1217-22 NY Times Crossword 17 Dec 22, Saturday

Constructed by: Christina Iverson & Tom Pepper
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Certain parental figure? : DAD BOD

A “dad bod” is a man’s body that is softly rounded. Well, that’s the description I like to use for mine …

13 One confined to a cell? : AMOEBA

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

14 Place with multiple ports : WINE BAR

Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

15 The Manassa ___, nickname for boxer Jack Dempsey : MAULER

Professional boxer Jack Dempsey was World Heavyweight Champion from 1919 to 1926. Born in the Colorado town of Manassa, one of Dempsey’s nicknames was the Manassa Mauler. Dempsey lost his title in a memorable fight against Gene Tunney, after which Jack reportedly said to his wife, “Honey, I forgot to duck”. President Ronald Reagan cited these same words to Nancy Reagan when she visited her husband in the Emergency Room after the 1981 attempt on his life.

16 “Ideas worth spreading” series : TED TALKS

The acronym “TED” stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”. There are also TEDx events, which are locally-run talks presented under license from TED.

19 Gifts often given with kisses : LEIS

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

26 Chicago mayor Lightfoot : LORI

Lori Lightfoot assumed the office of Mayor of Chicago in 2019. She is the first LGBT black female mayor of any major city in the US.

28 Great deal : TON

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. In the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton, long ton or gross ton. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a short ton. To further complicate matters, there is also a metric ton or tonne, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

31 Org. whose motto is “Per Ardua ad Astra” : RAF

“Per ardua ad astra” is Latin for “through struggle to the stars”. These words have been the motto of the Royal Air Force (RAF) since 1912.

32 Like the Northern Lights : AURORAL

The spectacular aurora phenomenon is seen lighting up the night sky at both poles of the earth (the Aurora Borealis in the north, and the Aurora Australis in the south). The eerie effect is caused by charged particles colliding with atoms at high latitudes.

34 Souvenir shop purchase : TEE

A souvenir is a memento, a token of remembrance. We imported “souvenir” from French, in which language it has the same meaning. The term comes from the Latin “subvenire” meaning “to come to mind”, or literally “to come up”.

35 It goes without saying : AXIOM

In the world of mathematics, an axiom is a proposition, one that is taken as basic and self-evident. The term “axiom” extends beyond mathematics with a similar meaning, an established or self-evident truth.

38 Bae : HON

“Bae” is a contemporary term of endearment. It is a pet name that is an abbreviation of “babe, baby”, although I’ve also read that it is an acronym standing for “before anyone else”.

39 Forked-tailed fliers : TERNS

Terns are a family of seabirds. They are similar to gulls, but are more slender and more lightly built. Many species of tern are known for their long-distance migrations, with the Arctic tern migrating so far that it is believed to see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

41 Michael of “Life & Beth” : CERA

Michael Cera is a Canadian actor who played great characters on the TV show “Arrested Development”, and in the 2007 comedy-drama “Juno”. Cera is also quite the musician. He released an indie folk album titled “True That” in 2014.

49 Ralphie’s wish in “A Christmas Story” : RED RYDER

The 1983 film “A Christmas Story” has become a holiday classic. The movie is based on short stories and anecdotes by Jean Shepherd, whose voice appears in the soundtrack as the adult “Ralphie”. All young Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB Gun.

56 Honorific that translates to “born before” : SENSEI

“Sensei” is a Japanese form of address used for figures of authority, from lawyers to martial arts instructors.

Down

1 Hindu god of love and desire : KAMA

Kama is the Hindu god of love. He is portrayed as a youth bearing a bow and arrows, much like Eros and Cupid. Kama lends his name to the “Kama Sutra”.

2 Inbox messages from Nigerian princes, almost certainly : EMAIL HOAXES

A stereotypical fraudulent email scam promises West African riches from a Nigerian prince.

4 Something you reach out and take : SELFIE

A selfie is a self-portrait, one usually taken with a digital camera or cell phone. A “group selfie” is sometimes referred to as a “groufie” or “wefie”. A “couple selfie” is known as an “usie” or “ussie”, although those terms are sometimes also used for a group picture.

