1215-23 NY Times Crossword 15 Dec 23, Friday

Constructed by: Alex Tomlinson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 16m 08s

Bill’s errors: 3

  • CAN YOU NOT? (Can you sit?)
  • INUK (Isuk)
  • MOTE (mite)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Yard, nautically : SPAR

Yards are the horizontal spars that are attached to a mast and used to support square sails on older sailing vessels. Each end of a yard is known as a yardarm.

5 Desire for a ski jumper : HANG TIME

The winter sport of ski jumping originated in Norway. The first recorded, measured ski jump was by Norwegian-Danish military officer Olaf Rye. He launched himself a distance of 9.5 meters in front of fellow soldiers in 1809. There is now an offshoot of ski jumping known as ski flying, which involves the use of larger hills. Ski flyers have made jumps in excess of 250 meters.

13 ___ blue dot (Earth, in a famous photograph) : PALE

The famous “Pale Blue Dot” photograph was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from almost 4 million miles from the Earth. In the photo, our planet appears as a tiny “pale blue dot”. NASA had Voyager 1 take the photograph, at the request of Carl Sagan.

22 Journalism inits. since 1851 : NYT

“The New York Times” (NYT) has been published since 1851, and is sometimes referred to as “the Gray Lady”. These days a viable alternative to buying the paper is to read the news online. NYTimes.com is the most popular online newspaper website in the country.

30 Likely hyperbole from a texter : ROFL

Rolling on floor laughing (ROFL)

Hyperbole is the use of exaggerated speech. The term “hyperbole” is Greek, coming from “hyper-” meaning “beyond” and “bole” meaning “a throwing”. When using hyperbole, our choice of words is “thrown beyond” what is normally necessary to get our point across.

38 ___ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline Ryanair.

41 “Woo-hoo!,” in online shorthand : FTW!

“FTW” is an initialism abbreviating “for the win”, a phrase meaning “being great, sure to succeed”.

45 “Give me five!” : UP TOP!

The celebratory gesture that we call a “high five” is said to have been invented by former baseball players Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke when they were both playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 1970s.

46 Half full? : ELS

Half of the word “full” comprises letters L (els).

50 Tropical vine : LIANA

Liana (also “liane”) is a vine that generally grows in moist areas such as rain forests. Lianas grow using the trees in the forest as structural support. My bet is that Tarzan swung from tree to tree on liana vines …

54 Purple ___, Hawaiian crop : YAM

Ube is a species of yam that is purple in color. I’m a big fan of ube ice cream. Potato-flavored ice cream; what’s not to like?!

61 Occasion to recite the Pledge of Allegiance : ASSEMBLY

The Pledge of Allegiance of the US was composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and was adopted by Congress in 1942. The actual words used in the pledge have changed over time. Here is the original 1892 version shown in comparison to the current version that was adopted in 1954:

1892: I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

1954: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

62 Button usually held down by a pinkie : CTRL

The use of “pinkie” or “pinky” for the little finger or toe comes into English from “pinkje”, the Dutch word for the same digit. Who knew …?

Down

1 Word after life or C : -SPAN

C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings.

5 Term for an overly commercialized celebration : HALLMARK HOLIDAY

Hallmark produces more greeting cards in the US than any other company. The company was started by Joyce Clyde Hall in 1910, and by 1915 was known as Hall Brothers after his brother Rollie joined the enterprise. Rollie invented what we know today as “wrapping paper”, displacing the traditional use of colored tissue paper for wrapping gifts. The company took on the name “Hallmark” in 1928, taking the term for the symbol used by goldsmiths in London in the 1500s.

7 Bill concerned with science communication : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. In addition to his career as a science educator, Nye is also a comedian. He performed stand-up comedy during his early years as an engineer.

10 Arctic native : INUK

The Inuit people live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada. A member of the Inuit people is known as an “Inuk”.

14 One on the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land : CALEB

According to the Bible, after fleeing Egypt the Hebrews were led by Moses to the promised land of Canaan. Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan (one from each of the Twelve Tribes) to report on what awaited them. Ten spies returned with exaggerated stories of giants who would kill the Hebrew army if it entered Canaan. Two spies, Caleb and Joshua, came back with valid reports that the Hebrews could inhabit the area. As a result of the false reports from the ten spies, the Hebrews did not enter Canaan but instead wandered the desert for another forty years, before they finally took up residence in the promised land. At the end of the forty years, Caleb and Joshua were the only adults that survived the forty-year journey, a reward from God for their obedience.

22 Warning letters with a Reddit link : NSFW

The abbreviation “NSFW” stands for “not safe/suitable for work”. It’s Internet slang used to describe online content that is best not viewed at work.

23 ___ Juniors, soccer team for which Diego Maradona once played : BOCA

Diego Maradona had to have been the most famous of Argentina’s soccer players. He was also one of the country’s most controversial sportsmen and was noted for his outspoken manner with journalists, as well as his cocaine addiction.

25 Canapé topper : ROE

A canapé is a finger food, something small enough to eat in just one bite. In French, “canapé” is actually the word for a couch or a sofa. The name was given to the snack as the original canapés were savories served on toasted or stale bread that supposedly resembled a tiny couch.

28 Nephalist : TEETOTALER

Teetotalism is the practice of abstaining from alcohol. The movement started in England in the 1800s.

