1206-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 6 Dec 2017, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Clive Probert
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: M and M, and M …

Every single answer in today’s puzzle includes at least one letter M, and every clue starts with the letter M:

  • 28D. “Melts in your mouth” candy : M AND M

Bill’s time: 8m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Miss Woodhouse, in literature : EMMA

Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel.

9. Marian, in Robin Hood legend : MAID

Robin Hood is a figure from English folklore, celebrated in story and song. Some stories suggest that Robin Hood the outlaw was actually a real nobleman, the Earl of Huntington. Robin Hood’s famous companion was Maid Marian. Interestingly, the legend of Maid Marian (full name Lady Marian of Leaford) had been around for centuries before she became associated with Robin Hood starting in the 1700s.

13. Manfred ___ (1960s band) : MANN

Manfred Mann was a rock band from London in the sixties. The group was named for the keyboard player and co-founder Manfred Mann, who went on to form Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in the 1970s. The three huge hits recorded by Manfred Mann are “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, “Pretty Flamingo” and “Mighty Quinn”.

14. Medieval philosopher with a “razor” : OCCAM

Ockham’s Razor (also “Occam’s Razor”) is a principle in philosophy and science that basically states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. This explanation is a corollary to the more exact statement of the principle, that one shouldn’t needlessly use assumptions in explaining something.

16. Maker of outlandish products in Road Runner cartoons : ACME

The Acme Corporation is a fictional company used mainly by Looney Tunes, and within the Looney Tunes empire it was used mostly in the “Road Runner” cartoons. Wile E. Coyote was always receiving a new piece of gear from Acme designed to finally capture the Road Runner, but the equipment always led to his downfall instead.

17. Multimedia file format : MPEG

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) was established in 1988 to set standards for audio and video compression. The standards they’ve come up with use the acronym “MPEG”.

18. Macho stereotype : RAMBO

A rambo is very violent and militant person. The term is relatively recent one, coming from the character John Rambo played by Sylvester Stallone in the “Rambo” series of movies. The first Rambo film made was “First Blood” in 1982. The film in turn is based on the 1972 novel of the same name by David Morrell.

19. Maggie Smith, for one : DAME

Dame Maggie Smith is a wonderful, wonderful actress from England. Although Smith has had an extensive stage career, she is perhaps best known outside of Britain as a film and television actress. She has won two Oscars, including Best Actress for playing the title character in 1969’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. TV audiences today know her best as the Dowager Countess on “Downton Abbey”. I saw her recently in the movie “The Second Best Marigold Hotel”, a movie that I wholeheartedly recommend …

21. Much-maligned official : UMP

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came for Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

22. Monarch’s headband : DIADEM

A diadem is a type of crown that is worn as a sign of royalty. The original diadem wasn’t made of metal and was simply an embroidered silk ribbon that was worn by a king as a symbol of his authority.

28. MI6 concern : MOLE

The UK government gets its foreign intelligence through the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6. The moniker MI6 arose during WWII, and stands for Military Intelligence, Section 6. MI5 is the common name for the UK’s Security Service, the UK’s counter-intelligence and security agency.

29. “Mamma ___!” : MIA

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

31. Member of the ancient Ionian League : SAMOS

Samos is an island in the eastern Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece. Samos is the birthplace of the famed mathematician Pythagoras, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos. The latter was the first person known to have proposed that the Earth revolves around the sun.

The geographic region called Ionia is located in present day Turkey. Ionia was prominent in the days of Ancient Greece although it wasn’t a unified state, but rather a collection of tribes. The tribal confederacy was more based on religious and cultural similarities than a political or military alliance. Nowadays we often refer to this arrangement as the Ionian League.

34. Movie, play and book writer David : MAMET

David Mamet is best known as a playwright, and indeed won a Pulitzer for his 1984 play “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Mamet is also a successful screenwriter and received Oscar nominations for the films “The Verdict” (1982) and “Wag the Dog” (1997).

35. Michelle Pfeiffer film “___ Sam” : I AM

“I Am Sam” is a 2001 drama movie starring Sean Penn. Penn plays a man with a developmental disability who is raising a young daughter alone after her mother abandoned the family.

Michelle Pfeiffer got her big break in movies with an appearance in 1983’s “Scarface” opposite Al Pacino. Pfeiffer is married to the very successful television writer and producer David E. Kelley.

