1229-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Dec 14, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Peter A. Collins
THEME: Spell “It Out” … today’s themed answers start with words that sound like the letters I-T-O-U-T, so we are SPELLING “IT OUT”.

64A. Leave no room for misinterpretation … or what the first words of the answers to the five starred clues do, literally : SPELL IT OUT (spell “it out”)

17A. *What a good speaker maintains with the audience : EYE CONTACT (giving the letter “I”)
25A. *Golfers’ bookings : TEE TIMES (giving the letter “T”)
30A. *”Man!” : OH BROTHER! (giving the letter “O”)
45A. *”Wait, wait … go back” : YOU LOST ME (giving the letter “U”)
51A. *Bit of Boston Harbor debris in 1773 : TEA CHEST (giving the letter “T”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 09s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Titanic victim John Jacob ___ : ASTOR
John Jacob Astor IV was a member of the famous and wealthy Astor family of New York. Astor and his second wife Madeleine were passengers on the RMS Titanic when it made its fateful journey in 1912. John did not survive the tragedy, and was the wealthiest person to go down with the ship. Madeleine was picked up in a lifeboat, along with her nurse and maid.

14. Havana hero José : MARTI
José Martí was a Cuban writer and political activist who became a symbol for his country’s movement to gain independence from Spain in the 1800s, earning him the nickname “Apostle of Cuban Independence”. Martí was killed in action in a battle against Spanish troops in 1895.

19. Female org. since the 1850s : YWCA
The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) was founded in the mid-1800s about 50 years after the YMCA, although the two organizations have always been independent of each other. Having said that, some YWCA and YMCA organizations have amalgamated at the local level and often share facilities. The YWCA is quite the organization, and is the largest women’s group in the whole world.

20. U.S. intelligence org. : NSA
The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation.

21. ___ nut (Chinese fruit) : LITCHI
Litchis are better known in English as lychees. One can’t eat the skin of the lychee fruit, which is why you’ll notice that you are only served the sweet flesh. If you’ve never tried them, you should do so as they’re delicious. Even though there is a nut-like seed within the edible flesh of the lychee fruit, I wouldn’t eat it, as it is poisonous.

29. Fox News anchor Smith : SHEP
Shep Smith is a television journalist and host with Fox News. Smith has been hosting “Shepard Smith Reporting” on Fox since 2013.

35. “August: ___ County” (2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play) : OSAGE
“August: Osage County” is a dark comedy play by Tracy Letts that won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. I saw a 2013 movie adaptation that has a great cast including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, and Benedict Cumberbatch. I really enjoyed it …

39. Weightless state, informally : ZERO-G
The force of gravity that we all feel is referred to as “one G”. As gravity is a actually an accelerating force, acceleration is measured relative to that force of gravity. So, if we are sitting in a vehicle that accelerates at 3G, then we are experiencing a force that is three times that which we feel from the gravitational pull of the earth. Zero-G is weightlessness that is experienced when in space, outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.

48. Lansing’s home: Abbr. : MICH
Lansing, Michigan is unique among US state capitals in that it is not a county seat, even though it is located in Ingham County. The county seat is Mason, Michigan.

51. *Bit of Boston Harbor debris in 1773 : TEA CHEST (giving the letter “T”)
The famous destruction of tea in Boston Harbor to protest against the Tea Act took place on December 16, 1773. The action was referred to as the “destruction of the tea” for decades, and it wasn’t until 1834 that the term “Boston Tea Party” first appeared in print.

59. “___! The Herald Angels Sing” : HARK
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. It was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley, although he scored it as a very slow and somber tune. A number of musicians modified the music over the years (including Felix Mendelssohn) giving us the more uplifting air that we know today.

62. ___ constrictor : BOA
Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

63. ___ of Wight : ISLE
The Isle of Wight is the largest island in England, and lies about five miles off the south coast of the country.

66. Putin’s refusal : NYET
“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.

Vladimir Putin became acting President of Russia at the very end of 1999 when Boris Yeltsin resigned. Putin was elected in his own right in 2000, re-elected in 2004, and then ran up against a term limit in 2008. In 2008 Putin was appointed by his successor, President Dmitry Medvedev, to the position of Prime Minister. Putin is a controversial figure, inside and outside Russia. On the one hand he led the country out of an economic crisis into a period of stability and relative prosperity (but maybe back again …). On the other hand he has been associated with government corruption and accused of allowing private concerns to have undue influence on government actions. And then there is the Crimea …

67. German automaker : OPEL
Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

68. Vikings, e.g. : NORSE
The Vikings were a Germanic people from northern Europe who were noted as great seafarers. Key to the success of the Vikings was the design of their famous “longships”. Made from wood, the longship was long and narrow with a shallow hull, It was also light, so that the crew would actually carry it small distances over land and around obstacles. Longships were designed to be propelled both by sail and by oars.

70. Wall Street inits. : NYSE
The roots of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) go back to 1792 when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement.

71. ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES
Estes Park is a town in a beautiful part of the US, in northern Colorado. Estes Park is home to the headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park. My fire-fighting brother-in-law was based at that park, so I’ve visited and can attest that it is a gorgeous place to live. He lives in Omaha now. The geography in Omaha is a little different …

Down
3. October 31 option : TREAT
Trick or treat!

