1207-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 7 Dec 2017, Thursday

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Constructed by: Dan Schoenholz
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Golly Gee!

There is a note with today’s puzzle:

The answers to the five starred clues have a very unusual property in common. What is it? And can you think of a familiar two-word exclamation, of five and three letters, respectively, that shares that property?

The answers to the starred clues end with a word that sounds like a letter. That same letter starts the answer:

  • 17A. *First Supreme Court chief justice : JOHN JAY (JOHN starts with J)
  • 21A. *It’s west of Okinawa : CHINA SEA (CHINA starts with C)
  • 35A. *Sort with a full schedule : BUSY BEE (BUSY starts with B)
  • 48A. *Oil, jocularly : TEXAS TEA (TEXAS starts with T)
  • 51A. *”I don’t care either way” : UP TO YOU (UP starts with U)

After a few seconds noodling, I came up with “GOLLY GEE!” as the exclamation referred to in the note.

Bill’s time: 15m 30s!

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. 1, for 45° : TANGENT

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle.

8. Spotlight hog : HAM

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is apparently a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

14. Radio component : AM TUNER

In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (for “amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (for “frequency modulation”).

15. 1961 Literature Nobelist Andric : IVO

Ivo Andrić was a novelist from former Yugoslavia who won the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature.

17. *First Supreme Court chief justice : JOHN JAY

John Jay was one of the Founding Fathers and President of the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1779. From 1789 to 1795, Jay was the nation’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He retired from the court to serve as the second Governor of New York.

21. *It’s west of Okinawa : CHINA SEA

Okinawa Island is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands, a long chain that arcs over 1,000 miles south of Japan in the direction of Taiwan. Okinawa is home to over 30 US military facilities, including Kadena Air Base and the Marine Corps’ Camp Foster.

22. Johnny who sang on the duet “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” : MATHIS

Johnny Mathis had to face a tough choice in 1956. Mathis was a talented high jumper in college and was invited to try out for the US Olympic team destined for the Melbourne Games. At the same time he was scheduled to make his first recordings, in New York. Mathis opted to go to the Big Apple.

25. Beverage that contains taurine : RED BULL

Red Bull is a drink from Austria that was introduced in 1987. Red Bull is the most popular “energy drink” in the world. There was some controversy in 2009 when it was discovered that Red Bull imported from Austria contained trace amounts of cocaine.

26. Part of a stage : APRON

The apron of a stage (if it has one) is that part which projects out into the audience.

27. Bluejacket : TAR

“Bluejacket” is a familiar term used for enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy and US Navy. In fact, the basic handbook for US Navy personnel is titled “The Bluejacket’s Manual”.

31. The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conference, informally : K-STATE

The athletic teams of Kansas State University (KSU) are called the Wildcats. The Wildcats official “colors” are just one: the color royal purple.

37. Essen article : DER

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

38. Respectful greeting : SALAAM

The word “salaam” is an Anglicized spelling of the Arabic word for “peace”. It can describe an act of deference, and in particular a very low bow.

41. Paraphernalia : GEAR

Back in the 17th century, paraphernalia was a woman’s property, above and beyond that which was classified as her dowry. Nowadays we tend to use the word to mean just “personal belongings”.

43. Medication-regulating org. : FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its roots in the Division of Chemistry (later “Bureau of Chemistry”) that was part of the US Department of Agriculture. President Theodore Roosevelt gave responsibility for examination of food and drugs to the Bureau of Chemistry with the signing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. The Bureau’s name was changed to the Food, Drug and Insecticide Organization in 1927, and to the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.

45. Visa problem : LATE FEE

Visa doesn’t actually issue any credit or debit cards. Visa just sells the electronic systems and infrastructure to banks who then put the Visa logo on their own cards. And so, both the customer and merchant know to use the VISA system when making a transaction.

55. Baseball great Hodges : GIL

Gil Hodges was a professional baseball player and manager. Perhaps Hodges’ most celebrated achievement was managing the New York Mets team (the “Miracle Mets”) that won the 1969 World Series. Hodges died from a heart attack just a few years later in 1972, when he was only 48 years old.

