1224-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 15, Thursday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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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: Derek Bowman
THEME: Reinterpreting Ancient Greek Names … each of today’s themed answers is a famous Greek, but the name of that Greek “celebrity” has been reinterpreted to suit the clue:

17A. Packing boxes for heavyweights? : HIPPO CRATES (giving “Hippocrates”)
31A. Order to Onassis to block a brand of underwear? : ARI STOP HANES (giving “Aristophanes”)
50A. Shows a Sega Genesis rival at an expo? : DEMOS THE NES (giving “Demosthenes”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 15m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Early 1990s CBS series about the exploits of real-life police officers : TOP COPS
“Top Cops” is a documentary TV show that originally aired from 1990 to 1993. The show featured recreations of events experienced by commended police officers.

8. With 58-Across, “Antigone” and others … or, when reinterpreted, a hint to 17-, 31- and 50-Across : GREEK
(58A. See 8-Across : PLAYS)
“Antigone” is a tragedy written by Greek playwright Sophocles and first performed in 442 BC. Antigone is the daughter of King Oedipus of Thebes, born out of the incestuous relationship with his mother Jocasta.

14. Dumas’s “The Count of Monte ___” : CRISTO
“The Count of Monte Cristo” is an 1844 novel by the French author Alexandre Dumas. Dumas’ other famous title is “The Three Musketeers”.

16. Whom Plato called “the tenth Muse” : SAPPHO
Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet born on the Greek island of Lesbos. Sappho was much admired for her work, although very little of it survives today. She was renowned for writing erotic and romantic verse that dealt with the love of women as well as men. It was because of this poetry that the word “lesbian” (someone from Lesbos) is used to describe a gay woman.

Plato wrote the following lines:

“Some say the Muses are nine: how careless!
Look, there’s Sappho too, from Lesbos, the tenth.”

17. Packing boxes for heavyweights? : HIPPO CRATES (giving “Hippocrates”)
The Hippocratic Corpus is a collection of about 70 medical works that were at one time believed to have written by the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, although authorship has been called into question. Within the collection is a document known as the Hippocratic Oath (but again, the authorship has been questioned). The oath is still used today as the basis for oaths taken by medical graduates before they enter into medical practice.

19. First name in mystery : ERLE
I must have read all of the Perry Mason books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

20. Faith for 21-Across : ISLAM
21. Noted American follower of 20-Across : ALI
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964.

26. Buzz : CREW CUT
The term “crew cut” probably originated in Yale in the 1890s. The Yale football players were noted for wearing their hair relatively long, as it helped protect their heads inside the flimsy leather football helmets of the day. In contrast, the rowing team wore their hair relatively short, in a style that came to be known as the “crew cut”.

28. “La ___ Bonita” (Madonna hit) : ISLA
“La Isla Bonita” (Spanish for “The Beautiful Island”) is song recorded by Madonna as a single in 1987. It had appeared as a track on her studio album “True Blue” the year before.

30. Home of the first full-time automobile service station : OHIO
Apparently, the first full-time service station for cars in North America was introduced in Ohio way back in 1899. The world’s first filling station was part of a pharmacy in Wiesloch, Germany where the first automobile was refilled with gas in 1888.

31. Order to Onassis to block a brand of underwear? : ARI STOP HANES (giving “Aristophanes”)
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

The Hanes brand of apparel was founded in 1901. A related brand was introduced in 1986 called Hanes Her Way.

Aristophanes was a comic playwright of Ancient Athens. He is known to have written at least forty plays, eleven of which have survived almost intact. Aristophanes was famous for writing plays that satirized life in the city, and was apparently much feared by public figures. Some say that the ridicule Aristophanes brought down on Socrates in his play “The Clouds” helped bring about his (Socrates’) trial and execution.

38. Come up with : CONCOCT
“To decoct” is to extract the flavor of a liquid by boiling down and increasing the concentration. A related term is “to concoct”, meaning “to boil together”. We use the verb “to concoct” in figurative sense to mean to contrive, devise.

