1217-18 NY Times Crossword 17 Dec 18, Monday

Constructed by: Brian Thomas & Andrea Carla Michaels
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Hi, Jacks!

Each of today’s themed answers starts with the family name of a famous JACK:

  • 39A. Commandeers … or a friendly hello to the people starting 18-, 24-, 51- and 62-Across? : HIJACKS or HI, JACKS!
  • 18A. Small bird of prey : SPARROWHAWK (giving “Jack Sparrow”)
  • 24A. Something falling down, in a children’s song : LONDON BRIDGE (giving “Jack London”)
  • 51A. Dorothy’s footwear in “The Wizard of Oz” : RUBY SLIPPERS (gives “Jack Ruby”)
  • 62A. What follows Thanksgiving : BLACK FRIDAY (giving “Jack Black”)

Bill’s time: 4m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Baseball’s record-setting Ripken : CAL

Cal Ripken played his entire, 20-year professional baseball career for the Baltimore Orioles. Ripken was known as the “Iron Man” because he showed up for work every day, come rain or shine. He played 2,632 straight games, blowing past the previous 2,130-game record held by Lou Gehrig.

14. Lead-in to carte or mode : A LA

On a restaurant menu, items that are “à la carte” are priced and ordered separately. A menu marked “table d’hôte” (also called “prix fixe”) is a fixed-price menu with limited choice. “Table d’hôte” translates as “table of the host”.

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

15. Tel Aviv’s land : ISRAEL

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. “Tel Aviv” translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.

16. Helen of ___ (mythical beauty) : TROY

According to Greek mythology, Helen (later “Helen of Troy”) was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. When Helen reached the age of marriage, she had many suitors as she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. Menelaus was chosen as her husband, and he took her back to his home of Sparta. Paris, a Trojan prince, seduced Helen, as she eloped with him and travelled to Troy. This event sparked the Trojan War that waged between the city of Troy and Greece. Because of this war, Helen was said to have “the face that launched a thousand ships”. And because of this phrase, it has been suggested, probably by author Isaac Asimov, that the amount of beauty needed launch a single ship is one “millihelen”.

17. Flier that may carry rabies : BAT

“Rabies” is actually the Latin word for “madness”. The name is a good choice for the viral disease, as once the virus spreads to the brain the infected person or animal exhibits very tortured and bizarre behavior including hydrophobia, a fear of water. The virus is passed on to humans most often through a bite from an infected dog. It is curable if it is caught in time, basically before symptoms develop. Once the virus passes up the peripheral nervous system to the spine and the brain, there isn’t much that can be done. We can also use the derivative term “rabid” figuratively, to mean extremely violent, to have extreme views.

18. Small bird of prey : SPARROWHAWK (giving “Jack Sparrow”)

The American kestrel is sometimes referred to as the sparrowhawk, and is the most common falcon found on the continent. It is sometimes trained for use in falconry, and is considered a beginner’s bird.

Captain Jack Sparrow is the protagonist in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of movies, and is played by Johnny Depp. Depp has said that he based his portrayal of Sparrow partly on the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. I could believe that …

20. French girlfriend : AMIE

A male friend in France is “un ami”, and a female friend is “une amie”.

22. Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE

The brand most closely associated with ginger ale is Canada Dry. “Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale” was first formulated in 1904 by a Canadian chemist called John McLoughlin from Ontario. Prohibition in the United States helped sales of the drink as it was particularly effective in masking the taste of illegally-produced homemade liquor.

23. Seaweed, e.g. : ALGAE

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

24. Something falling down, in a children’s song : LONDON BRIDGE (giving “Jack London”)

London Bridge spanned the River Thames from 1831 until it was dismantled due to its inability to carry the loads required in the center of the City of London. The city council sold the bridge to the developer of Lake Havasu city for $2.5 million. And the developer, Robert McCulloch, knew which bridge he was getting. The urban legend that he thought he was buying the more recognizable Tower Bridge; it’s just not true …

The author Jack London is a bit of a local hero in the Bay Area where I live. London was born in San Francisco, and there is a famous Jack London Square in Oakland, California that was named in his honor. London’s most famous works are “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang”, both of which are set in the Klondike Gold Rush.

