1229-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Dec 15, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeff Stillman
THEME: Compliments … each of today’s themed answers is a compliment, but clued with reference to an apt recipient for said compliment:

18A. Compliment for a fruit-of-the-month club? : NOT BAD AT ALL!
24A. Compliment for a planetarium? : STELLAR!
29A. Compliment for an airline? : KEEP IT UP!
46A. Compliment for a steakhouse? : WELL DONE!
50A. Compliment for a GPS manufacturer? : WAY TO GO!
60A. Compliment for a charcoal seller? : YOU’RE ON FIRE!

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 16s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

4. Marquee names : STARS
A marquee is a large sign that is placed over the entrance to a theater. The marquee usually displays the names of the film or play currently showing, as well as the principal actors performing.

14. Dr. J’s first pro league : ABA
The American Basketball Association (ABA) merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976. The ABA used a ball with the colors red, white and blue. The NBA uses a more traditional orange ball.

Julius Erving is a retired professional basketball player who was known as “Dr. J”, a nickname he picked up in high school. Dr. J was a trailblazer in many ways, being the first player associated with slam dunking and other moves above the rim.

15. Screeching baby? : OWLET
There are over twenty species of screech owls, all of which are native to the Americas. Named for their eerie trill heard mainly during the night, screech owls are about the size of a pint glass.

20. Duds : GARB
“Duds” is an informal word for clothing, coming from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

22. Gettysburg opponent of Lee : MEADE
George Meade was a career army officer with a depth of experience in civil and military operations even before the onset of the Civil War. During the war he rose to the level of commander of the Army of the Potomac, and is best remembered for leading the Union forces that defeated General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg in 1863.

23. Bus driver on “The Simpsons” : OTTO
Otto Mann drives the school bus on the TV show “The Simpsons”. Otto is a Germanic character voiced by Harry Shearer, and his name is a play on “Ottoman Empire”. Whenever Bart sees him, he greets Otto with the words “Otto, man!”

26. Recipe amt. : TSP
Teaspoon (tsp.)

34. Rebound, as a billiard shot : CAROM
A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. Carom has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball off the side of the table.

37. Genetic messenger : 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.

38. Big bang maker, informally : H-BOMB
The first successful detonation of a hydrogen bomb was in a test codenamed Ivy Mike. The test was conducted by the US on an atoll in the Pacific Ocean named Enewetak.

39. 72, at Augusta National Golf Club : PAR
The Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia was founded in 1933 by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Famously, Augusta hosts the Masters Tournament each year. Augusta is very much a private club, and some of its policies have drawn criticism over the years. Prior to 1959, the club had a bylaw requiring that all caddies be African American. There were no African-American club members admitted until 1990, and no women until 2012.

40. Stradivari’s teacher : AMATI
The first of the Amati family to make violins was Andrea Amati, who lived in the 14th century. He was succeeded by his sons, Antonio and Girolamo. In turn, they were succeeded by Girolamo’s son, Nicolo. Nicolo had a few students who achieved fame making musical instruments as well. One was his own son, Girolamo, and another was the famed Antonio Stradivari.

43. “Dragon Ball Z” genre : ANIME
Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese Manga comic books.

“Dragon Ball Z” is an anime TV series produced in Japan.

45. Original “American Idol” judge with Randy and Paula : SIMON
Simon Cowell was invited to be a judge on “Pop Idol”, a British show that spawned “American Idol”. Cowell was then asked to take part in the US spin-off, and we haven’t stopped seeing him since …

48. British buddy : CHAP
“Chap” is an informal term for “lad, fellow”, especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

50. Compliment for a GPS manufacturer? : WAY TO GO!
Global Positioning System (GPS)

53. Where something unpleasant sticks : CRAW
“Craw” is another name for the “crop”, a portion of the alimentary tract of some animals, including birds. The crop is used for the storage of food prior to digestion. The crop allows the animal to eat large amounts and then digest that food with efficiency over an extended period. The expression “to stick in one’s craw” is used one when one cannot accept something, cannot “swallow” it.

