1205-23 NY Times Crossword 5 Dec 23, Tuesday

Constructed by: Nate Cardin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Out of Sorts

Themed answers are common, two-word phrases. Both words are often seen following “OUT OF”:

  • 54A Irritable … or how you might describe all the words in the answers to the starred clues? : OUT OF SORTS
  • 15A *Number of copies requested by a publisher : PRINT ORDER (out of print & out of order)
  • 18A *Barriers that slide in and out of a wall : POCKET DOORS (out of pocket & out of doors)
  • 32A *Stereotypical literary persona : STOCK CHARACTER (out of stock & out of character)
  • 51A *Designer’s collection : FASHION LINE (out of fashion & out of line)

Bill’s time: 6m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

12 1/26.2 of a marathon : MILE

The marathon commemorates the legendary messenger-run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens, and is run over 26 miles and 385 yards. The first modern Olympic marathon races were run over a distance that approximated the length of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway, although the actual length of the race varied from games to games. For the 1908 Olympics in London, a course starting at Windsor Castle and ending in front of the Royal Box at White City Stadium was defined. That course was 26 miles and 385 yards, the standard length now used at all Olympic Games. Organizers of subsequent games continued to vary the length of the race, until a decision was made in 1921 to adopt the distance used in London in 1908.

13 SiriusXM medium : RADIO

XM Satellite Radio used to be in competition with Sirius Satellite Radio but the FCC allowed the two companies to merge in 2008 forming SiriusXM Radio.

17 Howard who narrates “Arrested Development” : RON

Ron Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show”. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “The Da Vinci Code” and “A Beautiful Mind”, the latter earning Howard a Best Director Oscar.

“Arrested Development” is a sitcom that originally aired on Fox from 2003 to 2006. Ron Howard was heavily involved in the show behind the camera, serving as executive producer and also as the show’s narrator. Fifteen new episodes of “Arrested Development” were filmed specifically for release on Netflix in 2013, and there may even be a movie on the way.

25 Roast beef au ___ : JUS

The French term “au jus” is usually translated as “with its own juice”.

27 Texter’s sign-off : TTYL

Talk to you later (TTYL)

28 Actor McKellen who played Gandalf : IAN

Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, one who is comfortable playing anything from Macbeth on stage to Magneto in an “X-Men” movie. On the big screen, McKellen is very famous for playing Gandalf in “The Lord of Rings”. In the UK, Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

Gandalf is an important character in the J. R. R. Tolkien novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He is a wizard known as Gandalf the Grey during his lifetime, and as Gandalf the White after he returns from the dead.

29 “Mayday!” : SOS!

The term “Mayday” is an emergency codeword that is used internationally as a distress signal, especially when making a radio transmission. “Mayday” comes from the French phrase “venez m’aider” meaning “come to help me”. When used properly, the term is repeated three times in a row: “Mayday Mayday Mayday”.

30 Org. with a Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list : FBI

The FBI was the first agency to create a “most wanted list”, introducing the “FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in 1950. Director J. Edgar Hoover came up with the idea after fielding a question from a journalist asking for the names and description of the “toughest guys” being sought by the FBI. One misconception about the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list is that it is ranked, but there is no such thing as the “#1 Most Wanted Fugitive”.

39 One side in checkers : RED

“Checkers” is yet another word that I had to learn moving across the Atlantic. In Ireland, the game is called “draughts”.

40 Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” : EVA

Eva Longoria is a fashion model and actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives”, playing Gabrielle Solis. Her travel and food show “Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico” premiered on CNN in 2023.

41 “Dancing Queen” group : ABBA

“Dancing Queen” is a great, great song from 1976 that was released by the Swedish group ABBA. ABBA’s music has never been as popular in the US as it is in other countries, but “Dancing Queen” did make it to the number-one spot in the charts here. It was in fact, ABBA’s only #1 hit in the US.

60 Diamond Head’s island : OAHU

Diamond Head on the Hawaiian island of Oahu was given its name by British sailors in the 1800s. These sailors found calcite crystals in the rock surrounding the volcanic tuff cone and mistook the crystals for diamonds.

61 Heed the coxswain : ROW

The coxswain of a boat is one in charge of steering and navigation. The word “coxswain” is shortened to “cox”, particularly when used for the person steering and calling out the stroke in a competition rowing boat.

