1217-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Dec 15, Thursday

Across Lite solvers please note:
I think that the Across Lite version of today’s grid has an error. The 20-across answer is OYS, but is recorded as OSS in Across Lite. And so, the 7-down answer ANDY is recorded as ANDS.

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

CROSSWORD SETTER: David Kwong
THEME: Two Dies are Dice … we have a rebus puzzle today, with a twist. Eight squares in the grid contain the letters DIE, and these letters are used as is to make sense of the down-answers. To make sense of the corresponding across-answers, with assume that two DIE make DICE:

17A. 1813 novel made into a 2005 film : PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
25A. Five-time Emmy-winning actress : CANDICE BERGEN
46A. Racy books named after a Victorian garment : BODICE RIPPERS
59A. Alcoholic drink so named because of its color, not its content : LONG ISLAND ICED TEA

5D. Certain foot soldier : GRENADIER
13D. Cleaned (up) : TIDIED
14D. Things going down the drain? : EDDIES
28D. Go extinct : DIE OUT
29D. Indian-born writer of the 1981 Booker Prize : RUSHDIE
39D. Beatles title girl : SADIE
44D. First to break the tape : SPEEDIEST
61D. Topics of many self-help books : DIETS

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 49s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Like a banjo : TWANGY
The instrument that we know today as the banjo is a derivative of instruments that were used in Africa.

7. Annul : ABROGATE
Abrogate is such a lovely sounding word. It means to annul or do away with, especially by authority.

17. 1813 novel made into a 2005 film : PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
The 2005 film version of “Pride and Prejudice” stars Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, and Matthew Macfadyen as Fitzwilliam Darcy. I enjoyed the movie, but it’s really hard to beat the BBC’s 1995 TV adaptation starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth as the romantic leads.

Jane Austen’s much-loved novel “Pride and Prejudice” was first published in 1813. The book became popular within months of it becoming available. “Pride and Prejudice” has maintained that popularity ever since, although interest has been boosted since the age of television and film as the novel has been adapted for the screen many times.

19. Successor to Churchill : EDEN
Sir Anthony Eden served as Britain’s Foreign Secretary during WWII, and then as Prime Minister from 1955-57. I think it’s fair to say that Eden doesn’t have a great reputation as a statesman. He was proud of his stance in favor of peace over war, so his critics characterized him as an appeaser. His major stumble on the world stage occurred with the Suez Crisis in 1956. Egypt’s President Nasser unilaterally nationalized the Suez Canal causing war to be declared on Egypt by Britain, France and Israel. Within a few months political pressure from the US and the USSR caused the allies to withdraw, bolstering Egypt’s national reputation. Eden never recovered from the loss of face at home, and it is felt that the stress even affected his health. Eden resigned in January 1957.

24. Moriarty, to Holmes : FOE
Professor James Moriarty was the main villain who crossed swords with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s’ “Sherlock Holmes”. Moriarty is always cropping up in Sherlock Holmes television and radio plays and in movies, but if you go back to the original stories he isn’t around very much. He only turns up directly in two of the narratives, and was primarily introduced by Conan Doyle in order to “kill off” Sherlock Holmes in a brawl at the top of the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. Both Holmes and Moriarty fell to their deaths. Well … public pressure on the author caused Conan Doyle to resurrect Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles”.

25. Five-time Emmy-winning actress : CANDICE BERGEN
The actress and former model Candice Bergen is the daughter of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (of Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd fame). The first Candice Bergman film I remember seeing is 1970’s “Soldier Blue”, which was very big on the other side of the Atlantic, and not so much here in North America. She also played the title role in the sitcom “Murphy Brown” for ten years in the eighties and nineties.

31. A monster may have a big one : MAW
“Maw” is a term used to describe the mouth or stomach of a carnivorous animal. “Maw” is also used as slang for the mouth or stomach of a greedy person.

37. Outdoor feast : LUAU
Nowadays, the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of “poi”, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.

38. Piece of the N.R.A.?: Abbr. : ASSOC
National Rifle Association (NRA)

45. Word repeated at the start of every “Star Wars” film : FAR
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

46. Racy books named after a Victorian garment : BODICE RIPPERS
The literary genre that we refer to as the modern romance novel started with Kathleen Woodiwiss’s book “The Flame and the Flower”. What was new to the reader was the extension of the romantic storyline into the bedroom. The covers of many of the subsequent modern romance novels featured a hero grabbing a scantily-clad heroine, leading to the genre being referred to as “bodice-rippers”.

