1230-18 NY Times Crossword 30 Dec 18, Sunday

Constructed by: Luke Vaughn
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: No Duh!

Themed answers are common phrases with the word “the” omitted:

  • 36A. Reason for an R rating? : BEHIND SCENES (from “behind the scenes”)
  • 45A. Cuban or Zuckerberg? : WELL-OFF MARK (from “well off the mark”)
  • 69A. Needing certain ink for a color printer? : OUT OF BLUE (from “out of the blue”)
  • 90A. Impetus behind a paternity test? : POP QUESTION (from “pop the question”)
  • 97A. On a Paleo diet, say? : AGAINST GRAIN (from “against the grain”)
  • 6D. Really, really needing some sun? : BEYOND PALE (from “beyond the pale”)
  • 16D. Buy one circus animal, get one circus animal free? : SEAL DEAL (from “seal the deal”)
  • 77D. Installment of a women’s clothing catalog? : SKIRT ISSUE (from “skirt the issue”)
  • 85D. Something up for grabs on a fishing boat? : SPARE ROD (from “spare the rod”)

Bill’s time: 20m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7. Sound quality : TIMBRE

The timbre of a sound is its distinguishing quality above and beyond its volume and pitch. “Timbre” was used in Old French to mean “sound of a bell”.

13. West African capital : BISSAU

The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is in West Africa, bordered by the countries of Senegal and Guinea. The country was a Portuguese colony for centuries under the name Portuguese Guinea. When independence was granted in 1974, the name Guinea-Bissau was chosen for the new country, as Bissau is the nation’s capital. The double-barrelled name helps to prevent confusion with the neighboring Republic of Guinea.

23. “Good golly!,” across the pond : BLIMEY!

When I was a kid in London, a pretty common expression of surprise was “gor blimey”, a euphemism for “God blind me”.

25. Cloaklike garment : SERAPE

“Serape” is the English pronunciation and spelling of the Spanish word “zarape”. A zarape is like a Mexican poncho, a soft woolen blanket with a hole in the middle for the head. Most serapes have colorful designs that use traditional Mayan motifs.

26. Nosh : BITE

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

31. N.C.A.A. rival of Duke : UNC

The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill started enrolling students way back in 1795, making it the oldest public university in the country, i.e. the first to enrol students.

34. Summer setting in Seattle: Abbr. : PDT

Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

The Washington city of Seattle was founded on a site that had been occupied by Native Americans for over 4,000 years before the first Europeans arrived in the area. The name “Seattle” was chosen in honor of Duwamish Chief Seattle who had a reputation for welcoming white settlers.

39. McGregor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi : EWAN

Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the more beloved of the “Star Wars” characters. Kenobi was portrayed by two fabulous actors in the series of films. As a young man he is played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, and as an older man he is played by Alec Guinness.

44. Quaint photos : SEPIAS

Sepia is that rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish. Sepia ink was commonly used for writing and drawing as far back as Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

45. Cuban or Zuckerberg? : WELL-OFF MARK (from “well off the mark”)

Mark Cuban is a successful businessman, and the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. If you’ve seen the reality TV show “Shark Tank”, you’ll known Cuban as one of the investors putting up their money i.e. one of the “sharks”. If you’re a “Dancing with the Stars” fan, you might recall Cuban as a contestant on the 5th series of that show, partnered with Kym Johnson.

If you’ve seen the movie “The Social Network”, you might remember that Facebook started off as “Facemash”, a site created by Mark Zuckerberg while he was attending Harvard. Facemash became “Thefacebook” and membership was opened to students beyond Harvard, initially including Ivy League schools and then most colleges across North America.

48. Archie’s pal at Riverdale : JUGHEAD

Jughead Jones is a character in Archie Comics, and someone who first appeared in print in 1941.