41. 1997 #1 hit with a nonsense title : MMMBOP
Hanson is a pop rock boy band from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hanson’s biggest hit is the 1997 song “MMMBop”.

47. “Gremlins” co-star Phoebe : CATES
Phoebe Cates is an actress and model best-known for the roles she played in the films “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Gremlins”. Cates retired from acting in the mid-90s to raise her children. Cates is married to fellow actor Kevin Kline.

49. Empty container’s weight : TARE
“Tare” is the weight of a container that is deducted from the gross weight to determine the net weight, the weight of the container’s contents.

50. Shows a Sega Genesis rival at an expo? : DEMOS THE NES (giving “Demosthenes”)
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to to 1995. The NES was the biggest-selling gaming console of the era.

The Genesis is a video game console sold in the US by the Japanese company Sega. In the rest of the world, the console is sold as the Mega Drive, as Sega couldn’t get the rights to the Mega Drive name in the US.

Demosthenes was an ancient Athenian orator and statesman. For many years, Demosthenes delivered stirring speeches opposing Philip II of Macedon, advocating action designed to limit the expansion of Macedon. These speeches came to be known as “philippics”, a term that we use today to describe any speech containing bitter language that serves to denounce.

52. Noted writer of victory odes : PINDAR
Pindar was an Ancient Greek poet, best known perhaps for composing a series of Victory Odes that celebrated triumph in competition, most notably the Olympian Games of the day.

55. Where Nordstrom is headquartered : SEATTLE
The Nordstrom chain of fashion stores was founded in 1901 by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin as a retailer of shoes, under the name “Wallin & Nordstrom”. The store’s name changed to just “Nordstrom” in 1930, soon after both founders retired and sold their shares to Nordstrom’s two sons.

56. Duke of ___ (“King Lear” character) : ALBANY
In Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, the king’s daughter Goneril is married to the Duke of Albany.

Down
1. Comedy’s Daniel and reggae’s Peter : TOSHES
Daniel Tosh is a stand-up comedian and host of “Tosh.0”, a video clip show on Comedy Central.

Peter Tosh was a musician from Jamaica, a member of the Wailers reggae band. Sadly, Tosh was murdered in a home invasion and extortion attempt in 1987.

2. Available to work, in Britain : ON HIRE
Apparently “on hire” is the same as “for hire” on the other side of the Atlantic. I lived there, but don’t remember this usage.

3. Time Inc. publication : PEOPLE
There used to be a “People” page in each issue of “Time” magazine. This page was spun-off in 1974 as a publication of its own, which we now call “People” magazine. “People” is noted for its annual special editions with features such as “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The “Sexiest Man Alive” edition now appears at the end of November each year. The first choice for “Sexiest Man” was Mel Gibson, in 1985.

4. Nap site : CARPET
A “nap” is a soft and perhaps fuzzy surface on cloth, leather or maybe a carpet.

8. Golfer McDowell, 2010 U.S. Open champion : GRAEME
Graeme McDowell if a golfer from Portrush, Northern Ireland. In 2010, McDowell won the US Open, the first European to do so in 40 years.

10. Clairvoyant’s letters : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)

11. Landlocked African country: Abbr. : ETH
Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation on the continent (after Nigeria), and with 90 million inhabitants, it is the most populous landlocked country in the world. Most anthropologists believe that our Homo sapiens species evolved in the region now called Ethiopia, and from there set out to populate the planet.

12. “Rock and Roll, Hoochie ___” (1974 Rick Derringer hit) : KOO
“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” is a song written and recorded by Rick Derringer as a solo work in 1973, which made it into the Top 40 the following year. A few years earlier, Derringer recorded another version of the song with Johnny Winter.

14. Red giant type : C STAR
A carbon star (C star) is a star with an atmosphere rich in carbon, more carbon than oxygen. Such an atmosphere is very “sooty” and as such might appear very red in color when viewed through a telescope.

18. Cartoonist whom John Steinbeck said “may very possibly be the best writer in the world today” : AL CAPP
Al Capp was a cartoonist from New Haven, Connecticut who is best remembered for cartoon strip “Li’l Abner”. Capp created “Li’l Abner” in 1934 and drew it himself until 1977. Capp passed away two years after “Li’l Abner” was retired.

