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Greetings from Blackrock in Dublin, Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland until October 9th. I plan on doing the puzzle each day (with a pint, no doubt), although I may be a little late due to time zone differences. I am sure that you understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

0930-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 30 Sep 14, Tuesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Kyle T. Dolan
THEME: Showcase Showdown … today’s themed answers refer to the long-running game show THE PRICE IS RIGHT. The circled letters in the grid spell SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN, when read in a clockwise direction:
18A. Modern host of 35-Across DREW CAREY
35A. Long-running game show with a feature spelled out clockwise by this puzzle's circled letters THE PRICE IS RIGHT
53A. Longtime host of 35-Across BOB BARKER
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 16s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Friend of Gandalf BILBO
Bilbo Baggins is the main character in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel "The Hobbit", and a supporting character his "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Gandalf is an important character in the J. R. R. Tolkien novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He is a wizard known as Gandalf the Grey during his life, and as Gandalf the White after he returns from the dead.

15. ___ Chemical (Fortune 500 company) DOW
Dow Chemical Company was founded back in 1897 by a chemist called Herbert Henry Dow, and initially manufactured and sold bleach and potassium bromide. Dow is now the second-largest chemical manufacturer in the world according to revenue, second only to the German company BASF.

16. NATO alphabet letter between Alfa and Charlie BRAVO
The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … Zulu.

17. Mars explorer ROVER
NASA’s Curiosity rover is the fourth in a series of unmanned surface rovers that NASA has sent to Mars. Previous rovers are the Sojourner rover (1997), Spirit rover (2004-2010) and Opportunity rover (2004-present). Curiosity rover was launched in November of 2011, and landed on Mars in August 2012 after having travelled 350 million miles. After that long journey, Curiosity landed just 1½ miles from its targeted touchdown spot.

18. Modern host of 35-Across DREW CAREY
Drew Carey always strikes me as a stand-up guy who does stand-up comedy. Before turning to comedy, Carey served six years with the US Marine Corps.

21. Aplomb POISE
“Aplomb” is such a lovely word, meaning confidence and assurance. It is a French word that literally means "perpendicularity", or "on the plumb line". The idea is that someone with aplomb is poised, upright, balanced.

22. "Peter Pan" dog NANA
In J.M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Peter takes takes the Wendy Darling and her two brothers on adventures on the island of Neverland. Back in the real world, the Darling children are taken care of by a nanny, a Newfoundland dog called Nana. It is Nana who takes Peter Pan’s shadow away from him as he tries to escape from the Darling house one night.

23. Proctor's command BEGIN
A "proctor" is a supervisor, especially of an examination in a school, or perhaps of a dormitory. The word "proctor" originated in the late 1500s, a contraction of the word "procurator", the name given to an official agent of a church.

27. King with a golden touch MIDAS
King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold i.e. the Midas touch. Of course the power that he was given became be a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink, and even his children.

30. Air Force One occupant, acronymically POTUS
President of the United States (POTUS)

We usually use the term “Air Force One” for the purpose-built military aircraft that transports the president, although any plane can use the call sign, provided the president is aboard. There was an incident in 1953 which a flight carrying President Eisenhower (flight no. Air Force 8610) flew close to commercial airliner (flight no. Eastern 8610). In order to avoid confusion of flight numbers in the future, the special callsign “Air Force One” was created.

32. Ad Council output, for short PSA
Public service announcement (PSA)

35. Long-running game show with a feature spelled out clockwise by this puzzle's circled letters THE PRICE IS RIGHT
“The Price is Right” is a television game show that first aired way back in 1956!

38. Dummkopf ASS
"Dummkopf" is a German word that translates literally as "dumb head".

39. Its chips aren't for eating INTEL
Intel is the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips. The company was founded in 1968, and the name “Intel” is a derived from the term "int(egrated) el(ectronics)". Recognition of the Intel brand has been greatly helped by the success of the “Intel Inside” campaign that started back in 1991.

40. Device read with a laser CD-ROM
CD-ROM stands for "compact disc read only memory". The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for "compact disc - rewritable", with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

41. How some home videos are stored ON DVD
The abbreviation “DVD” doesn’t actually stand for anything these days, although it originally was short for Digital Video Disk. The use of the word "video" was dropped as DVDs are no longer limited to storing video content.

43. ___ Madness (Snapple flavor) MANGO
Originally “Snapple” was name of just one type of juice made by a company called Unadulterated Food Products. The drink’s name was a contraction of “snappy apple”. The company’s name was changed to the Snapple Beverage Corporation in the early 1980s. Snapple was sold in 1994, and is now a brand name owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

53. Longtime host of 35-Across BOB BARKER
Bob Barker is a retired TV host of game shows, most famous for hosting “The Price Is Right” for 35 years from 1972 to 2007. He retired when he was 83½ years old, having secured the record as the oldest man ever to host a regularly scheduled TV game show. Barker is a celebrated animal rights activist, after becoming a vegetarian in 1979.

