1209-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Dec 14, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Paul Hunsberger
THEME: Something Sticky Underfoot … The circled letters in the grid spell out parts a shoe. Piecing those parts together we see the outline of a shoe in the grid. The parts of the shoe that are shown are the LACES, TONGUE, HEEL, TOE, ARCH, SOLE (twice). We even have some GUM stuck to the underside of the SOLE:

67A. Item depicted by this puzzle’s circled letters : SHOE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 32s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Craze started by Chubby Checker : TWIST
The Twist is a dance that was born in the sixties, and was inspired by the Chubby Checker hit of 1960 called “The Twist”. Chubby Checker sang the song live in front of a crowd in Deland, Florida in October 2012. About 40,000 people danced along to the music, setting a new Guinness World Record for the most people “twisting” at the same time. Checker helped keep the dance craze going by releasing a follow-on hit “Let’s Twist Again” in 1961.

Ernest Evans was given the nickname “Chubby” by his boss at a produce market where he worked after school. When he went to make a recording for “American Bandstand” as Ernest Evans, Dick Clark’s wife asked what his friends called him. When she heard “Chubby”, she compared his name to that of “Fats” Domino. She then joked that “Checker” might be a better choice than Evans, given that Fats used “Domino”. And so, Chubby Checker was born.

6. They’re about 1 in 650,000 for drawing a royal flush : ODDS
The poker hand called a royal flush is the highest-ranking hand possible. It consists of a run of 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, with all in the same suit.

10. Caesar’s last gasp? : ET TU
It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, Brutus?), in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life just before he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

14. One was renamed in Caesar’s honor : MONTH
Our month of July used to be called “Quintilis” in Ancient Rome. “Quintilis” is Latin for “fifth”, and it was the fifth month of the year back then. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, the Roman Senate renamed Quintilis to Julius, in his honor, which evolved into our “July”.

15. Word before cheese or chip : BLUE
Being a bit of a French speaker (admittedly a pretty poor one), the term “bleu” cheese has always kind of irritated me. I would prefer that we use either “blue cheese” or “fromage bleu” and not mix the languages, but then I can be annoyingly picky! It’s said that blue cheese was probably discovered accidentally, as molds tend to develop in the same conditions that are best for storing cheese. The blue mold in the cheese is introduced by adding Penicillium spores before the cheese is allowed to set. And yes, it’s the same mold that is used to produce penicillin, the antibiotic.

A blue chip is stock in a company that has a reputation for providing a solid return of investment in good times and in bad. The term “blue chip” comes from poker, as blue poker chips are traditionally those with the highest value.

16. Question : QUIZ
It may be that “quiz” comes from the Latin “qui es?” meaning “who are you?” We’ve been using the word “quiz” since the late 1800s.

17. Emcee’s assignment : INTRO
The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an acronym standing for Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

19. Fruit hybrid : UGLI
The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine, first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today.

20. Medical rupture : HERNIA
In general terms, a “hernia” is the protrusion of an organ or part of an organ through the wall that normally contains that organ.

22. Hops dryers : OASTS
An oast is a kiln used for drying hops as part of the brewing process. Such a structure might also be called an “oast house”.

25. Fallopian tube traveler : EGG CELL
The Fallopian tubes leading from the ovaries of female mammals in the uterus. The tubes are named for the 16th-century Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio, who was first to describe them.

29. Doggone, quaintly : DEUCED
The adjective “deuced” is a mild oath meaning “confounded, devilish”.

35. Plural suffix with musket : -EERS
Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and their young protégé is D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for their prowess with their swords.

36. Lead-in to meter : ODO-
An odometer measures distance traveled. The word derives from the Greek “hodos” meaning “path” and “metron” meaning “measure”.

37. Subject of the 1997 best seller “Into Thin Air” : EVEREST
“Into Thin Air” is a 1997 book by Jon Krakauer in which he gives a firsthand account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. That disaster was centered on a rogue storm that enveloped the summit of the mountain and led to the death of eight climbers. The book was adapted into an intense 1997 TV movie of the same name.

