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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

1128-10: New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Nov 10, Sunday




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: A Shining Moment ... all the theme answers relate to the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, and some squares in the grid contain the letters ON. When you "switch on the lights" in the squares with ON, then you can see a Christmas tree in the grid!
COMPLETION TIME: 48m 52s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
8. Home of Hells Gate State Park : IDAHO
Hells Gate State Park is on the Snake River in Idaho, situated right at the entrance to Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. Hells Gate is at an elevation of only 713 feet, the lowest point in the whole state.

Da Vinci 16-Inch Roulette Wheel Game Set with 120 11.5-Gram Chips, Full Size 3'x6' Felt Layout, and Rake24. Roulette bet : ALL ON RED
The name "roulette" means "little wheel" in French, and the game as we know it today did in fact originate in Paris, in 1796.

26. How pets may fly : IN CARGO
"Cargo" is a Spanish word that we use in English. In Spanish it means "burden". The Spanish word in turn comes from the Latin "carricare" meaning "to load onto a cart". Quite interesting ...

A Year With Swollen Appendices: Brian Eno's Diary28. Avant-garde composer Brian : ENO
Brian Eno started out his musical career with Roxy Music. However, his most oft played composition (by far!) is Microsoft's "start-up jingle", the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows operating system starts up.

29. Quick flight : LAM
To be "on the lam" is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. It is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word "lam" also means to "beat" or "thrash", as in "lambaste". So "on the lam" might derive from the phrase "to beat it", to scram.

31. N.B.A.'er Smits, a k a the Dunkin' Dutchman : RIK
Rik Smits, now retired, is a dutch basketball player who played for the Indiana Pacers. He had the cool nickname of "The Dunkin' Dutchman". If you want to buy Smits a pair of sneakers as a Christmas gift perhaps, he wears size 20 ...

RICHARD GERE 8X10 PHOTO41. Richard Gere title role of 2000 : DR. T
The 2000 movie "Dr. T & the Women" is a pretty good movie staring Richard Gere in the title role. There can't be many romantic comedies about gynecologists ...

45. Onetime "S.N.L." regular Tina : FEY
Tina Fey has a scar on her face, a few inches long on her left cheek. I was shocked to read that the scar is the result of a childhood "slashing" incident. When she was only five years old, playing in the front yard of her house, someone just came up to her and slashed her with a knife. Despicable ...

Sunchips Multigrain Snacks Original, 1.5-Ounce Large Single Serve Bags46. Snack food with a Harvest Cheddar flavor : SUN CHIPS
Sun Chips were launched by Frito-Lay in 1991. The company seems to be positioning the Sun Chips line as relatively healthy and earth-friendly. The chips have no cholesterol or trans fat, but they do have pork enzymes so vegans beware. They are produced in a factory not far from here, in Modesto, California which uses solar power in manufacturing its products. And recently my wife brought home some Sun Chips that were packed in a biodegradable bag. The bag looked like a metallic plastic (which sounds weird, but I think you know what I mean) and I put it in my compost pile, and it disappeared in 2-3 months just as promised!

Callaway Golf 2010 Men's X-20 NG Irons (Right Hand, Steel)50. "Butter knife" of golf : ONE IRON
I don't think many golfers use a one iron anymore, as it is so hard to hit straight. It's called a "butter knife" because of how it looks apparently. Never seen a butter a knife life that though ...

59. Escapee from a witch in a Grimm tale : GRETEL
"Hansel and Gretel" is a Germanic fairy tale found in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It tells of two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, the children of a woodcutter. The youngsters are abandoned in a forest at the behest of an evil stepmother. Clever Hansel hears of the plan and leaves a trail of pebbles so that he and his sister can find their way home, which they do. But the children are abandoned again, and this time leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the crumbs are eaten by birds, so the children do indeed become lost. But, eventually, they all live happily ever after ...

61. Swingers' grp. : PGA
The Professional Golfers' Association was founded in 1916, and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where all the golfers live. Back in 1916, the association was based in New York City.

68. Strong aversion, colloquially : ALLERGY
Allergy is of course a medical term, but informally one can have allergies to things that aren't really allergens, like maybe in-laws, teenagers, sales people ringing doorbells, telemarketers, taxes ... need I go on?

George Eastman: The Kodak King70. Kind of moment : KODAK
George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Company, named after the Kodak camera that he had invented four years earlier. He came up with the name of Kodak after careful consideration. Firstly he was a big fan of the letter "K", calling is "string, incisive". He also wanted a word that was short, easy to pronounce and difficult to mispronounce, and a word that was clearly unique with no prior associations. Kodak fit the bill for Eastman.

