1201-18 NY Times Crossword 1 Dec 18, Saturday

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Constructed by: Ryan McCarty
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 30m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Counts : TALLIES UP

Back in the mid-1600s, a tally was a stick marked with notches that tracked how much one owed or had paid. The term came from the Latin “talea” meaning “stick, rod”. The act of “scoring” the stick with notches gave rise to our word “score” for the number in a tally.

10. Los ___, West Coast home of Netflix : GATOS

Netflix was founded in Los Gatos, California in 1997 as a DVD rental company that sent out titles by mail. Netflix no longer focuses on distribution by mail, and instead provides programming on demand. The company is now making a big play in the production of films and TV programs.

The town of Los Gatos is in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The town’s name translates from Spanish to “the Cats” and comes from the old name for the area “Cat’s Corner”. That name is a reference to the cougars that roamed the foothills in which the town is located.

15. Carnival transport : OCEAN LINER

The Carnival Cruise Line was founded in 1972, and now has over 20 vessels in operation. Three of those Carnival ships were chartered by the US government in the wake of Hurricane Katrina so that they could provided temporary housing for families displaced by the storm.

17. “Drive happy” sloganeer : ALAMO

The third largest car rental company over recent years is Alamo, which was founded in 1974. Alamo made inroads (pun!) into the market by popularizing the idea of “unlimited mileage”.

18. Bed in many a Thai dish : STICKY RICE

Sticky rice is actually a type of rice, and not a means of preparation. Sticky rice is more usually called “glutinous rice”, even though it does not contain dietary gluten.

20. One may make Us money : CELEB

“Us Weekly” is a celebrity gossip magazine that was first published in 1977 as “Us”. Originally issued every two weeks, “Us” became a monthly magazine in 1991, and moved to a weekly format in 2000.

21. Fabergé egg collector : TSAR

Fabergé eggs are beautiful jeweled eggs made by the House of Fabergé from 1885 to 1917. The tradition of fabricating the eggs started when Tsar Alexander III commissioned Fabergé to create a jeweled egg for his wife in 1885. After this, the House of Fabergé produced more and more elaborate designs, year after year.

23. Genesis name : SEGA

Genesis is a video game console sold in the US by the Japanese company Sega. Genesis is sold as Mega Drive in the rest of the world, as Sega couldn’t get the rights to the Mega Drive name in the US.

24. Org. with the “Give Kids a Smile” initiative : ADA

American Dental Association (ADA)

28. “___ Sylphides” (ballet) : LES

“Les Sylphides” is a 1909 ballet choreographed by Michel Fokine with music by Frédéric Chopin. The ballet is described as non-narrative, meaning that it has no story but simply showcases the dancing.

30. Super ___ : PAC

A political action committee (PAC) is a private group that works to influence the outcome of a particular election or group of elections. Any group becomes a PAC by law when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that PACS that did not make direct contributions to candidates or parties could accept unlimited contributions. These “independent, expenditure-only committees” are commonly referred to as “super PACs”.

31. Roman who wrote “Whatever advice you give, be brief” : HORACE

One of Ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, or “Horace” as we tend to know him. Horace’s most famous work is probably his collection of Latin lyric poems titled “Carmina” (the Latin for “Odes).

34. Ibizan inn : POSADA

“Posada” is Spanish for anything from a cafeteria to a pub or motel.

Ibiza is a Mediterranean island located almost 100 miles off the Spanish coast. It is a very popular tourist destination, largely for its legendary nightlife.

36. Head shot : BOTOX INJECTION

Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The toxin is a protein that can cause botulism, an extremely dangerous illness in humans and animals. Botulinum toxin is sold under the trade name “Botox”. Botox is used therapeutically and in cosmetic applications to weaken muscles, perhaps muscles that are in uncontrollable spasm. The cosmetic application involves the paralyzing of facial muscles in order to eliminate or reduce wrinkles, at least for a few months.

42. Derby head : LOO

In old sailing ships the toilet area for the regular sailors was located in the forward part (the head) of the ship, hence the term “head” that has been used since then for any toilet on board a boat.

45. Some E.R. cases : ODS

Overdose (OD)

49. Frappe Chiller offerer : TCBY

TCBY is a chain of stores selling frozen yogurt that was founded in 1981 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The acronym TCBY originally stood for “This Can’t Be Yogurt”, but this had to be changed due to a lawsuit being pressed by a competitor called “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt”. These days TCBY stands for “The Country’s Best Yogurt”.