28. Lucy of 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels” : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

“Charlie’s Angels” is a fun action movie from 2000 that is a spin-off from the iconic TV show of the same name from the seventies. The “Angels” in the movie version are Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, with Bill Murray as John Bosley. John Forsythe provides the voice of the unseen “Charlie”, just as he did in the original television show.

33. Put the kibosh on : SCOTCH

To scotch is to stamp out or crush. Apparently, the current usage of the verb “to scotch” was popularised in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”.

A kibosh is something that constrains or checks. “Kibosh” looks like a Yiddish word but it isn’t, and is more likely English slang from the early 1800s.

36. Actor Efron of “High School Musical” : ZAC

Zac Efron is an actor from San Luis Obispo, California. Apparently Efron is a heartthrob to “tweenyboppers”. His big break came with the hit Disney movie “High School Musical”.

“High School Musical” is a 2006 Disney film made for television that spawned two sequels released to movie theaters worldwide. The soundtrack to “High School Musical” ended up being the best-selling album for 2006. Apparently, the storyline is based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

38. “Mazel ___!” : TOV

“Tov” is the Hebrew word for “good”, as in “mazel tov” meaning “good luck”.

39. Commandeers … or a friendly hello to the people starting 18-, 24-, 51- and 62-Across? : HIJACKS or HI, JACKS!

The verb “to hijack” dates back to the 1920s when it applied to the robbing of a bootlegger or smuggler while he or she was traveling. The term probably comes from “highway” and “jack”, with the latter meaning “to hold up, rob”.

42. Inits. on an airport uniform : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

46. Carriage named for an English county : SURREY

A surrey is a four-wheeled carriage that has no doors and usually transports four passengers on two seats. The term “surrey” is primarily used in America, although it derives from the English name “Surrey cart”, which refers to the county of Surrey where they first produced.

50. Farrow of “Hannah and Her Sisters” : MIA

Mia Farrow is an energetic, award-winning actress who really hasn’t looked back in her career since her first leading role, in “Rosemary’s Baby” back in 1968. Her on-screen celebrity is matched by the interest created by her personal life. Her first husband was Frank Sinatra, a wedding in 1966 that received a lot of attention partly due to the couple’s age difference (she was 21, he was 50). Her second husband was almost as famous, the magnificent musician André Previn. Farrow then moved in with Woody Allen, a relationship that famously fell apart when Farrow discovered that Allen was having a sexual relationship with Soon-Yi, one of her adopted daughters from the marriage with André Previn.

“Hannah and Her Sisters” is a 1986 comedy-drama film that was written and directed by Woody Allen. Hannah is played by Mia Farrow, and Hannah’s two sisters are played by Barbara Hershey and Dianne Wiest.

51. Dorothy’s footwear in “The Wizard of Oz” : RUBY SLIPPERS (gives “Jack Ruby”)

Judy Garland wore ruby slippers in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”. However, in the original novel by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy wore “Silver Shoes”.

61. Biz bigwig : EXEC

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

62. What follows Thanksgiving : BLACK FRIDAY (giving “Jack Black”)

In the world of retail, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the US. Black Friday is when many stores start the holiday shopping season, and so offer deep discounts to get ahead of the competition.

The actor Jack Black was born in Santa Monica, California and is the son of two satellite engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope program.

72. First Republican prez : ABE

The modern-day Republican Party was founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists. The party’s name was chosen as a homage to Thomas Jefferson’s Republican Party, which had been subsumed into the Democratic-Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican US president, in 1861. Since then, there have been more US presidents from the Republican party than from any other.

