1224-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 14, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Adam G. Perl
THEME: Homophonic Phrases … we have three pairs of themed answers today. One element of each pair is a “punny” homophone of the other:

17A. 1955 Julie London hit : CRY ME A RIVER
62A. Certain waterway to the Black Sea? : CRIMEA RIVER

21A. Glide, in a way : PARASAIL
55A. Left Bank quaff? : PARIS ALE

33A. Intermediary : GO-BETWEEN
44A. 11- or 12-year-old Mongolian desert dweller? : GOBI TWEEN

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 17s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Figs. on a bell curve : IQS
The original Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale for scoring IQ tests was developed by French psychologist Alfred Binet and his student Theodore Simon. The scale was revised in 1916 by Lewis M. Terman, a psychologist at Stanford University, resulting in the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale.

15. Origami bird : CRANE
Origami is the traditional Japanese art form of paper folding. The best-known example of the craft is the paper crane. The word “origami” is derived from “ori“ (folding) and “kami” (paper).

16. Once called : NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.

17. 1955 Julie London hit : CRY ME A RIVER
The 1953 song “Cry Me a River” was written for Ella Fitzgerald with the intention of her singing it in the 1955 movie “Peter Kelly’s Blues”, but the song never made it into the final cut. The song was recorded later in 1955 by Julie London, and featured in the 1956 movie “The Girl Can’t Help It”.

Julie London was a singer and actress who was known for having a “smoky” voice. London’s most famous song is the 1955 classic “Cry Me a River”. Her first marriage was to actor Jack Webb, who famously played Sergeant Joe Friday on “Dragnet”.

19. Org. in “Argo” : CIA
“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I saw “Argo” recently and recommend it highly, although I found the scenes of religious fervor pretty frightening …

21. Glide, in a way : PARASAIL
Parasailing is hanging below a tethered parachute that is towed by a boat.

24. Round trips, of a sort: Abbr. : HRS
A kind blog reader informs me that in baseball, a “round trip” is a home run (HR).

27. Pays, as the bill : FOOTS
The phrase “foot the bill” arose during the 1800s. The idea is that one can total the expenses of say a meal, and this total at the “foot” of the bill is picked up by someone at the table.

37. Listerine alternative : SCOPE
Scope is a brand of mouthwash made by Procter & Gamble. Scope is marketed as as the “better-tasting alternative” to Listerine.

Listerine is an antiseptic mouthwash. The brand takes its name from Joseph Lister, the British surgeon and promoter of antiseptic surgery.

38. Othello, for one : MOOR
The most famous Moor in literature has to be Othello, the title character in William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Othello, the Moor of Venice”. The word “Moor” describes various peoples of North Africa, usually of the Muslim faith. At the height of their geographic influence the Moors occupied much of the Iberian peninsula, calling it Al Andalus (from which modern Andalusia gets its name).

44. 11- or 12-year-old Mongolian desert dweller? : GOBI TWEEN
The large desert in Asia called the Gobi lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so called “Green Wall of China”.

The term “tween” is now used to describe preadolescence, the years between 10 and 12 years of age. A “tween” is too old to be considered a child, yet too young to be teenager.

46. 13th-century invaders : TATARS
Tatars are an ethnic group of people, mainly residing in Russia (a population of about 5 1/2 million). One of the more famous people with a Tatar heritage was Hollywood actor Charles Bronson. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky.

48. Some sneaks : NIKES
Nike was the Greek goddess of victory, often referred to as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The athletic shoe company Nike uses the “Nike swoosh” as its logo, which is based on the goddess’s wing.

51. It may be original : SIN
In the Christian tradition, “original sin” is the state of sin that exists in all humanity as a result of Adam’s first disobedience in the Garden of Eden. According to the Roman Catholic faith, three people were born without original sin: the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.

55. Left Bank quaff? : PARIS ALE
The famous “Left Bank” (“La Rive Gauche”) of the River Seine in Paris is the river’s southern bank. The area south of the river was traditionally quite bohemian and was home to artists, students and intellectuals.

“Quaff” is both a verb and a noun. One quaffs (takes a hearty drink) of a quaff (a hearty drink).

59. Elvis’s Mississippi birthplace : TUPELO
Tupelo is a city in northeast Mississippi. Tupelo is perhaps best known as the birthplace of of Elvis Presley. The city is named for the tupelo genus of tree, which is in the dogwood family.