Prime Minister's London Residence, 10 Downing Street, Westminster, London, England Photographic Poster Print by Charles Bowman, 9x1271. 10 Downing St. figures : PMS
10 Downing Street is one of the most famous street addresses in the world, the official London residence of the British Prime Minister. Although it may not look it on television, it's a spacious pad, actually a larger house made by combining three older houses back in the 1700s. Although Number 10 has over one hundred rooms, it is mostly offices and reception rooms and the actual residence itself is quite modest. It was so modest that when Tony Blair came to power he opted to move himself and his family into the more spacious residence next door at Number 11, an apartment traditionally reserved for the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the UK equivalent of the Secretary of the Treasury). The new Prime Minister, David Cameron, seemed to like the idea, because he now lives in Number 11 as well.

73. R.V. refuge org. : KOA
Kampgrounds of America was founded in 1962 by a Montana businessman Dave Drum, who opened up his first property along the Yellowstone River. His strategy was to offer a rich package of services including hot showers, restrooms and a store, to those people used to camping in the rough. The original campground was an immediate hit and Drum took on two partners and sold franchises all over the country. There are about 500 KOA sites today.

74. Reflux : EBB
A reflux is a "flowing back", an ebb.

Round Sewing Etui - Cross Stitch Kit76. Places for needles : ETUIS
An etui is an ornamental case used to hold small items, in particular sewing needles. We imported the design, and the word "etui" from French. The French also have a modern usage of "etui" ...  a case for carrying CDs!

82. Mythological triad : GRACES
In Greek and Roman mythology there were goddesses of the better things in life, charm, beauty, nature, creativity and fertility. In Greece they were known as the Charites and in Rome they were the Gratiae. In English we refer to them as the Graces, of which there are usually three:
- Aglaea (aka Splendor)
- Euphrosyne (aka Mirth)
- Thalia (aka Good Cheer)

Barrons Books Geckos Pet Owner Manual84. Creatures known to lick their own eyeballs : GECKOS
The gecko actually takes its name from the sound it makes, a unique trait in the world of lizards. The word "gecko" comes from an Indonesian/Javanese word "tokek", imitative of the chirping sound. More interesting to me than a gecko's chirping sound is its ability to cling to walls and other vertical surfaces. Their feet are specially adapted with "toes" that make extremely intimate, close contact to a surface. It isn't suction that supports them, but rather van der Waals forces (like weak "gravitational" attractions). Fascinating stuff ...

Geckos don't have any eyelids as such, but instead a transparent membrane through which they can see. They use their tongues to lick the membrane clean. Yuck ...

Rajiv Gandhi: Son of a Dynasty96. One of the Gandhis : RAJIV
Rajiv Gandhi was the oldest son of Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India who was assassinated. Rajiv took over the office of PM when his mother was killed in 1984. In the election that followed soon after the assassination, Rajiv Gandhi led his Congress Party to victory with the biggest margin in Indian history, capturing 411 seats out of 542, an incredible majority. He remained in power until he too was killed, by a suicide bomber while on the campaign trail in 1991.

99. ___ Grand : MGM
MGM Grand is the name given to a chain of hotel resorts and casinos, most famously the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The MGM Grand Las Vegas was the largest hotel in the world when it opened in 1993, and is now second largest (behind the Venetian, also in Las Vegas).

101. Vegas opening? : LAS
Las Vegas, Nevada was founded as a city in 1905. It became a stop-off point for pioneers travelling west and eventually a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as folks began to bypass Las Vegas. The city's tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, and visitors to Vegas take tours of the dam to this day. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in "the mob", as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas became the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (an honor that went to Chicago in the 19th century).

102. ___ Na Na : SHA
Do you remember the band "Johnny Casino & The Gamblers" in the movie "Grease"? That was actually the real-world group Sha Na Na. Johnny Casino & the Gamblers sang "Those Magic Changes" at the high school dance, in between "Rock'N Roll Is Here to Stay" and "Hound Dog". Sha Na Na got together in the sixties, and are still performing today.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien 10th Anniversary Special110. Big name in late-night : CONAN
Before Conan O'Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host he was a writer. He wrote for both "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons".

