1211-23 NY Times Crossword 11 Dec 23, Monday

Constructed by: Luke K. Schreiber
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: It’s Me Again

Themed answers each include ME as a hidden word, twice:

  • 62A “I’m back!” … or a hint to 17-, 24-, 38- and 51- Across : IT’S ME AGAIN!
  • 17A Union of two major companies : MEGAMERGER
  • 24A Wampanoag chief of the 1600s also known as King Philip : METACOMET
  • 38A Temperature measurer for turkeys and roasts : MEAT THERMOMETER
  • 51A Ticking item that helps musicians keep time : METRONOME

Bill’s time: 5m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Charley horse, e.g. : SPASM

“Charley horse” is a very American term for painful muscle spasms in the legs. The term possibly arose in the late 19th century, and may be named for baseball pitcher Charlie “Old Hoss” Radbourn who apparently suffered a lot from leg cramps.

10 Partners of dits, in Morse code : DAHS

Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

14 Gem whose name comes from “upala,” the Sanskrit word for “precious stone” : OPAL

The largest opal ever found, and the most valuable, is the Olympic Australis. It was discovered in South Australia in 1956. That same year, the Summer Olympics were being held in Melbourne so the newly discovered stone was given the name “Olympic Australis”.

15 Japanese bread crumbs : PANKO

Panko is a breadcrumb used in some Japanese cuisine, primarily as a crunchy coating for fried foods.

24 Wampanoag chief of the 1600s also known as King Philip : METACOMET

Metacomet became the chief of the Wampanoag people in 1662, just over forty years after the Pilgrims founded the Plymouth Colony. The Wampanoag maintained an uneasy peace with the Puritans, and Metacomet adopted the English name Philip. As the puritan colonies expanded, the peace finally broke down and the conflict known as King Philip’s War began. The war lasted from 1675 until 1678.

30 Son of Zeus and Hera : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. He united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

42 Yemen’s capital : SANA’A

Sana (also “Sana’a”) is the capital city of Yemen. Sitting at an elevation of 7,380 feet, Sana is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.

43 Like the steak in steak tartare : RAW

Steak tartare was first served in French restaurants in the early 1900s. Back then, the dish went by the name “steak à l’Americaine”, would you believe? It was basically raw, seasoned beef mixed with egg yolk. A later version of l’Americaine, without the egg yolk and with tartar sauce served on the side, was dubbed “steak tartare”. Over time the two versions became one, and the steak tartare moniker won out. By the way, if you order steak tartare in Switzerland, I believe you are served horse meat. There are now similar “tartare” dishes made with raw salmon, or raw tuna.

44 “The Persistence of Memory” artist : DALI

“The Persistence of Memory” is probably Salvador Dalí’s most famous work. It features the celebrated melting clocks/watches, and you can see them in the painting in the MoMA in New York City.

45 Restaurant chain known for its flapjacks : IHOP

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests.

51 Ticking item that helps musicians keep time : METRONOME

A metronome is any device that produces a regular beat. The metronome was invented in 1815 by Johann Maelzel, who intended it to be an instrument for the use of musicians.

57 Sweet liqueur often put in coffee : ANISETTE

Anisette is a French liqueur that is flavored with anise. It is different from the popular, and similar, drink called pastis as it is produced using a different process and anisette does not contain any licorice. The equivalent drink to anisette in Italy is called sambuca.

58 Goodyear airships : BLIMPS

There is an important difference between a blimp (like the Goodyear Blimp) and an airship (like a zeppelin). An airship is a rigid structure with an internal framework that helps maintain the shape of the airbag, whereas a blimp uses the pressure of the helium gas inside the airbag to give it shape.

64 Olympic sled : LUGE

A luge is a small sled used by one or two people, on which one lies face up and feet first. The luge can be compared to the skeleton, a sled for only one person and on which the rider lies face down and goes down the hill head-first. Yikes!

Down

1 Home to the Colosseum : ROME

The Colosseum of Rome was the largest amphitheater in the whole of the Roman Empire in its day, and could seat about 50,000 people. The structure was originally called the “Amphitheatrum Flavium” but the name changed to “Colosseum” after a colossal statue of Emperor Nero was located nearby.

