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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

0105-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Jan 11, Wednesday




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: Mister Ed ... all the theme answers refer to the TV show "Mister Ed"
- HELLO, I'M MISTER ED
- TIME TO HIT THE HAY. OH, I FORGOT. I ATE IT!
- THE TALKING HORSE
COMPLETION TIME: 12m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Renowned family of Italian history : MEDICI
The House of Medici was a dynasty from the the Italian Republic of Florence. The family went into the world of finance and built the largest bank in the Europe in the 15th century. Significantly, the Medicis produced four Popes around this time, and then the family moved from the status of common citizens to become hereditary Dukes of Florence. By the middle of the 18th century the family ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, but ended up fiscally bankrupt.

7. Thom ___ shoes : MCAN
The Thom McAn brand of footwear was introduced in 1922 by the Melville Corporation (now CVS Caremark). The brand was named after a Scottish golfer, Thomas McCann. The Thom McAn brand is epitomized by the comfortable, leather casual and dress shoe, so sales have really been hurt in recent decades by the growing popularity of sneakers.

PEZ Disney, Best of Pixar, 0.58-Ounce Assorted Candy Dispensers (Pack of 12)11. ___-a-Mania, candy collectors' convention since 1991 : PEZ
PEZ is an Austrian brand name for a particular candy sold in a mechanical dispenser. The name PEZ comes from the first, middle and last letters of "Pfefferminz", the German word for "peppermint". Quite interesting ...

15. Island of exile : ELBA
I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on the island of Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day, and we won't be going back.

Mr. Ed - The Complete Fourth Season17. Opening line from a TV show that debuted on 1/5/61 : HELLO, I'M MISTER ED
"Mister Ed" first aired in 1961 and ran for almost five years. It was a very successful show (and even made it to Ireland!). Mister Ed, the talking horse, was a palomino that had the real name of Bamboo Harvester. Mister Ed's "voice" was that of actor Allan "Rocky" Lane, a star of a lot of B-movie westerns from the forties and fifties. In the show, Mister Ed would only talk to the lead (human) character, Wilbur, played by Alan Young, leading to some hilarious situations. Mister Ed had a stunt double and stand-in for the show, another horse called Pumpkin. Pumpkin later played the horse that made frequent appearances on the show "Green Acres".

22. "Smart" guys : ALECS
Apparently the original "smart alec" was Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

25. With 43-Across, line spoken by the show's star : TIME TO HIT THE HAY
(43. See 25-Across : OH I FORGOT, I ATE IT!)

AWACS and Hawkeyes: The Complete History of Airborne Early Warning Aircraft33. High-tech surveillance acronym : AWACS
When the British developed radar in WWII, they also came up with an airborne system which they actually deployed during the war. In 1944 the US Navy commissioned a similar system, and so launched the first American Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system, also before the war was over. The more modern term for th technology is Airborne Warning and Control System, AWACS for short.

Rama Lama Ding Dong34. "Rama ___ Ding Dong" (1961 hit) : LAMA
"Rama Lama Ding Dong" was a hit in 1961, although it had been released in 1957 under the erroneous title "Lama Rama Ding Dong" and didn't quite make it. The song was recorded by the doo-wop group called the Edsels, named after the new Ford ("doomed") automobile. Before becoming the Edsels, the group was called the Essos, after the oil company.

35. Org. in the health care debate : AMA
The American Medical Association was founded in 1847, at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The first female member was allowed to join in 1868, but the first African American members weren't let in until 1968.

BIC Cristal Stic Ball Pen, Medium Point (1.0 mm), Blue, 10 Pens36. Pens sold in 10-packs : BICS
Société Bic is a French company, based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced, more than fifty years ago, was the Bic Cristal, still produced today.

39. ___-a-brac : BRIC
Bric-a-brac was a French phrase that was used as far back as the 16th century, but is no longer used in France. Back then it was a nonsense term meaning "at random" or "any old way". Since Victorian times we have used the phrase in English to mean a collection of curios, statues and the like. Unlike back then, in modern usage bric-a-brac tends to be a selection of cheaper items.

