of the four species.
  • The Canada lynx: well-adapted to life in cold environments.
  • The Iberian lynx: a native of the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and the most endangered cat species in the world.
  • The Bobcat: our North American wildcat, the smallest of the four lynxes

53. Fund-raising org. : PTA

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

57. Bug : GLITCH

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term.

61. They’re symbolized by slashes : SPARES

In bowling, a spare is recorded on a score sheet with a forward slash mark. A strike is recorded with a large letter X.

63. Fantasy novel hero who rides the dragon Saphira : ERAGON

Christopher Paolini began writing his best-selling fantasy story “Eragon” at the age of 15. Christopher’s parents, when they read the final version two years later, they decided to self-publish it and support Christopher as he toured the US promoting the novel. It was eventually republished by Alfred A. Knopf in 2003, and became the second-best-selling children’s paperback of 2005. The book was adapted for the big screen in 2006. I’d call that a success story …

64. Capital 175 miles east of Venice, Italy : ZAGREB, CROATIA

Zagreb is the capital city of the Republic of Croatia. Zagreb has been around a long, long time, and dates back to the diocese of Zagreb that was founded at the end of 11th century.

70. Dernier ___ : CRI

The French phrase “dernier cri” translates literally as “the latest cry or scream”, but is used to denote the latest fashion, something that is “all the rage”.

75. Marc of fashion : ECKO

Marc Ecko is a fashion designer from New Jersey. Marc was born Marc Milecofsky. In college, he became a fan of graffiti and used the name “Ecko” to tag his drawings.

78. Much-covered 1955 Bo Diddley hit : I’M A MAN

“I’m a Man” is a 1955 song written and recorded by Bo Diddley. The most famous cover version of the song was released in 1965 by English rock band the Yardbirds.

86. All right : A-OK

Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose in the sixties during the Space Program.

87. Immune system component : T CELL

T cells are a group of white blood cells that are essential components of the body’s immune system. T cells are so called because they mature in the thymus, a specialized organ found in the chest.

92. Loch on the border of the Highlands : LOMOND

Loch Lomond is one of the two most famous lakes in Scotland. Loch Ness is famous for its “monster”, and Loch Lomond is famous for the lovely song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”. Oh, ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road …

95. Worn-down pencil : NUB

A much-used pencil or crayon might be worn down to a “nub”.

99. One way to run : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …

101. Greyhound offering : BUS TRIP

Speaking as someone who lived much of my life outside of the US, I have to say that the Greyhound bus is real symbol of America. I grew up seeing Greyhound buses in so many old movies. In Ireland the official provincial bus service “stole” the famous logo that gracefully adorns the sides of these buses, but uses a running Irish Setter in place of the iconic greyhound.

104. Hybrid music genre of the 2010s : EMO RAP

Emo rap? No idea …

107. Desert, in a way : GO AWOL

The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

108. City west of Binghamton : ELMIRA

Elmira is a city in the southern tier of New York State located closed close to the border with Pennsylvania. Elmira was also the family home of Olivia Langdon, wife of Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). Mark Twain and family are buried in Elmira’s Woodlawn Cemetery.

110. Pulitzer-winning novelist Jennifer : EGAN

Jennifer Egan is an author who grew up in San Francisco. Egan’s 2010 work “A Visit from the Goon Squad” won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Usually termed a novel, “A Visit from the Goon Squad” is structured in such a way that it is sometimes described as a collection of linked short stories.

113. Group with two top 10 rock operas : THE WHO

The English rock band called the Who was formed in 1964, bringing together famed musicians Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. According to “Rolling Stone” magazine, the Who were the third arm of the holy trinity of British rock, alongside the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

“Tommy” is the fourth album recorded by the British band called the Who. “Tommy” was the original rock opera and was adapted for both the stage and screen, with both adaptations becoming huge successes. The title character has an uncanny ability to play pinball, giving rise to the hit song “Pinball Wizard”.

“Quadrophenia” was the second rock opera by the Who (“Tommy” being the first, and more famous).

