1208-23 NY Times Crossword 8 Dec 23, Friday

Constructed by: Robert Logan
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Nice-looking grid!

Bill’s time: 15m 40s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16 Figure whose name derives from the Hebrew for “adversary” : SATAN

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

18 Areas to practice driving skills : RANGES

That would be golf.

20 Middle of Middlesex : CENTRE

Middlesex is a former county in the southeast of England. Most of Middlesex was subsumed into Greater London in 1965, with some smaller parts being transferred to neighboring counties.

22 Output of the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments : YAMAHAS

The Japanese company Yamaha started out way back in 1888 as a manufacturer of pianos and reed organs. Even though the company has diversified since then, Yamaha’s logo still reflects its musical roots. Said logo is made up of three intersecting tuning forks, and can even be seen on Yamaha motorcycles and ATVs.

26 Canadian N.H.L. team, on scoreboards : OTT

The Senators are the NHL hockey team based in Ottawa, Canada. The current team, founded in the 1992-93 season, is the second NHL team in the city to use the name “Senators”. The original team was founded in 1917, and had a very successful run until the league expanded into the US in the late twenties. The cost of operating in what became the smallest NHL city eventually drove the Senators to St. Louis where they played for a year as the Eagles before finally folding.

27 1977 best-selling novel set in a hospital : COMA

“Coma” is a 1977 novel by Robin Cook, one that marked the author’s first commercial success. It was made into an entertaining 1978 feature film directed by Michael Crichton and starring Geneviève Bujold and Michael Douglas.

30 Artist of “La Maja Desnuda” and “La Maja Vestida” : GOYA

María Cayetana de Silva was the 13th Duchess of Alba. She was a favorite subject of the Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The duchess is the subject in the famous portraits known as “La maja desnuda” (The Nude Maja) and “La maja vestida” (The Clothed Maja). “Maja” translates from Spanish as “beautiful lady”.

32 Words that guide : CREED

A creed or credo is a profession of faith, or a system of belief or principles. “Credo” is Latin for “I believe”.

33 Uber ___ : EATS

Uber Eats is a food-delivery platform offered by ride-sharing service Uber. For a delivery fee of a few bucks, users can order food from local restaurants using an app. That food might be delivered by car, bike or foot depending on the city and courier.

34 Join so as to work together : YOKE

A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of animals so that they are forced to work together.

35 Third most-spoken language in the world : HINDI

Hindi is one of the two official languages of India, along with English. Hindi was the fourth most-spoken first language in the world (after Mandarin, Spanish and English) in 2018.

41 Famous bridge site : RIALTO

The Rialto is the financial and commercial center of Venice, and has been so for centuries. One of the most famous features of the area is the Rialto Bridge that spans the Grand Canal.

Down

3 Utterance with one’s hand on a Bible, maybe : I DO

Do you solemnly (swear/affirm) that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (so help you God/under pains and penalties of perjury)?

5 City east of Tempe : MESA

The city of Mesa, Arizona is in effect a suburb of Phoenix. The original settlement of non-Native Americans was founded by Daniel Webster Jones who led a Mormon group from St. George, Utah. The settlement was first called Jonesville, then Fort Utah and eventually Lehi. A second group of Mormons arrived and formed a settlement on top of a nearby mesa. It was this use of a mesa that eventually gave the city its current name.

Tempe is a city in the metropolitan area of Phoenix. The city is named for the Vale of Tempe in Greece.

9 Pioneer in the field of exobiology : SAGAN

Carl Sagan was a brilliant astrophysicist, and a great communicator. He was famous for presenting obscure concepts about the cosmos in such a way that we mere mortals could appreciate. Sagan also wrote the novel “Contact” that was adapted into a fascinating 1997 film of the same name starring Jodie Foster.

Astrobiology is the study of extraterrestrial life, as well as life on earth. The term “exobiology” applies to the study and search for life beyond earth.

14 Indianapolis 500 venue, informally, with “the” : … BRICKYARD

The Brickyard 400 is a NASCAR race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the same place that the Indy 500 has been run since 1911. The inaugural Brickyard 400 was run in 1994, and is now NASCAR’s most attended event. “Brickyard” is a nickname for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as for many years the track was paved with actual bricks. The bricks were covered over with asphalt some time ago, but there is a one-yard wide strip of bricks still exposed at the start/finish line.

