1223-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 Dec 2017, Saturday

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Constructed by: Matthew Sewell
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 16m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Bygone can opener : RING-TAB

The term “pop top” refers to a whole family of designs for opening the top of a soda can. The oldest method is the “pull tab” or “ring pull”, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived, but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to less injuries and eliminated all those used pull tabs that littered the streets.

8. Provincial despots : SATRAPS

“Satrap” is an old Persian name for a provincial governor. In modern English usage, a satrap is a world leader who is heavily influenced by a superior power.

15. He wrote “In wildness is the preservation of the world” : THOREAU

Henry David Thoreau is a personal hero of mine. Thoreau is best known for his book called “Walden” published in 1854. The book outlines his philosophy of life and details his experiences living in a cabin near Walden Pond just outside Concord, Massachusetts.

16. Much of a marmoset’s diet : TREE SAP

A marmoset is a small New World monkey. Marmosets are unusual in that they carry two sets of DNA. Marmosets almost always bear fraternal twins, and the reproductive cells of each twin includes DNA from the other twin.

17. Honor for Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan, but not Roger Moore or Daniel Craig : SEXIEST MAN ALIVE

There used to be a “People” page in each issue of “Time” magazine. This page was spun-off in 1974 as a publication of its own, which we now call “People” magazine. “People” is noted for its annual special editions with features such as “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The “Sexiest Man Alive” edition now appears at the end of November each year. The first choice for “Sexiest Man” was Mel Gibson, in 1985.

19. Drug sought by Roy Cohn in “Angels in America” : AZT

Roy Cohn is a character in the Pulitzer-winning play “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner. The character is based on real-life attorney Roy Cohn, who gained a lot of notoriety during the Second Red Scare.

AZT is the abbreviated name for the drug azidothymidine, which is used extensively in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. AZT was originally developed in the seventies as a potential treatment for retroviruses (cancer-causing viruses), although it was never approved for use in treatment. In 1984, it was confirmed that AIDS was caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), so scientists turned to known antiviral drugs in the search for a viable treatment. Burroughs-Wellcome came up with a treatment regime using AZT, and filed a patent in 1985. The patent was challenged in court but the patent expired anyway in 2005 without any decision being made. There are now at least four generic forms of AZT approved for sale in the US.

20. York successor : TUDOR

The Wars of the Roses was a series of civil wars fought for the throne of England between the rival Houses of Lancaster (with a symbol of a red rose) and York (with a symbol of a white rose). Ultimately the Lancastrians emerged victorious after Henry Tudor defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry was crowned King Henry VII, and so began the Tudor dynasty. Henry Tudor united the rival houses by marrying his cousin Elizabeth of York. Henry VII had a relatively long reign of 23 years that lasted until his death, after which his son succeeded to the throne as Henry VIII, continuing the relatively short-lived Tudor dynasty. Henry VIII ruled from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry VIII was the last male to lead the the House of Tudor, as his daughter Queen Elizabeth I died without issue. When Elizabeth died, the Scottish King James VI succeeded to the throne as James I of England and Ireland. James I was the first English monarch of the House of Stuart.

21. Alternative to Tide : ALL

All is a laundry detergent made by Sun Products. Tide is a Procter & Gamble brand of laundry detergent that was introduced in 1946.

22. G.I. food packs : MRES

The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) comes in a lightweight package that’s easy to tote around. The MRE replaced the more cumbersome Meal, Combat, Individual (MCI) in 1981, a meal-in-a-can. In turn, the MCI had replaced the C-ration in 1958, a less sophisticated meal-in-a-can with a more limited choice.

23. Daring deed : GEST

Our word “gest”, meaning a great deed or exploit, has been around since about 1300. The term comes from the Old French word “geste” meaning the same thing. These days “geste” can also mean “gesture”.

30. Rudy Giuliani or Fiorello La Guardia : ITALIAN-AMERICAN

Rudy Giuliani became known around the world as he stepped up and led his city during the terrible days following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. His actions that September earned him a number of accolades. He was named as “Time” magazine’s person of the year, and was given an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.

