1225-23 NY Times Crossword 25 Dec 23, Monday

Constructed by: Amie Walker
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: That’s My Jam!

Merry Christmas, one and all! Themed answers each start with a fruit used in JAM, and each is a song title:

  • 59A “I love this song!” … or a doubly apt description of 17-, 28- and 46-Across : THAT’S MY JAM!
  • 17A 1976 song by the Runaways with the lyric “Hello world, I’m your wild girl” : CHERRY BOMB
  • 28A 1996 Deana Carter hit with the lyric “My first taste of love, oh, bittersweet” : STRAWBERRY WINE
  • 46A 1985 Prince hit with the lyric “And if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more” : RASPBERRY BERET

Bill’s time: 7m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Device that might be confused with a router : MODEM

A modem is a device that is used to facilitate the transmission of a digital signal over an analog line. At one end of the line, a modem is used to “modulate” an analog carrier signal to encode digital information. At the other end of the line, a modem is used to “demodulate” the analog carrier signal and so reproduce the original digital information. This modulation-demodulation gives the device its name: a MOdulator-DEModulator, or “modem”.

In the world of computing, a router is a device that helps direct traffic, as it were. A router in a house is often found in combination with a modem, and directs traffic between the Internet and the computers in the home.

6 Essayist Didion : JOAN

Joan Didion is a journalist and author who was profiled in the Netflix documentary “The Center Will Not Hold”. She won a Pulitzer for her autobiographical work “The Year of Magical Thinking”, which book she used as the basis for a stage play of the same name. The book focuses on the year following the death of her husband, while the play also encompasses the subsequent death of her daughter.

14 Honda luxury brand : ACURA

Acura is a luxury vehicle brand produced by the Japanese automaker Honda. Acura was the first Japanese luxury car brand to be introduced to the US, in 1986. The Acura Legend and Acura Integra were the first two models released.

17 1976 song by the Runaways with the lyric “Hello world, I’m your wild girl” : CHERRY BOMB

“Cherry Bomb” is a 1976 song released by the Runaways, an all-female rock band from Los Angeles. They were active for only four years, in the 1970s, and didn’t really make it big in the US. However, the Runaways were a huge hit in Japan.

21 Caviar, e.g. : ROE

Caviar is the roe of a large fish that has been salted and seasoned, and especially the roe of a sturgeon. Beluga caviar comes from the beluga sturgeon, which is found primarily in the Caspian Sea. It is the most expensive type of caviar in the world. 8 ounces of US-farmed beluga caviar can be purchased through Amazon.com for just over $850, in case you’re feeling peckish …

24 Not worth a ___ : SOU

A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “practically worthless amount”.

27 ___ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is the flag carrier airline of Ireland. It was founded in 1936 by the Irish government to provide air service between Ireland and the United Kingdom. The airline’s name means “air fleet” in Irish. In the 1950s, Aer Lingus became the first airline in the world to introduce a duty-free shopping service on board its flights.

28 1996 Deana Carter hit with the lyric “My first taste of love, oh, bittersweet” : STRAWBERRY WINE

“Strawberry Wine” is a 1996 song released by country singer Deana Carter. The lyrics refer to the singer’s first love, which she compares to strawberry wine. She posits that both are sweet and intoxicating, but have a bittersweet aftertaste.

33 “Warts and all,” in an ad : AS IS

It is said that the phrase “warts and all” was coined by Oliver Cromwell, although there is no real evidence that he ever uttered the phrase. Cromwell had his portrait painted by Sir Peter Lely, an artist who had a reputation for producing works that flattered the subject. Cromwell was a puritan, and may indeed have instructed Lely to produce a less flattering and more objective image. Indeed, the painting includes warts on Cromwell’s face, imperfections that could easily have been omitted.

35 “American Dad!” network : TBS

“American Dad!” is an adult-oriented animated sitcom. Famously, one of the show’s creators is Seth MacFarlane, who also created “Family Guy”. Personally, I cannot stand either show …

39 Furry “Star Wars” creature : EWOK

The Ewoks are creatures that live on the moon of Endor in the “Star Wars” universe. First appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”, they’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

42 Hawaii’s Mauna ___ : KEA

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.

