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0801-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 1 Aug 14, Friday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Ashton Anderson & James Mulhern
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 23m 56s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

15. Ultra 93 vendor : SUNOCO
Back in the late 1800s, Sunoco was known as the Sun Oil Company.

16. Winner of the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent (2012) : AI WEIWEI
Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist who has been vocal in his criticism of his country’s position on human rights and democracy. Wei Wei was an artistic consultant largely responsible for the look and feel of the Beijing National Stadium, commonly referred to as the “Bird’s Nest”, that was showcased during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Václav Havel is a Czech playwright. Starting in the sixties, Havel became very active in the politics of his country. He eventually rose to the position of President, and was the last person to hold the office of President of Czechoslovakia, and the first to hold the office of President of the Czech Republic.

17. Two-dimensional : PLANAR
The dimension of an object is defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify each point in the object. Therefore a line is one-dimensional, as you only need an x-coordinate to specify a particular point on the line. A plane is two-dimensional, as you need both an x-coordinate and a y-coordinate to locate a point on the plane. The inside of a solid object is then three-dimensional, needing an x-, y- and z-coordinate to specify a point, say within a cube.

18. The Hub : BEANTOWN
In the days of sail, the natural trade routes across the Atlantic involved a lot of ships arriving in Boston directly from West Indies. One of the main cargoes carried by these vessels coming from the West Indies was molasses. An abundance of cheap molasses led to an abundance of baked beans in the port city, and all those baked beans gave rise to Boston's nickname “Beantown”.

One of the nicknames for the city of Boston is “The Hub”, short for “The Hub of the Universe”. In 1858, Oliver Wendell Holmes referred to the Massachusetts State House Building in Boston as the “Hub of the Solar System”, and the idea stuck.

21. Ferrari rival, informally : JAG
Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters "SS" at that time.

Enzo Ferrari was an Italian race car driver, and founder of the Ferrari car manufacturing company. Ferrari died in 1988, and in 2003 the company named the Enzo Ferrari model after its founder.

25. First talking pet in American comics : TIGE
"Buster Brown" was a comic strip created in 1902 by Felton Outcault. Outcault took his name Buster from the very popular film star at the time, Buster Keaton. Buster's dog Tige, was an American Pit Bull Terrier. Apparently when Tige started to "talk" in the strip, he became the first talking pet in American comics.

26. Steel-eyed one? : CARNEGIE
Andrew Carnegie was an industrialist and philanthropist from Scotland who made his fame and fortune in the US steel industry. He founded the Carnegie Steel Company in 1892, which was destined to become US Steel. After he sold Carnegie Steel, making his fortune, Carnegie devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy. Famously, he built Carnegie Hall in New York, founded Carnegie Mellon University in PIttsburgh, and set up several charitable trust funds that are still doing valuable work today.

28. Horse whisperer, e.g. : TAMER
"The Horse Whisperer" is a 1998 movie based on a 1995 novel of the same name by Nicholas Evans. Robert Redford starred in the film, and directed. "The Horse Whisperer" was the first film in which Redford both appeared and directed.

30. Boorish member of King Arthur's Round Table : SIR KAY
According to Arthurian legend, Sir Kay was one of the first Knights of the Round Table. He was also King Arthur’s foster brother. Over time, Sir Kay was described boor and bully, having started out as valiant warrior.

40. Coin with a hole in it : KRONE
"Krone" translates into English as "crown", and was the name given to coins that bore the image of the monarch. Today, the krone is the name given to the currency of Norway and of Denmark. Some of the Norwegian and Danish kroner have holes in the middle, giving them a "doughnut" or "torus" shape.

41. First substitute on a basketball bench : SIXTH MAN
Basketball is truly an American sport. It was created in 1891 by a James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first "hoops" were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When a player got the ball into the "net", someone had to clamber up and get the ball back out again in order to continue the game!

42. Van Gogh's "L'Église d'Auvers-sur-___" : OISE
"L'Église d'Auvers-sur-Oise” (“The Church at Auvers”) is an 1890 painting by Dutch post-impressionist Vincent Van Gogh. “Doctor Who” fans might recall that this painting is central to the plot of an excellent episode feature Van Gogh.

