1215-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Dec 14, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Zhouqin Burnikel & Dennis Ryall

THEME: S-TO-P … each of today’s themed answers runs from the letter S at the start TO the letter P at the end:
69A. “Freeze!” … or, when broken into three parts, how the answer for each of the six starred clues goes : STOP!

1A. *Obstetrician’s action on a newborn’s behind : SLAP
18A. *Goal an N.H.L.’er shoots for? : STANLEY CUP
20A. *Go swimming in one’s birthday suit : SKINNY-DIP
40A. *Visit to Vail, maybe : SKI TRIP
56A. *Sharp mind, figuratively : STEEL TRAP
61A. *Setting for “Meatballs” or “Friday the 13th” : SUMMER CAMP

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 4m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. *Obstetrician’s action on a newborn’s behind : SLAP
In Latin, the word for midwife is “obstetrix”. “Obstetrix” translates more literally as “one who stands opposite” i.e. the one opposite the woman giving birth. The Latin term gives rise to our modern word “obstetrics” used for the branch of medical science concerned with childbirth.

5. Actress Davis of “Now, Voyager” : BETTE
I must confess that I have a problem watching movies starring Bette Davis. I think I must have seen her play one of her more sinister roles when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares or something. So, I have never seen the 1950 classic “All About Eve”, given that Bette Davis gets top billing. But, the title role of Eve Harrington was played by Anne Baxter, and Ms Baxter’s movies I do enjoy. Coincidentally, on the epic television series “Hotel”, when Bette Davis became ill, it was Anne Baxter who was chosen to take on her role.

The 1942 movie “Now, Voyager” stars Bette Davis, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains. The film is based on a novel of the same name by Olive Higgins Prouty. Prouty got the title of her book from the Walt Whitman poem “The Untold Want”:
The untold want by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.

10. Stick in one’s ___ : CRAW
“Craw” is another name for the “crop”, a portion of the alimentary tract of some animals, including birds. The crop is used for the storage of food prior to digestion. The crop allows the animal to eat large amounts and then digest that food with efficiency over an extended period. The expression “to stick in one’s craw” is used one when one cannot accept something, cannot “swallow” it.

14. Successor to the mark and franc : EURO
The “eurozone” or “euro area” is a monetary and economic union within the European Union of 18 states (as of today) that use the euro as a shared legal tender and their sole currency.

18. *Goal an N.H.L.’er shoots for? : STANLEY CUP
The Stanley Cup is named for Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. Lord Stanley’s sons became avid fans of ice hockey while in Canada, and so he donated the trophy in 1909, originally as a challenge cup for the country’s best amateur club.

23. Himalayan legend : YETI
A yeti is a beast of legend, also called an abominable snowman. “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.

24. Maestro Zubin : MEHTA
Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of western classical music, from Mumbai. Mehta studied music in Vienna, where he made his conducting debut in 1958. In 1961 he was named assistant director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, creating a fuss with the music director designate of the orchestra, Georg Solti. Solti resigned as a protest, and Mehta took his job. In 1978 Mehta took over as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, eventually becoming the longest holder of that position.

26. Wings: Lat. : ALAE
A bird (avis) has wings (alae), in Latin.

29. Punishment for a mutineer : LASHES
The cat o’ nine tails was a vicious instrument of punishment, particularly popular in the Royal Navy. The “cat” was made up on nine cord thongs and at the end of each thong was a knot. The specialty knot was aptly called a blood knot, and was designed to bite into the skin and draw blood. It was these “claws” at the end of the thongs, along with the nine “tails” that gave the name to the whip, the “cat o’ nine tails”.

35. Emmy winner, say : TV STAR
The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars in the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name of “Emmy” is a softened version of the word “immy”, the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras.

38. Relative of an ostrich : EMU
Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs.

The ostrich is a flightless bird that is native to Africa. The ostrich is extensively farmed, mainly for its feathers but also for its skin/leather and meat.

39. Rap’s ___ Wayne : LIL’
Rapper Lil’ Wayne’s real name is … Dwayne Carter, Jr.

40. *Visit to Vail, maybe : SKI TRIP
The Vail Ski Resort in Colorado is the largest single-mountain ski resort in the whole country. The resort was opened in 1962, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was given the name Vail after Vail Pass which runs by the mountain (now also called Vail Mountain). The town of Vail, Colorado was established four years later in 1966, and now has a population of about 5,000.

42. Down, on a light switch : OFF
Not only did I have to learn new spellings of words when I moved here from Ireland (here I go, whining again!) but I had to learn that down is the “off” position for a switch most times, and up is the “on” position. It’s exactly the opposite on the other side of the pond. Have I ever told you about the steering wheel position in the car? Aaargh!

43. Crankcase base : OIL PAN
In most internal combustion engines the pistons that move up and down are arranged in a line, and connected to a crankshaft that runs along the bottom of the engine. The up and down motion of the pistons turns the crankshaft, which turning motion is “transmitted” (via the transmission) to the wheels. The case surrounding the crankshaft is called the crankcase. The crankcase contains a lot of oil that is squirted onto the crankshaft to lubricate it. Excess oil falls to the bottom of the crankcase and into a reservoir called the oil pan.