43. Stadium demolished in 2009 : SHEA
Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled (not imploded) in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.

45. Shoulder muscles, for short : DELTS
The deltoid muscle is actually a group of muscles, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoid is triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

46. D-Day craft: Abbr. : LST
LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs were the large vessels used mainly in WWII that had doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles could roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

50. Presidential prerogative : VETO
“Veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The word was used by tribunes of Ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

51. One of the “Golden Girls” girls : BLANCHE
The actress Rue McClanahan was best known for her television sitcom roles, as Vivian Harmon on “Maude” and as Blanche Devereaux on “The Golden Girls”.

53. “___ Mio” : O SOLE
“‘O sole mio” is a famous Italian song from Naples, written in 1898. The song’s lyrics are usually sung in the original Neapolitan, as opposed to Italian. The title translates from Neapolitan into “My Sun” (and not into “O, My Sun” as one might expect). It’s a love song of course, sung by a young man declaring that there is a sun brighter than that in the sky, the sun that is his lover’s face. Awww …

59. Mad Libs label : NOUN
Mad Libs is a word game, usually played by American kids. The idea is that one player provides a list of words which are then inserted into blank spots in a story, usually with hilarious results (they say!).

61. Cajun staple : GUMBO
Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

69. Authors Ferber and Millay : EDNAS
Edna Ferber was a novelist and playwright from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ferber won a Pulitzer for her novel “So Big”, which was made into a film a few times, most famously in 1953 starring Jane Wyman.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”). Millay was noted not only for her work, but also for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

Down
1. “You’ve overshared,” in modern lingo : TMI
Too much information! (TMI)

2. Took gold : WON
In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

5. 2011 Marvel Comics film : THOR
Thor is a superhero who was introduced to us by Marvel Comics in 1962. The character is of course based on the Norse god Thor, and comes complete with a magical hammer. Like so many comic book heroes it seems, Thor has made it to the big screen. Actor Chris Hemsworth played the role in the 2011 film “Thor” directed by the great Kenneth Branagh. Branagh must have needed the cash. Thor’s father Odin is played by Anthony Hopkins. He must have needed the cash too …

7. N.B.A. farm system, informally : D-LEAGUE
The NBA’s Development League was inaugurated in 2001 with eight teams. Also referred to as the “D-League”, it now has 18 farm teams. About a third of all players in the NBA today have spent some time in the D-League.

8. ___ & Bradstreet (credit-rating firm) : DUN
Dun & Bradstreet is a company best known for providing credit history of companies and individuals. D&B has been around a long time, with the original company being founded in 1841.

12. Pinball no-no : TILT
In a game of pinball, some players get an irresistible urge to “nudge” the machine . Such a nudge, a movement of the machine designed to influence the path taken by the ball, is called a “tilt”. Most pinball machines have sensors designed to detect a tilt, and when activated a “tilt” warning light comes on and the player’s controls are temporarily disabled.

Our modern game of pinball evolved from an earlier table game called bagatelle which used balls, pins and holes (and I remember playing bagatelle as boy in a pub in Ireland). The first “pinball” machine was made by a British inventor who settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. He modified the game of bagatelle, adding a coiled spring and a plunger to introduce balls at the end of the table, a device that is still in use today. From there manufacturers developed coin-operated versions of pinball, which became popular during the depression as they provided a little entertainment for a few pennies. One distributor of the coin-operated pinball machines started manufacturing them himself as he couldn’t source new games fast enough. He called his pinball game Ballyhoo, and eventually named his company Bally, a brand name well known in the gambling industry to this day.

13. Guns first used in the Suez Crisis : UZIS
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel Gal of the Israel Defense Forces who gave his name to the gun.