45 Lesbian icon played by Lucy Lawless : XENA

The Xena character, played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role. The fictional Xena supposedly came from the “non-fictional” Greek city of Amphipolis.

46 1985 Prince hit with the lyric “And if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more” : RASPBERRY BERET

“Raspberry Beret” is a 1985 song written and recorded by Prince. The lyrics refer to the singer’s first sexual experience, with a girl who liked to wear a raspberry-colored beret.

51 Chicago trains : ELS

The Chicago “L” is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The “L” is also the second oldest, again with the New York City Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the “L” (originally short for “elevated railroad”), although the term “El” is also in common use (especially in crosswords as “ELS”). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

54 ___ Lanka : SRI

The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

68 Jazzy instruments : SAXES

Saxophones are made of brass, but they also have some features in common with woodwind instruments, such as the use of a reed to create sound. Because of that reed, the “sax” is classified not as a brass instrument, but as a woodwind.

Down

1 Physicist Ernst : MACH

The Mach number of a moving object (like say an airplane) is its speed relative to the speed of sound. A plane traveling at Mach 2, for example, is moving at twice the speed of sound. The term “Mach” takes its name from the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach who published a groundbreaking paper in 1877 that even predicted the “sonic boom”.

2 Dos x cuatro : OCHO

In Spanish, “ocho” (eight) is the product of “cuatro” (four) and “dos” (two).

5 It’s in your bones : MARROW

One of the main roles of bone marrow is the production of red blood cells, although this process is limited to the heads of the long bones in the body. Marrow also produces the lymphocytes that support the body’s immune system.

7 Musical artist Yoko : ONO

Yoko Ono was born in 1933 in Tokyo into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Yoko’s father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great firebombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.

12 Samwise ___, companion of Frodo Baggins : GAMGEE

Samwise Gamgee is the sidekick to Frodo Baggins in Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. “Sam” is portrayed by American actor Sean Astin in the Peter Jackson big screen adaptations of the novels.

23 Aquatic salamander : NEWT

Salamanders are lizard-like amphibians found all across the northern hemisphere. They are the only vertebrate animals that can regenerate lost limbs.

29 Airport org. : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

32 Large-horned mountain goats : IBEXES

“Ibex” is a common name for various species of mountain goat. “Ibex” is a Latin name that was used for wild goats found in the Alps and Apennines in Europe.

38 Appliances with lint traps : DRYERS

“Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the Atlantic.

40 Number of times Rose tells Jack she loves him, in “Titanic” : ONE

When James Cameron made his epic movie “Titanic”, released in 1997, it was the most expensive film ever made and cost about $200 million. It was a good investment for the studio as it became the highest-grossing film of all time, bringing in over $1.8 billion. “Titanic” remained the highest-grossing film until 2010, when Cameron eclipsed the prior record with “Avatar”.

41 Kit ___ bar : KAT

I grew up eating Kit Kat bars as a kid. The Kit Kat hit the shelves on the other side of the pond in the 1930s, but didn’t make it into US stores until the 1970s. I’ve seen new varieties of Kit Kat bars over in Britain and Ireland, such as an orange-flavored version. I’ve been told that there are even more varieties available in Japan.

43 Auto financing figs. : APRS

Annual percentage rate (APR)

48 Goodyear aircraft : 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.

55 Hero in the Trojan War : AJAX

Ajax was a figure in Greek mythology, and was the cousin of Achilles. Ajax is an important figure in Homer’s “Iliad”. According to Homer, Ajax was chosen by lot to meet Hector in an epic duel that lasted a whole day. The duel ended in a draw.