17 Balance sheet quantity : NET ASSETS

The balance sheet of a company is a snapshot (single-point-in-time) view of a company’s financial position. The balance sheet lists all the company’s liabilities, all of its assets, and all of its ownership equity. The assets of a company, less its liabilities equals the ownership equity. The term “balance” is used because assets always balance out with the sum of liabilities and shareholder equity.

19 Jazz sobriquet : SATCHMO

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1900. Armstrong had a poor upbringing, and only stayed in school until he was 11 years old. The exact origin of Louis’s nickname “Satchmo” seems to be a little unclear. One story is that he used to dance for pennies in New Orleans as a youngster and would hide those pennies in his mouth away from the other kids. For this he earned the nickname “satchel mouth”, which was shortened to “Satchmo”.

A sobriquet is an affectionate nickname. The term “sobriquet” is French, in which language it has the same meaning.

20 Ones helping players get a round? : CADDIES

“Caddie” is a Scottish word, as one might expect given the history of the game of golf. It is a local word derived from the French “cadet” that describes a younger son or brother, or a student officer in the military. The variant spelling “caddy” is quite common.

23 Song title in both “The Sound of Music” and “West Side Story” : MARIA

“The Sound of Music” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that was made into a celebrated movie in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The musical is based on “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”, a memoir by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family ended up in Stowe, Vermont after the war. One family descended from the Vermont von Trapps lives in the same town in which I used to live in California.

Leonard Bernstein’s musical “West Side Story” is based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The musical is set in New York City and features two rival gangs: the Sharks from Puerto Rico and the Jets with working-class, Caucasian roots. Tony from the Jets (played by Richard Beymer) falls in love with Maria (played by Natalie Wood) from the Sharks. All this parallels Romeo from the House of Montague falling for Juliet from the House of Capulet in the Italian city of Verona. The stage musical was adapted into a very successful 1961 movie with the same title.

39 Barely run : STREAK

People have been running around naked for an awfully long time, but the application of the word “streaking” to the phenomenon only dates back to 1973. A journalist was reporting on a mass nude run of 533 people at the University of Maryland in 1973, and used the words “they are streaking (i.e. moving quickly) past me right now. It’s an incredible sight!”. The Associated Press picked up the story the next day, and interpreted “streaking” as the term to describe “running naked”, and we’ve been using it that way ever since.

42 Cartoon character often seen sucking his thumb : LINUS

In Charles Schulz’s fabulous comic strip “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown is friends with at least three members of the van Pelt family. Most famously there is Lucy van Pelt, who bosses everyone around, and who operates a psychiatric booth that looks like a lemonade stand. Then there is Linus, Lucy’s younger brother, the character who always has his security blanket at hand. Lastly there is an even younger brother, Rerun van Pelt. Rerun is constantly hiding under his bed, trying to avoid going to school.

47 Entertainment reference that began as a Usenet group : IMDB

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering questions one has about movies and actors.

Remember the good old days, when you read messages online in “newsgroups”? Well, that system of aggregating public messages is known as Usenet, and it’s still around today. Usenet started operating in 1980, some ten years before the World Wide Web was introduced (which system has displaced Usenet in terms of popularity). Usenet definitely played a significant part in the history of the Internet. For instance, the terms “FAQ” and “spam” were both born on Usenet.

48 ___ Amendment (2010s extension of the Kyoto Protocol) : DOHA

The Kyoto Protocol is designed to fight global warming and was adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. Almost 200 states have since signed the protocol and have committed to achieving the year 2012 targets laid down in the document. The most notable signature absent on the document is one representing the United States, as we are responsible for over one third of the greenhouse gases emitted across the world. The other significant polluters that have not ratified the agreement are China, India and Brazil.

51 Tip jar item : ONE

If you look at the back of a one-dollar bill there is an eye sitting above a pyramid. This is known as the Eye of Providence, and is similar to the Eye of Horus that we see so often in ancient Egyptian designs and hieroglyphs. The Eye of Providence is a common Christian emblem from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