The Suez Crisis of 1956 came about when President Nasser of Egypt decided to nationalize the Suez Canal, a response to a withdrawal of funds by Britain and the US for the building of the Aswan Dam. Egypt then refused to allow any Israeli shipping the use the canal. With British and French support, Israel invaded the Sinai in October 1956, starting the military conflict. Combined British, French and Israeli forces eventually took control of the Suez Canal, which was viewed as a military success but a political disaster. The United Nations, led by the US, pressured the British, French and Israelis to withdraw.

21. Springfield’s Flanders : NED
Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

“The Simpsons” television show is meant to be set in “anytown, USA”, so the creators chose the name Springfield as it is one of most common town and city names in the country.

22. Ireland, with “the” : OLD SOD
“Auld Sod” (meaning simply “old sod”) is a familiar term for Ireland, especially when referring to the country as one’s homeland from abroad. ‘Tis true …

26. Included via email : CCED
I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle?

27. Architect Saarinen : EERO
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect, renowned in this country for his unique designs for public buildings such as Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK. The list of his lesser-known, but still impressive, works includes several buildings erected on academic campuses. For example, the Chapel and Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus, the Emma Hartman Noyes House at Vassar College, the Law School building at the University of Chicago, and Yale’s David S. Ingalls Rink.

31. “Black Swan” role : ODETTE
The 2010 movie “Black Swan” is a psychological thriller (described by some as a horror film) set against the background of a ballet company staging Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”. Natalie Portman plays an obsessive ballerina who seems perfect for the role of the White Swan in “Swan Lake”, but doesn’t seem to have the passion to also play the Black Swan. Then things start to go wonky …

“Swan Lake” is such a delightfully light and enjoyable ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “Swan Lake” tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer. The ballet also features Odile, Odette’s “evil twin”. Odile is disguised to look like Odette with the goal of tricking the prince to fall in love with her. In the ballet, the roles of Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina.

32. Some ruined statues, now : TORSOS
“Torso” (plural “torsi” or “torsos”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, a word that we imported into English.

34. “Gently used” transaction : RESALE
A pre-owned item up for sale might be described as “gently used”.

38. Branch of Islam : SHIA
The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family.

39. Fork-tailed bird : TERN
Terns are seabirds that are found all over the world. The Arctic Tern makes a very long-distance migration. One Arctic Tern that was tagged as a chick in Great Britain in the summer of 1982, was spotted in Melbourne, Australia just three months later. The bird had traveled over 14,000 miles in over those three months, an average of about 150 miles a day. Remarkable …

48. William Sydney Porter’s pen name : O HENRY
O. Henry was the pen name of writer William Sydney Porter from Greensboro, North Carolina. O. Henry is famous for his witty short stories that have a clever twist in the tail.

49. Super ___ (Sega Genesis rival) : NES
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to to 1995. The NES was the biggest selling gaming console of the era.

The Genesis is a video game console sold in the US by the Japanese company Sega. In the rest of the world, the console is sold as the Mega Drive, as Sega couldn’t get the rights to the Mega Drive name in the US.

51. British fellow : BLOKE
“Bloke” is British slang for “fellow”. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

53. Quaker ___ : OATS
The Quaker Oats Company was founded in 1901 when four oat mills merged, including the Quaker Mill Company of Ravenna, Ohio. Quaker Mill’s owner Henry Parsons Crowell played the key role in the new company and remained at the helm until 1943.

54. Pre-ayatollah leader : SHAH
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was one of the leaders of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which overthrew the Shah of Iran. After the revolution he came to power as the country’s Supreme Leader, holding the highest ranking political and religious position. When Khomeini died in 1989, there were two funerals. The first had to be aborted after a crowd of 2 million people got out of control and encroached on the funeral procession. The Ayatollah’s wooden casket broke open and his body nearly fell to the ground as devotees tried to grasp pieces of his death shroud.

55. Capital NNW of Copenhagen : OSLO
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiana.

Copenhagen is the largest city and the capital of Denmark. I have never visited Copenhagen, but I hear it is a wonderful metropolis with a marvelous quality of life. The city is also very environmentally friendly, with over a third of its population commuting to work by bicycle.

