1225-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 25 Dec 2017, Monday

Advertisement

[ad_above_grid]

Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Advertisement

Advertisement

Today’s Theme: Hit Parade

Merry Christmas, everyone! Themed answers end with a slang term meaning “HIT”:

  • 58A. List of popular songs … or a hint to the ends of the answers to the starred clues : HIT PARADE
  • 17A. *Game-quickening timer in basketball : SHOT CLOCK
  • 28A. *Snowbirds’ destination : SUNBELT
  • 47A. *Long vegetable with a yellow pod : WAX BEAN
  • 11D. *Marinara sauce thickener : TOMATO PASTE
  • 24D. *Dispenser of psychiatric advice to Charlie Brown : LUCY VAN PELT

Bill’s time: 5m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Advertisement

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. Green precious stone : JADE

“Jade” is actually the name given to two different mineral rocks, both of which are used to make gemstones. The first is nephrite, a mineral with a varying degree of iron content, the more iron the greener the color. The second is jadeite, a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. As well as being used for gemstones, both jade minerals can be carved into decorative pieces.

19. Arabian Peninsula nation : YEMEN

Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, and lies just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office. Yemen has seen many rebellions over the centuries, and has been suffering through a Shia uprising since February 2015.

20. Charlotte ___ (rich dessert) : RUSSE

Charlotte Russe is a cold dessert consisting of Bavarian cream set in a mold layered with ladyfingers. The dessert was named by its creator in honor of Princess Charlotte, daughter of British King George IV, and in honor of Czar Alexander I of Russia (“russe” is French for “Russian”).

21. Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush : TEXANS

Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was born in Stonewall, Texas to Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines.

President George W. Bush (GWB) is named for his father, George H. W. Bush. The “W” in the name of both father and son stands for “Walker”. Walker was the family name of President George H. W. Bush’s mother, Dorothy Walker.

22. Food unit counted by a dieter : CALORIE

I wish we’d stop using the term “calorie”, because it is so confusing. In terms of physics, a calorie is amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree celsius (at one atmosphere of pressure). The so called “food calorie” is one thousand times as large, as it is defined in terms of kilograms instead of grams. In attempts to differentiate between these two definitions, the former is sometimes referred to as the “small calorie” and is given the symbol “cal”. The latter is referred to as the “large calorie” and given the symbol “Cal”, with a capital C. If only we’d use the SI system of units, we’d be think in just joules, instead of large and small and food calories.

27. Columbus campus, briefly : OSU

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”.

28. *Snowbirds’ destination : SUNBELT

Snowbirds are people from Canada and the northern US who head south for the winter, to places like Florida and California.

30. Cartoondom’s Olive ___ : OYL

Popeye first appeared in 1929 in a comic strip called “Thimble Theatre”. The strip, created by E. C. Segar, ran for ten years before Popeye made an appearance. Popeye received such a great welcome from readers that he soon “took over” the strip, and eventually even hogged the strip’s title. Before Popeye turned up, Olive Oyl was the main character.

37. Miss America accessory : SASH

The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.

40. President saying “No!” : VETOER

The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of Ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

43. Utter failure : FIASCO

Back in the mid-1800s, “fiasco” was theater slang meaning “failure in performance”. The meaning morphed soon after into any kind of failure or flop. The term evolved from the Italian “far fiasco”, a phrase that the same meaning in Italian theater, but translated literally as “make a bottle”. It turns out that “fiasco” and “flask” both derive from the Latin “flasco” meaning “bottle”.

45. Govt. of the Rebs : CSA

The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation, and retained the post for the life of the government.

51. Mel honored in Cooperstown : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old.

Cooperstown is a village in New York that is famous as the home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The village was named for Judge William Cooper, the founder of Cooperstown and the father of the noted writer James Fenimore Cooper.

56. Spunk : MOXIE

Back as far as 1876, Moxie was a brand name of a “medicine” peddled with the claim that it “built up your nerve”. In 1924, Moxie was registered as a trademark for a bitter, non-alcoholic beverage (no more claims of nerve-building). And we’ve used the term “moxie” to mean “nerve” ever since …

57. Small food fish : SMELT

Smelt is the name given to several types of small silvery fish, examples being Great Lake smelts and whitebait smelts.

66. Some “big” burgers : MACS

The iconic Big Mac sandwich was introduced nationally by McDonald’s in 1967. It was the creation of a Pittsburgh franchisee who offered it on the menu as a response to the very similar “Big Boy” sandwich offered by the competing Big Boy restaurant chain.

67. Reb’s foe : YANK

The term “Yankee” originated back in the 1600s when Dutch settlers used to call English colonists “Jankes”, a disparaging term meaning “Little Johns”.