117. They have long necks and round bodies : LUTES

The lute is a stringed instrument with a long neck and usually a pear-shaped body. It is held and played like a guitar, and was popular from the Middle Ages right through to the late Baroque era. A person who plays the lute can be referred to as a “lutenist”.

120. Bear’s advice : SELL

The terms “bull” and “bear” markets come from the way in which each animal attacks. A bull thrusts his horns upwards (an “up” market), whereas a bear swipes with his paws downward (a “down” market).

123. Bearlike creature in sci-fi : EWOK

The Ewoks are creatures who live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. They’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

128. Cook in oil : FRY (or PEARY)

The famous American explorer Robert Peary was supposedly the first man to reach the geographic North Pole, although that claim has been disputed even back in 1909 right after Peary returned from his trek across the polar ice. At issue is the accuracy of his navigation.

130. Only three-letter scale note : SOL

The solfa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Browns : SAUTES
7. Four-hit achievement, in baseball lingo : CYCLE
12. Mil. posts : FTS
15. System used at Gallaudet Univ. : ASL
18. The U.S., in Mexico : EL NORTE
20. Milo of “Romeo and Juliet,” 1968 : O’SHEA
21. Hawaii’s ___ Day : LEI
22. Low : MOO
23. “Et tu?” and others : ACCUSALS
25. Lotion ingredients : ALOES
26. Suburb of Chicago : OAK LAWN
28. Joyful internet cry : WOOT!
29. Bubbly mixer : TONIC
31. Popeye’s boy : SWEE’PEA
33. Harassed, in a sense : HAZED
34. Cartoon seller of Squishees : APU
35. Pyrex glass marking : PINT MEASURE
38. Jackson 5 member : TITO
39. Philip who wrote “Portnoy’s Complaint” : ROTH
41. Cain and Abel’s younger brother : SETH
42. Word before questions or advice : ANY …
43. Do sales work, informally : REP
44. A part of : IN ON
45. Band with the 1989 platinum debut album “Junta” : PHISH
47. Darryl, in the comic “Baby Blues” : DAD
49. Accomplishing : DOING
51. Poke around : SNOOP
54. The “K” in Kmart : KRESGE
59. Places for plugs : DRAINS
62. Plastic dispenser producer : PEZ
65. The clue for 128-Down, if this shell game weren’t a scam : ARCTIC EXPLORER
68. Hardly guzzle : SIP
69. Group of pros : CRACK TEAM
71. “Rights of Man” author, 1791 : PAINE
72. Early Cuzco dweller : INCA
73. Series of mistakes? : GAG REEL
74. Vacation spot : RESORT
77. Inside dope source : TIPSTER
80. Prefix with business : AGRI-
81. Chilled : ON ICE
83. With 13-Down, herbal brew : CHAMOMILE
85. Cartoon seller of Duff Beer : MOE
86. The clue for 127-Across, if this shell game weren’t a scam : ATTACK WITH A PAW
90. Former N.F.L.’ers Detmer and Law : TYS
91. All together : EN BLOC
93. Shapes of some Halloween cookies : GHOSTS
94. Country united in 1990 : YEMEN
96. Soft drink options : COKES
98. A peeling place? : SPA
100. Westernmost of the ABC Islands : ARUBA
103. “Bug” : GERM
105. Hosp. worker : LPN
107. Prefix with caching : GEO-
109. 2.5, for the set {1, 2, 3, 4} : MEAN
112. Classic sculpture : BUST
114. Novel narrated by a soon-to-be mutineer : OMOO
115. Material for small buildings? : LINCOLN LOGS
118. Proctor’s warning : SHH!
119. Students often take them out : LOANS
121. When some bars close : TWO AM
122. Edict : UKASE
124. End in ___ : A TIE
125. Style influenced by Cubism : ART DECO
127. Like hand motions during a shell game : SWIFT (or SWIPE AT)
129. Professional group with a van : NEWS CREW
131. Month of l’année : MAI
132. Singer Reed : LOU
133. Four-time World Series-winning manager : TORRE
134. In the near future : SOONISH
135. Superfund org. : EPA
136. Something to build on : LOT
137. Looks fabulous, in slang : SLAYS
138. Pincher : KLEPTO