OSHKOSH Plaid Denim Overalls - Newborn40. ___Kosh B'Gosh : OSH
OshKosh B'Gosh is a company that produces and sells children's clothes. The trademark OshKosh bib-overalls remind us of the company's roots, as it was originally a manufacturer of adult work clothes based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Around The World In 80 Days (1956 Film)41. Phileas ___, fictional circumnavigator : FOGG
"Around the World in 80 Days" is just a wonderful adventure story, written by French author Jules Verne, first published in 1873. There have been some great screen adaptations of the story, including the 1956 movie starring David Niven as Philieas Fogg. In almost all adaptations, a balloon is used for part of the journey, perhaps the most memorable means of transportation on the journey. However, if you read the book, Fogg never used a balloon at all.

42. Part of a "Macbeth" trio : WITCH
The witches in Shakespeare's "Macbeth" have some lovely, and famous, lines as they cast a spell:
"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

43. See 25-Across : OH I FORGOT, I ATE IT!

The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films47. It was "lost" in 1981's top-grossing movie : ARK
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is, in my humble opinion, the best of the Indiana Jones franchise of movies. This first Indiana Jones film was released in 1981, produced by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg. Harrison Ford was Spielberg's first choice to play the lead, but Lucas resisted as he was concerned that he would be too closely associated with the actor (as Ford played Han Solo in "Star Wars", and also appeared in Lucas's "American Graffiti"). Tom Selleck was offered the role, but couldn't get out of his commitments to "Magnum, P.I." Eventually Spielberg got his way, a good thing I say ...

48. "The Lord of the Rings" tree creatures : ENTS
Ents are those tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, in his series of books "The Lord of the Rings".

49. Wing it : AD LIB
"Ad libitum" is a Latin phrase meaning "at one's pleasure". In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to "ad lib". On the stage the concept of an "ad lib" is very familiar. For example, an actor who substitutes his own words for forgotten lines uses an ad lib. Or, a director may instruct an actor to use his or her own words at a particular point in a performance to promote a feeling of spontaneity.

52. Of the lower small intestine : ILEAC
The human ileum is the lowest part of the small intestine, found below the jejumum and above the cecum of the large intestine.

54. "Fee, fi, fo, ___" : FUM
The line "fee-fi-fo-fum" (with various spellings) comes from the famous English fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk". Within the story, the giant at the top of the beanstalk utters a little poem when he detects the presence of Jack:
"Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."

Mister Ed: Barnyard Favorites57. Familiar title for the star of the show : THE TALKING HORSE

Eileen Collins (American Lives)62. Former space shuttle commander Collins : EILEEN
Eileen Collins was the first female pilot of a Space Shuttle, and the first female commander of a Space Shuttle mission. She was also the first astronaut to fly the shuttle through the 360-degree, rendezvous pitch maneuver. This maneuver became routine for Shuttles in docking with the International Space Station. The idea is to for the spacecraft to perform a back-flip so that the crew of the Space Station can photograph the Shuttle's heat-shield to verify integrity prior to reentry.

Down
1. When repeated, a food fish : MAHI
Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiian name for the dolphin-fish, an ugly looking creature if ever I saw one ...

2. Summers in la cité : ETES
Summers (étés) in the city (la cité) in French ...

7. Office reminder : MEMO
A memoradum is a "thing to be remembered" in Latin, from the verb "memorare" meaning "to call to mind".

Winning Edge Designs Natasha Fatale Head Cover10. "Rocky and Bullwinkle" villainess : NATASHA
Natasha Fatale is was a cartoon character that hung out with Rocky and Bullwinkle in the sixties. Natasha was a spy in the cartoon storylines, hence the "Fatale" name.

13. Jazz duo in London? : ZEDS
Nice clue ... there are two letters "zed" in "jazz", as we call a "zee" on the other side of the Atlantic.

The letter named "zed" has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation of "zee" used in America today first popped up in the 1670s.

18. ___ pit (rock concert area) : MOSH
Moshing is the pushing and shoving that takes place in the audience at a concert (usually punk or heavy metal). The area directly in front of the stage is known as the mosh pit. When a performer does a "stage dive" it is into (or I suppose "onto") the mosh pit. It doesn't sound like fun to me. Injuries are common in the mosh pit, and deaths are not unknown.