36. Molybdenum, for one: Abbr. : ELEM

Molybdenum is a metallic element with the symbol “Mo” and atomic number 42.

41. Mount Sinai climber : MOSES

According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the mountain on which Moses was given the Ten Commandments. The Biblical Mount Sinai is probably not the mountain in Egypt that today has the same name, although this is the subject of much debate. The Egyptian Mount Sinai has two developed routes that one can take to reach the summit. The longer gentler climb takes about 2 1/2 hours, but there is also the steeper climb up the 3,750 “steps of penitence”.

42. Mo. with St. Patrick’s Day : MAR

There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

43. Moab’s neighbor, in the Bible : EDOM

Edom is an ancient Iron Age kingdom located in the south of modern-day Jordan. The area is known for its red-colored sandstone, which gave the kingdom its name. According to the Bible, the Edomites were the descendants of Esau. “Edom” translates from Hebrew as “red”, and was the name given to Esau when he ate the “red pottage”.

In the Bible, Moab was the first son of Lot, and the founder of the Kingdom of Moab. Moab was located on a plateau above the Dead Sea.

45. Material from Angora goats : MOHAIR

The Angora goat produces the wool known as mohair. On the other hand, Angora wool comes from the Angora rabbit. Both rabbit and goat are named for Turkey’s capital Ankara, which was known as “Angora” in many European languages.

51. Muhammad Ali fight site : MANILA

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).

53. Mountainous state: Abbr. : NMEX

The region now covered by the US state of New Mexico (NMex) was known as “Nuevo México” at least since 1563. Spanish explorers gave the area this name due to an erroneous belief that it was home to a branch of the Mexica, a people who were indigenous to the Valley of Mexico. So, the region has had the “New Mexico” name for centuries before the nation of Mexico adopted its name in 1821.

55. Model Campbell : NAOMI

Naomi Campbell is a supermodel from England. There’s a lot of interest in Campbell’s life off the runway, as she is known to have an explosive temper and has been charged with assault more than once. Her dating life is much-covered in the tabloids as well, and she has been romantically linked in the past with Mike Tyson and Robert De Niro.

57. “Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction” writer Janowitz : TAMA

Tama Janowitz is an American writer. Janowitz was born in San Francisco but has lived much of her life in New York City. In New York she hung around with the likes of Andy Warhol and became well known in literary circles. Her most famous work is a collection of short stories called “Slaves of New York”, which was made into a film of the same name in 1989.

58. Marlin’s son, in a Pixar movie : NEMO

“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar. The film was the winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, “Finding Nemo” is the best-selling DVD of all time and, until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest-grossing, G-rated movie at the box office.

59. Matthew Broderick voice role : SIMBA

Matthew Broderick is an actor from Manhattan, New York. Broderick played two of my favorite characters in movies, namely the title role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and the lead in “War Games”. Broderick is a somewhat controversial character in parts of Ireland as he caused a car accident there in 1987 while driving with his then girlfriend actress Jennifer Grey. The mother and daughter in the other car involved in the accident were killed instantly. Broderick was charged with causing death by dangerous driving (his car was on the wrong side of the road) but was found guilty of a lesser charge and fined $175.

Among the group of lions at the center of “The Lion King” story, young Simba is the heir apparent, the lion cub destined to take over as leader of the pride. His uncle is jealous of Simba, and plots with a trio of hyenas to kill Simba, so that he can take his position. The uncle was originally named Taka (according to books) but he was given the name Scar after being injured by a buffalo. The trio of hyenas are called Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.

60. Motto word on the Great Seal : UNUM

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

The Great Seal of the United States is a device used to authenticate some US federal documents. The obverse (front) of the Great Seal is used as the coat of arms of the US, a design that can seen on all American passports.

61. Mini-metropolis in Utah : OREM

Orem, Utah was originally known as “Sharon” (a Biblical name), then “Provo Bench”, and in 1914 it was given the family name of a local railroad operator called “Orem”. Orem gave itself the nickname “Family City USA” and sure enough in 2010, “Forbes” rated Orem the 5th best place in the country to raise a family.

63. Mount Olympus, at 72,000 feet, is its highest peak : MARS

“Olympus Mons” is Latin for “Mount Olympus” and is a large volcano on the planet Mars. Olympus Mons is about 14 miles in height, making it the tallest mountain on any planet in our solar system.