5 Eschews a cab, say : UBERS

“To eschew”, meaning “to avoid, shun”, comes from the Old French word “eschiver” that means the same thing.

6 Winnow : PARE

We use the verb “to winnow” in a figurative sense to describe the separation of something good from a collection of worthless things. The more literal meaning is the freeing of grain from the lighter chaff by blowing on the mixture, or by throwing it in the air.

7 “___ bat an eye” : DIDN’T

At least as far back as the 1800s, the term “batting” was used in falconry to describe the fluttering of a hawk’s wings while on a perch or a fist, as if the bird intended to fly away. The usage of “batting” extended to the fluttering of a human’s eyelids, giving us the expressions “batting an eye” and “batting an eyelid”.

9 Start of an old advice column : DEAR ANN …

“Ask Ann Landers” was an advice column written by Eppie Lederer from 1955 to 2002. Eppie was the twin sister to Pauline Phillips, the person behind “Dear Abby”. Eppie took over the “Ask Ann Landers” column from Ruth Crowley who started it in 1943.

10 Crude meas. : BBL

The volume of one oil barrel is equivalent to 42 US gallons. A barrel is correctly abbreviated to “bbl”. Barrels aren’t really used for transporting crude oil anymore. Instead, oil moves in bulk through pipelines and in tankers. “Barrel” is just used as a unit of volume these days.

11 Common street name : OAK

The most common street name in the US is “Second Street”. “First Street” comes in only at number three, and this is because many cities and towns forgo the use of “First” and instead go with “Main” or something more historical in nature. The spooky “Elm Street” appears on the list at number fifteen.

14 Outdoor event with long sticks, informally : WEENIE ROAST

“Wienie” and “weenie” are informal variants of “wiener”.

What we call a wiener in this country is known as a Vienna sausage in Germany. It was first produced by a butcher from Frankfurt who was living in Vienna, hence the name “Wiener”, which is German for “of Vienna”. Paradoxically, the same sausage is called a Frankfurter in Vienna, as it was created by someone from Frankfurt. It’s all very confusing …

16 Cold shower? : THERMOMETER

The common cold (also known as a “head cold”) is caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. There are over 200 strains of virus that are known to cause the disease.

18 “I spilled ___ on my dog. Now he’s gone”: Steven Wright : SPOT REMOVER

Steven Wright is a remarkably droll comedian from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Wright is very, very quotable:

  • What’s another word for Thesaurus?
  • If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know?
  • I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
  • When I was a little kid we had a sandbox. It was a quicksand box. I was an only child… eventually.

24 Gomez who got her start on “Barney & Friends” : SELENA

Selena Gomez is an actress and singer from Grand Prairie, Texas. Gomez’s first television role was in the children’s show “Barney & Friends”. She then played the lead in the TV series “Wizards of Waverly Place”. Gomez’s fans often refer to themselves as “Selenators”. Offscreen, Gomez made a splash as the girlfriend of Canadian singer Justin Bieber for a couple of years.

25 Overcast clouds : STRATI

Stratus (plural “strati”) clouds are very common, and as they are wider than they are tall and flat along the bottom, we might just see them as haze in a featureless sky above us. Stratus clouds are basically the same as fog, but some distance above the ground. Indeed, many stratus clouds are formed when morning fog lifts into the air as the ground heats up.

26 Lucy of “Why Women Kill” : 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 do enjoy one of Liu’s more recent projects in which she plays Joan Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

29 Big actors : HAMS

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

33 Court fig. : ATT

Attorney (att.)

44 Soul, for one : GENRE

Soul music originated in the United States and was born out of gospel music and rhythm & blues. I read one quotation that describes soul as “music that arose out of the black experience in America”.

46 Storage unit : BYTE

In the world of computing, a bit is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of “bits” (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. The prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, and so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and gigabyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

47 Buds for brewers : HOPS

The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flowers of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I used to live here in California was once home to the largest hop farm in the world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London, where they could fetch the best price.

