1204-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 15, Friday

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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

CROSSWORD SETTER: Martin Ashwood-Smith
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 27s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

14. Superman, for one : ALIEN
Superman was sent to Earth in a rocket as a child by his parents who were living on the doomed planet of Krypton. On Earth he was discovered by the Kents, farmers who lived near the fictional town of Smallville. The Kents raised the infant as their own, giving him the name Clark.

15. Axe in a bathroom : DEODORANT
Axe is a brand of male toiletries made by Unilever, The same products are sold under the brand name Lynx outside of North America.

19. Some British autos : MGS
My neighbor used to keep his MG Midget roadster in my garage (away from his kids!) back in Ireland many moons ago. The Midget was produced by MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979, with the MG acronym standing for “Morris Garages”.

21. School in development? : ROE
Fish roe might turn into a school of adult fish.

24. Where tequila originated: Abbr. : MEX
Tequila is a city in Mexico that is located about 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco. The city is the birthplace of the drink called “tequila”. Local people made a variety of a drink called mescal by fermenting the heart of the blue agave plant that is native to the area surrounding Tequila. It was the Spanish who introduced the distillation process to the mescal, giving us what we now know as “tequila”.

27. B.C. setting : PST
Pacific Standard Time (PST)

The Canadian province of British Columbia is in the Pacific Northwest. The British referred to the territory drained by the Columbia River as the “Columbia District”. Queen Victoria chose the name “British Columbia” for that section of the Columbia District that fell under British control. The remainder of the Columbia District was referred to as “American Columbia” or “Southern Columbia”, which became the Oregon Territory in 1848.

37. The Who’s only U.S. top 10 hit : I CAN SEE FOR MILES
“I Can See for Miles” is the biggest selling single for the Who in the United States, and it’s a song that’s getting more exposure since it was adopted as the theme tune for the TV “CSI: Cyber”.

The “CSI” TV show franchise uses hits from the Who as theme music:
– “Who Are You” … “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
– “Baba O’Riley” … “CSI: New York”
– “Won’t Get Fooled Again” … “CSI: Miami”
– “I Can See for Miles” … “CSI: Cyber”

38. Scopes Trial city : DAYTON, TENNESSEE
In 1925, Tennessee passed the Butler Act which made it unlawful for a public school teacher to teach the theory of evolution over the Biblical account of the origin of man. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sought to challenge this law and found a test case of a Tennessee high school teacher named John Scopes, who was charged with violating the law by presenting to his students ideas put forth by Charles Darwin. Celebrity lawyers descended on the small town of Dayton, Tennessee to argue the case. At the end of a high-profile trial, teacher John Scopes was found guilty as charged and was ordered to pay a fine.

39. Lead-in to Balls or Caps : SNO
The Hostess cakes called Sno Balls are usually pink in color, although in its original form each packet of two cakes contained one white and one pink. Around Halloween you can buy Sno Balls in the form of Scary Cakes and Glo Balls that are colored orange and green. and on St. Paddy’s Day there’s a green one available. Yoo hoo!

Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

40. Enterprise letters : USS
The USS Enterprise is a starship in the “Star Trek” universe (pun!). There have been several generations of starship with the name Enterprise, starting with the vessel numbered NCC-1701, which appeared in the original TV series. My favorite “Star Trek” series is “Next Generation”, which features USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

41. Wander : GAD
“To gad about” is to move around with little purpose. The word “gad” comes from the Middle English “gadden” meaning “to hurry”.

42. “On Point” broadcaster : NPR
“On Point” is a radio show produced by WBUR in Boston and syndicated by National Public Radio (NPR). Hosted by Tom Ashbrook, “On Point” is a two-hour call-in show that addresses a wide range of topics.

51. Opposite of a shaggy-dog story : ONE-LINER
A “shaggy-dog story” is one that rambles, hints at a punchline, and then fails to deliver.

53. Hardware manager : OPERATING SYSTEM
I always think of an operating system as that piece of software that sits between the hardware on my computer and the programs that I choose to run. Developers of application programs don’t really have to worry about being able to “talk to” the countless different types of hardware found in the wide variety of computers that are manufactured, they just need to talk to the handful of operating systems that are out there, like Windows, Android, MAC and Unix. The operating system takes care of the rest.