56. Sign of summer : LEO

The constellation called Leo can be said to resemble a lion. Others say that it resembles a bent coat hanger. “Leo” is the Latin for “lion”, but I’m not sure how to translate “coat hanger” into Latin …

Down

2. Latin lover’s word : AMO

Amo, amas, amat … I love, you love, he/she/it loves, in Latin.

5. Legally prohibit : ENJOIN

In legal terms, “to enjoin” means “to prohibit”, to issue an injunction prohibiting a specific act.

6. Occurrences during half-moons : NEAPS

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

13. Hip-hop’s Salt-N-___ : PEPA

Salt-n-Pepa are an all-female hip hop trio from New York, made up of “Salt” (Cheryl James), “Pepa” (Sandra Denton) and “DJ Spinderella” (Deidra Roper). Their 1991 song “Let’s Talk Sex” created quite a fuss as the lyrics explored the subject of sex, and safe sex in particular. A later version addressed the dangers of AIDS.

22. Octet in “The 12 Days of Christmas” : MAIDS

The fabulous Christmas Carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

23. Breathing problem : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

24. Jumps rarely attempted in women’s figure skating : TRIPLE AXELS

An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.

27. Christmas song contraction : ‘TIS

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la!”

31. Knowledge : KEN

“Ken” is a noun meaning “understanding, perception”. One might say, for example, “half the clues in Saturday’s crossword are beyond my ken, beyond my understanding”.

33. Made a faux pas : ERRED

The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

41. Ski slope sight : GONDOLA

The word “gondola” was originally limited to the famous boats that travel along the canals of Venice. When man started to fly through the air in hot air balloons, “gondola” was used for the basket in which the passenger(s) traveled. By extension, the structure carrying passengers and crew under an airship is also called a gondola, as are the cars suspended from a cable at a ski resort.

44. Perpetual period in Narnia in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” : WINTER

Apparently it’s not certain how C. S. Lewis came to choose Narnia as the name of the fantasy world featured in his series of children’s books, including “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. There was an ancient city in Umbria that the Romans called Narnia, but there is no evidence of a link.

45. San Francisco’s ___ Stadium : LEVI’S

The San Francisco 49ers of the NFL have been playing their home games in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara since 2014. The team moved from the famous Candlestick Park, which they had been using since 1971. Levi’s Stadium, the team’s new home, got a big boost in January 2016 when it was used as the venue for the Super Bowl.

46. N.J. city on the Hudson : FT LEE

Fort Lee, New Jersey is located at the western side of the George Washington Bridge that spans the Hudson River. Fort Lee is known as the birthplace of the motion picture industry. The world’s first movie studio was built there by Thomas Edison, a facility known as the Black Maria.

The Hudson River flows through eastern New York State from Henderson Lake in the Adirondacks to the Port of New York and New Jersey. The river is named for the English explorer Henry Hudson who navigated it in 1609.

48. ___ party : TOGA

In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

51. Longtime news inits. : UPI

Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) used to be one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a handful of employees.

52. Currency adopted after the Meiji Restoration : YEN

The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

The Meiji period in Japan ran from 1868 to 1912, with “meiji” translating as “enlightened rule”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. 1, for 45° : TANGENT
8. Spotlight hog : HAM
11. Circuit : LAP
14. Radio component : AM TUNER
15. 1961 Literature Nobelist Andric : IVO
16. Words of homage : ODE
17. *First Supreme Court chief justice : JOHN JAY
18. Bungles : GOOFS UP
20. Conciliatory offering : SOP
21. *It’s west of Okinawa : CHINA SEA
22. Johnny who sang on the duet “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” : MATHIS
25. Beverage that contains taurine : RED BULL
26. Part of a stage : APRON
27. Bluejacket : TAR
28. Draft choice : ALE
29. Still competing : IN IT
30. Show ___ : BIZ
31. The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conference, informally : K-STATE
34. Bank statement abbr. : DEP
35. *Sort with a full schedule : BUSY BEE
37. Essen article : DER
38. Respectful greeting : SALAAM
40. ___ gun (sci-fi weapon) : ION
41. Paraphernalia : GEAR
42. Cougar prey : ELK
43. Medication-regulating org. : FDA
44. “I’ve seen ___” : WORSE
45. Visa problem : LATE FEE
47. Obeyed an order at the dentist’s : RINSED
48. *Oil, jocularly : TEXAS TEA
49. Neighbor of Ky. : IND
50. Generally : OVERALL
51. *”I don’t care either way” : UP TO YOU
55. Baseball great Hodges : GIL
56. Sign of summer : LEO
57. Kitchen tools : PEELERS
58. Numbskull : ASS
59. “Yikes!” : EEK!
60. Reachable : IN RANGE