55. Sal of "Exodus" MINEO
The actor Sal Mineo's most famous role was John "Plato" Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in "Rebel Without a Cause". Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.

"Exodus" is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris, first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.

56. "O, I am ___!" (Polonius's last words) SLAIN
In Shakespeare's "Hamlet", Polonius is an important character eventually killed by Hamlet, albeit in a case of mistaken identity. Polonius has two memorable lines in the play that are oft-quoted today. "To thine own self be true", and "Neither a borrower nor a lender be".

57. ___ fly (R.B.I. producer) SAC
A sac(rifice) fly, in baseball.

58. ___ Marbles (British Museum display) ELGIN
A frieze is an architectural feature found in many Roman and Greek buildings. Inside a room, frieze is the name given to the upper part of the wall, between the picture rail and the crown molding. Outside of a room, the term frieze is the name given to any extended decoration that is positioned above eye level. Perhaps the most famous frieze comes from the Parthenon in Athens. Over a third of this highly decorated feature was removed from Athens and taken to London in the early 1800s by the Earl of Elgin, where they remain on display in the British Museum. These famous "Elgin Marbles" are subject of much controversy as the legality of the removal is in dispute.

60. Flamenco shout OLE!
Flamenco is a style of Spanish music and dance. The origin of the word "flamenco" isn't clearly understood, but the explanation that seems most credible to me is that it comes from Flanders in Northern Europe. Given that "flamenco" is the Spanish word for "Flemish" and Flanders is home to the Flemish people it makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Down
2. Winner of a popular TV talent show IDOL
"American Idol" is a spin-off show that was created after the amazing success of the British television show "Pop Idol". I can't abide either program(me) ...

5. Anthem preposition O’ER
The words "o'er the ramparts we watched" come from "The Star Spangled Banner" written by Francis Scott Key.

The lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written first as a poem by Francis Scott Key, inspired by the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry that he witnessed during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song penned by John Stafford Smith called "The Anacreontic Song", with the Anacreontic Society being a men's club in London.

9. Jimmy Fallon's home NBC
Jimmy Fallon was a cast member for a number of years on “Saturday Night Live” before getting his own talk show in 2009, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”. Fallon is in the news right now as he is about to take over “The Tonight Show” from Jay Leno.

10. Planet with 27 moons URANUS
All of the twenty-seven moons of the planet Uranus are named for characters from literature, characters created by William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. The five major moons are so large that they would be considered planets in their own right if they were orbiting the sun directly. The names of these five moons are:
- Miranda (from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”)
- Ariel (from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock”)
- Umbriel (from Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock”)
- Titania (from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”)
- Oberon (from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”)

11. One of 14 in a gold chain KARAT
A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.

12. 18 of 38 roulette numbers EVENS
The name "roulette" means "little wheel" in French, and the game as we know it today did in fact originate in Paris, in 1796. A roulette wheel bears the numbers 1-36. A French entrepreneur called Fran├žois Blanc introduced the number “0” on the wheel, to give the house an extra advantage. Legend has it that Blanc made a deal with the devil in order to unearth the secrets of roulette. The legend is supported by the fact that the numbers 1 through 36 add up to a total of “666”, which is the “Number of the Beast”. Spooky ...

13. ___ bean SOYA
What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink "soya milk".

21. Rho preceders PIS
Rho and pi are Greek letters.

26. Fraternity party detritus BEER CAN
“Detritus” is the loose material that results from the process of erosion. The usage of the term has evolved to man any accumulated material or debris. “Detritus” is Latin for “a wearing away”.

27. Mineralogist for whom a scale is named MOHS
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was developed in 1812 by Friedrich Mohs. Basically Mohs took minerals and scratched them with other minerals. In this way he was able to determine which minerals were hardest (most scratch resistant) and which softest.

29. Seed coat ARIL
The casing surrounding many seeds is called the aril, and it may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and aids in the dispersion of the seeds.

30. Bake sale grp., perhaps PTA
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

31. Canadian comedy show of the 1970s-'80s SCTV
“Second City Television” (SCTV) is a sketch show that was produced in Canada from 1976 to 1984.

37. Original name for J.F.K. Airport IDLEWILD
The Idlewild Golf Course was taken over by the city of New York in 1943 and construction started on a new airport to serve the metropolis and relieve congestion at La Guardia. The Idlewild name still persists, even though the airport was named after Major General Alexander E. Anderson from the first days of the project. When the facility started operating in 1948 it was known as New York International Airport, Anderson Field. It was renamed to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in 1963, one month after the President was assassinated.

