1216-19 NY Times Crossword 16 Dec 19, Monday

Constructed by: Howard Barkin & Kevin Christian
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Elves

Themed answers famously feature ELVES:

  • 65A What the answer to each of the starred clues has : ELVES
  • 20A *Trilogy set in Middle-earth, with “The” : LORD OF THE RINGS
  • 37A *Container for a Kellogg’s cereal : RICE KRISPIES BOX
  • 48A *Reputed place at the North Pole : SANTA’S WORKSHOP

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 McEntire of country music : REBA

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007.

14 Links legend Palmer, familiarly : ARNIE

Arnold Palmer was one of the greats of the world of golf. He was very popular with many fans of the game, and his followers were usually referred to as “Arnie’s Army”. Off the course, Palmer was an avid pilot until his latter years. He resided in Latrobe, Pennsylvania for much of the year and the local airport is named in his honor: Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

The oldest type of golf course is a links course. The name “links” comes from the Old English word “hlinc” meaning “rising ground”. “Hlinc” was used to describe areas with coastal sand dunes or open parkland. As a result, we use the term “links course” to mean a golf course that is located at or on the coast, often amid sand dunes. The British Open is always played on a links course.

15 Actor Epps of “House” : OMAR

Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Foreman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Gant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

17 Recurring Tyler Perry movie role : MADEA

Tyler Perry is an actor, comedian and writer who is perhaps best known in front of the camera for his drag performances as a tough elderly woman named Madea. Perry also created the sitcom “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” that ran for eight seasons from 2006 until 2012.

18 Miller ___ (low-calorie beer) : LITE

The first light beer was produced by Chicago’s Meister Brau brewery in the sixties. Miller took over Meister Brau, reformulated the light beer using the same process and became the first of the big breweries to come out with a light beer, “Lite Beer from Miller” introduced in 1973. There really wasn’t a serious competitor to Miller Lite until Anheuser-Busch finally came up with a process and a product in 1982 that they called Bud Light.

20 *Trilogy set in Middle-earth, with “The” : LORD OF THE RINGS

Middle-earth is the setting for J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” series.

23 A.M.A. members : DRS

The list of American Medical Association (AMA) past-presidents includes William James Mayo (1906-07) and Charles Horace Mayo (1917-18). William and Charles were brothers, and were two founders of the famous Mayo Clinic located in Rochester, Minnesota.

25 Nag, nag, nag : BADGER

To badger is to harass. The verb “to badger” comes from the cruel practice of badger-baiting, which dates back to medieval times. Badger-baiting is a blood sport in which a dog is used as bait for a badger in its den, to draw it out into the open. The den is an artificial structure built to resemble a natural badgers’ den, complete with a tunnel entrance. The dog is sent down the tunnel causing the badger and dog to lock their jaws on each other. The badger and dog are then removed from the den by pulling on the dog’s tale. Horrible …

31 Banned insecticide : DDT

DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

34 Early April zodiac sign : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

37 *Container for a Kellogg’s cereal : RICE KRISPIES BOX

Snap, Crackle and Pop are three elves employed as the mascots for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. The trio first appeared in an ad campaign in 1933, although the phrase “snap, crackle and pop” had been used for the cereal for some time in radio ads. By the way, the elves are selling “Rice Bubbles” in Australia, and the elves have different names in other parts of the world (like “Cric!, Crac! and Croc! in Quebec).

40 Folk singer and protester Joan : BAEZ

Joan Baez is an American folk singer and a prominent activist in the fields of non-violence, civil rights, human rights and environmental protection. Baez has dated some high-profile figures in her life including Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs (of Apple) and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.

41 Singer/songwriter Redding : OTIS

Otis Redding is often referred to as the “King of Soul”, and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.

42 Author Zora ___ Hurston : NEALE

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author who was most famous for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.

46 Wine barrel wood : OAK

The Chardonnay grape is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of France. Now it’s grown “everywhere”. Drinkers of California “Chards” seem to be particularly fond of oak flavor, so most Chardonnay wines are aged in oak barrels.

48 *Reputed place at the North Pole : SANTA’S WORKSHOP

If you want to send a note to Santa from Canada, he has his own special postal code: “North Pole, HOH OHO”. The US Postal Service suggests that we send mail for Santa to zip code 99705, which directs it to the city of North Pole, Alaska.

