1214-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 14 Dec 15, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Timothy Polin
THEME: Loans from Presidents … each of today’s themed answers is a common word or phrase that starts with the name of a US president:

17A. National health insurance overhaul : OBAMACARE
24A. Supply-side fiscal policy popularized in the 1980s : REAGANOMICS
38A. Statement such as “They misunderestimated me” : BUSHISM
49A. Depression-era shantytown : HOOVERVILLE

59A. Title held by the people who lent their names to 17-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across : PRESIDENT

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 04s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Exiled leader of Iran : SHAH
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

9. Rugby formation : SCRUM
If you’ve ever seen a rugby match, you’ll recognize the “scrum”, where the players designated as “forwards” bind together and push against the forwards on the opposing team. It’s a way of restarting the game after various types of stoppages. Scrum is short for “scrummage”, which in itself is a variation of “scrimmage”. And “scrimmage” has its roots in the word “skirmish”. If you get the chance, take a look at the Matt Damon-Morgan Freeman movie called “Invictus”, directed by Clint Eastwood. It’s all about rugby in South Africa after Nelson Mandela came to power. A powerful film …

14. Like early vinyl records : MONO
Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

16. Sonnets, odes and such : POESY
“Poesy” is an alternative name for poetry, often used to mean the “art of poetry”.

17. National health insurance overhaul : OBAMACARE
The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”.

19. Range through Peru and Chile : ANDES
The Andes is the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world, running right down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles. The highest peak in the range is Mt. Aconcagua, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.

Peru’s name comes from the word “Biru”. Back in the early 1500s, Biru was a ruler living near the Bay of San Miguel in Panama. The territory over which Biru ruled was the furthest land south in the Americas known to Europeans at that time. The Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was the first European to move south of Biru’s empire and the land that he found was designated “Peru”, a derivative of “Biru”.

The land of Chile has a very distinctive shape. It is a narrow strip that runs up the west coast of South America. The average width of the country is only a little over 100 miles, and yet its length is about 2,700 miles. Chile is touted as the longest country in the world, although I am not so sure what that means exactly. I mean, Russia extends about 4,800 miles from east-to west, so maybe “longest” implies long in the north-south direction?

20. Clay monster of Jewish folklore : GOLEM
Golem is Yiddish slang for “dimwit”. In Jewish folklore a golem is an anthropomorphic being made out of inanimate matter, somewhat like an unintelligent robot.

21. Fed. agents : G-MEN
The nickname “G-men” is short for “Government Men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

23. ___ Lauderdale, Fla. : FORT
Fort Lauderdale in Florida is named for a series of 19th-century forts built during the Second Seminole War. The first of the forts was built under the command of Major William Lauderdale, with three of the structures being named “Fort Lauderdale”.

24. Supply-side fiscal policy popularized in the 1980s : REAGANOMICS
The economic policies promoted by the Reagan administration in the eighties came to be known as “Reaganomics”. The policy had four main elements:

1. Reduction in the growth of government spending
2. Reduction in the rate of federal income tax and capital gains tax
3. Reduction in government regulation
4. Tightening of the money supply

32. Low-level Dungeons & Dragons monster : ORC
Dungeons & Dragons is a complex role-playing game first published in 1974, by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my much-loved, nerdy son …

38. Statement such as “They misunderestimated me” : BUSHISM
A Bushism is a linguistic error that has been attributed to President George W. Bush. President Bush himself admitted that he mixed up his words at times. Documented examples would be:

– “Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”
– “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”
– “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”
– “They misunderestimated me.”

40. Competition in which the winner always gets the last word? : BEE
Back in 18th-century America, when neighbors would gather to work for the benefit of one of their group, such a meeting was called a “bee”. The name “bee” was an allusion to the social nature of the insect. In modern parlance, a further element of entertainment and pleasure has been introduced, for example in a “quilting bee”, or even a “spelling bee”.

43. Record producer Brian : ENO
Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesiser player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo and U2.

44. Lustful Le Pew : PEPE
Pepé Le Pew is a very likeable cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Pepé is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe painted down her back accidently.

45. Benjamin of “Law & Order” : BRATT
The actor Benjamin Bratt’s most noted role has to be Detective Rey Curtis on the NBC cop show “Law & Order”. Bratt dated the actress Julia Roberts for a few years.

