Top Line

Search by Date

DD MMM YY or MMDD-YY

Search by Puzzle Number

e.g. 1225-09, 0704-10, 1025-10 etc.

Daily Solution by Email

Enter your email address

1224-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 16, Saturday





QuickLinks:
Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today's New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today's clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: David Steinberg
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 16m 09s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Something fracked in fracking : SHALE
The organic matter in oil shale that is insoluble in organic solvents is known as kerogen. Ultimately, kerogen turns into oil and natural gas.

“Fracking” is a familiar term for “hydraulic fracturing”. Fracking involves the injection of chemicals and sand in water at high pressure into a wellbore. This creates cracks in layers of rock deep in the earth allowing perhaps oil or natural gas to flow more freely to the surface.

6. Worms and such : MALWARE
“Malware” is a collective term for software and program code that is created to intentionally disrupt and exploit computer systems. Viruses, worms, trojan horses and spyware are all covered by the term. “Malware” is short for “malicious software”.

14. Connection site? : EHARMONY
eHarmony is a high-profile online dating service based in Pasadena, California.

16. Fragrant dressing : POMADE
Pomade is perfumed ointment, mainly used for grooming the hair. The word “pomade” is derived from the Latin “pomum” meaning “apple”, as the original ointment recipe used smashed apples.

17. 2006 Justin Timberlake #1 hit : SEXYBACK
Justin Timberlake got his break by appearing on TV's "Star Search" from which he was given a starring role in "The New Mickey Mouse Club". It was on "The New Mickey Mouse Club" that he met his future girlfriend Britney Spears, as well JC Chasez who would join Timberlake in the lineup of the boy band NSYNC.

18. Arboreal sci-fi creature : EWOK
The Ewoks are creatures who live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi". They're the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

19. Fifth player to hit 600 homers : SOSA
Sammy Sosa was firmly in the public eye in 1998 when he and Mark McGwire were vying to be the first to surpass the home run record held by Roger Maris. McGwire fell out of public favor due to stories of steroid abuse (stories which he later admitted were true) while Sosa fell out of favor when he was found to be using a corked bat in a 2003 game.

21. Fruta that's sour : LIMON
In Spanish, “limón” (lemon) is a “fruta” (fruit).

22. Saint often depicted with a lamb : AGNES
Saint Agnes is the patron saint of young girls. John Keats wrote a poem called “The Eve of Saint Agnes” which refers to the superstition that young women should practice certain rituals on Saint Agnes’s Eve in order to identify their future husbands.

24. Celebration that coincided with Truman turning 61 : V-E DAY
World War II started in 1 September 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) was celebrated on 8 May 1945, when the German military surrendered in Berlin. V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) was celebrated on 2 September 1945 when the Japanese signed the surrender document aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

26. Japan's ___ Castle : EDO
Edo is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today's Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

27. Cassis cocktail : KIR
Kir is a French cocktail, made by adding a teaspoon or so of creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) to a glass, and then topping it off with white wine. The drink is named after Felix Kir, the Mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, who used to offer the drink to his guests. My wife (expensive tastes!) is particularly fond of a variant called a Kir Royale, in which the white wine is replaced with champagne.

28. Tesla competitor : EDISON
George Westinghouse was an American engineer and businessman, a rival to Thomas Edison in developing the first robust electrical grid for the country. Edison’s approach was to distribute electrical power using DC current, but Westinghouse opted to partner with Nikola Tesla and worked with AC current. AC technology won the day!

33. Form W-2 abbr. : FICA
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA) was introduced in the 1930s as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. FICA payments are made by both employees and employers in order to fund Social Security and Medicare.

Form W-2 is provided by US employers to their employees by January 31 each year. The form reports wages paid to the employees and taxes withheld.

35. Palindromic 1976 greatest hits album : OLE ELO
ELO stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. ELO’s manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy). The band released a compilation album with the rather nifty palindromic name "Olé ELO" in 1976.

40. Say yes or no, say : RSVP
RSVP stands for "répondez s'il vous plaît", which is French for "please, answer".

43. Danish shoe maker with more than 1,000 global stores : ECCO
I have to say, after owning several pairs, that ECCO shoes are the most comfortable in the world …

48. HSN competitor : QVC
The QVC shopping channel was founded in 1986 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The company now has operations not only in the US but also in the UK, Germany, Japan and Italy. That means QVC is reaching 200 million households. The QVC acronym stands for Quality, Value and Convenience.

