1214-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 14 Dec 2017, Thursday

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Constructed by: Timothy Polin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Bury the Hatchet

In order to complete today’s puzzle, we have to BURY THE HATCHET, i.e. add four occurrences of AX under the grid to complete four answers:

  • 40D. With 43-Down, make peace … or what you must do to complete this puzzle? : BURY THE …
  • 43D. See 40-Down : … HATCHET
  • 3D. “Butt out!” : NONE OF YOUR BEESWAX!
  • 5D. With 45-Down, effect used by astronomers to measure distance : STELLAR …
  • 45D. See 5-Down : … PARALLAX
  • 9D. With 46-Down, chill out : SIT BACK …
  • 46D. See 9-Down : … AND RELAX
  • 11D. Everyone’s duty? : PERSONAL INCOME TAX

Bill’s time: 10m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. Calculating sorts, in brief : CPAS

Certified public accountant (CPA)

14. Slews : A TON

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew”. The noun “slew” come into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

15. Many-time film co-star of Shatner and Nimoy : TAKEI

Mr. Hikaru Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …

Leonard Nimoy played the logical Mr. Spock in the original “Star Trek” television series. Spock has to be the most popular character on the show, and he kept popping up in “Star Trek” spin offs. Nimoy first worked alongside William Shatner (Captain Kirk) in an episode of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (I loved that show!), with Nimoy playing a bad guy and Shatner playing an U.N.C.L.E. recruit.

16. 2,800-mile river to the Laptev Sea : LENA

The Lena is in Siberia, and is the third-longest river in Asia. It rises in the Baikal Mountains in the south, and runs almost 2,800 miles to empty into the Laptev Sea in the Arctic Ocean.

The Laptev sea is a division of the Arctic Ocean located off the coast of Siberia. It is named for Dmitry and Khariton Laptev, two cousins who were Arctic explorers, and who were the first to map the shores of the sea from 1735 t0 1740.

17. Hand on a hacienda : MANO

In Spanish, the term “hacienda” is often used for a large estate.

22. Some wind blowers : OBOISTS

When the members of a full orchestra tune their instruments, they almost always tune to an “A” played by an oboe. A wind ensemble usually tunes to a B-flat, as this is an “open” note on many instrument, one in which all valves are open on trumpet for example, or the slider on a trombone is in home position.

24. Model company? : LIONEL

Lionel is the brand name most associated with toy trains in the US. The first Lionel trains rolled off the production line in 1901 and they are still produced today, although the original Lionel Corporation is long gone. In 1995, the brand was bought by an investment company that included train enthusiast Neil Young (the singer), and operated as Lionel, LLC. Neil Young’s financial involvement ended after a 2008 reorganization of the company following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, but the company is still producing and selling.

25. Store with magazines : ARMORY

The word “magazine” was originally used to denote a place for storing goods, particularly military arms and ammunition, back in the late 1500s. This usage was extended to include packs of ammunition attached to automatic weapons. The first use of “magazine” in the sense of a periodical or journal dates back to 1731, with the publication of “Gentleman’s Magazine”. “Magazine” had come to mean a printed list of military stores, and the idea was that the new periodical was to be a “storehouse” of information.

26. Tiny fey sort : ELF

“Fey” is such a lovely word, one meaning “magical, fairy-like”. It comes from the Middle English word “feie” which has a less pleasant definition, “fated to die”. The term has been extended over the past century to mean “effeminate”.

31. Refusal in Inverness : NAE

Inverness is in effect the capital city of the Scottish Highlands. It is the most northerly city in the whole of the United Kingdom. Inverness sits at the mouth of the River Ness, which flows from the famous Loch Ness.

34. Hero architect in “The Fountainhead” : ROARK

“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand was first published in 1943, and was her first novel to achieve public success. The story focuses on an idealistic architect, Howard Roark. Roark is uncompromising in his designs, refusing the give the public what it wants, staying doggedly loyal to his own vision.

35. Ones easily taken : SAPS

“Sap” is slang for a fool, someone easily scammed. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain, when it was short for in “saphead” and “sapskull”.

39. It had more than 10 million subscribers in the 1990s : AOL

Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the “America-centric” sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL’s success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That’s when users referred to AOL as “Always Off-Line”.

40. Knotty growth : BURL

A “burl” is a small knot in a piece of wood or in cloth. The term is derived from the Old French “bourle” meaning “tuft of wool”.

41. Anniversary gift between pottery and steel : TIN

Some traditional gifts for wedding anniversaries are:

  • 5th: wooden
  • 10th: tin
  • 15th: crystal
  • 20th: china
  • 25th: silver
  • 30th: pearl
  • 40th: ruby
  • 50th: gold
  • 60th: diamond

42. ___ Tzu (dog) : SHIH

The Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dog, a breed that originated in China. Shih Tzus have long hairy coats but they don’t shed.

46. Like some avant-garde music : ATONAL

People described as avant-garde are especially innovative. “Avant-garde” is French for “advance guard”.

49. Image in the night sky over Gotham : BAT

Batman is an ally of Police Commissioner Gordon of Gotham City. Gordon orders the shining of a searchlight, known as the Bat-Signal, into the sky to summon Batman when he is needed.