Down

3 Actor Mahershala of “Moonlight” : ALI

Mahershala Ali is an actor and sometime rapper. Among the more memorable roles Ali has had are lobbyist Remy Danton in TV’s “House of Cards”, and Colonel Boggs in “The Hunger Games” series of movies. He also won Best Supporting Actor Oscars for playing Juan in the 2016 drama “Moonlight”, and Dr. Don Shirley in 2018’s “Green Book”.

“Moonlight” is a 2016 semi-autobiographical film based on an unpublished play by Tarell Alvin McCraney titled “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”. “Moonlight” won the season’s Best Picture Oscar, thus becoming the first film to do so with an all-Black cast, and the first with an LGBT storyline.

6 Some venomous snakes : ADDERS

The adder, a snake in the viper family, is the only venomous snake found on the island of Great Britain. Adders are also found in Norway and Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle.

7 Dos + cinco : SIETE

8 Bungee cables, for example : CORDS

The elastic cord known as bungee cord is also known as shock cord. The term “bungee” probably comes from Britain where it was schoolboy slang for “rubber eraser”, and likely came from the words “bouncy” and “spongy”.

9 Skillful : ADROIT

The French for “to the right” is “à droit”, from which we get our word “adroit”. The original meaning of “adroit” was “rightly, properly”, but it has come to mean dexterous and skillful. Someone described as “maladroit” is unskilled and awkward.

11 Fairy tale brother : HANSEL

“Hansel and Gretel” is a Germanic fairy tale found in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It tells of two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, the children of a woodcutter. The youngsters are abandoned in a forest at the behest of an evil stepmother. Clever Hansel hears of the plan and leaves a trail of pebbles so that he and his sister can find their way home, which they do. But the children are abandoned again and this time leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the crumbs are eaten by birds and so the children do indeed become lost. But eventually they do all live happily ever after …

19 Fiber-___ cable : OPTIC

Optical fibers are lengths of glass or plastic that are slightly thicker than a human hair. They are usually bundled into cables, and then used for transmission of data signals. Optical transmission has advantages over electrical transmission, especially in terms of interference and loss of signal strength.

21 Track meet event : HEAT

The term “heat”, meaning “qualifying race”, dates back to the 1660s. Originally, a heat was a run given to a horse to prepare it for a race, to “heat” it up.

22 City mentioned at the start of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” : RENO

The Grateful Dead were a rock band from the San Francisco Bay Area that was founded in 1965. “The Dead” disbanded in 1995 following the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia. Grateful Dead fans (the ranks of whom include my wife) refer to themselves as “Deadheads”.

33 Ted Lasso, for one : COACH

“Ted Lasso” is a marvelous sports-comedy TV show about an American college football coach who moves to the UK to manage an English soccer team. The title character is played very admirably by Jason Sudeikis. Sudeikis first played Lasso in a series of TV commercials commissioned to promote NBC’s coverage of the British Premier League. The character became so popular that he inspired a whole TV series. Great stuff, and highly recommended …

34 “___ we there yet?” : ARE

Nope …

42 “The Godfather” Oscar winner : BRANDO

Actor Marlon Brando really hit the big time with his Oscar-winning performance in the 1951 movie “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Brando went on to win another Best Actor Oscar for his performance in 1972’s “The Godfather”, which gave him the platform to establish himself as a political activist. He turned down the award and didn’t attend the ceremony. Instead he sent a Native American rights activist called Sacheen Littlefeather who made a speech protesting the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood movies. Brando wasn’t the first person to refuse an Oscar. George C. Scott did the same thing when he won for playing the title role in 1970’s “Patton”. Scott just didn’t like the whole idea of “competing” with other actors.

“The Godfather” series of films is based on “The Godfather” novel by Mario Puzo, first published in 1969. Francis Ford Coppola worked with Puzo in partnership to adapt his novel into the screenplay for the first film, and to write the screenplays for the two sequels. Coppola holds that there are really only two films in “The Godfather” series, with “The Godfather Part III” actually being the epilogue.

45 Cookie-flavored breakfast cereal : OREO O’S

Oreo O’s cereal was made by Post from 1998 to 2007. The pieces of cereal were basically O-shaped (like Cheerios) but chocolate-flavored, dark brown in color and with white sprinkles on them. Oh, and lots of sugar.

47 Merchant’s booth : KIOSK

Our word “kiosk” came to us via French and Turkish from the Persian “kushk” meaning “palace, portico”.