48 Subject of a Nepali hunting license : YETI

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

51 Shags, e.g. : DOS

A shag cut is a layered hairstyle. Actress Meg Ryan famously sported a shag cut for many years, as did fellow actress Farrah Fawcett.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Psychs : KEYS UP
7 Certain parental figure? : DAD BOD
13 One confined to a cell? : AMOEBA
14 Place with multiple ports : WINE BAR
15 The Manassa ___, nickname for boxer Jack Dempsey : MAULER
16 “Ideas worth spreading” series : TED TALKS
17 It makes scents! : AIR FRESHENER
19 Gifts often given with kisses : LEIS
20 Shut (up) : PENT
21 Informal times of day : AFTS
25 One with sole possession? : SHOE
26 Chicago mayor Lightfoot : LORI
27 It’s a trap : SNARE
28 Great deal : TON
29 “I’ll take another” : HIT ME
30 Void : ANNUL
31 Org. whose motto is “Per Ardua ad Astra” : RAF
32 Like the Northern Lights : AURORAL
34 Souvenir shop purchase : TEE
35 It goes without saying : AXIOM
37 Act big? : EMOTE
38 Bae : HON
39 Forked-tailed fliers : TERNS
40 Something that may be cut and then cured : MEAT
41 Michael of “Life & Beth” : CERA
42 “Ah, yes, understood” : I SEE
43 No-frills retirement options? : COTS
44 Bit of silliness : GOOF
45 Not getting involved in any nastiness : ABOVE THE FRAY
49 Ralphie’s wish in “A Christmas Story” : RED RYDER
52 Recorded : ON FILE
53 Detail-oriented sort : I-DOTTER
54 Clerical worker? : PRIEST
55 Made too much of something, perhaps : GUSHED
56 Honorific that translates to “born before” : SENSEI

Down

1 Hindu god of love and desire : KAMA
2 Inbox messages from Nigerian princes, almost certainly : EMAIL HOAXES
3 Comment to someone enjoying a hot streak : YOU’RE ON FIRE
4 Something you reach out and take : SELFIE
5 Eschews a cab, say : UBERS
6 Winnow : PARE
7 “___ bat an eye” : DIDN’T
8 Pay to play : ANTE
9 Start of an old advice column : DEAR ANN …
10 Crude meas. : BBL
11 Common street name : OAK
12 Practice group?: Abbr. : DRS
14 Outdoor event with long sticks, informally : WEENIE ROAST
16 Cold shower? : THERMOMETER
18 “I spilled ___ on my dog. Now he’s gone”: Steven Wright : SPOT REMOVER
22 Some modern media-related speculations : FAN THEORIES
23 Start of many a trick question : TRUE OR FALSE …
24 Gomez who got her start on “Barney & Friends” : SELENA
25 Overcast clouds : STRATI
26 Lucy of “Why Women Kill” : LIU
27 Pitcher’s aim? : SALE
29 Big actors : HAMS
33 Court fig. : ATT
36 Here : ON EARTH
41 Final resting place : COFFIN
43 Like some hard-to-read messages : CODED
44 Soul, for one : GENRE
46 Storage unit : BYTE
47 Buds for brewers : HOPS
48 Subject of a Nepali hunting license : YETI
49 Fix : RIG
50 Alternative to .com or .org : EDU
51 Shags, e.g. : DOS

8 thoughts on “1217-22 NY Times Crossword 17 Dec 22, Saturday”

  1. 14:05. I was slow on the left side for whatever reason. And I originally had PUSHED instead of GUSHED for 55A, which took me a minute or so to find, figure out, and fix.

  2. 19:23. More like a Friday puzzle. I had more trouble with yesterday’s puzzle.

    I’ve seen A Christmas Story a thousand times, but I couldn’t remember RED RYDER until it was almost filled in via crosses.

    Do they really issue hunting licenses to go after YETIs?? That has to be a joke.

    Best –

  3. 23:10, no errors. A couple of initial errors, WIENER before WEENIE, RED RIDER before RED RYDER, and RAMA before KAMA. The rest just took a lot of thinking before entering.

  4. Completed in around a two hour period of leaving it and going back at it several times.
    Technically did not complete as I took 2-3 guesses at the last remaining letter in top right corner before triggering the popup. “Dadbod” for ‘parental figure’ took me a minute.

  5. No errors. It ran quick like a wednesday.

    Have to watch “It’s a wonderful life” and “Christmas story” every Christmas time.

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