1218-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Dec 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Andrew Zhou
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 30m 01s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Prison design that allows surveillance of any inmate at any time : PANOPTICON
A “Panopticon” is a design used for some institutional buildings that originated in the 1700s. A design developed by English social reformer Jeremy Bentham, it features a circular structure with cells or rooms facing inwards to a central inspection house. The idea is that one watchman (in theory) can keep an eye on all inmates at the same time. The design is named for the Greek giant of myth Argus Panoptes who had a hundred eyes.

11. Indian drawer? : AGRA
The Indian city of Agra is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

– The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
– Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
– Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal

15. Nickname since 1959 : ALOHA STATE
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.

Alaska became the 49th state to join the United States on January 3rd, 1959. Hawaii became the 50th state just a few months later, on August 21st.

17. High-grade sheet material : PIMA COTTON
Pima is a soft cotton that is very durable and absorbent. Pima cotton is named after the Pima Native Americans who first cultivated it in this part of the world.

20. Seventy-somethings? : CEES
When marking an exam, a grade C usually corresponds to a score of between 70% and 79%.

23. Virginia ___, first English child born in America (1587) : DARE
The first English child born in the New World was Virginia Dare, on August 18th, 1587 to parents Ananias Dare and Eleanor White. The birth took place in the ill-fated Roanoke Colony that was in modern-day North Carolina. The Roanoke Colony resident disappeared during the Anglo-Spanish War, including Virginia Dare and her parents.

24. Things opened by many employees, for short : IRAS
Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

28. It’s an honour, in brief : OBE
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry in the UK that was established in 1917 by King George V. There are five classes within the order, which are in descending seniority:

– Knight Grand Cross (GBE)
– Knight Commander (KBE)
– Commander (CBE)
– Officer (OBE)
– Member (MBE)

29. Sports org. founded during W.W. I : NHL
The National Hockey League (NHL) was formed in 1917 in Montreal, a successor to the defunct National Hockey Association (NHA) that had been founded in 1909.

30. First name in W.W. II : ENOLA
The Enola Gay was the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima in August 1945. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of pilot Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.

36. “Bertha” composer : ROREM
American composer Ned Rorem is famous for his musical works, but also for his book “Paris Diary of Ned Rorem” that was published in 1966. Rorem talks openly about his sexuality in the book, and also about the sexuality of others including Noel Coward, Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber, much to some people’s chagrin.

38. Company for which Rudolf Nureyev once danced : KIROV
The Mariinsky Ballet is a company based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was founded in the mid-1700s as the Imperial Russian Ballet, but was renamed to the Kirov Ballet during the Soviet era, in honor of the Bolshevik revolutionary Sergey Kirov. The Kirov was renamed again at the end of communist rule, taking the name of the Mariinsky Theatre where the company was headquartered. The theatre was named for Empress Maria Alexandrovna, who was the wife of Tsar Alexander II.

39. Products once advertised with the slogan “Hello boys” : WONDERBRAS
The world’s first push-up bra was the Wonderbra. The Wonderbra became very popular in the 1990s, although the brand name has been around since 1935.

42. ___ Bank : WEST
The bulk of the Palestinian territories are located in the West Bank. The term “West Bank” is a reference to lands west of the River Jordan.

45. Spinach : Florentine :: ___ : lyonnaise : ONION
The adjective “Lyonnaise”, as well as describing someone from the French city of Lyon, is used in French cuisine to mean “cooked with onions”.

Catherine de’ Medici was an Italian noblewoman who became Queen consort of France in 1547 as wife of King Henry II. Catherine was very fond of spinach, and so had it served at every meal. Catherine hailed from Florence, and to this day dishes that are made with spinach are referred to as “Florentine”, reflecting Catherine’s city of birth.

47. Stuff of life : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

48. Massenet opera set in 11th-century Spain : LE CID
“Le Cid” is an opera by Jules Massenet that premiered at the Paris Opéra in 1885. The opera is adapted from a play of the same name by Pierre Corneille. Both works are based on the legend of Spanish hero and military leader El Cid.

49. ___ Gilbert, designer of the Supreme Court building : CASS
Cass Gilbert was the architect responsible for buildings such as the State Capitols of Minnesota, Arkansas and West Virginia, and the US Supreme Court Building. Gilbert also designed one of the earliest skyscraper, the Woolworth Building in Manhattan. The Woolworth Building was the tallest in the world from the dates of its completion in 1913, until it was surpassed in height in 1930 by 40 Wall Street, now also known as the Trump Building.