52 All House speakers until 2007 : MEN

Nancy Pelosi first became Speaker of the House in 2007, and was the 60th person to hold that position. Ms. Pelosi represents a district not far from here, which covers most of San Francisco. She was the first Californian, the first Italian-American and the first woman to be Speaker of the House. As Speaker of the House is second-in-line to the presidency, after the Vice President, Nancy Pelosi was for many years the highest-ranking female politician in US history. That was until Kamala Harris became Vice President in 2021.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Boatloads or truckloads : SHIPMENTS
10 Question suggesting “What odd behavior!” : WHO DOES THAT?
12 Gains ground : NARROWS THE GAP
14 Worker’s end-of-year wish : BONUS
15 Pitiful : SAD
16 Figure whose name derives from the Hebrew for “adversary” : SATAN
18 Areas to practice driving skills : RANGES
20 Middle of Middlesex : CENTRE
21 Taproom offering, in brief : IPA
22 Output of the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments : YAMAHAS
26 Canadian N.H.L. team, on scoreboards : OTT
27 1977 best-selling novel set in a hospital : COMA
29 Broke : TAMED
30 Artist of “La Maja Desnuda” and “La Maja Vestida” : GOYA
31 Five-time N.B.A. All-Star Thompson : KLAY
32 Words that guide : CREED
33 Uber ___ : EATS
34 Join so as to work together : YOKE
35 Third most-spoken language in the world : HINDI
36 Slips : ERRS
37 “___ does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from ___”: Jeanne Moreau : AGE
38 Stockpiles : AMASSES
40 Get even with : TIE
41 Famous bridge site : RIALTO
43 Not allowing for variation : STRICT
45 Payment option : DEBIT
46 What a nod might indicate : BID
49 Investor’s considerations : RISKS
50 What old memories often cause : SENIOR MOMENTS
53 Made ’em look : TURNED HEADS
54 Preservers of crop biodiversity : SEED BANKS

Down

1 [So what?] : [SHRUG]
2 Kiddie ride? : HORSEY
3 Utterance with one’s hand on a Bible, maybe : I DO
4 Comics sound effects : POWS
5 City east of Tempe : MESA
6 Abbr. below the name of some businesses : ESTD
7 Highest degree attainable? : NTH
8 Defenses are prepared for them : THESES
9 Pioneer in the field of exobiology : SAGAN
10 “You sure about that?” : WANNA MAKE A BET?
11 Drawers on chests, maybe : TATTOO ARTISTS
12 “Stop complaining. I didn’t do anything wrong” : NO APOLOGIES
13 Bouncing a penny into a cup, fancily shuffling cards, etc. : PARTY TRICKS
14 Indianapolis 500 venue, informally, with “the” : … BRICKYARD
17 Balance sheet quantity : NET ASSETS
19 Jazz sobriquet : SATCHMO
20 Ones helping players get a round? : CADDIES
23 Song title in both “The Sound of Music” and “West Side Story” : MARIA
24 Certain verbal agreements : AMENS
25 Regards : HEEDS
28 Certain verbal agreement : AYE
30 “How about that!” : GEE!
38 What’s going on? : ATTIRE
39 Barely run : STREAK
42 Cartoon character often seen sucking his thumb : LINUS
44 They contain fruit : RINDS
46 Gave rise to : BRED
47 Entertainment reference that began as a Usenet group : IMDB
48 ___ Amendment (2010s extension of the Kyoto Protocol) : DOHA
51 Tip jar item : ONE
52 All House speakers until 2007 : MEN

8 thoughts on “1208-23 NY Times Crossword 8 Dec 23, Friday”

  1. 15:46, no errors. I’ll echo Bill’s description of the grid, but I also found it a bit intimidating. (Luckily, it turned out to be easier in reality than in my imagination … 🙂.)

  2. 23:53, no errors. I found the grid intimidating as well. (Unluckily, it did not turn out to be easier in reality…)

  3. 18:50. Ditto all of the above. Knowing BRICKYARD off the top of my head started all the dominoes. Last to fall was actually the middle. Strange feeling.

    Chrome back to normal today. No idea what was going on yesterday.

    Best –

  4. Your times are all safe compared to my 37:29 with “new assets” vs “net assets”. Hey, what do you expect from someone who doesn’t like hockey?

  5. Again, like @Alaskasteve, I was a bit intimidated by the grid.

    I just chucked away here and there while I watched “Rise of the Plant of the Apes”. I couldn’t get BRIDGE out of my head when I got the first 3 letters of 14D…. anyone remember how the movie ends in San Fransisco at a famous spanning piece of architcture? Yeah,… so I faltered there for a while.

    But I ended well.

    Groaner for me was 39D. “Barely run”.

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