114. Brooks or Blanc : MEL
The Mel Brooks Collection [Blu-ray]Mel Brooks' real name is Melvin Kaminsky. He is quite the entertainer, isn't he? He is one of very few entertainers (there are only ten) who has won the "Showbiz Award Grand Slam" i.e. an Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy. He is in good company, as the list also includes the likes of Richard Rogers, Sir John Geilgud, Marvin Hamlisch and Audrey Hepburn.

Mel Blanc is known as "The Man of a Thousand Voices". We've all heard Mel Blanc at one time or another, I am sure. His was the voice behind such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Woody Woodpecker and Barney Rubble. And the words on Blanc's tombstone are ... "That's All Folks".

115. When repeated, an old sitcom farewell : NANU
1 NANU: "Mork & Mindy" was broadcast from 1978 to 1982. We were first introduced to Mork (played by Robin Williams, of course) in a special episode of "Happy Days". The episode's bizarre storyline leads to Fonzie and Mork having a duel, thumb to finger. Eventually Richie wakes up in bed, and alien Mork was just part of a dream. Oh, and "Nanu Nanu" means hello back on the planet Ork. "I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu". Great stuff ...

118. Preceders of xis : NUS
The Latin equivalent of the Greek letter "nu" is "N". An uppercase nu looks just like the Latin capital N, however, the lowercase nu looks like our lowercase "v". Very confusing ...

119. Stretched figures : OBLONGS
The word "oblong" comes from the Latin "oblongus" which means "somewhat long".

Tony! Toni! Tone! - Hits121. R&B funk trio with the 1990 hit "Feels Good" : TONY! TONI! TONE!
I don't know anything about their music, but the R&B band Tony! Toni! Toné! have one of the most inventive names I've ever come across.

124. One using twisted humor : IRONIST
An "ironist", one who uses irony.

127. Trattoria topper : PESTO
Pesto gets its name from the Latin word for "crush". The word "pestle", as in mortar and pestle, is derived from the same Latin root.

131. Provides service that can't be beat? : ACES
Man, where are the grammar police when you need them ... beaten, beaten, beaten!!

134. Part of a sunbow : HUE
A sunbow is a rainbow-like phenomenon caused by the refraction of sunlight passing through say a spray of water.

"Shih Tzu" Dog Art Print Signed by Artist DJ Rogers136. Shih ___ (dog) : TZU
The Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and originated in China. They have long, hairy coats but they don't shed.

Let It Be [Vinyl]144. Beatles' last studio album : LET IT BE
"Let It Be" was the last song that the Beatles released as an active group, playing together. The song was written by Paul McCartney, and is clearly one of his own favorites. He says that he was inspired to write the song after having had a dream about his mother (who had died some years earlier from cancer). In fact, in the line "Mother Mary comes to me", the reference is to his mother, Mary McCartney nee Mohan. Paul's second wife, Linda, is singing backing vocals on the song, the only time she is known to have done so in a Beatles recording. 18 years after that 1970 recording was made, Paul, George and Ringo sang "Let It Be" at a memorial service for Linda, who was also lost to cancer. Morbid stuff, but a lovely song ...

New York City Christmas Ornament - Rockefeller Center Skating Rink148. Annual Manhattan event (represented symbolically in this puzzle) : THE TREE-LIGHTING CEREMONY
The magnificent tradition of putting up an enormous Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center has been going an annually since 1933. However, the first Christmas tree on the site was erected in 1931, a more modest 20-foot balsam fir decorated by construction workers who were building Rockefeller Center in  1931during the Great Depression. The tree was decorated with strings of cranberries and paper garlands, and reportedly with tin foil ends of blasting caps!

151. Transmission repair franchise : AAMCO
AAMCO is named after one of the two founders, Anthony A. Martino (AAM). The company was founded in 1963 in Philadelphia, and opened its first franchise in Newark that same year. There are now about 800 franchises, and AAMCO is the largest transmission chain in the world.

152. Footnote abbr. : LOC
Loc. cit. is short for "loco citato" meaning "in the place cited".

Stranger in Town155. Leader of the Silver Bullet Band : SEGER
Bob Seger struggled as an artist right through the sixties and early seventies before becoming a commercial success in 1976 with the release of the album "Night Moves". Since then, he has recorded songs that have become classics like, "We've Got Tonight" and "Old Time Rock & Roll".

Photo (S): Lillian Gish, 6/29/21156. Lillian of silents : GISH
Lillian Gish is most famous for her performances on the silent screen, although she acted in films in a career that lasted from 1912 to 1987, over 75 years. Her most famous role was that of Elsie in D. W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" released in 1915.