The Home Shopping Network (HSN) was the first national shopping network, and was launched locally as the Home Shopping Club in Florida in 1982.

49. Sushi bar selection : AHI
Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as "ahi", the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

50. Astronomer who coined the term "nova" : BRAHE
Tycho Brahe was an astronomer and contemporary of Galileo. Brahe lost his nose in a duel, and wore a replacement made from either silver or gold that was pasted onto his face!

51. Bomb with wheels : EDSEL
The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel, son of Henry Ford. Sadly, the name "Edsel" has become synonymous with "failure", which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced. When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel on 4 September 1957, Ford proclaimed the day to be “E Day”.

60. Evil spirits : INCUBI
In folklore, a succubus is a female demon that takes on the form of an attractive female in order to seduce unwitting men. The succubus draws energy from the seduced men in order to survive, using sexual intercourse in the same way that a vampire might suck blood for the same purpose. The word succubus derives from the Latin “succubare”, itself from “sub” “cubare” meaning “to lie under”. There was a male equivalent to a succubus, namely an incubus.

62. Prohibitionists' target : DEMON RUM
The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was a great victory for the temperance movement (the “dry” movement), and in 1919 ushered in the Prohibition era. Highly unpopular (with the “wet” movement), Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.

63. Company that owns Paramount : VIACOM
Media giant Viacom takes it’s name from the phrase VI-deo & A-udio COM-unications.

64. Stuff to mine : RAW DATA
The process of data mining is used to extract information from a database and present it in a form that facilitates further use.

Down
2. Sandwich often served with Dijon mustard : HAM ON RYE
Dijon is a city in eastern France, in the Burgundy region. Dijon is famous for its mustard, a particularly strong variation of the condiment. The European Union doesn’t protect the name “Dijon” so anyone can use it on a label. That seems fair enough to me, given that 90% of the mustard made in and around Dijon is produced using mustard seed imported from Canada!

4. Firm backing? : LTD
In Britain and Ireland the most common type of business (my perception anyway) is one that has private shareholders whose liability is limited to the value of their investment. Such a company is known as a private limited company, and has the letters “Ltd” after the name. If the shares are publicly traded, then the company is a public limited company, and has the letters “plc” after the name.

6. Fixes : MESSES
I’m in a bit of a fix, a bit of a mess.

8. Starting point of many a red-eye : LAX
Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX". Apparently the “X” has no significant meaning.

9. How Stephen Colbert sometimes speaks : WRYLY
Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who hosted his own show on Comedy Central, "The Colbert Report". Colbert's first love was theater, and so he studied to become an actor. He then moved into comedy, and ended up on the "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart". He left "The Daily Show" in 2005 to set up his own spinoff, "The Colbert Report". In his own inimitable way, Colbert likes to use a "French" pronunciation for the name of his show, so "The Colbert Report" comes out as "The Col-bear Rep-oar". Colbert took over the “Late Show” when David Letterman retired.

10. Prefix whose last two letters are a prefix meaning the same thing : AMBI-
The prefix "ambi-" that we use to mean "both" is a Latin word that actually means "around" or "round about". "Ambivalence" was originally just a psychological term, describing "serious conflicting feelings". Later it came to mean uncertainty about which course to follow.

20. He wrote "Venus favors the bold" : OVID
The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is today known simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil.

23. Navy ___ : SEALS
SEAL is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s famous speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counterguerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.

34. ___ d'identité : CARTE
“Carte d'identité” is French for “identity card”.

37. Wing covering : BBQ SAUCE
There are a few stories about how Buffalo wings were first developed, most of them related to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. If you’re looking for Buffalo wings on a menu in Buffalo, you’ll note that in and around the city they’re just referred to as “wings”.

42. Heckle : JEER
The original use of the verb "to heckle" was to mean questioning severely, and for many years was associated with the public questioning of parliamentary candidates in Scotland. In more recent times, the meaning has evolved into questioning that is less polite and that is directed at standup comics.