57 Words before and after “or not” in a Shakespeare quote : TO BE

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 …

58 Choreographer Alvin : AILEY

Alvin Ailey was a dancer who formed his own troupe in New York in 1958, naming it “the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater”. The most famous work that Ailey choreographed was called “Revelations”. President Barack Obama awarded Ailey the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously in 2014.

61 Bell-ringing makeup company : AVON

In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.

Down

1 Orange root vegetable : YAM

Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the world than they are in this country, and are especially common in Africa.

5 Physical expression of frustration, in modern lingo : HEADDESK

A facepalm is the gesture made by lowering one’s face into the palm of one’s hand or hands. A facepalm can be an expression of surprise perhaps, frustration or embarrassment. A related gesture with the same meaning is the headdesk, the gentle striking of the forehead against a desk or a wall perhaps.

9 Amenity at most hotels and airports : FREE WI-FI

“Wi-Fi” is nothing more than a trademark, a trademark registered by an association of manufacturers of equipment that use wireless LAN (Local Area Network) technology. A device labeled with “Wi-Fi” has to meet certain defined technical standards, basically meaning that the devices can talk to each other. The name “Wi-Fi” suggests “Wireless Fidelity”, although apparently the term was never intended to mean anything at all.

11 “Dear ___ Hansen” (Broadway hit) : EVAN

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a 2015 stage musical about a young man with awkward social skills and his efforts to make friends.

12 Google alternative : BING

Bing is the search engine from Microsoft. “Bing” is the latest name for an engine that Microsoft used to call Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search.

21 Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby : ORR

Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn’t skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking. While still 31 years old, in 1979, Orr became the youngest person inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Prior to that, in 1967, Orr became the youngest person named the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.

27 Unpredictable, in an unwanted way : DICEY

Something described as “dicey” is unpredictable or risky, as in rolling the “dice”. The term “dicey” originated in the 1940s as aviator jargon.

29 Animated lead singer of the Pussycats : JOSIE

“Josie and the Pussycats” is a comic book aimed at teens, published from 1963 to 1982. The title characters are an all-female rock band.

31 Largest city in the United Arab Emirates : DUBAI

Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy.

33 What the I.R.S. collects : TAXES

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.

38 Jon Bon Jovi or Simon Le Bon : ROCK STAR

Jon Bon Jovi was born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. He is the frontman of the band that took his name, i.e. Bon Jovi.

Simon Le Bon is the lead singer with the English band Duran Duran. Le Bon is a passionate sailor and garnered a lot of attention when his yacht lost its keel in the 1985 Fastnet race. Before Le Bon and his crew could be rescued, they spent 40 minutes trapped underwater inside the hull. The incident didn’t deter Le Bon from sailing though, and not long after he came third in the 1985-1986 Whitbread Round the World Race.

44 Grp. to call for a tow : AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

45 Biblical boat : ARK

The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

46 Furry swimmer : OTTER

The fur of the sea otter is exceptionally thick. It is the densest fur in the whole animal kingdom.

49 Spiky plant with soothing juice : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plants leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

50 Celestial explosion : NOVA

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

52 Slender woodwind : OBOE

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

53 Ending with Capitol or Faith : … HILL

Washington D.C.’s designer Pierre L’Enfant chose the crest of a hill as the site for the future Congress House. He called the location “Jenkins Hill” and “Jenkins Heights”. Earlier records show the name as “New Troy”. Today we call it “Capitol Hill”.

Faith Hill is a country singer from Ridgeland, Mississippi. Hill is married to fellow country singer Tim McGraw.

