1224-22 NY Times Crossword 24 Dec 22, Saturday

Constructed by: Trenton Charlson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 9m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Ancient arts venue : ODEON

In ancient Greece, an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

6 The willies : FEAR

A fit of the willies is a spell of nervousness. The expression is probably a derivative of “the woollies”, a colloquial expression meaning “nervous” that is likely to be a reference to itchiness caused by wool garments.

20 Desert home, maybe : ADOBE

The building material known as adobe has been around a long time, and has been used in dry climates all over the world. The original form of the word “adobe” dates back to Middle Egyptian times, about 2000 BC. The original spelling is “dj-b-t”, and translates as mud (sun-dried) brick.

21 N.L. East team, on scoreboards : ATL

The Atlanta Braves are the only team to have won baseball’s World Series in three different home cities. They won as the Boston Braves in 1914, the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and the Atlanta Braves in 1995.

22 Step toward nirvana : SATORI

“Satori” is a Japanese term that is used in the Zen Buddhist tradition. Satori does not refer to full enlightenment (nirvana) but rather is a step along the way, a flash of awareness.

24 Hall monitors, for short : RAS

A resident assistant/adviser (RA) is a peer leader found in a residence hall, particularly on a college campus.

25 Edmond ___ a.k.a. the “Father of Whist” : HOYLE

Edmond Hoyle was a writer, and someone famous for documenting the rules and play of card games. In particular, Hoyle first wrote a book on the game of whist that was very popular. Such was the success of Hoyle’s treatises that we use the phrase “according to Hoyle” to mean “according to some respected authority”. When the Poker Hall of Fame was founded in 1979, Edmund Hoyle was one of the first inductees, even though the game of power was invented after he died.

Whist is an English card game that involves the taking of tricks. Whist is a derivative of the earlier game of Trump or Ruff that was played in the 16th century. Back in Ireland, where I come from, whist tournaments are extremely popular and are known as “whist drives”.

27 Axe target : ODOR

Axe is a brand of male grooming products. It is sold under the name Lynx in some parts of the world.

28 Constantly evolving social phenomenon : MEME

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

31 Smoothie fruit : PAPAYA

The papaya (also “papaw”) tropical fruit is native to Mexico and South America. When cultivating papaya trees, only female plants are used. Female plants produce just one, high-quality fruit per tree. Male plants produce several fruit per tree, but they are very poor quality.

33 Pontiac, for one : OTTAWA

Chief Pontiac was a leader of the Ottawa people in the 1700s. He is most famously associated with the fight against the British (called Pontiac’s Rebellion) after they emerged victorious from the French and Indian War. The most noted action during the rebellion was the attack led by Pontiac on Fort Detroit, and the subsequent siege. Although the siege was unsuccessful, it served to unite the local Native American peoples in the fight.

35 Old pad holders : STENOS

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

39 Seat in Parliament? : ARSE

Well, the word “arse” would never make it into a crossword on the other side of the pond, as it would be considered too rude. I have a similar reaction to the word “shag” as in “The Spy Who Shagged Me”. The film would never have been released with that title in the UK (where it was released as “Austin Powers 2”).

43 Westernmost city on the African mainland : DAKAR

The Republic of Senegal is a country on the far western coast of Africa. For many years Senegal was a French colony, gaining independence in 1960. The capital of Senegal is Dakar. Dakar is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, thus making it the westernmost capital on the African mainland.

44 Winter hrs. in St. Louis : CST

Central Standard Time (CST)

The city of St. Louis, Missouri was settled by French explorers in 1763. Sitting on the Mississippi River, it grew into a very busy port. By the 1850s, it was the second busiest port in the country, with only New York moving more freight. St. Louis was named for Louis IX of France. Louis was canonized in 1297 by Pope Boniface VIII, and was the only French king to be declared a saint.

45 Team that moved back from St. Louis in 2016, informally : LA RAMS

The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951 & 2021) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.

