1228-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Dec 15, Monday

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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: Zhouqin Burnikel
THEME: STS … each of today’s themed answers is a three-word phrase with the initials S-T-S:

17A. Navy special force in the bin Laden raid SEAL TEAM SIX
23A. Sterling service for an afternoon break SILVER TEA SET
40A. “Arabian Nights” voyager SINBAD THE SAILOR
50A. Say something before immediately being proven wrong SPEAK TOO SOON
63A. Completely STEM TO STERN

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 36s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Breaks the Ten Commandments SINS
According to the Book of Exodus, the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed were placed in a chest called the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was built according to instructions given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.

14. Slender woodwind OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

17. Navy special force in the bin Laden raid SEAL TEAM SIX
The US Special Forces unit that is popularly referred to as SEAL Team Six, is more correctly known as the US Naval Warfare Development Group (NSWDG). “SEAL Team Six” was actually the name of the unit’s predecessor, which was disbanded in 1987. The original group was created soon after the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. Two SEAL teams were deployed, and the name SEAL Team Six was used as a ruse in order to confuse the Russian intelligence services about the actual number of teams in existence.

19. Airport alternative to JFK LGA
Fiorello La Guardia was the Mayor of New York from 1934 to 1945, racking up three full terms in office. The famous airport that bears La Guardia’s name was built at his urging, stemming from an incident that took place while he was in office. He was taking a TWA flight to “New York” and was outraged when the plane landed at Newark Airport, in the state of New Jersey. The Mayor demanded that the flight take off again and land at a small airport in Brooklyn. A gaggle of press reporters joined him on the short hop and he gave them a story, urging New Yorkers to support the construction of a new commercial airport within the city’s limits. The new airport, in Queens, opened in 1939 as New York Municipal, often called “LaGuardia” as a nickname. The airport was officially relabeled as “LaGuardia” (LGA) in 1947.

21. Abril or mayo MES
In Spanish, the “mes” (month) of “abril” (April) comes before “mayo” (May).

23. Sterling service for an afternoon break SILVER TEA SET
Pure silver is too soft for use in production of the likes of knives and forks or salvers. So, it is converted into an alloy with a second metal, usually copper. The designation “sterling” is reserved for alloys containing 92.5% silver.

27. Money set aside for later years, in brief IRA
Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

32. Singer Del Rey LANA
Lana Del Rey is the stage name of singer/songwriter Elizabeth Grant. Del Rey calls herself a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra”. Nice …

40. “Arabian Nights” voyager SINBAD THE SAILOR
Sinbad is the hero of a set of fictional tales from the Middle East. Sinbad comes from the port city of Basra and had fantastic adventures on voyages throughout the sea east of Africa and south of Asia.

The marvelous collection of folk tales from the Middle East called “One Thousand and One Nights” is sometimes known as “Arabian Nights” in the English-speaking world. The original collection of tales did not include the three with which we are most familiar in the West. European translators added some stories, including “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp”, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, and “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad”.

44. Morales of “NYPD Blue” ESAI
The actor Esai Morales is best known for his role in the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai).

47. Mom’s forte, briefly TLC
Tender loving care (TLC)

57. “Livin’ Thing” band, 1976, informally ELO
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is a symphonic rock group from the north of England. The band’s manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy).

67. ___ of Cancer TROPIC
Lines of latitude are the imaginary horizontal lines surrounding the planet. The most “important” lines of latitude are, from north to south:

– Arctic Circle
– Tropic of Cancer
– Equator
– Tropic of Capricorn
– Antarctic Circle

69. Gym shirt TEE
Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed.

70. Window frames SASHES
A movable (up and down) window frame is called a sash, from the French word for a frame “châssis”. The term is also applied to that part of a door or window into which windows are set.

71. War-torn Syrian city HOMS
Homs is a city in Syria in the west of the country, located just north of Damascus and not far from the Mediterranean coast.

Down
3. Ark builder NOAH
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

4. Monica ___, two-time U.S. Open champ SELES
Monica Seles has a Hungarian name as she was born to Hungarian parents in former Yugoslavia. Seles was the World No. 1 professional tennis player in 1991 and 1992 before being forced from the sport when she was stabbed by a spectator at a match in 1993. She did return to the game two years later, but never achieved the same level of success.

5. Golfer Michelle WIE
Michelle Wie is an American golfer on the LPGA Tour. Wie began playing golf at the age of four and was the youngest player ever to qualify for an LPGA tour event. She turned pro just before her 16th birthday …

6. Obama’s signature health law, for short ACA
The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

8. Tool with a beam LASER
The term “laser” is an acronym, coming from “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (LASER). It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely LOSER …

11. What a raconteur does TELLS TALES
A raconteur is an accomplished storyteller. The term comes from the French “raconter” meaning “to relate”.

13. Chris of “Jurassic World” PRATT
Chris Pratt is an actor who really got his big break playing the rather dopey Andy Dwyer on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”. Pratt then played a pretty macho role as a SEAL team operator in “Zero Dark Thirty”, before taking leading heroic roles in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurassic World”. Pratt is married to Anna Faris, the comedic actress who plays Christy Plunkett on the sitcom “Mom”.

18. Chi-town daily TRIB
“The Chicago Tribune” was first published in 1847. The most famous edition of “The Trib” was probably in 1948 when the headline was “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, on the occasion of that year’s presidential election. When it turned out Truman had actually won, the victor picked up the paper with the erroneous headline and posed for photographs with it … a famous, famous photo, that must have stuck in the craw of the editor at the time.

22. Irish language family GAELIC
There are three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gaidhlig (in Scotland).