158. Org. that infiltrated Nazi Germany : OSS
The Office of Strategic Services was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. Within a few years of the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency, chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

159. Rx amount: Abbr. : TSP
There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol "Rx", used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions to invoke Jupiter's blessing to help the patient recover.

160. In thing : RAGE
It's all the rage ...

Down
2. Razzle-dazzle : ECLAT
Eclat can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French "eclater" meaning "to splinter, burst out".

3. With 5-Down, when 148-Across traditionally takes place : THE WEDNESDAY
5. See 3-Down : AFTER THANKSGIVING

8. La Palma, e.g. : ISLA
La Palma is one of the Canary Islands, found off the northwest coast of mainland Africa. The Spanish name for the archipelago is Islas Canarais, derived from the Latin "Insula Canaria" meaning "Island of the Dogs". The dogs in question were probably Monk seals ("sea dogs" in Latin). Nothing to do with canaries ...

Del Monte Cut Green Beans - 12/14.5 oz. cans9. Canned foods giant : DEL MONTE
Del Monte Foods is headquartered just down the road here, in San Francisco. The company's roots go back to 1886 when a foods distributor in Oakland used the name Del Monte on a premium blend of coffee, specially prepared for the Hotel Del Monte on the Monterrey peninsula.

10. Cosmetics giant : AVON
In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous "Avon Calling" marketing campaign started in 1954.

Judge Judy: Second to None11. Title for Judge Judy : HER HONOR
Judge Judy of television fame is actually Judith Sheindlin, a retired family court judge from New York. Ms. Sheindlin's contract was renewed in the middle of 2010, so that she now earns $45 million per year taping her show. That's a tad more than she was earning on the "real" bench I think ...

Nabisco Oreo Cookies-America Favorite Cookie, 3lb Box12. Cookie with creme : OREO
The Oreo cookie was the biggest seller in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been produced since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America though, you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added to give a different taste.

15. Where 148-Across takes place : ROCKEFELLER CENTER
Rockefeller Center is actually made of nineteen buildings in Midtown Manhattan. The site was developed by John D. Rockefeller, who first leased the 22-acre lot back in 1928. The original plan was to build a new opera house for the Metropolitan Opera, but the stock market crash of 1929 led to those plans being canceled. Because of the Great Depression, Rockefeller was forced to fund the whole development project himself, a huge undertaking, but a very successful one.

16. "Yes, Virginia, there ___ Santa Claus" : IS A
In 1897, 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon was having seasonal "doubts" and wrote to a prominent New York City newspaper, "The Sun", asking "Is there a Santa Claus?". One of the paper's editor's took the letter and used it as the basis for a famous newspaper article, a philosophical piece that moved many readers, eventually providing the answer, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus".

17. Traditional centerpiece of 148-Across : NORWAY SPRUCE

Nikolai Gogol18. "Diary of a Madman" author : GOGOL
Nikolai Gogol was a Russian writer, born in Ukraine. He wrote a lot of satirical pieces that attacked the corrupt bureaucracy in Russia, which led to his being exiled. His most famous work is probably "Taras Bul'ba" from 1836.

24. Dinner in a can : ALPO
The Alpo name is a brand of dog food originally produced by Allen Products, founded in 1936. The name "Alpo" is actually an abbreviation for "Allen Products". Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon, and Garfield the Cat would you believe?

25. "Whip It" band : DEVO
Devo is a band from Akron, Ohio formed back in 1973. The band's biggest hit is "Whip It" released in 1980.

35. Mount in myth : OSSA
Mt. Ossa in Greece is located between Mt. Pelion in the south, and the famed Mt. Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.

Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard with White Wine - 8 oz Glass Jar37. Here, in Dijon : ICI
Dijon is a city in eastern France, in the Burgundy region. Dijon is famous for its mustard, a particularly strong variation of the condiment. The European Union doesn't protect the name "Dijon" so anyone can use it on a label. That seems fair enough to me, given that 90% of the mustard made in and around Dijon is produced using mustard seed imported from Canada.

39. "Deus ___" (1976 sci-fi novel) : IRAE
"Deus Irae" is a sci-fi novel written by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazney, first published in 1976. The title translates from Latin in to "God of Wrath", and is a play on "Dies Irae", the name of a melody used in Gregorian Chant.

Dies Irae is Latin for "Day of Wrath". It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, and is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.