3 One of five for which Jack traded the family cow : MAGIC BEAN

“Jack and the Beanstalk” is a fairy tale from England. In the story, young Jack sells the family cow for some magic beans. He plants the beans and a massive beanstalk grows up into the sky. At the top of the beanstalk there lives an ogre. Jack climbs the beanstalk and adventures ensue …

4 Philosopher who studied under Socrates : PLATO

Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle. Plato wrote a series of about 30 Socratic dialogues, prose works that feature Socrates as the main character.

7 One might be acute or obtuse : ANGLE

In geometry, there are several classes of angles:

  • Acute (< 90 degrees) 
  • Right (= 90 degrees) 
  • Obtuse (> 90 degrees and < 180 degrees) 
  • Straight (180 degrees) 
  • Reflex (> 180 degrees)

8 Clay targets to be shot, informally : SKEETS

Skeet shooting is one of three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports, along with trap shooting and sporting clays. The word “skeet” comes from the Scandinavian word “skot,” which means “to shoot.”

11 Proposition assumed to be true : AXIOM

In the world of mathematics, an axiom is a proposition, one that is taken as basic and self-evident. The term “axiom” extends beyond mathematics with a similar meaning, an established or self-evident truth.

12 Berry who played Storm in “X-Men” : HALLE

Actress Halle Berry was the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, which she received for her performance in the 2001 movie “Monster’s Ball”. Berry also won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for playing the title role in “Catwoman”, and she very graciously accepted that award in person. Good for her!

Storm is a superhero in the Marvel Comics universe whose superpower is the ability to control the weather. Storm was played by Halle Berry in the “X-Men” series of movies.

13 Refine, as ore : SMELT

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

28 *Facepalm* : *D’OH*

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

31 Unit in a flight between stories : STAIRSTEP

A landing is the area at the top and bottom of a staircase. Apparently, we called the steps between the landings a “flight” of stairs, because one “flies” between landings! Can that be true?

35 Standstill, in chess : STALEMATE

There are several ways that a game of chess can end in a draw. For example, if a player who is not in check cannot make a legal move, there is said to be a stalemate, which is a draw. Another example of a draw is a dead position, a situation in which neither player can make a sequence of legal moves that would result in a checkmate.

36 Fish that are often prepared kabayaki-style : EELS

“Unadon” is the Japanese word for “eel bowl”. “Unadon” is actually a contraction of “unagi no kabayaki” (grilled eel) and “donburi” (rice bowl dish).

39 Chevrolet S.U.V. : TAHOE

The Chevrolet Tahoe SUV was introduced in 1994. It is based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, and it shares many of its components. The Tahoe is sold under the Silverado badge in Mexico.

54 Soccer’s Lionel ___ : MESSI

Lionel “Leo” Messi is a soccer player from Argentina. Messi has been awarded FIFA’s Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) award more times than any other player. The Ballon d’Or is presented to the player who is considered the best in the world in the prior year.

56 Mascot for Princeton — or Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes : TIGER

Tony the Tiger has been the mascot of Frosted Flakes cereal since the product’s introduction in 1951. As Tony would say, “They’re Gr-r-reat!” Well, I thought they were when I was a lot younger …

59 ___ colada : PINA

“Piña colada” is a Spanish term that translates into “strained pineapple”. The piña colada cocktail was introduced in the Caribe Hilton San Juan in 1954, and since 1978 it has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico. The mocktail version of the drink is known as a nada colada.

