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Vacation Alert

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

1109-10: New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Nov 10, Tuesday




Quicklinks:
The full solution to today's crossword that appears in the New York Times
The full solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword that appears in all other publications


THEME: J. R. R. TOLKIEN'S "THE LORD OF THE RINGS" ... the circled squares "wander" through the middle of the grid, and contain a quote from the book ... "NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST"
COMPLETION TIME: 9m 26s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Like a cool cat : HEP
The slang term "hep" meaning "cool" has the same meaning as the later, derivative term "hip". The origins of "hep" seem unclear, but it was adopted by the jazz musicians of the early 1900s.

4. Not the brightest bulb on the tree : SIMP
"Simp" is slang for a simple or foolish person.

Maryland Terrapins Team Logo Auto Emblem8. U. of Maryland team : TERPS
The sports teams of the University of Maryland are called the Maryland Terrapins, or "the Terps" for short. The name dates back to 1932 when it was first coined by the the university's president at the time, Curly Byrd. He took the name from the diamondback terrapins that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

Gemma Atkinson 8X10 Photo #5614. "Hollyoaks" actress ___ Atkinson : GEMMA
"Hollyoaks" is a British television soap opera aimed at young people, set around life in junior college in the north of England. The show used to air on BBC America, but I haven't seen it scheduled in quite a while. Gemma Atkinson is an actress who got her big break on the show, but these days she is better known in the UK as a lingerie model.

15. Bozo : IDIOT
A "bozo" is a man with low IQ, and one who is usually quite muscular. We've been using the word since the early 1900s, and it possibly comes from the Spanish "bozal" used to describe someone who speaks Spanish poorly.

The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous TalesBozo the Clown was a character created in 1946 by Alan Livingston. He was introduced in the first ever "record reader", a children's illustrated read-along book that came with a vinyl recording of the story. The book/record was so successful that Bozo moved to television, and he has been around ever since.

16. Fuel for some trucks : DIESEL OIL
There are two main types of internal combustion engine. Most cars in the US use spark injection engines (gasoline engines) in which a spark plug sparks in order to ignite the fuel-air mixture. A diesel engine, on the other hand, has no spark plug per se, and uses the heat generated by compressing the air-fuel mixture to cause ignition.

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies)9. With 55-Across, source of this puzzle's quote (which starts in box #38) : J. R. R. TOLKIEN'S THE
55. See 19-Across : LORD OF THE RINGS
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English author, best known by far for his fantasy novels "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings". Although Tolkien lived in England and was a professor at Oxford, he served for many years as an external examiner at my old school, University College Dublin, in Ireland.

Casablanca (French) Movie Poster - 11x1721. Rick's "Casablanca" love : ILSA
The movie "Casablanca" was released in January of 1943, timed to coincide with the Casablanca Conference, the high-level meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill. The film wasn't a box-office hit, but gained critical acclaim, winning three Oscars including Best Picture. The signature song "As Time Goes By" was written many years earlier for a 1931 Broadway musical called "Everybody's Welcome", and was a hit in 1931 for Rudy Vallee. But today we all remember the Casablanca version, sung by Dooley Wilson ("Sam"). Poor Dooley didn't get to record it as a single though, due to a musician's strike in 1943, so the 1931 Rudy Vallee version was re-released that year and became an even bigger hit second time round.

22. Word after public or private : EYE
A private investigator is often known as a PI, or "private eye", with the "eye" just a phonetic for the letter "I".

26. Danish astronomer Brahe : TYCHO
Rather than hear about Tycho Brahe as an astronomer, maybe you'd like to know that he lost his nose in a duel, and wore a replacement made of either silver or gold pasted onto his face!

I, Dred Scott: A Fictional Slave Narrative Based on the Life and Legal Precedent of Dred Scott29. Scott in an 1857 Supreme Court case : DRED
Famously, the slave Dred Scott was unsuccessful in suing for his freedom in St. Louis, Missouri in 1857.

33. Chest: Prefix : STETHO
A stethoscope is so called because it is used to examine the chest cavity. The prefix "stetho-" indicates the use on the chest, from the Greek word for chest or breast, "stethos".

