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I am currently on vacation in Ireland, returning on October 9th. I am hoping to complete a blog post each evening, even if it is only the basics (solved grid and clues, plus explanation of theme). I apologize in advance if I am late in posting.

Bill

0918-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Sep 14, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Joel Fagliano
THEME: Casey Wrong … in today’s puzzle we spell out CASEY, but the words we use to help define the letters are confusing, as they sound like different letters:
16A. Man trying to clarify the spelling of his name in 21-, 25-, 38-, 52- and 57-Across CASEY

21A. Unhelpful spelling clarification #1 C AS IN CUE (which sounds like “Q”)
25A. Spelling clarification #2 A AS IN ARE (which sounds like “R”)
38A. Spelling clarification #3 S AS IN SEA (which sounds like “C”)
52A. Spelling clarification #4 E AS IN EYE (which sounds like “I”)
57A. Spelling clarification #5 Y AS IN YOU (which sounds like “U”)

66A. What the listener might think 16-Across's name is? QRCIU
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 01s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
5. Like more than a third of U.S. immigrants nowadays ASIAN
I just looked up some figures for the year 2000 showing that there were over 271 million people in the US population that were US-born, and over 40 million that were foreign born. The largest immigrant group come from neighboring Mexico, with India and the Philippines coming in second and third respectively. My group, from the Republic of Ireland, ranked 47th with 130 thousand Irish-born. I’d say that’s down quite a bit from the 19th century and the days of the Great Irish Famine …

17. Tequila source AGAVE
Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave. The drink takes its name from the city of Tequila, located about 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara.

20. Martin Sheen's real first name RAMON
Martin Sheen is the stage name of actor Ramón Estévez. Despite all of his great performances, Sheen has never even been nominated for an Academy Award. Isn’t that something? I thought he was outstanding in his starring role in television’s “The West Wing”.

23. Outs ALIBIS
"Alibi" is the Latin word for "elsewhere" as in, "I claim that I was 'elsewhere' when the crime was committed ... I have an 'alibi'".

24. Bébé's need LAIT
In French speaking countries, a bébé (baby) needs lait (milk).

27. Circles around the sun CORONAE
The external part of the sun is made up of ionized material at a very high temperature and a very low density. This external aura is known as the solar corona, with “corona” being Latin for “crown”. The corona is best observed during a solar eclipse, when the bright light from the sun’s main body is blocked by the moon.

30. Team that last won an N.F.L. championship in 1957 LIONS
The Detroit Lions are the NFL team that plays home games at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The team was founded way back in 1929 as the Portsmouth Spartans from Portsmouth, Ohio. The Spartans joined the NFL during the Great Depression as other franchises collapsed. However, the Spartans couldn't command a large enough gate in Portsmouth so the team was sold and relocated to Detroit in 1934.

37. Sch. whose team is the Violets NYU
The main campus of the private New York University (NYU) is located right in Manhattan, in Washington Square in the heart of Greenwich Village. NYU has over 12,000 resident students, the largest number of residents in a private school in the whole country. NYU’s sports teams are known as the Violets, a reference to the violet and white colors that are worn in competition. Since the 1980s, the school’s mascot has been a bobcat. “Bobcat” had been the familiar name given to NYU’s Bobst Library computerized catalog.

42. Nearly nada UNO
In Spanish, one (uno) is nearly nothing (nada).

45. Setting for "Gladiator" ROME
You might remember that in the 2000 film "Gladiator", veteran British actor Oliver Reed plays a gruff old gladiator trainer who befriends the main character, played by Russel Crowe. Sadly, Reed died during production of the film, without about half of scenes still to be shot. Director Ridley Scott and his crew were able to rescue the film by using a body double and seamless CGI graphics to create the impression of Reed's presence in remaining scenes. The film is dedicated to the memory of Oliver Reed.

46. "The Last Supper," e.g. MURAL
Leonardo da Vinci's famous mural "The Last Supper" can be seen on an end wall of the dining hall in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. If you want to see it in person, you have to make a reservation ahead of time, and once you get there, you're only allowed 15 minutes of viewing time. It's very popular ...

56. Places where you can hear a pin drop? ALLEYS
Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

62. Rhythmic feet IAMBS
An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Robert Frost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" consists of lines made up of four sequential iambs e.g. "Whose woods / these are / I think / I know". With a sequence of four iambs, the poem's structure is described as iambic tetrameter.

65. Busybody YENTA
Yenta (also "Yente") is actually a female Yiddish name. In Yiddish theater "yenta" came to mean a busybody.

69. Beats it SCATS
Our word "scat" comes from a 19th-century expression "quicker than s'cat", which meant "in a great hurry". The original phrase probably came from the words "hiss" and "cat".