Archie Andrews is the main character in a comic book series introduced in 1941 by Archie Comics. Archie was such a successful character that he went on to appear in a radio series, a syndicated comic strip and two television cartoon shows. Famously, Archie got himself in a love triangle with Betty Cooper, the girl next door, and Veronica Lodge, the only child of the richest man in town.

52. Largest species of the genus Leopardus : OCELOT

The ocelot is a wildcat found mainly in South and Central America, although there have been sightings as far north as Arkansas. An ocelot doesn’t look too different from a domestic cat, and some have been kept as pets. Perhaps most famously, Salvador Dali had one that he carried around everywhere with him.

64. Part of the eye where vision is sharpest : FOVEA

The fovea centralis is a small depression on the retina and is the point of sharpest vision. About half of the nerve fibers in the optic nerve terminate at the fovea, with the other half carrying signals from the rest of the retina. “Fovea” is Latin for “pit”, and is a term used from several anatomical depressions found in the body.

68. Maker of the MDX luxury S.U.V. : ACURA

The Honda Pilot is mid-size crossover SUV that was introduced in 2002. The luxury version of the vehicle is sold as the Acura MDX.

71. Epitome of laziness : SLOTH

“Sloth”, meaning “indolence, sluggishness”, comes from the Middle English word “slowe”, the same root for our contemporary word “slow”. The animal, the sloth, is so named as it exhibits slow-moving behavior.

74. Harbor city of NW France : BREST

Brest is a port city in northwest France, and is the second largest military port in the country. Brest was an important base for German U-boats during WWII when France was occupied by the Nazis. Brest is the most westerly city in the whole country.

80. IHOP order : STACK

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests!

82. Billy of infomercial fame : MAYS

Billy Mays was a larger than life salesman often seen in infomercials. His loud and aggressive pitch was remarkably successful, although it did nothing for me …

83. Only European capital on both a river and an ocean : LISBON

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. Lisbon is the westernmost capital city in Europe, and indeed is the westernmost large city on the continent. It is also the oldest city in Western Europe and was founded hundreds of years before London, Paris and Rome.

86. Kind of vision : X-RAY

Although Superman’s ability to see through objects is termed “x-ray vision”, the phenomenon as described cannot involve just the use of x-rays. The issue is that Superman can perceive color while using his superpower, and that’s not possible with x-rays.

95. “Straight Outta Compton” group : NWA

“Straight Outta Compton” was the first album by N.W.A. N.W.A was a hip hop group from Compton, California. The original five group members included rappers who have made a name for themselves as solo acts, including: Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. The story of NWA is told in a 2015 film, also called “Straight Outta Compton”.

96. “The path to the dark side,” per Yoda : FEAR

Yoda is one of the most beloved characters of the “Star Wars” series of films. Yoda’s voice is provided by the great modern-day puppeteer Frank Oz of “Muppets” fame.

97. On a Paleo diet, say? : AGAINST GRAIN (from “against the grain”)

The paleolithic (or “paleo, caveman”) diet is a fad diet that became popular in the 2000s. The idea is to eat wild plants and animals that would have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era (roughly the Stone Age). This period precedes the introduction of agriculture and domestication of animals. As a result, someone on the diet avoids consuming grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. The diet consists mainly of lean meat (about 45-65% of the total calorie intake), non-starchy vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts.

106. Big Starbucks orders : VENTIS

Starbucks introduced us to coffee drinks in a whole range of volumes:

  • Demi … 3 fl oz
  • Short … 8 fl oz
  • Tall … 12 fl oz
  • Grande … 16 fl oz (Italian for “large”)
  • Venti … 20 fl oz (Italian for “twenty”)
  • Trenta … 30 fl oz (Italian for “thirty”)

107. Year the Office of Homeland Security was created : MMI

The Office of Homeland Security was founded less than one month after the 9/11 attacks. Just over a year later, the Homeland Security Act was passed, which created the Department of Homeland Security.