22. San ___ (Argentine province or its capital) : LUIS
The Argentine province of San Luis is located near the center of the country.

32. Russo of “Thor: The Dark World” : RENE
The lovely and very talented actress Rene Russo is a native of Burbank, California. Russo went to highschool (with actor/director Ron Howard), but dropped out in tenth grade. At seventeen, she was given the opportunity to train as a model and within a very short time appeared on the cover of “Vogue”. As her modelling jobs slowed down in her early thirties, Russo made a career change and studied theater and acting. I am so glad she did, as Rene Russo is one of my favorite actresses …

“Thor: The Dark World” is a 2013 superhero movie that is a sequel to 2011’s “Thor”. The 2011 movie “Thor” is yet another film based on a comic book hero. Even though I won’t be seeing it (I don’t do comics), I must admit it does have an impressive cast. Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, supported by Natalie Portman, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins. And to crown it all, Kenneth Branagh is the director.

33. Company closing? : INC
A company that has incorporated uses the abbreviation “Inc.” after its name. By incorporating, a company forms a corporation, which is a legal entity that has legal rights similar to those of an individual. For example, a corporation can sue another corporation or individual. However, a corporation does not have all the rights of citizens. A corporation does not have the Fifth Amendment right of protections against self-incrimination, for example. It is perhaps understandable that the concept of “corporations as persons” is a frequent subject for debate.

40. Apt anagram of MY CAR : CAMRY
The Toyota Camry takes its name from the Japanese word for “crown”. Toyota management likes the idea of naming their cars after the word “crown”, as they did with the Toyota Crown, followed by the Toyota Corona (Latin for crown) and the Toyota Corolla (Latin for small crown).

42. One blowing off steam in Italy? : MT ETNA
Mt. Etna is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy. Mt Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. The third of Italy’s famous volcanoes is Stromboli.

45. Coin minted until 2001 : PESETA
The peseta is the former currency of Spain, replaced by the euro in 2002.

48. Slalom paths : ESSES
“Slalom” is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word “slalam” that translates as “skiing race”. There is a longer version of the traditional slalom that is called giant slalom.

50. Decisive time : D-DAY
The most famous D-Day in history was June 6, 1944, the date of the Normandy landings in WWII. The term “D-Day” is used by the military to designate the day on which a combat operations are to be launched, especially when the actual date has yet to be determined. What D stands for seems to have been lost in the mists of time although the tradition is that D just stands for “Day”. In fact, the French have a similar term, “Jour J” (Day J), with a similar meaning. We also use H-Hour to denote the hour the attack is to commence.

51. Mata ___ : HARI
Mata Hari was the stage name used by Margaretha Geertruida Zella, born in the Netherlands in 1876. After an unsuccessful and somewhat tragic marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When Mata Hari was accused by the French of passing information to the enemy, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad at the height of WW1, in 1917.

52. Drivel : PAP
One meaning of “pap” is soft or semi-liquid food for babies and small children. “Pap” comes into English via French, from the Latin word used by children for “food”. In the 1500s, “pap” also came to mean “an oversimplified” idea. This gives us a usage that’s common today, describing literature or perhaps TV programming that lacks real value or substance. Hands up those who think there’s a lot of pap out there, especially on television …

53. “___ Be Home for Christmas” : I’LL
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a hit song recorded by Bing Crosby. Released during WWII in 1943, the song was written in honor of soldiers posted overseas who sorely wanted to be home in time for Christmas.