48 Jeweler’s lens : LOUPE

A loupe is a small magnifying lens that is held in the hand. “Loupe” is the French name for such a device.

55 Smallest of the Chinese zodiac animals : RAT

The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar uses the following animals in order:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Stat!” : ASAP!
5 Like most Italian nouns ending in -o: Abbr. : MASC
9 Volcanic residue : ASH
12 1/26.2 of a marathon : MILE
13 SiriusXM medium : RADIO
14 Cheek swab material : DNA
15 *Number of copies requested by a publisher : PRINT ORDER (out of print & out of order)
17 Howard who narrates “Arrested Development” : RON
18 *Barriers that slide in and out of a wall : POCKET DOORS (out of pocket & out of doors)
20 Shriveled : SHRANK
23 Temporary relief : RESPITE
24 Ship’s backbone : KEEL
25 Roast beef au ___ : JUS
27 Texter’s sign-off : TTYL
28 Actor McKellen who played Gandalf : IAN
29 “Mayday!” : SOS!
30 Org. with a Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list : FBI
32 *Stereotypical literary persona : STOCK CHARACTER (out of stock & out of character)
38 Hardwood tree : OAK
39 One side in checkers : RED
40 Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” : EVA
41 “Dancing Queen” group : ABBA
44 “Golly!” : GEE!
45 “Right away, boss!” : ON IT!
46 Skin spot : FRECKLE
49 Tight undergarment : GIRDLE
51 *Designer’s collection : FASHION LINE (out of fashion & out of line)
53 Picnic pest : ANT
54 Irritable … or how you might describe all the words in the answers to the starred clues? : OUT OF SORTS
58 Wedding words : I DO
59 Pie-in-the-face sound : SPLAT!
60 Diamond Head’s island : OAHU
61 Heed the coxswain : ROW
62 Sharp and shrewd : KEEN
63 Staircase part : STEP

Down

1 Bit of concert equipment : AMP
2 What the Portuguese “senhor” means : SIR
3 Actor Mahershala of “Moonlight” : ALI
4 Snail-mail correspondent : PEN PAL
5 Swindler’s victim : MARK
6 Some venomous snakes : ADDERS
7 Dos + cinco : SIETE
8 Bungee cables, for example : CORDS
9 Skillful : ADROIT
10 Like high-strung horses : SNORTY
11 Fairy tale brother : HANSEL
13 Mountaineering enthusiast, in slang : ROCK JOCK
16 Boatload : TON
19 Fiber-___ cable : OPTIC
20 Hits the slopes : SKIS
21 Track meet event : HEAT
22 City mentioned at the start of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” : RENO
26 Show people to their seats, informally : USH
29 Genre for the 1990s band Sublime : SKA
30 Something you don’t have to pay for, redundantly : FREE GIFT
31 Rotten : BAD
33 Ted Lasso, for one : COACH
34 “___ we there yet?” : ARE
35 Maintain, as a bar : TEND
36 Rotten : EVIL
37 Give stars, say : RATE
41 Common plot point on a soap opera : AFFAIR
42 “The Godfather” Oscar winner : BRANDO
43 Present, as a prize : BESTOW
44 Having a light touch : GENTLE
45 Cookie-flavored breakfast cereal : OREO O’S
47 Merchant’s booth : KIOSK
48 Jeweler’s lens : LOUPE
50 Helpful connections : INS
52 Student ___ forgiveness : LOAN
55 Smallest of the Chinese zodiac animals : RAT
56 Fill-in-___-blank : THE
57 “How’s it goin’?” : SUP?

9 thoughts on “1205-23 NY Times Crossword 5 Dec 23, Tuesday”

  1. 11:27, no errors. The theme was lost on me as well. After entering PRINT ORDER, figured the theme OUT OF SORTS had something to do with being PO’ed. Tough time admitting that SNORTY was actually a word.
    11D: “But eventually they do all live happily ever after” …not the witch.

  2. 9:31. Late getting to this, but at least I’m getting to it. No idea about the theme until I came here.

    Interesting origin of HEAT, but it makes perfect sense.

    Best –

  3. Speaking of Heat and horses, . . Didn’t know a high strung horse was SNORTY! .. ha!

    Quick run . No errors

  4. No errors and got the theme for a change.
    When I was growing up our house had in wall doors between the living room and dining room but we called them French doors…never heard of pocket doors.
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens🏈🏈

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