58. Candy counter eponym : REESE
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were invented by Harry Burnett “H.B.” Reese. Peanut Butter Cups were originally called penny cups, reflecting the price at which they were sold. Then inflation took over, and maybe that’s why they were broken into smaller “pieces” …

Down
2. Coming or going acknowledgment : ALOHA
The Hawaiian word “Aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

3. Line at the Oscars : LIMOS
The word “limousine” actually derives from the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes anyway …

4. Hare constellation : LEPUS
The constellation Lepus is found immediately south of Orion. “Lepus” is Latin for “hare”, which is the animal the constellation is said to represent.

6. Taken alone : PER SE
“Per se” is a Latin phrase that translates as “by itself”. We use “per se” pretty literally, meaning “in itself, intrinsically”.

8. 2004-11 Lakers forward : ODOM
Lamar Odom is a basketball forward in NBA. Apparently Odom loves candy, and that’s how he earned his nickname, “The Candy Man”. Odom is married to Khloé Kardashian, and the couple’s wedding featured on an episode of the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Not a show that I have ever seen …

10. Partiers on March 17 : IRISH
There is a fair amount known about St. Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as St. Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

12. Rescuer of Odysseus : INO
Ino was a mortal queen of Orchomenus through her marriage to King Athamas. In Greek mythology, Ino became the goddess Leukothea after her death. As Leukothea she provided divine aid to Odysseus, according to Homer’s “Odyssey”. She provided Odysseus with a magical veil that he used to escape from Poseidon.

13. Snapper on a field: Abbr. : CTR
That would be in football …

23. Taxing times : APRILS
April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

24. Their state song is a waltz : MISSOURIANS
The state song of Missouri is “Missouri Waltz”, and was adopted in 1949. It was first published in 1914, although did not gain popularity until the 1930s. The song’s popularity got a further boost when Harry S. Truman became president, as “Missouri Waltz” was said to be his favorite song. President Truman denied that, though.

26. Handles online : USERNAMES
A handle is a name.

28. Cliffside detritus : SCREE
When a rockface erodes, lumps of rock and dust fall to the ground. The pile of rocks gathered around the rockface is called scree, a word derived from the old Norwegian term for a landslide.

30. Vinegar and others : ACIDS
Acetic acid has the formula CH3COOH, and is the main component of vinegar.

31. Praline ingredient : PECAN
A praline is a candy made made out of nuts and sugar syrup. The first pralines were made in France in the 17th century for an industrialist named Marshal du Plessis-Praslin, who gave his name to the confection.

33. Quitting time? : LENT
In Latin, the Christian season that is now called Lent was termed “quadragesima” (meaning “fortieth”), a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term “Lent” was introduced. “Lent” comes from “lenz”, the German word for “spring”.

34. Actor Spall of “Life of Pi” : RAFE
Rafe Spall is an actor from London, England who is perhaps best known for playing Yann Martel in the “Life of Pi”. In that role, Spall actually replaced Tobey Maguire in post-production.

The 2012 movie “Life of Pi” is based on a 2001 novel of the same name by Yann Martel. The “Pi” in the title is an Indian boy named Pi Patel who finds himself adrift for 227 days in small boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

35. Egyptian bull god : APIS
Apis (also “Hapis) was a bull-god in Egyptian mythology. The Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk uses Apis as its logo.

43. Diagram grammatically : PARSE
The verb “to parse” means “to state the parts of speech in a sentence”. “Parse” comes from the Latin word “pars” meaning “part”.

45. Skinflint : MISER
A skinflint is a miser. The term arose as slang around 1700, to describe a person who “skin a flint” in order to save or make money.

48. Piece-keeping? : ARMED
“Piece” is a slang term for “gun”.

50. Map lines: Abbr. : RTES
Route (rte.)

52. Strings of yore : LYRE
The lyre is a stringed instrument most closely associated with Ancient Greece, and with the gods Hermes and Apollo in particular. According to myth, Hermes slaughtered a cow from a sacred herd belonging to Apollo and offered it to the gods but kept the entrails. Hermes used the entrails to make strings that he stretched across the shell of a tortoise, creating the first lyre. Apollo liked the sound from the lyre and agreed to accept it as a trade for his herd of cattle.

54. Time of wide-ranging stability : PAX
A “pax” (Latin for “peace”) is a period of history marked by an absence of war and conflict, although that stability is usually a result of one nation predominating. We often use the more specific term “pax Romana” to describe such a situation, referring back to such a time in Ancient Rome.