Down

1. England and Spain fought one in 1588 : SEA WAR
2. Smirnoff Ice, e.g. : ALCOPOP
3. Lacking polish : UNCOUTH
4. Push : TOUT
5. Verbal stumbles : ERS
6. Walks or runs, for short : STAT
7. Work together : CO-ACT
8. Fashion inits. : YSL
9. Elected : CHOSEN
10. Degree of freedom : LEEWAY
11. Lightens : EASES
12. Like hounds and most bunny rabbits : FLOP-EARED
13. See 83-Across : TEA
14. Guru, maybe : SIKH
15. “Pretty cool, huh?” : AMAZING, ISNT IT?
16. Johannesburg neighborhood much in the news during apartheid : SOWETO
17. Underground locale : LONDON
19. Give a ring while on the road? : ELOPE
24. Tizzy : SNIT
27. Typical Vanidades reader : LATINA
30. How many TV shows are shown : IN HD
32. Port. is part of it : EUR
36. One caring for a bebé : MADRE
37. Classical poem : EPODE
40. Email openers : HIS
41. Egghead? : SHORT E
46. Deceitful sort : SNAKE
48. Grp. with lots of pointers : AKC
50. Like the verbs “eat” and “drink”: Abbr. : IRR
52. Bobcat relative : OCELOT
53. Fund-raising org. : PTA
55. Fair : EXPO
56. Warm up for a bout, say : SPAR
57. Bug : GLITCH
58. Ages and ages : EON
60. With politesse : NICELY
61. They’re symbolized by slashes : SPARES
62. Minecraft or StarCraft : PC GAME
63. Fantasy novel hero who rides the dragon Saphira : ERAGON
64. Capital 175 miles east of Venice, Italy : ZAGREB, CROATIA
66. Lottery winner’s cry : I’M RICH!
67. Record again : RETAPE
70. Dernier ___ : CRI
72. Philosophy class suffix : -ISM
75. Marc of fashion : ECKO
76. Follows a pattern? : SEWS
78. Much-covered 1955 Bo Diddley hit : I’M A MAN
79. Juice : POWER
82. Verb often said three times in a row : NAG
84. It’s cut and dried : HAY
86. All right : A-OK
87. Immune system component : T CELL
88. “Let’s do this thing!” : IT’S ON!
89. Amt. of seasoning : TSP
92. Loch on the border of the Highlands : LOMOND
95. Worn-down pencil : NUB
97. Say quickly : SPIT OUT
99. One way to run : AMOK
101. Greyhound offering : BUS TRIP
102. Most visibly frightened : ASHIEST
103. Develop a limp : GO LAME
104. Hybrid music genre of the 2010s : EMO RAP
106. Houston-to-Dallas dir. : NNW
107. Desert, in a way : GO AWOL
108. City west of Binghamton : ELMIRA
110. Pulitzer-winning novelist Jennifer : EGAN
111. Total jerks : ASSES
113. Group with two top 10 rock operas : THE WHO
116. Runs to : COSTS
117. They have long necks and round bodies : LUTES
120. Bear’s advice : SELL
123. Bearlike creature in sci-fi : EWOK
124. Oil crisis? : ACNE
126. Murmur : COO
128. Cook in oil : FRY (or PEARY)
130. Only three-letter scale note : SOL

17 thoughts on “1203-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 3 Dec 2017, Sunday”

  1. 35:32 after finding and fixing a typo: I somehow ended up with SSL/SOSNISH instead of SOL/SOONISH (not something I would have typed intentionally, I think … I hope … 😜). A clever theme, but I paused for a bit at the end to make sure I understood what I was supposed to put in the “pea” positions and wasn’t being tricked into doing it wrong.

  2. 41:40. Felt much slower to me as I had a few trouble spots but finished around average time. Figuring out the shells wasn’t a problem but I had no idea what was going on with the cross referenced clues until I was done.