25. Sporty Chevy ‘VETTE
The Chevrolet Corvette was introduced to the world in 1953, and was named after the small maneuverable warship called a corvette. The Corvette has legs. It is the only American sports car that has been around for over 50 years.

26. 2013 film queen who sings “Let It Go” ELSA
“Let It Go” is an incredibly successful song from the Disney animated film “Frozen” released in 2013. It was performed in the movie by Idina Menzel, who also was the voice actor for the character Elsa. “Let It Go” is one of the very few Disney songs to make it into the Billboard Top Ten.

27. “Casablanca” woman ILSA
Ilsa Lund was played by Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 movie “Casablanca”. I love the words of one critic describing the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman in this film: “she paints his face with her eyes”. Wow …

29. Poe poem that concludes “In her tomb by the sounding sea” ANNABEL LEE
“Annabel Lee” was the last complete poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. The opening lines are:

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;

The closing lines are:

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

39. One-named Art Deco artist ERTE
Erté was the pseudonym of French artist (Russian born) Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.”

41. Run ___ (rampage) AMOK
The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …

42. Farm tower SILO
“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English, originally coming from the Greek word “siros” that described a pit in which one kept corn.

51. Aplomb POISE
“Aplomb” is such a lovely word, meaning confidence and assurance. It is a French word that literally means “perpendicularity”, or “on the plumb line”. The idea is that someone with aplomb is poised, upright, balanced.

63. Aves. … or the initials of 17-, 23-, 40-, 50- and 63-Across STS
Avenue (ave.) or street (st.)

65. Where Army brass is trained, in brief OCS
Officer Candidate School (OCS)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Breaks the Ten Commandments SINS
5. Money and ID holder WALLET
11. Faucet TAP
14. Slender woodwind OBOE
15. Aid in climbing a snowy peak ICE AXE
16. Make a mistake ERR
17. Navy special force in the bin Laden raid SEAL TEAM SIX
19. Airport alternative to JFK LGA
20. “___ than that …” OTHER
21. Abril or mayo MES
22. Oversupply GLUT
23. Sterling service for an afternoon break SILVER TEA SET
27. Money set aside for later years, in brief IRA
30. Honey maker BEE
31. Allow LET
32. Singer Del Rey LANA
34. Little matter ATOM
37. Group of candidates running together SLATE
40. “Arabian Nights” voyager SINBAD THE SAILOR
43. Warner of danger ALARM
44. Morales of “NYPD Blue” ESAI
45. Dollar division CENT
46. Ghost’s cry BOO!
47. Mom’s forte, briefly TLC
49. “Told ya!” SEE?!
50. Say something before immediately being proven wrong SPEAK TOO SOON
56. Frigid COLD
57. “Livin’ Thing” band, 1976, informally ELO
58. Pig out GORGE
62. ___ and vinegar OIL
63. Completely STEM TO STERN
66. Capitalize on USE
67. ___ of Cancer TROPIC
68. Dressed CLAD
69. Gym shirt TEE
70. Window frames SASHES
71. War-torn Syrian city HOMS

Down
1. Just O.K. SO-SO
2. “Yeah, right” I BET
3. Ark builder NOAH
4. Monica ___, two-time U.S. Open champ SELES
5. Golfer Michelle WIE
6. Obama’s signature health law, for short ACA
7. “___ at ’em!” LEMME
8. Tool with a beam LASER
9. Live and breathe EXIST
10. State below Okla. TEX
11. What a raconteur does TELLS TALES
12. Bicker ARGUE
13. Chris of “Jurassic World” PRATT
18. Chi-town daily TRIB
22. Irish language family GAELIC
24. Show the way LEAD
25. Sporty Chevy ‘VETTE
26. 2013 film queen who sings “Let It Go” ELSA
27. “Casablanca” woman ILSA
28. Train transportation RAIL
29. Poe poem that concludes “In her tomb by the sounding sea” ANNABEL LEE
33. Overseas ABROAD
35. Excited cries OHS
36. Turkey and roast beef MEATS
38. Synonym and anagram of “note” TONE
39. One-named Art Deco artist ERTE
41. Run ___ (rampage) AMOK
42. Farm tower SILO
48. Gear teeth COGS
50. One collecting merit badges SCOUT
51. Aplomb POISE
52. Four: Prefix TETRA-
53. Butter substitutes OLEOS
54. Pizazz OOMPH
55. V-shaped cut NOTCH
59. Move, for short RELO
60. Unit of fat GRAM
61. Two slices of a loaf of bread ENDS
63. Aves. … or the initials of 17-, 23-, 40-, 50- and 63-Across STS
64. Knot TIE
65. Where Army brass is trained, in brief OCS

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5 thoughts on “1228-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Dec 15, Monday”

  1. 8:25, no errors. As a kid, I loved the Readers' Digest anthology of Poe that we had. I memorized several of his poems (including "Annabel Lee"); they're mostly gone from my head now, but large fragments remain. I remember taking a flashlight to bed with me, making a warm nest under the covers (the room was unheated), reading some of Poe's scarier stories until the wee hours, and then being almost unable to go to sleep. Wonderful …

    @Anonymous: As you have speculated, in Spanish, the names of the months, like the names of the days of the week, are not capitalized.

  2. Couldn't sync with the setter today, took an inordinate amount of time for a Monday (12:25). and 3 little boo-boos to boot. Not a good start to the week….

  3. Enjoyed this one. No errors. No erasures. Always enjoy Bill's comments. After reading about the meaning behind Noah's "ARK" it made me wonder if the same Hebrew word was used for the Ark of the Covenant as explained in 1Across.

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