48. Biathlon need : AIM
A biathlon is an event requiring expertise in two sporting disciplines. The most common biathlon is the winter sport that combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. This traditional biathlon was born out of an exercise for Norwegian soldiers.

53. Calendar keeper, for short : PDA
Personal digital assistant (PDA)

59. Alcoholic drink so named because of its color, not its content : LONG ISLAND ICED TEA
The mixed drink known as a Long Island Iced Tea uses the name “iced tea” as it physically resembles and somewhat tastes like sweetened iced tea. The “Long Island” reference in the name is disputed, but no doubt there is a connection to the New York island. A Long Island Iced Tea can be very alcoholic indeed, with the recipe calling for tequila, vodka, light rum, triple sec and gin, with some sour mix and a splash of cola.

64. Trouble, in Yiddish : TSURIS
“Tsuris” is an informal term of Yiddish origin meaning “troubles”.

65. Bygone royals : TSARINAS
A tsarina was the wife of a tsar, a Russian empress.

66. Blanche DuBois’s sister : STELLA
In Tennessee Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Blanche DuBois is the sister of Stella Kowalski. In the original Broadway production, Jessica Tandy played Blanche, and Kim Hunter played Stella. In the famous 1951 film adaptation, Vivien Leigh played Blanche, and Kim Hunter reprised the role of Stella.

Down
1. It’s about 5 mL : TSP
Teaspoon (tsp.)

5. Certain foot soldier : GRENADIER
Back in the 17th century, a grenadier was a soldier who specialized in the throwing of grenades. The grenade-throwing skill became less important in just a few decades, and the term “grenadier” came to apply to the largest and most powerful soldiers. The larger and stronger soldiers on horses were referred to as Horse Grenadiers in some armies, or “heavy” cavalry.

7. Roddick who won the 2003 U.S. Open : ANDY
Andy Roddick is a former World No. 1 tennis player from the US. Roddick retired in 2012, although he has been playing in what’ referred to as World Team Tennis.

9. Time off, in mil. slang : RNR
R&R (also “RnR) stands for “rest and recreation”.

10. Where Nike is headquartered : OREGON
Nike is headquartered near Beaverton, just outside Portland, Oregon.

11. Boy toy? : GI JOE
G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I thought that “G.I. Jane” had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver in the end.

12. Quito quaff : AGUA
“Water” in Spanish is “agua”, and in French is “eau”.

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

The full name of the capital city of Ecuador is San Francisco de Quito. Quito is the second highest administrative capital city in the world, after La Paz, Bolivia.

18. Oenophile’s concern : NOSE
In Greek mythology, Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us “oen-” as a prefix meaning “wine”. For example, oenology is the study of wine and an oenophile is a wine-lover.

23. Son of David : ABSALOM
According to the Hebrew Bible, Absalom was the third son of David, after Amnon and Chileab.

26. Caribbean vacation destination : ARUBA
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands. The ABC Islands is the nickname given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

27. Hawk or Hornet : NBAER
The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks started out as the Buffalo Bisons in 1946, although after only a few months the team was moved to Moline, Illinois as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were one of the 17 original teams playing at the founding of the National Basketball Association. There was another move in 1951 and a renaming to the Milwaukee Hawks, and yet again in 1955 when the team became the St. Louis Hawks. The latest move was to Atlanta, in 1968.

The New Orleans Hornets joined the NBA in 1988 as an expansion team, originally based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but the name was changed following a “name the team” contest run in the local area. During the Revolutionary War, Lord General Cornwallis had referred to Charlotte as a “veritable nest of hornets” due the city’s resistance to British occupation, which explains the local fans’ fondness for the name “Hornets”. The franchise was moved to New Orleans for the 2002 season, as attendance wasn’t big enough to sustain the team in Charlotte.