47 Letters used in the absence of a letter : NMI

No middle initial (NMI)

48 ___ Productions, media company since 1986 : HARPO

Oprah Winfrey’s multimedia production company is known as Harpo Studios. “Harpo” is “Oprah” spelled backwards, and is also the name of the husband of the character who Winfrey played in the movie “The Color Purple”.

53 What’s measured in watts : ELECTRICAL POWER

James Watt was a Scottish inventor. He figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, and was named in his honor.

57 Symphony originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte : BEETHOVEN’S THIRD

Beethoven originally dedicated his “Symphony No. 3” to Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethoven admired the principles of the French Revolution and as such respected Bonaparte who was “born” out of the uprising. When Napoleon declared himself Emperor, Beethoven (and much of Europe) saw this as a betrayal to the ideals of the revolution so he changed the name of his new symphony from “Bonaparte” to “Eroica”, meaning “heroic, valiant”.

Down

2 Revenue source for a Girl Scout troop : DOOR-TO-DOOR SALES

Depending on which bakery makes the particular variety of Girl Scout cookies, the name can vary. For example, Little Brownie Bakers makes Samoa cookies, while ABC Bakers uses the same recipe and calls the cookies Caramel deLites. The assumption is that these cookies have the exotic name “Samoa” because they contain the tropical ingredients of coconut and cocoa. The most popular variety of Girl Scout cookies sold are Thin Mints.

3 Bush growths : EUCALYPTUS TREES

Eucalyptus (plural “eucalypti”) is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs that is particularly widespread in Australia. The species known as mountain ash or swamp gum is the tallest flowering plant in the world, with the tallest example located in Tasmania and standing at over 325 feet tall.

In Australia, the land outside of urban areas is referred to as the outback or the bush. That said, I think that the term “outback” is sometimes reserved for the more remote parts of the bush.

4 Air France hub : ORLY

Orly is a town on the outskirts of Paris, to the south of the city. It is home to the Paris-Orly Airport, the second busiest international airport for the city after the more recently built Charles de Gaulle Airport. That said, Orly is home to more domestic flights than Charles de Gaulle.

6 Casting choice : FLY ROD

A fly rod is used for fly fishing.

7 Ophthalmologist’s prescription : EYEDROPS

Ophthalmology is that branch of medicine dealing with the physiology and health of the eye. “Ophthalmos” is the Greek word for “eye”.

8 Bottom-row key : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

9 Bonheur who painted “The Horse Fair” : ROSA

Rosa Bonheur was a painter and sculptor from France who was noted for her works that featured animals as subjects. Bonheur’s two most-famous works are “Ploughing in the Nivernais” depicting a team of oxen, and “The Horse Fair”, depicting some spirited horses.

11 Southern Comfort cocktails : ALABAMA SLAMMERS

An Alabama Slammer is a cocktail served over ice in a Collins glass. A common recipe is:

  • ¾ oz. Amaretto
  • ¾ oz. Southern Comfort
  • ¾ oz. Sloe Gin
  • top up with orange juice

Southern Comfort is a brand of liqueur that comprises whiskey flavored with fruit and spice. It was first produced in 1874, by a bartender in New Orleans called Martin Wilkes Heron. Heron originally named his formulation “Cuffs and Buttons”.

12 Singer/actor Gibson in the “Fast & Furious” franchise : TYRESE

Tyrese Gibson is singer-songwriter and actor who is known simply as “Tyrese”. Tyrese is best known for playing the character Roman Pearce in the “Fast And Furious” series of movies.

“The Fast and the Furious” (also “Fast & Furious”) is a series of action movies about street racing and car heists. The original 2001 film spawned several sequels, making it Universal Pictures most successful franchise of all time.

14 Dept. of Labor arm : OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. It is a direct successor to the Bureau of Labor Standards that dealt with some work safety issues since its founding in 1934. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) was founded as the Bureau of Labor in 1889 under the Department of the Interior. The Bureau’s status was elevated to Cabinet level by President William Howard Taft in 1913, with a bill he signed on his last day in office. The DOL has been headquartered in the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. since 1975. The building was named for Frances Perkins who served as Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945 and who was the first female cabinet secretary in US history.