37. Manning of the gridiron : ELI
Even I know that Eli Manning, and his older brother Peyton, are quarterbacks!

38. "Au contraire!" : NOT SO
"Au contraire" is French for "on the contrary".

42. Where cranberries grow : BOG
When early European settlers came across red berries growing in the bogs of the northern part of America, they felt that the plant's flower and stem resembled the head and bill of a crane. As such, they called it a "craneberry", which later evolved into "cranberry".

Early Poems (Russian Edition)51. Yevtushenko's "Babi ___" : YAR
Yevgeny Yevtushenko is a Russian poet, among other things. His most famous work is probably his poem "Babi Yar" which tells of the Nazi massacre of Jews in Kiev in 1941. Babi Yar is a ravine outside of Kiev, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, a massacre carried out over just two days.

Elijah Wood LOTR ROTK FRODO Jsd79 Signed Photo55. See 19-Across : LORD OF THE RINGS
Tokien's "The Hobbit" is a children's tale, first published in 1937. Buoyed by it's success, the publishers approached Tolkien to write a sequel. The author warned his publishers that he wrote very slowly, and even though he worked quite steadily on the book, right through WWII, it took him 12 years to finish "The Lord of the Rings".

62. Jewish holiday in Adar : PURIM
Purim is a Jewish festival commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to wipe them out by Haman the Agagite, as recorded in the Book of Esther. During the celebration of Purim, the book is read aloud, once in the evening, and once the following morning. By the way, Esther is the only book in the Old Testament that doesn't mention God.

63. Insect known for conducting raids : AMAZON ANT
The Amazon ant is a remarkable creature. It has evolved to the extent that it can no longer care for its own young or even provide for itself directly. What it can do is raid the nests of other ant species, stealing pupae and bringing them back to its own nest. When the pupae develop into maturity, the "enslaved" ants take care of the young Amazon ants and provide food for the whole colony.

64. "Inferno" writer : DANTE
Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" is an epic poem dating back to the 14th century. The first part of that epic is "Inferno", which is the Italian word for "Hell". In the poem, Dante is led on a journey by the poet Virgil, starting at the gates of Hell on which are written the famous words "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here".

Whitehall Prod. WV3-A-50SR-BKND Eagle Weathervane65. Wind indicators : VANES
The Old English word for "flag, banner" was "fana", which morphed into "fane" in the 1300s, the word for a wind indicator. By the 1600s "fane" had become "vane".

Down
1. Muslim's pilgrimage : HADJ
A Haji is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The journey itself goes by the name "haj" ot "hadj".

2. Mideast leader : EMIR
In English, emir can also be written as amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

6. Year the Department of Homeland Security was created : MMII
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was a created in 2002 after the September 11th attacks. Today the DHS has over 200,000 employees making it the third largest department in the cabinet (the biggest employers are the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs). The formation of the DHS was the biggest government reorganization in US history, with 22 government agencies drawn into a single organization.

8. Slightly drunk : TIPSY
The term "tipsy" comes from the verb "to tip" meaning "to overturn, knock over", and has been around since the late 1500s.

Pig (Getting Cozy) Art Poster Print - 11x1711. Pig's container, in a saying : POKE
"Poke" is an old name for a sack.

Charlie Rose - Joe Scarborough, Evan Williams and Rahm Emanuel (August 28, 2009)23. "Morning Joe" TV channel : MSNBC
"Morning Joe" is a show broadcast by MSNBC each weekday morning. It is hosted by Joe Scarborough, and first went on the air in 2007. Given the name of the show, Starbucks seem very content being the show's sponsor, and get lots of product placement.

24. "You're such ___" (teen put-down) : A TOOL
I think the expression "you're such a tool" is really quite distasteful, a reference to the private parts of a male.