4. Needing no Rx : OTC
Over-the-counter (OTC)

There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

5. 1970 John Wayne film : RIO LOBO
“Rio Lobo” is a Western movie that was released in 1970, starring John Wayne. “Rio Lobo” is the third film in a trilogy that was directed by Howard Hawks, the other two films being “Rio Bravo” (1959) and “El Dorado” (1966). “Rio Lobo” was the last film that Hawks directed.

6. Glam rock band ___ the Hoople : MOTT
Mott the Hoople was a glam rock band from England that was big in the mid-seventies. The name of the band come from the title of a novel by Willard Manus.

I remember the days of glam rock so well, as it was a hugely popular genre of music in the British Isles during the early seventies. Artistes wore the wildest of clothes, big hair, shiny outfits and really high platform boots. Names associated with glam rock are T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxy Music and Gary Glitter.

10. Thwarts : STYMIES
The word “stymie” comes from golf, and is a situation in which one’s approach to the hole is blocked by an opponent’s ball.

12. Title for Sam or Ben : UNCLE
The Uncle Sam personification of the United States was first used during the War of 1812. The “Uncle Sam” term was so widely accepted that even the Germans used it during WWII, choosing the code word “Samland” for “America” in intelligence communiques.

Uncle Ben’s is a famous brand of rice introduced in 1943. It was the biggest selling brand of rice in the US from the fifties through the nineties. As one might imagine, the name “Uncle Ben” is pretty offensive and Mars, who owns the brand now, have tried to distance themselves from the African-American slave/domestic servant image. In 2007 there was a TV campaign showing “Uncle Ben” as Chairman of the Board of the company. But, he is still called Uncle Ben …

13. Enjoys Joyce, Carroll or Oates : READS
Regular readers will know that I am unashamedly supportive of my native Irish culture, but I have to tell you that I can’t handle the works of James Joyce. I have spent many a fine day traipsing around Ireland learning about his life, but I have yet to appreciate one of his books. To me, his life is more absorbing than his writing. Having said that, “Ulysses” is an interesting novel in that it chronicles just one ordinary day in the life of a Dubliner named Leopold Bloom. There’s a huge celebration of “Ulysses” in Dublin every year on June 16th, called Bloomsday. The festivities vary from readings and performances of the storyline, to good old pub crawls. “Ulysses” was made into a film of the same name in 1967 starring Milo O’Shea.

Lewis Carroll was actually a pseudonym, for English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. His most famous novels are of course “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, and his most famous poems are the two nonsense pieces “Jabberwocky” and “The Hunting of the Snark”.

Joyce Carol Oates is a remarkable writer, not just for the quality of her work (her 1969 novel “them” won a National Book Award, for example) but also for how prolific is her output. She published her first book in 1963 and since then has published over fifty novels as well as many other written works.

18. U.S.S. ___ (aircraft carrier named for a former admiral) : NIMITZ
The USS Nimitz is a supercarrier that was launched in 1972. The Nimitz is now the oldest active combat ship in the US Navy.

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz is perhaps best remembered as the commander of fleet operations in the Pacific in WWII. Above and beyond the many honors formally awarded to Admiral Nimitz, he was chosen in 1945 to sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on the decks of the Missouri, as the official representative of his country.

32. “One Love” singer : BOB MARLEY
Bob Marley is the most widely known reggae performer, with big hits such as “I Shot the Sheriff”, “Woman, No Cry” and “One Love”. A little sadly perhaps, Marley’s best selling album was released three years after he died. That album would be the “legendary” album called “Legend”.

“One Love” is a classic reggae song from 1977 recorded by Bob Marley and the Wailers. A ska version of “One Love” had been released by the Wailers as early as 1965, but it is the 1977 release that we all remember, I am sure.

33. Suffix with ranch : -ERO
A ranchero is someone employed on a ranch, and is a word with Spanish roots.

34. Sauce thickener : ROUX
A roux is a mixture of wheat flour and clarified butter (or other fat) cooked together until it can be used as a thickening agent. Roux is an essential ingredient in French cooking, although “healthier” versions of roux are being used more and more these days.

36. Doublemint, for one : GUM
Doublemint is a variety of chewing that was launched by Wrigley way back in 1914. Famously, Wrigley’s used twins in their advertising as spokespersons, starting in 1956.

37. Juillet’s season : ETE
One might spend the summer (été) under the sun (le soleil) in France, and “juillet” is French for July (note that the name of months aren’t capitalized in French).

47. Jeanne d’Arc, for one: Abbr. : STE
“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a female.

Joan of Arc (also Jeanne d’Arc, her birth name) led the French Army successfully into battle a number of times during the Hundred Years War with England. When she was eventually captured, Joan was tried in Rouen, the seat of the occupying English government in France at that time. There she was burned at the stake having been found guilty of heresy. Joan of Arc was canonized some 600 years later, in 1920, and is now one of the patron saints of France.

