1206-23 NY Times Crossword 6 Dec 23, Wednesday

Constructed by: Peter A. Collins & Bruce Haight
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Ahh … puzzle!

Themed answers all comprise two words, each starting with the letter H. And, we have a double-H outlined in black in the center of the grid. And, every single clue starts with an H!

  • 17A Harsh rule, metaphorically : HEAVY HAND
  • 34A Hybrid genre of country and 33-Across, pejoratively : HICK-HOP
  • 45A Hopping mad sort : HOTHEAD
  • 63A Hypocrite’s perch, perhaps : HIGH HORSE
  • 10D Hog part : HAM HOCK
  • 46D Helmet wearer’s potential embarrassment : HAT HAIR

Bill’s time: 7m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Holy service : MASS

The principal act of worship in the Roman Catholic tradition is the Mass. The term “Mass” comes from the Late Latin word “missa” meaning “dismissal”. This word is used at the end of the Latin Mass in “Ite, missa est” which translates literally as “Go, it is the dismissal”.

9 “Hallelujah!” singers : CHOIR

The “Hallelujah Chorus” is perhaps the best-known part of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio “Messiah”. Tradition often dictates that the audience stands for the “Hallelujah Chorus”, while sitting for the rest of “Messiah”.

14 Humorist Bombeck : ERMA

Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years. She produced more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns under the title “At Wit’s End”, with all describing her home life in suburbia.

15 Half a soft drink? : COCA

The exact formula for Coca-Cola is a trade secret. The secret recipe is locked in a vault. That vault is on public display in the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

24 Hummer’s interior? : EMS

There are two letters M (ems) in the interior of the word “hummer”.

27 “Have you ___ wool?” : ANY

The old English nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is usually sung as:

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

The tune that accompanies the rhyme is a variant of the French melody “Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman”, which we know best in English as the tune for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

28 Have a gander : SEE

To take a gander is to take a long look. “Gander” is a term we’ve been using in this sense since the 1880s, coming from the idea that in taking a long look one might be craning one’s neck like a goose (or gander).

29 Honda Civic competitor from Kia : SPECTRA

The Spectra was a top-selling compact for Kia from 2000-2008. It was replaced in 2009 by the Kia Forte.

33 Heavy D’s genre : RAP

“Heavy D” was the stage name of singer Dwight Myers, a Jamaican-born American rap artist. Heavy D died in 2011 from a pulmonary embolism at just 44 years of age. He had just taken a flight from Europe back to the US and developed deep vein thrombosis in one of his legs. Part of the clot broke off and traveled to his lung where it killed him. My wife developed deep vein thrombosis from prolonged sitting on a plane some years ago. She is very careful to keep moving around now when she flies, and for good reason …

35 Handle letters : AKA

Also known as (aka)

39 Herd at Yellowstone : ELK

Yellowstone was the first National Park to be established in the world when it was designated as such by President Grant in 1872. What a great tradition it started! The American National Parks are truly a treasure …

41 Home to Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett : CNN

Anderson Cooper is a respected news personality on CNN and on various shows around the dial. Among my favorite appearances of his, although he would call them trivial I am sure, was as host of a great reality game show called “The Mole” that aired in 2001. Cooper’s mother was fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt.

Erin Burnett is a television journalist and the host of her own show on CNN called “Erin Burnett OutFront”. Apparently Burnett also used to show up occasionally as advisor to Donald Trump on “The Celebrity Apprentice”.

44 Hercule Poirot, e.g., for short : TEC

Hercule Poirot is one of Agatha Christie’s most beloved characters. He is a wonderful Belgian private detective who plies his trade from his base in London. Poirot’s most famous case is the “Murder on the Orient Express”. First appearing in 1920’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, Poirot finally succumbs to a heart condition in the 1975 book “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case”. Famously, Poirot is fond of using his “little grey cells”.

47 “Hamilton” cast member Phillipa : SOO

Phillipa Soo is an actress and singer who is perhaps best known for portraying Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, the title character’s wife in the original Broadway production of “Hamilton”.

52 Herr, here : SIR

In German, a “Herr” (Mr.) is married to a “Frau” (Mrs.), and they live together in a “Haus” (house).

53 Hard to believe, as a tale : TALL

In centuries past, “tall talk” was important and grand discourse, and the opposite of “small talk”. Somehow, this use of the adjective “tall” came to be used in the phrases “tall tale” and “tall story”, which both describe an account that is untrue and not to be believed.

54 Hardy’s “before” : ERE

Thomas Hardy was a novelist and poet from Dorset in England. Hardy thought of himself mainly as a poet, but he is best remembered for some very fine novels, such as “Far from the Madding Crowd”, “The Mayor of Casterbridge”, “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” and “Jude the Obscure”.