59. Rickman of the Harry Potter films : ALAN
Alan Rickman is a marvelous English actor, famous for playing bad guy Hans Gruber in the original “Die Hard” film, Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” series and my personal favorite, Eamon de Valera in “Michael Collins”.

63. Addams Family member : ITT
In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

65. Maestro’s stick : BATON
“Maestro” is often used to address a musical conductor. “Maestro” (plural “maestri”) is the Italian word for “master, teacher”. The plural in English is usually “maestros”.

66. Grant source, for short : NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …

69. Mind-reading skill, for short : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)

Down
1. Chillaxes : HANGS
“Chillax” is a slang term meaning “chill and relax”. Who’da thunk it …?

2. Destroyer destroyer : U-BOAT
“U-boat” stands for the German “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). Notably, a U-boat sank the RMS Lusitania in 1915, an event that helped propel the US into WWI.

3. Air show maneuver : BARREL ROLL
A barrel roll is an aerial stunt in which a plane makes a complete rotation around the longitudinal axis. The manoeuvre is so called as the corkscrew path that the aircraft executes makes it appear as though it is rotating through the inside of an enormous barrel.

4. Trinity member : SON
In the Christian tradition, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons in One Divine Being, the Holy Trinity.

7. Country’s McEntire : REBA
Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007.

8. Dutch burg : STAD
“Stad” is the Dutch, and Boer, word for “city”.

“Burg” is an informal term used in the US for a smaller town, from the German word “burg” meaning a fortified city.

9. Org. in “Homeland” : CIA
“Homeland” is a psychological drama shown on Showtime about a CIA officer who is convinced that a certain US Marine is a threat to the security of the United States. The show is based on a series from Israeli television called “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War”). I saw the first series of this show and highly recommend it …

10. Cousins of squids : OCTOPI
The name “octopus” comes from the Greek for “eight-footed”. The most common plural used is “octopuses”, although the Greek plural form “octopodes” is also quite correct. The plural “octopi” isn’t really correct as the inference is that “octopus” is like a second-declension Latin noun, which it isn’t. That said, dictionaries are now citing “octopi” as an acceptable plural. Language does evolve, even though it drives me crazy …

11. Pepperoni or sausage : MEAT
Pepperoni originated in the US and is reminiscent of a spicy salami sausage from southern Italy. The name “pepperoni” is a corruption of the Italian “peperone”, the name for the red or green pepper plant.

13. Scandinavian capital : OSLO
Oslo is the capital of Norway. The city of Oslo burns trash to fuel half of its buildings, including all of its schools. The problem faced by the city is that it doesn’t generate enough trash. So, Oslo imports trash from Sweden, England and Ireland, and is now looking to import some American trash too.

21. Leopold ___, “Ulysses” protagonist : BLOOM
Regular readers will know that I am unashamedly supportive of my native Irish culture, but I have to tell you that I can’t handle the works of James Joyce. I have spent many a fine day traipsing around Ireland learning about his life, but I have yet to appreciate one of his books. To me, his life is more absorbing than his writing. Having said that, “Ulysses” is an interesting novel in that it chronicles just one ordinary day in the life of a Dubliner named Leopold Bloom. There’s a huge celebration of “Ulysses” in Dublin every year on June 16th, called Bloomsday. The festivities vary from readings and performances of the storyline, to good old pub crawls. “Ulysses” was made into a film of the same name in 1967 starring Milo O’Shea. Back in 1921 however, the book was effectively banned in the US after a New York court declared the magazine in which was serialized was declared obscene. The US Post Office burned many copies of the novel throughout the 1920s, until the US became the first English-speaking country where the book became freely available.

25. Brazilian dance popular in the 1980s : LAMBADA
The lambada is a dance from Brazil that is sometimes called “the forbidden dance”. Back in the days when Brazil was a Portuguese colony the dance was “forbidden” as is was deemed too “sexy”.