111. Rumbles : MELEES

Our term “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

115. Capital of Thessaly : LARISSA

The region of Greece known as Thessaly used to be called Aeolia, and appears in Homer’s “Odyssey” under that name.

117. Washington air hub : SEA-TAC

Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) is more fully known as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Sea-Tac is the main hub for Alaska Airlines.

122. Shanghai : KIDNAP

To shanghai someone is to compel that person to do something against their will. “Shanghai” is actually an American term as it was first used to describe the practice of kidnapping men to work as crew on merchant ships, a practice engaged in initially on the West Coast of the US. The word “shanghai” was chosen as Shanghai was a common destination for the ships.

123. Accents and Sonatas : SEDANS

The Accent is subcompact car that was introduced by Hyundai in 1994.

The Sonata is one of Hyundai’s most successful models, having been introduced in 1985 and still being sold today. The original model didn’t make it to the North American market as it had problems meeting emission standards. The first Sonatas hit this side of the Pacific in 1988, and were assembled in Bromont, Quebec.

Down

7. Neighborhood north of the World Trade Center : TRIBECA

“TriBeCa” is a clever little acronym that expands into “TRI-angle BE-low CA-nal Street”. The name of the New York City neighborhood was developed by local residents who basically copied the naming technique used by residents of the adjacent area of SoHo, with “SoHo” being short for “SO-uth of HO-uston Street”.

One World Trade Center (One WTC) is the legal name for the tallest building in the US that is known colloquially as “Freedom Tower”. The building stands at the symbolic height of 1776 feet.

9. Weasel’s relative : MARTEN

The pine marten is an animal about the size of a domestic cat. It is native to Northern Europe and is related to the mink, otter, badger and weasel.

11. ___ Tin Tin : RIN

The original Rin Tin Tin was a real-life dog, a puppy discovered by a GI in a bombed-out kennel in France during WWI. The soldier named the pup Rin Tin Tin, the same name as a puppet given to American soldiers for luck. On returning to the US, “Rinty” was trained by his owner and was spotted doing tricks by a film producer. Rinty featured in some films, eventually getting his first starring role in 1923 in the silent movie “Where the North Begins”. Legend has it that this first Rin Tin Tin died in the arms of actress Jean Harlow. Not a bad way to go …

12. 2003 Economics Nobelist Robert : ENGLE

Robert Engle is an American economist and joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2003.

15. 86 : SCRAP

To eighty-six something is to eject it, to throw it out. The origin of the term is unclear. One story is that it originated in the days of prohibition in the West Village of Lower Manhattan, New York City. Whenever there was a scheduled raid on the establishment called Chumley’s, an informant would call ahead and tell the bartender to “86” his customers i.e. to send them out the door on 86 Bedford Street. The cops would then turn up at the entrance on Pamela Court.

18. Sport-___ : UTE

A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sport-utes and crossover-utes.

21. Theodor ___ (Dr. Seuss’s real name) : GEISEL

“Dr. Seuss” was the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel first used the pen name while studying at Dartmouth College and at the University of Oxford. Back then, he pronounced “Seuss” as it would be in German, i.e. rhyming with “voice”. After his books found success in the US, he went with the pronunciation being used widely by the public, quite happy to have a name that rhymes with “Mother Goose”.

30. Stealth bomber, familiarly : B-TWO

The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is more familiarly called the Stealth Bomber. The original plan was for the US Military to buy 132 B-2 bombers but the cost became so high (over a billion dollars each in today’s money) that only 21 were actually ordered. One of these crashed in 2008 and the remaining 20 aircraft are still in service.

32. Partner of snick : SNEE

“Snick or snee” is the name given to cut and thrust while fighting with a knife. The phrase is rooted in a pair of Dutch words. The expression gave its name to “snickersnee” (sometimes just “snee”), a light sword-like knife.

33. French Alpine river : ISERE

The Isère river gives its name to the French Department of Isère, located partly in the French Alps. In turn, Isère gave its name to a somewhat famous ship called the Isère, which in 1885 delivered the Statue of Liberty from France to America in 214 shipping crates.

