1229-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 29 Dec 2017, Friday

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Constructed by: David Steinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 19m 11s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • JOY BUZZER (toy buzzer!)
  • J.LO (Tlo!)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Checks for bugs : BETA TESTS

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing that term.

15. Percocet relative : OXYCONTIN

Percodan is a trade name for the combination drug oxycodone/aspirin. Percodan was introduced to the market in 1950, but has largely been replaced by Percocet, a combination of oxycodone with paracetamol.

18. Lydia neighbor : IONIA

Lydia and Ionia were ancient territories in a part of the world now covered by modern-day Turkey. Both territories eventually fell under Greek and then Roman rule.

20. Vehicle with a cab : SEMI

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

22. Zeus trapped Typhon under it : ETNA

Typhon was known as the “father of all monsters” in Greek mythology, and he was married to the “mother of all monster”, Echidna. Typhon had a huge human torso with a hundred dragon heads. His lower body was made up of gigantic viper coils. Although all the gods feared Typhon, Zeus finally defeated him and trapped him underneath Mount Etna.

29. Letters before Q : LGBT

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ)

31. Island known for its meditation retreats : BALI

Bali is both an island and a province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist spot, although the number of visitors dropped for a few years as a result of terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 that killed mainly tourists. Bali became more popular starting in 2008 due to a significant and favorable change in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah.

35. Roman who said “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error” : CICERO

Cicero was a very influential senator in Ancient Rome, in part due to his renowned ability to deliver a persuasive speech. His full name was Marcus Tullius Cicero.

43. Stick it to? : GORE

To gore is to pierce or stick with a horn or tusk.

55. Horror movie figure, in brief : DRAC

“Dracula” is a novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker and first published in 1897. Dracula wasn’t the first vampire of literature, but he certainly was the one who spawned the popularity of vampires in theater, film and television, and indeed more novels. Personally, I can’t stand vampire fiction …

57. “Rockaria!” band, for short : ELO

If you listen carefully to the song “Rockaria” on the 1976 ELO album “A New World Record”, you’ll hear an “oops”. The introduction to the track features an opera singer who starts the vocals too early in the first take. The band decided to use that first take anyway, complete with the singer saying “oops”.

58. Publisher’s concern : LIBEL

The word “libel”, meaning a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation, comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s, libel was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging association arising in the 1600s.

59. Joke shop purchase : JOY BUZZER

A joy buzzer is also known as a “hand buzzer”. It’s that practical joke device that is hidden in the palm of one person before he or she shakes hands with another. When contact is made, a button on the device causes a wound spring to unwind creating a sudden vibration that might be mistaken for an electric shock. The joy buzzer was invented in 1928 by Danish American inventor Soren Sorensen Adams.

61. ___ hole : OZONE

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the propellants that were once used in aerosols. CFCs make their way up into the ozone layer and trigger a chain reaction that converts ozone (O3) into regular oxygen (O2). That conversion creates “holes” in the ozone layer. Regular O2 is good stuff, but we need O3 to absorb harmful UV radiation raining down on us. CFC is not good stuff …

62. Passover meal in Exodus : LAMB ROAST

The Jewish holiday of Passover (also “Pesach”) commemorates the Israelites being freed from slavery in Egypt, as recounted in the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible. In that narrative, God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians, the tenth being the death of their firstborn sons. God instructed the Israelites to mark their doorposts so that the plague would pass over the firstborn Israelites. This “passing over” gives the holiday its name.

Down

1. Children’s character associated with a crook : BO PEEP

The lines that are most commonly quoted for the rhyme about “Little Bo Peep” are:

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, And they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.

But, there are actually four more verses, including this one:

It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Into a meadow hard by,
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.

3. Power of old films : TYRONE

Tyrone Power was a Hollywood actor from Cincinnati, Ohio. Power tended to play the romantic lead, as well as the swashbuckler that was so popular in the thirties. His career was interrupted during WWII when he volunteered to serve with the Marine Corps as a pilot. Power served with distinction and resumed his career after the war. He died on set, suffering a massive heart attack while filming a sword duel with his friend George Sanders. Power was only 44 years of age.

6. TV actress Georgia : ENGEL

Georgia Engel is a very funny comedy actress who is best known for playing Georgette Baxter, wife of Ted Baxter, on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Engel’s father was a vice admiral in the Coast Guard, and her sister was Miss Hawaii for 1967.

9. Hot show with a cold open, for short : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

A “cold open” of a TV show or movie is a scene that is shown before the title sequence or opening credits. Cold opens became quite the rage on television starting in the mid-sixties.

10. TV spinoff beginning in 2004 : CSI: NY

The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but seems to have finally wound down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, set in Las Vegas, hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. The youngest show in the series was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two seasons, before being canceled in 2016.

21. Station measure : OCTANE

The difference between a premium and regular gasoline is its octane rating. The octane rating is measure of the resistance of the gasoline to auto-ignition i.e. its resistance to ignition just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. If ignition occurs before the spark is created, the resulting phenomenon is called “knocking”. We sometimes use the adjective “high-octane” to mean “intense, dynamic, high-powered”

25. 1970 Jackson 5 #1 hit : ABC

“ABC” topped the charts for the Jackson 5 in 1970, and might perhaps be called the Jackson 5’s signature tune.

