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1216-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 16 Dec 16, Friday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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Jump to a complete list of today's clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Martin Ashwood-Smith & George Barany
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 22m 20s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. ___ Nast, publisher of Vogue : CONDE
Condé Nast has a very large portfolio of publications, including "Vogue", "GQ", "House and Garden", "Golf Digest", "Wired", "Vanity Fair" and "The New Yorker".

11. Voodoo doll action : HEX
“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

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

14. "Robin ___" (old Irish ballad) : ADAIR
“Robin Adair” is an old Irish ballad about a real Irishman, a surgeon-colonel in the British army. The lyrics were written by Adair’s wife, Lady Caroline Keppel, in praise of her husband. Written in the 1750s, “Robin Adair” gets a mention in Jane Austen’s 1815 novel “Emma”.

19. Big name in pop : COCA-COLA
The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.

20. Passover month : NISAN
Nisan is the first month in the Hebrew ecclesiastical calendar, the month in which Passover falls. Adar is the last month in the same calendar.

22. Scandalous '80s initials : PTL
“The PTL Club” was a daily television show hosted by televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. PTL is short for both “Praise the Lord” and “People that Love”. The show ended its run of over ten years in 1987 when it was revealed that Jim Bakker was involvement in financial and sexual scandals. Bakker served 5 years in jail, part of an 18-year sentence.

24. "Isn't ___ bit like you and me?" (Beatles lyric) : HE A
“Isn’t he a bit like you and me?” is a line from the Beatles song “Nowhere Man”.

“Nowhere Man” is an early song by the Beatles, released in 1966. “Nowhere Man” was one of the first songs that John Lennon wrote that was more philosophical than romantic in nature, indicative of songs to come. Apparently, Lennon himself is the inspirations for the “Nowhere Man” persona.

26. Black Friday scene : MOB
In the world of retail, “Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving in the US. Black Friday is when many stores start the holiday shopping season, and so offer deep discounts to get ahead of the competition.

31. Server of pink champagne on ice, in song : HOTEL CALIFORNIA
"Hotel California" is the title song from a 1976 album released by the Eagles. The song is allegorical in nature, and tells of a luxury hotel where one can check in, but never check out. The hotel is a symbol for the California music industry of the seventies that destroyed so many people who were trapped by it. There is an unrelated Hotel California in San Francisco, my favorite of the city's "boutique" and reasonable priced places to stay.

40. French seasoning : SEL
In French, one might season one's food with “sel” (salt) and “poivre” (pepper).

41. Pre-A.D. : BCE
The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

42. Incline press target, briefly : PEC
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

43. "___ Ho" ("Slumdog Millionaire" song) : JAI
The brilliant film "Slumdog Millionaire" is a screen adaptation of a 2005 novel by Indian author Vikas Swarup. This low-budget movie won eight Oscars in 2008. I reckon it turned a profit ...

45. Like Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 : IN A
If I had to name which of Beethoven’s symphonies I listen to most often, at the top of the list comes the 7th followed closely by the 9th, and then the 5th a little further down. But that four-note opening of the 5th … that is superb …

47. Drowned valley, maybe : RIA
A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, both formed as sea level rises. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

50. Full of moxie : GUTSY
Back as far as 1876, Moxie was a brand name of a "medicine" peddled with the claim that it "built up your nerve". In 1924, Moxie was registered as a trademark for a bitter, non-alcoholic beverage (no more claims of nerve-building). And we've used the term "moxie" to mean “nerve” ever since …

52. Sponges : TOSSPOTS
A “juicer”, “sponge” or “tosspot” is a drunk.

60. Flower known to attract butterflies : PHLOX
Phlox is a genus of flowering plants found mainly in North America. A common name for the plant is Jacob’s Ladder.

Down
1. Maine's ___ Bay : CASCO
Casco Bay is on the southern part of the Maine coast, an inlet on the Gulf of Maine. The city of Portland lies on Casco Bay.

2. Classic theater name : ODEON
In Ancient Greece an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with "odeon" literally meaning a "building for musical competition". Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

3. Crack investigators? : NARCS
“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. “Narc” is short for “narcotics officer”.

Crack cocaine is manufactured from powdered cocaine in a simple process. The powder is dissolved in an aqueous solution of baking soda, and the liquid is boiled off leaving a solid residue. The residue is broken up into chunks, and sold as crack. Apparently the crack is smoked, delivering an awful lot of cocaine into the body very quickly though the lungs. Sounds like nasty stuff …

4. Agent's handful, say : DIVA
The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. "Diva" is the feminine form of "divus" meaning "divine one". The word is used in Italy to mean "goddess" or "fine lady", and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

6. Silvery fish : SMELT
Smelt is the name given to several types of small silvery fish, examples being Great Lake smelts and whitebait smelts.