35. Root of Polynesia : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

The term “Polynesia” was coined in 1756 by the author Charles de Brosses, when he used it to describe all the islands in the Pacific. This was later restricted to what we now refer to as a subregion of Oceania.

41. Cowboys’ home, for short : NFC EAST

The Dallas Cowboys play in the National Football Conference of the NFL. The Cowboys are famous for a lengthy streak of 20 consecutive winning seasons, from 1966 to 1985. They are the highest-valued sports franchise in the country. The only team in the world that’s worth more money is the UK’s Manchester United soccer team.

43. It’s more than a warning: Abbr. : TKT

Ticket (tkt.)

47. View from la plage : MER

In French, “la plage” (the beach) is beside “la mer” (the sea).

48. “Aladdin” villain : JAFAR

Jafar is the bad guy in the animated film “Aladdin”. Jafar was important enough to get his name front and center in the sequel called “Aladdin 2”, which is usually referred to as “The Return of Jafar”.

49. City between Albany and Rochester : UTICA

Utica in New York is known as “Second Chance City” these days, due to the recent influx of refugees from war-torn parts of the world and from Bosnia in particular. These immigrants have helped revitalize the area and reverse a trend of population loss.

50. Stimulate : GIN UP

“To gin up” is slang, meaning “to enliven, excite”. The term probably derives from the older “to ginger up”. Gingering up was the rather nasty practice of putting ginger up inside a horse to make it lively and move with a high tail.

51. 2017 World Series winner, for short : ‘STRO

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

58. Often-smoked cheese : GOUDA

Gouda is a cheese that originated in the Dutch city of the same name, although today Gouda is produced all over the world and very little of it comes from the Netherlands. Gouda is often smoke-cured, which gives it a yellowish-brown outer skin and that characteristic smoky taste.

59. First lady : EVE

According to the Bible, Eve was created as Adam’s companion by God, creating her from Adam’s rib.

61. Shia of “Transformers” : LABEOUF

Shia LaBeouf is an actor who started out in the Disney television series “Even Stevens”. Adult audiences might be more familiar with his leading role in the 2003 film “Holes”.

63. Beginnings of fame and fortune? : EFS

The words “fame” and “fortune” each begin with a letter F (ef).

65. Some SAT study : VOCAB

Today, the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation “SAT”.

66. Kind of alcohol : ETHYL

Ethyl alcohol is more usually known as ethanol. Ethanol is the alcohol found in intoxicating beverages, and nowadays is also used as a fuel for cars. It is also found in medical wipes and hand sanitizer, in which it acts as an antiseptic.

67. “___ Days” (1990s platinum Bon Jovi album) : THESE

Jon Bon Jovi was born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., and he is the leader of the band that took his name: Bon Jovi.

69. Anthem contraction : O’ER

The words “o’er the land of the free” come from the US national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.

72. Hedy ___, subject of the 2017 documentary “Bombshell” : LAMARR

Hedy Lamarr was an American actress who was actually born in Vienna in modern-day Austria. Not only was Lamarr a successful Hollywood performer, during WWII she was the co-inventor of the frequency-hopping spread-spectrum method of transmitting radio signals that is still used to this day in wireless communication. Impressive …

83. Worker at a hosp. : LPN

Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

87. Director Lee : ANG

Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

91. Untagged : SAFE

That would be baseball.

93. Rating somebody? : NIELSEN

Arthur Nielsen founded his Nielsen Media Research company to track brand advertising. He quickly moved into market analysis of radio audiences in the thirties, and today the company is famous for tracking television audiences. I remember watching the last episode of the TV series “Becker”, in which Ted Danson played a doctor. Given that the show had been ordered off the air due to declining viewership, there’s a great line in the last episode when Becker asks for the chart of a patient called “Nielsen”. He looks at the lab results and announces “I don’t know what everyone is talking about … these numbers aren’t so bad!” Great stuff …

94. The Supreme Court and the Muses : ENNEADS

The Ennead is a group of nine gods in Egyptian mythology. The Ennead were all in the same family, all descendents of the god Atum. The word “ennead” is also used more generically for any group of nine things. The term comes from “ennea”, the Greek word for “nine”.