Auvers-sur-oise is in effect a suburb of Paris now, lying just 17 miles from the center of the city. By the time Van Gogh moved there, he was quite ill and in poor mental health. The reason he moved to Auvers was to be treated by one Dr. Paul Gachet who became a good friend, as well as the subject in two of Van Gogh's portraits. Van Gogh shot himself in the chest in a field in Auvers in 1890, and managed to walk back to the Ravoux Inn where he was staying. Sadly, he died from his wounds two days later.

43. Chop-chop : ASAP
"Chop chop" is Chinese Pidgin English, and is just a reiteration of the word "chop" used in the sense of moving quickly.

45. Willy Wonka Candy Company candy : NERDS
The Willy Wonka Candy Company brand is owned by Nestle, and operates using licensed materials from the Roald Dahl book "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory". Nerdsis a name on a whole line of candy's produced within the brand's portfolio.

47. "The X-Files" program, for short : SETI
SETI is the name given to a number of projects that are searching for extraterrestrial life. The acronym stands for “search for extraterrestrial intelligence”. One of the main SETI activities is the monitoring of electromagnetic radiation (such as radio waves) reaching the Earth in the hope of finding a transmission from a civilization in another world.

"The X-Files" is a very successful science fiction show that aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history.

48. Soft spot : SOFA
"Sofa" is a Turkish word meaning "bench".

49. Modern storage space : THE CLOUD
In the world of computing, when one operates “in the cloud”, one’s files and key applications are not stored on one’s own computer, but rather are residing “in the cloud”, on a computer(s) somewhere out on the Internet. I do 90% of my computing in the cloud. That way I don’t have to worry about backing up files, and I can operate from any computer if I have to. In fact, I am working in the cloud right now as I type up this post ...

51. Flush : LOADED
Flush, loaded, with lots of money.

54. How Columbo often worked : ON A HUNCH
"Columbo" is a police drama that aired from 1971-78, with some more episodes made as recently as 2003. Columbo was of course played by Peter Falk, although the character of Columbo was first played by Bert Freed in 1960 in an episode of "The Chevy Mystery Show". That first appearance was so successful that the episode was adapted for the stage in 1962, with Thomas Mitchell taking on the role. Then the same episode was stretched into a TV movie in 1968, with Peter Falk playing Lt. Columbo for the first time.

Down
1. Ancient symbol of royalty : ASP
The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.

2. French bottom : CUL
“Cul” is indeed a French word meaning “bottom”, but I think it’s quite rude …

6. One of a vocal pair : CORD
The vocal cords are also known as the vocal folds. The vocal cords are two folds of mucous membrane that project into the larynx. The folds vibrate when air passes through the larynx, allowing sounds to be made.

7. Hack : CABBIE
Hackney is a location in London, and it probably gave it's name to a "hackney", an ordinary type of horse around 1300. By 1700 a "hackney" was a person hired to do routine work, and "hackneyed" meant "kept for hire". This morphed into a hackney carriage, a carriage or car for hire, and into “hack”, a slang term for a taxidriver.

8. Sacred: Prefix : HIERO-
The prefix hiero-comes from the Greek word "hieros" meaning sacred or holy. The classic use of the prefix is in the term “hieroglyphics”, meaning "sacred carving", the writing system that uses symbols and pictures.

10. 50 ___ : CENT
Rap star 50 Cent's real name is Curtis James Jackson III, and is from South Jamaica in Queens, New York. 50 Cent had a rough life starting out, first dealing drugs at the age of 12. He dropped his illegal activities to pursue a rap career, but still fell victim to an assailant who pumped nine bullets into him. The alleged shooter was himself shot three weeks later, and died. 50 Cent's alleged attacker was a bodyguard and close friend of Mike Tyson.

12. It means "sulfur island" in Japanese : IWO JIMA
Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since.

23. Indian novelist Raja ___ : RAO
Raja Rao was an Indian writer, but one who wrote and published mainly in English. His much acclaimed 1960 novel “The Serpent and the Rope” is largely autobiographical. Rao spent the last decades of life living in the US.

30. Faux money : SCRIP
“Scrip” isn’t legal tender, but operates just like currency in specific applications. It is in effect a form of credit. Originally the word “scrip” was used for a certificate giving one the right to receive something, often shares of a stock. “Scrip” is probably short for (sub)script(ion) receipt.