7. Like some bulls : PAPAL
A “bulla” (also “bull”) is a type of seal impression. A Papal Bull is a formal document from the Vatican that has such a seal attached, hence the name of the document.

8. Crash-prone "Catch-22" pilot : 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.

10. "Rent" showstopper : LA VIE BOHEME
The musical “Rent” by Jonathan Larson is based on the Puccini opera “La bohème”. “Rent” tells the story of struggling artists and musicians living in the Lower East Side of New York, and is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. We saw “Rent” on Broadway quite a few years ago and we were very disappointed …

13. Gen ___ : X-ER
The term Generation X originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By the latest accepted definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

18. Fine and dandy : COPACETIC
Something described as “copacetic” is very fine, very acceptable.

24. 1937 Shirley Temple title role : HEIDI
“Heidi” is a Swiss children’s book written by Johanna Spyri and published in two parts. The first is “Heidi’s years of learning and travel”, and the second “Heidi makes use of what she has learned”. The books tell the story of a young girl in the care of her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The most famous film adaptation of the story is the 1937 movie of the same name starring Shirley Temple in the title role.

26. Postprandial handouts : MINTS
Something described as “preprandial” takes place before a meal, with “postprandial” coming after the meal. The term derives from “prandium”, the Latin for “luncheon”.

29. Apple on an iPod, maybe : FIONA
Fiona Apple is a singer-songwriter and pianist from New York City.

30. Four-bagger : TATER
Apparently, a baseball has long been referred to as a potato, or a "tater". In the seventies, a long ball started to be called a "long tater", and from this a home run became a "tater".

32. "Laborare est ___" (Masonic motto) : ORARE
“Laborare est orare” translates from Latin as “to work is to pray”.

46. "___ Please, We're British" (1971 stage farce) : NO SEX
A “farce” is a comedy play that features an exaggerated and improbable storyline, with lots of physical humor. I love a good farce …

50. Bunker Hill general : GAGE
Thomas Gage was a British general who fought in the early days of the American War of Independence. It was General Gage who was in charge of the victorious forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill. However, the "victory" resulted in such huge losses for the British that Gage was recalled and dismissed from office.

The Battle of Bunker Hill was a victory for the British early in the American War of Independence, although the British losses were so large that it emboldened the inexperienced colonial militiamen who were up against regular army troops. The battle was named for nearby Bunker Hill located close to Charlestown, Massachusetts, although almost all of the combat took place on Breed’s Hill.

51. Michelle of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" : YEOH
Michelle Yeoh is an actress from Malaysia who appeared in several Hong Kong action films in which she did her own stunts and martial arts scenes. Her most famous performance was in the 2000 movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, although I best know her for playing opposite Pierce Brosnan in the Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

54. Henry VIII's sixth : PARR
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.

56. Bad cholesterol letters : LDL
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is one of the compounds responsible for transporting fats around the body. When LDL is combined with cholesterol it can be referred to as “bad cholesterol”. This is because LDL actually transports cholesterol into the inner walls of blood vessels leading to atherosclerosis.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. ___ Nast, publisher of Vogue : CONDE
6. Baby : SPOIL
11. Voodoo doll action : HEX
14. "Robin ___" (old Irish ballad) : ADAIR
15. Bittersweet spread : MARMALADE
17. Company concerned with net profits? : SERVICE PROVIDER
19. Big name in pop : COCA-COLA
20. Passover month : NISAN
21. Current positions? : ONS
22. Scandalous '80s initials : PTL
23. Old-fashioned verb suffix : -ETH
24. "Isn't ___ bit like you and me?" (Beatles lyric) : HE A
26. Black Friday scene : MOB
28. Back on the plane? : AFT
31. Server of pink champagne on ice, in song : HOTEL CALIFORNIA
37. Is perfectly punctual : ARRIVES ON THE DOT
38. Spoke forthrightly : LAID IT ON THE LINE
39. Workshop : TRAINING SEMINAR
40. French seasoning : SEL
41. Pre-A.D. : BCE
42. Incline press target, briefly : PEC
43. "___ Ho" ("Slumdog Millionaire" song) : JAI
45. Like Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 : IN A
47. Drowned valley, maybe : RIA
50. Full of moxie : GUTSY
52. Sponges : TOSSPOTS
55. Was vindicated : HAD THE LAST LAUGH
57. Pasta strip : EGG NOODLE
58. Cross swords : ARGUE
59. Baby : WEE
60. Flower known to attract butterflies : PHLOX
61. Victimizes, with "on" : PREYS