The US Constitution doesn’t specify the size of the Supreme Court, but authorizes the Congress to the determine the number of justices. The court started with six justices in 1789, and the size of the bench grew with the size of the country and the number of judicial circuits. There were as many as ten justices, from 1863 to 1866. There have been nine justices since 1869.

In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:

  • Mneme (memory)
  • Melete (meditation)
  • Aoede (song)

98. Zoroastrianism’s sacred text : AVESTA

The Avesta is the main collection of sacred texts of the religion Zoroastrianism (also “Mazdaism”). Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and held sway in the pre-Islamic Iranian empires from around 600 to 650 BCE.

99. Author of “The Joy Luck Club” : AMY TAN

Amy Tan lives not too far from here, in Sausalito just north of San Francisco. Tan is an American writer of Chinese descent whose most successful work is “The Joy Luck Club”. “The Joy Luck Club” was made into a movie produced by Oliver Stone in 1993. The novel and movie tell of four Chinese-American immigrant families in San Francisco who start the Joy Luck Club, a group playing Mahjong for money and eating delicious food.

101. Barbara and Jenna Bush, to Jeb : NIECES

Barbara Bush is one of the twin daughters of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. She is co-founder and president of Global Health Corps., a non-profit that promotes health equity around the world. Barbara and her sister Jenna wrote the 2017 memoir “Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life”.

Jenna Bush is one of the twin daughters of President George W. Bush. During her father’s 2004 presidential campaign, Jenna met and started dating Henry Hager who was a White House aide for deputy chief of staff Karl Rove. The couple were married in 2008.

Jeb Bush is the son of President George H. W. Bush, and the brother of President George W. Bush. I always thought that Jeb was an American nickname for James or Joseph but I must be wrong, because George and Barbara’s son John Ellis Bush is called “Jeb”. A kind blog reader has suggested the the name “Jeb” may have been chosen as JEB are the initials of John Ellis Bush.

105. Exams for future J.D.s : LSATS

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The law degree that is abbreviated to J.D. stands for “Juris Doctor” or “Doctor of Jurisprudence”.

110. Car sticker fig. : MSRP

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

113. Part of A.M.A. : ASK

Ask me anything (AMA)

114. X : CHI

The Greek letter “chi” is the one that looks like our letter X.

116. Medicinal plant : RUE

The rue (also called “citrus”) family of flowering plants includes oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits.