Down

1. ___ Express (train from Delhi to Agra) : TAJ
2. Latin lover’s word : AMO
3. Kind of root in math : NTH
4. Crime show sound effect : GUNSHOT
5. Legally prohibit : ENJOIN
6. Occurrences during half-moons : NEAPS
7. Test : TRY
8. Word before calling or learning : HIGHER
9. Circumvent : AVOID
10. Hypothetical settlement : MOON BASE
11. Big bargains, maybe : LOSS LEADERS
12. Challenge to ___ : A DUEL
13. Hip-hop’s Salt-N-___ : PEPA
19. Crack in the crust : FAULT
21. Surprisingly, it just might work : CRAZY IDEA
22. Octet in “The 12 Days of Christmas” : MAIDS
23. Breathing problem : APNEA
24. Jumps rarely attempted in women’s figure skating : TRIPLE AXELS
27. Christmas song contraction : ‘TIS
30. Depress, with “out” : BUM
31. Knowledge : KEN
32. Rib : TEASE
33. Made a faux pas : ERRED
35. Common fund-raiser : BAKE SALE
36. Diva’s accessory : BOA
39. Place where one is encouraged to swear? : ALTAR
41. Ski slope sight : GONDOLA
43. “How ya holdin’ up?” : FEEL OK?
44. Perpetual period in Narnia in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” : WINTER
45. San Francisco’s ___ Stadium : LEVI’S
46. N.J. city on the Hudson : FT LEE
47. Grow red, say : RIPEN
48. ___ party : TOGA
51. Longtime news inits. : UPI
52. Currency adopted after the Meiji Restoration : YEN
53. ___ chart : ORG
54. Exploit : USE

10 thoughts on “1207-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 7 Dec 2017, Thursday”

  1. 16:15 A bit faster than normai for Thursday. This was basically a themeless for me. A few trouble spots and as usual I had trouble getting started in the top left so had to break in elsewhere. This happens to me fairly often and I wonder if my brain just needs a few minutes of reading clues and entering answers to get in the groove.

  2. 11:20, no errors. The note accompanying today’s puzzle was hidden behind an icon in the app, so I only saw it now and therefore missed the theme until now. I can relate to Marc’s final comment above: I did this puzzle after doing eight or nine medium-level Matt Jones puzzles in a row and had a pretty good groove going, which probably accounts for my better-than-usual time.

  3. @Anonymous … You have probably figured this out already, but … the puzzle presented here is the one published today (December 7, 2017) in the New York Times. If you’re looking for the one published today in another paper, you probably want the one that appeared in the Times five weeks ago, on November 2, 2017. Go to the top of this page and follow the link Bill has provided there (where it says “… syndicated NY Times crossword”, in red).

    1. Additional information: it appears that, today, a lot of papers have published the NYT puzzle from November 9, 2017. Why, I do not know.

  4. Okinawa is an Island 60 miles long by 6-8 miles wide. There is no city called Okinawa. Naha was its capital when it was occupied by the US military. It was the site of the last and bloodiest battles in the PTO. By the mid 60s there nearly 150,000 American GIs & dependents stationed there before it was returned to Japan.

  5. Did this one on the plane. Pretty quick solve for a Thursday although I didn’t get the theme at all until the blog.

    Do style points count?

    Best –

  6. Can anyone explain the answer of “loss leaders” to the 9-down clue of “big bargains, maybe?” Very irritating on Bill’s part not to explain it.

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