1222-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 Dec 15, Tuesday

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: Tom McCoy
THEME: Singular Words … each of today’s themed answers uses a word that is always seen in the plural when used as a noun. That same word is used as an adjective in the grid, and is in the SINGULAR:

39A. Atypical … or like the first word in the answer to 18-, 24-, 51- or 62-Across : SINGULAR

18A. Kids’ event that goes into the wee hours : PAJAMA PARTY (from “pajamas”)
24A. Something in a movie star’s frame? : SUNGLASS LENS (from “sunglasses”)
51A. Certain wrinkle remover : TROUSER PRESS (from “trousers”)
62A. Sidestroke component : SCISSOR KICK (from “scissors”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 56s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

11. River near the Valley of the Kings : NILE
The Valley of the Kings in the Egypt is located on the west bank of the Nile opposite the modern city of Luxor, the site of ancient Thebes. There are about 60 individual burial chambers in the area, which housed notable royals and nobles of Ancient Egypt.

16. Weapon in Clue : ROPE
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

18. Kids’ event that goes into the wee hours : PAJAMA PARTY (from “pajamas”)
Our word “pajamas” comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is “pyjamas”.

20. Convo : CHAT
Conversation (convo).

23. Lay’s product : CHIPS
Lay’s potato chips were introduced in 1938 by Herman W. Lay. Lay started selling his chips out the trunk of his car, travelling all over the US. In those days the chips were pretty much handmade, but Lay put an end to that in 1942. He invented the first continuous potato processor in 1948, and chips started to take over the world!

31. ___ sour (drink) : WHISKEY
A whiskey sour is made from whiskey, lemon juice and sugar, usually garnished with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

33. Pianist’s practice piece : ETUDE
An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

34. Mount of the Bible : SINAI
According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the mountain on which Moses was given the Ten Commandments. The Biblical Mount Sinai is probably not the mountain in Egypt that today has the same name, although this is the subject of much debate. The Egyptian Mount Sinai has two developed routes that one can take to reach the summit. The longer gentler climb takes about 2 1/2 hours, but there is also the steeper climb up the 3,750 “steps of penitence”.

38. Symbol for water potential : PSI
“Water potential” is a concept in physics, the tendency of water to move from one system into another. For example, water tends to move from a more “watery” cell in a plant to a less “watery” cell, attempting to balance out the concentration of water in each. This tendency is what drives water throughout a plant, for example.

43. One of the kings in the Valley of the Kings, informally : TUT
King Tut is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen. Tutankhamen may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamen’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

45. Dweller on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula : OMANI
The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.

47. Like the population of Alaska vis-à-vis New Jersey : SPARSER
The US state with the highest density is New Jersey, home to 1,210 persons per square mile. The least dense is Alaska, home to just 1.3 persons per square mile.

50. What the remorseful might make : AMENDS
The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

51. Certain wrinkle remover : TROUSER PRESS (from “trousers”)
“Trousers” are pants, the garment covering the lower body and each leg separately. Ultimately, the word “trousers” evolved from the Erse word “triubhas” that described close-fitting shorts. Back in the 1600s there was a colorful saying:

A jellous wife was like an Irish trouze, alwayes close to a mans tayle

55. Meh : HO-HUM
“Meh!” is one of those terms unfamiliar to me outside of crosswords. It is a modern colloquialism meaning “I’m not great, but not bad”. A friendly reader of this blog tells me that the usage of the term increased dramatically after it started to appear regularly in “The Simpsons” starting in the early nineties.

57. Clog or pump : SHOE
Clogs are shoes made from wood, at least in part. The clog originated as a protective item of footwear for use by farm, factory and mine workers.

A pump is a woman’s shoe that doesn’t have a strap. Such shoes are probably called “pumps” because of the sound they make while walking in them.

67. Ballet position on tiptoe : POINTE
“En pointe” is a French term used to describe the ballet technique of dancing on the toes.

68. The Black Keys and the White Stripes : DUOS
The Black Keys are a rock band, a duo from Akron, Ohio. Dan Auerbach on guitar, and Patrick Carney on drums, formed the Black Keys in 2001.

The White Stripes were a rock duo from Detroit that were together from 1997 to 2011. The duo was made up of Meg and Jack White, who were married from 1996 to 2000. Prior to the couple tying the knot, Jack’s family name was Gillis. Gillis took the unusual step of taking his wife’s family name when they married.

Down
1. Mont Blanc and Matterhorn : ALPS
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps. The name “Mont Blanc” translates from French into “white mountain”. The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been generally accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

“Matterhorn” is the German name for the famous Alpine peak that lies on the border between Switzerland and Italy. The Italian name for the same mountain is Monte Cervino, and the French call it Mont Cervin. “Matterhorn” comes from the German words Matte and Horn meaning “meadow” and “peak”. Cervino and Cervin come from the Latin name for the mountain, Mons Silvius meaning “Forest Mountain”.