Down

1. Group of schemers : CABAL

A cabal is a small group of plotters acting in secret, perhaps scheming against a government or an individual. The use of “cabal” in this way dates back to the mid-1600s. It is suggested that the term gained some popularity, particularly in a sinister sense, during the reign of Charles II in the 1670s. At that time, it was applied as an acronym standing for “Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale”, a group of ministers known for their plots and schemes.

2. Mission where Davy Crockett was killed : ALAMO

The famous Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission was founded in 1718 and was the first mission established in the city. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, a thirteen-day siege by the Mexican Army led by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Only two people defending the Alamo Mission survived the onslaught. One month later, the Texian army got its revenge by attacking and defeating the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp, many of the Texian soldiers were heard to cry “Remember the Alamo!”.

The pioneer Davy Crockett is often referred to as “King of the Wild Frontier”. Crockett was from East Tennessee. After serving in the local militia he entered politics and represented his state in the US House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831. He disapproved of many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, which led to his defeat in the 1834 election for the House. The defeat prompted Crockett to leave Tennessee for Texas. Famously, he died there in 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo.

3. Don Juan sort : LATIN LOVER

Don Juan is a flighty character who has been featured by a number of authors, poets and composers, including Molière, Byron, and Mozart. In the underlying legend, Don Juan ends up talking to the statue of the dead father of one of his conquests. Don Juan dines with the ghost of the dead man and when shaking the hand of the ghost he is dragged away to hell. We now use the term “Don Juan” to describe any womanizer or ladies’ man.

5. Network for political junkies : C-SPAN

C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings. C-SPAN Video Library is an amazing online archive provided by C-SPAN that offers a complete audio and video archive of Congressional proceedings going back to 1987. Users can search the archive for free, by topic, speaker date and more. When the site was launched in 2010, the archive already contained 160,000 hours of programming. There is a is a section of the archive called “Congressional Chronicle” that is particularly easy to navigate.

6. Big name in toothbrushes : ORAL-B

The Oral-B toothbrush was introduced to the world in 1950, designed by a California periodontist. The first “model” was the Oral-B 60, a name given to reflect the 60 tufts in the brush. In 1969, the Oral-B was the first toothbrush to get to the moon as it was the toothbrush of choice for the crew of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

9. ___-mo (replay option) : SLO

Slow motion (slo-mo) replay of film.

12. Sioux City’s state : IOWA

Sioux City, Iowa has a history that is inextricably linked with the Missouri River. The city grew from a camp established by the Lewis and Clark expedition that traveled up the river in 1804. Today, Sioux City is the navigational head of the Missouri, the furthest point upstream that is accessible by general cargo ships.

13. Young ‘un : TYKE

“Tyke” has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902, but for centuries before that a tyke was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.

26. Big name in desktops : IMAC

The iMac is a desktop computer platform that Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such strawberry, blueberry and lime.

27. Teals and mallards : DUCKS

The beautiful color teal takes it name from the duck called a teal, which has dark greenish-blue (teal) markings on its head and wings.

The mallard is perhaps the most recognizable of all ducks and is also known as the wild duck. The name “mallard” has the same Latin root as our word “male”, probably reflecting how flamboyant the coloring is of the male of the species relative to the female.

34. Soft drink choice : COKE

Coca-Cola has used many advertising slogans over the life of the brand, including:

  • The Great National Temperance Beverage (1906)
  • Where There’s Coke There’s Hospitality (1948)
  • It’s the Real Thing (1971)
  • Catch the Wave (1986, for “new Coke”)
  • Red, White & You (1986, for “Coke Classic”)

35. Muslim woman’s head cover : HIJAB

Some Muslim women wear a hijab in the presence of males outside of their immediate family. A hijab is a veil covering the head and chest. Some also wear a niqab as part of the hijab, which is a cloth that covers the face. Other Muslim women wear a burqa, which covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground.

