Top Line

Search by Date

DD MMM YY or MMDD-YY

Search by Puzzle Number

e.g. 1225-09, 0704-10, 1025-10 etc.

Daily Solution by Email

Enter your email address

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

1231-10: New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Dec 10, Friday




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: None
COMPLETION TIME: 27m 18s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. One likely to die on the road? : JALOPY
The origins of our word "jalopy" meaning "dilapidated old motor car" seem to have been lost in time, but the word has been around since the 1920s. One credible suggestion is that it comes from Jalapa, Mexico as the Jalapa scrapyards were the destination for many scrapped American automobiles.

7. What something may go down to : THE WIRE
The expression "down to the wire", meaning "right to the last minute", comes from the world of horse racing. The finish line at a racetrack used to be marked by a metal thread, "the wire".

14. Foster girl : JEANIE
Stephen Foster wrote the song "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair", first published in 1854. The song became very famous in 1941, in which year there was a strike due to a dispute over licencing fees. Radio broadcasters weren't allowed to play contemporary tunes during the strike and had to turn to their limited collection of recorded music that was in the public domain, such as "Jeanie". An article in "Time" magazine at the time remarked about how often "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" was being played saying that "she was widely reported to have turned grey". Good one!

16. Debunked? : ARISEN
Nice wording. If you've debunked, maybe you've gotten out of your bunk, you've arisen.

18. Big tin exporter: Abbr. : BOL
Historically, from the Middle Ages, the main source of tin in the world was the mines of Cornwall in the south of England. This changed in the 1800s with the discovery of the "tin belt" in Bolivia. Today Bolivia is the fourth largest miner and producer of tin in the world, after Indonesia, China and Peru. There hasn't been any mining of any metals in Cornwall since 2007.

22. Kind of replication : RNA
The two most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), both of which play crucial roles in genetics. The DNA contains the genetic instructions used to keep living organisms functioning, and RNA is used to transcribe that information from the DNA to protein "generators" called ribosomes.

23. Sticks up for, maybe? : ABETS
Cleverly worded clue ... someone who helps out in a "stick up", a crime, is said to "abet".

The word "abet" comes into English from the Old French "abeter" meaning "to bait" or "to harass with dogs" (it literally means "to make bite"). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of "abet" to mean aid or encourage someone in a crime.

25. Serbian city where Constantine the Great was born : NIS
Niš is the third largest city in Serbia, and is located in the south of the country.

26. Org. with towers : AAA
The AAA tows an awful lot of vehicles ...

The American Automobile Association is a not-for-profit organization, focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. It was founded in 1902 in Chicago, and published its first hotel guide back in 1917.

27. Luzón, e.g. : ISLA
"Isla" is the Filipino word for "island", but it's also the Spanish word. The reference here is to the Spanish, I think, as Luzón is the Spanish spelling for the island of Luzon, the largest of the Philippine islands, home to the capital city of Manila.

Eddie Murphy: The Life and Times of a Comic on the Edge31. Film in which Eddie Murphy voices the dragon Mushu : MULAN
"Mulan" is a Disney animated feature released in 1998. The storyline is based on the legend of Hua Mulan, a heroine from Chinese folklore. In the story, Mulan has a guardian dragon called Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy.

35. Be revolting : STICK IT TO THE MAN
"The Man" is a slang term used for an authority figure. It might be used to refer to corporate leadership, or perhaps the government. The phrase "stick it to the man" means to resist authority, to fight back.

40. Homes within nations : TEPEES
A tepee (also called a tipi and teepee) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides, and used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure, and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent structure. The wigwam can also be covered with hides, but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.

41. San Francisco's Museo ___ Americano : ITALO
The Museo ItaloAmericano in San Francisco is the only museum in the world devoted to Italian- American art and culture.

42. Red giants in the night sky : S STARS
Red giants are very large stars with a relatively low mass. The atmosphere of a red giant is also very inflated, so the surface of that atmosphere that we see is relatively cool, which gives it a red color.

Greek Tau Numbers Letters & Symbols Italian Charm Bracelet48. Cross character : TAU
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman "T". Both the the letters tau (T) and chi (X) were symbolically associated with the cross.

51. As : QUA
The Latin word "qua" translates into English a number of different ways, depending on the context. One translation is "as", but it can also mean "where", "how", "as far as", "by which" etc.

Remembering Bobby Orr: A Celebration52. Ice legend's family : ORRS
Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn't skate any more. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking ...