“Gotham” had been a nickname for New York City long before it was picked up by comic books as a setting for Batman tales. The term was coined by Washington Irving in a periodical that he published in 1807. Irving was lampooning New York politics and culture, and lifted the name from the village of Gotham in Nottinghamshire, England. The original Gotham was, according to folklore, inhabited by fools.

51. ___ Balls (snack items) : SNO

The Hostess cakes called Sno Balls are usually pink in color, although in its original form each packet of two cakes contained one white and one pink. Around Halloween you can buy Sno Balls in the form of Scary Cakes and Glo Balls that are colored orange and green. and on St. Paddy’s Day there’s a green one available. Yoo hoo!

52. Second City train inits. : CTA

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

Chicago was the second-most populous city in the US for decades, until Los Angeles took up the spot behind New York in 1984. This second place gave rise to Chicago’s nickname “Second City”.

53. Very basic things : LYES

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

59. Grace’s last name on “Will & Grace” : ADLER

I’ve always thought the real stars of “Will & Grace” were not the title characters, by rather the supporting characters Jack (played by Sean Hayes) and Karen (played by Megan Mullally).

60. Comment section disclaimer : IMHO

In my humble opinion (IMHO)

62. Coffeehouse selection : LATTE

The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

65. Antiseptic brand since 1889 : LYSOL

The disinfectant called Lysol takes its name from the words “lysosome” and “solvent”. Lysosomes are structures found within cells that have the job of breaking up waste material and cellular debris.

Down

1. “Hot” things : TAMALES

Hot Tamales are a cinnamon candy made by Just Born. They look like red versions of the other Just Born candy called Mike and Ike. That’s no coincidence as Hot Tamales were developed as a way to make use of rejected Mike and Ike candy. The dark red color and intense cinnamon flavor was added to the Mike and Ike rejects, masking the original flavor and color.

5. With 45-Down, effect used by astronomers to measure distance : STELLAR …
(45D. See 5-Down : … PARALLAX)

A blog reader very kindly sent me an excellent definition some years ago for stellar parallax, which I’d like to quote:

Just as we use the slightly different perspectives of our two eyes to gauge distance, astronomers can use the different perspectives of a star viewed, say, six months apart—when Earth is at the opposite points in its orbit around the sun. Stars closer to us will appear to have “shifted” more, relative to stars further away.

6. Room in Clue : HALL

Clue is 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), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

11. Everyone’s duty? : PERSONAL INCOME TAX

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

21. Potential dragon roll ingredient : EEL

A dragon roll is a sushi dish made from eel, cucumber, seaweed, rice and avocado. I am sure it’s delicious … without the eel!

29. Stable figures? : MAGI

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

33. 17th ___ of Oxford, author of Shakespeare’s plays, by some accounts : EARL

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford was a favorite in the court of Queen Elizabeth I for many years. He was also known as a poet and playwright. Some of those who question the authorship of the plays attributed to William Shakespeare have suggested that Oxford was the actual playwright. The theory that Oxford was the real Shakespeare was first suggested in the 1920s.

35. London area next to Mayfair : SOHO

The area of London called Soho had a very poor reputation for most of the 20th century as it was home to the city’s red light district. Soho has been transformed though, and has been a very fashionable neighborhood since the 1980s.

The ritzy area of Mayfair is in the City of Westminster in Central London. The area takes its name from a two-week long May Fair that took place in the area back in the 1600s. Paradoxically, as the area became more wealthy, the elite residents had the fair moved, as they deemed it lowered the tone of the neighborhood. As an aside, in the UK version of the board game Monopoly, the streets used are all in London. Mayfair the most expensive property to purchase, and is equivalent to Boardwalk in the US version.

44. Chuck who was part of the Watergate Seven : COLSON

The Watergate Seven were the seven individuals close to President Richard Nixon who were indicted for their roles in the Watergate Scandal. The seven were:

  • John N. Mitchell – former United States Attorney General and director of Nixon’s 1968 and 1972 election campaigns
  • H. R. Haldeman – White House chief of staff
  • John Ehrlichman – former assistant to Nixon in charge of domestic affairs
  • Charles Colson – former White House counsel specializing in political affairs
  • Gordon C. Strachan – White House aide to Haldeman
  • Robert Mardian – aide to Mitchell and counsel to the Committee to Re-elect the President in 1972
  • Kenneth Parkinson – counsel for the Committee to Re-elect the President

47. Great Plains tribe : LAKOTA

The Lakota people are Native Americans from the Great Plains who occupy lands mainly in North and South Dakota. The list of famous persons from the Lakota people includes Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, who were instrumental in the Lakota victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