59 “Harvey” star James : STEWART

“Harvey” is a Pulitzer-winning 1944 play by playwright Mary Chase. It’s all about a man who has a man-sized rabbit as an imaginary friend, a rabbit named Harvey. The play was adapted into a famous 1950 play of the same name starring Jimmy Stewart. Harvey became so closely associated with the character that the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania presents an annual Harvey Award, to the celebrity who best represents Stewart’s spirit of humanitarianism.

62 Heat center of the 2000s : O’NEAL

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality shows: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

The Miami Heat basketball team debuted in the NBA in the 1988-89 season. The franchise name was chosen in a competitive survey, with “Miami Heat” beating out “Miami Vice”.

66 Health problem now largely eradicated in the U.S. : POLIO

Albert Sabin developed the oral polio vaccine. Sabin’s vaccine was a “live” controlled vaccine. The equally famous Salk vaccine was a “killed” vaccine.

69 Hall-of-Fame QB Bart : STARR

Bart Starr was a football player and coach who spent his whole career with the Green Bay Packers, playing quarterback for the Packers from 1956 to 1971. Starr was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the first two Super Bowls.

70 Hollywood’s Amanda : PEET

Actress Amanda Peet studied acting with the celebrated Uta Hagen at Columbia University. Peet has appeared in a number of successful films including “The Whole Nine Yards” and “Syriana”. I remember her best from what I thought was a great TV show (but no one seemed to agree!) called “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”.

Down

13 Hard drinks similar to bourbons : RYES

For whiskey to be labeled as “rye” in the US, it has to be distilled from at least 51% rye grain. In Canada however, a drink called rye whiskey sometimes contains no rye at all.

18 Haute couture name : YVES

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was an Algerian-born French fashion designer. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

“Haute couture”, literally “high dressmaking” in French, is a name given to the creation of exclusive fashions. A couturier is someone who creates or sells such fashions.

22 Home to more than 20 million Pakistanis : KARACHI

Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan. It was the country’s capital when Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947. The capital was moved to Rawalpindi in 1958, and then to the newly built city of Islamabad in 1960.

31 High-priced perfume ingredient : ROSE OIL

Attar of rose is also known as rose oil, and is an essential oil extracted from the petals of various types of rose.

32 H.S. student’s test result, on a scale of 1 to 5 : AP SCORE

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school (HS). After being tested at the end of an AP course, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

36 Homemaker from Mayberry : BEE TAYLOR

Aunt Bee is a character in “The Andy Griffith Show”. The character’s full name is Beatrice Taylor but everyone in Mayberry calls her “Aunt Bee”. In the storyline, she is the aunt of protagonist Sheriff Andy Taylor, and great-aunt to Andy’s son Opie. Aunt Bee was played by actress Frances Bavier.

49 “How Deep Is Your Love” singer Barry, Maurice or Robin : BEE GEE

The Brothers Gibb (hence, the name “Bee Gees”) were born in England but grew up and started their musical careers in Australia. They moved back to Manchester in the north of England as youths, and there hit the big time.

58 “House” actress Ward : SELA

Actress Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. She played Teddy Reed in the TV show “Sisters” in the nineties, and was in “Once and Again” from 1999-2002. I don’t know either show, but I do know Ward from the medical drama “House” in which she played the hospital’s lawyer and Greg House’s ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought. More recently, Ward played a lead role on “CSI: NY” and was a very welcome and much-needed addition to the cast. And, Ward played Dr. Richard Kimble’s murdered wife in the 1993 film version of “The Fugitive”.

60 Household detergent brand : TIDE

Tide is a laundry detergent that has been made by Procter & Gamble since 1946. Back then, Tide was marketed as “America’s Washday Favorite”.

64 Hotel room option: Abbr. : STE

Suite (ste.)

65 Helpful skill for guessers? : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Holy service : MASS
5 Hustle : SCAM
9 “Hallelujah!” singers : CHOIR
14 Humorist Bombeck : ERMA
15 Half a soft drink? : COCA
16 Hurried past : RAN BY
17 Harsh rule, metaphorically : HEAVY HAND
19 Host : EMCEE
20 Honored : REVERED
21 Hones, as a blade : WHETS
22 Hobbyist’s purchase : KIT
24 Hummer’s interior? : EMS
25 “… has come ___ surprise” : AS NO
27 “Have you ___ wool?” : ANY
28 Have a gander : SEE
29 Honda Civic competitor from Kia : SPECTRA
33 Heavy D’s genre : RAP
34 Hybrid genre of country and 33-Across, pejoratively : HICK-HOP
35 Handle letters : AKA
36 Hammer sound : BAM!
39 Herd at Yellowstone : ELK
40 Heehawing animal : ASS
41 Home to Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett : CNN
42 High-tech gaming tournament, briefly : EVO
43 Hagiography subjects: Abbr. : STS
44 Hercule Poirot, e.g., for short : TEC
45 Hopping mad sort : HOTHEAD
47 “Hamilton” cast member Phillipa : SOO
48 Holler when the game is deadlocked : IT’S A TIE!
49 “Holy cow!” : BOY!
52 Herr, here : SIR
53 Hard to believe, as a tale : TALL
54 Hardy’s “before” : ERE
55 “Hurrah!” at a stadium : OLE!
56 Hard to believe : FISHY
59 “Harvey” star James : STEWART
62 Heat center of the 2000s : O’NEAL
63 Hypocrite’s perch, perhaps : HIGH HORSE
66 Health problem now largely eradicated in the U.S. : POLIO
67 “Here’s an ___ …” : IDEA
68 Hacks, say : CUTS
69 Hall-of-Fame QB Bart : STARR
70 Hollywood’s Amanda : PEET
71 Hang on to : KEEP