22 Actor George of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” : SEGAL

Actor George Segal was one of my favorite Hollywood stars when I was growing up. I most remember him from the dramatic role he played in 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” alongside Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and the comedic role he played in 1973’s “A Touch of Class” opposite Glenda Jackson. Segal made a successful transition to television in recent years, playing lead roles on the sitcoms “Just Shoot Me!” and “The Goldbergs”.

26 ___ art : LATTE

“Latte art” is the name given to the designs that can be drawn on the surface of coffee drinks. Some of those designs can be quite intricate.

28 Comics read from right to left : MANGA

The Japanese word “manga” means “whimsical pictures” and is an apt term to describe the Japanese style of comic book. Manga publications are more diverse than American comic books and have a larger audience. Manga covers many subjects including romance, sports, business, horror, and mystery.

30 Bob ___, “To Kill a Mockingbird” villain : EWELL

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” was first published in 1960. The book is a mainstay in English classes all around the world. In my humble opinion, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a great ambassador for American literature.

38 Good day?: Abbr. : FRI

In the Christian tradition, it is believed that three days after Jesus was put to death, he rose from the dead. Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday, and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, two days later.

39 “Things Fall Apart” novelist : ACHEBE

“Things Fall Apart” is a 1958 novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. It is set in Nigeria and deals with the changes that came with the invasion of Nigeria by Europeans, primarily from Britain. “Things Fall Apart” is regarded today as a seminal work, and is read and studied all over Africa and around the world. It is the most widely read book in the whole of African literature. The title is a quotation from the poem “The Second Coming” by W. B. Yeats.

41 Thalia, Aglaia and Euphrosyne, in myth : GRACES

In Greek and Roman mythology there were goddesses of the better things in life, charm, beauty, nature, creativity and fertility. In Greece they were known as the “Charites” and in Rome they were the “Gratiae”. In English we refer to them as the Graces, of which there are usually three:

  • Aglaea (aka Splendor)
  • Euphrosyne (aka Mirth)
  • Thalia (aka Good Cheer)

42 “The accuser of our brethren,” per Revelation : SATAN

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

46 1970s-’80s sitcom setting : MEL’S

The sitcom “Alice” is set in Mel’s Diner, which is supposedly frequented by locals and truckers on the outskirts of Phoenix. There is a real Mel’s Diner in Phoenix, and the restaurant’s sign is used in the opening credits. The real-world Mel’s was called “Chris’ Diner”, but the owner agreed to a temporary change in name for the purposes of the show. But, “Chris” never came back, and “Mel’s” is still serving customers today.

49 Election night fig. : PCT

Election day was chosen by Congress back in 1845. The month of November was selected as it suited an agricultural society, following the fall harvest and yet not too far into winter, which could make travel difficult. Tuesday was chosen so that people had time to travel to polling stations. Monday elections might have meant that some would have to start out on Sunday, and that could interfere with Christian services.

50 Roman emperor who overthrew Galba : OTHO

AD 69 was a year of civil war in ancient Rome. The unrest started with the death of emperor Nero in AD 68, after which followed the brief rule of Galba, of Otho, of Vitellius, and of Vespasian all in the same year. As a result, AD 69 became known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

52 Sockeye relative : COHO

The coho salmon is dark blue with silver along the side of its body, but only during the phase of its life while it is in the ocean. When spawning and heading up into a freshwater river, the coho has bright red sides.

The sockeye salmon is also known as the red or blueback salmon. The name “sockeye” comes from “suk-kegh”, a word from the native language of an indigenous people in British Columbia. “Suk-kegh” means “red fish”.

54 Kerfuffle : ROW

“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.

55 Old televangelism org. : PTL

“The PTL Club” was a daily television show hosted by televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. PTL is short for both “Praise the Lord” and “People that Love”. The show ended its run of over ten years in 1987 when it was revealed that Jim Bakker was involved in financial and sexual scandals. Bakker served 5 years in jail as part of an 18-year sentence.

