1219-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 19 Dec 14, Friday

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

Share today’s solution with a friend:
FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail

CROSSWORD SETTER: Brad Wilber & Doug Peterson
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 39m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. There’s the rub! : SPA
The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

4. Novel subtitled “The Parish Boy’s Progress” : OLIVER TWIST
“Oliver Twist” is a novel by Charles Dickens that recounts the adventures of an orphan who escapes from a workhouse and falls in with a gang of pickpockets. It has been suggested that the main character was somewhat inspired by the author’s own life as Dickens was forced to leave school and work as a child laborer after his father was thrown into debtor’s prison.

17. Animal on the Michigan state flag : ELK
The Michigan state flag features the state’s coat-of-arms on a blue background. The coat-of-arms comprises a shield supported by an elk on one side and a moose on the other.

19. Plea opener : NOLO
“Nolo contendere” is a legal term that translates from Latin as “I do not wish to contend”. It’s the plea of “no contest” and is an alternative to “guilty” or “not guilty”, meaning that one doesn’t admit guilt but nor does one dispute the charge.

22. Gown maker’s supply : TULLES
Tulle is a lightweight net fabric often used in veils, wedding gowns and ballet tutus.

23. Tests that accommodate claustrophobes : OPEN MRIS
MRI scans can be daunting for many people as they usually involve the patient lying inside a tube with the imaging magnet surrounding the body. Additionally, the scan can take up to 40 minutes in some cases. There are some open MRI scanners available that help prevent a feeling of claustrophobia. However, the image produced by open scanners are of lower quality as they operate at lower magnetic fields.

25. “Ella giammai m’___” (Verdi aria) : AMO
“Ella giammai m’amo” is an aria from Verdi’s grand opera “Don Carlos”.

“Don Carlo” is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The name “Don Carlo” is the name used when the opera is performed in Italian. “Don Carlos” is the title when the work is performed with its original French libretto.

30. Rarin’ to go : ANTSY
The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

33. Tiresias in “Oedipus Rex,” e.g. : SEER
Tiresias of Thebes was a blind prophet of Greek mythology. Tiresias was noted for his seven-year transformation into a woman. Tiresias is a major character in Sophocles’ play “Oedipus Rex”.

“Oedipus Rex” (also “Oedipus the King”) is a tragedy penned by the Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles. The play tells the story of Oedipus, a man who becomes King of Thebes. Famously, Oedipus was destined from birth to murder his father and marry his mother.

36. Major media event of ’95 : OJ TRIAL
After having been acquitted of the murder of his wife and Ronald Goldman, O. J. Simpson wrote a book called “If I Did It”, a “hypothetical” description of the murders. Publication of the book was cancelled due to public outrage at the prospect of Simpson making money from the crime for which he was widely perceived as having committed. After Simpson was held financially liable for the murders in a civil trial, the rights to the book were transferred to the Goldman family. The Goldmans changed the book’s title to “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer”, and then published. The Goldman version had a cover with the word “If” in very small letters, so the title seems to read “I Did It”.

39. “Star Wars” boy, informally : ANI
Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in all six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

– Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
– Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
– Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
– Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
– Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
– Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

42. “Scimitar-horned” creature : ORYX
The scimitar oryx is an antelope that used to inhabit much of North Africa. The species is now extinct in the wild due to the impact of climate change and due to hunting. The scimitar oryx’s horns have the appearance of scimitars, a swords with curved blades.

45. Flowering shrub whose name comes from the Greek for “coil” : SPIREA
Spirea, also known as Meadowsweet, is too woody to be considered as a food plant, although it has long been used by Native Americans as a herbal tea. Spirea is chock full of salicylates, chemicals that have properties similar to aspirin.

48. Big name in chips : NEC
NEC is the name that the Nippon Electric Company chose for itself outside of Japan after a re-branding exercise in 1983.

Silicon is a semiconducting material. This means it is sort of halfway between an insulator and a conductor. Silicon acts as an insulator until a voltage is applied, and if that voltage is sufficiently high then the silicon becomes a conductor. The electronics industry uses this phenomenon to make devices that can “switch” (turn from insulator to conductor) by application of a voltage.

51. Coin with a picture of un rey : PESETA
The peseta is the former currency of Spain, replaced by the euro in 2002.

54. About 28% of the U.N.: Abbr. : AFR
The United Nations membership is divided into five regional groups:

– the African Group (28% of nations)
– the Asia-Pacific Group (28%)
– the Eastern European Group (12%)
– the Latin American and Caribbean Group (17%)
– the Western European and Others Group (15%)

55. Indigestion cause : ACID
Gastric acid is produced by cells lining the stomach, and is composed of hydrochloric acid (HCl), potassium chloride (KCl) and sodium chloride (NaCl). Other cells lining the stomach produce bicarbonate to ensure the contents of the stomach do not become too acidic. Those same cell also produce mucus that lines the stomach wall to protect it from the acid.

