1224-18 NY Times Crossword 24 Dec 18, Monday

Constructed by: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Hitching a Ride

Themed answers include “RIDE” as a hidden word:

  • 55A. Getting picked up by the side of the road … or what 20-, 30- and 39-Across are literally doing? : HITCHING A RIDE
  • 20A. Features of some eco-friendly vehicles : HYBRID ENGINES
  • 30A. Dry region covering most of Botswana : KALAHARI DESERT
  • 39A. It may or may not correspond with one’s birth sex : GENDER IDENTITY

Bill’s time: 5m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Cooper of hard rock : ALICE

Outrageous rock singer Alice Cooper’s real name is Vincent Furnier. “Alice Cooper” was originally the name of the band that Furnier fronted, but he adopted the name as his own when he started his solo career in 1975. Outside the recording studio, Cooper is an exceptional golfer. He has stated that golf was a great help to him as he overcame addiction to drugs and alcohol.

17. Dog in “The Thin Man” : ASTA

Asta is the wonderful little dog in the superb “The Thin Man” series of films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (as Nick and Nora Charles). In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called “Skippy”. Skippy was also the dog in “Bringing up Baby” with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of “The Thin Man” films.

18. First ex-wife of Donald Trump : IVANA

Ivana Zelníčková was born in Czechoslovakia. She married an Austrian named Alfred Winklmayr, in an arrangement that allowed her to leave Communist Czechoslovakia. The marriage was dissolved within two years, and Zelníčková settled in Canada. She was an excellent skier, and was named as an alternate for the 1982 Czech Olympic Team. She was promoting the Montreal Olympics in New York in 1976 when she met Donald Trump. Ivana and Donald’s marriage was very public and well-covered by the media, but not nearly as well-covered as their very litigious divorce in the early nineties.

19. One of the Great Lakes : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

28. City near Scottsdale : TEMPE

Tempe is a city in the metropolitan area of Phoenix. The city is named for the Vale of Tempe in Greece.

The city of Scottsdale in Arizona is part of the Greater Phoenix Area. It was established in the late 1880s as Orangedale, with the name referring to the large citrus groves planted by the ex-US Army Chaplain Winfield Scott. Orangedale was renamed to Scottsdale in 1894, in honor of the founder. The city’s official nickname is “The West’s Most Western Town”.

30. Dry region covering most of Botswana : KALAHARI DESERT

The Kalahari is a vast desert region in southern Africa that covers much of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa. The desert is located within a larger lowland known as the Kalahari Basin, which covers almost a million square miles. The name “Kalahari” comes from one of two Tswana words, meaning either “the great thirst” or “a waterless place”.

46. Former attorney general Jeff : SESSIONS

Jeff Sessions is a politician from Alabama who served as US Attorney-General in Trump administration from 2017 to 2018. Born in Selma, Alabama, his full name is Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. He was named after his grandfather, who in turn was named after the president of the Confederate State Jefferson Davis, and after Confederate General Pierre-Gustave Toutant de Beauregard.

57. Partly open, as a door : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

59. One way to commute : BY CAR

Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …

60. Jane Austen title woman : EMMA

Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel. Emma interfered in that troubled courtship.

62. Clement C. ___, writer of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” : MOORE

The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously in 1823, and is better known today by its first line “‘Twas the night before Christmas”. Most scholars believe that the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore, a theologian from New York City. Others say that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr., a poet from Upstate New York.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash …

63. One twixt 12 and 20 : TEEN

“Twixt” is a shortened form of “betwixt”, meaning “between, among”.

66. George H. W. Bush had four : SONS

President George H. W. Bush served in the US Navy during WWII. Future President Bush postponed his entry into college after the attack on Pearl Harbor and enlisted in the navy instead. When he earned his wings, he was the youngest aviator in the US Navy at that time.

Down

8. Dance done in a line : CONGA

The conga line is a dance that originated as a Cuban carnival march. It became popular in the US starting in the thirties. The dance is apparently named after the Congo region of Africa, and it was originated by slaves who were brought from there to Cuba.

12. Manning with a good throwing arm : ELI

Eli Manning plays as quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning retired from football as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2015. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback. Eli, Peyton and Archie co-authored a book for children titles “Family Huddle” in 2009. It describes the Mannings playing football together as young boys.

21. Furniture giant founded in Sweden : IKEA

The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

29. Info on an airline website : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

30. Falls (over) : KEELS

The literal meaning of “keel over” is to capsize, turn a boat over so that her keel lies up from the surface. We use the term figuratively to mean “collapse, faint”.

31. Woody Allen comedy that won Best Picture : ANNIE HALL

I suppose if there is any Woody Allen movie that I enjoy watching, it’s “Annie Hall” from 1977. I think Diane Keaton is a great actress and she is wonderful in this film. You’ll see Paul Simon as well, making a rare movie appearance, and even Truman Capote playing himself. The film is also famous for sparking a movement in the fashion world to adopt the “Annie Hall” look, that very distinctive appearance championed by Diane Keaton as the Annie Hall character.

32. Mahershala ___, co-star of 2018’s “Green Book” : ALI

Mahershala Ali is an actor and sometime rapper. Among the more memorable roles Ali has had are lobbyist Remy Danton in TV’s “House of Cards”, and Colonel Boggs in “The Hunger Games” series of movies. He also won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing Juan in the 2016 drama “Moonlight”.

34. Eisenhower, informally : IKE

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (“Ike”) was in command of the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during WWII. If you’re a WWII buff like me, then I recommend you take a look at a great, made-for-TV movie starring Tom Selleck as Eisenhower called “Ike: Countdown to D-Day” that came out in 2004.