47. Essential principle of Hinduism : DHARMA
In the context of Buddhism, “dharma” can mean the collection of teachings and doctrines of the faith. The term is also used to describe proper and correct behavior that maintains the natural order of things.

52. Mr. T vehicle : DC CAB
“D.C. Cab” is a comedy movie released in 1983 starring Mr. T. I don’t hear many good things about the film, although there is a special appearance by Irene Cara of “Fame” fame …

56. Temperamental type : 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.

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Something fracked in fracking : SHALE
6. Worms and such : MALWARE
13. Attractive young woman, in rap slang : SHAWTY
14. Connection site? : EHARMONY
16. Fragrant dressing : POMADE
17. 2006 Justin Timberlake #1 hit : SEXYBACK
18. Arboreal sci-fi creature : EWOK
19. Fifth player to hit 600 homers : SOSA
21. Fruta that's sour : LIMON
22. Saint often depicted with a lamb : AGNES
24. Celebration that coincided with Truman turning 61 : V-E DAY
26. Japan's ___ Castle : EDO
27. Cassis cocktail : KIR
28. Tesla competitor : EDISON
30. Mission group : CREW
31. Slacker's opposite, in modern lingo : TRY-HARD
33. Form W-2 abbr. : FICA
35. Palindromic 1976 greatest hits album : OLE ELO
36. Harmless shooter : MARBLE
40. Say yes or no, say : RSVP
42. What's usually about 12 people? : JURY BOX
43. Danish shoe maker with more than 1,000 global stores : ECCO
46. Senior : ELDEST
48. HSN competitor : QVC
49. Sushi bar selection : AHI
50. Astronomer who coined the term "nova" : BRAHE
51. Bomb with wheels : EDSEL
53. Capability of whales and dolphins : SONAR
55. Navy ___ : YARD
57. Italian "dear" : CARA
58. Kind of car commonly seen in cities : ELEVATOR
60. Evil spirits : INCUBI
62. Prohibitionists' target : DEMON RUM
63. Company that owns Paramount : VIACOM
64. Stuff to mine : RAW DATA
65. Order setting : ABBEY

Down
1. Many a cabaret performer : SHOWGIRL
2. Sandwich often served with Dijon mustard : HAM ON RYE
3. Not out : AWAKE
4. Firm backing? : LTD
5. Observation satellites, so to speak : EYES
6. Fixes : MESSES
7. Leading : AHEAD OF
8. Starting point of many a red-eye : LAX
9. How Stephen Colbert sometimes speaks : WRYLY
10. Prefix whose last two letters are a prefix meaning the same thing : AMBI-
11. Nomad : ROAMER
12. Make tough to make out : ENCODE
13. Address : SPEAK TO
15. "Like" relative : Y’KNOW
20. He wrote "Venus favors the bold" : OVID
23. Navy ___ : SEALS
25. Ill will : ANIMUS
29. Cattle herder : DROVER
30. City of 150,000+ between Raleigh and Durham : CARY
32. "My ___!" : HERO
34. ___ d'identité : CARTE
37. Wing covering : BBQ SAUCE
38. Beau : LOVERBOY
39. Say LIKE THIS! : EXCLAIM
41. Develop : PLAY OUT
42. Heckle : JEER
43. Let up : EASED
44. Ire : CHOLER
45. Date night choice : CINEMA
47. Essential principle of Hinduism : DHARMA
50. Strike while the iron is hot? : BRAND
52. Mr. T vehicle : DC CAB
54. State publicly : AVOW
56. Temperamental type : DIVA
59. Chorus syllable : TRA
61. Projecting point : NIB


Return to top of page

8 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

On my iPad: 49:07, no errors, but ... after spending a ridiculous amount of time in the upper right corner, I finally used Google to get SEXY BACK, which I'd never heard of, after which I was able to finish the rest of it. Several other things in the puzzle were new to me (like SHAWTY and ECCO), but I was able to get them through crossing entries. So ... a hard one for me. (Curiously, I also found today's LAT puzzle difficult, so maybe it's just me ... )

Jeff said...

Another nice effort from the precocious Mr. Steinberg. 56 minutes, but I had to cheat on SHAWTY (huh?).