56. Fictional school bully with henchmen named Crabbe and Goyle : DRACO MALFOY
Draco Malfoy is one of the regular “bad guys” in the Harry Potter series. Malfoy is one of Potter’s fellow students, the one who sneers a lot.

61. Dr. Watson portrayer on CBS’s “Elementary” : LIU
Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

62. Track star of 1977 : SEATTLE SLEW
Seattle Slew was a thoroughbred racehorse who won the Triple Crown in 1977.

The Triple Crown of US horse racing comprises:

– the Kentucky Derby
– the Preakness Stakes
– the Belmont Stakes

63. Craft that must overcome wave drag, in brief : SST
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Famously, the Concorde routinely broke the sound barrier, and cruised at about twice the speed of sound. Above Mach 2, frictional heat would cause the plane’s aluminum airframe to soften, so airspeed was limited.

“Wave drag” is a phenomenon encountered by aircraft that approach the speed of sound. Also called “compressibility drag”, the phenomenon is the result of shockwaves forming at the leading and trailing edges of the wings and other components of the aircraft.

Down
1. Quaint office supply : STENO PADS
Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

2. Ones involved in horseplay? : POLO PONIES
The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

4. Ending with psy- : OPS
Psychological Operations (Psy Ops) is a contemporary name for propaganda, the “winning of hearts and minds in a combat zone.

6. Almost any character in Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater” : IRANI
“Rosewater” is a 2014 movie that was written and directed by Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show”. The film centers on the 118-day incarceration of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari by the Iranian authorities in 2009. Because of his work on the film, Stewart has been accused by Iran’s state TV service of working with the CIA. When Bahari was being interrogated, he was blindfolded. He remembers that his main interrogator smelled of rosewater, hence the name of the film.

7. Turbine blades : VANES
A turbine is a machine uses the flow of a fluid (sometimes air) to create rotational work. Simple examples of turbines are windmills and waterwheels.

8. Gate approx. : ETD
Estimated time of departure (ETD)

13. 0, for 180 degrees : SINE
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent. Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The reciprocal of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent.

14. Tips of wingtips : TOES
A brogue is more commonly called a wingtip here in the US, I think. The shoe design originated in Ireland and Scotland, and “brog” the Irish word (and similar Scottish word) for shoe gives rise to the name. The brogue/wingtip design includes decorative perforations in the leather uppers. The toe cap of a brogue curves back in a shape that suggest the tip of a brid’s wing, hence the alternative name.

24. Subway option : MAYO
The SUBWAY chain of fast food restaurants is the largest single-brand restaurant in the world. I’m a big fan of SUBWAY sandwiches …

27. Cereal that reverted to spherical shapes in 2007 : TRIX
Trix is a corn-based breakfast cereal that has been around since 1954, produced by General Mills. Ads for the cereal featured Trix Rabbit, who would try hard to get hold of bowls of the cereal. He would always get caught though, and be admonished with, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” With 46% sugar content, the rabbit probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway …

29. Certain drop in motivation : SENIORITIS
Senioritis is the colloquial name given to the tendency of some senior students to lose motivation to study as they head towards the end of high school and college careers.

31. Gillette brand : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra razor was introduced by Gillette in 1977. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

37. Pack animal? : JOE CAMEL
The advertising mascot for Camel cigarettes was officially known as “Old Joe”, but was popularly known as “Joe Camel”. Joe originated in the seventies, in an advertising campaign that ran only in Europe where sometimes he was depicted wearing a French Foreign Legion cap. He was imported to the US in 1988 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Camel brand. The big controversy surrounding the use of the camel character was that a 1991 study found that 5-6 year old children could recognize Joe Camel more readily than either Mickey Mouse or Fred Flintstone. Also, soon after Old Joe was introduced in the US, the Camel brand’s share of the illegal market to underage smokers went up from 1% to just under 33%.

38. Never-seen neighbor on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” : LARS
Phyllis Lindstrom is played by Cloris Leachman in the TV show “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Phyllis is married to dermatologist Dr. Lars Lindstrom, a character who is unseen on the show. Leachman rated a a spin-off show in 1975, called “Phyllis” which was set not in Minneapolis, but San Francisco. Phyllis relocated to San Francisco with her daughter after the death of husband Lars.

41. Black-and-white engraving : LINE CUT
A “line cut” is an engraving, one that has only areas of black and white, with no gradations of color.

44. Table filler : DATA
Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.

49. Part of SALT : TALKS
There were two rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the US and the Soviet Union, and two resulting treaties (SALT I & SALT II). The opening round of SALT I talks were held in Helsinki as far back as 1970, with the resulting treaty signed by President Richard Nixon and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1972.

