1203-18 NY Times Crossword 3 Dec 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: At Last It’s Due, We Hear

Themed answers each end with a doo-sound. Well, I’m not sure about “PAS DE DEUX”, though …

  • 17A. Great Dane of animated cartoons : SCOOBY-DOO
  • 24A. Result of overnight condensation : MORNING DEW
  • 38A. “Impossible for me!” : NO CAN DO!
  • 50A. Words on returned mail : POSTAGE DUE
  • 62A. Couple’s ballet dance : PAS DE DEUX

Bill’s time: 5m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. Illegal motions by pitchers : BALKS

To balk is to stop and refuse to go on. It’s not just a baseball term …

14. Houston player : ASTRO

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

15. Great Dane, e.g. : DOG

The Great Dane breed of dog isn’t actually from Denmark, and rather is from Germany.

17. Great Dane of animated cartoons : SCOOBY-DOO

“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” is a series of cartoons produced for Hanna-Barbera Productions, first broadcast in 1969. The title character is a great Dane dog owned by a young male called Shaggy Rogers. The character’s name was inspired by the famous “doo-be-doo-be-doo” refrain in the Frank Sinatra hit “Strangers in the Night”. Shaggy was voiced by famed disk jockey Casey Kasem.

26. Lipton offerings : TEAS

Sir Thomas Lipton was a grocer in Glasgow, Scotland. He founded a tea packing company in North America in 1893, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was very successful as his blends of tea became popular in the US. Despite the Lipton roots in the UK, Lipton black tea isn’t available there, so I’ve always thought of it as an American brand.

28. “Bus Stop” dramatist William : INGE

“Bus Stop” is a marvelous play written by William Inge in 1955. The famous 1956 movie of the same name starring Marilyn Monroe is only very loosely based on the play.

31. Basic trig ratio : SINE

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

33. Invitation request, in brief : RSVP

RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

41. Harmful cigarette stuff : TAR

The partially-combusted particulate matter that is produced as a cigarette burns forms a resinous material called “tar”. Cigarette tar is different than the tar used on roads, but is very toxic. Marijuana smoke produces a very similar tar to cigarette smoke, and is just as dangerous.

42. Equestrian’s sport : POLO

A game of polo is divided into periods of play called chukkers (sometimes “chukkas”). The game usually lasts for two hours, and the time between the chukkers is used to change horses.

49. Londoner, e.g., informally : BRIT

London is the largest metropolitan area in the whole of the European Union (and one of my favorite cities in the world). London has been a major settlement for over 2,000 years and was founded as a town by the Romans who named it Londinium. The name “Londinium” may have existed prior to the arrival of the Romans, and no one seems too sure of its origins. Famously, the City of London is a one-square-mile area at the center of the metropolis, the area that marked old medieval London. “The City”, as it is commonly called, has its own Mayor of the City of London (the Mayor of London is someone else), and it’s own City of London Police Force (the London Metropolitan Police are the police usually seen on the streets, a different force).

58. Aviator Earhart : AMELIA

Amelia Earhart is as famous today as she was during her lifetime. When she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress, and the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French government. She made two attempts to circumnavigate the globe by air (not solo). Her first attempt in March 1937 had to be abandoned when her aircraft was damaged during takeoff. The second attempt in June/July of the same year ended when Earhart and her navigator disappeared flying from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island in the Central Pacific.

60. Ricelike pasta : ORZO

Orzo is pasta that has been formed into granular shapes, much like barley. And indeed, “orzo” is the Italian word for “barley”.

62. Couple’s ballet dance : PAS DE DEUX

In the world of ballet, a pas de deux is a duet in which the dancers dance together. A classic pas de deux has a particular structure. It starts with a short entree followed by an adagio and two variations, one for each dancer, and ends with a short coda. The term “pas de deux” is French for “step for two”, or I suppose “dance for two”.

65. Number replaced by “hup” by a drill sergeant : ONE

Hup, two three, four …

66. Resort island near Naples : CAPRI

The island of Capri off the coast of Southern Italy has been a tourist resort since the days of ancient Rome. Capri is home to the famous Blue Grotto, a sea cave that is illuminated with sunlight that’s colored blue as it passes through the seawater into the cave.

67. Key Watergate evidence : TAPES

Famously, there is a gap of 18½ minutes in the Nixon White House tapes. Rose Mary Woods, President Nixon’s secretary, reported that she was reviewing one of the tapes when she accidentally hit record instead of the stop button, causing about 5 minutes of erasure. There is an additional 13 minutes of “buzzing” that she could not explain. There has been much speculation about what actually happened, as a review of notes made in the meeting covered by the tape show that the arrests made at the Watergate were discussed.

69. Twin Mary-Kate or Ashley : OLSEN

I know very little about the Olsen twins, but I am told that many folks believe Mary-Kate and Ashley to be identical twins. They look very much alike, but are in fact fraternal twins. The sisters were cast as Michelle Tanner on the eighties sitcom “Full House”, taking turns playing the role.