54. Org. in which big Bucks earn big bucks : NBA
The Bucks are an NBA basketball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The team was formed in 1968 as an NBA expansion team.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Early 1990s CBS series about the exploits of real-life police officers : TOP COPS
8. With 58-Across, “Antigone” and others … or, when reinterpreted, a hint to 17-, 31- and 50-Across : GREEK
13. Sizable plot : ONE ACRE
14. Dumas’s “The Count of Monte ___” : CRISTO
15. Nickname for a little person : SHORTIE
16. Whom Plato called “the tenth Muse” : SAPPHO
17. Packing boxes for heavyweights? : HIPPO CRATES (giving “Hippocrates”)s
19. First name in mystery : ERLE
20. Faith for 21-Across : ISLAM
21. Noted American follower of 20-Across : ALI
24. Be furious : SEETHE
26. Buzz : CREW CUT
28. “La ___ Bonita” (Madonna hit) : ISLA
30. Home of the first full-time automobile service station : OHIO
31. Order to Onassis to block a brand of underwear? : ARI STOP HANES (giving “Aristophanes”)
36. Flush : EVEN
37. Sail support : SPAR
38. Come up with : CONCOCT
41. 1997 #1 hit with a nonsense title : MMMBOP
46. “I ___ you” : OWE
47. “Gremlins” co-star Phoebe : CATES
49. Empty container’s weight : TARE
50. Shows a Sega Genesis rival at an expo? : DEMOS THE NES (giving “Demosthenes”)
52. Noted writer of victory odes : PINDAR
55. Where Nordstrom is headquartered : SEATTLE
56. Duke of ___ (“King Lear” character) : ALBANY
57. Serious : EARNEST
58. See 8-Across : PLAYS
59. Place where you might be asked “Need a lift?” : SKI AREA

Down
1. Comedy’s Daniel and reggae’s Peter : TOSHES
2. Available to work, in Britain : ON HIRE
3. Time Inc. publication : PEOPLE
4. Nap site : CARPET
5. Numerical prefix : OCTO-
6. Least affordable : PRICIEST
7. Good investor types, you’d think : SEERS
8. Golfer McDowell, 2010 U.S. Open champion : GRAEME
9. Castigates : RIPS
10. Clairvoyant’s letters : ESP
11. Landlocked African country: Abbr. : ETH
12. “Rock and Roll, Hoochie ___” (1974 Rick Derringer hit) : KOO
14. Red giant type : C-STAR
18. Cartoonist whom John Steinbeck said “may very possibly be the best writer in the world today” : AL CAPP
21. Not just smart : ACHE
22. San ___ (Argentine province or its capital) : LUIS
23. “What was ___ do?” : I TO
25. Half of a matching set : HIS
27. Came out on top : WON
29. Was bested by : LOST TO
31. Pledge : AVOW
32. Russo of “Thor: The Dark World” : RENE
33. Company closing? : INC
34. Slab from the meat counter : HAM STEAK
35. Weaponize : ARM
36. Prefix with system : ECO-
39. Loads and loads : OCEANS
40. Apt anagram of MY CAR : CAMRY
42. One blowing off steam in Italy? : MT ETNA
43. Some back-and-forth : BANTER
44. “Otherwise … !!!” : OR ELSE …!!!
45. Coin minted until 2001 : PESETA
48. Slalom paths : ESSES
50. Decisive time : D-DAY
51. Mata ___ : HARI
52. Drivel : PAP
53. “___ Be Home for Christmas” : I’LL
54. Org. in which big Bucks earn big bucks : NBA

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8 thoughts on “1224-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 15, Thursday”

  1. 15:52, no errors. I had trouble with the lower left corner because I initially wrote in ROT instead of PAP, CRUX instead of DDAY, and OODLES instead of OCEANS. Then, DEMOSTHENES came along and let me know I had gone off the rails somewhere and I eventually got everything fixed. Good puzzle. I suppose, someday, I ought to read some of those plays … 🙂

  2. No errors. One of the few times that I have completed a Thursday puzzle perfectly. I tried some new techniques passed on to me by Bill and they seem to have worked just fine.

  3. 12:36, no errors. Some days just click. I really enjoyed the word play theme, have jokingly referred to Hippocrates as HIPPO CRATES for many years.

    Elmer Nordstrom was a well known Seattle philanthropist and one of the original owners of the Seattle Seahawks.

  4. A fun puzzle with a theme that relies on wordplay, rather than cramming letters irrationally into little squares! What a nice change! (I seethe when the other ones are there.)

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