1204-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 14, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Kacey Walker & David Quarfoot
THEME: Scrabbled Words … we have a rebus puzzle today, with a twist. The rebus letters give two possible down-answers for the same clue. The across-answers are three possible arrangements of rack of Scrabble tiles. Complicated, but inventive …

26A. Play in 7-Across with the rack DEIORRW : WORRIED/ROWDIER/WORDIER
36A. Play in 7-Across with the rack DDEEIRS : DESIRED/RESIDED/DERIDES
44A. Play in 7-Across with the rack ADEGNRS : DANGERS/GANDERS/GARDENS

21D. Plant protrusion : BUD/BUR
23D. Transportation lines: Abbr. : RDS/RRS
25D. What one might attach to a vehicle after a snowstorm : SKID/SKIS
26D. Complain loudly : RAIL/WAIL
28D. Plant that’s not cultivated : REED/WEED
29D. ___ station : AID/AIR
33D. Black ___ : BEAN/BEAR
36D. Some deer : DOES/ROES
38D. Morning ___ : RUN/SUN
42D. Suffix with block : -ADE/AGE
44D. Tip of Greenland? : DEE/GEE
46D. Something a lawyer might once have called on? : NOTARY/ROTARY

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 29m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

7. Game with its own dictionary : SCRABBLE
The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions in publication like “The New York Times”.

17. Casino employee : DEALER
The “casino” originated in the 1700s, first describing a public room for music or dancing. The name “casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.

20. Like the rightmost elements : NOBLE
The “rare gases” are better known as the noble gases, but neither term is really very accurate. Noble gas might be a better choice though, as they are all relatively nonreactive. But rare they are not. Argon, for example, is a major constituent (1%) of the air that we breathe. The noble gases are found on the very right of the periodic table of elements.

23. Theatrical event : REVUE
“Revue” is the French word for “review”.

24. Woman’s name with a ring to it? : ISABEL
The name “Isabel” sounds like “is a bell”. That rings true …

29. Singer on Canada’s Walk of Fame since 2005 : ANKA
Canadian-born Paul Anka’s big hit was in 1957, the song entitled “Diana”. Anka was the subject of a much-lauded documentary film in 1962 called “Lonely Boy”.

Canada’s Walk of Fame acknowledges the accomplishments of successful Canadians. It was established in 1998 in Toronto. The “stars” are a clever design that incorporates five maple leaves.

30. Mars, to some : ARES
The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of blood-lust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos, Deimos and Eros. The Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

31. One with all the answers? : SIRI
Siri is software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. You’ve probably seen the ads on television, with folks talking to their iPhones asking for information and responding with a voice. I hear that Google is a little scared by Siri, as Siri is non-visual. There’s no need to touch a screen or a keyboard to work with Siri, no opportunity to click on one of Google’s ads! By the way, voice-over artist Susan Bennett recently revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. By the way, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

32. Common workout target : ABS
Abdominal muscles (abs.)

35. “Rocks” : ICE
I’ll have that drink on the rocks, over ice.

39. Major suit : CEO
Chief executive officer (CEO)

41. Sonata, e.g. : OPUS
The term “sonata” comes from the Latin and Italian word “sonare” meaning “to sound”. A sonata is a piece of music that is played, as opposed to a cantata (from Latin and Italian “cantare” meaning “to sing”), a piece of music that is sung.

42. Latin trio member : AMAT
“Amo, amas, amat: … “I love, you love, he/she/it loves”, in Latin.

50. Orange ___ : PEKOE
A pekoe (or more commonly, orange pekoe) is a medium-grade black tea. There is no orange flavor in an orange pekoe tea. The “orange” name most likely derived from the name of the trading company that brought the tea to Europe from Asia.

51. Université breaks : ETES
In French, students at a university (université) get breaks during summers (étés).

56. Governor who said “I don’t think there’s anybody in America who would necessarily think my personality is best suited to being number two” : CHRISTIE
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is a prominent member of the Republican Party, and is often cited as a potential candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign. Christie is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and has attended over a hundred Springsteen concerts.

62. 1998 and 1999 Super Bowl champ : BRONCO
The Denver Broncos were a charter member of the AFL and so were formed in 1959 and first played in 1960.

63. What the three possible answers to each of 26-, 36- and 44-Across are, leading to 27 possible solutions to this puzzle : ANAGRAMS
There are three possible answers to three different clues. That means there are 3 x 3 x 3 possible solutions. Yep, 27 …

Down
2. Sugar source : BEET
The biggest producer of sugar beets in the world is Russia, with France and the US in second and third place.

3. Blackjack choice : STAY
In the card game called Blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.

5. When Kane dies in “Citizen Kane” : SCENE I
“Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, one considered by many to be the finest film ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead, and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.

8. Dove’s home : COTE
The Old English word “cote” was used for a small house. Our modern word “cottage” comes from “cote”. We now use “cote” to mean a small shelter on a farm for sheep or birds.