56 Vitamin stat : RDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Ancient arts venue : ODEON
6 The willies : FEAR
10 Try for a hit : BAT
13 1979 J. D. Souther hit with a rhyming title : YOU’RE ONLY LONELY
17 “Ugh, we nearly had it!” : SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR
18 Beam : RAY
19 Forcefully : HARD
20 Desert home, maybe : ADOBE
21 N.L. East team, on scoreboards : ATL
22 Step toward nirvana : SATORI
24 Hall monitors, for short : RAS
25 Edmond ___ a.k.a. the “Father of Whist” : HOYLE
27 Axe target : ODOR
28 Constantly evolving social phenomenon : MEME
29 Magazine purchase : AD PAGE
31 Smoothie fruit : PAPAYA
33 Pontiac, for one : OTTAWA
35 Old pad holders : STENOS
36 Means of escape : OUTLET
37 Completely consume : ENGULF
39 Seat in Parliament? : ARSE
40 Longevity : LEGS
43 Westernmost city on the African mainland : DAKAR
44 Winter hrs. in St. Louis : CST
45 Team that moved back from St. Louis in 2016, informally : LA RAMS
47 Letters used in the absence of a letter : NMI
48 ___ Productions, media company since 1986 : HARPO
51 One way to run : LATE
52 End of many addresses : .COM
53 What’s measured in watts : ELECTRICAL POWER
57 Symphony originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte : BEETHOVEN’S THIRD
58 Shape of a logistic curve : ESS
59 Takes credit, in a way : OWES
60 “___ luck!” : LOTSA

Down

1 Cries of exasperation : OYS
2 Revenue source for a Girl Scout troop : DOOR-TO-DOOR SALES
3 Bush growths : EUCALYPTUS TREES
4 Air France hub : ORLY
5 Prefix with classical : NEO-
6 Casting choice : FLY ROD
7 Ophthalmologist’s prescription : EYEDROPS
8 Bottom-row key : ALT
9 Bonheur who painted “The Horse Fair” : ROSA
10 In no time : BEFORE YOU KNOW IT
11 Southern Comfort cocktails : ALABAMA SLAMMERS
12 Singer/actor Gibson in the “Fast & Furious” franchise : TYRESE
14 Dept. of Labor arm : OSHA
15 “Nifty!” : NEATO!
16 OK : NOD
21 “Got it!” : AHA!
22 Actor George of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” : SEGAL
23 More than sore : IRATE
26 ___ art : LATTE
28 Comics read from right to left : MANGA
30 Bob ___, “To Kill a Mockingbird” villain : EWELL
32 Is undecided : PENDS
34 Creamed : ATE ALIVE
38 Good day?: Abbr. : FRI
39 “Things Fall Apart” novelist : ACHEBE
41 Thalia, Aglaia and Euphrosyne, in myth : GRACES
42 “The accuser of our brethren,” per Revelation : SATAN
46 1970s-’80s sitcom setting : MEL’S
49 Election night fig. : PCT
50 Roman emperor who overthrew Galba : OTHO
52 Sockeye relative : COHO
54 Kerfuffle : ROW
55 Old televangelism org. : PTL
56 Vitamin stat : RDA

4 thoughts on “1224-22 NY Times Crossword 24 Dec 22, Saturday”

  1. 8:53, even with some distracting chit-chat going on in the background. Pretty easy for me for a Saturday.

    Happy to be someplace warm right now.

  2. 16:51. A good Friday puzzle they happened to publish on a Saturday IMO.

    I don’t remember seeing NMI abbreviated anywhere. Maybe I just never paid attention to it.

    I tried Southern Comfort a few times in college. It always tasted like cough medicine to me.

    Best –

  3. Took a while but I made it. Got ACHEBE through crosses.
    Got SEGAL right off the bat. I watched that movie long time ago. Kind of a sad movie.

    Got EWELL through crosses. Same with NMI and GRACES.

  4. 1:03:40 no errors but I had to go to “my notes” from previous puzzles for several answers. To finish a Saturday NYT is a win for me👍👍
    Stay safe😀

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