Chuck Yeager w/ Photo of Bell X-1 Aircraft 8x10 Silver Halide Photo Print27. Chuck Yeager's breakthrough : MACH I
The Mach number of a moving object (like say an airplane) is it's speed relative to the speed of sound. A plane travelling at Mach 2 for example, is moving at twice the speed of sound. The term "Mach" takes its name from the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach who published a groundbreaking paper in 1877 that predicted the "sonic boom".

Chuck Yeager enlisted as a private in the US Army Air Forces in 1941, starting out as an aircraft mechanic. With the onset of the war at the end of the year, Yeager was able to enroll in flight school. In 1943 he was posted overseas, and flew P-51 Mustangs out of the south of England. He was shot down over France in 1944, and escaped to Spain with the aid of the French Resistance. His 11.5 accredited victories included five downed aircraft in one mission (making him an "ace in a day"), and one of the first air-to-air kills of a jet fighter.

Gregory Hines autographed 8x10 Photo29. Dance like the Hines Brothers : TAP
Maurice and Gregory Hines are a pair of brothers famous for starting out their show business careers as tap dancers. Maurice made one film appearance, in 1984's "The Cotton Club". The younger brother, Gregory, has been more visible in front of the camera. Gregory was one of the leads in "The Cotton Club", and had his own "The Gregory Hines Show" on television.

30. Poker Flat creator Bret : HARTE
"The Outcasts of Poker Flat" is a short story by Bret Harte, first published in 1869. Harte was a storyteller noted for his tales of the American West, even though he himself was from back East, born in Albany, New York.

31. Friends, in Florence : AMICI
In Italian, the word for friend is "amico" (pl. amici).

Sarah, The Duchess Of York - My Story37. Fergie's duchy : YORK
Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew of the British Royal Family in 1986, and on the occasion of the wedding, Andrew and Sarah were made Duke and Duchess of York. Sarah Ferguson was in the news relatively recently when she was the target of a sting operation by a British tabloid newspaper. She was caught asking for 500,000 British pounds in order to help facilitate access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, and actually accepted 40,000 pounds in an envelope. After being exposed, Ferguson made the excuse that she had been drinking prior to soliciting the cash.

44. ___ accompli : FAIT
Fait accompli is a French term, lliterally translating as "accomplished fact". It is used in English to mean "a done deal".

45. Holden Caulfield, for one : TEEN
Holden Caulfield is the main character in J. D. Salinger's 1951 novel, "The Catcher in the Rye". Salinger had used the same character in a short story called "Slight Rebellion off Madison" that was published a few years earlier in 1946 in "The New Yorker". Caulfield must have been a real favorite, as he appeared even before that, in the short story "I'm Crazy" published in "Colliers" at Christmas 1945.

LAWRENCE WELK 11X14 COLOR PHOTO49. "A one and ___" : A TWO
Lawrence Welk used to count into his performances with "A one and a two ...". He even had a licence plate "A1ANA2".

The Art of Dhow-building in Kuwait50. Indian Ocean vessel : DHOW
A dhow is a traditional Arab sailing vessel with a beautiful lateen sail rig. A lateen rig is a triangular sail mounted on a spar that is attached at an angle to the mast.

52. Chain founded in Sweden : IKEA
Did you know that IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old??!! IKEA is an acronym that stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don't forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW POSTER- Musical Movie53. Logo image for "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" : LIPS
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" has to have the most devout cult-following of any movie ever made. Famously, fans attending a midnight show of the film will dress up in the outrageous costumes used in the film, and bring props with them. The props bear little relation to the storyline, but a tradition of using certain props in a particular way has been established. For example, at one point a character proposes a toast, and the audience throws toast around the theater. Go figure ...