54. Head start? : AITCH
Clever clue ... the word "h-ead" starts with the letter "aitch".

56. It's often hung illegally : UEY
"Uey" is slang for a "u-turn".

P.T. Barnum: Greatest Showman on Earth57. "The Humbugs of the World" author, 1865 : PT BARNUM
Phineas Taylor Barnum was one of the great American showmen, famous for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus. By some measures, Barnum was the first ever "show business" millionaire. Beyond the world of entertainment, Barnum was also a politician for a while and served two terms in the Connecticut legislature, and was mayor of the city of Bridgeport. Barnum was a very successful author as well. One of his most famous books was "The Humbugs of the World", an exposé of deceptions in the world of entertainment. He was believer in illusions providing they gave value for money in terms of entertainment, but he had an intense dislike of fraudulent deception and came down hard on spiritualist mediums in particular.

I Love You, Man62. Relationship in the 2009 film "I Love You, Man" : BROMANCE
A "bromance" is the name given these days to a close relationship between two straight males.

63. 1974 hit with Spanish lyrics : ERES TU
We have a big event across Europe every year called the Eurovision Song Contest. Each nation enters one song in competition with each other, and then voters across the whole continent decide on the winner. That's how ABBA got their big break, as the group won in 1974 with "Waterloo". In 1972, Spain's entry was "Eres tu" sung by the band Mocedades. "Eres tu" is the Spanish for "you are". It is a great song, that came in second but should have won, in my humble opinion.

65. The Allman Brothers Band, e.g. : SEXTET
The Allman Brothers Band has got to be one of the most unlucky bands in the business. Soon after the group had its big break with the 1971 album "At Fillmore East", one of the two Allman brothers, Duane, was killed in a motorcycle accident. One year later, bassist Berry Oakley was killed, also in a motorcycle accident.

Down
Alias: The Complete Fourth Season1. Creator of TV's "Alias" : JJ ABRAMS
J. J. Abrams is a director and producer of both movies and television shows. He created "Alias", "Fringe" and co-created the highly successful show "Lost". He also directed "Mission: Impossible III" and the 2009 movie "Star Trek".

2. Blimp navigator : AERONAUT
There is an important difference between a "blimp" (like "The Goodyear Blimp") and an airship (like a Zeppelin). An airship is a rigid structure with an internal framework that helps maintain the the shape of the airbag. A blimp on the other hand, uses the pressure of the helium gas inside the airbag to give it shape. Blimps are usually heavier than air, so will float naturally to the ground. They maintain their lift with forward motion, by raising the nose slightly.

REACH!: FINDING STRENGTH, SPIRIT, AND PERSONAL POWER3. Boxer who wrote "Reach!" : LAILA ALI
Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali, and a very capable boxer in her own right. She's not a bad dancer either, coming in third in the fourth season of "Dancing with the Stars".

4. Switch sides? : ONS
There are two sides to a switch, an "on" side and and "off" side.

6. Folks getting into dirt : YENTAS
Yenta (Yente) is actually a female Yiddish name. In Yiddish theater it came to mean a busybody.

8. Bucks, e.g. : HES
Bucks are males ...

A Year With Swollen Appendices: Brian Eno's Diary9. Rock's 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.

10. Freaks (out) : WIGS
The idea behind the expression "wig out", meaning "go crazy", is that there is so much going on in your brain that it might "lift your hair/wig".

12. Carrier of drum cases, maybe : ROADIE
A "roadie" is someone who loads, unloads, and sets up equipment for musicians on tour, on the road.

20. Like M&M's : OBLATE
Something that is described as having an "oblate" shape is spherical, slightly depressed at top and bottom, just like the Earth for example. A more extreme example of an oblate shape is an M&M.

24. Sacrifice fly? : SWAT
If you swat at a fly, you attempt to "sacrifice" it, I guess ...

29. 64-Across, to a cat : I'M HIP
The word "hip" meaning "informed" is just a a variant of the word "hep", which has the same meaning. Both terms probably originated as slang first used in the African American community.

30. Debugger? : DEET
DEET is short for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, an active ingredient in insect repellents. It is most often used to repel mosquitoes by applying it to the skin and/or clothing, but is also used to protect against tick bites.

32. Court proceedings : ACTA
Actum (plural acta) is the Latin word for "deed". It is used in English to describe many official records, including minutes, proceedings etc.

36. Self, in a Latin phrase : IPSA
The literal translation of the legal term "res ipsa loquitur" is "the thing speaks for itself". It refers to situations when there is an injury, and the nature of the injury is such that one can assume that negligence had to have taken place.

37. Many users follow its directions : MAPQUEST
MapQuest is a very popular Internet site, one that provides driving directions and maps. MapQuest is actually owned by AOL.

38. "Gentille" one of song : ALOUETTE
The French-Canadian children's song starts, "Alouette, gentille alouette ..." Alouette is the French word for a bird, the lark. The song is actually pretty gruesome, even though it used to teach children the names of body parts. The origin of the song lies in the French colonists penchant for eating larks, which they considered to be game birds. So in the song, the singer tells the lark he/she will pluck off the lark's head, nose, eyes, wings and tail.