Down

1. M. ___ Walsh, actor in “Blade Runner” : EMMET

M. Emmet Walsh is an actor who has appeared in supporting roles in many, many movies and TV shows. Of the myriad appearances on screen I guess that I am most familiar with him playing Tim Taylor’s father-in-law on “Home Improvement”.

3. Muse of memory : MNEME

In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:

  • Mneme (memory)
  • Melete (meditation)
  • Aoede (song)

4. Minute length : ANGSTROM

The angstrom is a very small unit of length equal to one ten-billionth of a meter. As such a small unit, the angstrom is used to measure the size of atoms and molecules. The unit is named for the Swedish physicist Anders Jonas Ångström.

5. Meeting places : FORUMS

The Latin “forum” (plural “fora”) translates as “marketplace, town square”. “The Roman Forum” is the most famous example of such a space. The Forum is at the heart of the city of Rome is surrounded by the ruins of several ancient government buildings, and has been referred to as the most celebrated meeting place in the world.

6. Meaning of Caesar’s “Veni” : I CAME

The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BC and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

7. Maintainer of law and order north of the U.S. : RCMP

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the Mounties, RCMP) is an unusual police force in that it provides all policing for the whole country. The RCMP works on the national level, and right down to the municipal level. The force’s distinctive uniform of red serge tunic, blue pants with a yellow stripe, stetson hat etc. is known internally as “Review Order”. The red uniform dates back to the days of the North-West Mounted Police, which was one of the existing forces that were merged in 1920 to form the RCMP.

8. Midwife to the fairies, in Shakespeare : MAB

In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Mercutio refers to the fairy known as Queen Mab. It seems that Queen Mab was Shakespeare’s creation, although she became popular in subsequent works of literature. For example, she is referred to in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”, in Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”, and Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote a large poetic work called “Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem”.

15. Mathematical sets : MODULES

Beats me …

23. Multi-Emmy-winning “How ___ Your Mother” : I MET

“How I Met Your Mother” is a sitcom that CBS has been airing since 2005. The main character is Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor. Mosby is also the narrator for the show looking back from the year 2030 (the live action is set in the present). As narrator, the older Mosby character is voiced by Bob Saget.

25. Modern communications of a sort, in brief : IMS

Even though instant messaging (sending IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

28. “Melts in your mouth” candy : M AND M

Forrest Mars, Sr. was the founder of the Mars Company. Forrest invented the Mars Bar while living over in England and then developed M&M’s when he returned to the US. Mars came up with the idea for M&M’s when he saw soldiers in the Spanish Civil War eating chocolate pellets. Those pellets had a hard shell of tempered chocolate on the outside to prevent them from melting. Mars got some of the funding to develop the M&M from William Murrie, the son of the president of Hershey’s Chocolate. It is the “M” and “M” from “Mars” and “Murrie” that gives the name to the candy.

30. Midwest college town : AMES

Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable milestones, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.

32. Michigan State, for a Spartans alumnus : ALMA MATER

The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.

Michigan State University’s sports teams used be called the Aggies, as the school was founded as the State Agricultural College of Michigan. The team name was changed to the Spartans in 1925, reflecting the school’s shift in focus beyond agriculture-centered education. The school mascot Sparty hit the scene in 1989.

33. Musician’s tempo keeper : METRONOME

A metronome is any device that produces a regular beat. The metronome was invented in 1815 by Johann Maelzel, who intended it to be an instrument for the use of musicians.

37. Mean relatives? : MEDIANS

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.

41. Mother’s Day flower, in Australia : MUM

Chrysanthemums are perennial flowering plants that are often called “mums”.

44. Monkey, for one : SIMIAN

“Simian” means “pertaining to monkeys or apes”, from the Latin word “simia” meaning “ape”.

Apes and monkeys both belong to the order of primates. The most obvious way to distinguish apes from monkeys is by the presence or lack of a tail. Almost all apes have no tail, and almost all monkeys have tails.

47. Middle state : LIMBO

In the Roman Catholic tradition, “Limbo” is a place where souls can remain who cannot enter heaven. For example, infants who have not been baptized are said to reside in Limbo. Limbo is said to be located on the border of Hell. The name was chosen during the Middle Ages from the Latin “limbo” meaning “ornamental border to a fringe”. We use the phrase “in limbo” in contemporary English to mean “in a state of uncertainty”.

