1219-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 19 Dec 2017, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Andrew Kingsley
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Candy Cane

There are four groups of circled letters in today’s grid in the shape of CANES. Those letters spell out brands of CANDY:

  • POP ROCKS
  • AIRHEADS
  • BIT-O-HONEY
  • STARBURST
  • 36A. Christmas tree decoration … or a hint to what the circled letters form : CANDY CANE
  • 4A. With 14-Across, weakness for sugar : SWEET …
  • 14A. See 4-Across : … TOOTH

Bill’s time: 10m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Juno’s Greek counterpart : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

16. Designer Gucci : ALDO

Gucci was founded in Rome, in 1921, by Guccio Gucci. Guccio’s son Aldo took over the company after his father’s death in 1953. It was Aldo who established the international presence for the brand and opened the company’s first overseas store, in New York City.

17. With 25-Down, 2012 British Open winner : ERNIE …
25. See 17-Across : … ELS

Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).

19. What a rolling stone is unlikely to gather : LICHEN

Lichens are interesting organisms, as they are made up of a partnership of a fungus and either an alga or a bacterium existing in a symbiotic relationship. The algae or bacteria are capable of photosynthesis, and so manufacture simple sugars using light and carbon dioxide from the air. The fungus uses the manufactured sugars, and in return provides a stable environment for the algae or bacteria to thrive.

Publilius Syrus was a writer of adages and proverbs in Ancient Roman times. He was a slave, originally a Syrian, who was freed by his master in Italy. Publilius wrote the adage “People who are always moving, with no roots in one place, avoid responsibilities and cares”. We are more familiar with the contemporary version “A rolling stone gathers no moss”.

21. Kurt of Nirvana : COBAIN

Kurt Cobain was famous as the lead singer of the band Nirvana. Cobain was constantly in the spotlight for the last few years of his short life. The media was fascinated with his marriage to fellow rock star Courtney Love, and continually reported on Cobain’s heroin addiction. He finally succumbed to the pressure and committed suicide by inflicting a gunshot wound to his head in 1994, at only 27 years of age.

24. Baby : CODDLE

The verb “to coddle”, meaning “to treat tenderly”, was actually coined in 1815 by Jane Austen in her novel “Emma”. At least, that is the first written record we have of the verb’s usage. John Knightley (younger brother of George Knightley) addresses his wife Isabella (elder sister of Emma Woodhouse) with the following words:

“My dear Isabella,” exclaimed he, hastily, “pray do not concern yourself about my looks. Be satisfied with doctoring and coddling yourself and the children, and let me look as I chuse.”

31. Police dept. alert : APB

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

32. Sharper : SAVVIER

The term “savvy”, meaning “understanding”, comes from the French “savez-vous?”. The French phrase translates as “do you know?”

36. Christmas tree decoration … or a hint to what the circled letters form : CANDY CANE

Apparently, candy canes were created at the behest of the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany in 1672. The sweet sticks were basically used as bribes to keep children quiet during services. The choirmaster specified that the candy sticks should have a crook at the top so that they reminded the children of the three shepherds who visited the infant Jesus just after his birth.

45. “___ take arms against a sea of troubles”: Hamlet : OR TO

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

51. Tree with smooth bark : BIRCH

Birch is a hardwood tree. The smooth bark of the birch has eye-like features, leading to the trees nickname of “the Watchful Tree”.

54. Language group that gave us “banjo” and “gumbo” : BANTU

There are hundreds of Bantu languages, mainly spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

The instrument that we know today as the banjo is a derivative of instruments that were used in Africa. The name “banjo” might come from the Bantu word “mbanza”.

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

55. ___-chic (hippie-inspired fashion) : BOHO

Boho-chic is a style of fashion that grew out of the bohemian and hippie looks.

57. Popular footwear from Down Under : UGGS

Uggs are sheepskin boots that were first produced in Australia and New Zealand. The original Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. Ugg is a generic term Down Under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.

60. “Gilmore Girls” protagonist : LORELAI

“Gilmore Girls” is a comedy show that originally aired from 2000 to 2007 on the WB. The title characters are mother and daughter Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, played by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel.

65. Dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

67. Put an end to something? : SIT

Maybe putting your own “end” onto a chair.

68. Blue Stater, for short : DEM

On political maps, red states are usually Republican and blue states usually Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

Down

1. Baden-Baden, for one : SPA

2. “Moby-Dick” light source : OIL LAMP

The full title of Herman Melville’s novel is “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale”. Note that the convention is to hyphenate “Moby-Dick” in the title, as that was how the book was first published, in 1851. However, there is no hyphen in the name of the whale “Moby Dick” as reproduced throughout the text.