118. Part of S.A.S.E.: Abbr. : ENV

An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Fixture on a ski lodge deck : HOT TUB
7. Sound quality : TIMBRE
13. West African capital : BISSAU
19. Like counting your chickens before they’ve hatched : UNWISE
20. Going great guns, as business : ROARING
22. Come to terms with : ACCEPT
23. “Good golly!,” across the pond : BLIMEY!
24. Close enough : IN RANGE
25. Cloaklike garment : SERAPE
26. Nosh : BITE
27. Goes around : ORBITS
29. Hardly a right-minded individual? : LIBERAL
31. N.C.A.A. rival of Duke : UNC
32. To which one might respond “Salud!” : SNEEZE
33. Superlative suffix : -IEST
34. Summer setting in Seattle: Abbr. : PDT
36. Reason for an R rating? : BEHIND SCENES (from “behind the scenes”)
39. McGregor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi : EWAN
42. Gobble : EAT
44. Quaint photos : SEPIAS
45. Cuban or Zuckerberg? : WELL-OFF MARK (from “well off the mark”)
48. Archie’s pal at Riverdale : JUGHEAD
51. Dry as a bone : SERE
52. Largest species of the genus Leopardus : OCELOT
53. Fighting : AT IT
54. Sprang : LEAPT
57. More ready to go : EAGERER
60. Show stopper? : FINALE
62. Pure and simple : MERE
64. Part of the eye where vision is sharpest : FOVEA
65. Old hand : VET
68. Maker of the MDX luxury S.U.V. : ACURA
69. Needing certain ink for a color printer? : OUT OF BLUE (from “out of the blue”)
71. Epitome of laziness : SLOTH
73. Freestyle, e.g. : RAP
74. Harbor city of NW France : BREST
76. Went to court, say : SUED
77. It may be right under your nose, informally : STACHE
78. Fixture behind the bar : BEER TAP
80. IHOP order : STACK
82. Billy of infomercial fame : MAYS
83. Only European capital on both a river and an ocean : LISBON
86. Kind of vision : X-RAY
88. Fit for the job : HIRABLE
90. Impetus behind a paternity test? : POP QUESTION (from “pop the question”)
93. Not so far : NEARER
95. “Straight Outta Compton” group : NWA
96. “The path to the dark side,” per Yoda : FEAR
97. On a Paleo diet, say? : AGAINST GRAIN (from “against the grain”)
102. Slow boat : ARK
104. ___ Studies (college major) : FILM
106. Big Starbucks orders : VENTIS
107. Year the Office of Homeland Security was created : MMI
108. Some paints : ENAMELS
111. Rumbles : MELEES
112. “The world’s greatest …,” e.g. : HYPE
113. Opposite : ACROSS
115. Capital of Thessaly : LARISSA
117. Washington air hub : SEA-TAC
119. Post-workout activity : SHOWER
120. Unusually short : STUNTED
121. Start to take off, in a way : UNLACE
122. Shanghai : KIDNAP
123. Accents and Sonatas : SEDANS
124. 100-meter and 200-meter : EVENTS

Down

1. Commotion : HUBBUB
2. Connected : ONLINE
3. Reaction to a really bad pun : TWITCH
4. Something you might need to kill : TIME
5. Treat like an object : USE
6. Really, really needing some sun? : BEYOND PALE (from “beyond the pale”)
7. Neighborhood north of the World Trade Center : TRIBECA
8. Charges : IONIZES
9. Weasel’s relative : MARTEN
10. Beach tops : BRAS
11. ___ Tin Tin : RIN
12. 2003 Economics Nobelist Robert : ENGLE
13. One’s most ardent supporters : BASE
14. Finisher of cakes : ICER
15. 86 : SCRAP
16. Buy one circus animal, get one circus animal free? : SEAL DEAL (from “seal the deal”)
17. Most newspapers have one : APP
18. Sport-___ : UTE
21. Theodor ___ (Dr. Seuss’s real name) : GEISEL
28. Live : RESIDE
30. Stealth bomber, familiarly : B-TWO
32. Partner of snick : SNEE
33. French Alpine river : ISERE
35. Root of Polynesia : TARO
37. Mesopotamian mother goddess : ISHTAR
38. Female in a pen : EWE
40. In front of, old-style : AFORE
41. Cowboys’ home, for short : NFC EAST
43. It’s more than a warning: Abbr. : TKT
46. Street handout, maybe : LEAFLET
47. View from la plage : MER
48. “Aladdin” villain : JAFAR
49. City between Albany and Rochester : UTICA
50. Stimulate : GIN UP
51. 2017 World Series winner, for short : ‘STRO
55. Something required : A MUST
56. Dog or cat transporter : PET TAXI
58. Often-smoked cheese : GOUDA
59. First lady : EVE
61. Shia of “Transformers” : LABEOUF
63. Beginnings of fame and fortune? : EFS
65. Some SAT study : VOCAB
66. Kind of alcohol : ETHYL
67. “___ Days” (1990s platinum Bon Jovi album) : THESE
69. Anthem contraction : O’ER
70. On another call : BUSY
72. Hedy ___, subject of the 2017 documentary “Bombshell” : LAMARR
75. Woman’s name meaning “born again” : RENEE
77. Installment of a women’s clothing catalog? : SKIRT ISSUE (from “skirt the issue”)
78. Common potato chip flavor, in brief : BBQ
79. Hybrid tourney style : PRO-AM
81. Pure : CHASTE
83. Worker at a hosp. : LPN
84. Waterloo’s home : IOWA
85. Something up for grabs on a fishing boat? : SPARE ROD (from “spare the rod”)
87. Director Lee : ANG
89. Rules, informally : REGS
91. Untagged : SAFE
92. Quavering sounds : TRILLS
93. Rating somebody? : NIELSEN
94. The Supreme Court and the Muses : ENNEADS
98. Zoroastrianism’s sacred text : AVESTA
99. Author of “The Joy Luck Club” : AMY TAN
100. Collision : IMPACT
101. Barbara and Jenna Bush, to Jeb : NIECES
103. Famous : KNOWN
105. Exams for future J.D.s : LSATS
109. Traveling from coast to coast, maybe : ASEA
110. Car sticker fig. : MSRP
111. “Do you ___?” : MIND
112. Robust : HALE
113. Part of A.M.A. : ASK
114. X : CHI
116. Medicinal plant : RUE
118. Part of S.A.S.E.: Abbr. : ENV