27. Any "Jurassic Park" dinosaur : CLONE
"Jurassic Park" is a 1990 novel by Michael Crichton, adapted into a hugely successful movie by Steven Spielberg in 1993. One of the main premises of the novel is that dinosaur DNA could be harvested from mosquitoes trapped in amber (fossilized tree resin), the DNA coming from the dinosaur blood consumed by the mosquitoes. The dinosaur DNA is then sequenced and used to create clones of the original beasts. A clever idea, but apparently not very practical from what I've read ...

30. Chaucer pilgrim : REEVE
"The Reeve's Tale" is the third of Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales". A reeve was a senior official in the days of Anglo-Saxon England, perhaps a chief magistrate of a town.

31. It shines in España : EL SOL
"El sol" is Spanish for "the sun" in España (Spain).

Tom Corbett: Space Cadet32. Like a space cadet : DITSY
The term "space cadet" is used to describe someone who is eccentric and disconnected with reality. It may even imply that the person is a user of hallucinogens. The phrase has been around since the sixties, and may be derived from the science fiction TV show "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" which aired in the fifties.

Der Spiegel36. ___ Spiegel (German magazine) : DER
"Der Spiegel" is a very successful German magazine found on news-stands all over Europe. The name "Der Spiegel" translates from German into "the Mirror".

41. Big name in GPS devices : GARMIN
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The modern GPS system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan, because he directed that the GPS program be declassified and made available to the public for the common good. He was moved to do this after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, when it accidentally strayed into Soviet airspace.

Garmin nüvi 260W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS NavigatorGarmin is a big supplier of GPS systems to the public. The company adopted the name Garmin in 1991, a portmanteau word made from the names of the two founders, GARy Burrell and MIN Kao.

44. River of Aragón : EBRO
The Ebro is the longest river in Spain.

Aragon is an autonomous community in the northern part of Spain in the Pyrenees, bordering France.

45. Zephyrs : BREEZES
The word zephyr comes from the Greek god of the west wind, Zephyrus.

Sterling Silver Marcasite Earrings Fancy Jewelry47. It glitters but isn't gold : PYRITE
Pyrite is a mineral, also known as a iron pyrite. Famously, it has an appearance very similar to gold, so has the nickname "fool's gold". Pyrite does find its way into some baubles, which go be the name of marcasite jewelry.

Mad Men: Season One52. Madison Avenue workers : AD MEN
If you haven't seen the AMC show "Mad Men" then I urge you to go buy the first season on DVD and just let yourself fall under its spell. It is a great series set in the sixties, telling all about life in and around the advertising business on Madison Avenue in New York City. It brings you right back to the days of three-martini lunches, office affairs, and chain-smoking of cigarettes. Great stuff ...

54. Cupid, to the Greeks : EROS
As always seem to be the case, the Greek gods Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, but Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male.

55. Party with poi : LUAU
Nowadays the word "luau" denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of "poi", young taro tops baked with coconut milk and served with chicken or octopus.

I am a big fan of starch, and being an Irishman I love potatoes however they are prepared. That said, I think that poi tastes horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant, by cooking the corm in water and mashing it until the desired consistency is achieved.

56. Author Sarah ___ Jewett : ORNE
Sarah Orne Jewett was a novelist who wrote stories about life in and around South Berwick, Maine, where she lived.

58. Certain Fed : T-MAN
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury.

59. "Nothin'" : NADA
"Nada" is the Spanish word for "nothing". "De nada" translates literally from the Spanish as "of nothing", and is used to mean "you're welcome" or "don't mention it". The French have the same saying "de rien", also translating to "of nothing" and used the same way.

62. A.S.A.P. : PDQ
Pretty Darn Quick ...

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2 comments :

Christopher said...

Actually, cranberries are grown in a field that is flooded to aid the picking process, they don't grow in the bog. When flooded, the cranberry floats after they are cut from the shrubs

Bill Butler said...

Hi Christopher,

Thanks for the info about the harvesting methods used today. Many moons ago, my sister-in-law came over from Ireland to New England on a business trip and was brought out to see cranberries being harvested for Ocean Spray. She was blown away by the sight of all those berries floating in the fields. After hearing about it, it's something I've always wanted to see.

Thanks for stopping by, Christopher.

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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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