29. ___ Kilpatrick, ex-mayor of Detroit : KWAME
Kwame Kilpatrick is a former mayor of Detroit, in office from 2002 until his resignation in 2008. The resignation was precipitated by his conviction on counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, for which he was sentenced to four months in jail. Kilpatrick then received a sentence of 18 months to 5 years for violating his probation after the first incarceration. A third and final conviction took place for mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering for which he was sentenced to 28 years in prison. Kilpatrick is now in incarcerated in a federal prison in El Reno, Oklahoma.

30. Dublin’s land : EIRE
The city of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is known as Baile Átha Cliath in Irish (“town of the hurdled ford”). The English name “Dublin” is an anglicized form of the older Irish name for the city “Dubh Linn”, meaning “black pool”.

31. Bouncer’s place : TRAMPOLINE
The first modern trampoline was developed in 1936. The apparatus was given its name from the Spanish “trampolín” meaning “diving board”. Trampolines were used during WWII in the training of pilots, to give them exposure to some spatial orientations that would be encountered during flight. Trampolines were also used by astronauts training in the space flight program.

32. “For ___ us a child is born” : UNTO
According to the Bible’s, Book of Isaiah:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

34. Ruminate (on) : CHEW
Ruminants are animals that “chew the cud”. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work. We also use the verb “to ruminate” in a figurative sense, to mean “to muse, ponder, chew over”.

36. ___ room (site of postdebate political commentary) : SPIN
A “spin room” is an area where reporters can meet with candidates and their representatives after an election debate. Set up by the campaigns, a spin room is designed to influence the reporting of the debate in favor of a particular candidate. The first spin room was set up by the Reagan campaign in 1984, when President Reagan was being challenged for a second term by Walter Mondale.

41. Roadster from Japan : MIATA
The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.

48. Grammy-nominated rapper with the 2002 hit “Oh Boy” : CAM’RON
Cam’ron is the stage name of rapper Cameron Giles. Giles also used to go by the name Killa Cam.

51. Slalom obstacles : GATES
“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.

57. Org. for the New York Liberty : WNBA
The New York Liberty was founded in 1997 and was one the original eight teams to play in the Women’s NBA. The franchise is based in Newark, New Jersey.

58. Light years away : AFAR
A light-year (lt. yr.) is a measure of distance, not time. It is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one year. The accepted abbreviation for a light-year is “ly”. A light-second is a lot shorter distance: about 186,282 miles.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Airport with many connecting flights : HUB
4. Marquee names : STARS
9. Small jazz band : COMBO
14. Dr. J’s first pro league : ABA
15. Screeching baby? : OWLET
16. Some frozen drinks : ICEES
17. Neither’s partner : NOR
18. Compliment for a fruit-of-the-month club? : NOT BAD AT ALL!
20. Duds : GARB
22. Gettysburg opponent of Lee : MEADE
23. Bus driver on “The Simpsons” : OTTO
24. Compliment for a planetarium? : STELLAR!
26. Recipe amt. : TSP
28. Money to tide one over : LOAN
29. Compliment for an airline? : KEEP IT UP!
34. Rebound, as a billiard shot : CAROM
36. Go round and round : SWIRL
37. Genetic messenger : RNA
38. Big bang maker, informally : H-BOMB
39. 72, at Augusta National Golf Club : PAR
40. Stradivari’s teacher : AMATI
42. Building add-on : ELL
43. “Dragon Ball Z” genre : ANIME
45. Original “American Idol” judge with Randy and Paula : SIMON
46. Compliment for a steakhouse? : WELL DONE!
48. British buddy : CHAP
49. Breakfast grain : OAT
50. Compliment for a GPS manufacturer? : WAY TO GO!
53. Where something unpleasant sticks : CRAW
56. Throng : SWARM
59. Rickman of the Harry Potter films : ALAN
60. Compliment for a charcoal seller? : YOU’RE ON FIRE!
63. Addams Family member : ITT
64. Toss about, as petals : STREW
65. Maestro’s stick : BATON
66. Grant source, for short : NEA
67. Poke fun at : TEASE
68. “Why ___ you in bed?” : AREN’T
69. Mind-reading skill, for short : ESP