61. Upstate N.Y. campus : RPI
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private school in Troy, New York. The university is named after its founder Stephen Van Rensselaer who set up the school in 1824. The goal of RPI has always been the “application of science to the common purposes of life”, an objective set by the founder. Given that, the name for the school’s sports teams is quite apt: the Engineers.

62. Certain waterway to the Black Sea? : CRIMEA RIVER
Crimea is a peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea that is almost completely surrounded by water. It is connected to the Ukrainian mainland to the north by the Isthmus of Perekop, and is separated from the nearby Russian region of Kuban by the narrow (less than 10 miles) Kerch Strait. Crimea has been occupied by foreign powers many times over the centuries, and now control of the region is disputed by Ukraine and Russia.

64. Albany is on it: Abbr. : EST
Eastern Standard Time (EST)

New York’s state capital of Albany was founded as a Dutch trading post called Fort Nassau in 1614. The English took over the settlement in 1664 and called it Albany, naming it after the future King of England James II, whose title at the time was the Duke of Albany.

66. French pupil : ELEVE
French for school is “école”, and French for pupil is “élève”.

67. Candy in a dispenser : PEZ
PEZ is an Austrian brand name for a particular candy sold in a mechanical dispenser. Famously, PEZ dispensers have molded “heads”, and have become very collectible over the years. The list of heads includes historical figures like Betsy Ross and Paul Revere, characters from “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”, and even British royalty like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (“William and Kate”). The name PEZ comes from the first, middle and last letters of “Pfefferminz”, the German word for “peppermint”.

68. Kind of chart : NATAL
A natal horoscope or natal chart is an astrological map that is built around the exact time and location of an individual’s birth. The chart shows the position of the astrologically relevant celestial bodies at that time.

69. Some jeans : LEES
The Lee company famous for making jeans was formed in 1889, by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.

Down
2. What “O” on a newsstand stands for : OPRAH
The full name of the publication usually called “O”, is “O: The Oprah Magazine”. Since the magazine’s founding in 2000, Oprah has appeared alone on the cover of each issue, with two exceptions. On the April 2009 cover Oprah was shown with First Lady Michelle Obama, and on the December 2009 cover Oprah shared the limelight with Ellen DeGeneres.

5. Device with a programmable clock, for short : VCR
Video Cassette Recorder (VCR)

7. N.C.I.S. part : NAVAL
NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon.

8. Summer months in Santiago : ENEROS
In the Southern Hemisphere, January (“enero” in Spanish) is usually the warmest month of the year.

Santiago is the capital of Chile. The city was founded in 1541 by the Spanish as Santiago de Nueva Extremadura. The name was chosen in honor of Saint James and the community of Extremadura in western Spain.

9. Gauchos’ wear : SERAPES
“Serape” is the English pronunciation and spelling of the Spanish word “zarape”. A zarape is like a Mexican poncho, a soft woolen blanket with a hole in the middle for the head. Most serapes have colorful designs that use traditional Mayan motifs.

A “gaucho” is someone who lives in the South American pampas, the fertile lowlands in the southeast of South America. The term “gaucho” is also used as the equivalent of our “cowboy”.

10. Conquistador’s foe : INCA
The Inca people emerged as a tribe around the 12th century, in what today is southern Peru. The Incas developed a vast empire over the next 300 years, extending along most of the western side of South America. The Empire of course fell to the Spanish, finally dissolving in 1572 with the execution of Tupac Amaru, the last Incan Emperor.

“Conquistador” is the Spanish for “conqueror”.

11. Royal who’s notably a crossword fan, for short : QE II
Princess Elizabeth became queen Elizabeth II in 1952 when her father, King George VI died. The Princess was on an official visit to Kenya when her husband broke the news to her, that she had become queen. When she was crowned in 1953 in Westminster Abbey, it was the first coronation to be televised. Queen Elizabeth’s reign is currently the second longest in the history of the UK. She is closing in on the record of Queen Victoria who reigned longest, for almost 64 years. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth is a crossword fan!

12. Christmas ___ : SEAL
Christmas seals are labels that are placed on mail during the holiday season. Sales of Christmas seals usually support a charity. The first Christmas seals were issued in 1904, in Denmark. They were the idea of a Danish postal clerk named Einar Holbøll, and the funds raised were used to help children suffering from tuberculosis. Christmas seals were introduced in the US in 1907.