Fiorello La Guardia was the Mayor of New York from 1934 to 1945, racking up three full terms in office. The famous airport that bears La Guardia’s name was built at his urging, stemming from an incident that took place while he was in office. He was taking a TWA flight to “New York” and was outraged when the plane landed at Newark Airport, in the state of New Jersey. The Mayor demanded that the flight take off again and land at a small airport in Brooklyn. A gaggle of press reporters joined him on the short hop and he gave them a story, urging New Yorkers to support the construction of a new commercial airport within the city’s limits. The new airport, in Queens, opened in 1939 as New York Municipal, often called “LaGuardia” as a nickname. The airport was officially relabeled as “LaGuardia” (LGA) in 1947.

42. CVS offerings : RXS

There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

43. Magazine for entrepreneurs : INC

“Inc.” is a business magazine that specializes in articles about growing companies. “Inc.” publishes a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the country each year, calling it the “Inc. 500”. The “Inc 5000” is an expanded list also published by the magazine.

45. ←, for example : COLT

Colt 45 is a brand of lager that first went on the market in 1963. It has a relatively high alcohol content (6.1%) and so is sometimes referred to as a malt liquor.

56. “She’s Like the Wind” and others : SIMILES

A simile is a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things that are unalike. For example, a person might be described as “cute as a kitten” or as “busy as a bee”.

Down

8. Köln or Nürnberg : STADT

“Stadt” is the German word for “city” or “town”.

Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany, and is known as “Koln” in German.

Nürnberg (anglicized as “Nuremberg”) is a Bavarian city located north of Munich. Historically it is remembered for the huge Nazi Nuremberg rallies, and the Nuremberg trials that took place at the end of WWII. Nürnberg is sometimes confused with the city of Nürburg in the west of Germany, famous for the Nürburgring race track.

9. It flows near the Piazzale Michelangelo : ARNO

The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, passing through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

The Piazzale Michelangelo is a famous square in Florence that sits at quite a height in the city and from which one has magnificent panoramic views of the skyline. If you’ve seen photos of the skyline of Florence say on a postcard, chances are they were taken from the Piazzale Michelangelo. The square is named for the city’s most famous sculptor, and you can see bronze replicas of Michelangelo’s most celebrated works on display in the piazza.

11. Th.D.’s field : REL

Doctor of Theology (Th.D.)

12. Like the Golden Horde : ASIATIC

The Golden Horde was a group of Mongols who ruled over what is now Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and the Caucasus, from the 1240s until 1502. It has been suggested that the name of the group derives from the yellow tents used by the rulers of the Golden Horde. And, the Golden Horde’s influence and rule led to the term “horde” entering the English language, via many languages spoken in Slavic Eastern Europe.

13. Meringue-based dessert named for a ballerina : PAVLOVA

Anna Pavlova was a Russian ballerina who performed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Pavlova became so successful that she was the first ballerina to pull together her own company and tour the world. Her most famous role was “The Dying Swan” that she danced to the beautiful “Le cygne” from Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals”. Pavlova eventually left Russia for good and settled in England.

14. Prestigious women’s college in Atlanta : SPELMAN

Spelman College is a women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia that was founded as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in 1881. Spelman is part of the Atlanta University Center, along with the nearby all-male Morehouse College, with which Spelman has a long-standing relationship.

22. Pre-op procedure : MRI

MRI scans can be daunting for many people as they usually involve the patient lying inside a tube with the imaging magnet surrounding the body. Additionally, the scan can take up to 40 minutes in some cases. There are some open MRI scanners available that help prevent a feeling of claustrophobia. However, the image produced by open scanners are of lower quality as they operate at lower magnetic fields.

32. Place known to natives as Chomolungma (“goddess mother of the world”) : MT EVEREST

Mount Everest was named by the Royal Geographical Society in 1865. The peak is named for Welsh surveyor George Everest, who had served as Surveyor General of India from 183o through 1843.

35. Maneuver on a surfboard : HANG TEN

“To hang ten” is a verb used in surfing. A surfer hangs ten when he or she is able to walk forward and hang ten toes over the nose of the board because the back of the board is covered by the wave being ridden.