Down
1. Chillaxes : HANGS
2. Destroyer destroyer : U-BOAT
3. Air show maneuver : BARREL ROLL
4. Trinity member : SON
5. Like some beach volleyball teams : TWO-MAN
6. ___ ego : ALTER
7. Country’s McEntire : REBA
8. Dutch burg : STAD
9. Org. in “Homeland” : CIA
10. Cousins of squids : OCTOPI
11. Pepperoni or sausage : MEAT
12. Slug : BELT
13. Scandinavian capital : OSLO
19. Dissuade : DETER
21. Leopold ___, “Ulysses” protagonist : BLOOM
25. Brazilian dance popular in the 1980s : LAMBADA
27. Eye-catching : SPLASHY
29. ___ Kilpatrick, ex-mayor of Detroit : KWAME
30. Dublin’s land : EIRE
31. Bouncer’s place : TRAMPOLINE
32. “For ___ us a child is born” : UNTO
33. Suffering : PAIN
34. Ruminate (on) : CHEW
35. Up to the job : ABLE
36. ___ room (site of postdebate political commentary) : SPIN
41. Roadster from Japan : MIATA
44. “False!” : NOT SO!
47. Less than 300 dots per inch, commonly : LOW-RES
48. Grammy-nominated rapper with the 2002 hit “Oh Boy” : CAM’RON
50. “Don’t forget to ___” : WRITE
51. Slalom obstacles : GATES
52. Ready to be drawn : ON TAP
53. Skin abnormality : CYST
54. Mechanical learning : ROTE
55. Distinctive quality : AURA
57. Org. for the New York Liberty : WNBA
58. Light years away : AFAR
61. Ram’s mate : EWE
62. Suffix with differ : -ENT

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7 thoughts on “1229-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Dec 15, Tuesday”

  1. One error. Spelled "octopi" as "octapi". I should have known better. Otherwise, I had trouble with the lower right corner but when I finally got "trampoline" everything else filled in nicely.

  2. 11:04, no errors. For some reason had a hard time seeing 'NOT BAD AT ALL'. Otherwise a smooth going, the theme even helped in filling, once I understood the puns.

    Love him or hate him, Simon Cowell created a monster money machine. The international TV programs: Idol, X-Factor and Got Talent, generate huge revenues for his TV production company. The winner gets a contract with his music production company. The music company gets the benefit of signing a ready-made star, publicized by the TV program. Reminds me of Disney in the 1950's, creating a theme park based on their animated and live action movies. Then creating a TV show to publicize the movies and the theme park.

  3. 10:51, no errors. All the theme entries work for me except NOT BAD AT ALL, which doesn't seem especially apropos for a fruit-of-the-month club; maybe I'm missing something. BARREL ROLL came to mind readily enough, but I'm not sure I ever really understood what one was. And I've always assumed that OCTOPUS was Latin. Live and learn …

  4. @Dave: took me a while on that one too, but I think it refers to not getting any bad (i.e. rotten/bruised) fruit in the monthly batch.

  5. 13:39, no errors. I also felt it took an inordinate amount of time for a Tuesday. Not in sync with this setter either. Yeah, Not bad at all? Makes ZERO sense.

    @ Dave K: A barrel roll is an uneven, "sloppy" roll around the forward axis of an aircraft, as a hard-to-track evasive maneuver to keep from getting hit. As compared with a more precise 4- or 8- point roll, where the plane rolls neatly, centered along its forward axis. The effect of a barrel roll is more ovoid than round, viewed from nose to tail, if that makes any sense. Just like, if you're in barrel floating downstream, you'll get tossed all around the inside of it. Or think "corkscrew" as opposed to the more precise rotation of a drill bit.

  6. @Anonymous … Thanks for the input about "barrel roll". I also found a Wikipedia article about it and I'm going to look further to see if I can find some animations. In any case, I think I now know enough to be fairly certain it's the kind of maneuver that would make me lose my cookies … 🙂

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