36. Some fourth down scores: Abbr. : FGS

Field goal (FG)

43. Ottoman inns : IMARETS

Imarets were inns or hostels used by pilgrims throughout the Ottoman Empire. The network of imarets was set up to provide food to anyone in need, so they also served as soup kitchens, as it were.

47. Parts of a Cold War arsenal, for short : ICBMS

An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with the range necessary to cross between continents. Being ballistic (unlike a cruise missile), an ICBM is guided during the initial launch phase, but later in flight just relies on thrust and gravity to arrive at its target. It is defined as intercontinental as it has a range greater than 3,500 miles. ICBMs are really only used for delivering nuclear warheads. Scary stuff …

The term “Cold War” was coined by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

48. Words to a josher : OH YOU

When the verb “to josh”, meaning “to kid”, was coined in the 1840s as an American slang term, it was written with a capital J. It is likely that the term somehow comes from the proper name “Joshua”, but no one seems to remember why.

50. Sarcastic comments : SNARK

“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

56. ___ Poupon mustard : GREY

Grey Poupon mustard dates way back to 1777 when Maurice Grey started making mustard with Auguste Poupon in Dijon, France.

57. Hullabaloo : ADO

Our word “hullabaloo” meaning a “commotion” is a derivative of an older term “hollo-ballo”. “Hollo-ballo” was a word used for an uproar in the north of England and Scotland.

58. Scary part of a T. rex : JAW

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Kiss, in Spanish : BESO
5. Cooper of hard rock : ALICE
10. “That was a bear!” : WHEW!
14. Reclined : LAIN
15. Snake poison : VENOM
16. Shovel’s creation : HOLE
17. Dog in “The Thin Man” : ASTA
18. First ex-wife of Donald Trump : IVANA
19. One of the Great Lakes : ERIE
20. Features of some eco-friendly vehicles : HYBRID ENGINES
23. Give the go-ahead : SAY OK
24. Comes to understand : REALIZES
26. ___ the chips fall where they may : LET
28. City near Scottsdale : TEMPE
30. Dry region covering most of Botswana : KALAHARI DESERT
36. Swamp : FEN
37. Similar : ALIKE
38. Battery for a remote : AAA
39. It may or may not correspond with one’s birth sex : GENDER IDENTITY
44. More crafty : SLIER
45. “Delicious!” : YUM!
46. Former attorney general Jeff : SESSIONS
51. Involving warships : NAVAL
55. Getting picked up by the side of the road … or what 20-, 30- and 39-Across are literally doing? : HITCHING A RIDE
57. Partly open, as a door : AJAR
59. One way to commute : BY CAR
60. Jane Austen title woman : EMMA
61. Broad valley : DALE
62. Clement C. ___, writer of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” : MOORE
63. One twixt 12 and 20 : TEEN
64. Birds that hoot : OWLS
65. In a pouty mood : SULKY
66. George H. W. Bush had four : SONS

Down

1. Bored feeling, with “the” : BLAHS
2. Course you’re almost guaranteed to get a good grade in : EASY A
3. Not get involved while something’s happening : SIT BY
4. Really cookin’ : ON A ROLL
5. Rah-rah : AVID
6. Pry bar, e.g. : LEVER
7. Silly : INANE
8. Dance done in a line : CONGA
9. One might end “Sent from my iPhone” : EMAIL
10. Asthmatic noises : WHEEZES
11. Taboo alternative to beef : HORSE MEAT
12. Manning with a good throwing arm : ELI
13. Tiny : WEE
21. Furniture giant founded in Sweden : IKEA
22. Time after dark, in commercials : NITE
25. Apply, as pesticides : SPRAY
27. Them ___ hills : THAR
29. Info on an airline website : ETA
30. Falls (over) : KEELS
31. Woody Allen comedy that won Best Picture : ANNIE HALL
32. Mahershala ___, co-star of 2018’s “Green Book” : ALI
33. Cleanse (of) : RID
34. Eisenhower, informally : IKE
35. Say it isn’t so : DENY
36. Some fourth down scores: Abbr. : FGS
40. Wishes : DESIRES
41. Once, back in the day : ERST
42. Sandwich fish : TUNA
43. Ottoman inns : IMARETS
47. Parts of a Cold War arsenal, for short : ICBMS
48. Words to a josher : OH YOU
49. Actor Williamson : NICOL
50. Sarcastic comments : SNARK
52. Alternative to YouTube : VIMEO
53. Some jingle writers : ADMEN
54. Favors one side : LEANS
56. ___ Poupon mustard : GREY
57. Hullabaloo : ADO
58. Scary part of a T. rex : JAW

8 thoughts on “1224-18 NY Times Crossword 24 Dec 18, Monday”

  1. 10:12, 1 dumb error. Done via the copy BEQ posted on his site. More or less Monday, minus a section with a Natick (NICHOL/MOORE) I had to stare at for several minutes.

    Anyway, it’ll be an interesting contrast to see how I do on this in five weeks if my NYT source still holds up.

  2. Mostly easy. When I saw the name BEQ I thought that he must be a new constructor. From the comments, I see that his reputation is with the hard ones so those are the ones that I usually don’t attempt. While the mechanics of working the puzzle were not difficult, I nevertheless found the entries to elicit a lot of deeper thought and that factor is something that I also enjoy about a good puzzle.

  3. 8:54, 3 errors: NICO(R); SNAR(L); SU(R)(L)Y. I had more difficulty than usual for a Monday. Vague clueing led to too many possibilities for me, and I had trouble sorting them out.

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