56. Nonkosher deli orders : BLTS

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Fall apart in competition : TANK
5. Discards : SHEDS
10. Calculating sorts, in brief : CPAS
14. Slews : A TON
15. Many-time film co-star of Shatner and Nimoy : TAKEI
16. 2,800-mile river to the Laptev Sea : LENA
17. Hand on a hacienda : MANO
18. Chosen few : ELECT
19. Given to pretension : ARTY
20. Got plenty of healthful food : ATE WELL
22. Some wind blowers : OBOISTS
24. Model company? : LIONEL
25. Store with magazines : ARMORY
26. Tiny fey sort : ELF
27. Involuntary test subjects : LAB MICE
31. Refusal in Inverness : NAE
32. Ocular affliction : STYE
34. Hero architect in “The Fountainhead” : ROARK
35. Ones easily taken : SAPS
36. Bad candidate for gymnastics : OAF
38. In history : AGO
39. It had more than 10 million subscribers in the 1990s : AOL
40. Knotty growth : BURL
41. Anniversary gift between pottery and steel : TIN
42. ___ Tzu (dog) : SHIH
44. Get comfy on a sofa or bed, say : CURL UP
46. Like some avant-garde music : ATONAL
48. It’s well-rounded : ORB
49. Image in the night sky over Gotham : BAT
51. ___ Balls (snack items) : SNO
52. Second City train inits. : CTA
53. Very basic things : LYES
55. Wrapped up in court? : ROBED
57. Pretended : MOCK
58. Part of a flight : STEP
59. Grace’s last name on “Will & Grace” : ADLER
60. Comment section disclaimer : IMHO
61. Quite : OH SO
62. Coffeehouse selection : LATTE
63. Gather : MEET
64. Swamp dweller : NEWT
65. Antiseptic brand since 1889 : LYSOL
66. Diminutive Italian suffix : -ETTA

Down

1. “Hot” things : TAMALES
2. Slanted : AT A TILT
3. “Butt out!” : NONE OF YOUR BEESWAX!
4. Not anonymous : KNOWN
5. With 45-Down, effect used by astronomers to measure distance : STELLAR …
6. Room in Clue : HALL
7. Barely make (out) : EKE
8. Contemporary of Modernism : DECO
9. With 46-Down, chill out : SIT BACK …
10. Insured’s filing : CLAIM
11. Everyone’s duty? : PERSONAL INCOME TAX
12. Defense against infestation : ANT TRAP
13. Agrees : SAYS YES
21. Potential dragon roll ingredient : EEL
23. Extraction target : ORE
28. You may follow in its wake : BOAT
29. Stable figures? : MAGI
30. Unyielding : IRON
33. 17th ___ of Oxford, author of Shakespeare’s plays, by some accounts : EARL
35. London area next to Mayfair : SOHO
37. Goof : FLUB
39. Regarding : AS TO
40. With 43-Down, make peace … or what you must do to complete this puzzle? : BURY THE …
43. See 40-Down : … HATCHET
44. Chuck who was part of the Watergate Seven : COLSON
45. See 5-Down : … PARALLAX
46. See 9-Down : … AND RELAX
47. Great Plains tribe : LAKOTA
50. Order in a rush order : TODAY
51. Take care of : SEE TO
54. Tricky situation : SPOT
56. Nonkosher deli orders : BLTS
57. Act out : MIME

10 thoughts on “1214-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 14 Dec 2017, Thursday”

  1. 32:30. In retrospect I made this much tougher than it really was. I got the theme relatively early, but after one AX ending and the reveal being BURY THE HATCHET, I assumed there would be different cutting instruments. But they all turned out to be AX. I remembered Charles COLSON from their alluding to him all the time in the movie “All The President’s Men”

    A little tricky in the lower right with MOCK=”Pretended”…something about the tense doesn’t seem right. Had to remember LAKOTA from other crosswords to get that area.

    Best –

  2. 18:21, no errors. A couple of wrong initial guesses: 27A LAB RATS before LAB MICE; 53A ABC’S before LYES (tricky one here). STELLAR PARALLAX broke the theme for me. Nice, tricky Thursday puzzle.

    I tend to agree with @Jeff. MOCK used as an adjective, such as in Mock Turtle Soup, would seem to warrant the clue ‘Pretend’ rather than ‘Pretended’.

    1. @Anon and Bruce B –
      The mock part being an adjective didn’t even occur to me but is obvious enough. I think it’s because “pretended” isn’t an adjective the way “pretend” could be – e.g. I threw a “pretend baseball” at the wall. However, I Googled it and sure enough “pretended” can also be an adjective e.g. “a pretended interest in art” was an example given.

      This is why I tune in every day….

      Best –

  3. Not too tricky a Thursday. The four AXes came pretty easily. (Not “everyone’s duty” to pay a PERSONAL INCOME TAX, though.) Last letter in was L in the ADLER/BLT cross. Could SIT BACK AND RELAX with this one, which was nice to do.

  4. Thursday puzzles are usually too difficult for me but I nailed this one with no errors. Getting the theme early was key. I was surprised to see NONE OF YOUR BEESWAX as an answer. I remember it from my childhood being used by some of the neighborhood kids. But I did not know that the expression was wide-spread enough to ever make it into a crossword.

    1. In all fairness to Timothy Polin, perhaps he did not “leave the grid”. That is just how several of us (including Bill) have interpreted it. Polin’s clue is that he is “burying” the AX. If something is buried it could be anywhere. One cannot see it so how could they determine where it might be. All we know is that it does not appear because it is buried. Writing in an AX off the grid is merely a way to make our solving a little easier.

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