1207-18 NY Times Crossword 7 Dec 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Sam Trabucco
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 16m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17. Joseph, to the Catholic Church : PATRON SAINT

In the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, Joseph is honored as the patron saint of workers.

18. “Transformers” technology, for short : CGI

Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

The 2007 blockbuster hit movie “Transformers” was inspired by a line of toys. Toy transformers can be morphed from their mundane looking appearance as a vehicle or perhaps an animal, into a robotic action figure. Not a movie that I’ll be renting though …

19. Roth of cinematic gore : ELI

Eli Roth is one of a group of directors of horror movies known quite graphically as “The Splat Pack”. I can’t stand “splat” movies and avoid them as best I can. Roth is also famous for playing Donny Donowitz in the Quentin Tarantino movie “Inglourious Basterds”, a good film I thought, if you close your eyes during the gruesome bits.

20. Father of the Amazons, in myth : ARES

The Amazons of Greek mythology were a tribe of female warriors who were the daughters of Ares and Harmonia.

21. Total taken in? : CEREAL

General Mills produces a range of breakfast cereals using the “Total” name. The marketing message for the brand is that one serving provides the total daily allowance of several vitamins and minerals.

23. Peaceful scene : IDYL

An “idyll” (also “idyl”) is a short poem with a pastoral theme, usually depicting the scene in romantic and idealized terms. The word comes from the Greek “eidyllion”, which literally translates to “little picture” but was a word describing a short, poem with a rustic theme.

25. Event for an enumerator : CENSUS

The original census was taken during the days of the Roman Republic, and was a reckoning of all adult males who were fit for military service. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and was conducted by federal marshals.

28. Hand-held game devices : WIIMOTES

“Wiimote” is an alternative name for the Wii Remote, the controller for the Nintendo Wii gaming console.

29. Trinity test subject, informally : A-BOMB

The first detonation of a nuclear weapon was code named “Trinity”, and was conducted on July 16, 1945 as part of the Manhattan Project. The detonation took place at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range located about 25 miles southeast of Socorro, New Mexico.

30. Lessen : BATE

To bate is to restrain, as in “with bated breath” meaning “with restrained breath”. The term can also mean to lessen, and is a shortening of “abate”.

31. Family of computer games : SIMS

SimCity is a very clever computer game. Players build and grow cities and societies by creating the conditions necessary for people (the Sims) to move in and thrive. SimCity was launched in 1989, and to this day it is consistently ranked as one of the greatest computer games of all time.

32. Quipster’s delivery : MOT

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

36. Major suit : CEO

Chief executive officer (CEO)

40. N.C.A.A. hoops powerhouse : UCONN

The UConn Huskies are the sports teams of the University of Connecticut. I wasn’t able to uncover the derivation of the “Huskies” moniker. Although it is true that “UConn” sounds like “Yukon”, that isn’t the derivation of the “Huskies” nickname. The school didn’t become the University of Connecticut (UConn) until 1939, and the Huskies name has been used since 1933.

44. Lowly workers : GRUNTS

The slang term “grunts”, meaning “low-level personnel”, first applied to US infantrymen during the Vietnam War. The equivalent term for British infantrymen is “squaddies”.

45. Southern corn bread : ASHCAKE

An ashcake is a type of cornbread that is usually made by wrapping cornmeal in cabbage leaves and then baking the “package” in the hot ashes of a campfire.

48. Partner for life : LIMB

We’re risking life and limb working on this puzzle …

49. Religious trip : HAJ

“Haji” (also “Hajji” and “Hadji”) is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The journey itself goes by the name “haj”, “hajj” or “hadj”.

52. Solo flying? : HAN

Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

53. Military assistants : AIDES-DE-CAMP

“Aide-de-camp” (ADC) is a French term that we have imported into English. The phrase translates to “field assistant” and usually applies to the most senior personal aide to a high-ranking military officer or head of state.

56. Dungeons & Dragons baddie : ORC

Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction and in fantasy games.

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …

57. Help for ordering some affordable furnishings : IKEA CATALOG

The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

58. With 54-Down, river of the Carolinas : PEE …
(54D. See 58-Across : … DEE)

The Pee Dee River, which flows through North Carolina and South Carolina, takes its name from the Pee Dee tribe of Native Americans from the southeast of the United States.

59. Base of some aquaculture farms : SEED OYSTERS

A group of oysters is commonly referred to as a “bed”, and oysters can be farmed in man-made beds. The largest body of water producing oysters in the US today is Chesapeake Bay, although the number of beds continues to dwindle due to pollution and overfishing. Back in the 1800s, most of the world’s oysters came from New York Harbor.

Down

2. You might make one in your lap : OVAL

That might be a lap around an oval running track.

3. Fabulous creature : YETI

The yeti, also known as “the abominable snowman”, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

4. “Catch-22” pilot : ORR

The bomber pilot in Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” is named Orr. He has no other name, just “Orr”.

“Catch-22” is a novel by Joseph Heller set during WWII. The title refers to absurd bureaucratic constraints that soldiers had to suffer. Heller’s “Catch 22” was invoked by an army psychiatrist to explain that any pilot requesting to be evaluated for insanity, to avoid flying dangerous missions, had to be sane as only a sane man would try to get out of such missions. The term “catch-22” has entered the language and describes a paradoxical situation from which one can’t escape due to contradictory rules; one loses, no matter what choice one makes.