50. Some haggis ingredients : OFFAL
The internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal is referred to as “offal”. Examples of dishes that make use of offal would be sausages, foie gras, sweetbreads and haggis. The term is a melding of the words “off” and “fall”, and dates back to the 14th century. The idea is that offal is what “falls off” a butcher’s block.

Haggis is the national dish of Scotland. It is savory pudding made from the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep, mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices. The pudding was originally cooked in the sheep’s stomach but these days is usually prepared in a sausage casing.

51. Many email attachments : PDFS
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

52. County name in three states : ERIE
There are three Erie Counties in the US:

– Erie County, New York (with Buffalo as the county seat)
– Erie County, Ohio (with Sandusky as the county seat)
– Erie County, Pennsylvania (with Erie as the county seat)

53. Novel format : SAGA
“Saga” is an Old Norse word for a long and elaborate story, and a word that we’ve been using in English only since the early 1700s.

57. Enzyme suffix : -ASE
Enzymes are basically catalysts, chemicals that act to increase the rate of a particular chemical reaction. For example, starches will break down into sugars over time, especially under the right conditions. However, in the presence of the enzyme amylase (found in saliva) this production of sugar happens very, very quickly.

58. Tree whose name sounds like a letter of the alphabet : YEW
The family of trees known as yews propagate by producing a seed surrounded by soft, sweet and brightly colored aril. Birds eat the fruit and then disperse the seed in their droppings. The birds leave the seed undamaged, and so are unharmed by the potent poisons taxine and taxol that are found within the seed. The seeds are highly toxic to humans.

Share today’s solution with a friend:
FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. There’s the rub! : SPA
4. Novel subtitled “The Parish Boy’s Progress” : OLIVER TWIST
15. Lot : TON
16. Underground waves? : PIRATE RADIO
17. Animal on the Michigan state flag : ELK
18. Is beyond compare : STANDS ALONE
19. Plea opener : NOLO
21. Heading from Okla. City to Tulsa : ENE
22. Gown maker’s supply : TULLES
23. Tests that accommodate claustrophobes : OPEN MRIS
25. “Ella giammai m’___” (Verdi aria) : AMO
26. Pretend to be : POSE AS
27. Casts a wide net? : TRAWLS
30. Rarin’ to go : ANTSY
31. Lot, maybe : ACRE
33. Tiresias in “Oedipus Rex,” e.g. : SEER
35. Heading: Abbr. : DIR
36. Major media event of ’95 : OJ TRIAL
39. “Star Wars” boy, informally : ANI
40. Vacuum maintainer : SEAL
42. “Scimitar-horned” creature : ORYX
43. Find a spot for, say : ADD IN
45. Flowering shrub whose name comes from the Greek for “coil” : SPIREA
47. Chorus of approval : BRAVOS
48. Big name in chips : NEC
49. Play house? : TOY STORE
51. Coin with a picture of un rey : PESETA
54. About 28% of the U.N.: Abbr. : AFR
55. Indigestion cause : ACID
56. Fictional school bully with henchmen named Crabbe and Goyle : DRACO MALFOY
59. Volume 1 starter, maybe : A TO …
60. Practice swizzles and twizzles, say : FIGURE SKATE
61. Dr. Watson portrayer on CBS’s “Elementary” : LIU
62. Track star of 1977 : SEATTLE SLEW
63. Craft that must overcome wave drag, in brief : SST

Down
1. Quaint office supply : STENO PADS
2. Ones involved in horseplay? : POLO PONIES
3. Stiletto attachment, perhaps : ANKLE STRAP
4. Ending with psy- : OPS
5. Some bottled water purchases : LITERS
6. Almost any character in Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater” : IRANI
7. Turbine blades : VANES
8. Gate approx. : ETD
9. Where you might see someone walk the dog : REST AREA
10. ___ center : TRAUMA
11. Indulges oneself, in a way : WALLOWS
12. Fan fixation : IDOL
13. 0, for 180 degrees : SINE
14. Tips of wingtips : TOES
20. Common notes : ONES
24. Subway option : MAYO
27. Cereal that reverted to spherical shapes in 2007 : TRIX
28. Frontman’s assignment : LEAD VOCALS
29. Certain drop in motivation : SENIORITIS
31. Gillette brand : ATRA
32. “Extra! Extra!,” e.g. : CRY
34. No longer sudsy, say : RINSED OUT
37. Pack animal? : JOE CAMEL
38. Never-seen neighbor on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” : LARS
41. Black-and-white engraving : LINE CUT
44. Table filler : DATA
46. Shoot back : RETORT
47. Mechanically : BY ROTE
49. Part of SALT : TALKS
50. Some haggis ingredients : OFFAL
51. Many email attachments : PDFS
52. County name in three states : ERIE
53. Novel format : SAGA
57. Enzyme suffix : -ASE
58. Tree whose name sounds like a letter of the alphabet : YEW

Return to top of page

The Best of the New York Times Crossword Collections
Amazon.com Widgets

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.