31 Part of a biblical plague : LOCUST

According to the biblical Book of Exodus, God inflicted ten plagues on Egypt to persuade the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from bondage. For example, the first was the changing of water in the Nile to blood, the eighth was a plague of locusts that consumed all the Egyptian crops, and the tenth was the death of firstborn sons.

35 Housework? : LAWS

That would be the House of Representatives.

37 2022 Jordan Peele film : NOPE

“Nope” is a 2022 sci-fi, horror film. Nope, I don’t do horror …

Jordan Peele is a former cast member of the sketch comedy show “Mad TV”. Peele created his own sketch comedy show “Key & Peele” with fellow-Mad TV alum Keegan-Michael Key. Peele started hosting and producing the revival of “The Twilight Zone” in 2019.

47 West Coast N.F.L.’er : LA RAM

The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951 & 2021) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.

50 Tibetan title : LAMA

“Lama” is a Tibetan word meaning “chief, high priest”.

51 Experimental composer Charles : IVES

Charles Ives was one of the great classical composers, and probably the first American to be so recognized. Sadly, his work largely went unsung (pun intended!) during his lifetime, and was really only accepted into the performed repertoire after his death in 1954.

55 Common place to see Santa : MALL

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to be a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

58 Public health org. : CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Yard, nautically : SPAR
5 Desire for a ski jumper : HANG TIME
13 ___ blue dot (Earth, in a famous photograph) : PALE
14 “Knock it off!,” in question form : CAN YOU NOT?
15 Since : AS OF
16 Classic airplane snack : SALTED NUTS
17 General term in a series : NTH
18 Number in a count : BALLS
19 Change, as a lock : REKEY
20 One in a million, so to speak : RARE GEM
22 Journalism inits. since 1851 : NYT
23 One way to travel the world : BY SEA
24 Lines from a rapper, in slang : BARS
26 Milk option : OAT
29 Earth-based pigment : OCHER
30 Likely hyperbole from a texter : ROFL
32 Equipment in hockey, lacrosse and pickleball : NET
34 What one might look at the night sky with : CHILDLIKE WONDER
38 ___ Lingus : AER
39 Badge holder : SASH
40 Spanish geographical word that is an anagram of its English translation : COSTA
41 “Woo-hoo!,” in online shorthand : FTW!
43 Pronoun functioning as an object (not a subject!) : WHOM
45 “Give me five!” : UP TOP!
46 Half full? : ELS
48 “Dig in, everyone” : LET’S EAT
50 Tropical vine : LIANA
53 Work from, as a desk : SIT AT
54 Purple ___, Hawaiian crop : YAM
56 Bookie? : AVID READER
58 ___ bottles (popular gummy candy) : COLA
59 Bad press, say : MEDIA BIAS
60 Event at high noon : DUEL
61 Occasion to recite the Pledge of Allegiance : ASSEMBLY
62 Button usually held down by a pinkie : CTRL

Down

1 Word after life or C : -SPAN
2 One whose work might be a piece of cake? : PASTRY CHEF
3 Bit of attire seldom worn with a jacket : ALOHA SHIRT
4 One you might beseech to get glasses : REF
5 Term for an overly commercialized celebration : HALLMARK HOLIDAY
6 At any one time, roughly 10,000 trillion of them roam the earth : ANTS
7 Bill concerned with science communication : NYE
8 Become barren : GO DRY
9 Synchronize with : TUNE TO
10 Arctic native : INUK
11 Speck : MOTE
12 Handmade goods site : ETSY
14 One on the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land : CALEB
16 Lose tautness : SAG
18 What stubbles may become : BEARDS
21 Lurch : REEL
22 Warning letters with a Reddit link : NSFW
23 ___ Juniors, soccer team for which Diego Maradona once played : BOCA
25 Canapé topper : ROE
27 “Don’t even think of coming back!” : AND STAY OUT!
28 Nephalist : TEETOTALER
31 Part of a biblical plague : LOCUST
33 Trick question, e.g. : TRAP
35 Housework? : LAWS
36 There or thereabouts : ISH
37 2022 Jordan Peele film : NOPE
42 Actress Malick : WENDIE
44 Hands (out) : METES
47 West Coast N.F.L.’er : LA RAM
49 Damage the reputation of : TAR
50 Tibetan title : LAMA
51 Experimental composer Charles : IVES
52 Supports : AIDS
53 Set ___ : SAIL
55 Common place to see Santa : MALL
57 Fade away : EBB
58 Public health org. : CDC

6 thoughts on “1215-23 NY Times Crossword 15 Dec 23, Friday”

  1. 19:56, no errors. Unfamiliar with LIANA, IVES & WENDIE, nibbled around the edges to fill the SW corner. Have never visited Reddit, thought it was a Real Estate listing site.

  2. 21:53, no errors. Started slow, ended fast. Kinda the reverse of my usual. On a positive note, 3:18 faster than my Friday average.

  3. 34:23 Started out slow, then upgraded to less slow. SW last to fall, but getting “Hallmark Holiday” helped me plow through. “Liana” got filled with down answers, was not familiar with it

  4. Went almost quicker than yesterday

    NW corner was last to fall.

    LIANA held me up in SW corner and I didn’t know WENDIE but it looked like a smart guess after WEND– came to the grid. Once there, those long ones fell pretty quick.

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