Down

1. Oxygen and nitrogen : GASES

Here is a list of all the single-letter chemical symbols:

  • B = boron
  • C = carbon
  • F = fluorine
  • H = hydrogen
  • I = Iodine
  • K = potassium
  • N = nitrogen
  • O = oxygen
  • P = phosphorus
  • S = sulfur
  • U = uranium
  • V = vanadium
  • W = tungsten
  • Y = yttrium

2. Racecourse near Windsor Castle : ASCOT

Ascot Racecourse is used for thoroughbred horse racing, and is located in the town of Ascot, Berkshire in England. The course is located just six miles from Windsor Castle, and is often visited by members of the royal family. Royal Ascot is the name given to the most famous race meeting in the year, at which members of the royal family attend each day, arriving in horse-drawn carriages amidst great ceremony.

Windsor Castle is located on the River Thames in Berkshire, just 20 miles outside London. It was built in the early 11th century by William the Conqueror after the Norman invasion of England. Queen Elizabeth II likes to spend her weekends at Windsor. She has lots of room to move around there, as it’s the largest inhabited castle in the world.

3. Implement for a Neanderthal : STONE TOOL

The literal translation of “Homo sapiens” from Latin is “wise or knowing man”. The Homo genus includes the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

7. Swain : WOOER

A swain is a country lad, or a beau. Back in the 12th century, a swain was a young man who attended a knight.

8. Conscious self, to Freud : EGO

Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The super-ego almost has a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.

9. Explorer who lent his name to a strait off Alaska : BERING

Vitus Bering was a Danish navigator who worked for the Russian Navy. He was the first European to discover Alaska, which he did in 1741. Bering died on the same voyage of discovery and was buried on the largest of the Commander Islands, now called Bering Island in his honor. He also gave his name to the Bering Sea and the Bering Strait.

The Bering Strait lies between Russia and Alaska, and is just below the Arctic Circle. The strait is just 53 miles wide, and only an average of 100-150 feet in depth. It has long been speculated that when sea levels were lower there was a land bridge where the strait is today. This would have allowed humans to walk between Asia and North America, with the assumption being that the original population of the Americas migrated here from Asia.

10. Member of a Marvel superhero team : AVENGER

The Avengers are a team of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. The original lineup, which dates back to 1963, consisted of Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the Wasp. Soon after their formation, the Avengers rescued Captain America trapped in ice, and thereafter he joined the team. There is a 2012 movie called “The Avengers” that features Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor.

11. French play about a storied Spanish soldier : LE CID

“Le Cid” is an opera by Jules Massenet that premiered at the Paris Opéra in 1885. The opera is adapted from a play of the same name by Pierre Corneille. Both works are based on the legends surrounding Spanish military leader El Cid.

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was known as El Cid Campeador, which translates as “The Champion” or perhaps “The Lord, Master of Military Arts”. El Cid was a soldier who fought under the rule of King Alfonso VI of Spain (among others). However, he was sent into exile by the King in 1080, after acting beyond his authorization in battle. El Cid then offered his services to his former foes, the Moorish kings, After a number of years building a reputation with the Moors, he was recalled from exile by Alfonso. By this time El Cid was very much his own man. Nominally under the orders of Alfonso, he led a combined army of Spanish and Moorish troops and took the city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast in 1094, making it his headquarters and home. He died in Valencia, quite peacefully, in 1099.

12. Gridiron legend Rockne : KNUTE

Knute Rockne, America’s most famous football coach many say, was born in the city of Voss in Norway. He came to the United States with his family when he was 5-years-old. Years later he graduated Notre Dame with a degree in Chemistry, but abandoned that career path when he was offered his first real coaching job.

18. Thanksgiving dishes : YAMS

Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the the world than they are in this country, and are especially common in Africa.

25. Dingbat : NINNY

The word “dingbat” has been used to mean a “fool” since the early 1900s. It became very popular after it was used repeatedly by Archie Bunker in the seventies TV show “All in the Family”.

27. TV journalist Curry : ANN

The television journalist Ann Curry is perhaps best known for the time she spent as co-host on NBC’s “Today” show. NBC executives asked Curry to resign from the “Today” show because ratings were low. I just read online that Curry was also pushed out because of the way she insisted on dressing and because she refused to dye her gray hair. I hope that isn’t true …

30. Dove’s sound : COO

Taxonomically, doves and pigeons are the only members of the order Columbidae. The terms “dove” and “pigeon” are often used interchangeably. Scientifically speaking, dove species tend to be smaller that pigeon species. Colloquially though, many refer to doves as the white or nearly white species in the family.

32. Knighted actor McKellen : IAN

Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, someone who is comfortable playing anything from Macbeth on stage to Magneto in an “X-Men” movie. On the big screen, McKellen is very famous for playing Gandalf in “The Lord of Rings”. In the UK, Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

34. Some down-ballot electees, informally : STATE REPS

Today, a ballot is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

39. From alpha to ___ : OMEGA

The Greek alphabet starts with the letter “alpha”, and ends with the letter “omega”.

