1204-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 2017, Monday

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Constructed by: Alan Arbesfeld
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: *Ay It Puzzle

Today’s themed answers are of the form “-AY IT xxxx”. The first word ends with -AY, and the second is IT:

  • 17A. “Tell me the rumors are false!” : SAY IT AIN’T SO!
  • 28A. 2000 Kevin Spacey/Helen Hunt film : PAY IT FORWARD
  • 38A. Oscar-nominated Enya song from 2001’s “The Lord of the Rings” : MAY IT BE
  • 48A. Offer effusive praise : LAY IT ON THICK
  • 62A. Improvise : PLAY IT BY EAR

Bill’s time: 5m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Falafel holders : PITAS

Pita is a lovely bread from Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Pita is usually round, and has a “pocket” in the center. The pocket is created by steam that puffs up the dough during cooking leaving a void when the bread cools.

Falafel is a ball of ground chickpeas or fava beans that has been deep fried and served in pita bread. I love chickpeas, but falafel is often too dry to me …

14. Food-spoiling bacterium : E COLI

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

15. “Remember the ___!” : ALAMO

The famous Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission was founded in 1718 and was the first mission established in the city. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, a thirteen-day siege by the Mexican Army led by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Only two people defending the Alamo Mission survived the onslaught. One month later, the Texian army got its revenge by attacking and defeating the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp, many of the Texian soldiers were heard to cry “Remember the Alamo!”.

16. Party card game : UNO

In my youth I remember being taught a great card game by a German acquaintance of mine, a game called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

19. Kook : NUT

“Kooky” is a slang word meaning “out there, crazy”. The term has been around since the beatnik era, and it may be a shortened version of the word “cuckoo”.

20. Revolutionary Guevara : CHE

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

37. Approximation: Abbr. : EST

Estimate (est.)

38. Oscar-nominated Enya song from 2001’s “The Lord of the Rings” : MAY IT BE

The Irish singer Enya wrote and performed two songs for the 2001 film “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”. Her song “May It Be” was nominated to that season’s Best Original Song Academy Award. The second number, called “Aniron”, was sung in Tolkien’s Elvish language called Sindarin.

45. Dog doc : VET

“Vet” is an abbreviation for “veterinarian”, a professional who treat animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

52. Poe poem that starts “Once upon a midnight dreary,” with “The” : RAVEN

The first verse of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door

57. Capital of Oregon : SALEM

Salem is the state capital of Oregon. It is thought that the city takes its name from the older city of Salem, Massachusetts.

66. California’s Big ___ : SUR

Big Sur is a lovely part of the California Coast located south of Monterey and Carmel. The name “Big Sur” comes from the original Spanish description of the area as “el sur grande” meaning “the big south”.

68. Cowboys’ home : RANGE

The words of “Home on the Range” came before the music, from a poem called “My Western Home” from the 1870s written by a Dr. Brewster Higley of Kansas. The music was added by Daniel Kelley, a friend of Higley. And now, a version of the song is the state song of Kansas.

69. D.D.E.’s predecessor : HST

The letter “S” in the middle of the name Harry S. Truman (HST) doesn’t stand for anything. The future-president was named “Harry” in honor of his mother’s brother Harrison “Harry” Young. The initial “S” was chosen in honor of young Harry’s two grandfathers: Anderson S-hipp Truman and S-olomon Young.

Future US president Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas in 1890 and given the name David Dwight, but by the time he made it to the White House he was going by the name Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE). Growing up, his family called him Dwight, and when “Ike” enrolled in West Point he himself reversed the order of his given names.

70. Cheese with holes : SWISS

“Swiss cheese” is a relatively generic term for a type of cheese produced in various countries and not necessarily in Switzerland. What they all have in common though, is a resemblance to the original Swiss Emmental cheese.

