Weds. Dec. 19 NYT Crossword Hints

A few hints:

“The Matrix role”:  Well, there’s a new one

Like radon:  Can’t smell, can’t see it; there are too many ______ things that can do this much damage

hardly a win-win situation?:  not by half, as the Brits say

Some varsity players:  Think back on your school years, but don’t be too anxious to graduate

Scout pack leader:  Think dogs, but don’t get hung up on the leader part

Morales of “Caprica”:  One of the most popular names in crosswords.  If you get stuck, check out words every crossword puzzle fan should know (though it contains answers, not hints, it’s a good starting point for the most commonly re-used crossword answers).

Anonymous one in court:  One of the most famous anonymous people in history.  Remember the Supreme Court’s epic decision on a woman’s choice to have an abortion.

Conquistador’s booty:  also a very common answer found in the link above.

Judge in the Simpson case:  yet another to learn and remember

Brown ermine:  another, sometimes clued as “ermine in winter”

Warm, so to speak:  remember when you were just a kid

Calculus, familiarly:  Be sure to brush your teeth when you finish the puzzle!

Theme:  What can I say without giving it away?  Hmmm.  I’ll just say this, like many crossword quips this compares the way two words are used in different contexts.  Often it’s the same word used twice, in this case, it’s the difference between two near synonyms.  Once you get a few of the letters, try making some reasonable guesses.