Down

1 “Hasn’t impressed me much” : MEH
2 “Happy Days ___ Here Again” : ARE
3 Haughty intellectual : SMARTY PANTS
4 Hang on to : SAVE
5 Hatch plans : SCHEME
6 Having a rough texture : COARSE
7 Huge issue for some teens : ACNE
8 Helter-skelter scrambles : MAD DASHES
9 Hoodless pullovers often worn with other layers : CREWNECKS
10 Hog part : HAM HOCK
11 Historically : ONCE
12 “Hah!” : I BET!
13 Hard drinks similar to bourbons : RYES
18 Haute couture name : YVES
22 Home to more than 20 million Pakistanis : KARACHI
23 How loose strings might end up : IN A KNOT
26 Having been sloshed out : SPILT
30 “Hell, yes!” : THAT’S SO TRUE!
31 High-priced perfume ingredient : ROSE OIL
32 H.S. student’s test result, on a scale of 1 to 5 : AP SCORE
36 Homemaker from Mayberry : BEE TAYLOR
37 Help : AVAIL
38 Hobby shop purchase with a large wood or plastic base : MODEL SHIP
46 Helmet wearer’s potential embarrassment : HAT HAIR
49 “How Deep Is Your Love” singer Barry, Maurice or Robin : BEE GEE
50 Huffy response to a threat : OR WHAT?!
51 “Hooray!” : YEAH!
56 Hip dressers : FOPS
57 Having gone to an extra period, for short : IN OT
58 “House” actress Ward : SELA
60 Household detergent brand : TIDE
61 Huge gem, slangily : ROCK
64 Hotel room option: Abbr. : STE
65 Helpful skill for guessers? : ESP

9 thoughts on “1206-23 NY Times Crossword 6 Dec 23, Wednesday”

  1. 11:53, no errors. Paused over the “E” at the intersection of “BEE TAYLOR” and “EVO”; I finally realized that Aunt Bee was related to Andy Taylor. Duh. (And, after the fact, I looked up “EVO”, but it’s still out of my bailiwick … 😉. )

  2. @Alaska Steve …

    I finished reading the “Three Body Problem” trilogy a while back and I’ve been trying to sort out my thoughts about it. I enjoyed reading it (in spite of what seemed to me to be some rather fantastic interpretations of recent physics). For me, the ending was extremely depressing.

    Early in the novel, someone makes use of our sun’s mass to send a powerful message into the universe (with serious consequences). For me, this was one of those things that I characterized above as “fantastic”. But then I came across an article about a scientist named Slava Turyshev, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, who envisages using the “gravitational waves” created by our sun as a “solar gravitational lens” to do exactly that (in addition to creating an incredibly powerful telescope, capable of imaging the surface of a planet circling a distant star). This is all way over my head (pun intentional), of course, but it may be that Cixin Liu’s take on the nature of the universe isn’t as far from reality as my severely limited understanding would suggest.

    For more info, Google “Slava Turyshev” and/or “solar gravitational lens”.

    Meanwhile, I just finished reading “A Confederacy of Dunces”, by John Kennedy Toole, which is a whole ‘nother thing (as in, I’m still trying to decide what I think about it).

  3. 20:24, no errors. Started fast but got hung up in several areas. Weirdly hard for me today. @Dave, I think I’m going to skip the Three Body Problem book that I couldn’t get into. There’s a series coming out next year on Netflix that may be an easier way you get the whole story. There’s also a 30 episode show on Prime from China with English subtitles from 2023.

    1. Steve,

      Thanks for the pointers. I think I’ll be satisfied to leave my experience with Cixin Liu where it is now … 😉.

      FWIW … if I had been asked, I probably wouldn’t have voted to award the trilogy that Hugo … 🤨. (But I’ll admit that I would have been the wrong person to ask … 🙂.)

      1. I wouldn’t have voted for it either. And I’ve been a Sci Fi addict since I was a child, lo those many, many years ago (thanks to my dad).

  4. 20:20 saying all the clues began with”H” is a bit of a stretch since at least one began with elipsis, but still a neat construction👍

  5. Like @alaskasteve, quick start then got hung up…
    But I skipped around and did fine.
    Maybe 10 minutes.

    Had to look up EVO. 9000 participants. Sheesh.

    Also looked up HAGIOGRAPHY. didn’t know that was such a “saintly” thing.

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