54. Coins worth 100 kurus each : LIRAS
The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş.

55. Actress Swenson : INGA
Inga Swenson is an American actress. Her best known role was “Gretchen Kraus”, the German cook and later housekeeper on the TV show “Benson”. Swenson also appeared in a couple of episodes of “Bonanza” playing the second wife of Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene), and mother of Hoss Cartwright (Dan Blocker). This was despite the fact that in real life she was actually 4 years younger than Blocker!

62. Fort ___, Kan. : HAYS
Fort Hays was a frontier post and US Army fort near Hays, Kansas. The facility was known as Fort Fletcher when it was established in 1865, named for Missouri governor Thomas C. Fletcher.

63. TV host who succeeded Jimmy Fallon on “Late Night” : SETH MEYERS
Seth Meyers is an actor and comedian who is perhaps best-known for his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), for which program he served as head writer. Meyers now hosts his own late night talk show on NBC.

Down
1. Nickname of the dictator who created the Tontons Macoutes : PAPA DOC
The dictatorial President of Haiti known as “Papa Doc” was in fact a medical doctor. Francois Duvalier graduated with a medical degree from the University of Haiti in 1934, and even spent a year studying public health at the University of Michigan. It was his grateful patients who used to call him Papa Doc. When he came to power as President, he was less caring, and ruled with an iron fist until he died in office in 1971.

The Tonton Macoute were a paramilitary unit created by Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti in 1959. The force was named after a Haitian Creole mythological bogeyman who kidnaps and punishes misbehaving children by eating them for breakfast. The Tonton Macoutes committed numerous acts of violence and abuses of human rights.

2. Cassim’s brother of folklore : ALI BABA
In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic words “Open Sesame” that open the thieves’ den.

4. L’s end? : O’HARE
The Chicago L (train) takes passengers to O’Hare Airport.

Chicago’s O’Hare International is the busiest airport in the world in terms of takeoffs and landings. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.

6. Eponymous general : TSO
General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

7. ___ Tech : ITT
ITT Technical Institute is a private educational establishment with over 130 campuses all over the US.

9. Tribe once along the Big Blue River : OTOES
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

The Big Blue River runs from central Nebraska into Kansas where is becomes the largest tributary of the Kansas River. “Big Blue” comes from the name given to it by the Kansa people: the Great Blue Earth River.

10. 15-Across symbol : NENE
(15A. Nickname since 1959 : ALOHA STATE)
The bird called a nene is a native of Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful.

25. Diamond, e.g. : RHOMB
Rhomb is an alternative name for a rhombus, a 4-sided figure with sides of equal length, but angles at the corners that aren’t right angles. So, that would make a rhombus a “diamond” shape.

39. Fierce and rapacious : WOLFISH
The adjective “rapacious”, meaning “predatory”, derives from the Latin “rapere” (to seize).

40. New York home of Hartwick College : ONEONTA
Hartwick College is a private school in Oneonta, New York. It was founded as Hartwick Seminary in 1797. although is now a non-denominational institution.

43. Tennie : SNEAKER
A “tennie” is a tennis shoe, a sneaker.

49. Portaged item : CANOE
Portage is the carrying of a boat or its cargo over land, perhaps to circumvent an obstacle.

50. “Revelations” choreographer : AILEY
Alvin Ailey was a dancer who formed his own group in New York in 1958, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The most famous work that Ailey choreographed was called “Revelations”.

53. Salon names like Scissors Palace and Curl Up & Dye : PUNS

– Scissors Palace: a pun on “Caesar’s Palace”
– Curl Up & Dye: a pun on “curl up and die”

54. Sparky of the 1970s Yankees : LYLE
Sparky Lyle is a retired MLB relief pitcher who played from 1967 to 1982, winning the Cy Young Award in 1977.

58. Camel droppings? : ASH
The advertising mascot for Camel cigarettes was officially known as “Old Joe”, but was popularly known as “Joe Camel”. Joe originated in the seventies, in an advertising campaign that ran only in Europe where sometimes he was depicted wearing a French Foreign Legion cap. He was imported to the US in 1988 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Camel brand. The big controversy surrounding the use of the camel character was that a 1991 study found that 5-6 year old children could recognize Joe Camel more readily than either Mickey Mouse or Fred Flintstone. Also, soon after Old Joe was introduced in the US, the Camel brand’s share of the illegal market to underage smokers went up from 1% to just under 33%.