63 ___ and cheese : MAC

Thomas Jefferson’s name is associated with the dish we know today as “mac ‘n’ cheese”. The future president discovered baked macaroni with Parmesan cheese while in Paris and in northern Italy. He started serving the dish to guests in the US, and even had a machine imported to make the macaroni locally. Whether or not Jefferson was the first to bring mac ‘n’ cheese to America isn’t entirely clear, but it has been popular ever since.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Incline for a wheelchair : RAMP
5 Charley horse, e.g. : SPASM
10 Partners of dits, in Morse code : DAHS
14 Gem whose name comes from “upala,” the Sanskrit word for “precious stone” : OPAL
15 Japanese bread crumbs : PANKO
16 This is a test! : EXAM
17 Union of two major companies : MEGAMERGER
19 Item in a computer folder : FILE
20 Altered, as an article : EDITED
21 “Time to hit the road!” : LET’S ROLL!
23 Foldable bed : COT
24 Wampanoag chief of the 1600s also known as King Philip : METACOMET
25 Small amount, as of hair cream : DAB
27 Big commotion : ADO
29 Some cameras, for short : SLRS
30 Son of Zeus and Hera : ARES
32 Crystal ball, e.g. : ORB
34 On the ocean : AT SEA
38 Temperature measurer for turkeys and roasts : MEAT THERMOMETER
42 Yemen’s capital : SANA’A
43 Like the steak in steak tartare : RAW
44 “The Persistence of Memory” artist : DALI
45 Restaurant chain known for its flapjacks : IHOP
48 Beer dispenser at a frat party : KEG
50 Acid : LSD
51 Ticking item that helps musicians keep time : METRONOME
55 Consumed : ATE
57 Sweet liqueur often put in coffee : ANISETTE
58 Goodyear airships : BLIMPS
61 “___ this just lovely?” : ISN’T
62 “I’m back!” … or a hint to 17-, 24-, 38- and 51- Across : IT’S ME AGAIN!
64 Olympic sled : LUGE
65 Small plateaus : MESAS
66 Sicilian volcano : ETNA
67 Leak slowly : SEEP
68 Official order : EDICT
69 Harvest : REAP

Down

1 Home to the Colosseum : ROME
2 Mimicked : APED
3 One of five for which Jack traded the family cow : MAGIC BEAN
4 Philosopher who studied under Socrates : PLATO
5 Zoomed : SPED
6 Score to shoot for : PAR
7 One might be acute or obtuse : ANGLE
8 Clay targets to be shot, informally : SKEETS
9 Human : MORTAL
10 Thawed, as food before cooking : DEFROSTED
11 Proposition assumed to be true : AXIOM
12 Berry who played Storm in “X-Men” : HALLE
13 Refine, as ore : SMELT
18 Self-referential : META
22 “Beat it!” : SCRAM!
24 Additional : MORE
25 River blockers : DAMS
26 Side x side, for a square : AREA
28 *Facepalm* : *D’OH*
31 Unit in a flight between stories : STAIRSTEP
33 “I’m c-c-cold!” : BRR!
35 Standstill, in chess : STALEMATE
36 Fish that are often prepared kabayaki-style : EELS
37 Desertlike : ARID
39 Chevrolet S.U.V. : TAHOE
40 ___ or break : MAKE
41 Have debts : OWE
46 Not late : ON TIME
47 Like many plants in urban gardening : POTTED
49 Fancy party : GALA
51 Sends, as a postcard : MAILS
52 Follow : ENSUE
53 Slight color : TINGE
54 Soccer’s Lionel ___ : MESSI
56 Mascot for Princeton — or Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes : TIGER
58 Word in most Academy Award titles : BEST
59 ___ colada : PINA
60 Suddenly lose self-control : SNAP
63 ___ and cheese : MAC

5 thoughts on “1211-23 NY Times Crossword 11 Dec 23, Monday”

  1. 6:46, no errors. Paused over METACOMET. An unfamiliar name, but the crosses seemed solid, so what the hey … 😜.

    Also curious about “kabayaki-style” eel. I recently tried eel for the first time and liked it well enough (though I’m still more than a little put off by the whole concept of a creature with poisonous blood … 😳).

  2. 8:29, no errors. I wondered about METACOMET as well. I worked for the Indian Health Service (USPHS) for 30 years and never heard of him.

  3. 8:21, no errors. Couple of wrong attempts slowed me down. CRAMP before SPASM; AMARETTO before ANISETTE. Don’t like the taste of licorice.

    Having had the ‘pleasure’ of trying to unhook those slimy, writhing creatures; there is no way I was ever going to eat an eel.

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