22. Manatees : SEA COWS
Manatees, also known as sea cows, are very large marine mammals that can grow to 12 feet in length. The manatee is believed to have evolved from four-legged land mammals and probably shares a common ancestor with the elephant. The manatee’s upper lip somewhat resembles the trunk of an elephant in that it is prehensile, and can be used to grip it’s food.

25. Old New Yorker cartoonist William : STEIG
William Steig was a famous cartoonist who started drawing for “The New Yorker” in 1930. Decades later, Steig started to write children’s books. He published many successful titles, the most famous of which today is probably “Shrek!”, which was adapted into a movie franchise and a stage musical.

27. Maserati competitor : FERRARI
Enzo Ferrari was an Italian race car driver, and founder of the Ferrari car manufacturing company. Ferrari died in 1988, and in 2003 the company named the Enzo model after its founder.

Maserati is a manufacturer of luxury cars in Italy. The company was founded in Bologna in 1914 by five brothers: Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati.

28. Big East’s ___ Hall : SETON
Seton Hall is a private, Roman Catholic college in South Orange, New Jersey. The most famous of their sports programs is men’s basketball, played by the Seton Hall Pirates.

31. Abbé de l’___, pioneer in sign language : EPEE
The French clergyman Abbé Charles-Michel de l’Épée is often referred to as the “Father of the Deaf”. Épée dedicated much of his life to helping the deaf. He opened the world’s first free school for the deaf in 1760 in Paris, initially using it to provide shelter for those who were poor and hearing-impaired. Épée developed a type of sign language that is believed to be the first example of a formal and complete visual-gesture system for the deaf.

32. “Nebraska” star, 2013 : DERN
Bruce Dern is a Hollywood actor with quite a pedigree. Dern is the grandchild of former Utah governor and Secretary of War, George Henry Dern. Bruce’s godparents were Adlai Stevenson and Eleanor Roosevelt!

“Nebraska” is an intriguing 2013 comedy movie starring Bruce Dern. The film was shot in color, but was converted to black-and-white for screening. Anyone interested in comparing the effect of color versus black-and-white, might want to note that there are plans for a limited release of the color version.

33. M.B.A. hopeful’s exam : GMAT
If you want to get into a business school’s graduate program then you might have to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), which will cost you about $250, I believe …

The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

34. “Return of the Jedi” dancing girl : OOLA
Oola was a slave-girl dancer who was eaten by a scary creature in the movie “Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the the Jedi”. Oola was played by British actor Femi Taylor.

36. Ora pro ___ : NOBIS
“Ora pro nobis” translates from Latin as “pray for us”. It is a common term used in the Roman Catholic tradition and is often shortened to “OPN”.

40. Premier Khrushchev : NIKITA
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev only ever made two visits to the United States. The second visit was in September 1960 without an invitation, when he appointed himself temporary head of the USSR delegation to the United Nations. The US responded to his unannounced visit by limiting his travel to the island of Manhattan and visits to a Soviet-owned estate on Long Island. During one of the debates at the UN, Khrushchev became outraged at a statement made by the Filipino delegate who called the Soviets two-faced for decrying colonialism while forcibly dominating and occupying Eastern Europe. Khrushchev demanded the right to reply immediately, and when the Filipino delegate refused to yield, the Soviet leader famously took off his shoe and began to pound it on his desk.

43. Scary experience for a claustrophobe : MRI SCAN
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.

45. ___ track : TENURE
A job in a university that is described as “tenure-track” is one that can lead to a tenured position. A tenured position is a “job for life”. A person with tenure can only be dismissed for cause.

47. Athens rival : SPARTA
Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece, famous for her military might. Spartan children had a tough upbringing, and newborn babies were bathed in wine to see if the child was strong enough to survive. Every child was presented to a council of elders that decided if the baby was suitable for rearing. Those children deemed too puny were executed by tossing them into a chasm. We’ve been using the term “spartan” to describe something self-disciplined or austere since the 1600s.

50. “Silas Marner” author : ELIOT
George Eliot was the pen name of English novelist Mary Anne Evans. As one might think, Evans chose a male pen name in order that her work might be best appreciated in the Victorian era. Eliot wrote seven novels including “Adam Bede” (1859), “The Mill on the Floss” (1860), “Silas Marner” (1861) and “Middlemarch” (1871-72).

“Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe” is a novel written by George Eliot and first published in 1861. There’s an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, with Patsy Kensit playing Eppie, the young orphaned child that Marner takes under his wing.