Down
1. Blue Dog Democrats, e.g. BLOC
The Blue Dogs are a caucus in the US Congress made up of relatively moderate and conservative members of the Democratic Party. The name of the caucus is derived from the Yellow Dog Democrats, southern Democrats who were said to be so loyal to the party that they would vote for a “yellow dog if it were labeled Democrat”. The “yellow” was changed to “blue” by Texas Representative Pete Geren who said that some party members had been “choked blue” by Democrats from the Left.

2. One of 14 in the Big Ten IOWA.
The Big Ten is the nation's oldest Division I college athletic conference and today is comprised of not ten, but twelve colleges mainly located in the Midwest. The conference was founded in 1896 and earned the name "Big Nine" in 1899 when Iowa and Indiana joined to bring the number of teams in the conference to nine. The conference name was changed to the Big Ten after Michigan rejoined in 1917. Right after WWII, the University of Chicago dropped out so the conference became known as the Big Nine again until 1949. The official designation of "Big Ten" was adopted in 1987 when the conference (once again with with a complement of ten teams) registered as a not-for-profit corporation. It was decided to keep the official name of Big Ten when Penn State joined in 1990 bringing the number of schools to the level of eleven. I think there are now 14 schools in the Big Ten.

4. Elasticity symbol, in economics EPSILON
In the world of economics, elasticity is a measure of how likely one variable is to change in response to a change in another variable. A common example is “price elasticity”, the tendency of sales to increase as price decreases and vice versa.

5. Tree in a giraffe's diet ACACIA
Acacia is a genus of tree and shrub, also known as thorntree, whistling thorn and wattle. The acacia is the primary food source for the giraffe in the wild, with the animal eating the leaves high in the tree, leaves that are inaccessible by competing species.

6. General reception? SALUTE
A lower-ranking member of the armed forces might salute a general.

8. ___ 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 called Ryanair.

9. W.S.J. alternative NYT
“The New York Times” (NYT) is the newspaper with the third largest circulation in the US, after “The Wall Street Journal” and “USA Today”. So, the NYT is also the nation’s largest “local” paper.

“The Wall Street Journal” (WSJ) is a daily newspaper with a business bent that is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company. The WSJ has a larger US circulation than any other newspaper, with “USA Today” coming in second place.

10. "The Old Man and the Sea" fish MARLIN
The fish called a marlin takes its name from the sailor’s took called a marlinspike. The long nose of the marlin might indeed be described as a “spike”. A marlinspike is used by sailors when working with rope, untying knots or perhaps splicing. The name of the tool comes from the practice of “marling”, which is the winding of twine around the ends of a larger piece of rope to prevent it from unravelling.

If you've read Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man And The Sea" (maybe first at school, like me!) you'll likely remember it as a quick read as it is a novella, although it might be better described as a "long short story". It was first published in 1952, the last major work that Hemingway had published in his lifetime. That first publication was as a story in "Life Magazine", and it was such a hit that the magazine sold 5 million copies in the first two days. "The Old Man and the Sea" won a Pulitzer in 1952 and two years later the title was cited when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

12. Tree-dwelling snake MAMBA
The mamba, and most famously the black mamba, is a highly venomous snake that used to be responsible for a great number of fatalities before anti-venoms became available. Mamba venom is a deadly mix of neurotoxins that attack the nervous system, and cardiotoxins that attack the heart so a bite, if left untreated, causes the lungs and the heart to shut down.

13. To have, in Toulouse AVOIR
Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, and is locate in the southwest of the country. These days, Toulouse is noted as home to the Airbus headquarters and is known as the center of the European aerospace industry.

28. African antelope ORYX
The oryx is a large antelope species, mainly found in Africa but also in the Arabian Peninsula. One species was introduced by man into the White Sands Missile Range. As a result, the oryx is now considered an invasive species in the neighboring White Sands National Monument.

32. Celebrity couple portmanteau KIMYE
Kim Kardashian is a socialite and television personality. She was introduced into society by her friend, Paris Hilton. Kardashian’s name first hit the headlines when a homemade sex tape made by her and singer Ray J was leaked.

Kanye West is a rap singer from Atlanta, Georgia. He married Kim Kardashian in 2014. That’s all I know, other than that the celebrity couple are sometimes referred to collectively as “Kimye”.

35. Part of a black cloud GNAT
Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and to vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

39. First sign ARIES
Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that!

40. PlayStation maker SONY
Sony introduced the PlayStation line of video game consoles in 1994.

41. Friends of Firenze AMICI
“Amici” is the Italian word for "friends" (singular "amico").

“Firenze” is the Italian name for the city that we know in English as Florence.

