1204-23 NY Times Crossword 4 Dec 23, Monday

Constructed by: Sean Ziebarth
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: DJs

Themed answers are common phrases that can be reinterpreted as actions taken by DJs:

  • 20A Make history at the Olympics, say : SET A NEW RECORD
  • 25A Totally reverse one’s losing position : TURN THE TABLES
  • 43A Have an impact that can be gauged : MOVE THE NEEDLE
  • 48A Keep going without faltering one bit : DON’T MISS A BEAT

Bill’s time: 4m 44s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Cairo cobras : ASPS

The Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) is also known as the asp. That said, the term “asp” can apply to several species of snake, including the Egyptian cobra. Legend has it that Cleopatra committed suicide by enticing an asp to bite her. If that’s true, then that asp was probably an Egyptian cobra.

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

14 The fate one deserves : KARMA

Karma is a religious concept with its basis in Indian faiths. Karma embraces the notion of cause and effect. Good deeds have good consequences at some later point in one’s life, one’s future life, or one’s afterlife. And, bad deeds have bad consequences.

15 Bug on a pug : FLEA

Fleas are flightless insects, but they sure can jump. Their very specialized hind legs allow them to jump up to 50 times the length of their bodies.

The pug is a dog breed of Chinese origin. Our current family pet is a boxer/pug cross, and is a good-looking mutt!

19 1/5 of a nickel : CENT

The 5-cent American coin known as a nickel is actually made up of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The first nickel was introduced in 1866, and was named the Shield nickel due to the shield design on the front of the coin. The current design is the Jefferson nickel, which was introduced in 1938.

24 Calvin and Hobbes, for one : DUO

The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” is still widely syndicated, but hasn’t been written since 1995. The cartoonist Bill Watterson named the character Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian. Hobbes was named for Thomas Hobbes, a 17th century English political philosopher.

33 Nowhere to be found, for short : MIA

Missing in action (MIA)

38 Summer zodiac sign : LEO

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

41 Followers of an “enduring” philosophy : STOICS

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

54 Shoulder muscle, informally : DELT

The deltoid “muscle” is actually a group of “muscles”, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids (delts) are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

58 Mineral known as the “imperial gem” : JADE

“Jade” is actually the name given to two different mineral rocks, both of which are used to make gemstones. The first is nephrite, a mineral with a varying degree of iron content, the more iron the greener the color. The second is jadeite, a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. As well as being used for gemstones, both jade minerals can be carved into decorative pieces.

60 Nintendo enthusiast, e.g. : GAMER

Nintendo is a Japanese company, and one of the largest manufacturers of video games in the world. Nintendo was founded way back in 1889 and originally made hanafuda cards, Japanese playing cards. The name “Nintendo” translates as “leave luck to heaven”.

62 Like Death Valley’s climate : ARID

Death Valley is a spectacular desert valley in California that is part of the Mojave Desert. Badwater Basin in Death Valley is the lowest point in North America, sitting at 282 feet below sea level. Remarkably, Badwater Basin is located just 84 miles from Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States.

Down

2 Scottish caps : TAMS

A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap worn traditionally by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”) but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of the Robert Burns poem “Tam o’ Shanter”. A pom-pom adorning a tam is known as a toorie.

3 Lake bordering Ohio and New York : ERIE

Lake Erie borders four US states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan) and one Canadian province (Ontario).

5 Layered pasta dish : LASAGNA

“Lasagna” was originally the name of a cooking pot, but the term came to mean a dish that was cooked in it. “Lasagna” also became the name of the flat noodle used in the dish. If you order lasagna on the other side of the Atlantic, you’ll notice the “lasagne” spelling, the plural of “lasagna”. The plural is used as there is more than one layer of pasta in the dish.

7 Tortoiselike : SLOW

The external shell of a tortoise is actually fused to the creature’s ribcage. Tortoises often have long lives. The oldest recorded age for a tortoise is 188 years.

8 Kind of tree in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” : PEAR

The fabulous Christmas carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

10 “Don’t do that dorky thing you do” : BE COOL

I consider “dork” and “adorkable” to be pretty offensive slang. “Dork” originated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.

13 Explosive Minecraft block : TNT

Minecraft is a video game that was released in 2011. It is the most popular video game of all time, with well over 200 million units sold.

21 Forget-me-___ (blue flowers) : NOTS

The plants known as forget-me-nots were given their distinctive name first in French, i.e. “ne m’oubliez pas”. “Forget-me-not” is simply a translation into English.

25 Clan symbol : TOTEM

“Totem” is a word used to describe any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature, and often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.