17 thoughts on “1230-18 NY Times Crossword 30 Dec 18, Sunday”

  1. Finished after fixing a slip-of-(duh)-finger typo. Took me about half an hour, I think. (A friend dropped by in the middle and just closing my iPad didn’t immediately stop the timer.) Good puzzle, in any case.

  2. I needed a healthy 68 minutes to finish this one. The theme helped some, but a lot of the fill I needed to get via crosses e.g. AVESTA and BISSAU among others. I finally had to do some trial and error to get the congratulatory music around LARISSA, ENNEADS and AVESTA. Tougher than a usual Sunday I thought.

    Best –

  3. About 40 mins and 0 errors, and only got a couple by process of elimination: The only A.M.A. I’m aware of is the American Medical Association and a “twitch” being a reaction to a really bad pun is unknown to me. I wish Bill would have expanded on that one.

  4. Two hours and I couldn’t finish the upper left corner mainly because I read deck in 1 across as DESK about a dozen times DUH

    1. Had to wiki this. The ‘Office’ of Homeland Security was established by Pres. Bush in October 2001, it was headed by Tom Ridge. The ‘Department’ of Homeland Security was established by congress, approximately one year later. A lot of tricky clues in this puzzle.

  5. 37:26, no errors. Tough puzzle for me to get through. The crosses of the triad LARISSA, AVESTA and RUE were complete guesses. Lucky to get them all correctly.

  6. 57A. “Eagerer” instead of “more eager”? My English teachers would have redlined that one. IF Mr. Vaugh wanted to go that way, his clue should have read, “Readier to go.” But, apparently and in keeping with proper usage, he was unwilling to make that error himself.

    1. @SK … That entry made me cringe as well, but the word “eagerer”, however awkward, is in various dictionaries.

      1. Then Mr. Vaughn should have used “readier” in his clue. The fact that he didn’t tells me all I need to know.

  7. DNF after 1:02:33. Typical Shortz chicanery. As for the newspaper, they had to print the solution on the back of the puzzle, so had to check it here.

  8. Glenn,

    Shortz does not construct the puzzles – he edits them. Just a “short” reminder there….

    Great puzzle. Thought this would have been a rebus puzzle, owing to the theme, but that was a dead giveaway there, too.

    Am very excited to see what next Sunday’s puzzle will bring! Thanks, Luke!

    1. Shortz edits the puzzles and is the final arbiter on what gets published. Therefore he bears responsibility. So a “short” reminder back at you…

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