1227-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 27 Dec 2017, Wednesday

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Constructed by: David Kwong
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Ladies in Half

Themed answers are in pairs, sitting side by side in the grid. The start of one answer and the end of the other have circled letters. Those letters spell out the names of certain LADIES. It’s as if the names of those LADIES have been sawn IN HALF and moved to the front and back of each row:

  • 8A. With 63-Across, what some performers saw in Las Vegas? … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : LADIES …
  • 63A. See 8-Across : … IN HALF
  • 17A. Media muzzler : GAG ORDER
  • 19A. Neighborhood grocery : BODEGA (giving “Lady Gaga”)
  • 29A. Cupid, e.g. : GOD OF LOVE
  • 31A. Fearsome Hindu deity : SHIVA (giving “Lady Godiva”)
  • 42A. Leigh of “Psycho” : JANET
  • 43A. Anne Brontë’s first novel : AGNES GREY (giving “Lady Jane Grey”)
  • 55A. Garrulous : CHATTY
  • 57A. Saxophonist Cannonball : ADDERLEY (giving “Lady Chatterley”)

Bill’s time: 9m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Slugger’s stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

4. Shout from a coach driver : WHOA!

Although the stagecoach is very much associated with the Wild West, the vehicle originated in England in the 16th century. Stagecoaches provided transportation for travellers and goods over long distances. The rest points for the travellers were known as “stages”, and later “stations”, hence the name “stagecoach”.

15. BMW competitor : AUDI

The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch’s young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that “horch” was German for “hear” and he suggested “Audi” as a replacement, the Latin for “listen”.

The initialism BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

19. Neighborhood grocery : BODEGA (giving “Lady Gaga”)

“Bodega” is the Spanish term for a winery, or these days for a grocery store.

“Lady Gaga” is the stage name of Stefani Germanotta. Germanotta is a big fan of the band Queen, and she took her stage name from the marvelous Queen song titled “Radio Ga Ga”.

20. Fed. bond : T-NOTE

A Treasury note (T-note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A T-bill is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-bond matures in 20-30 years.

21. Frank : WIENER

What we call a wiener in this country is known as a Vienna sausage in Germany. It was first produced by a butcher from Frankfurt who was living in Vienna, hence the name “Wiener”, which is German for “of Vienna”. Paradoxically, the same sausage is called a Frankfurter in Vienna, as it was created by someone from Frankfurt. It’s all very confusing …

29. Cupid, e.g. : GOD OF LOVE

Cupid was the god of love in Roman mythology. Cupid’s name comes from the Latin verb “cupere” meaning “to desire”. Cupid’s Latin name was Amor, and his Greek counterpart was Eros.

31. Fearsome Hindu deity : SHIVA (giving “Lady Godiva”)

The Hindu Trinity comprises Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva (also Siva) the destroyer or transformer.

In the legend of Lady Godiva, a noblewoman rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England, basically as a dare from her husband in return for relieving the taxes of his tenants. Lady Godiva issued instructions that all the town’s inhabitants should stay indoors while she made her journey. However, a tailor in the town named Tom disobeyed the instructions by boring holes in the shutters on his windows, and “peeped”. As a result, Peeping Tom was struck blind, and the term “peeping Tom” has been in our language ever since.

39. Popular Toyota : COROLLA

More cars have been sold under the Toyota Corolla brand name than any other brand name in history, even outstripping sales of the VW Beetle. There has been an average of one Corolla manufactured every 40 seconds for the past 40 years. “Corolla” is Latin for “small crown”, part of a pattern used by Toyota in naming their cars (“Corona” is Latin for crown, and “Camry” sounds like the Japanese for crown).

40. “Carmen” and “Elektra” : OPERAS

When Georges Bizet wrote his famous opera “Carmen”, he used the melody of what he thought was an old folk song as a theme in the lovely aria “the Habanera”. Not long after he finished “Carmen” he discovered that the folk song was in fact a piece that had been written by another composer, who had died just ten years before “Carmen” was published. Fittingly, Bizet added a note to the score, declaring the original source.