2. Iranian currency : RIAL
“Rial” is name of the currency of Iran (as well as Yemen, Oman, Cambodia and Tunisia).

3. ___ vu : DEJA
“Déjà vu” is French for “already seen”.

5. ___ de plume : NOM
“Nom de plume” translates from French simply as “pen name”.

6. Quaint three-word contraction : ‘TWASN’T
‘Twasn’t (it was not)

7. Melee : BRAWL
Our word “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

8. With 44-Across, 1869 romance by R. D. Blackmore : LORNA
(44A. See 8-Down : DOONE)
The novel “Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor” was written by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. R. D. Blackmore was an English novelist, very celebrated and in demand in his day (the late 1800s). His romantic story “Lorna Doone” was by no means a personal favorite of his, and yet it is the only one of his works still in print.

12. Mantra of the Little Engine That Could : I THINK I CAN
The children’s story book “The Little Engine That Could” was first published in the US in 1930, although the gist of the tale had appeared as an article in a Swedish journal in 1902. The original book version was written by Arnold Munk and published by his publishing company Platt & Munk.

13. Tiny adjustment to an atomic clock : LEAP SECOND
Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the primary time standard used to regulate clocks around the world. Because the Earth’s rotational speed is decreasing ever so slowly, UTC can vary slightly from solar time. As a result, leap seconds are added as required to UTC, on average about once every 19 months. Leap seconds are always added on June 30th or December 31st.

An atomic clock is the most accurate way of keeping track of time that is known. Most clocks work using some sort of an oscillation that takes place at a regular interval, like a pendulum. In the case of an atomic clock, the oscillation that is measured is between the nucleus of an atom and its surrounding electrons.

14. Ambulance workers, for short : EMTS
Emergency medical technician (EMT)

26. Marshy valley : SWALE
A swale is a narrow tract of low-lying land that is usually wet or marshy. A swale can be naturally occurring or man-made. One might create a swale to help manage drainage of adjacent land.

27. LaBeouf of “Transformers” : SHIA
Shia LaBeouf is an actor who started out in the Disney television series “Even Stevens”. Adult audiences might be more familiar with his leading role in the 2003 film “Holes”.

The 2007 blockbuster hit movie “Transformers” was inspired by a line of toys. Toy transformers can be morphed from their mundane looking appearance as a vehicle or perhaps an animal, into a robotic action figure. Not a movie I will be renting though …

30. Popular musical game beginning in 2005 : GUITAR HERO
Guitar Hero is an amazingly successful series of video games, first published in 2005. It is the third best selling franchise of video games, after Mario and Madden NFL. Sales have dropped in recent years though, and there are no plans for further releases.

32. Fabled mountain dwellers : YETIS
A yeti is a beast of legend, also called an abominable snowman. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

36. Wimple wearer : NUN
A wimple is a garment worn mainly in medieval Europe by women. The wimple covers the back of the head, neck and chin. It was tradition back then for genteel women to cover their hair. In modern times, habits worn by nuns include wimples.

40. Midmonth date : IDES
There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

41. CD-___ (storage objects) : ROMS
CD-ROM stands for “compact disc read only memory”. The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for “compact disc – rewritable”, with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

46. Collection that, despite its name, is orderly and compact : MESS KIT
“Mess” first came into English about 1300 and described the list of food needed for a meal, from the Old French word “mes” meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into “mess” meaning a jumbled mass of anything from the concept of “mixed food”. At the same time, the original usage in the sense of a food for a meal surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a “mess” was a communal eating place.

49. n(n+1)/2, for all integers from 1 to n : SUM
The sum of a series of integers from 1 to n can be calculated by the formula n(n+1)/2. For example, the sum of the integers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 is given by 5(5+1)/2, which simplifies as 5×6/2 = 15.

50. “___ Fables” : AESOP’S
Aesop is remembered today for his famous fables. Aesop lived in Ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

52. African animal you might get a charge out of? : RHINO
There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, and the smaller Javan Rhino is the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

53. Gang : POSSE
Our word “posse” comes from an Anglo-Latin term from the early 15th century “posse comitatus” meaning “the force of the county”.

63. Silent ___ (presidential nickname) : CAL
President Calvin Coolidge, the only US President to have been born on July 4th, was known as a man of few words. It was while he was serving as Vice-President to in the administration of Warren G. Harding, that Coolidge earned the nickname “Silent Cal”. There is a famous story told about Coolidge’s reticence that I would love to think is true, attributed to the poet Dorothy Parker. Sitting beside him at dinner, she remarked to him, “Mr. Coolidge, I’ve made a bet against a fellow who said it was impossible to get more than two words out of you.” His famous reply: “You lose.”