59. Blue Stater, for short : DEM
On political maps, red states are Republican and blue states Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Prison design that allows surveillance of any inmate at any time : PANOPTICON
11. Indian drawer? : AGRA
15. Nickname since 1959 : ALOHA STATE
16. Drove diagonally : TOED
17. High-grade sheet material : PIMA COTTON
18. Smidge : MITE
19. Mission directive : ABORT
20. Seventy-somethings? : CEES
22. Go out for a bit? : NAP
23. Virginia ___, first English child born in America (1587) : DARE
24. Things opened by many employees, for short : IRAS
26. Tag line? : NOT IT!
28. It’s an honour, in brief : OBE
29. Sports org. founded during W.W. I : NHL
30. First name in W.W. II : ENOLA
31. Reality show gear, informally : CAMS
33. Mutual dislike : NO LOVE LOST
36. “Bertha” composer : ROREM
38. Company for which Rudolf Nureyev once danced : KIROV
39. Products once advertised with the slogan “Hello boys” : WONDERBRAS
42. ___ Bank : WEST
45. Spinach : Florentine :: ___ : lyonnaise : ONION
46. See : EYE
47. Stuff of life : RNA
48. Massenet opera set in 11th-century Spain : LE CID
49. ___ Gilbert, designer of the Supreme Court building : CASS
50. Summer coolers : ADES
51. Philistines, to the Israelites : FOE
52. Lock horns (with) : SPAR
54. Coins worth 100 kurus each : LIRAS
55. Actress Swenson : INGA
57. Coarse, per etiquette manuals : UNLADYLIKE
60. Something shown to an usher : STUB
61. Volume : NOISE LEVEL
62. Fort ___, Kan. : HAYS
63. TV host who succeeded Jimmy Fallon on “Late Night” : SETH MEYERS

Down
1. Nickname of the dictator who created the Tontons Macoutes : PAPA DOC
2. Cassim’s brother of folklore : ALI BABA
3. “The gloves are off” : NO MORE MR NICE GUY
4. L’s end? : O’HARE
5. Bargain : PACT
6. Eponymous general : TSO
7. ___ Tech : ITT
8. Rude cry : CATCALL
9. Tribe once along the Big Blue River : OTOES
10. 15-Across symbol : NENE
11. Bill passer? : ATM
12. Turn on the jets : GO INTO OVERDRIVE
13. Goes (for) : RETAILS
14. Capable of doing well : ADEPT AT
21. Sign of villainy : SNEER
24. Kind of circle : INNER
25. Diamond, e.g. : RHOMB
27. Simmering, say : ON LOW
32. “Same here!” : SO DO I!
34. Initials, perhaps : OKAYS
35. Grippers : VISES
37. Tears : RENDS
39. Fierce and rapacious : WOLFISH
40. New York home of Hartwick College : ONEONTA
41. Like E.T. riding Elliott’s bicycle : REAR-LIT
43. Tennie : SNEAKER
44. Curtain hangers? : TASSELS
49. Portaged item : CANOE
50. “Revelations” choreographer : AILEY
53. Salon names like Scissors Palace and Curl Up & Dye : PUNS
54. Sparky of the 1970s Yankees : LYLE
56. Core components : ABS
58. Camel droppings? : ASH
59. Blue Stater, for short : DEM

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4 thoughts on “1218-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Dec 15, Friday”

  1. 25:00, no errors. Had zero entries until I got all the way down to 43D SNEAKER. Bottom right corner was first quadrant completed. It helped that my first wild guesses at 3D and 12D were correct. I enjoy these kind of puzzles that look impossible at first. Had no idea how to connect 'Seventy-somethings' with CEES until I saw Bill's explanation.

  2. 32:59, no errors. My experience was similar to Bruce's. A difficult but enjoyable puzzle, with lots of misdirection. When I finished, I was still unsure of the I in PANOPTICON, which I'd never heard of and which sounds remarkably like some kind of play on words ("global watching of cons"?) and the same I in ITT, which mostly brought to mind a strange character from the old Addams Family TV show. (I actually did think of International Telephone and Telegraph, a company that was around when I was a kid, but I didn't know what to make of the "Tech" part of the clue. Apparently, the company I remember gave rise to the new institution, which I'd never heard of.) Over all, another good tussle …

  3. This one had several "either-you-know-it-or-you-don't" answers. Who the hell knows what a PANOPTICON is, anyway?

    41 mins, 65% done when I gave up.

    Thus ends my best streak of 10 days solved in a row. I knew it had to end soon, especially after yesterday's outrage…

  4. We agree… This puzzle was a hard but fair challenge. We got every word without looking anything up. As stated before, we don't time ourselves, since doing a puzzle via Skype is an opportunity for pleasant human interaction. Thankfully, there were no stupid and opaque themes today.

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