My Life So Far43. Hardly a plain Jane : FONDA
Jane Fonda is of course the daughter of Henry Fonda, sister of Peter Fonda, and aunt of Bridget Fonda, making the Fondas quite the acting family. Jane Fonda had many memorable screen performances, but is equally memorable for her anti-war activism. Most famously she was outspoken against the Vietnam War, going so far as to visit North Vietnam during the height of the conflict in 1972, posing for photographs and making radio broadcasts denouncing American leaders as "war criminals". For her stance, Fonda earned the nickname "Hanoi Jane".

44. Capital of Iceland? : LONG I
The first letter of the word "Iceland" is a long I.

48. Movie co. behind "Wordplay" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" : IFC
IFC Productions is a film production company, part of IFC the Independent Film Channel (one of my favorites cable channels).

WordplayEvery fan of the New York Times crossword just has to see the Indie film "Wordplay" released in 2006. The movie is about Will Shortz and some of the more expert solvers and setters, as well as celebrity solvers. There's even suspense and drama at the end! It is well worth the price of a rental, if you haven't seen it.

NIA VARDALOS 11X14 COLOR PHOTONot only was the delightful Nia Vardalos the star of the 2002 hit movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" she also wrote the screenplay. The movie never made it to number one at the box office, but still pulled in more money in history than any other movie not to make it to number one. That record I think reflects that the film wasn't a blockbuster, but rather a so-called "sleeper hit", that people went to see based on referrals from friends. The big fat mistake came after the movie when a spin-off TV show was launched, "My Big Fat Greek Life". It only ran for 7 episodes.

53. French seasoning : SEL
"Sel", the French word for "salt".

54. Texas A&M athletes : AGGIES
Texas A&M is the seventh largest university in the country, and was the first public, higher education institute when it accepted its first students in 1876. The full name of the school was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, and its primary mission used to be the education of males in the techniques of farming and military warfare. That's quite a combination! Because of the agricultural connection, the college's sports teams use the moniker "Aggies".

58. Magnetic disruption in space : ION STORM
Ion storms are events originating on the surface of the sun, huge releases of magnetic energy often associated with solar flares. Large ion storms can cause the Earth's magnetic field to deform, perhaps even slightly shifting the position of magnetic north.

The Ronettes: Ultimate Collection; Greatest Hits60. 1960s girl group, with "the" : RONETTES
The Ronettes were a sixties "girl group" from New York City that worked with famed record producer Phil Spector. Their most famous hit was probably "Be My Baby" from 1963. The lead singer of the group was Veronica Bennett, who ended up marrying Spector in 1968, leaving him in 1974 to become "Ronnie" Spector, "the original bad girl of rock and roll".

Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy63. Literary inits. : EAP
Edgar Allan Poe lived a life of many firsts. He is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre, he was also the first notable American writer to make his living through his writing, something that didn't really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849, he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious from either drugs or alcohol. He died a few days later in hospital, at 39 years of age.

65. It's picked in Maui : UKE
The ukulele originated in the 1800s, and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

66. Part of an ear : COB
A cob is part of an ear of corn.

67. Torque's symbol : TAU
Torque can be thought of as a turning force, say the force needed to tighten a bolt or a nut.

69. Gate projection, for short : ETA
Estimated Time of Arrival.

72. Man in the hood? : MONK
Nice clue ...

BONO 8X10 PHOTO75. One-named rock star : BONO
Irish singer Bono is a Dubliner, born Paul David Hewson. As a youth he was given the nickname "Bono Vox" by a friend, a Latin expression meaning "good voice", and so Mr. Hewson has been known as Bono since the late seventies. U2's first name was "Feedback", later changed to "The Hype". The band searched for yet another name and chose U2 from a list of six names suggested by a friend. They picked U2 because it was the name they disliked least ...

78. Stream of consciousness, for short? : EEG
An electroencephalogram is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG can be used to diagnose epilepsy, as well as to determine if a patient is "brain dead".

80. Chu ___ (legendary Confucian sage) : HSI
Zhu Xi (also Chu Hsi) was a scholar in the Song Dynasty in China, a note neo-Confucian.

81. What it must do : TAG
In the schoolyard game, if you're "it" you'd better go tag someone.

82. PX patrons : GIS
A PX is a Post Exchange, a retail store operating on a US Army Base. The equivalent on an Air Force Base is a Base Exchange (BX). At a Navy installation it's a Navy Exchange (NEX), at a Marine Corps installation it's a Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) and at a Coast Guard Installation it's a CGX.