5. Emmy-winning “Orange Is the New Black” actress : UZO ADUBA

Uzo Aduba is an actress best known for playing prison inmate Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix TV show “Orange Is the New Black”.

“Orange Is the New Black” is a very entertaining comedy-drama series made by Netflix about an upper middle-class woman who goes to jail for a drug-related offense committed ten years earlier, in her youth. The series is based on a memoir by Piper Kerman called “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison”.

6. Eight English kings : HENRYS

Henry I of England was a son of William the Conqueror. According to legend, Henry died from eating “a surfeit of lampreys”, or more likely food poisoning. Lampreys look like a cross between a fish and an eel.

Henry VIII was the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry she had been widowed twice, and after Henry died she married once again, racking up four husbands in all.

7. Prop at a sales meeting : EASEL

The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey” would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

9. Père d’une princesse : ROI

In French, the “père d’une princesse” (father of a princess) is a “roi” (king).

26. Viral fear of the 2010s : EBOLA SCARE

The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name of the virus comes from the site of the first known outbreak, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as Zaire). The disease is transmitted from human to human by exposure to bodily fluids. In nature, the main carrier of Ebola is the fruit bat.

34. Catchy 1952 slogan : I LIKE IKE

“I Like Ike” was a political slogan that originated with the grassroots movement to get Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) to run for president in the 1952 presidential election.

38. Mennonites, e.g. : SECT

The Mennonites are a group of religious sects that originated in the Friesland region of the Low Countries. The various denominations are named for Menno Simons who was a contemporary of the Protestant Reformers who followed Martin Luther.

41. Chew on this : CUD

Animals that “chew the cud” are called ruminants. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work.

43. Believers in world spiritual unity : BAHA’IS

The Baha’i Faith is relatively new in the scheme of things, and was founded in Persia in the 1800s. One of the tenets of the religion is that messengers have come from God over time, including Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and most recently Bahá’u’lláh who founded the Baha’i Faith. Baha’i scripture specifies some particular architectural requirement for houses of worship, including that the building have nine-sided, circular shape. It is also specified that there be no pictures, statues or images displayed within a temple.

44. Time to work out : GYM DAY

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

46. Ball club? : DISCO

Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called “Whiskey a Gogo”. In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

50. Mythical shooter : AMOR

Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic”, meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both Amor (meaning “love”) and Cupid (meaning “desire”).

51. Some PC image files : JPGS

The JPEG file format was created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), hence the name.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. “Are we clear?” : DO YOU HEAR ME?
12. E.R. figures : DRS
15. Eager to a fault : OVERZEALOUS
16. Sound of alarm : EEK!
17. Joseph, to the Catholic Church : PATRON SAINT
18. “Transformers” technology, for short : CGI
19. Roth of cinematic gore : ELI
20. Father of the Amazons, in myth : ARES
21. Total taken in? : CEREAL
23. Peaceful scene : IDYL
24. Mindless followers, in slang : SHEEPLE
25. Event for an enumerator : CENSUS
28. Hand-held game devices : WIIMOTES
29. Trinity test subject, informally : A-BOMB
30. Lessen : BATE
31. Family of computer games : SIMS
32. Quipster’s delivery : MOT
33. [Mwah!] : AIR KISS
36. Major suit : CEO
37. They, in Portugal : ELAS
39. Tax ___ : LIEN
40. N.C.A.A. hoops powerhouse : UCONN
42. Running numbers? : RACE BIBS
44. Lowly workers : GRUNTS
45. Southern corn bread : ASHCAKE
46. Like Easter eggs : DYED
47. Castigate : SCATHE
48. Partner for life : LIMB
49. Religious trip : HAJ
52. Solo flying? : HAN
53. Military assistants : AIDES-DE-CAMP
56. Dungeons & Dragons baddie : ORC
57. Help for ordering some affordable furnishings : IKEA CATALOG
58. With 54-Down, river of the Carolinas : PEE …
59. Base of some aquaculture farms : SEED OYSTERS

Down

1. Really cool : DOPE
2. You might make one in your lap : OVAL
3. Fabulous creature : YETI
4. “Catch-22” pilot : ORR
5. Emmy-winning “Orange Is the New Black” actress : UZO ADUBA
6. Eight English kings : HENRYS
7. Prop at a sales meeting : EASEL
8. “Ah well, we tried” : ALAS
9. Père d’une princesse : ROI
10. Urge to raid the fridge, with “the” : MUNCHIES
11. Think a lot of : ESTEEM
12. “Transformers” antagonist : DECEPTICON
13. Wining and dining : REGALEMENT
14. Higher education? : SKI LESSONS
22. Some antique buses : REOS
23. Real close? : -ISM
24. Protest action : SIT-IN
25. Seller of lenses : CAMERA SHOP
26. Viral fear of the 2010s : EBOLA SCARE
27. “Dream on!” : NOT A CHANCE!
28. Paths left by storms : WAKES
30. Grease : BRIBE
34. Catchy 1952 slogan : I LIKE IKE
35. They never fail : SURE BETS
38. Mennonites, e.g. : SECT
41. Chew on this : CUD
43. Believers in world spiritual unity : BAHA’IS
44. Time to work out : GYM DAY
46. Ball club? : DISCO
48. Clue for a detective : LEAD
49. Robust : HALE
50. Mythical shooter : AMOR
51. Some PC image files : JPGS
54. See 58-Across : … DEE
55. Hipster : CAT