10. SFO info : ARR
Arrival time (arr.)

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) serves as the main base of operations for Virgin America, and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines. SFO was the site of a 2013 crash of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 that resulted in three fatalities. My wife and I had flown into SFO 24 hours earlier. That tends to be sobering …

11. Nursery rhyme opener : BAA, BAA …
The old English nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is usually sung as:

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

The tune that accompanies the rhyme is a variant of the French melody “Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman”, which we know best in English as the tune for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

14. Car that famously debuted on “E Day” : 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”.

23. Transportation lines: Abbr. : RDS/RRS
Roads (rds.) or railroads (RRs).

24. Memo starter : IN RE
The term “in re” is Latin, derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to”, or “in the matter of”.

25. What one might attach to a vehicle after a snowstorm : SKID/SKIS
I guess a skid is a runner-like device that one might attach to tracked vehicle to facilitate steering.

27. 1977 horror film set at sea : ORCA
“Orca” is a 1977 horror movie based on an Arthur Herzog novel of the same name. The film stars Richard Harris and Charlotte Rampling. “Orca” is often compared to “Jaws”, which was released just two years earlier. “Orca” tends to lose out in that comparison.

32. Ne plus ultra : ACME
“Ne plus ultra” is French for “no more beyond” and means just that in English, the high-point.

34. They’re often wasted : SOTS
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning a fool. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

36. Some deer : DOES/ROES
Roe deer are found mainly in Europe. They would be the deer shown on television and in movies when Robin Hood was out hunting in Sherwood Forest.

37. Modern pentathlon event : EPEE
The original pentathlon of the ancient Olympic games consisted of a foot race, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus. When a new pentathlon was created as a sport for the modern Olympic Games, it was given the name the “modern pentathlon”. First introduced in 1912, the modern pentathlon consists of:

– pistol shooting
– épée fencing
– 200m freestyle swimming
– show jumping
– 3 km cross-country running

44. Tip of Greenland? : DEE/GEE
The tips (ends) of the word “Greenland” are the letters G (gee) and D (dee).

45. How a superhero might stand : AKIMBO
Akimbo is such a lovely word, I think (as in “arms akimbo”). I failed to dig up anything too exciting about the term’s etymology. It seems to stem from Middle English, “in kekbowe” or “on kenbow” meaning “bend in a curve”.

46. Something a lawyer might once have called on? : NOTARY/ROTARY
A notary public is a public officer licensed to perform specific legal actions in non-contentious legal matters. The main duties are to administer oaths, take affidavits and witness the execution of documents.

The first patent for a rotary dial mechanism for a phone was granted in 1898, and the familiar rotary dial phones (with holes for the finger) were introduced by the Bell System in 1919. This form of dialing was called “pulse dialing”. When you dialed the number 5 say, the dial would rotate back to the start position, opening and closing electrical contacts five times and sending five pulses over the telephone line. I used to love rotary dial phones when I was a kid. My grandfather was a telephone engineer and he showed me how to “tap out” the pulses on the “hook” at the top of a pay phone. I was able to make free calls that way. He definitely contributed to the corruption of a minor …

47. Record label for Jimmy Dorsey and Louis Armstrong : DECCA
Decca Records started out in 1929 as a British record label. The US branch of Decca was opened up in 1934, but the UK and US entities went their separate ways starting in WWII.

The brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey headed up a studio band in the early thirties and had a lot of success together, including two number one hits. The pair had a very acrimonious relationship though, and split up in 1935, each forming his own band. They did even better after the parting of the ways, with Tommy having seventeen more number one hits, and Jimmy ten.

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1900. Armstrong had a poor upbringing, and only stayed in school till he was 11 years old. The exact origin of Louis’s nickname “Satchmo” seems to be a little unclear. One story is that he used to dance for pennies in New Orleans as a youngster and would hide those pennies in his mouth away from the other kids. For this he earned the nickname “satchel mouth”, which was shortened to “Satchmo”.

48. Allen in history : ETHAN
Ethan Allen was one of the founders of the state of Vermont. Allen was also a hero in the American Revolutionary War, famous for leading (along with Benedict Arnold) the small band of men that captured Fort Ticonderoga. And yes, the Ethan Allen store and furniture line is named for Ethan Allen the patriot.

49. “You can observe a lot by watching” speaker : BERRA
Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America’s most celebrated “author” of malapropisms. Here are some greats:

– “It’s ain’t over till it’s over.”
– “90% of the game is half mental.”
– “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
– (giving directions) “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
– “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
– “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”
– “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

50. Shucks : PEELS
“To shuck” is to remove the husk from (say an ear of corn) or to remove the shell from (say an oyster).

52. Twins’ home? : SIAM
Siamese twins are identical twins who are conjoined. Famously, the conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker traveled with P.T. Barnum’s circus in the last half of the 19th century. The Bunker twins were billed as the Siamese Twins, as they were born in Siam, which is now Thailand. This led to the condition being called “Siamese twins”.

53. Moneymaking enterprise : MINT
The first mint in the US was established in 1792 in Philadelphia, which was the nation’s capital at that time. The modern Philadelphia Mint was opened in 1969, and is the fourth building used a mint in the city. The facility can produce a million coins in the just half an hour.