“Elektra” is an opera by Richard Strauss that premiered in 1909. The work is based on Greek mythology, and is centered on Elektra, the daughter of the Greek king Agamemnon.

42. Leigh of “Psycho” : JANET

My guess is that the actress Janet Leigh’s most remembered performance is as the woman who gets killed in the shower in the Hitchcock classic “Psycho”. Leigh’s third husband was the actor Tony Curtis, and their daughter is the lovely Jamie Lee Curtis.

The classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho” released in 1960 is based on a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The Bloch novel in turn is loosely based on actual crimes committed by murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. When “Psycho” was making its initial run in theaters, latecomers were not granted admission, abiding by a policy instigated by Hitchcock himself. He felt that anyone missing the opening scenes would not enjoy the film.

43. Anne Brontë’s first novel : AGNES GREY (giving “Lady Jane Grey”)

Anne was the youngest of the three sisters in the literary Brontë family. Her older sisters wrote novels that are more recognized, but Anne’s two novels do have a following. “Agnes Grey” is based on her own experiences working as a governess. Her other novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” is written as a long letter from a young man describing the events leading up to his first meeting with his wife-to-be. Anne Brontë’s writing career was cut short in 1849, when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis, at only 29 years of age.

Lady Jane Grey was known as the “Nine Days Queen”. Lady Jane was the cousin of Edward VI and succeeded to the throne when the king named her his successor on his deathbed. Edward VI was the only son of Henry VIII. Henry’s eldest child Mary was the rightful heir to the throne and she deposed Lady Jane Grey in just a few days to become Queen Mary I (aka “Bloody Mary”). Lady Jane was imprisoned in the Tower of London and eventually beheaded.

51. Reserves : CACHES

A cache is a secret supply. We imported the term into English from French Canadian trappers in the 17th century. Back then, “cache” was a slang term for a “hiding place for stores”, derived from the French verb “cacher” meaning “to hide”.

57. Saxophonist Cannonball : ADDERLEY (giving “Lady Chatterley”)

Cannonball Adderley was an alto-sax player whose heyday was in the fifties and sixties. Adderley picked up the nickname “Cannonball” in high school as apparently he was a big eater. Go figure …

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” is perhaps the most famous novel by the English author D. H. Lawrence. The novel is renowned for its explicit description of sexual encounters and its use of strong language. “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was first published in 1928, but so “edgy” was the content that the first unexpurgated edition wasn’t published in the UK until 1960.

60. Prefix with -pod : GASTRO-

Snails and slugs are referred to collectively as gastropods. There are many, many species of gastropods, found both on land and in the sea. Gastropods with shells are generally described as snails, and those species without shells are referred to as slugs.

61. Marvin of Motown : GAYE

Marvin Gaye was a singer-songwriter from Washington, D.C. who came to be known as “Prince of Soul” and “Prince of Motown”. Some of Gaye’s biggest hits are “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968), “What’s Going On?” (1971), “Let’s Get It On” (1973) and “Sexual Healing” (1982). Famously, Gaye was shot dead by his father while Marvin was sitting on his mother’s bed just talking to her. Marvin had given the gun to his father as a Christmas gift.

62. Three, in Tuscany : TRE

Tuscany is a beautiful region of central Italy, the capital of which is the city of Florence. Tuscany is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, centered around Florence. It was home to great artistic icons such as Dante, Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Galileo and Puccini.

64. Augur : OMEN

The verb “to augur” means “to bode”, to serve as an omen. The term comes from the name of religious officials in Ancient Rome called augurs whose job it was to interpret signs and omens.

65. C.I.A.’s forerunner : OSS

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

Down

1. Shabby : RAGTAG

“Ragtag and bobtail” is a colorful phrase that’s used to describe the lowest classes, or the rabble. A “bobtail” is a horse that has had its tail cut short, a word that goes back as least as far as Shakespeare as he used it in “King Lear”. A “tag” is a piece of cloth that is torn and hanging, which was readily combined with “rag” in the original phrase “tag, rag and bobtail”. This idiom, perhaps originally quoted from Samuel Pepys in his diary in 1659, referred to the lower classes as “tag, rag and bobtail, dancing, singing and drinking”. The phrase evolved, giving us our contemporary word “ragtag” meaning ragged and unkempt.