  3. Bill, I’m an avid crossworder and also a Registered Nurse (RN). Regarding your description of LPN, those areas you mentioned are almost exclusive staffed by RNs. LPNs have a much more limited scope of practice (cannot administer intravenous medications among other things). LPNs generally practice in less acute environments such as Skilled Nursing Facilities or in Nursing Homes. Just an FYI from an industry insider.
    While I’m commenting I may as well send out some props… I visit your site most every day and truly appreciate your insights, comments, and explanations of the more arcane themes of the puzzles.
    Cheers (you’ll have to really try to imagine how that sounds with my *Suthern* accent.
    Martin

    1. @MartinG
      Thanks for educating me on the deployment of LPNs. That’s just the kind of thing that goes right over my head, so I appreciate the help. I’ve simplified that comment, albeit a little late in the day! Thanks for taking the time to notify me. And, thanks for the kind words about the blog!

  4. Finished but other than the names of nuts spelled out in the gray squares have no idea what most of the shell game clues were supposed to convey. Kind of crazy. At least not a rebus requiring drawing pictures in squares. Hate when that happens…BTW.. “Alcopop” ? seriously?

  5. One hour, eight minutes and 28 seconds to complete this, with no errors (insert 15D) … and I **hated EVERY MINUTE OF IT**. I just do not like these “cleverer than thou” puzzles that make you think you’re being scammed the entire time. I’d rename this outrage, ‘368-clue Monte’. It was full of ridiculous clues, “OH COME *ON*” fills, words almost nobody has ever used in a sentence or a conversation (UKASE???? From friggin’ **Soviet Russia***???? WTF????) and a completely laborious gimmick.

    Literally, this is the product of two people with too much time on their hands. Steinberg and Shortz even managed to work themselves into this one, with 111D.

    Can we just get an honest challenge on a Sunday morning, or WHAT???

    1. As Bill says above, the word “ukase” was first used in Imperial Russia, not Soviet Russia. It’s a good one to learn, as it often appears in crossword puzzles (and I have seen it used in other contexts, as well).

  6. Just noticed that in my paper, the word “note” was left off the final clue, which certainly made it hard to arrive at SOL. Here I am wondering, by what evil trick are they hiding “triad” in three squares. There’s just no end to the aggravation in this grid, is there?

  7. 45:42, no errors. Challenging puzzle for me today, but I enjoy the workout. Fell into a few traps, entering 91A EN BANC before EN BLOC; 129A entered ROAD CREW before NEWS CREW.

    7A ‘Four hit achievement in baseball lingo’ is hitting for the CYCLE. This means that the batter must get a single, double, triple and home run in one game (not necessarily in order). It is extremely rare. Not sure if Bill left this info out for sake of brevity, just my 2 cents.

    Also appreciated the background explanation for Pyrex. We sold some of our old Pyrex ware at a garage sale, a couple years ago. Wife and I were amazed at how quickly they sold, now we know why.

  8. 7 across: “Hitting for the cycle” is not just getting four hits in a game, it is getting four specific hits — single, double, triple and home run. That’s what makes it a cycle. There is nothing cyclic about just getting four hits.

  9. I don’t understand the almost xenophobic reactions that sometimes occur in this crowd when foreign words or phrases pop up in these puzzles. I mean really, is it that big a deal?
    Expanding your horizons won’t hurt you…

  10. The clue for 36 down is erroneous. “Bébé” is a French word, “madre” is an Italian word. Get your European languages straight.

    I did not find this puzzle satisfying, too convoluted. I agree with Allen Dickerson on this one. I finished it, but still didn’t “get” it and so found it unsatisfying.

    1. But “bebé” (with an accent only on the second “e”, as it appears in the clue) is Spanish, and so is “madre”!

  11. I look forward to doing the NYT crossword every Saturday. Not any more. Not after this ridiculous crossword (Montreal Gazette Saturday December 9th, 2017). I’ll save the 3$ for the paper from now on.

    1. It’s probably too late to get an answer, but … idle curiosity … am I to understand that a Sunday NYT puzzle appears in the Saturday Montreal Gazette?

      1. Actually, I was able to answer my own question (in the affirmative) using Google. And it appears that the wrong grid appeared in the paper on Saturday, so the grid shown here (in Bill’s blog) was published online and in today’s (Monday’s) edition of the paper.

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