71. Actress Winona of “Stranger Things” : RYDER

The Hollywood actress Winona Ryder’s real name is Winona Horowitz. Ryder was born near the town of Winona in Minnesota, from which she got her name. Her success on the screen has garnered as much media attention as her life off the screen. The papers had a field day when she was arrested in 2001 on a shoplifting charge followed by a very public court appearance. Her engagement with Johnny Depp in the early nineties was another media frenzy. Depp had “Winona Forever” tattooed on his arm, which he had changed after the breakup to “Wino Forever”. A man with a sense of humor …

“Stranger Things” is a sci-fi horror TV show made for Netflix that aired its first season in 2016. I don’t do horror so haven’t seen it …

Down

1. Actor Joe of “My Cousin Vinny” : PESCI

Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in “Raging Bull” starring Robert De Niro, earning Pesci an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Goodfellas” and “Casino”. But I like Pesci’s comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the “Home Alone” films, the “Lethal Weapon” series, and my personal favorite, “My Cousin Vinny”. Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical “Jersey Boys”, which isn’t too surprising as he is one of the show’s producers.

“My Cousin Vinny” is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated “My Cousin Vinny” as the #3 Greatest Legal Movie of all time, after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “12 Angry Men”!

2. Corporate raider Carl : ICAHN

Carl Icahn has many business interests, and is probably best known in recent years for his dealings with Yahoo! Icahn has a reputation as a corporate raider, a reputation that dates back to his hostile takeover of TWA in 1985. He made a lot of money out of that deal, before being ousted in 1993 after the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

4. Three-time Frazier foe : ALI

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had three memorable fights. The first was billed as the “Fight of the Century” and took place in 1971 in Madison Square Garden. It was a fight between two great boxers, both of whom were undefeated up till that point. Frazier won in a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds. A couple of years later, in 1973, Frazier lost his title to George Foreman. Ali and Frazier had a non-title rematch in 1974, with Ali coming out ahead this time, also in a unanimous decision. Later that year, Ali grabbed back the World Heavyweight Title in “The Rumble in the Jungle”, the famous “rope-a-dope” fight against George Foreman. That set the stage for the third and final fight between Ali and Frazier, “The Thrilla in Manila”. Ali won the early rounds, but Frazier made a comeback in the middle of the fight. Ali took control at the end of the bout, so much so that Frazier wasn’t able to come out of his corner for the 15th and final round. He couldn’t come out of his corner because both of his eyes were swollen shut, giving Ali a victory due to a technical knockout (TKO).

6. Chinese martial art : TAI CHI

More correctly called t‘ai chi ch‘uan, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.

7. Neighbor of the radius : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinkie-side”.

8. Yanks : New York :: ___ : Washington : NATS

The Washington Nationals (“Nats”) baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and were the first Major League Baseball team in Canada. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.

9. Letters on an ambulance : EMS

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

23. Clean Air Act and others : LAWS

25. Clean Air Act org. : EPA

The Clean Air Act of 1963 is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

29. Travis of country music : TRITT

Travis Tritt is a country singer from Marietta, Georgia.

30. Liposuction target : FAT

Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

32. Singer Diamond or Young : NEIL

I saw Neil Diamond in concert back in the mid-nineties, and I must say he does put on a great show. His voice is cracking a bit, but that didn’t seem to spoil anyone’s enjoyment. I’ve also seen Diamond interviewed a few times on television, and I wouldn’t say he has the most scintillating of personalities.

Neil Young is a singer and songwriter from Toronto, Ontario. Young is known for his solo work, as well as his earlier recordings with Buffalo Springfield and as the fourth member of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Young is also a successful movie director, although he uses the pseudonym “Bernard Shakey” for his movie work. Included in his filmography are “Human Highway” and “Greendale”.

39. Stratford-upon-___ : AVON

Stratford-upon-Avon is a town in the county of Warwickshire in the English midlands. Most famously perhaps, it was the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

40. Hankering : YEN

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

47. D.D.E., familiarly : IKE

When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhowers used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.

51. Rapper-turned-TV actor : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

55. ___ orange : OSAGE

The Osage orange is also known as the horse apple, and is a deciduous tree native to North America. The wood of the tree was prized by Native Americans, particularly the Osage nation, who used it to make bows. The Osage Orange was also called “bois d’arc” (meaning “bow-wood”) by early French settlers, a reference to the local usage. This French name was corrupted into “bodark” and “bodarc”, another name for the same tree.