48. Microwave brand : AMANA

The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa. Today, the Amana name is very much associated with household appliances. The company was founded in 1934 to manufacture commercial walk-in coolers.

49. Make bones about something : 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”.

52. Major-___ : DOMO

A majordomo is a person in charge, or the senior person who might act in the absence of a boss. The term derives from the Latin “major domus” meaning “senior in the house”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Miss Woodhouse, in literature : EMMA
5. Mattress description : FIRM
9. Marian, in Robin Hood legend : MAID
13. Manfred ___ (1960s band) : MANN
14. Medieval philosopher with a “razor” : OCCAM
16. Maker of outlandish products in Road Runner cartoons : ACME
17. Multimedia file format : MPEG
18. Macho stereotype : RAMBO
19. Maggie Smith, for one : DAME
20. Majestic trees : ELMS
21. Much-maligned official : UMP
22. Monarch’s headband : DIADEM
24. Meeting info for golfers : TEE TIME
26. Made music on a comb : HUMMED
27. Motel units: Abbr. : RMS
28. MI6 concern : MOLE
29. “Mamma ___!” : MIA
31. Member of the ancient Ionian League : SAMOS
34. Movie, play and book writer David : MAMET
35. Michelle Pfeiffer film “___ Sam” : I AM
36. Molybdenum, for one: Abbr. : ELEM
37. Mares’ hair : MANES
38. Measure (out) : METE
39. Milliliter, e.g.: Abbr. : AMT
40. Makes repairs on : MENDS
41. Mount Sinai climber : MOSES
42. Mo. with St. Patrick’s Day : MAR
43. Moab’s neighbor, in the Bible : EDOM
44. Math calculation : SUM
45. Material from Angora goats : MOHAIR
47. Mouth-puckering drink : LIMEADE
51. Muhammad Ali fight site : MANILA
52. Muted, as lights : DIM
53. Mountainous state: Abbr. : NMEX
54. Molecular unit : ATOM
55. Model Campbell : NAOMI
57. “Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction” writer Janowitz : TAMA
58. Marlin’s son, in a Pixar movie : NEMO
59. Matthew Broderick voice role : SIMBA
60. Motto word on the Great Seal : UNUM
61. Mini-metropolis in Utah : OREM
62. Man in the ___ : MOON
63. Mount Olympus, at 72,000 feet, is its highest peak : MARS

Down

1. M. ___ Walsh, actor in “Blade Runner” : EMMET
2. Makers of cabinets and violins use it : MAPLE
3. Muse of memory : MNEME
4. Minute length : ANGSTROM
5. Meeting places : FORUMS
6. Meaning of Caesar’s “Veni” : I CAME
7. Maintainer of law and order north of the U.S. : RCMP
8. Midwife to the fairies, in Shakespeare : MAB
9. Manager of a house : MADAM
10. Military schools : ACADEMIES
11. Most direct : IMMEDIATE
12. Make the judgment to be : DEEM
15. Mathematical sets : MODULES
23. Multi-Emmy-winning “How ___ Your Mother” : I MET
25. Modern communications of a sort, in brief : IMS
26. Mansions, for some : HOMES
28. “Melts in your mouth” candy : M AND M
30. Midwest college town : AMES
31. Mining find : SEAM
32. Michigan State, for a Spartans alumnus : ALMA MATER
33. Musician’s tempo keeper : METRONOME
34. Main house on an estate : MANOR
37. Mean relatives? : MEDIANS
38. Motion creates it : MOMENTUM
40. More than a snack : MEAL
41. Mother’s Day flower, in Australia : MUM
44. Monkey, for one : SIMIAN
46. Message on a sign at a televised game : HI, MOM!
47. Middle state : LIMBO
48. Microwave brand : AMANA
49. Make bones about something : DEMUR
50. Midterms, e.g. : EXAMS
51. Mexican’s hand : MANO
52. Major-___ : DOMO
56. Marksman’s skill : AIM

4 thoughts on “1206-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 6 Dec 2017, Wednesday”

  1. 11:08 Moved through this pretty quickly. Didn’t catch on to the M thing at all while solving. Only tricky part for me was the top left. Started in the middle left and moved counter clockwise until I came back to it and figured it out.

    @Bill, all the clues start with M as well.

    1. @Marc
      Thanks for pointing that fact out to me. It went over my head completely (which isn’t unusual!). I’ll amend the post right now.

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