47. Nuclear reactor insert : FUEL ROD
A common nuclear fuel is uranium dioxide (UO2). The UO2 comes in powder form and is compacted into pellets that are fired at high temperature producing ceramic pellets. The pellets are ground into a near-perfect cylindrical shape and are then stacked inside tubes made of zirconium alloy. These tubes are what we usually refer to as nuclear fuel rods.

49. Depression-era shantytown : HOOVERVILLE
Shanty towns that were built by homeless people during Great Depression were often called “Hoovervilles”. The name was a reference to President Herbert Hoover who was blamed by many for the onset of the Depression. The term itself was coined by Charles Michelson, the Democratic National Committee’s publicity chief.

53. Fundamentalist Palestinian group : HAMAS
Hamas is the Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. “Hamas” translates into English as “enthusiasm”, and is also an acronym in Arabic for “Islamic Resistance Movement”. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by many nations in the world, including the US.

64. Seductive nightwear : TEDDY
The item of lingerie known as a teddy can also be called “camiknickers”. The alternative name was used when the one-piece garment was introduced in the twenties, a combination of a camisole and panties (aka knickers).

66. Downward force felt on the surface of the earth, informally : ONE 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.

Down
1. Airborne urban hazard : SMOG
“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s.

2. Wanderer in search of work : HOBO
No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums”, in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

3. Rigidly uptight : ANAL
The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

4. A to L and beyond, on a keyboard : HOME ROW
The home keys on a typewriter keyboard are in the “home row”. On a QWERTY keyboard, the home row keys are ASDFJKL. They are known as the home keys because typists are trained to return their fingers to these keys after pressing other keys.

5. Channel for cinephiles : AMC
AMC, formerly known as American Movie Classics, is one of my favorite television channels. Although the channel’s focus has shifted from airing classic movies to including other programming, there’s still a lot of quality output. AMC’s flagship shows are “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”.

7. Buddhist principle of fate : KARMA
Karma is religious concept with its basis in Indian faiths. Karma embraces the notion of cause and effect. Good deeds have good consequences at some later point in one’s life, future life, or afterlife and vice versa.

11. Submarine in a Tom Clancy best seller : RED OCTOBER
Tom Clancy was an incredibly successful novelist who was noted for his technically-detailed military and espionage thrillers. Clancy’s first novel was “The Hunt for Red October”, published in 1984. Although “Red October” was to be his most successful work, I personally preferred his second book “Red Storm Rising”, published in 1986. Clancy passed away in 2013.

13. Pioneering first-person computer game : MYST
In the days when I played the occasional video game, the best of the bunch was undoubtedly “Myst”. It is a game full of puzzles with the player wandering through a beautifully-designed (for its day) interactive world.

26. Teacher in a one-room schoolhouse : MARM
“Marm” is short for “schoolmarm”, a quaint term for a female teacher.

27. Muslim cleric : IMAM
An imam is a Muslim leader, often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.

28. Hatcher who co-starred in “Tomorrow Never Dies” : TERI
Teri Hatcher’s most famous role these days is the Susan Mayer character in “Desperate Housewives”. I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of “Housewives” but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, as she appeared in “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

33. Revolutionary Guevara : CHE
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

36. Tournament front-runner : SEED
A “seeded” player or team in a tournament is one given a preliminary ranking that is used in the initial draw. The intention is that the better competitors do are less likely to meet each other in the early rounds.

38. Wally’s kid bro, in 1950s-’60s TV : BEAV
Wally Cleaver and his younger brother “the Beaver” were the children of Ward and June Cleaver on the fifties sitcom “Leave It to Beaver”.

We used to see a lot of American television programming growing up in Ireland, but “Leave It to Beaver” was one show that didn’t make it across the Atlantic. I’ve seen a couple of episodes, and I am not sure it would travel well. The show went on the air for the first time the day that Sputnik was launched by the Russians, and aired its last show just a few months before President Kennedy was assassinated. An iconic series, by all accounts.

39. Nonbelievers, to believers : INFIDELS
“Infidel” is an English word that was created by the Roman Catholic Church to describe someone who did not believe in the Catholic dogma. The word comes from Latin “infidelis” meaning “unfaithful”. During the time of the Crusades, the word “infidel” was used for any non-Christian, and particular the Saracens of North Africa.

42. Baited with incendiary remarks : TROLLED
In Internet terms, a “troll” is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person, as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response.

48. K-12 : ELHI
“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from grades 1 through 12, i.e. elementary through high school.