42. Parisian possessive SES
“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its”, when referring to a group of items.

43. Dinero MOOLA
Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dinero, dough and moola (also moolah) are all slang terms for money.

44. Palestinian leader Mahmoud ___ ABBAS
Mahmoud Abbas took over as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 2004 after the death of Yasser Arafat. Abbas is also the President of the Palestinian National Authority, equivalent to "head of state".

45. Canonical hour before sext TERCE
In the Roman Catholic tradition, there is an official set of daily prayers known as the Liturgy of the Hours. The traditional list of prayers is:
- Matins (during the night, or at midnight)
- Lauds or Dawn Prayer (Dawn, or 3 a.m.)
- Prime or Early Morning Prayer (First Hour, or 6 a.m.)
- Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour, or 9 a.m.)
- Sext or Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour, or 12 noon)
- None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour, or 3 p.m.)
- Vespers or Evening Prayer ("at the lighting of the lamps", or 6 p.m.)
- Compline or Night Prayer (before retiring, generally at 9 p.m.)

51. Luke Skywalker's twin LEIA
Princess Leia is Luke Skywalker’s twin sister in the original "Star Wars" trilogy and was played by Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous "cinnamon bun hairstyle" that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds ...

52. Broadway honor TONY
The full name for the Tony Award is the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre. Antoinette Perry was an American actress and co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, one of the organizations that selects the award recipients.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Friend of Gandalf BILBO
6. Put ___ disadvantage AT A
9. Microwaves, informally NUKES
14. Like a whole lot ADORE
15. ___ Chemical (Fortune 500 company) DOW
16. NATO alphabet letter between Alfa and Charlie BRAVO
17. Mars explorer ROVER
18. Modern host of 35-Across DREW CAREY
20. Erupted BLEW
21. Aplomb POISE
22. "Peter Pan" dog NANA
23. Proctor's command BEGIN
25. Touches ABUTS
27. King with a golden touch MIDAS
28. Reliever's stat SAVES
30. Air Force One occupant, acronymically POTUS
31. Shopping ___ SPREE
32. Ad Council output, for short PSA
35. Long-running game show with a feature spelled out clockwise by this puzzle's circled letters THE PRICE IS RIGHT
38. Dummkopf ASS
39. Its chips aren't for eating INTEL
40. Device read with a laser CD-ROM
41. How some home videos are stored ON DVD
42. Food that gets tossed? SALAD
43. ___ Madness (Snapple flavor) MANGO
45. Principle TENET
46. Father-___ TO-BE
47. Exudes OOZES
50. Crumble under pressure WILT
53. Longtime host of 35-Across BOB BARKER
55. Sal of "Exodus" MINEO
56. "O, I am ___!" (Polonius's last words) SLAIN
57. ___ fly (R.B.I. producer) SAC
58. ___ Marbles (British Museum display) ELGIN
59. Unhealthily pale-skinned PASTY
60. Flamenco shout OLE!
61. "In my opinion ..." I'D SAY ...

Down
1. Zinger BARB
2. Winner of a popular TV talent show IDOL
3. Red marks of affection LOVE BITES
4. Fomented, as trouble BREWED UP
5. Anthem preposition O’ER
6. Append ADD ON
7. Doughnut shapes TORI
8. Leaves slack-jawed AWES
9. Jimmy Fallon's home NBC
10. Planet with 27 moons URANUS
11. One of 14 in a gold chain KARAT
12. 18 of 38 roulette numbers EVENS
13. ___ bean SOYA
19. Drives recklessly WEAVES
21. Rho preceders PIS
24. Blue circle on a range GAS RING
26. Fraternity party detritus BEER CAN
27. Mineralogist for whom a scale is named MOHS
28. Drive recklessly, maybe SPEED
29. Seed coat ARIL
30. Bake sale grp., perhaps PTA
31. Canadian comedy show of the 1970s-'80s SCTV
32. They may be given for rude humor PG RATINGS
33. Like many horses' feet SHOD
34. Banking convenience, for short ATM
36. Like many rainy-day activities INDOOR
37. Original name for J.F.K. Airport IDLEWILD
41. At all ONE BIT
42. Parisian possessive SES
43. Dinero MOOLA
44. Palestinian leader Mahmoud ___ ABBAS
45. Canonical hour before sext TERCE
46. Recipe amt. TBSP
48. "Your point being ...?" OK, SO ...
49. Enthusiasm ZEAL
51. Luke Skywalker's twin LEIA
52. Broadway honor TONY
54. "___ questions?" ANY
55. "Don't tell ___ can't!" ME I


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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.

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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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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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