2. 1972 Oscar refuser : BRANDO

Actor Marlon Brando really hit the big time with his Oscar-winning performance in the 1951 movie “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Brando went on to win another Best Actor Oscar for his performance in 1972’s “The Godfather”, which gave him the platform to establish himself as a political activist. He turned down the award and didn’t attend the ceremony. Instead he sent a Native American rights activist called Sacheen Littlefeather who made a speech protesting the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood movies. Brando wasn’t the first person to refuse an Oscar. George C. Scott did the same thing when he won for playing the title role in 1970’s “Patton”. Scott just didn’t like the whole idea of “competing” with other actors.

5. 1963 Paul Newman movie : HUD

The modern-day, western movie called “Hud” was released in 1963 and has become a classic. “Hud” stars Paul Newman (in the title role) and Patricia Neal and is an adaptation of a novel by Larry McMurtry called “Horseman, Pass By”. Patricia Neal’s role in the film was relatively small, yet her performance was enough to earn her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

9. River through Bath : AVON

Bath is a beautiful city in South West England of which I have very fond memories. Bath is an old Roman spa town, and the city’s name comes from the Roman baths that have been excavated and restored.

10. “___ Dinah” (1958 hit for Frankie Avalon) : DEDE

Frankie Avalon is a singer and actor who was a famous teen idol. Notably, he teamed up with actress and singer Annette Funicello in a series of “Beach Party” movies in the sixties.

12. Shape of a Silly Putty container : EGG

Silly Putty is a silicone polymer that is marketed as a toy, usually sold in an egg-shaped plastic container. It is a remarkable material that can flow like a liquid and can also bounce. Silly Putty was one of those accidental creations, an outcome of research during WWII in search of substitutes for rubber. The substitution became urgent as Japan invaded rubber-producing countries all around the Pacific Rim.

22. Land in la mer : ILE

In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “la mer” (the sea).

25. “West Side Story” role : TONY

Leonard Bernstein’s musical “West Side Story” is based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The musical is set in New York City and features two rival gangs: the Sharks from Puerto Rico and the Jets with working-class, Caucasian roots. Tony from the Jets (played by Richard Beymer) falls in love with Maria (played by Natalie Wood) from the Sharks. All this parallels Romeo from the House of Montague falling for Juliet from the House of Capulet in the Italian city of Verona.

28. “___ Land,” 2016 film : LA LA

“La La Land” is a 2016 romantic musical film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and actress who fall in love in “La La Land” (Los Angeles, i.e. “LA”). The film was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who had found success two years earlier with the musical drama “Whiplash”. “La La Land” won a record-breaking seven Golden Globes and tied the record number of Oscar nominations at fourteen, winning six.

32. “Westworld” network : HBO

“Westworld” is an HBO series that is based on a 1973 movie of the same name, which was written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton. Westworld is a high-tech theme park populated by androids that interact with the guests.

34. Large jazz combo : NONET

A nonet is a piece of music requiring nine musicians for a performance. The term is also used for the group itself.

35. Voodoo : MOJO

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

Voodoo is a religion that originated the French slave colony of Saint-Domingue on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

44. Teri of “Young Frankenstein” : GARR

The lovely Teri Garr had a whole host of minor roles in her youth, including appearances in nine Elvis movies. Garr’s big break came with the role of Inga in “Young Frankenstein”, and her supporting role in “Tootsie” earned Garr an Academy Award nomination. Sadly, Teri Garr suffers from multiple sclerosis. She is a National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

I am not really a big fan of movies by Mel Brooks, but “Young Frankenstein” is the exception. I think the cast has a lot to do with me liking the film, as it includes Gene Wilder (Dr. Frankenstein), Teri Garr (Inga), Marty Feldman (Igor) and Gene Hackman (Harold, the blind man).

45. Classic theater name : RIALTO

New York’s original theater district was located around Union Square, which was called Rialto, after the famous commercial district in Venice, Italy. New York theaters relocated over time to the Broadway area. However, the term “rialto” continues to be used for the city’s theater district, and indeed for a theater district in many towns and cities.