44. Palm Pilots and such, for short : PDAS
Personal digital assistant (PDA)

45. One-third of a Clue accusation : WEAPON
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

49. “Midnight Cowboy” nickname : RATSO
Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo is one of the characters in the groundbreaking 1969 movie “Midnight Cowboy”. Rizzo is a down-and-out con man, played by Dustin Hoffman.

The 1969 movie “Midnight Cowboy” is a Hollywood adaptation of a novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. It’s a pretty depressing story about a young Texan (played by Jon Voight) who heads to New York City to make money as a hustler, hiring himself out to women for sex. Pretty soon the young man ends up selling his body for sex with males as well. Prior to release the MPAA gave the movie an R-rating, but the United Artists studio took advice and decided to release it with an X-rating. When “Midnight Cowboy” won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1969, it became the only X-rated film to be so honored.

51. God with a bow and arrow : EROS
Eros was the Greek god of love, the Greek counterpart of the Roman god Cupid.

61. *Setting for “Meatballs” or “Friday the 13th” : SUMMER CAMP
“Meatballs” is a 1979 movie in which comic actor Bill Murray had his first starring role. The film was directed by Ivan Reitman, who later teamed up with Bill Murray again in the hit movies “Stripes” (1981) and “Ghostbusters” (1984).

Can you believe that the “Friday the 13th” franchise of horror movies comprises twelve films (so far)? The bad guy in the series is Jason Voorhees, a boy who drowned at summer camp. “Friday the 13th” is an incredibly successful franchise, something that I just do not understand …

65. Actor Jack of “The Great Dictator” : OAKIE
Jack Oakie was the stage name of actor Lewis Offield, who was originally from Missouri. Offield was raised in Oklahoma, and for this reason picked up the nickname “Oakie”. The “Jack” in his stage name came from the first character that he portrayed in a play. Oakie played Benzino Napaloni in Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”, a character that was very much based on Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

66. The “L” of “S.N.L.” : LIVE
“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

67. Its symbol is Fe : IRON
The Latin word for “iron” is “ferrum”, which gives us “Fe” for the metal’s chemical symbol.

68. Island home of the Minotaur : CRETE
Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands. Crete figures heavily in Greek mythology. Zeus was born in a cave at Mount Ida, the highest peak on the island. Crete was also home to the Labyrinth where the Minotaur was slain by Theseus. Icarus and Daedalus, after having crafted the Labyrinth, escaped from the island using wings that they crafted.

Down
1. Caribbean and others : SEAS
The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Carib people. The Caribs are an American Indian people who live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies.

3. Shaw of 1930s-’40s swing : ARTIE
Artie Shaw was a composer, bandleader and a jazz clarinetist. Shaw’s real name was Arthur Jacob Arshawsky, born in New York City in 1910. One of his many claims to fame is that he (a white bandleader) hired Billie Holiday (a black vocalist) and toured the segregated South in the late thirties. Holiday chose to leave the band though, due to hostility from Southern audiences back then. Artie Shaw was married eight times in all. The list of his wives includes the actresses Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, as well Betty Kern, daughter of songwriter Jerome Kern.

7. Bangkok native : THAI
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. The exact etymology of the name “Bangkok” seems unclear, although “bang” is a Thai word meaning “a village situated on a stream”.

8. When prime time ends on most Fox stations : TEN PM
Generally, prime time is considered to be the evening hours between 7:00 and 11:00, when most people are watching television.

9. Schubert’s “The ___ King” : ERL
“Der Erlkönig” (“The Erl King”) is a poem by the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The poem tells of the death of child attacked by the Erl King, a supernatural being. The Austrian composer Franz Schubert made a musical adaptation of Goethe’s poem, using the same title.

12. “Son of ___!” : A GUN
The term “son of a gun” is used to describe a rogue, a scamp. The etymology of the phrase is disputed, and it may simply be a euphemism for a more offensive expression. Given that disclaimer, it is widely reported that “son of a gun” originated as “son of a military man”. In days of yore, the British Navy turned a blind eye and allowed some women to live on board their vessels. Any child born on board would listed in the ship’s log as “son of a gun”.

25. Seinfeld’s ex on “Seinfeld” : ELAINE
The character called Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.

27. ___ diet (early 2000s fad) : ATKINS
The eating of relatively few carbohydrates is central to the diet proposed by Robert Atkins. Atkins first laid out the principles behind the Atkins diet in a research paper published in 1958 in the “Journal of the American Medical Association”. He popularized his diet starting in 1972 with his book “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution”.

30. Austen title heroine : EMMA
“Emma” is a wonderful novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1815. I had the privilege a few years ago of attending the premiere of “Emma”, a delightful musical adaptation for the stage. If you ever get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it …

34. Sports car with a Spider model : ALFA ROMEO
The “Alfa” in Alfa Romeo is actually an acronym, standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.

The Spider is a roadster that was manufactured by the Italian auto company, Alfa Romeo. It was in production from 1966 to 1993, and is considered a design classic.