51. Wife, informally MISSUS
Mr. is the abbreviation for "master", and Mrs. is the abbreviation for "mistress".

57. Song that was a hit for a spell in the 1970s? YMCA
"YMCA" was released in 1978 by Village People and has been adopted as an anthem by the gay community. The song was written by Victor Willis, a straight member of the mostly gay band, and he clarifies that the lyrics are extolling the virtues of the "YMCA" as a source of recreation for black urban youth. I think he might have been winking when he said that ...

58. Modern acronym suggesting "seize the day" YOLO
You only live once (YOLO)

"Carpe diem" is a quotation from Horace, one of Ancient Rome's leading lyric poets. "Carpe diem" translates from Latin as "seize the day" or "enjoy the day".

59. Life lines? OBIT
"Obituary" comes from the Latin "obituaris", originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is "pertaining to death".

62. Geniuses' prides IQS
The original Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale for scoring IQ tests was developed by French psychologist Alfred Binet and his student Theodore Simon. The scale was revised in 1916 by Lewis M. Terman, a psychologist at Stanford University, resulting in the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Spicy quality BITE
5. Like more than a third of U.S. immigrants nowadays ASIAN
10. Female motorcyclists, in biker slang MAMAS
15. Airport shuttle route, commonly LOOP
16. Man trying to clarify the spelling of his name in 21-, 25-, 38-, 52- and 57-Across CASEY
17. Tequila source AGAVE
18. Takes responsibility for OWNS
19. Sound of an incoming text, e.g. ALERT
20. Martin Sheen's real first name RAMON
21. Unhelpful spelling clarification #1 C AS IN CUE (which sounds like “Q”)
23. Outs ALIBIS
24. Bébé's need LAIT
25. Spelling clarification #2 A AS IN ARE (which sounds like “R”)
27. Circles around the sun CORONAE
30. Team that last won an N.F.L. championship in 1957 LIONS
31. Place often named after a corporation ARENA
32. Firing locale KILN
33. Nicknames TAGS
37. Sch. whose team is the Violets NYU
38. Spelling clarification #3 S AS IN SEA (which sounds like “C”)
42. Nearly nada UNO
43. Fair EXPO
45. Setting for "Gladiator" ROME
46. "The Last Supper," e.g. MURAL
48. Not fair RAINY
50. Copy IMITATE
52. Spelling clarification #4 E AS IN EYE (which sounds like “I”)
55. "Ooh-la-la!" NICE
56. Places where you can hear a pin drop? ALLEYS
57. Spelling clarification #5 Y AS IN YOU (which sounds like “U”)
61. Courtroom fixture STAND
62. Rhythmic feet IAMBS
64. Sp-[gasp]-speaks like th-[sniffle]-this SOBS
65. Busybody YENTA
66. What the listener might think 16-Across's name is? QRCIU
67. "Would ___ to you?" I LIE
68. Like many indie films ARTSY
69. Beats it SCATS
70. A whole bunch LOTS

Down
1. Blue Dog Democrats, e.g. BLOC
2. One of 14 in the Big Ten IOWA
3. A whole bunch TONS
4. Elasticity symbol, in economics EPSILON
5. Tree in a giraffe's diet ACACIA
6. General reception? SALUTE
7. "Hmm ... is that so!" I SEE!
8. ___ Lingus AER
9. W.S.J. alternative NYT
10. "The Old Man and the Sea" fish MARLIN
11. Con AGAINST
12. Tree-dwelling snake MAMBA
13. To have, in Toulouse AVOIR
14. Meaning SENSE
22. Some sitters NANAS
23. Together AS ONE
25. Dress style A-LINE
26. Feels bad AILS
27. Support staff CANE
28. African antelope ORYX
29. Go for additional service REUP
32. Celebrity couple portmanteau KIMYE
34. Air AURA
35. Part of a black cloud GNAT
36. It's always underfoot SOLE
39. First sign ARIES
40. PlayStation maker SONY
41. Friends of Firenze AMICI
44. Situates ORIENTS
47. Something set in a place setting UTENSIL
49. Soon ANY DAY
50. Soon IN A BIT
51. Wife, informally MISSUS
52. College softball? EASY A
53. Tailor, say ALTER
54. Pitch SLANT
57. Song that was a hit for a spell in the 1970s? YMCA
58. Modern acronym suggesting "seize the day" YOLO
59. Life lines? OBIT
60. Exercises USES
62. Geniuses' prides IQS
63. Chip shot's path ARC


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About This Blog

This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the New York Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, as soon as I am done, usually well before the newsprint version becomes available.

About Me

The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.

I answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com, contact me on Google+ or leave a comment below.

Crosswords and My Dad

I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Irish Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.

Bill
January 29, 2009

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