44. Arms race event, for short : A-TEST

There are two classes of nuclear weapons, both of which get the energy for the explosion from nuclear reactions. The first nuclear bombs developed, called atomic bombs (A-bombs), use fission reactions. Uranium nuclei are split into smaller nuclei with the release of an awful lot of energy in the process. The second class of nuclear weapons are fusion bombs. These devices are called thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs (H-bombs). In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes are fused together to form bigger nuclei, with the release of even greater amounts of energy.

47. Japanese native : AINU

The Ainu people are an indigenous race found primarily in Japan and parts of Russia close to Japan. The spoken Ainu language has nearly died out, with only a handful of native speakers alive today.

52. George Tenet’s “At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the ___” : CIA

George Tenet was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from 1997 until 2004, making him the second-longest serving DCI in the history of the CIA after Allen Dulles. Tenet served under two very different presidents: Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

54. Slalom maneuver : ESS

“Slalom” is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word “slalam” that translates as “skiing race”. There is a longer version of the traditional slalom that is called giant slalom

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Bygone can opener : RING-TAB
8. Provincial despots : SATRAPS
15. He wrote “In wildness is the preservation of the world” : THOREAU
16. Much of a marmoset’s diet : TREE SAP
17. Honor for Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan, but not Roger Moore or Daniel Craig : SEXIEST MAN ALIVE
19. Drug sought by Roy Cohn in “Angels in America” : AZT
20. York successor : TUDOR
21. Alternative to Tide : ALL
22. G.I. food packs : MRES
23. Daring deed : GEST
24. ___ Riddle of the Harry Potter books : TOM
25. Lip : RIM
26. Spreadsheet command : SORT
27. Certain swab sample : SALIVA
30. Rudy Giuliani or Fiorello La Guardia : ITALIAN-AMERICAN
33. They’re called up : INDUCTEES
34. Hip-hop performer who was 2016’s Best New Artist Grammy winner : CHANCE THE RAPPER
40. Accumulated, with “up” : RACKED
41. Times of fitful sleep, maybe : EVES
42. CVS offerings : RXS
43. Magazine for entrepreneurs : INC
44. Stupefied : AWED
45. ←, for example : COLT
46. I : EGO
47. Certain aisle terminus : ALTAR
49. Dish that’s out of this world? : UFO
50. Hollywood V.I.P. : STUDIO EXECUTIVE
55. Flat figures : TENANTS
56. “She’s Like the Wind” and others : SIMILES
57. Without proof : ON TRUST
58. Sample group? : TASTERS

Down

1. Some football linemen: Abbr. : RTS
2. “Shh, something’s coming!” : I HEAR IT!
3. Product once known as “The Miracle Cream of Baltimore” : NOXZEMA
4. Boiled breakfast dish : GRITS
5. Kickoff aid : TEE
6. Some batteries : AAS
7. Shade of light brownish-gray : BUTTERNUT
8. Köln or Nürnberg : STADT
9. It flows near the Piazzale Michelangelo : ARNO
10. Hightail it : TEAR
11. Th.D.’s field : REL
12. Like the Golden Horde : ASIATIC
13. Meringue-based dessert named for a ballerina : PAVLOVA
14. Prestigious women’s college in Atlanta : SPELMAN
18. Male grooming aid : MUSTACHE WAX
22. Pre-op procedure : MRI
23. Said “I dare you” to, say : GOADED
26. To this day : SINCE
27. Come to a boil : SEE RED
28. Purviews : AREAS
29. Discuss thickness with a doctor? : LISP
31. Association : LINK
32. Place known to natives as Chomolungma (“goddess mother of the world”) : MT EVEREST
34. Dumps one’s complaints on : CRIES TO
35. Maneuver on a surfboard : HANG TEN
36. Import : ACCOUNT
37. Quick biography : PROFILE
38. Dear departed? : EX-LOVER
39. Alphabet trio : RST
44. Arms race event, for short : A-TEST
45. Get the job done : CUT IT
47. Japanese native : AINU
48. A bunch : LOTS
51. Give: Sp. : DAR
52. George Tenet’s “At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the ___” : CIA
53. Toastmasters’ stumbles : UMS
54. Slalom maneuver : ESS