Down
1. Maine's ___ Bay : CASCO
2. Classic theater name : ODEON
3. Crack investigators? : NARCS
4. Agent's handful, say : DIVA
5. Ivanka's younger brother : ERIC
6. Silvery fish : SMELT
7. Like some bulls : PAPAL
8. Crash-prone "Catch-22" pilot : ORR
9. "It's showtime!" : I’M ON!
10. "Rent" showstopper : LA VIE BOHEME
11. Was involved with : HAD A HAND IN
12. Setting for paintings by Tintoretto and Hieronymus Bosch : EDEN
13. Gen ___ : X-ER
16. Manifest, e.g. : LIST
18. Fine and dandy : COPACETIC
24. 1937 Shirley Temple title role : HEIDI
25. "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" hitmaker of 1976 : ELVIN BISHOP
26. Postprandial handouts : MINTS
27. Olden : OF THE PAST
29. Apple on an iPod, maybe : FIONA
30. Four-bagger : TATER
31. Doesn't proceed : HALTS
32. "Laborare est ___" (Masonic motto) : ORARE
33. One calling the shots on court? : TRIAL JUDGE
34. In concert : AS ONE
35. Word before ball or shot : LONG
36. Collector's item : RELIC
44. Memo abbr. : ATTN
45. ___ Balbo, right-hand man to Mussolini : ITALO
46. "___ Please, We're British" (1971 stage farce) : NO SEX
47. Compact item : ROUGE
48. He can help after a crash : IT GUY
49. Grate expectations? : ASHES
50. Bunker Hill general : GAGE
51. Michelle of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" : YEOH
53. Quickly put (together) : SLAP
54. Henry VIII's sixth : PARR
55. Fell : HEW
56. Bad cholesterol letters : LDL


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9 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

23:37, no errors, iPad. I spent the last couple of minutes coming up with the "W" of HEW (for "Fell") and WEE (for "Baby"). Kinda sneaky clueing, if you ask me ... but I like it! ... :-)

George Barany said...

Thanks, Bill. I enjoyed your explanations and riffs on many of the answers and the corresponding clues. This puzzle was constructed over a three month period in late 2014 and early 2015, so it's been a while since we've thought about its content.

Bill Butler said...

Thanks for stopping by, George, and for giving us a nice challenge for a Friday. While I admire some of the very inventive themes that appear so regularly, I'm a themeless fan at heart. It's all about the sneaky cluing. Please pass on my thanks for Martin. And, have a great holiday season!

Jeff said...

This one took me over an hour and I still needed to Google a couple of times to get it. TOSS SPOTS, ITALO, PHLOX, NO SEX, ASHES, ITGUY all in one area tied me in knots. there was much I did not know for this grid, but if I wasn't challenged like this once in a while, I wouldn't do these at all.

The Battle of Bunker Hill is known as one of the 5 most famous Pyrrhic victories in history. Nathaneal Greene mused that he wished the colonials could sell the British another hill at the same price. To my knowledege, nothing compares to The Battle of Borodino during Napolean's invasion of Russia. He lost 30,000 of his men in that victory, then lost 10 times that retreating out of Russia subsequently. Ouch.

Mr. Barany I tip my hat to you for this one. I'd be curious to know why it was dormant for so long before it was published...

Best -

Glenn said...

Complete and total DNF on this one with lots of red on what I did fill out. Very depressing.

BruceB said...

33:25, 2 errors. 40A SAL, 32D ORARA. Once again, my pet peeve of foreign language in an English language puzzle. The crossing A in 1D CASCO and 14A ADAIR was a guess, although ADAIR seemed like a logical one.

A lot of very challenging clues today. The connection of 'Sponges' to TOSSPOTS for example. After the initial attempt to make the zoological connection, I was thinking more along the lines of MOOCHERS or something similar. The alcoholic connection came in a distant third.

Also, my initial reaction to 31A was to remember the Kinks song 'Lola', but in that song the champagne tasted like cherry cola. HOTEL CALIFORNIA came to mind much later.

Anonymous said...

26:15, and 8 fills at the bottom left I just couldn't conjure up, through witchcraft or any other means. I'm on the 1-month delay, and on January 20, '17, this marks the first DNF for me.

Anonymous said...

Did no-one else notice the incorrect reference (re 50-down) to the Battle of Bunker Hill as occurring during the Civil (!) War, and not the Revolutionary War?

Bill Butler said...

Well, I didn't notice the slip! Thanks for pointing it out. That's an embarrassing one. My only excuse is that I grew up learning about the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War! :) All fixed now ... thanks again for the help.

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About This Blog

This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the New York Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, as soon as I am done, usually well before the newsprint version becomes available.

About Me

The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.

I try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com.

Crosswords and My Dad

I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Irish Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.

Bill
January 29, 2009

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