For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Renowned family of Italian history : MEDICI
7. Thom ___ shoes : MCAN
11. ___-a-Mania, candy collectors' convention since 1991 : PEZ
14. Coral islands : ATOLLS
15. Island of exile : ELBA
16. Hew : AXE
17. Opening line from a TV show that debuted on 1/5/61 : HELLO, I'M MISTER ED
20. Ideal ending? : -IST
21. Buttinsky : SNOOP
22. "Smart" guys : ALECS
23. Subject of a hotel policy : PETS
24. Pumpkinhead : ASS
25. With 43-Across, line spoken by the show's star : TIME TO HIT THE HAY
33. High-tech surveillance acronym : AWACS
34. "Rama ___ Ding Dong" (1961 hit) : LAMA
35. Org. in the health care debate : AMA
36. Pens sold in 10-packs : BICS
37. Canine complaints : YELPS
39. ___-a-brac : BRIC
40. ___Kosh B'Gosh : OSH
41. Phileas ___, fictional circumnavigator : FOGG
42. Part of a "Macbeth" trio : WITCH
43. See 25-Across : OH I FORGOT, I ATE IT!
47. It was "lost" in 1981's top-grossing movie : ARK
48. "The Lord of the Rings" tree creatures : ENTS
49. Wing it : AD LIB
52. Of the lower small intestine : ILEAC
54. "Fee, fi, fo, ___" : FUM
57. Familiar title for the star of the show : THE TALKING HORSE
60. Hit the jackpot : WON
61. Furrow-producing : DEEP
62. Former space shuttle commander Collins : EILEEN
63. Pained cries : OWS
64. Pilots' announcements, for short : ETAS
65. Pilots : STEERS

Down
1. When repeated, a food fish : MAHI
2. Summers in la cité : ETES
3. Definitely no genius : DOLT
4. Indisposed : ILL
5. Suitable sites for suits : CLOSETS
6. Really digs : IS INTO
7. Office reminder : MEMO
8. "Good" rate : CLIP
9. Sit-up muscles : ABS
10. "Rocky and Bullwinkle" villainess : NATASHA
11. Skin : PARE
12. Big cheese : EXEC
13. Jazz duo in London? : ZEDS
18. ___ pit (rock concert area) : MOSH
19. Ultimate word in an ultimatum : ELSE
23. Neighbors of 9-Down : PECS
24. Bill dispensers : ATMS
25. Like cannibalism, e.g. : TABOO
26. "Wouldn't that be nice" : I WISH
27. Chuck Yeager's breakthrough : MACH I
28. "Send me" : I'LL GO
29. Dance like the Hines Brothers : TAP
30. Poker Flat creator Bret : HARTE
31. Friends, in Florence : AMICI
32. Luxury craft : YACHT
37. Fergie's duchy : YORK
38. Object of a spring hunt : EGG
39. Bridle parts : BITS
41. Prohibited : FORBADE
42. "Be careful!" : WATCH IT
44. ___ accompli : FAIT
45. Holden Caulfield, for one : TEEN
46. Since way back when : IN AGES
49. "A one and ___" : A TWO
50. Indian Ocean vessel : DHOW
51. Monocle part : LENS
52. Chain founded in Sweden : IKEA
53. Logo image for "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" : LIPS
54. Unattached : FREE
55. Lead-in for friendly : USER
56. Department store department : MEN'S
58. Tennis judge's call : LET
59. "Bravo!" : OLE


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2 comments :

robert isenmann said...

Thanks for the puzzle solutions....sometimes it is the only way to figure out some of the answers. Can you answer a question for me????? The last word in your solutions is "shaded" lightly, and the last letter is "shaded" darkly. Why is that??? Many thanks, robertisenmann@charter.net

Bill Butler said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for stopping by.

I am going to have to put the answer to your query in my "Frequently Asked Questions" section, as you're not the first to ask it!

I pay for access to the New York Times crossword online, so I download the puzzle every evening into a crossword program called Across Lite, and solve it on my computer. When I am done, I take a "picture" of the finished puzzle on the screen and post it in my blog that readers of my blog can see everyday.

The problem is that Across Lite always highlights the space in the grid where I am typing an answer, so there will always be one answer shaded. I try to make it a little less distracting by always tabbing down to the last answer leaving the shading in the bottom right of the grid.

I hope I've explained myself clearly enough, Robert. If not, just send me an email at bill@paxient.com and I'll try to do better!

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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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