58. Indonesian tourist destination : BALI

Bali is both an island and a province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist spot, although the number of visitors dropped for a few years as a result of terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 that killed mainly tourists. Bali became more popular starting in 2008 due to a significant and favorable change in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah.

63. Like a pitch between the ankles and knees : LOW

That would baseball.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Falafel holders : PITAS
6. Piano technician : TUNER
11. Start of a countdown : TEN
14. Food-spoiling bacterium : E COLI
15. “Remember the ___!” : ALAMO
16. Party card game : UNO
17. “Tell me the rumors are false!” : SAY IT AIN’T SO!
19. Kook : NUT
20. Revolutionary Guevara : CHE
21. Some HDTVs : RCAS
22. Glowing part of a fire : FLAME
24. Comprehensive, as a report : IN DEPTH
27. Put an end to : CEASE
28. 2000 Kevin Spacey/Helen Hunt film : PAY IT FORWARD
32. Sounding congested : NASAL
35. Smash into : RAM
36. Leave rolling in the aisles : SLAY
37. Approximation: Abbr. : EST
38. Oscar-nominated Enya song from 2001’s “The Lord of the Rings” : MAY IT BE
42. Was out to lunch? : ATE
43. Apple tablet : IPAD
45. Dog doc : VET
46. Helped out : AIDED
48. Offer effusive praise : LAY IT ON THICK
52. Poe poem that starts “Once upon a midnight dreary,” with “The” : RAVEN
53. Long to have : ACHE FOR
57. Capital of Oregon : SALEM
58. Sweetie pie : BABE
60. “That ___ lie!” : IS A
61. Get older : AGE
62. Improvise : PLAY IT BY EAR
66. California’s Big ___ : SUR
67. Sign on a boardinghouse window : TO LET
68. Cowboys’ home : RANGE
69. D.D.E.’s predecessor : HST
70. Cheese with holes : SWISS
71. Actress Winona of “Stranger Things” : RYDER

Down

1. Actor Joe of “My Cousin Vinny” : PESCI
2. Corporate raider Carl : ICAHN
3. Trifled (with) : TOYED
4. Three-time Frazier foe : ALI
5. Take a load off : SIT
6. Chinese martial art : TAI CHI
7. Neighbor of the radius : ULNA
8. Yanks : New York :: ___ : Washington : NATS
9. Letters on an ambulance : EMS
10. One whose work is on the house? : ROOFER
11. Popular sandwich order : TUNA SALAD
12. Make a list of : ENUMERATE
13. Do, re or mi : NOTE
18. Pretentiously showy : ARTY
23. Clean Air Act and others : LAWS
25. Clean Air Act org. : EPA
26. It may be read by a psychic : PALM
27. Grooming implement : COMB
29. Travis of country music : TRITT
30. Liposuction target : FAT
31. Not naturally red-haired, e.g. : DYED
32. Singer Diamond or Young : NEIL
33. Spears at the dinner table : ASPARAGUS
34. “Keep your eyes open!” : STAY ALERT!
39. Stratford-upon-___ : AVON
40. Hankering : YEN
41. Per person : EACH
44. Drop precipitously : DIVE
47. D.D.E., familiarly : IKE
49. Lures : TEMPTS
50. Bad ones are hard to break : HABITS
51. Rapper-turned-TV actor : ICE-T
54. Wicked one : FIEND
55. ___ orange : OSAGE
56. Harder to find : RARER
57. Pageant wrap : SASH
58. Indonesian tourist destination : BALI
59. Naval agreements? : AYES
63. Like a pitch between the ankles and knees : LOW
64. “It’s f-f-freezing!” : BRR!
65. “Yippee!” : YAY!

4 thoughts on “1204-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 2017, Monday”

  1. 9:40 – Getting to this a day late. We used to have horse apples trees on my street growing up in St Louis. Nasty things after they fell and become rotten. Of course, as kids we then had to throw them at each other. Didn’t know them by the name OSAGE orange. That’s why we tune in daily…

    Best –

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