3. Human-powered taxi : PEDICAB

A pedicab is also known as a cycle rickshaw.

4. Vermeer and Rembrandt contemporary : STEEN

Jan Steen was a painter from the Netherlands who was active in the Dutch Golden Age, the 17th century. Steen’s most famous work is probably “The Feast of Saint Nicholas”, which we can see at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Johannes (also “Jan”) Vermeer was born in the city of Delft in 1632, and died there some 43 years later. I just love Vermeer’s paintings, and his wonderful use of light. A great example of such a work is his “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. If you haven’t seen it, I thoroughly recommend the 2003 movie “Girl with a Pearl Earring” starring Scarlett Johansson as the girl in the painting, and Colin Firth as Vermeer. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, so it’s all just a great story as opposed to a documentary. The way the movie is shot really reflects the qualities of a Vermeer work of art. And, my wife and i are planning on taking a peek at the original painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in a couple of weeks as it is visiting one of our galleries here in San Francisco.

The celebrated Dutch painter’s full name was Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (sometimes “Ryn”). Rembrandt is perhaps most appreciated for his portraits, and left the world a remarkable collection of self-portraits.

8. 2000s teen drama set in Newport Beach : THE OC

“The O.C.” is a teen drama that aired for four seasons on Fox finishing up in 2007. I never watched it, but I understand that it is set in Newport Beach in Southern California.

11. Number for a surgeon? : GAS

Gas might be used to “numb” a patient.

15. Flip call : HEADS

The two sides of a coin are known as the “obverse” and the “reverse”. The obverse is commonly referred to as “heads”, as it often depicts someone’s head. The reverse is commonly called “tails”, as it is the opposite of “heads”.

22. Recurring action role for Matt Damon : BOURNE

“The Bourne Identity” is a great spy novel written by Robert Ludlum, and first published in 1980. It has been ranked as the second best spy novel of all time, just behind the even more enjoyable “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carre. Ludlum wrote two sequels, and all three parts of the Bourne Trilogy have been made into very successful movies now, starring Matt Damon in the title role. Ludlum died before he could write more than three novels featuring Jason Bourne, but five more titles in the series have been published, each written by Eric Van Lustbader. I must check them out …

Matt Damon is an actor and screenwriter from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Damon’s big break came with the 1997 movie “Good Will Hunting”, in which he starred. He co-wrote the screenplay with his childhood friend Ben Affleck.

27. Netflix item : DVD

Netflix was founded in Los Gatos, California in 1997 as a DVD rental company that sent out titles by mail. Netflix no longer focuses on distribution by mail, and instead provides programming on demand. The company is now making a big name for itself producing films and TV programs.

33. Archaeological handle : ANSA

“Ansa” is the Latin word for handle. In archaeological terms, an ansa is an engraved and ornamented handle of a vase. The term is also used to describe anatomical structures that are shaped like a handle, forming a loop or an arc.

36. Stitch with a hook : CROCHET

Crochet is the process of making a fabric using a hooked needle called a crochet hook. “Crochet” is a French word meaning “hook”.

39. New York City bridge, informally, with “the” : TRIBORO

The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in New York City is often referred to as the “Triboro”, recognition of the structure’s original name “The Triborough Bridge”. This name was given as the Triboro is actually a complex of three bridges that connects the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and The Bronx. Built in 1936, the official name was changed to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2008.

40. Fate who cuts the thread of life : ATROPOS

The three Fates of Greek mythology were white-robed deities, and were also called the Moirai. The three Fates were Clotho the spinner, Lachesis the allotter and Atropos the unturnable.

44. Romanian currency : LEU

The currency of Romania is the leu (plural “lei”), a word meaning “lion”. The leu is also the name of the currency of neighboring Moldova. Romania joined the European Union in 2007, and had planned to join the Euro zone in 2014. This implementation date is in jeopardy as Romania struggles to meet economic goals set by the EU.

52. Potful for Winnie-the-Pooh : HONEY

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

58. Some office printers, for short : HPS

The giant multinational called HP (originally Hewlett-Packard) was founded in 1939 with an investment of $538, in a one-car garage in Palo Alto, California by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. The company name would have been Packard-Hewlett if Dave Packard had won a coin toss!

59. South American tuber : OCA

The plant called an oca is also known as the New Zealand Yam. The tubers of the oca are used as a root vegetable.