29. Indian-born writer of the 1981 Booker Prize : RUSHDIE
Salman Rushdie is a famous British novelist, born in India. Rushdie’s most celebrated novel is “The Satanic Verses” published in 1988, a Booker Prize finalist. However, the book attracted unfavorable attention from many in the Muslim faith who labelled it as blasphemy. Such was the outrage that a fatwā was issued in 1989 by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini calling for the faithful to kill Rushdie. The author remains under police protection provided by the UK government and has not been harmed, although others associated with the book have been injured and even killed. Rushdie wrote “Joseph Anton: A Memoir” in 2012, which tells of the author’s time in hiding, when he used the pseudonym Joseph Anton. The pseudonym was in honor of authors Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov.

30. Miracle-___ : GRO
Scotts Miracle-Gro Company was founded in 1868 by one Orlando Scott, initially selling seed to the agricultural industry. In the early 1900s, Scotts started to sell to homeowners, mainly supplying lawn seed. The company merged with the gardening company Miracle-Gro in 1955.

31. Chutzpah : MOXIE
Back as far as 1876, Moxie was a brand name of a “medicine” peddled with the claim that it “built up your nerve”. In 1924, Moxie was registered as a trademark for a bitter, non-alcoholic beverage (no more claims of nerve-building). And we’ve used the term “moxie” to mean “nerve” ever since …

Our word “chutzpah” meaning “nerve, gall, impudence” is derived from the Yiddish “khutspe”, which has the same meaning.

32. Chicago’s ___ Planetarium : ADLER
Chicago’s Adler Planetarium was opened in 1930, making it the first and oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. The facility is named for Max Adler, a former Sears executive and philanthropist who provided the funds for construction.

36. Dogpatch creator : CAPP
The cartoonist Al Capp set his classic comic strip “Li’l Abner” in the fictional community of “Dogpatch”. According to one of the “Li’l Abner” strips, Dogpatch was located somewhere in the state of Kentucky.

39. Beatles title girl : SADIE
“Sexy Sadie” is a song written by John Lennon and released by the Beatles in 1968. Lennon wrote the song in India, and its original title was “Maharishi”.

46. Beach attraction : BIKINI
The origin of the name “bikini”, a type of bathing suit, seems very uncertain. My favorite story is that it is named after the Bikini Atoll, site of American A-bomb tests in the forties and fifties. The name “bikini” was chosen for the swim-wear because of the “explosive” effect it had on men who saw a woman wearing the garment!

47. Multihued horse : ROAN
A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.

52. Worshiper of Inti : INCA
Inti was the sun god worshiped by the Incas. Images depicting Inti are featured on the national flags of several nations, including Argentina and Uruguay.

56. In unison, in a way : A DUE
“A due” is a musical term meaning “together”, and translates literally from Italian as “by two”.

58. Greeting with a salute : HEIL
The Nazi salute was usually accompanied by the words, “Heil Hitler!” (“Hail Hitler!”), “Heil, mein Führer!” (“Hail, my leader!”) or often “Sieg Heil!” (“Hail victory!”).

60. W-4 entry: Abbr. : SSN
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an “identity number” to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents “disappeared”.

A W-4 is an IRS tax from that is used by an employer to calculate the appropriate amount of tax withholding from an employee’s wages.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Like a banjo : TWANGY
7. Annul : ABROGATE
15. Make fast : SECURE
16. Flexible : NON-RIGID
17. 1813 novel made into a 2005 film : PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
19. Successor to Churchill : EDEN
20. Exclamations of exasperation : OYS
21. Drives : GOADS
22. More than half of all batteries sold : AAS
24. Moriarty, to Holmes : FOE
25. Five-time Emmy-winning actress : CANDICE BERGEN
31. A monster may have a big one : MAW
34. Places that may have beeches and benches : ARBORS
35. Something to dispense with : URN
36. Word that can be followed by any of several colors : CODE
37. Outdoor feast : LUAU
38. Piece of the N.R.A.?: Abbr. : ASSOC
40. One making a lot of turns on the road? : AXLE
41. “Oh yeah … uh-huh” : I BET
42. ___-di-dah : LAH
43. Made out : ESPIED
45. Word repeated at the start of every “Star Wars” film : FAR
46. Racy books named after a Victorian garment : BODICE RIPPERS
48. Biathlon need : AIM
49. Five fifths : ONE
50. Perform lousily : STINK
53. Calendar keeper, for short : PDA
55. A head : EACH
59. Alcoholic drink so named because of its color, not its content : LONG ISLAND ICED TEA
63. Boiling : INCENSED
64. Trouble, in Yiddish : TSURIS
65. Bygone royals : TSARINAS
66. Blanche DuBois’s sister : STELLA