87. Frenchman's term of address : MON AMI
"Mon ami" ... "my friend" (a male friend).

89. Shtick : BIT
A "shtick" is a routine, a bit, a piece of entertainment. It comes from the Yiddish "shtick" which has the same meaning, and derives from the Middle High German word "stücke", the word for "piece".

95. Chinese "way" : TAO
The Chinese character "tao" translates as "path", but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.

97. Tiny creature : AMEBA
An ameba (or "amoeba" as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek "amoibe", meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats or reproduces.

Saint Nicholas98. Like St. Nick : JOLLY
Saint Nicholas of Myra is the inspiration for Santa Claus. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now in modern-day Turkey) during the 4th century AD, and was known for being generous to the poor. Centuries after he died his remains were desecrated by Italian sailors and moved to Bari in Italy. They were moved again centuries later and reburied in the grounds of Jerpoint Abbey in Co. Kilkenny in Ireland, where you can visit the grave today.

Cy Young: A Baseball Life110. Award named for a Hall-of-Fame pitcher : CY YOUNG
Cy Young was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1890-1911. He is known for pitching the first perfect game of baseball's modern era. Soon after he died in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created to honor the best pitcher of a particular baseball season.

111. Blogger, e.g. : NETIZEN
I guess that would be someone like me, a netizen, an "Internet citizen".

120. Start for 148-Across? : ON-SWITCH
148. Annual Manhattan event (represented symbolically in this puzzle) : THE TREE-LIGHTING CEREMONY

Yat Ming Scale 1:18 - 1958 Edsel Citation128. Flops in lots : EDSELS
It was Henry Ford's son, Edsel Ford, who gave his name to the Edsel brand of automobile, a name that has become synonymous with "failure".

133. Extra-large top? : AFRO
That would be the afro hairstyle.

135. Start for -centric :
To be ethnocentric is to believe in the superiority of one's own race, or to have an obsessive concern with race.

138. Western tribe : UTES
The Ute are a group of American Indian tribes that now reside in Utah and Colorado. The Ute were not a unified group as such, but rather a loose association of nomadic groups.

139. Kind of party : STAG
Back where I come from, bachelor parties are called stag parties, and bachelorette parties are hen parties. And in Ireland the fairer sex usually isn't welcome at a stag party, not even for entertainment purposes. We tend to focus on the drink ...

140. Cuisine with pad see ew noodles : THAI
Pad see ew is also known as Phat si io, and is a stir-fried noodle dish. "Phat si io" means "fried with soy sauce". I love Thai food ...

141. Signs of dreaming : REMS
REM is an acronym standing for Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one's most vivid dreams.

143. Wide-lapel jackets : ETONS
An Eton jacket is usually black, cut square at the hips and with wide lapels. It is named for the design of jacket that is worn by the younger students at Eton College just outside London.

Toga Male Adult Halloween Costume (Standard One-Size)145. It was wrapped around the Forum : TOGA
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made of linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made of wool. The toga could only be worn by men (the female equivalent was called a "stola") and only if they were Roman citizens.

146. Rare blood type, for short : B NEG
The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected by the recipient. However, blood type O-Neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, AB or O, positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a "universal donor".

In the ABO/Rhesus system of blood classification, the rarest blood type is AB-Neg, found in less than 1% of the world's population. B-Neg and O-Neg are also relatively rare, each accounting for less than 5% of all possible donors.

147. Jane at Thornfield : EYRE
Thornfield Hall is the home of Mr. Rochester, and where all the action takes place in "Jane Eyre". "Jane Eyre" is of course the novel written by Charlotte Bronte, and published as "Jane Eyre. An Autobiography" under the pen name Currer Bell. The storyline is a little too dark and Gothic for my taste ...

Lou's on First: The Tragic Life of Hollywood's Greatest Clown Warmly Recounted by his Youngest Child149. Funny Costello : LOU
Lou Costello was of course half of the Abbot & Costello double act. One tragic and terrible event in Lou Costello's life was the death of his baby son, Lou Costello Jr. Lou was at NBC studios one night for his regular broadcast when he received word that the 11-month-old baby had somehow drowned in the family swimming pool. With the words, "Wherever he is tonight, I want him to hear me", he made the broadcast in front of a live, unsuspecting audience.

150. Walgreens rival : CVS
The name CVS once stood for Consumer Value Stores, although these days the company uses the acronym to stand for Convenience, Value and Service.

Walgreens is the largest chain of drugstores in the United States, with over 7,500 retail outlets. The company is named for the owner of the first store and founder of the chain, Charles R. Walgreen.

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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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