1216-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 16 Dec 2017, Saturday

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Constructed by: Sam Ezersky
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 17m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. Rocker whose best-selling album was the punnily titled “Sheik Yerbouti” : ZAPPA

Frank Zappa was an American composer and guitarist, a solo artist as well as the founding member of the rock band Mothers of Invention. You might like to meet his four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

14. Hit reality show starting in 2011 : THE VOICE

“The Voice” is yet another reality television show. It is a singing competition in which the judges hear the contestants without seeing them in the first round. The judges then take on chosen contestants as coaches for the remaining rounds. “The Voice” is a highly successful worldwide franchise that originated in the Netherlands as “The Voice of Holland”.

18. Singer/songwriter on Canada’s Walk of Fame : ANKA

Canadian-born Paul Anka’s big hit was in 1957, the song entitled “Diana”. Anka was the subject of a much-lauded documentary film in 1962 called “Lonely Boy”.

23. Bazaar parts : SHOPS

Our word “bazaar”, meaning “market”, comes from the Persian “bazar”, which means the same thing.

30. “The ___ and the Fox” (Aesop fable) : HEN

Aesop is remembered today as a fabulist, a writer of fables. Aesop lived in Ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

31. Something a mantis has only one of, surprisingly : EAR

The term “praying mantis” is often used for species of insects more correctly called simply “mantises”. The familiar term refers to the prayer-like posture adopted by the insect with their fore-limbs folded. Strangely, the praying mantis is the only animal that we know with only one ear. That ear is located deep in the thorax or chest.

36. One of two Harrison compositions on the Beatles’ “Let It Be” : I ME MINE

“I Me Mine” is one of the relatively few Beatles songs to have been written by George Harrison (and indeed performed by him). Harrison chose the same title for his autobiography, which was published in 1980 just a few weeks before John Lennon was assassinated in New York City.

40. Goal for aspiring comedians, for short : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

41. When the P.G.A. Championship is held annually: Abbr. : AUG

The four major golf competitions in men’s golf are:

  • the Masters Tournament
  • the US Open
  • the Open Championship (aka “the British Open”)
  • the PGA Championship

43. “Skedaddle!” : GIT!

“Skedaddle ” is a slang term meaning “run away” that dates back to the Civil War.

45. Uncommon blood classification : B-TYPE

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

51. Spanish football powerhouse : REAL MADRID

Real Madrid is the professional soccer team based in Madrid, Spain. The team name translates as “Royal Madrid”. Real Madrid is now the world’s most valuable soccer team.

53. Magic charm : MOJO

The word “mojo”, meaning “magical charm, magnetism”, is probably of Creole origin.

57. Group of PC gurus : IT TEAM

Information technology (IT)

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

61. Absolutely clobbered : ATE ALIVE

The verb “to clobber” means “to batter severely”. The term originated in 1941 in the RAF, and at that time was probably echoic of the sound of bombs exploding.

62. One of the Kennedys : ETHEL

Ethel Kennedy is the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. Ethel was a roommate with Jean Kennedy, and through Jean met her brother Robert. Robert and Ethel had ten children together, with an eleventh child sadly arriving after Robert’s assassination in 1968.

Down

2. TV host Julie : CHEN

As well as co-anchoring “The Early Show”, Julie Chen has been host of the American version of “Big Brother” since it graced our screens in the year 2000.

3. Material for outdoor furniture : TEAK

Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family, commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia. Teak’s tight grain and high oil content make it very suitable for constructing outdoor furniture, where weather resistance is valued. For the same reason, teak is the wood of choice for wooden decks on boats.

5. Bad thing to go to : POT

The phrase “go to pot”, meaning “fall into ruin”, has been around since the 1500s. Back then, it really meant go to (the) pot, i.e. be chopped up and boiled for food.

7. Brilliance : ECLAT

“Éclat” can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

8. William Shatner sci-fi novel : TEKWAR

The “Tekwar” series of science-fiction novels was co-authored by Ron Goulart and the actor William Shatner, although it’s only Shatner’s name that appears on the book covers. The stories center around the microchip “drug” called “tek” that dominates the Tekwar universe.

9. Astronaut’s experience : ZERO G

The force of gravity (g-force) that we all feel is referred to as “one G”. As gravity is a actually an accelerating force, acceleration is measured relative to that force of gravity. So, if we are sitting in a vehicle that accelerates at 3G, then we are experiencing a force that is three times that which we feel from the gravitational pull of the earth. Zero G is weightlessness that is experienced when in space, outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.

10. One way to Rome : ALITALIA

Alitalia is the national airline of Italy. The name “Alitalia” is a melding of the Italian words “ali” (wings) and “Italia” (Italy).

13. Penny, maybe : ANTE

Penny Ante poker is a game in which bets are limited to a penny, or some other small, friendly sum. The expression “penny-ante” has come to describe any business transaction that is on a small scale.