“Pax Romana” is Latin for “Roman Peace”. The term literally described a period in Roman history for the 1st and 2nd centuries AD during which the Roman Empire was ruled by Caesar Augustus. Under his control, expansionist ideas by powerful generals were held in check, and the peoples of foreign lands ruled by the Romans were relatively calm. The peace enjoyed was considered uneasy as Rome governed its conquered territories with an iron fist, and insurrection was likely at all times. The expression “pax Romana” then came to be used in English to describe any situation in which there is an uneasy peace, a peace imposed by a powerful state on a weaker state.

56. Final finale in Britain? : -ISE
In Britain, “finalize” is spelled “finalise”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Big drop of water : FALLS
6. Putting out a lot : PROLIFIC
14. Superman, for one : ALIEN
15. Axe in a bathroom : DEODORANT
16. One showing resolution? : COMPUTER MONITOR
18. “Any ideas?” : THOUGHTS?
19. Some British autos : MGS
20. It’s delivered freshly : SASS
21. School in development? : ROE
22. Lead-in to “la la” : SHA
24. Where tequila originated: Abbr. : MEX
25. Start of a protest : BUT …
27. B.C. setting : PST
30. Focus of industrial science : APPLIED RESEARCH
36. Old nickname for China : CELESTIAL EMPIRE
37. The Who’s only U.S. top 10 hit : I CAN SEE FOR MILES
38. Scopes Trial city : DAYTON, TENNESSEE
39. Lead-in to Balls or Caps : SNO
40. Enterprise letters : USS
41. Wander : GAD
42. “On Point” broadcaster : NPR
44. Sharp as a bowling ball : DIM
45. Enormous, informally : MEGA
49. Contents of some pockets : AIR
51. Opposite of a shaggy-dog story : ONE-LINER
53. Hardware manager : OPERATING SYSTEM
57. Hoarders’ disorders : RAT’S NESTS
58. Candy counter eponym : REESE
59. Immoderate behavior : EXCESSES
60. Made a bad call : ERRED

Down
1. The right stuff? : FACTS
2. Coming or going acknowledgment : ALOHA
3. Line at the Oscars : LIMOS
4. Hare constellation : LEPUS
5. Figure-hugging : SNUG
6. Taken alone : PER SE
7. DVD trailer? : -ROM
8. 2004-11 Lakers forward : ODOM
9. Like some roses and wineglasses : LONG-STEMMED
10. Partiers on March 17 : IRISH
11. Broad and then some : FAT
12. Rescuer of Odysseus : INO
13. Snapper on a field: Abbr. : CTR
15. Trendy cleanses : DETOX DIETS
17. Pretty good poker hand : THREE TENS
23. Taxing times : APRILS
24. Their state song is a waltz : MISSOURIANS
25. Property : BELONGINGS
26. Handles online : USERNAMES
28. Cliffside detritus : SCREE
29. ___ days (now) : THESE
30. Vinegar and others : ACIDS
31. Praline ingredient : PECAN
32. Take selfish advantage of : PLAY ON
33. Quitting time? : LENT
34. Actor Spall of “Life of Pi” : RAFE
35. Egyptian bull god : APIS
43. Diagram grammatically : PARSE
44. Inadvisable behavior : DON’TS
45. Skinflint : MISER
46. Rap response : ENTER
47. Featherbrains : GEESE
48. Piece-keeping? : ARMED
50. Map lines: Abbr. : RTES
52. Strings of yore : LYRE
53. Rock band? : ORE
54. Time of wide-ranging stability : PAX
55. It can reduce a sentence : ETC
56. Final finale in Britain? : -ISE

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5 thoughts on “1204-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 15, Friday”

  1. 15:09, no errors. Surprisingly fast times for a Friday puzzle. Thought I was doing well at 15 mins, but saw Bills' time, wow! Only one erasure, 3D initially had HIMOM, but corrected it to LIMOS.

  2. 19:19, no errors. Made a couple of missteps – NEWS instead of SASS, SIT (as in SIT-IN) instead of BUT, and THREE ACES instead of THREE TENS – but recovered pretty quickly (a lot better than yesterday, for sure). Pretty straightforward cluing for a Friday …

  3. *Incredibly* poor clue editing; getting to be normal for Shortz' cynical style of making puzzles difficult by being vague and misleading.

  4. I do find that Some of Bill's times are unrealistic… Find it hard to believe that you could actually read all the clues and fill in the answers in 8 minutes…being cynical, I know…..but there were several answers that were the width of the complete puzzle.

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