36. Indy letters : STP
STP is a brand name of automotive lubricants and additives. The name STP comes from “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

46. Game with four ghosts : PAC-MAN
The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.

48. Gibson of “Braveheart” : MEL
Mel Gibson is an actor who born in America, and not in Australia as many believe. Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York and moved with his family to Sydney, Australia when he was 12 years old.

“Braveheart” is an excellent 1995 historical drama that was directed by and stars Mel Gibson. “Braveheart” tells the story of William Wallace, the warrior who led the Scottish against King Edward I of England. Much of the movie was filmed on location in Ireland, and I visited Trim Castle not so long ago where that filming took place …

50. Trash-talking Muppet? : OSCAR
Oscar the Grouch is the Muppet that lives in a garbage can. Oscar’s persona comes from various sources. He is named after Oscar Brand who was one of the board members of the Children’s Television Workshop, the backers for Sesame Street as the Muppets were being developed in the sixties. Oscar’s personality was inspired by an angry waiter that once served Jim Henson (father of the Muppets). And the voice was modeled on a grumpy New York cab driver encountered one day by Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brings Oscar to life.

53. Round of gunfire : SALVO
A salvo is a simultaneous discharge of guns. Ironically, “salvo” comes from the Latin “salve” meaning “be in good health”. Salvo was originally the name given to the firing of guns in the air as a sign of respect or greeting for an important visitor. Good health!

54. Morales of “La Bamba” : ESAI
Esai Morales is best known for his role in the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai).

62. Bird of Arabian myth : ROC
The mythical roc is a huge bird of prey, reputedly able to carry off and eat elephants. The roc was said to come from the Indian subcontinent. The supposed existence of the roc was promulgated by Marco Polo in the accounts that he published of his travels through Asia.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. *Obstetrician’s action on a newborn’s behind : SLAP
5. Actress Davis of “Now, Voyager” : BETTE
10. Stick in one’s ___ : CRAW
14. Successor to the mark and franc : EURO
15. Guide down an aisle : USHER
16. Fury : RAGE
17. Play opener : ACT I
18. *Goal an N.H.L.’er shoots for? : STANLEY CUP
20. *Go swimming in one’s birthday suit : SKINNY-DIP
22. Exhausted : SPENT
23. Himalayan legend : YETI
24. Maestro Zubin : MEHTA
26. Wings: Lat. : ALAE
29. Punishment for a mutineer : LASHES
32. Spoiled kid : BRAT
35. Emmy winner, say : TV STAR
38. Relative of an ostrich : EMU
39. Rap’s ___ Wayne : LIL’
40. *Visit to Vail, maybe : SKI TRIP
41. Piece of concert equipment : AMP
42. Down, on a light switch : OFF
43. Crankcase base : OIL PAN
44. Palm Pilots and such, for short : PDAS
45. One-third of a Clue accusation : WEAPON
47. Office message : MEMO
49. “Midnight Cowboy” nickname : RATSO
51. God with a bow and arrow : EROS
54. Historical period : EPOCH
56. *Sharp mind, figuratively : STEEL TRAP
61. *Setting for “Meatballs” or “Friday the 13th” : SUMMER CAMP
63. Up to the job : ABLE
64. Domain : AREA
65. Actor Jack of “The Great Dictator” : OAKIE
66. The “L” of “S.N.L.” : LIVE
67. Its symbol is Fe : IRON
68. Island home of the Minotaur : CRETE
69. “Freeze!” … or, when broken into three parts, how the answer for each of the six starred clues goes : STOP! (or “S to P”)

Down
1. Caribbean and others : SEAS
2. Like lottery winners : LUCKY
3. Shaw of 1930s-’40s swing : ARTIE
4. Indicate with a finger : POINT AT
5. Tied up, as a phone line : BUSY
6. Abbr. before a cornerstone date : ESTD
7. Bangkok native : THAI
8. When prime time ends on most Fox stations : TEN PM
9. Schubert’s “The ___ King” : ERL
10. Burial vaults : CRYPTS
11. Quickly take the lead : RACE AHEAD
12. “Son of ___!” : A GUN
13. Cried : WEPT
19. F equivalent, musically : E-SHARP
21. It’s nothing in soccer : NIL
25. Seinfeld’s ex on “Seinfeld” : ELAINE
27. ___ diet (early 2000s fad) : ATKINS
28. Bad to the bone : EVIL
30. Austen title heroine : EMMA
31. Has dinner : SUPS
32. Squander : BLOW
33. Teeming (with) : RIFE
34. Sports car with a Spider model : ALFA ROMEO
36. Indy letters : STP
37. Streetcar : TRAM
40. Relieve of pain : SOOTHE
44. Doors : PORTALS
46. Game with four ghosts : PAC-MAN
48. Gibson of “Braveheart” : MEL
50. Trash-talking Muppet? : OSCAR
52. Circle the Earth : ORBIT
53. Round of gunfire : SALVO
54. Morales of “La Bamba” : ESAI
55. Contented cat sound : PURR
57. Give’s opposite : TAKE
58. Send out : EMIT
59. Fencing implement : EPEE
60. “Not a ___ out of you!” : PEEP
62. Bird of Arabian myth : ROC

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