22. Start of a fitness motto : USE IT …

Use it or lose it.

24. Rambo, for one : HE-MAN

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.

28. Do some course prep? : TEE UP

That would be golf.

29. Papyrus, e.g. : SEDGE

The papyrus plant was commonly found in the Nile Delta of North Africa. The pith of the plant was used to make a thick, paper-like material on which one could write. This writing material, which became known as papyrus (plural “papyri”), became a competitor for the most popular writing surface of the day known as parchment, which was made from animal skins.

35. TV M.D. : WELBY

“Marcus Welby, M.D.” is a television series that originally aired from 1969 to 1976. The title role was played by Robert Young.

44. Locale for touchdowns : TARMAC

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call tarmac.

46. Taqueria offering : TAMALE

A tamale is a traditional dish from Central America composed of a starchy dough that is steamed or boiled in a wrapper made from a corn husk or banana leaf. The dough is called masa, and can include many different ingredients including meat, cheese fruit and vegetables.

49. Wild West show prop : RIATA

A riata is a lariat or a lasso. “Riata” comes from “reata”, the Spanish word for lasso.

52. French government : ETAT

In French, an “état” (state) is an “entité politique” (political entity).

54. He wrote “The sharp thorn often produces delicate roses” : OVID

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus, although what led to this disfavor isn’t truly understood.

55. Bon ___ : JOVI

Jon Bon Jovi was born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., and he is the leader of the band that took his name: Bon Jovi.

56. Creatures captured in Hercules’ 10th labor : OXEN

“The Twelve Labors of Hercules” is actually a Greek myth, although Hercules is the Roman name for the hero that the Greeks called Heracles. The first of these labors was to slay the Nemean Lion, a monster that lived in a cave near Nemea. Hercules had a tough job as the lion’s golden fur was impenetrable to normal weapons. One version of the story is that Hercules killed the lion by shooting an arrow into its mouth. Another version says that Hercules stunned the monster with a club and then strangled him with his bare hands.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Extra-special delivery? : OCTUPLET
9. Rocker whose best-selling album was the punnily titled “Sheik Yerbouti” : ZAPPA
14. Hit reality show starting in 2011 : THE VOICE
15. Formed ranks : FELL IN
16. “If I’m being honest,” in modern slang : REAL TALK
17. Position : ORIENT
18. Singer/songwriter on Canada’s Walk of Fame : ANKA
19. Feed for news headquarters : RAW FOOTAGE
21. W.W. I horror : MUSTARD GAS
23. Bazaar parts : SHOPS
26. Least bit, in a phrase : RAP
27. “Sounds like a plan!” : LET’S!
30. “The ___ and the Fox” (Aesop fable) : HEN
31. Something a mantis has only one of, surprisingly : EAR
34. “Ah, makes sense” : NOW I SEE
36. One of two Harrison compositions on the Beatles’ “Let It Be” : I ME MINE
38. Not natural : CREATED
39. Drumming sound : RAT-A-TAT
40. Goal for aspiring comedians, for short : SNL
41. When the P.G.A. Championship is held annually: Abbr. : AUG
42. Hard-to-solve problem : KNOT
43. “Skedaddle!” : GIT!
45. Uncommon blood classification : B-TYPE
47. Informal question to someone who’s late : WHERE ARE YA?
51. Spanish football powerhouse : REAL MADRID
53. Magic charm : MOJO
57. Group of PC gurus : IT TEAM
58. Onetime RCA rival : MAGNAVOX
60. “In actuality …” : FACT IS …
61. Absolutely clobbered : ATE ALIVE
62. One of the Kennedys : ETHEL
63. Redeemed : CASHED IN

Down

1. De ___ manera (elsewise: Sp.) : OTRA
2. TV host Julie : CHEN
3. Material for outdoor furniture : TEAK
4. Tanning salon fixture : UV LAMP
5. Bad thing to go to : POT
6. They’re beyond belief : LIARS
7. Brilliance : ECLAT
8. William Shatner sci-fi novel : TEKWAR
9. Astronaut’s experience : ZERO G
10. One way to Rome : ALITALIA
11. Courteous host’s request : PLEASE STAY
12. Notification sound : PING
13. Penny, maybe : ANTE
15. Enticing pics of things to eat : FOOD PORN
20. Some West African money : FRANCS
22. Start of a fitness motto : USE IT …
23. Duck : SHIRK
24. Rambo, for one : HE-MAN
25. Up-and-comer : ONE TO WATCH
28. Do some course prep? : TEE UP
29. Papyrus, e.g. : SEDGE
32. Goes from Tokyo to Kyoto, say : ANAGRAMS
33. Fixed, as a bow : RETIED
35. TV M.D. : WELBY
37. Certain high school whiz kid : MATHLETE
44. Locale for touchdowns : TARMAC
46. Taqueria offering : TAMALE
48. Modern torrent : EMAIL
49. Wild West show prop : RIATA
50. Nips : EDGES
51. Replete : RIFE
52. French government : ETAT
54. He wrote “The sharp thorn often produces delicate roses” : OVID
55. Bon ___ : JOVI
56. Creatures captured in Hercules’ 10th labor : OXEN
59. Informal turndown : NAH

16 thoughts on “1216-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 16 Dec 2017, Saturday”

  1. 18:54, no errors. Not too bad, but not exactly easy. Upper right was particularly difficult for me but, after the fact, I’m not sure why. In any case, I’m always relieved to get the Saturday NYT out of the way … ?