40. Bastille Day’s month : JULY

The Bastille is a former fortress in Paris that was used as a prison by the kings of France. On 14 July 1789, an angry mob stormed the Bastille during the French Revolution. The mob was actually after the stores of gunpowder in the fortress, but while inside the building freed seven prisoners and killed the Bastille’s governor. The storming of the Bastille became a symbol of the French Revolution and has been celebrated in France on every July 14th since 1790. That celebration is referred to as “la fête nationale” (the national day) in France, but in English-speaking countries it is usually known as “Bastille Day”.

41. Kind of pump : SUMP

The term “sump” has been used for a “pit to collect water” since the middle of the 17th century. Prior to that, “sump” meant “marsh, morass”.

52. Pizazz : SPICE

Pizazz (also “pizzazz”) is energy, vitality. There’s a kind of cool thing about the “pizzazz” spelling, namely that it is the only 7-letter word in English that cannot be played in Scrabble. You can get close by using the Z-tile with the two blank tiles to get to three of the required four Zs, but there’s no way to get to the fourth Z.

53. Filled with cargo : LADEN

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

Cargo is freight carried by some vehicle. The term “cargo” comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.

54. Harebrained : INANE

Our word “inane” meaning silly or lacking substance comes from the Latin “inanitis” meaning “empty space”.

55. 2007’s Record of the Year by Amy Winehouse : REHAB

Amy Winehouse was a much ridiculed singer from the UK, and whose life was fraught with very public bouts of drug and alcohol abuse. Winehouse’s lifestyle caught up with her in 2011 when she was found dead from alcohol poisoning. The unfortunate singer was only 27 years old when she died, which means she is now viewed as a member of the “27 Club”. This “club” is made up of famous musicians who all died at the age of 27, including Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison of the Doors, and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.

“Rehab” is a track from Amy Winehouse’s second studio album, with lyrics that tell of her drinking habits and her refusal to go into rehab.

58. Czech or Croat : SLAV

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)

59. “Girls Just Want to ___ Fun” : HAVE

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is a hit song recorded by Cyndi Lauper in 1983. Lauper’s was a cover version of the original 1979 release by Robert Hazard, who also wrote the song.

63. Jimi Hendrix’s do, informally : ‘FRO

Many of his contemporaries regarded Jimi Hendrix as the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music. Hendrix was from Seattle and didn’t really have a really stellar start to his working life. He failed to finish high school and fell foul of the law by getting caught in stolen cars, twice. The courts gave him the option of the army or two years in prison. Hendrix chose the former and soon found himself in the famous 101st Airborne. In the army, his less-than-disciplined ways helped him (as he would have seen it) because his superiors successfully petitioned to get him discharged after serving only one year of his two-year requirement, just to get him out of their hair.

64. Sen.’s counterpart : REP

The number of seats in the US House of Representatives has been 435 since the year 1913, although there was a temporary increase to 437 seats at the time of the admission of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union. The number of representatives assigned to each state is proportional to that state’s population, except that each state is guaranteed a minimum of one delegate by the US Constitution.

The US Senate comprises 100 senators, with each of the fifty states being represented by two popularly elected senators. US senators were appointed by their state legislators from 1798 until 1913, until the Seventh Amendment called for popular elections.