Down
1. It’s about 5 mL : TSP
2. Lived : WERE
3. Biting : ACID
4. In the altogether : NUDE
5. Certain foot soldier : GRENADIER
6. House support? : YEA
7. Roddick who won the 2003 U.S. Open : ANDY
8. Conks : BOPS
9. Time off, in mil. slang : RNR
10. Where Nike is headquartered : OREGON
11. Boy toy? : GI JOE
12. Quito quaff : AGUA
13. Cleaned (up) : TIDIED
14. Things going down the drain? : EDDIES
18. Oenophile’s concern : NOSE
23. Son of David : ABSALOM
24. Enclose : FENCE IN
25. 10-Down neighbor: Abbr. : CALIF
26. Caribbean vacation destination : ARUBA
27. Hawk or Hornet : NBAER
28. Go extinct : DIE OUT
29. Indian-born writer of the 1981 Booker Prize : RUSHDIE
30. Miracle-___ : GRO
31. Chutzpah : MOXIE
32. Chicago’s ___ Planetarium : ADLER
33. Bed intruders? : WEEDS
36. Dogpatch creator : CAPP
39. Beatles title girl : SADIE
44. First to break the tape : SPEEDIEST
46. Beach attraction : BIKINI
47. Multihued horse : ROAN
48. Inflame : ANGER
50. Pupil of a snake’s eye, often : SLIT
51. Plenty : TONS
52. Worshiper of Inti : INCA
53. Answer to a judge : PLEA
54. Pops : DADS
56. In unison, in a way : A DUE
57. PC key : CTRL
58. Greeting with a salute : HEIL
60. W-4 entry: Abbr. : SSN
61. Topics of many self-help books : DIETS
62. “___ whole …” : AS A

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12 thoughts on “1217-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Dec 15, Thursday”

  1. 22:58, no errors. Okay, so I whipped through this one pretty quickly … except for those pesky squares where I had to write in DIE. It then took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that putting two of them together gave me DICE for the "across" entries. Duh. (I observed yesterday that themes are not always meant for the exclusive enjoyment of the solver, but are sometimes intended at least as much for the enjoyment of the setter; this may be a case in point … 🙂 (But I did appreciate it, in the end.)

    @Bill … In the syndicated version of this puzzle, as published in my Denver Post, the clues for 20A and 7D are "1942 F.D.R. creation" and "Clause connectors", respectively, making OSS (for Office of Strategic Services?) and ANDS the correct answers.

  2. @Bill … You're welcome. You should add an entry about the OSS, which was led by William ("Wild Bill") Donovan, an authentic Irish-American hero. (Half of my ancestors were from Norway, but a lot of the rest came from Ireland. For example, one of my great-great-grandmothers was one Henrietta Kelly. So I think I'm entitled to take pride in that part of my heritage, as well … 🙂

  3. The Dallas Morning News had the same clues and answers for 7 down and 20 across as the Denver Post. Why is this? This puzzle was unreasonable enough without that.

  4. 35:20, 3 errors. 20A ISS, 22A AAA. 18D NIAE. Simply did not go back and check these entries. I am basing my answers on Dave's solutions, since my syndicated paper also had same clues as the Denver Post.

  5. We haven't said it before, but these "themes" are getting too frequent and too obscure. Today it was ridiculous. Sometimes the asterisks alert you that a theme exists, as well as providing a clue. Today there weren't any asterisks, and no other indication that a theme was even involved. That's no way to treat us solvers. BTW, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had the F.D.R. and Connectors clues, which matched up with OSS and ANDS. We don't know what you are talking about where that didn't happen.

  6. @Lou Sander: Look at Bill's clues/answers for 7D and 20A. It appears that the original issue of this puzzle had different clues and different answers. (ANDY vice ANDS; OYS vice OSS) than the syndicated version.

  7. Even though I solved it, and without errors, this one made me **so mad**, I tracked down the perpetrator of this…. this…. [redacted], went to his website (he's a magician as well as a puzzle construtor) and left him a challenge to make both himself and Will Shortz disappear, in atonement for this MONSTROSITY!!!

    31 mins, 11 sec.

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