The ancient city of Troy was located on the west coast of modern-day Turkey. The Trojan War of Greek mythology was precipitated by the elopement of Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta, with Paris of Troy. The war itself largely consisted of a nine-year siege of Troy by the Greeks. We know most about the final year of that siege, as it is described extensively in Homer’s “Iliad”. The city eventually fell when the Greeks hid soldiers inside the Trojan Horse, which the Trojans brought inside the city’s walls. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Device that might be confused with a router : MODEM
6 Essayist Didion : JOAN
10 Things in Easter baskets : EGGS
14 Honda luxury brand : ACURA
15 Taking ___ account : INTO
16 Money that’s borrowed : LOAN
17 1976 song by the Runaways with the lyric “Hello world, I’m your wild girl” : CHERRY BOMB
19 Not all : SOME
20 Spicy : HOT
21 Caviar, e.g. : ROE
22 Feeling tense : ON EDGE
24 Not worth a ___ : SOU
25 Walk in water up to one’s ankles, say : WADE
27 ___ Lingus : AER
28 1996 Deana Carter hit with the lyric “My first taste of love, oh, bittersweet” : STRAWBERRY WINE
33 “Warts and all,” in an ad : AS IS
34 Mideast title : EMIR
35 “American Dad!” network : TBS
36 “Mad” run : DASH
37 Lugged around : TOTED
39 Furry “Star Wars” creature : EWOK
42 Hawaii’s Mauna ___ : KEA
44 Rip : TEAR
45 Lesbian icon played by Lucy Lawless : XENA
46 1985 Prince hit with the lyric “And if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more” : RASPBERRY BERET
49 Race, as an engine : REV
50 Frees (of) : RIDS
51 Chicago trains : ELS
52 “Be that as it may …” : EVEN SO …
54 ___ Lanka : SRI
55 In the style of, on a menu : A LA
58 Lose energy : TIRE
59 “I love this song!” … or a doubly apt description of 17-, 28- and 46-Across : THAT’S MY JAM!
63 Take a snooze : REST
64 57-Down’s state : IOWA
65 Inner ___ (goal of meditation) : PEACE
66 Is in the hole : OWES
67 Novice, informally : NEWB
68 Jazzy instruments : SAXES

Down

1 Physicist Ernst : MACH
2 Dos x cuatro : OCHO
3 Song for two : DUET
4 Slip up : ERR
5 It’s in your bones : MARROW
6 Be in harmony : JIBE
7 Musical artist Yoko : ONO
8 Bank lobby sight : ATM
9 Completely insignificant person : NOBODY
10 Otherwise : ELSE
11 “Your response is what I hoped you’d say” : GOOD ANSWER
12 Samwise ___, companion of Frodo Baggins : GAMGEE
13 Villain’s expression : SNEER
18 “Sure thing!’ : YOU BET!
23 Aquatic salamander : NEWT
24 Cloth strips on military uniforms : SASHES
25 Ones involved in a 2023 Hollywood strike : WRITERS
26 Overdue debt : ARREAR
28 Unhappy : SAD
29 Airport org. : TSA
30 Reluctant, as an investor : RISK-AVERSE
31 Acted too broadly : EMOTED
32 Large-horned mountain goats : IBEXES
38 Appliances with lint traps : DRYERS
40 Number of times Rose tells Jack she loves him, in “Titanic” : ONE
41 Kit ___ bar : KAT
43 Auto financing figs. : APRS
46 Critic’s piece : REVIEW
47 Vitamin that contributes to hair and nail growth : BIOTIN
48 Goodyear aircraft : BLIMPS
49 In style once more : RETRO
53 Makes after taxes : NETS
54 Wild guess : STAB
55 Hero in the Trojan War : AJAX
56 Wedding dress material : LACE
57 City north of Des Moines : AMES
60 Weeding tool : HOE
61 “So cu-u-ute!” : AWW!
62 Vote in favor : YEA

7 thoughts on “1225-23 NY Times Crossword 25 Dec 23, Monday”

  1. 9:44, no errors. Merry Christmas all. Slow and laid-back brain functions this morning.
    Once again, describing Yoko ONO as a “musical artist” grates on my sensibilities as well as my ears.

  2. 10:36, my gift to all of you will be my continual slow times in 2024…Merry Christmas!!! btw, have never seen “newb” spelled that way, usually “noob”. I should know, I am one :- )

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