54 Name of many Norwegian kings : OLAV

Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated, as he was canonized and made the patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or “Olaf the Fat”) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of “Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae”, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

55 ___ Noël (boss of 65-Across, in France) : PERE

A central figure on Christmas Day is Santa Claus, aka “Father Christmas”, and “Père Noël” in French.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 ___ hostel (inexpensive accommodations) : YOUTH
6 Err : GOOF
10 McEntire of country music : REBA
14 Links legend Palmer, familiarly : ARNIE
15 Actor Epps of “House” : OMAR
16 Wicked : EVIL
17 Recurring Tyler Perry movie role : MADEA
18 Miller ___ (low-calorie beer) : LITE
19 Hair on a horse or a lion : MANE
20 *Trilogy set in Middle-earth, with “The” : LORD OF THE RINGS
23 A.M.A. members : DRS
24 Candlemaker’s supply : WAX
25 Nag, nag, nag : BADGER
29 Unite : JOIN
31 Banned insecticide : DDT
34 Early April zodiac sign : ARIES
35 [Just like that, it’s gone!] : [POOF!]
36 Otherworldly glow : AURA
37 *Container for a Kellogg’s cereal : RICE KRISPIES BOX
40 Folk singer and protester Joan : BAEZ
41 Singer/songwriter Redding : OTIS
42 Author Zora ___ Hurston : NEALE
43 Cunning : SLY
44 Muscle pain : ACHE
45 Is of use to : AVAILS
46 Wine barrel wood : OAK
47 One more than bi- : TRI-
48 *Reputed place at the North Pole : SANTA’S WORKSHOP
56 “The ___ thickens” : PLOT
57 Words before and after “or not” in a Shakespeare quote : TO BE
58 Choreographer Alvin : AILEY
60 Wander about : ROVE
61 Bell-ringing makeup company : AVON
62 Harsh light : GLARE
63 Once around the sun : YEAR
64 Marsh plant : REED
65 What the answer to each of the starred clues has : ELVES

Down

1 Orange root vegetable : YAM
2 Kind of test whose answers can’t be erased : ORAL
3 Computer command to go back : UNDO
4 Arena section : TIER
5 Physical expression of frustration, in modern lingo : HEADDESK
6 Plays a round : GOLFS
7 Leave off, as the last letter in this clu : OMIT
8 Words at a swearing-in ceremony : OATH
9 Amenity at most hotels and airports : FREE WI-FI
10 Altered version of a song : REMIX
11 “Dear ___ Hansen” (Broadway hit) : EVAN
12 Google alternative : BING
13 Pub offerings : ALES
21 Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby : ORR
22 Published : RAN
25 Nasty comments : BARBS
26 Typeface alternative to Helvetica : ARIAL
27 Unpredictable, in an unwanted way : DICEY
28 “Unbelievable!” : GEEZ!
29 Animated lead singer of the Pussycats : JOSIE
30 “My bad!” : OOPS!
31 Largest city in the United Arab Emirates : DUBAI
32 Wryly humorous : DROLL
33 What the I.R.S. collects : TAXES
35 The white stuff in an orange : PITH
36 Riding the waves : ASEA
38 Jon Bon Jovi or Simon Le Bon : ROCK STAR
39 Make a mental image of : ENVISAGE
44 Grp. to call for a tow : AAA
45 Biblical boat : ARK
46 Furry swimmer : OTTER
47 Poll finding, perhaps : TREND
48 Lively for one’s age : SPRY
49 Spiky plant with soothing juice : ALOE
50 Celestial explosion : NOVA
51 Created a tapestry : WOVE
52 Slender woodwind : OBOE
53 Ending with Capitol or Faith : … HILL
54 Name of many Norwegian kings : OLAV
55 ___ Noël (boss of 65-Across, in France) : PERE
59 Positive response : YES

8 thoughts on “1216-19 NY Times Crossword 16 Dec 19, Monday”

  1. 10:40. Really got bogged down in the SE with ENVISion which I finally figured out couldn’t be correct. Didn’t get the theme until the very end. I noticed all theme answers had 4 syllables, and I also realized that meant…absolutely nothing.

    Best –

  2. 8;52. Was it just my system that failed or was there nowhere on Sunday’s blog for me to report my pathetic time of 1:47:23?

  3. No Errors. I agree about the word ENVISAGE. Never heard the term before, but crosses allowed nothing else. I did guess at AILEY.

  4. 10:22, no errors. I also had difficulty with ENVISAGE, initially entering envision. Have never heard the term HEADDESK , and forgot that RICE KRISPIES is spelled with a K, not a C.

  5. No errors. Like many, many others I had ENVISION before ENVISAGE. It was, however, good to perhaps learn a little something to see the two words juxtaposed in my mind.

    HEADDESK was new to me. Not something I would do. Kinda weird if you ask me.

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