  2. “Weightlessness does NOT imply “outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.” It means that the orbital centripital acceleration is balanced by the force of gravity so there is no net force on any body.

    Please do not perpetrate such errors.

  3. 16:38 Very fast for Saturday for me. Top half fell first. I was having a bit of trouble gettting traction in the bottom but REALMADRID rescued me and everything else was pretty fast after that.

  4. 31:04, no errors. I’m convinced yesterday’s and today’s puzzles were switched at birth. The Friday puzzle seemed much more like a Saturday and vice versa to this solver.

    @Malkalos
    I suppose technically you are correct, but goodness count to ten. Apollo 11 landed on “Tranquility” base after ZERO G for a few days, after all.

    Interesting side note – Apollo 11 nearly missed their target in the sea of tranquility (which was an elliptical range anyway) due to going off course due to the uneven gravitational field the moon has (plus some extra thrust from the docking tunnel, I believe). There are internal differences in mass density of the moon that have only recently (perhaps the last 5 years) been explained that caused this. It was a phenomenon that really wasn’t known at the time.

    Best –

    1. Apollo’s path was determined by the rocket’s acceleration and by the gravitational field of Earth, Moon, and Sun. You need to get that right. ZeroG does not mean that the field was mysteriously switched off.

      1. @Malkalos –

        You’re missing my point completely. It’s also obvious you didn’t read or comprehend what I said. That said, ZERO G in colloquial terms is acceptable as such IMO – even if technically it is not correct.

        But your intent seems to be belligerent regardless of what is being stated, so go enjoy yourself.

        Best –

  5. 26 mins 52 sec. No errors, so a very encouraging end to a really rough week that contained some of the worst outrages and poorest personal performances in recent weeks.

    Really poor start, though, I must say: 1A clue was just flat-out stupid, and when I look at the dictionary, I see no mention of “eight-*syllable* anything”. This is a prime example of **manufactured difficulty** (not to mention poor, mean-spirited editing choices).

    The rest of the puzzle seemed a fair challenge for a Saturday; half-way in, one despairs of finishing, but in the end, enough cross-fills fall into one’s lap to allow one to persevere.

    1. @Allen … Perhaps you actually understood the answer for 1A, but, if not: Twin births are rare, triplets are rarer, quadruplets are rarer still, and octuplets are almost unheard of, so a delivery of an octuplet would be special indeed.

  6. 27:06, 2 errors: 20D FR(I)NCS; 26A R(I)P. Wow, so many comments on this puzzle, good to see a lively board.

    @Anonymous: I, obviously, am also unfamiliar with the use of the word RAP. However, I have heard the expressions “I don’t give a rip” and “I don’t give a rat’s a**”, so I’ll speculate that “I don’t give a RAP” is a another variation or combination of these expressions. (Edit note: spent so much time writing about Zero-G, I see that Dave beat me to the punch, with a much better answer.)

    Having studied orbital mechanics, many moons ago, I can see both Malkalos’ and Jeff’s points. Zero-G can be achieved in several ways. Case #1: an object in orbit around another object. The centrifugal force due to the orbital velocity of the satellite balances the gravitational force between the two objects. Net result is Zero-G. The International Space Station and its occupants experience Zero-G in this way. Case #2: an object is between two other objects, where the gravitational forces of the two other objects are equal and opposite. At some point in their journeys the Apollo crafts experienced equal gravitational pull from the Earth and the Moon, net result Zero-G. Case #3: object far enough away from any other object that no significant gravitational force is present. Gravitational force between two objects decreases as the square of the distance between the objects. The gravitational force between the two objects approaches zero as the distance between the objects approaches infinity. So, technically, no object is ever free of the gravitational influence of any other object. However, as the distance increases the influence becomes so small that it is negligible. No astronaut has ever experienced Case #3. In my opinion, removing the phrase “outside the influence of earth’s gravity” would make Bill’s explanation more technically correct.

  7. Late and likely last, but will check in anyway.

    Yes, this blog’s comments may be getting more “lively”. Good, but not necessarily all good.

    Not doing too well on Saturdays, including this gettable one. Got most of it, but had to cheat on a couple of answers to “finish”.

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