65. Paycheck stub abbr. : YTD

Year-to-date (YTD)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Baseball’s record-setting Ripken : CAL
4. Catches a touchdown pass, e.g. : SCORES
10. Not much : A BIT
14. Lead-in to carte or mode : A LA
15. Tel Aviv’s land : ISRAEL
16. Helen of ___ (mythical beauty) : TROY
17. Flier that may carry rabies : BAT
18. Small bird of prey : SPARROWHAWK (giving “Jack Sparrow”)
20. French girlfriend : AMIE
22. Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE
23. Seaweed, e.g. : ALGAE
24. Something falling down, in a children’s song : LONDON BRIDGE (giving “Jack London”)
28. Lucy of 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels” : LIU
29. Summons, as strength : MUSTERS
33. Put the kibosh on : SCOTCH
36. Actor Efron of “High School Musical” : ZAC
37. Sign by a fire escape : EXIT
38. “Mazel ___!” : TOV
39. Commandeers … or a friendly hello to the people starting 18-, 24-, 51- and 62-Across? : HIJACKS or HI, JACKS!
42. Inits. on an airport uniform : TSA
43. ___ out a living (barely gets by) : EKES
45. Moonshine container : JUG
46. Carriage named for an English county : SURREY
48. Careful reading : PERUSAL
50. Farrow of “Hannah and Her Sisters” : MIA
51. Dorothy’s footwear in “The Wizard of Oz” : RUBY SLIPPERS (gives “Jack Ruby”)
57. White-faced : ASHEN
60. Bit of cookware : PAN
61. Biz bigwig : EXEC
62. What follows Thanksgiving : BLACK FRIDAY (giving “Jack Black”)
66. “What ___?!” (cry of surprise) : THE
67. Volcanic flow : LAVA
68. From not long ago : RECENT
69. Was in charge of : RAN
70. In a dead heat : EVEN
71. No longer shrink-wrapped : OPENED
72. First Republican prez : ABE

Down

1. Group of schemers : CABAL
2. Mission where Davy Crockett was killed : ALAMO
3. Don Juan sort : LATIN LOVER
4. Bro’s sibling : SIS
5. Network for political junkies : C-SPAN
6. Big name in toothbrushes : ORAL-B
7. Pinker in the middle, say : RARER
8. Always, in poetry : E’ER
9. ___-mo (replay option) : SLO
10. Olympics competitor : ATHLETE
11. Toot one’s own horn : BRAG
12. Sioux City’s state : IOWA
13. Young ‘un : TYKE
19. Goes back and forth, as a tail : WAGS
21. Revise copy : EDIT
25. “That’s gotta hurt!” : OUCH!
26. Big name in desktops : IMAC
27. Teals and mallards : DUCKS
30. Start of a newsboy’s cry : EXTRA! EXTRA! …
31. Move skyward : RISE
32. Obedience school command : STAY!
33. “Watch your ____!” : STEP
34. Soft drink choice : COKE
35. Muslim woman’s head cover : HIJAB
36. Make a sharp turn back : ZAG
40. Bastille Day’s month : JULY
41. Kind of pump : SUMP
44. “I’m up for doing the job!” : SURE CAN!
47. Like thumped watermelons making a deep sound : RIPE
49. Like ships on the ocean floor : SUNK
52. Pizazz : SPICE
53. Filled with cargo : LADEN
54. Harebrained : INANE
55. 2007’s Record of the Year by Amy Winehouse : REHAB
56. Big public display : SCENE
57. Up to the task : ABLE
58. Czech or Croat : SLAV
59. “Girls Just Want to ___ Fun” : HAVE
63. Jimi Hendrix’s do, informally : ‘FRO
64. Sen.’s counterpart : REP
65. Paycheck stub abbr. : YTD

7 thoughts on “1217-18 NY Times Crossword 17 Dec 18, Monday”

  1. 6:44. I’d never seen SCOTCH used in that sense. Interesting. Hard to imagine Jack BLACK’s parents as engineers…

    Best –

  2. Very easy and enjoyable. I don’t think that Jack Ruby would be deserving of a “friendly hello”. He committed murder and plunged the Kennedy assassination into a chaos that still exists today.

  3. Easiest Monday ever for me. 10:15. I know you all are super fast but almost breaking 10 minutes felt amazing. 😉

  4. 7:13, no errors. Had to recalibrate my understanding of the word PERUSAL. Before today thought it meant to lightly scan, not “Careful reading’.

  5. Nice Monday start. (With pen on paper, and moving along with little or no pause, it can take at least 10 minutes to complete one of these.)

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