49. Muppet maker Jim : HENSON
Jim Henson was a puppeteer, and most famously the creator the Muppets characters. Henson produced his first puppets for a local television station in Hyattsville, Maryland while he was still in high school. As well as the famous Muppet characters, Henson created, operated and voiced the character Yoda in most of the “Star Wars” movies. Henson died from a streptococcal infection in 1990, on the same day Sammy Davis, Jr. passed away.

53. Maudlin : SOPPY
To be maudlin is to be excessively sentimental. The term comes into English from the tearful and repentant sinner Mary Magdalene who was forgiven by Jesus. Mary’s surname “Magdalene” became the name “Maudelen” in Middle English, and then “maudlin” meaning “tearful”.

58. Fills up : SATES
“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

61. Fr. girl : MLLE
Señorita (Srta.) is Spanish, and mademoiselle (Mlle.), is French for “Miss”, a form of address to a female.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Titanic victim John Jacob ___ : ASTOR
6. Diner’s card : MENU
10. Put-down : SLUR
14. Havana hero José : MARTI
15. Getting ___ years : ON IN
16. Musical pitch : TONE
17. *What a good speaker maintains with the audience : EYE CONTACT (giving the letter “I”)
19. Female org. since the 1850s : YWCA
20. U.S. intelligence org. : NSA
21. ___ nut (Chinese fruit) : LITCHI
22. Opposite of spicy : MILD
23. Internet business : DOT-COM
25. *Golfers’ bookings : TEE TIMES (giving the letter “T”)
27. Somewhat : A BIT
29. Fox News anchor Smith : SHEP
30. *”Man!” : OH BROTHER! (giving the letter “O”)
35. “August: ___ County” (2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play) : OSAGE
38. Twosome : DUO
39. Weightless state, informally : ZERO-G
41. Director’s end-of-scene cry : CUT!
42. What i.o.u.’s represent : DEBTS
45. *”Wait, wait … go back” : YOU LOST ME (giving the letter “U”)
48. Lansing’s home: Abbr. : MICH
50. Cross through : X OUT
51. *Bit of Boston Harbor debris in 1773 : TEA CHEST (giving the letter “T”)
55. Second-stringers : B-TEAMS
59. “___! The Herald Angels Sing” : HARK
60. Regular : NORMAL
62. ___ constrictor : BOA
63. ___ of Wight : ISLE
64. Leave no room for misinterpretation … or what the first words of the answers to the five starred clues do, literally : SPELL IT OUT (spell “it out”)
66. Putin’s refusal : NYET
67. German automaker : OPEL
68. Vikings, e.g. : NORSE
69. Letters between jays and ells : KAYS
70. Wall Street inits. : NYSE
71. ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES

Down
1. Change, as the Constitution : AMEND
2. Final approval : SAY-SO
3. October 31 option : TREAT
4. Needing no Rx : OTC
5. 1970 John Wayne film : RIO LOBO
6. Glam rock band ___ the Hoople : MOTT
7. Put into law : ENACT
8. Small recess : NICHE
9. Loosens, as laces : UNTIES
10. Thwarts : STYMIES
11. Not joint-pounding, as aerobics : LOW-IMPACT
12. Title for Sam or Ben : UNCLE
13. Enjoys Joyce, Carroll or Oates : READS
18. U.S.S. ___ (aircraft carrier named for a former admiral) : NIMITZ
24. Pace or race follower : CAR
26. Howe’er : THO’
28. Unnamed others : THEY
30. Like integers of the form 2n + 1 : ODD
31. Shade : HUE
32. “One Love” singer : BOB MARLEY
33. Suffix with ranch : -ERO
34. Sauce thickener : ROUX
36. Doublemint, for one : GUM
37. Juillet’s season : ETE
40. Worldwide : GLOBAL
43. Lottery buys : TICKETS
44. Univ., e.g. : SCH
46. Writer’s plan : OUTLINE
47. Jeanne d’Arc, for one: Abbr. : STE
49. Muppet maker Jim : HENSON
51. “Use your head!” : THINK!
52. Course for which you hardly need to 51-Down : EASY A
53. Maudlin : SOPPY
54. Forest units : TREES
56. Call off, as a mission : ABORT
57. One just squeaking by? : MOUSE
58. Fills up : SATES
61. Fr. girl : MLLE
65. Lean-___ (rude shelters) : TOS

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3 thoughts on “1229-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Dec 14, Monday”

  1. So you don't even enjoy DUBLINERS? I've yet to get through any other full novel of Joyce's, but DUBLINERS was almost total enjoyment. Also, you probably know, but in case not, Bloomsday is celebrated in many places around the USA. It's not a formal thing, nor is it terribly widespread, but if you go to the right kind of Irish pub on that date, or to many a college English/Literature department, you'll likely find some people celebrating the day, perhaps with poetry readings or live music.

  2. Thanks for the info about Bloomsday in the US. I wasn't aware of the extent of the celebration on this side of the pond. It's a shame that I can't get in James Joyce, particularly as there is a slilght family connection. A g-g-uncle of mine gets a couple of very oblique mentions in Joyce's autobigraphical novel "Stephen Hero". A trifliing claim to fame for me, but it's all I've got 🙂

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