64. Caviar, e.g. : ROE
“Caviar” is the roe of a large fish that has been salted and seasoned, and especially the roe of a sturgeon. Beluga caviar comes from the beluga sturgeon, found primarily in the Caspian Sea. It is the most expensive type of caviar in the world. 8 ounces of US-farmed beluga caviar can be purchased through Amazon.com for just over $850, in case you’re feeling peckish …

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Zealous : ARDENT
7. Meh : BLAH
11. River near the Valley of the Kings : NILE
15. Avoid attention : LIE LOW
16. Weapon in Clue : ROPE
17. One of 10, say, in a supermarket’s express checkout lane : ITEM
18. Kids’ event that goes into the wee hours : PAJAMA PARTY (from “pajamas”)
20. Convo : CHAT
21. Throw (together) : SLAP
22. In stitches : SEWN
23. Lay’s product : CHIPS
24. Something in a movie star’s frame? : SUNGLASS LENS (from “sunglasses”)
28. Condensed periodical : DIGEST
31. ___ sour (drink) : WHISKEY
33. Pianist’s practice piece : ETUDE
34. Mount of the Bible : SINAI
37. Water, potentially : ICE
38. Symbol for water potential : PSI
39. Atypical … or like the first word in the answer to 18-, 24-, 51- or 62-Across : SINGULAR
42. Spare bed, often : COT
43. One of the kings in the Valley of the Kings, informally : TUT
44. See 8-Down : DOONE
45. Dweller on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula : OMANI
47. Like the population of Alaska vis-à-vis New Jersey : SPARSER
50. What the remorseful might make : AMENDS
51. Certain wrinkle remover : TROUSER PRESS (from “trousers”)
55. Meh : HO-HUM
56. Weeding tools : HOES
57. Clog or pump : SHOE
61. Word with googly or goo-goo : EYES
62. Sidestroke component : SCISSOR KICK (from “scissors”)
65. Mythos : LORE
66. Gives two big thumbs down : PANS
67. Ballet position on tiptoe : POINTE
68. The Black Keys and the White Stripes : DUOS
69. Relief provider for a burn : ALOE
70. Altercations : SET-TOS

Down
1. Mont Blanc and Matterhorn : ALPS
2. Iranian currency : RIAL
3. ___ vu : DEJA
4. Slipped by : ELAPSED
5. ___ de plume : NOM
6. Quaint three-word contraction : ‘TWASN’T
7. Melee : BRAWL
8. With 44-Across, 1869 romance by R. D. Blackmore : LORNA
9. Fitting : APT
10. “Whoa there!” : HEY!
11. Recesses : NICHES
12. Mantra of the Little Engine That Could : I THINK I CAN
13. Tiny adjustment to an atomic clock : LEAP SECOND
14. Ambulance workers, for short : EMTS
19. Identify (as) : PEG
23. Roman 151 : CLI
25. Employs : USES
26. Marshy valley : SWALE
27. LaBeouf of “Transformers” : SHIA
28. University divs. : DEPTS
29. Line of latitude : IT’S UP TO YOU
30. Popular musical game beginning in 2005 : GUITAR HERO
32. Fabled mountain dwellers : YETIS
34. A little night noise : SNORE
35. “Where did ___ wrong?” : I GO
36. Wimple wearer : NUN
40. Midmonth date : IDES
41. CD-___ (storage objects) : ROMS
46. Collection that, despite its name, is orderly and compact : MESS KIT
48. Awakens : ROUSES
49. n(n+1)/2, for all integers from 1 to n : SUM
50. “___ Fables” : AESOP’S
52. African animal you might get a charge out of? : RHINO
53. Gang : POSSE
54. Hi-___ monitor : RES
55. Had in hand : HELD
58. When repeated, a subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) comment : HINT
59. Eight: Prefix : OCTO-
60. Squeaks (by) : EKES
62. Where you might wear only a towel : SPA
63. Silent ___ (presidential nickname) : CAL
64. Caviar, e.g. : ROE

Return to top of page

6 thoughts on “1222-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 Dec 15, Tuesday”

  1. Dnf in sw. Never heard of GUITAR HERO and didn't get ITS UP YO YOU (wanted it to be mathematical). Had SmAllER for SPARSER and put in liM for SUM, though integers don't create a continuous graph. Even tried (n(n+1))/2 vs. n((n+1)/2). Didn't ring a bell. And it's only Tues.

    Liked 2 different Mehs.

  2. 9:37, no errors. The first potato chips I ever had were home-made and a real treat; I hadn't thought of them in years, My first pizza was also home-made: my Norwegian mother used a recipe she found in a magazine and I can still remember her shaking her head and saying, "This can't be right!" So she improvised. The result was baked in a three-inch-deep pan and I think it may have had a crust on top in addition to the one on the bottom. It wasn't bad, but … I can also remember her surprise, years later, when we finally went to a pizza place and she realized that the recipe really meant what it said …

  3. 11:56, no errors.

    Having children and grandchildren, GUITAR HERO was one of the few video games I could play with them, and be halfway competitive.

  4. No errors. This is my kinda crossword. Challenging enough to keep me interested yet easy enough that I don't end up frustrated.

  5. Finished with no errors in 12:14. Never felt good with this puzzle, needing lots of cross-fill to suss things out. Easy enough for Tuesday in the end, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.