51. Brand name that spells something not nice backward : TUMS

The main ingredient in Tums antacid, made by GlaxoSmithKline, is calcium carbonate. Tums have been on the market since 1930. If you want to save a few pennies, Target brand antacid is identical to Tums, so I hear …

54. Sentiment on 14 de febrero : TE AMO

“I love you” translates into “te amo” in Spanish, and into “je t’aime” in French.

In Spanish, a gift of “rosas” (roses) might be given on the “14 de febrero” (14th of February).

62. Fitting place to order craft beer? : AIRPORT BAR

Aircraft beer, perhaps.

63. Name on a planter : DEERE

John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”. The Deere company that John founded uses the slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and has a leaping deer as its logo.

Down

1. “E lucevan le stelle” source : TOSCA

Unlike so many operas, Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” was a big hit right from day one, when it was first performed in 1900 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. “Tosca” is currently the eighth-most performed opera in America.

3. Girl saved by Don Juan : LEILA

Lord Byron wrote the poem “Don Juan” based on the legend of Don Juan the libertine. For the poem, Byron created the character Leila, a 10-year-old Muslim orphan girl whom Juan rescues from the city of Ismail.

5. Reason to ask “What do you see?” : INKBLOT TEST

The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which a subject is asked to interpret a series of inkblots. The test was created by Swiss Freudian psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach in the 1920s.

6. England’s Isle of ___ : ELY

The Isle of Ely in England isn’t an island as we would usually know it, and instead is the name of the area surrounding the city of Ely. Centuries ago however, the region was in fact an island surrounded by a fen, a type of swamp. The name is said to derive from “Island of Eels”, a reference to the large number of eels caught in the area’s rivers.

7. Its East African equivalent is “bwana” : SIR

“Bwana” is a Swahili word meaning “important person” or “leader of a safari”.

9. Muscle shirt wearer’s pride : PECS

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

10. Gift that’s not always welcome : GAB

Blarney is a town in County Cork in the south of Ireland. Blarney is home to Blarney Castle, and inside the castle is the legendary Blarney Stone. “Kissing the Blarney Stone” is a ritual engaged in by many, many tourists (indeed, I’ve done it myself!), but it’s not a simple process. The stone is embedded in the wall of the castle, and in order to kiss it you have to sit on the edge of the parapet and lean way backwards so that your head is some two feet below your body. There is a staff member there to help you and make sure you don’t fall. The Blarney Stone has been labelled as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction! But once you’ve kissed it, supposedly you are endowed with the “gift of the gab”, the ability to talk eloquently and perhaps deceptively without offending. The term “blarney” has come to mean flattering and deceptive talk.

14. Tab holder, e.g. : SODA CAN

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.

27. Annual spring chore, for many : TAXES

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

29. People with great head shots? : SOCCER STARS

A header is a pass or shot at goal in soccer made by heading the ball, by hitting and directing the ball with the head.

31. Subject of the 2009 biography “Stormy Weather” : HORNE

Lena Horne was an American jazz singer, actress, dancer and civil rights activist. Horne started out her career as a nightclub singer and then began to get some meaty acting roles in Hollywood. However, she ended up on the blacklist during the McCarthy Era for expressing left wing political views. One of Horne’s starring roles was in the 1943 movie “Stormy Weather” for which she also performed the title song.

32. Sorceress exiled on Aeaea : CIRCE

Circe was a minor goddess in Greek mythology. The goddess of magic, she was fond of transforming those who did not please her into animals by using magical potions. In Homer’s “Odyssey”, Odysseus was given the herb called “moly” to protect him from the magical powers of Circe.

36. Vehicle with wing-shaped tail fins : BATMOBILE

The Batmobile was introduced in the world of comic books in 1939. It started out as a simple, red convertible, with nothing special to recommend it. Over the years though, the car evolved and became more and more sophisticated. The Batmobile always had pride of place in the Batman tales, but once in a while Batman would take the Batplane, Batboat and Batcycle out for a spin.

37. ___ Fett, “Star Wars” bounty hunter : JANGO

In the “Star Wars” universe, the clone troopers are soldiers cloned from a bounty hunter called Jango Fett. The clone troopers were created by the Galactic Republic, the precursor to the the Galactic Empire.

38. Game with royal marriages : PINOCHLE

Pinochle is a card game that was developed from the 19th-century French game called bezique.

44. “Oom” producer : TUBA

The tuba is the lowest-pitched of all the brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is just one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). “Tuba” is the Latin word for “trumpet, horn”. Oom-pah-pah …

46. Option for 38-Across : SAMBA
(38A. Activity involving a leader and a follower : PARTNER DANCING)

The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival of Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

48. Yankees manager after Showalter : TORRE

As a manager, Joe Torre was part of four World Series wins, all of them with the New York Yankees baseball team. Torre is an Italian American who was born in Brooklyn, New York. During the run up (pun intended!) to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Torre carried the Olympic flame part of the way through Florence in Italy, handing it over to the next runner at the famous Ponte Vecchio. I’d guess that was quite a thrill for him …

Buck Showalter serves as the manager of the New York Yankees, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles baseball teams. Showalter has won the American League’s Manager of the Year award three times.