43. "The Transcendence of the Ego" writer : SARTRE
"The Transcendence of the Ego" is an essay written by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1937. Frankly, it's beyond me ...

T3 T4 T04E Turbocharger .63 A/R Turbo New Design44. Some muscle cars : TURBOS
A turbocharger is a device that is designed to extract more power out of an internal combustion engine. It does so by increasing the pressure of the air entering the intake. The pressure increase comes from the use of a compressor, which is cleverly powered by the engine's own exhaust gases.

Arches and Canyonlands - Seasons of The National Parks46. ___ National Park : ARCHES
The gorgeous Arches National Park is located in eastern Utah, just outside of Moab. The main focus of the park is the preservation of over 2,000 natural sandstone arches. The arches are relatively fragile, and 43 have collapsed since 1970, mainly due to erosion caused by wind and rain.

50. It may stick to your ribs : SAUCE
Barbecue sauce sticks to the ribs on your plate ...

53. Language related to Finnish : SAMI
Lapland is a geographic region in northern Scandinavia, largely found within the Arctic Circle. Parts of Lapland are in Norway, Sweden and Finland. The people who are native to the region are called the Sami people. The Sami don't like to be referred to as Lapps, and regard the term as insulting.

58. Coll. peer leaders : RAS
RAs are resident assistants, or resident advisers, the peer leaders found in residence halls, particularly on a college campus.


For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. One likely to die on the road? : JALOPY
7. What something may go down to : THE WIRE
14. Foster girl : JEANIE
15. Poster girl : TEEN IDOL
16. Debunked? : ARISEN
17. Response to great news : I'M SO GLAD
18. Big tin exporter: Abbr. : BOL
19. Beat badly : STOMP
21. Battle joiner's choice : SIDE
22. Kind of replication : RNA
23. Sticks up for, maybe? : ABETS
25. Serbian city where Constantine the Great was born : NIS
26. Org. with towers : AAA
27. Luzón, e.g. : ISLA
28. Thingamajig : WIDGET
31. Film in which Eddie Murphy voices the dragon Mushu : MULAN
33. Lit : AFLAME
35. Be revolting : STICK IT TO THE MAN
40. Homes within nations : TEPEES
41. San Francisco's Museo ___ Americano : ITALO
42. Red giants in the night sky : S STARS
45. Procure : REAP
47. Big hit : POW
48. Cross character : TAU
49. Not dormant : ASTIR
51. As : QUA
52. Ice legend's family : ORRS
54. Head start? : AITCH
56. It's often hung illegally : UEY
57. "The Humbugs of the World" author, 1865 : PT BARNUM
60. Be coerced : HAVE TO
62. Relationship in the 2009 film "I Love You, Man" : BROMANCE
63. 1974 hit with Spanish lyrics : ERES TU
64. "Got it" : YES, I SEE
65. The Allman Brothers Band, e.g. : SEXTET

Down
1. Creator of TV's "Alias" : JJ ABRAMS
2. Blimp navigator : AERONAUT
3. Boxer who wrote "Reach!" : LAILA ALI
4. Switch sides? : ONS
5. Some county fair contest entries : PIES
6. Folks getting into dirt : YENTAS
7. Bait : TEMPT
8. Bucks, e.g. : HES
9. Rock's Brian : ENO
10. Freaks (out) : WIGS
11. Not going anywhere : IDLING
12. Carrier of drum cases, maybe : ROADIE
13. First in line, say : ELDEST
15. Over and over : TIME AFTER TIME
20. Like M&M's : OBLATE
24. Sacrifice fly? : SWAT
27. Cartoonist, at times : INKER
29. 64-Across, to a cat : I'M HIP
30. Debugger? : DEET
32. Court proceedings : ACTA
34. Freak : LOSE IT
36. Self, in a Latin phrase : IPSA
37. Many users follow its directions : MAPQUEST
38. "Gentille" one of song : ALOUETTE
39. Problem for one who's trapped : NO WAY OUT
42. Visit : STOP BY
43. "The Transcendence of the Ego" writer : SARTRE
44. Some muscle cars : TURBOS
46. ___ National Park : ARCHES
50. It may stick to your ribs : SAUCE
53. Language related to Finnish : SAMI
55. Dummy on a greyhound track : HARE
58. Coll. peer leaders : RAS
59. Uptown's dir. in N.Y.C. : NNE
61. Really try : VEX


Return to top of page

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Brilliant of you to get this very tough puzzle so quickly!

Thanks for all the help you offer those of us out here still learning the crossword ropes.

Dan Levin, St. Louis

Bill Butler said...

Hi Dan,

Some puzzles suit some people, and other puzzles suit others I guess :)

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you're finding the blog to be of use.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy puzzling!

Tell a Friend About NYTCrossword.com:

Facebook Twitter Google Email

Adsense Wide Skyscraper

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

Blog Archive