Down

1. Nighttime wear, familiarly : PJS

Our word “pajamas” (“PJs” for short) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is “pyjamas”.

4. Subway system : METRO

The Paris Métro is the busiest underground transportation system in western Europe. The network carries about 4.5 million passengers a day, which is about the same ridership as the New York City Subway. The system took its name from the company that originally operated it, namely “La Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris”, which was shorted to “Métro”. The term “Metro” was then adopted for similar systems in cities all over the world.

5. Swede who developed a temperature scale : CELSIUS

Anders Celsius was a Swedish astronomer. The temperature scale that Celsius created was the reverse of that used today, with “zero” representing the boiling point of water and “100” representing water’s freezing point. This scale was “upended” (in 1744) just after Celsius died, by the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus. The resulting temperature scale then became known as the centigrade scale for over 200 years, until in 1948 it was decided to adopt the “degree Celsius”. So, anyone still using “degrees centigrade” is actually way behind the times …

9. Purchase for a newborn : LAYETTE

A newborn baby’s collection of clothing and accessories is called a layette.

10. “Jeopardy!” host Trebek : ALEX

Alex Trebek has been the host of “Jeopardy!” since the syndicated version of the game show launched in 1984. Trebek has missed just one episode since then, when he and host of “Wheel of Fortune” Pat Sajak swapped roles in 1997 as an April Fool’s joke.

11. *Marinara sauce thickener : TOMATO PASTE

Italians use the term “marinara” not for a sauce, but in the name of a recipe that includes a tomato-based sauce. For example, “spaghetti alla marinara” would be a spaghetti dish, served “mariner’s style”. The tomato sauce that we call “marinara” is called “salsa di pomodoro” in Italy.

12. Vice president between Gore and Biden : CHENEY

In 2000, Dick Cheney was called upon by then-Governor George W. Bush to head up the search for a running mate for Bush in the presidential election. After a few months search, Bush turned things on their head by asking Cheney to join him on the ticket.

13. Fairy tale boy who outsmarts a witch : HANSEL

“Hansel and Gretel” is a Germanic fairy tale found in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It tells of two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, the children of a woodcutter. The youngsters are abandoned in a forest at the behest of an evil stepmother. Clever Hansel hears of the plan and leaves a trail of pebbles so that he and his sister can find their way home, which they do. But the children are abandoned again and this time leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the crumbs are eaten by birds and so the children do indeed become lost. But eventually they do all live happily ever after …

21. Soft mineral : TALC

Talc is a mineral, actually hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” is also made from cornstarch.

24. *Dispenser of psychiatric advice to Charlie Brown : LUCY VAN PELT

In Charles Schulz’s fabulous comic strip “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown is friends with at least three members of the van Pelt family. Most famously there is Lucy van Pelt, who bosses everyone around, particularly Charlie. Then there is Linus, Lucy’s younger brother, the character who always has his security blanket at hand. Lastly there is an even younger brother, Rerun van Pelt. Rerun is constantly hiding under his bed, trying to avoid going to school.

34. Stars-and-stripes land, for short : USA

Legend has it that Betsy Ross made the first American flag for General George Washington. However, this story only surfaced during the centennial celebrations of 1876, and although Betsy Ross was indeed one of several flag makers in Philadelphia in the days of George Washington, sadly there’s no definitive evidence that Ross provided that first stars and stripes.

42. Hippocratic ___ : OATH

The Hippocratic Corpus is a collection of about 70 medical works that were at one time believed to have written by the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, although authorship has been called into question. Within the collection is a document known as the Hippocratic Oath (but again, the authorship has been questioned). The oath is still used today as the basis for oaths taken by medical graduates before they enter into medical practice.

43. Social gaffe : FAUX PAS

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).

44. “Slumdog Millionaire” setting : INDIA

The brilliant film “Slumdog Millionaire” is a screen adaptation of a 2005 novel by Indian author Vikas Swarup. A low-budget movie, it ended up winning eight Oscars in 2008. I reckon it turned a profit …

45. Cooking oil brand : CRISCO

The Crisco brand of shortening was the first shortening to be made entirely from vegetable oil. Although that sounds like a good thing, it’s actually made by hydrogenating vegetable oil so that it has physical properties similar to the animal shortening it was designed to replace. This hydrogenation turns good fats into bad fats, so medical professionals suggest limited intake.

48. Steamy : EROTIC

Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic”, meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Also known as Amor, the Roman counterpart to Eros was Cupid.

53. Churchill Downs event : DERBY

The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and is a race modeled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.