63. Kvetchers’ cries : OYS
The word “kvetch” comes to us from Yiddish, with “kvetshn” meaning “to complain” or “squeeze”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Craze started by Chubby Checker : TWIST
6. They’re about 1 in 650,000 for drawing a royal flush : ODDS
10. Caesar’s last gasp? : ET TU
14. One was renamed in Caesar’s honor : MONTH
15. Word before cheese or chip : BLUE
16. Question : QUIZ
17. Emcee’s assignment : INTRO
18. Not given permanently : LENT
19. Fruit hybrid : UGLI
20. Medical rupture : HERNIA
22. Hops dryers : OASTS
23. Not at port : ASEA
25. Fallopian tube traveler : EGG CELL
28. Us vs. ___ : THEM
29. Doggone, quaintly : DEUCED
30. Space-saving bed : COT
33. Hang like a hummingbird : HOVER
35. Plural suffix with musket : -EERS
36. Lead-in to meter : ODO-
37. Subject of the 1997 best seller “Into Thin Air” : EVEREST
40. Quick sketch artist? : DOODLER
42. Poet’s twilight : E’EN
43. Stadium demolished in 2009 : SHEA
45. Shoulder muscles, for short : DELTS
46. D-Day craft: Abbr. : LST
47. House cooler, for short : AIR-CON
50. Presidential prerogative : VETO
51. One of the “Golden Girls” girls : BLANCHE
52. “___ 8 and up” : AGES
53. “___ Mio” : O SOLE
56. Fix, as a cobbler might : RESOLE
58. “Gotcha,” facetiously : AH SO
59. Mad Libs label : NOUN
61. Cajun staple : GUMBO
64. Popular AM radio format : TALK
65. Swear : AVER
66. Distrustful : LEERY
67. Item depicted by this puzzle’s circled letters : SHOE
68. Partner of soul : BODY
69. Authors Ferber and Millay : EDNAS

Down
1. “You’ve overshared,” in modern lingo : TMI
2. Took gold : WON
3. Supposing (that) : IN THE EVENT
4. Bit of party décor : STREAMER
5. 2011 Marvel Comics film : THOR
6. Accommodate : OBLIGE
7. N.B.A. farm system, informally : D-LEAGUE
8. ___ & Bradstreet (credit-rating firm) : DUN
9. “Ready, ___, go!” : SET
10. The same : EQUAL
11. Pulls : TUGS
12. Pinball no-no : TILT
13. Guns first used in the Suez Crisis : UZIS
21. Springfield’s Flanders : NED
22. Ireland, with “the” : OLD SOD
23. Doggedly pursuing? : AT HEEL
24. Some basketball fouls : SHOVES
26. Included via email : CCED
27. Architect Saarinen : EERO
30. Fraternity members, e.g. : COLLEGE MEN
31. “Black Swan” role : ODETTE
32. Some ruined statues, now : TORSOS
34. “Gently used” transaction : RESALE
38. Branch of Islam : SHIA
39. Fork-tailed bird : TERN
41. Like weak currencies : DEVALUED
44. Increased, as debts : ACCRUED
48. William Sydney Porter’s pen name : O HENRY
49. Super ___ (Sega Genesis rival) : NES
51. British fellow : BLOKE
53. Quaker ___ : OATS
54. Pre-ayatollah leader : SHAH
55. Capital NNW of Copenhagen : OSLO
57. Look up and down : OGLE
59. Pinch : NAB
60. Egg: Prefix : OVO-
62. Something kept close to the chest? : BRA
63. Kvetchers’ cries : OYS

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4 thoughts on “1209-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Dec 14, Tuesday”

  1. Here's one who suffered from carbon paper! My first job was for UNESCO in Paris, where six copies was the rule for every letter – seven if money was mentioned, as the Bureau of the Comptroller had to be informed.

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