28 La Brea ___ Pits : TAR

The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirst. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It’s well worth a visit if you are in town …

31 Experienced campaigner, for short : POL

Politician (pol)

34 Little Energizers : AAS

We are all fairly familiar with the Energizer Bunny, I am guessing. It was introduced in 1989 to promote Energizer batteries, by parodying the Duracell Bunny that made its debut in 1973.

36 Volcanic cloud component : ASH

Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.

41 Sonic the Hedgehog company : SEGA

Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character in a videogame and the mascot of Sega, the computer game developer. Sonic was set up as a rival to Nintendo’s mascot Mario.

49 Bygone, in Chaucer’s tales : OLDE

Geoffrey Chaucer was an English author. He is often referred to as the father of English literature because he established vernacular English as a legitimate language for artistic works, as up to that point authors used French or Latin. Chaucer’s most famous work is actually unfinished, a collection of stories called “The Canterbury Tales” that were all written at the end of the 14th century.

52 Bullets and such : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Abscond with : STEAL
6 Cairo cobras : ASPS
10 Bit of hardware that fits in a nut : BOLT
14 The fate one deserves : KARMA
15 Bug on a pug : FLEA
16 Like 2, 4, 6, 8 … : EVEN
17 Not quite right : AMISS
18 Wander : ROAM
19 1/5 of a nickel : CENT
20 Make history at the Olympics, say : SET A NEW RECORD
23 They can be boosted or inflated : EGOS
24 Calvin and Hobbes, for one : DUO
25 Totally reverse one’s losing position : TURN THE TABLES
31 Impersonate : POSE AS
32 Sets (down) : LAYS
33 Nowhere to be found, for short : MIA
35 Palindromic boy : OTTO
36 Play on the radio : AIR
37 Dada’s mama, maybe : NANA
38 Summer zodiac sign : LEO
39 “Hey, you!” : PSST!
41 Followers of an “enduring” philosophy : STOICS
43 Have an impact that can be gauged : MOVE THE NEEDLE
46 Historic stretch : ERA
47 “Gracious me!” : EGAD!
48 Keep going without faltering one bit : DON’T MISS A BEAT
54 Shoulder muscle, informally : DELT
55 “Oh, sure it is!” : I BET!
56 Allow entrance : ADMIT
58 Mineral known as the “imperial gem” : JADE
59 Info on a “Hello” tag : NAME
60 Nintendo enthusiast, e.g. : GAMER
61 What a toddler in a snowsuit might be pulling : SLED
62 Like Death Valley’s climate : ARID
63 Child’s bedtime request : STORY

Down

1 Upbeat precursor to reggae : SKA
2 Scottish caps : TAMS
3 Lake bordering Ohio and New York : ERIE
4 Radio band for news and talk formats : AM STEREO
5 Layered pasta dish : LASAGNA
6 From the beginning : AFRESH
7 Tortoiselike : SLOW
8 Kind of tree in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” : PEAR
9 Speedy delivery option : SAME DAY
10 “Don’t do that dorky thing you do” : BE COOL
11 Finished : OVER
12 Give temporarily : LEND
13 Explosive Minecraft block : TNT
21 Forget-me-___ (blue flowers) : NOTS
22 Babes in the woods? : CUBS
25 Clan symbol : TOTEM
26 “So are we!” : US TOO!
27 Top-of-the-line : ELITE
28 La Brea ___ Pits : TAR
29 Content of a clickable envelope icon : EMAIL
30 “Well, ___ you asked …” : SINCE
31 Experienced campaigner, for short : POL
34 Little Energizers : AAS
36 Volcanic cloud component : ASH
37 Silently greeted : NODDED AT
39 Cheeky : PERT
40 Energy needed to power through : STAMINA
41 Sonic the Hedgehog company : SEGA
42 Loose-leaf alternatives : TEA BAGS
44 Blew off steam : VENTED
45 Prepared one’s home for a newborn : NESTED
48 Handout following a shuffle : DEAL
49 Bygone, in Chaucer’s tales : OLDE
50 Letter-shaped beam : I-BAR
51 Trucker’s ride : SEMI
52 Bullets and such : AMMO
53 Feature of a tall cake : TIER
54 Workers at dance clubs who 20-, 25-, 43- and 48-Across : DJS
57 “You’ll never know until you ___!” : TRY

7 thoughts on “1204-23 NY Times Crossword 4 Dec 23, Monday”

  1. 10:26, no errors. I was on pace for a 6 minute solve until I got to the lower half. Same as Bruce…I don’t know why.

  2. 6:17. First Monday puzzle I’ve done in a while. I needed the ego boost. Ignored the theme until I was finished. Usually Monday puzzles go faster if you don’t worry about the theme.

    Best –

  3. 7:18, conveniently completed while waiting for the spouse at Michael’s craft supply. That said, I’m glad there’s lots of older puzzles to work on…going to be here for a while :- )

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