48. New Orleans footballers : SAINTS

The entire community of fans of the New Orleans Saints are sometimes referred to as the “Who Dat Nation”. The name comes from a popular chant heard at a Saints game:

Who dat?
Who dat?
Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?

49. Flex : BEND

A flexor muscle is one that works to bend a limb. An extensor muscle is one that straightens it.

50. “Blue Ribbon” brew : PABST

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

51. Nebraska’s largest city : OMAHA

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

53. Princess mourned in 1997 : DIANA

Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The wedding was a huge television event, with about 750 million people tuning in worldwide. Although the event was billed as a fairytale wedding, the couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Famously, Lady Diana died in a car crash in Paris the following year.

54. Indy racer Al or Bobby : UNSER

The Unser family seems to have racing cars in their blood. Al Unser, Sr. won the Indy 500 on four occasions. Al’s brother Jerry was the first of the Unsers to compete at Indianapolis. Al’s other brother Bobby, won the Indy three times. Al’s son, Al Junior, won the Indy twice. Al Junior’s son is also a racing driver who competes at the Indy Speedway.

56. Sky-blue : AZURE

The term “azure” came into English from Persian via Old French. The French word “l’azur” was taken from the Persian name for a place in northeastern Afghanistan called “Lazhward” which was the main source of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli. The stone has a vivid blue color, and “azure” has been describing this color since the 14th century.

62. Champagne-opening sound : POP!

Champagne is made primarily using Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier grapes (both of which are mainly used to make red wine), as well as white Chardonnay grapes. Rosé Champagne is made from a blend of all three grapes, Blanc de noir Champagne from solely Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier, and Blanc de blanc from 100% Chardonnay.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Expressions of amazement : GASPS
6. Amaze : AWE
9. Illegal motions by pitchers : BALKS
14. Houston player : ASTRO
15. Great Dane, e.g. : DOG
16. Notable happening : EVENT
17. Great Dane of animated cartoons : SCOOBY-DOO
19. Happen again : RECUR
20. Immensely long stretches : EONS
21. Broke bread : ATE
22. Limited in number : FINITE
23. Escalator feature : STEP
24. Result of overnight condensation : MORNING DEW
26. Lipton offerings : TEAS
28. “Bus Stop” dramatist William : INGE
29. Nut often squirreled away : ACORN
31. Basic trig ratio : SINE
33. Invitation request, in brief : RSVP
37. Sound on a dairy farm : MOO
38. “Impossible for me!” : NO CAN DO!
41. Harmful cigarette stuff : TAR
42. Equestrian’s sport : POLO
44. Umpteen : MANY
45. Lessen : ABATE
47. Fee payer, often : USER
49. Londoner, e.g., informally : BRIT
50. Words on returned mail : POSTAGE DUE
55. Vegetarian’s no-no : MEAT
58. Aviator Earhart : AMELIA
59. Cozy lodging : INN
60. Ricelike pasta : ORZO
61. Bring home, as a runner : BAT IN
62. Couple’s ballet dance : PAS DE DEUX
64. Turn aside : SHUNT
65. Number replaced by “hup” by a drill sergeant : ONE
66. Resort island near Naples : CAPRI
67. Key Watergate evidence : TAPES
68. 72, maybe, on a golf course : PAR
69. Twin Mary-Kate or Ashley : OLSEN

Down

1. Oxygen and nitrogen : GASES
2. Racecourse near Windsor Castle : ASCOT
3. Implement for a Neanderthal : STONE TOOL
4. Thrive : PROSPER
5. Break down in tears : SOB
6. Make larger : ADD TO
7. Swain : WOOER
8. Conscious self, to Freud : EGO
9. Explorer who lent his name to a strait off Alaska : BERING
10. Member of a Marvel superhero team : AVENGER
11. French play about a storied Spanish soldier : LE CID
12. Gridiron legend Rockne : KNUTE
13. Spread here and there : STREW
18. Thanksgiving dishes : YAMS
22. Made to pay as punishment : FINED
25. Dingbat : NINNY
27. TV journalist Curry : ANN
29. Intensify, with “up” : AMP
30. Dove’s sound : COO
31. Fright : SCARE
32. Knighted actor McKellen : IAN
34. Some down-ballot electees, informally : STATE REPS
35. Big tub : VAT
36. Lead-in to occupy : PRE-
39. From alpha to ___ : OMEGA
40. Rowboat mover : OAR
43. Summary of key points : OUTLINE
46. Like a probability curve with two peaks : BIMODAL
48. New Orleans footballers : SAINTS
49. Flex : BEND
50. “Blue Ribbon” brew : PABST
51. Nebraska’s largest city : OMAHA
52. Establish : SET UP
53. Princess mourned in 1997 : DIANA
54. Indy racer Al or Bobby : UNSER
56. Sky-blue : AZURE
57. Snake venom, e.g. : TOXIN
62. Champagne-opening sound : POP!
63. Environment-related prefix : ECO-