Churchill Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack located in Louisville, Kentucky that is famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby each year. The track is named for John and Henry Churchill who once owned the land on which the course was built.

55. 1970s tennis champ Nastase : ILIE

I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to give the crowd a laugh. After retiring from the sport, he had a few novels published (in French) during the eighties. Then Nastase went into politics, making an unsuccessful run for the mayorship of Bucharest in 1996. He made a successful run for the Hungarian Senate though, and has been a senator since May 2014.

56. Sorvino of “Mighty Aphrodite” : MIRA

Mira Sorvino is an American actress, winner of an Oscar for her supporting role in the 1995 Woody Allen movie “Mighty Aphrodite”. Sorvino also played a title role opposite Lisa Kudrow in the very forgettable “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”.

“Mighty Aphrodite” is a 1995 Woody Allen romantic comedy starring Mira Sorvino. The film was inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion”. I know, the critics loved “Mighty Aphrodite”, but I can’t stand it …

58. Overly theatrical type : 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.

59. Motorists’ org. : AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

61. Animal with a rack : ELK

The elk (also known as “wapiti”) is the one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Adhering to old-fashioned modesty : PRIM
5. Congeal, as blood : CLOT
9. Gate closer : LATCH
14. Green precious stone : JADE
15. Years and years and years : EONS
16. Honolulu hello : ALOHA
17. *Game-quickening timer in basketball : SHOT CLOCK
19. Arabian Peninsula nation : YEMEN
20. Charlotte ___ (rich dessert) : RUSSE
21. Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush : TEXANS
22. Food unit counted by a dieter : CALORIE
25. Budgetary excess : FAT
26. Golf ball propper-upper : TEE
27. Columbus campus, briefly : OSU
28. *Snowbirds’ destination : SUNBELT
30. Cartoondom’s Olive ___ : OYL
31. Wealth : RICHES
33. Tie, as figure skates : LACE UP
35. Clobber in the ring : KAYO
36. Weirdo : NUT
37. Miss America accessory : SASH
40. President saying “No!” : VETOER
43. Utter failure : FIASCO
45. Govt. of the Rebs : CSA
47. *Long vegetable with a yellow pod : WAX BEAN
49. Game of pursuit : TAG
50. Take part in 49-Across : RUN
51. Mel honored in Cooperstown : OTT
52. Ships’ direction controllers : RUDDERS
54. Mischievous : IMPISH
56. Spunk : MOXIE
57. Small food fish : SMELT
58. List of popular songs … or a hint to the ends of the answers to the starred clues : HIT PARADE
62. Hairlike projections on cells : CILIA
63. Wagner’s “Liebestod,” e.g. : ARIA
64. Something an arrested person tries to “make” : BAIL
65. Playful river animal : OTTER
66. Some “big” burgers : MACS
67. Reb’s foe : YANK

Down

1. Nighttime wear, familiarly : PJS
2. Cheerleader’s cry : RAH!
3. Words solemnly sworn : I DO
4. Subway system : METRO
5. Swede who developed a temperature scale : CELSIUS
6. Ease up on : LOOSEN
7. Without repetition : ONCE
8. Sound of disapproval : TSK
9. Purchase for a newborn : LAYETTE
10. “Jeopardy!” host Trebek : ALEX
11. *Marinara sauce thickener : TOMATO PASTE
12. Vice president between Gore and Biden : CHENEY
13. Fairy tale boy who outsmarts a witch : HANSEL
18. Mean witch’s pronouncement : CURSE
21. Soft mineral : TALC
22. Bottle stopper : CORK
23. Landmass bounded by a mountain chain and three oceans : ASIA
24. *Dispenser of psychiatric advice to Charlie Brown : LUCY VAN PELT
25. Notable achievement : FEAT
29. Book jacket write-up : BLURB
32. What might turn up dirt on someone? : HOE
34. Stars-and-stripes land, for short : USA
36. Call at a deli or barbershop : NEXT!
38. What psychological trauma may leave : SCAR
39. Swine : HOGS
41. Like a midlevel general or a so-so movie : TWO-STAR
42. Hippocratic ___ : OATH
43. Social gaffe : FAUX PAS
44. “Slumdog Millionaire” setting : INDIA
45. Cooking oil brand : CRISCO
46. Peak : SUMMIT
48. Steamy : EROTIC
53. Churchill Downs event : DERBY
55. 1970s tennis champ Nastase : ILIE
56. Sorvino of “Mighty Aphrodite” : MIRA
58. Overly theatrical type : HAM
59. Motorists’ org. : AAA
60. Racket : DIN
61. Animal with a rack : ELK