52. Parts of some neuro exams : MRIS

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

55. Crew at a big accident : EMTS

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

59. Mean in school, for short : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

60. Rob ___ : ROY

Rob Roy was a folk hero in Scotland from the 18th century. He was a sort of Scottish Robin Hood, an outlaw who had the support of the populace. Rob Roy’s full name was Robert Roy MacGregor, itself an anglicization of the Scottish Raibeart Ruadh. He gave his name to a famous cocktail called a Rob Roy, a relative of the Manhattan that is made with Scotch instead of bourbon.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Counts : TALLIES UP
10. Los ___, West Coast home of Netflix : GATOS
15. Carnival transport : OCEAN LINER
17. “Drive happy” sloganeer : ALAMO
18. Bed in many a Thai dish : STICKY RICE
19. High as a kite : BAKED
20. One may make Us money : CELEB
21. Fabergé egg collector : TSAR
23. Genesis name : SEGA
24. Org. with the “Give Kids a Smile” initiative : ADA
25. Like many matches : LIT
28. “___ Sylphides” (ballet) : LES
30. Super ___ : PAC
31. Roman who wrote “Whatever advice you give, be brief” : HORACE
34. Ibizan inn : POSADA
36. Head shot : BOTOX INJECTION
38. Activity involving a leader and a follower : PARTNER DANCING
39. Elliptical settings : FITNESS CENTERS
40. Get tangled up : ENMESH
41. They’re used at the border : EDGERS
42. Derby head : LOO
43. Add : TOT
45. Some E.R. cases : ODS
46. Not lie, say : SIT
49. Frappe Chiller offerer : TCBY
51. Brand name that spells something not nice backward : TUMS
54. Sentiment on 14 de febrero : TE AMO
56. Started back : SHIED
58. Fratty Silicon Valley techie, stereotypically : BROGRAMMER
61. Quiet : ALLAY
62. Fitting place to order craft beer? : AIRPORT BAR
63. Name on a planter : DEERE
64. Doesn’t do anything rash : STAYS SANE

Down

1. “E lucevan le stelle” source : TOSCA
2. Quit stalling : ACTED
3. Girl saved by Don Juan : LEILA
4. Get ready to play, with “up” : LACE
5. Reason to ask “What do you see?” : INKBLOT TEST
6. England’s Isle of ___ : ELY
7. Its East African equivalent is “bwana” : SIR
8. Building block : UNIT
9. Muscle shirt wearer’s pride : PECS
10. Gift that’s not always welcome : GAB
11. Lead-in to unfortunate news : ALAS …
12. Go out of one’s way : TAKE PAINS
13. Lowest pack member : OMEGA DOG
14. Tab holder, e.g. : SODA CAN
16. Very, informally : REAL
22. Was in a sorry state? : REPENTED
26. Golfer’s approach, often : IRON SHOT
27. Annual spring chore, for many : TAXES
29. People with great head shots? : SOCCER STARS
31. Subject of the 2009 biography “Stormy Weather” : HORNE
32. Sorceress exiled on Aeaea : CIRCE
33. Cut out : ENDED
35. Budges : STIRS
36. Vehicle with wing-shaped tail fins : BATMOBILE
37. ___ Fett, “Star Wars” bounty hunter : JANGO
38. Game with royal marriages : PINOCHLE
39. Was blue : FELT SAD
44. “Oom” producer : TUBA
46. Option for 38-Across : SAMBA
47. Words after a verbal slip : … I MEAN
48. Yankees manager after Showalter : TORRE
50. Auto specification : YEAR
52. Parts of some neuro exams : MRIS
53. Class : SORT
55. Crew at a big accident : EMTS
57. Make blue, say : DYE
59. Mean in school, for short : GPA
60. Rob ___ : ROY

5 thoughts on “1201-18 NY Times Crossword 1 Dec 18, Saturday”

  1. 36:39, no errors. A slow solve from beginning to end, with many missteps. (Most significant one: “CIRCE” was a gimme for 32D, after which I confidently entered “SENECA” for 31A; it took me a long time to back that out and use “HORACE” instead.)

  2. DNF. I just kept looking things up until I was able to finish. Lots I didn’t know, a lot of missteps – eegs before MRIS, Isle of Man just to name 2. Very tough one. I wasn’t even close.

    Best –

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