31A TRYHARD? Is that a noun? I had DIE HARD at first. The clue is "Slacker's opposite". If TRYHARD is used as a noun, then it's a new one on me.

Also had DRiVER before DROVER. Fortunately I eventually recognized OLE ELO which I actually remember as an album.

The description of a succubus just sounds synonymous with any female I've ever known.....just kidding. Please, no hate mail.

Finally, the word LIMON in Spanish has always confused me. Technically it means "lemon". But if you ask for LIMON in any bar, restaurant, store..you get a lime. I've even asked natives this question (how do you differentiate a lime and a lemon?) and they don't understand. Sometimes they'll refer to a lemon as a "limon amarillo" - a yellow LIMON. I"ve also seen "lima" used to describe a lemon and limon a lime. So it's very confusing. Tequila con limon is with lime whereas limonada is lemonade. Go fugure. To them lemons and limes are the same thing.

Best -

Dave Kennison said...

@Jeff ... I had the same reaction to TRYHARD. I just now looked it up and it is in more than one online dictionary (sometimes with a hyphen). OLE ELO was totally new to me; I got the OLE from crosses and the rest because the clue said it was a palindrome. The entries QVC, VIACOM, and D. C. CAB were only vaguely familiar. Curiously, I got AMBI from just the clue, but erased it again, because, at that point in the solve, I couldn't get it to mesh with anything else, and because it seemed to me that "ambi-", meaning "both", and "bi-", meaning "two", are subtly different from each other. And, finally, my only exposure to the Spanish word "limon" is as the last name of a Spanish-speaking acquaintance, so I appreciate your discussion of it ...

Adam Cassio said...

I think William Butler cheats. Has anyone ever read the short story about a man who drowns his wife because she discovers he regularly cheats on his crosswords? w?hat's the name of that short story. My guess Mr. Butler is of the same ilk.

Anonymous said...

Gave up at 24:22, with 45% filled in, and not even all of them correct. This puzzle is all but impossible, with clues like 27 across (never even heard of Cassis, let alone a drink from there), 13 across (I "correctly spelled it" as SHORTY)... and that AMBI clue? I felt like Bilbo riddling with Gollum in the goblin tunnels. You have to be a mind-reader to finish a grid like this one.

By the way: those of you who persevered with Google or other outside help: be honest with yourself and admit you didn't solve it, either. I'd rather throw in the towel than to cheat.

Dave Kennison said...

@Anonymous ... I can do most NYT puzzles with no outside help of any kind and with no errors. Occasionally, especially on my iPad, I fill in the last square and get the "Almost there" message, so I go looking for the error; often, it turns out to be a simple typo, but sometimes it's a "real" error. Once in a long while, I spend a lot of time on a puzzle and realize that I am never going to finish it due to a lack of knowledge, a lack of cleverness, a lack of time, or a lack of patience, so I use Google (but never the crossword-specific cheat sites) to compensate. In all these cases, I do finish the puzzle, albeit with help. And, once in a very, very, very long while, I encounter a puzzle that I can't finish at all (but I don't remember when that last happened). Whatever my experience, I report it honestly here. I'd rather finish (with minimal help as necessary) and learn something in the process than throw in the towel and walk away, because I think that's how I get better at the process. (To sort of illustrate my point: Did you look up CASSIS? It's a thing, not a place.)

And I don't think Bill cheats: he's just really good at what he does! ... :-)

Glenn said...

DNF, upper right corner.

FWIW, if you think Bill cheats, look up something called the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. It's a contest in doing crossword puzzles. In other words, people are all sitting in one room doing puzzles with people looking over their shoulder and then the ones that are the fastest and most accurate wins. They post the standings, which of course you can feel free to look his name up, and see how many that actually came in ahead of him. Should be proof enough.

As for me, see Dave's comment, which pretty much fits my own experience too. It takes time and learning, but for those that do, most of these puzzles are very possible to do without any assistance whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I basically try to do a puzzle and if I find it utterly difficult, I check some answers to see if the puzzle maker is "having us on" by making nouns into verbs and adjectives into nouns, and so forth. I find that the answer of "ambi" to be very ambigious too. A lot of answers are all the same in alot of puzzles, but the clues seem to come from someones rear.

Adsense Wide Skyscraper

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

Blog Archive