61. Arles assent : OUI

Quite a few years ago now, I had the privilege of living just a short car-ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although Arles has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city’s design. Arles has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place Vincent van Gogh often visited, and was where he painted many of his most famous works, including “Cafe Terrace at Night” and “Bedroom in Arles”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Soak (up) : SOP
4. With 14-Across, weakness for sugar : SWEET …
9. Fix, as a race : RIG
12. It’s on the waterfront : PIER
14. See 4-Across : … TOOTH
15. Juno’s Greek counterpart : HERA
16. Designer Gucci : ALDO
17. With 25-Down, 2012 British Open winner : ERNIE …
18. Those, in Spain : ESOS
19. What a rolling stone is unlikely to gather : LICHEN
21. Kurt of Nirvana : COBAIN
23. Retro : BACK IN
24. Baby : CODDLE
26. Pile up : AMASS
27. A little thick : DIM
30. Same old, same old : USUAL
31. Police dept. alert : APB
32. Sharper : SAVVIER
35. Cries of disgust : EWS
36. Christmas tree decoration … or a hint to what the circled letters form : CANDY CANE
38. Gets underway : STARTS
41. I’m not buying it! : RENTAL
45. “___ take arms against a sea of troubles”: Hamlet : OR TO
46. Something squirreled away? : ACORN
50. Like black sheep : RARE
51. Tree with smooth bark : BIRCH
53. Long-handled tool : HOE
54. Language group that gave us “banjo” and “gumbo” : BANTU
55. ___-chic (hippie-inspired fashion) : BOHO
56. “But of course!” : AHA!
57. Popular footwear from Down Under : UGGS
58. “That would stink” : HOPE NOT
60. “Gilmore Girls” protagonist : LORELAI
63. Shield : PROTECT
64. Part of a shore dinner : MUSSELS
65. Dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot : SOS
66. “Yahoo!” : YAY!
67. Put an end to something? : SIT
68. Blue Stater, for short : DEM

Down

1. Baden-Baden, for one : SPA
2. “Moby-Dick” light source : OIL LAMP
3. Human-powered taxi : PEDICAB
4. Vermeer and Rembrandt contemporary : STEEN
5. Tattered : WORN
6. Forever and a day : EON
7. Suffix with diet : -ETIC
8. 2000s teen drama set in Newport Beach : THE OC
9. What’s left : RESIDUE
10. Absolutist’s rule : IRON LAW
11. Number for a surgeon? : GAS
13. Tends to, as a cradle : ROCKS
15. Flip call : HEADS
20. Show disdain for, in a way : HISS AT
22. Recurring action role for Matt Damon : BOURNE
23. Sound heard from a herd : BAA
25. See 17-Across : … ELS
27. Netflix item : DVD
28. “The Holly and the ___” (Christmas song) : IVY
29. Hearing aid? : MIC
33. Archaeological handle : ANSA
34. Make, as dough : EARN
36. Stitch with a hook : CROCHET
37. Fills with fury : ENRAGES
38. Loud lament : SOB
39. New York City bridge, informally, with “the” : TRIBORO
40. Fate who cuts the thread of life : ATROPOS
42. 2010 Disney film that set a record for the most expensive animated movie ever made : TANGLED
43. Gallery sign : ART SALE
44. Romanian currency : LEU
47. Given to talk : CHATTY
48. “Would you look at that!” : OOH!
49. Worlds : REALMS
52. Potful for Winnie-the-Pooh : HONEY
54. Succumb to pressure? : BURST
58. Some office printers, for short : HPS
59. South American tuber : OCA
61. Arles assent : OUI
62. Suffix with real or social : -ISM

12 thoughts on “1219-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 19 Dec 2017, Tuesday”

  1. 17:05 Wow, This was tough for a Tuesday. Never heard of ANSA, had a tough time figuring out the clue for GAS and want sure of HERA, didn’t know ATROPOS. Just a bunch of areas that gave me some trouble and added up to a hard Tuesday.

  2. 13:39, no errors. Agree with Marc that this was very tough for a Tuesday. The odd spelling of LORELAI (which the spell checker here keeps trying to correct) gave me pause, but I finally went with it because of the crossing entry ART SALE and it was correct.

  3. 25:19. Definitely not your garden variety Tuesday. Theme didn’t help much except with BIT O HONEY and that corner. GAS as a “number” completely escaped me until I read the write up. Groaner of the day IMO….

    Best –

  4. 16:06, no errors. Agree with previous posters, difficult Tuesday. Surprised myself that the more modern cultural references COBAIN and LORELAI came to my rescue.

  5. DNF, about 20 unfilled entries or errors. This was Saturday-hard. No chance at all with this one.

    All you can do with something like this is shrug and move on to the next day. “I got nothin’!”

  6. Want to toughen up what is usually a relatively easy Tuesday puzzle? Just sprinkle in some elusive or even obscure proper nouns and make solvers squirm a bit. Then you’ll have made Tuesdays more interesting and respectable.

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