28. Garment whose name is often spelled with “ee” at the end : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

37. Swirly sweet seller : CINNABON

Cinnabon is a chain of stores that sells baked goods. The first Cinnabon store opened in 1985 in a suburb of Seattle Washington.

40. Whigs’ successor, briefly : GOP

The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.

The Whig Party (in the US) was active from 1833 to 1856, and was the opposition party to the Democrats at that time. One of the tenets of the Whig Party was the supremacy of Congress over the Executive branch. Prominent members of the party included Presidents Zachary Taylor and John Tyler. Abraham Lincoln was also a Whig while he served a two-year term as a US Representative for the state of Illinois. By the time he became President, Lincoln was a member of the Republican Party.

44. New Jersey’s state tree : RED OAK

The northern red oak is a tree that is native to North America. The northern red oak is sometimes referred to as the champion oak, and is the state tree of New Jersey. There is also a southern red oak, which is sometimes called the Spanish oak. If you see the unqualified “red oak” term, then it’s probably a northern red oak.

46. Erika with six Daytime Emmys : SLEZAK

The actress Erika Slezak plays Victoria Lord on the daytime soap opera “One Life to Live”. Slezak has been playing the role since 1971, for 40 years!

47. “Honor Thy Father” writer : TALESE

Gay Talese is an American author, famous as a journalist in the sixties at “The New York Times”. His 1971 book “Honor Thy Father” is a tale about the Bonanno crime family.

51. Pet feline : TABBY

Tabbies aren’t a breed of cat, but rather are cats with particular markings regardless of breed. Tabbies have coats with stripes, dots and swirling patterns, and usually an “M” mark on the forehead.

56. Bean ___ : CURD

Tofu is another name for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that … bean that has curdled. Tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally I love tofu, but my wife, she absolutely hates it …

59. 4x platinum 2001 album with the #1 hit “I’m Real” : J.LO

J.Lo is the nickname of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. “J.Lo” is also the title of her second studio album, one released in 2001.

60. Leopard spot : ZOO

The four “big cats” are the tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard. The largest of the big cats is the tiger, and the smallest is the leopard.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Checks for bugs : BETA TESTS
10. Dealt (with) : COPED
15. Percocet relative : OXYCONTIN
16. Barbershop job : SHAVE
17. She’s always down for a good time : PARTY GIRL
18. Lydia neighbor : IONIA
19. ___-conscious : ECO
20. Vehicle with a cab : SEMI
21. In telephone hell? : ON HOLD
22. Zeus trapped Typhon under it : ETNA
24. Utter madness : LUNACY
26. QB protectors : RGS
27. Ones concerned with stress : POETS
29. Letters before Q : LGBT
30. Pure and simple : BARE
31. Island known for its meditation retreats : BALI
33. Baker’s shortcut : CAKE MIX
35. Roman who said “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error” : CICERO
38. Zero : NOT ANY
39. Coming up : ARISING
41. Bad impression? : DENT
42. Email folder : SENT
43. Stick it to? : GORE
45. Piths : GISTS
49. ___ characters (Chinese script) : HAN
50. Do over : REPEAT
52. Reaction to an insult : SLAP
53. It may come with age : FLAVOR
55. Horror movie figure, in brief : DRAC
57. “Rockaria!” band, for short : ELO
58. Publisher’s concern : LIBEL
59. Joke shop purchase : JOY BUZZER
61. ___ hole : OZONE
62. Passover meal in Exodus : LAMB ROAST
63. Proceeds : WENDS
64. “Sounds good” : OKEY-DOKEY

Down

1. Children’s character associated with a crook : BO PEEP
2. “Precisely!,” informally : EXACTO!
3. Power of old films : TYRONE
4. You might clean yours up or put one on : ACT
5. Tops and such : TOYS
6. TV actress Georgia : ENGEL
7. Reaction producers : STIMULI
8. Like a good workout : TIRING
9. Hot show with a cold open, for short : SNL
10. TV spinoff beginning in 2004 : CSI: NY
11. “I know the answer!” : OH OH!
12. Big picture : PANORAMA
13. It might accompany “Heh, heh, heh” : EVIL GRIN
14. Smokin’ hot : DEAD SEXY
21. Station measure : OCTANE
23. In an ideal world : AT BEST
25. 1970 Jackson 5 #1 hit : ABC
28. Garment whose name is often spelled with “ee” at the end : SARI
30. Ex-Steeler Jerome dubbed “The Bus” : BETTIS
32. More stretched out : LONGER
34. Diddy ___ (peanut-shooting Nintendo character) : KONG
35. Indicator of liquidity : CASH FLOW
36. “Thanks, Captain Obvious” : I REALIZE
37. Swirly sweet seller : CINNABON
40. Whigs’ successor, briefly : GOP
41. “Heavens to Betsy!” : DEARY ME!
44. New Jersey’s state tree : RED OAK
46. Erika with six Daytime Emmys : SLEZAK
47. “Honor Thy Father” writer : TALESE
48. Containing a spoiler, say : SPORTY
50. Stay-at-home mom and dad, e.g. : ROLES
51. Pet feline : TABBY
54. Sell : VEND
56. Bean ___ : CURD
59. 4x platinum 2001 album with the #1 hit “I’m Real” : J.LO
60. Leopard spot : ZOO