55. Operatic prince : IGOR
“Prince Igor” is an opera by the Russian composer, Alexander Borodin. Borodin died before he had finished “Prince Igor”, so it was completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov. Music from “Prince Igor” and other Borodin works was used in the American musical “Kismet”.

57. Rap’s ___ Mix-a-Lot : SIR
Sir Mix-a-Lot is the stage name of the the record producer and rap artist Anthony Ray.

58. Dam-building org. : TVA
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has to be one of America’s great success stories when it comes to economic development. Created in 1933, the TVA spearheaded economic development in the Tennessee Valley at the height of the Great Depression. Central to the success was the federally-funded construction of flood-control and electricity-generation facilities.

60. Takes down, briefly : KOS
Knocks out (KOs)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Haunt : OBSESS
7. Game with its own dictionary : SCRABBLE
15. Sense : DETECT
16. Showed one’s support, in a way : HOORAYED
17. Casino employee : DEALER
18. Pulls : ATTRACTS
19. It stinks : STY
20. Like the rightmost elements : NOBLE
22. Fox : BABE
23. Theatrical event : REVUE
24. Woman’s name with a ring to it? : ISABEL
26. Play in 7-Across with the rack DEIORRW : WORRIED/ROWDIER/WORDIER
29. Singer on Canada’s Walk of Fame since 2005 : ANKA
30. Mars, to some : ARES
31. One with all the answers? : SIRI
32. Common workout target : ABS
35. “Rocks” : ICE
36. Play in 7-Across with the rack DDEEIRS : DESIRED/RESIDED/DERIDES
39. Major suit : CEO
40. Youth : LAD
41. Sonata, e.g. : OPUS
42. Latin trio member : AMAT
43. Youth : TEEN
44. Play in 7-Across with the rack ADEGNRS : DANGERS/GANDERS/GARDENS
47. Lower : DEBASE
50. Orange ___ : PEKOE
51. Université breaks : ETES
52. “Clear now?” : SEE IT?
53. “Li’l ol’ me?” : MOI?
56. Governor who said “I don’t think there’s anybody in America who would necessarily think my personality is best suited to being number two” : CHRISTIE
59. Creation : MAKING
61. Place with rides : CARNIVAL
62. 1998 and 1999 Super Bowl champ : BRONCO
63. What the three possible answers to each of 26-, 36- and 44-Across are, leading to 27 possible solutions to this puzzle : ANAGRAMS
64. Kind of bar : OYSTER

Down
1. Even ___ : ODDS
2. Sugar source : BEET
3. Blackjack choice : STAY
4. Elusive one : EEL
5. When Kane dies in “Citizen Kane” : SCENE I
6. Aimed : STROVE
7. Something settled long ago? : SHALE
8. Dove’s home : COTE
9. Hooey : ROT
10. SFO info : ARR
11. Nursery rhyme opener : BAA, BAA …
12. One way for urbanites to travel : BY CAB
13. Do not disturb : LET BE
14. Car that famously debuted on “E Day” : EDSEL
21. Plant protrusion : BUD/BUR
23. Transportation lines: Abbr. : RDS/RRS
24. Memo starter : IN RE
25. What one might attach to a vehicle after a snowstorm : SKID/SKIS
26. Complain loudly : RAIL/WAIL
27. 1977 horror film set at sea : ORCA
28. Plant that’s not cultivated : REED/WEED
29. ___ station : AID/AIR
31. Potential aunt, for short : SIS
32. Ne plus ultra : ACME
33. Black ___ : BEAN/BEAR
34. They’re often wasted : SOTS
36. Some deer : DOES/ROES
37. Modern pentathlon event : EPEE
38. Morning ___ : RUN/SUN
42. Suffix with block : -ADE/AGE
43. Shocking, in a way : TASING
44. Tip of Greenland? : DEE/GEE
45. How a superhero might stand : AKIMBO
46. Something a lawyer might once have called on? : NOTARY/ROTARY
47. Record label for Jimmy Dorsey and Louis Armstrong : DECCA
48. Allen in history : ETHAN
49. “You can observe a lot by watching” speaker : BERRA
50. Shucks : PEELS
52. Twins’ home? : SIAM
53. Moneymaking enterprise : MINT
54. Previously : ONCE
55. Operatic prince : IGOR
57. Rap’s ___ Mix-a-Lot : SIR
58. Dam-building org. : TVA
60. Takes down, briefly : KOS

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2 thoughts on “1204-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 14, Thursday”

  1. File this one under "beyond the point of diminishing returns". I completed this, but at no time was I ever aware of the fact that it could be solved more than one way. Only upon seeing the solution did I learn that fact. What's the point in being so clever if you (the designer) are the only one who can see "how clever you are"? You can file a distressingly large number of recent puzzle "themes" in this category, as well. They'd spend their effort much better in just creating good, basic puzzles without all the stupid tricks.

  2. Fabulous puzzle!! Not worried about the above critique; we took many ganders before solving. One of the dangers of puzzling: someone derides you, but guess we're wordier (or rowdier) than Anonymous. One of our favorites – typically, my wife gardens while I puzzle, but I desired to do(e) this one where she resides.

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