31. Holly : ILEX
Ilex, commonly known as holly, is a genus of hundreds of species of flowering plants. The holly used for Christmas decoration is Ilex aquifolium. The wood from the holly bush was once a favorite for construction of Scottish bagpipes, until dense tropical woods became readily available.

37. Rush home? : AM RADIO
Rush Limbaugh is a conservative talk radio host from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. “The Rush Limbaugh Show” is the most-listened-to talk radio program in the country with 15 million listeners tuning in each week.

38. Soupçon : TAD
Soupçon translates literally from French into English as "suspicion", and can be used in the sense that a "suspicion" of something is a just a hint, a crumb.

39. Nation's exterior? : ENS
There are two letters N (en) in the word “nation”, one at either end.

40. Submit : KOWTOW
To kowtow is to show servile deference. “Kowtow” comes from the Chinese “k’o-t’ou” which is the name for the custom of kneeling and touching the forehead to the ground in a gesture of respect. The Chinese term literally translates as “knock the head”.

48. Remote : SLIM
A remote chance, a slim chance.

50. Revolutionary name : CHE
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to "see the world" by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara's memoir later published as "The Motorcycle Diaries". While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara's death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

53. "The Partridge Family" actress : DEY
The actress Susan Dey first appeared on “The Partridge Family” when she was 17-years-old when she had no acting experience. Years later, Dey won a Golden Globe for playing the leading role of Grace Van Owen in “L. A. Law”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Very harsh : ACIDIC
7. Cash flow statement? : CHA-CHING!
15. Ultra 93 vendor : SUNOCO
16. Winner of the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent (2012) : AI WEIWEI
17. Two-dimensional : PLANAR
18. The Hub : BEANTOWN
19. Meander : WEND
20. "I say" sayer : BRIT
21. Ferrari rival, informally : JAG
22. Wildly cheering : AROAR
24. Real joker : RIOT
25. First talking pet in American comics : TIGE
26. Steel-eyed one? : CARNEGIE
28. Horse whisperer, e.g. : TAMER
29. Moves uncertainly : TODDLES
30. Boorish member of King Arthur's Round Table : SIR KAY
32. Like dungeons, typically : DANK
33. Footprint, maybe : CLUE
34. Tough to figure out : KNOTTY
36. Paraphrase : RESTATE
40. Coin with a hole in it : KRONE
41. First substitute on a basketball bench : SIXTH MAN
42. Van Gogh's "L'Église d'Auvers-sur-___" : OISE
43. Chop-chop : ASAP
45. Willy Wonka Candy Company candy : NERDS
46. Flint-to-Kalamazoo dir. : WSW
47. "The X-Files" program, for short : SETI
48. Soft spot : SOFA
49. Modern storage space : THE CLOUD
51. Flush : LOADED
54. How Columbo often worked : ON A HUNCH
55. Queued up : IN LINE
56. Be at the end of one's rope? : WATER-SKI
57. Principal part : MELODY

Down
1. Ancient symbol of royalty : ASP
2. French bottom : CUL
3. Very succinctly : IN A WORD
4. "No problem, I'm on it!" : DONE AND DONE!
5. "Been there" : I CAN RELATE
6. One of a vocal pair : CORD
7. Hack : CABBIE
8. Sacred: Prefix : HIERO-
9. Anticipate : AWAIT
10. 50 ___ : CENT
11. Google unit : HIT
12. It means "sulfur island" in Japanese : IWO JIMA
13. Into crystals and energy fields, say : NEW AGEY
14. Redhead : GINGER
22. Be part of the picture : ACT
23. Indian novelist Raja ___ : RAO
24. Kind of business : RISKY
25. Be a patsy : TAKE THE FALL
27. Hat-tipping sort : GENT
28. Catchphrase for the paranoid : TRUST NO ONE
30. Faux money : SCRIP
31. Holly : ILEX
34. Deity with more than 16,000 wives : KRISHNA
35. "Easy-peasy" : NO SWEAT
37. Rush home? : AM RADIO
38. Soupçon : TAD
39. Nation's exterior? : ENS
40. Submit : KOWTOW
41. Greeted someone : SAID “HI”
43. Time immemorial : AEONS
44. Fast : STUCK
47. "Dirtbag," e.g. : SLUR
48. Remote : SLIM
50. Revolutionary name : CHE
52. Kill : END
53. "The Partridge Family" actress : DEY


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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.

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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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