53. Keyboard key abbr. : CTRL

The Control (CTRL) key on a PC keyboard is used to modify the function of other keys. For example, pressing CTRL+C copies a selection to the clipboard, and CTRL+V pastes the contents of the clipboard to a location defined by the cursor. Control keys were introduced on teletypewriters to generate “control characters”, which are non-printing characters that instruct a computer to do something like print a page, ring a bell etc.

55. Modern film effects, for short : CGI

Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

56. Ben Solo’s father : HAN

Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa in the “Star Wars” universe. The character’s birth name was Ben Solo. He was trained as a Jedi knight by his uncle, Luke Skywalker. However, Ben came to embrace the Dark Side, and changed his name to Kylo Ren. Ren is played by actor Adam Driver.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Slugger’s stat : RBI
4. Shout from a coach driver : WHOA!
8. With 63-Across, what some performers saw in Las Vegas? … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : LADIES …
14. Extension : ARM
15. BMW competitor : AUDI
16. Get back for : AVENGE
17. Media muzzler : GAG ORDER
19. Neighborhood grocery : BODEGA (giving “Lady Gaga”)
20. Fed. bond : T-NOTE
21. Frank : WIENER
23. Just ___ on the map : A DOT
24. In the slightest : AT ALL
26. Letterhead abbr. : TEL
29. Cupid, e.g. : GOD OF LOVE
31. Fearsome Hindu deity : SHIVA (giving “Lady Godiva”)
33. Punishment short of jail time : FINE
34. Judge’s pronouncement at a hearing : NO BAIL
35. Error at cards : MISPLAY
39. Popular Toyota : COROLLA
40. “Carmen” and “Elektra” : OPERAS
41. Choice : A-ONE
42. Leigh of “Psycho” : JANET
43. Anne Brontë’s first novel : AGNES GREY (giving “Lady Jane Grey”)
48. Anomalous : ODD
49. Like dessert wines, typically : SWEET
50. Many a staffer : AIDE
51. Reserves : CACHES
54. Crows : BRAGS
55. Garrulous : CHATTY
57. Saxophonist Cannonball : ADDERLEY (giving “Lady Chatterley”)
60. Prefix with -pod : GASTRO-
61. Marvin of Motown : GAYE
62. Three, in Tuscany : TRE
63. See 8-Across : … IN HALF
64. Augur : OMEN
65. C.I.A.’s forerunner : OSS

Down

1. Shabby : RAGTAG
2. 1972 Oscar refuser : BRANDO
3. “That’s enough, thanks” : I’M GOOD
4. Ending with hard or soft : -WARE
5. 1963 Paul Newman movie : HUD
6. Tribute of a sort : ODE
7. Broadcasting unit? : AIRWAVE
8. Name : LABEL
9. River through Bath : AVON
10. “___ Dinah” (1958 hit for Frankie Avalon) : DEDE
11. Kind of mass, in physics : INERTIAL
12. Shape of a Silly Putty container : EGG
13. Multitude : SEA
18. Palindromic man’s name : OTTO
22. Land in la mer : ILE
24. Wanted poster word : ALIAS
25. “West Side Story” role : TONY
27. Malevolence : EVIL
28. “___ Land,” 2016 film : LA LA
30. E’s equivalent : F-FLAT
31. Results of chafing : SORES
32. “Westworld” network : HBO
34. Large jazz combo : NONET
35. Voodoo : MOJO
36. Apple Store purchase : IPAD
37. Message from a short person? : SEND CASH
38. School commencement? : PRE-
39. Shape of a sushi hand roll : CONE
41. Way, way back : AGES AGO
43. Really move : AWE
44. Teri of “Young Frankenstein” : GARR
45. Classic theater name : RIALTO
46. Border cutters : EDGERS
47. “Absolutely!” : YES YES!
49. Below, as a goal : SHY OF
52. Lead-in to girl or boy : ATTA …
53. Keyboard key abbr. : CTRL
54. “How have you ___?” : BEEN
55. Modern film effects, for short : CGI
56. Ben Solo’s father : HAN
58. Challenge for salmon : DAM
59. Salon job : DYE