52. Bank security feature? : LEVEE
A levee is an artificial bank usually made of earth, running along the length of a river. A levee is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

53. “All Day Strong. All Day Long” brand : ALEVE
Aleve is a brand name used for the anti-inflammatory drug Naproxen sodium.

55. Peeling potatoes or shucking corn, for short : PREP
“To shuck” is to remove the husk from (say an ear of corn) or to remove the shell from (say an oyster).

56. Church section : APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

58. Watson who played Hermione Granger : EMMA
Emma Watson is the English actress famous for playing Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series of movies. Watson continued her education while pursuing her acting career and studied at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

60. Disagreeable person : PILL
The term “pill” can be used to describe a boring and disagreeable person, a “bitter pill to swallow”.

63. Common adult ed course : ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. A majority of : MOST
5. They show which way the wind blows : VANES
10. Figs. on a bell curve : IQS
13. Weakish poker holding : A PAIR
15. Origami bird : CRANE
16. Once called : NEE
17. 1955 Julie London hit : CRY ME A RIVER
19. Org. in “Argo” : CIA
20. For mature audiences : RATED R
21. Glide, in a way : PARASAIL
23. “Well, what have we here?!” : OHO!
24. Round trips, of a sort: Abbr. : HRS
26. Easy gait : LOPE
27. Pays, as the bill : FOOTS
29. Charred : SEARED
33. Intermediary : GO-BETWEEN
37. Listerine alternative : SCOPE
38. Othello, for one : MOOR
39. Squelch : SIT ON
41. More than : OVER
42. Eye-opener? : ALARM
44. 11- or 12-year-old Mongolian desert dweller? : GOBI TWEEN
46. 13th-century invaders : TATARS
48. Some sneaks : NIKES
49. Pickable : RIPE
51. It may be original : SIN
52. Not keep up : LAG
55. Left Bank quaff? : PARIS ALE
59. Elvis’s Mississippi birthplace : TUPELO
61. Upstate N.Y. campus : RPI
62. Certain waterway to the Black Sea? : CRIMEA RIVER
64. Albany is on it: Abbr. : EST
65. Subject of elementary education? : ATOMS
66. French pupil : ELEVE
67. Candy in a dispenser : PEZ
68. Kind of chart : NATAL
69. Some jeans : LEES

Down
1. Large in scale : MACRO
2. What “O” on a newsstand stands for : OPRAH
3. Tell : SAY TO
4. Cons do it : TIME
5. Device with a programmable clock, for short : VCR
6. Not give ___ (be indifferent) : A RIP
7. N.C.I.S. part : NAVAL
8. Summer months in Santiago : ENEROS
9. Gauchos’ wear : SERAPES
10. Conquistador’s foe : INCA
11. Royal who’s notably a crossword fan, for short : QE II
12. Christmas ___ : SEAL
14. In high demand : RED-HOT
18. Four computer keyboard symbols : ARROWS
22. Manatees : SEA COWS
25. Old New Yorker cartoonist William : STEIG
27. Maserati competitor : FERRARI
28. Big East’s ___ Hall : SETON
30. Go here, there and everywhere : ROVE
31. Abbé de l’___, pioneer in sign language : EPEE
32. “Nebraska” star, 2013 : DERN
33. M.B.A. hopeful’s exam : GMAT
34. “Return of the Jedi” dancing girl : OOLA
35. Gravy holder : BOAT
36. Ora pro ___ : NOBIS
40. Premier Khrushchev : NIKITA
43. Scary experience for a claustrophobe : MRI SCAN
45. ___ track : TENURE
47. Athens rival : SPARTA
50. “Silas Marner” author : ELIOT
52. Bank security feature? : LEVEE
53. “All Day Strong. All Day Long” brand : ALEVE
54. Horns in on? : GORES
55. Peeling potatoes or shucking corn, for short : PREP
56. Church section : APSE
57. Classic theater name : RITZ
58. Watson who played Hermione Granger : EMMA
60. Disagreeable person : PILL
63. Common adult ed course : ESL

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2 thoughts on “1224-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 14, Wednesday”

  1. I think I am right in stating that John the Baptist was born without original sin, according to the Catholic faith. When the Virgin Mary was carrying her unborn child, she visited her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child. Elizabeth's unborn child was cleansed of his original sin as the cousins met. Elizabeth's child grew up to become John the Baptist.

    Hope that helps!

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