49. ___ Selassie, old Ethiopian leader : HAILE
Emperor Haile Selassie I ruled Ethiopia until he was removed from power in a revolution in 1974. Selassie died in 1975 under suspicious circumstances and it is widely believed that he was assassinated.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Exiled leader of Iran : SHAH
5. Queries : ASKS
9. Rugby formation : SCRUM
14. Like early vinyl records : MONO
15. [Kiss!] : MWAH!
16. Sonnets, odes and such : POESY
17. National health insurance overhaul : OBAMACARE
19. Range through Peru and Chile : ANDES
20. Clay monster of Jewish folklore : GOLEM
21. Fed. agents : G-MEN
23. ___ Lauderdale, Fla. : FORT
24. Supply-side fiscal policy popularized in the 1980s : REAGANOMICS
27. “I’m paying” : IT’S ON ME
30. Commence : START
31. Cat’s cry : MEOW!
32. Low-level Dungeons & Dragons monster : ORC
34. Puts a protective shield on : ARMORS
37. Dog’s bark : ARF!
38. Statement such as “They misunderestimated me” : BUSHISM
40. Competition in which the winner always gets the last word? : BEE
41. Winter hand warmer : MITTEN
43. Record producer Brian : ENO
44. Lustful Le Pew : PEPE
45. Benjamin of “Law & Order” : BRATT
47. Nuclear reactor insert : FUEL ROD
49. Depression-era shantytown : HOOVERVILLE
51. Container in a dairy barn : PAIL
52. Stopped working : DIED
53. Fundamentalist Palestinian group : HAMAS
57. Opposite of empties : FILLS
59. Title held by the people who lent their names to 17-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across : PRESIDENT
61. Naval battle group : FLEET
62. Gaze longingly upon : OGLE
63. “Fare thee well!” : TATA!
64. Seductive nightwear : TEDDY
65. Chick’s place : NEST
66. Downward force felt on the surface of the earth, informally : ONE G

Down
1. Airborne urban hazard : SMOG
2. Wanderer in search of work : HOBO
3. Rigidly uptight : ANAL
4. A to L and beyond, on a keyboard : HOME ROW
5. Channel for cinephiles : AMC
6. Walks with a brash air : SWAGGERS
7. Buddhist principle of fate : KARMA
8. Lusters : SHEENS
9. Wellness retreat : SPA
10. Verify : CONFIRM
11. Submarine in a Tom Clancy best seller : RED OCTOBER
12. Junkies : USERS
13. Pioneering first-person computer game : MYST
18. “You said it!” : AMEN!
22. Nobody at all : NOT A SOUL
25. Added up (to) : AMOUNTED
26. Teacher in a one-room schoolhouse : MARM
27. Muslim cleric : IMAM
28. Hatcher who co-starred in “Tomorrow Never Dies” : TERI
29. Sentimental : SOFT-BOILED
33. Revolutionary Guevara : CHE
35. Vehicle seized for auction : REPO
36. Tournament front-runner : SEED
38. Wally’s kid bro, in 1950s-’60s TV : BEAV
39. Nonbelievers, to believers : INFIDELS
42. Baited with incendiary remarks : TROLLED
44. Accept, as a lesser charge in exchange for admitting guilt : PLEAD TO
46. Stumble over : TRIP ON
48. K-12 : ELHI
49. ___ Selassie, old Ethiopian leader : HAILE
50. Threshold : VERGE
51. Fizzling sound : PFFT
54. Vicious : MEAN
55. Initial money for the pot : ANTE
56. Going without a date : STAG
58. Room where it looks like a bomb went off : STY
60. Theater décor : SET

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5 thoughts on “1214-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 14 Dec 15, Monday”

  1. I got to hear W speak to a group of bankers once. He seems like an affable guy in person, but yeah, sometimes you wondered what verbal banana peel he was gonna slip on.

  2. 8:10, no errors. Typical Monday puzzle. The current scrum of Republican presidential candidates almost makes me nostalgic for old Dubya. (I wouldn't have thought that was possible, but … there it is …:-)

  3. 6:57, no errors. Enjoyed the theme. For some reason I kept thinking 66A ONEG couldn't be correct. I saw it as O NEG(ative) rather than ONE G. Had not seen SOFT BOILED used in the context 'sentimental' before, learn something new every day.

  4. Got a perfect score today. Ditto on the ONE-G vs. O-NEG. One of rules of crosswords is when something doesn't make sense, back off and see if the letters can combine in another way. I hope I can remember to do that from now on.

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