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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland, and have extended my stay until October 24th. I am focused on getting the puzzle solved and at least a basic post up each day. It's proving to be difficult to do much more than that due to pressure of time, which I am sure you can understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

0117-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Jan 11, Monday




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: MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY. ... the first part of the four theme answers today spell out MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY, and the fourth one is I believe is also a reference to the great civil rights activist's "I have a dream ..." speech:
- MARTIN (SHORT)
- LUTHER (VANDROSS)
- KING (TUT EXHIBIT)
- DAY(DREAMERS) ... "I have a dream ...
COMPLETION TIME: 7m 19s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Plaster backing : LATH
The words "lath" and "lattice" have the same root in Old French. Laths are thin strips of wood that are nailed across a frame forming a backing to which plaster can be applied to finish a wall.

16. San Francisco's ___ Hill : NOB
Nob Hill is a very elevated and central location in the city of San Francisco. Because of its views of the surrounding city and environs Nob Hill became a desirable place to live for the wealthy people of the city in the 1800s. The area is still one of San Francisco's most affluent neighborhoods, and is home to upscale hotels as well as the magnificent Grace Cathedral. The name "Nob Hill" came from the slang term for someone who is well-to-do, a "nob".

I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood [VHS]17. "S.N.L." alum who co-starred in "Three Amigos!" : MARTIN SHORT
Martin Short's father emigrated to Canada as a refugee from Ireland during the Irish War of Independence (and indeed I was good friends with one of Martin's cousins back in Ireland). Short started out his career as a comedian with "SCTV" before moving to "Saturday Night Live" where he became one of the show's most celebrated alumni. Back in 1972 Short appeared in a production of "Godspell" alongside Gilda Radner. Short and Radner dated for a while, then Short started going out with Radner's understudy, Nancy Dolman. Dolman and Short married in 1980. Any of you that follow British politics will know of Clare Short, a minister in Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet. Clare and Martin are first cousins.

The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant19. Gun enthusiast's org. : NRA
The NRA is the National Rifle Association, an organization that has been around since 1871. The group has had some celebrity presidents, including US President Ulysses S. Grant. It's often said that the NRA is the most powerful lobbying group in Washington.

23. Westernmost of the Aleutians : ATTU
Attu is the westernmost island in the Aleutian chain, and so is the westernmost part of Alaska. Japanese forces took the island in October 1942, eventually landing as many as 2,900 soldiers there. In May 1943, the US Army retook the island in twenty days of fighting that is now called the Battle of Attu, the only land battle to take place on US soil during WWII. I am very proud of my father-in-law, who served in the Aleutians in WWII ...

Ultimate Luther Vandross26. His "Dance With My Father" won the 2003 Grammy for Song of the Year : LUTHER VANDROSS
Luther Vandross was an R&B and soul singer, from the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. The last album that Vandross released before he died was "Dance with My Father", dedicated to his Dad. It turned out to be Vandross's most successful album.

When We Were Kings32. Boxers Muhammad and Laila : ALIS
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, changing his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta? Ali was presented with a gold medal during those 1996 Games, a replacement for the medal he won during the 1960 games. He had thrown the original into the Ohio River as a gesture of disgust after being refused service at a "whites only" restaurant.

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".

34. Social reformer Jacob : RIIS
Jacob Riis is famous for his photographs and and newspaper articles that highlighted the plight of the impoverished in New York City. He wrote "How the Other Half Lives", originally an extensive article that appeared in "Scribner's Magazine" in 1889, at Christmas. The article had such an impact that Riis was commissioned to expand it into a book, published the following year.

37. Thailand, once : SIAM
Siam was the official name of Thailand up to 1939 (and from 1945 to 1949).

38. Sense of self : EGO
"Ego" is another word for "the self", and is used conceptually to distinguish oneself from others and the world around one. In psychoanalysis, the ego is that division of the psyche that is most in touch with external reality, the part that is conscious. "Ego" is a Latin word meaning "I".

Signed Dunne, Irene 8x10 B&W (P) Photo40. Actress Irene : DUNNE
Irene Dunne was a wonderful, and beautiful, Hollywood actress. She played a variety of roles, but I always think of her as the leading lady with Cary Grant in the movies "The Awful Truth", "My Favorite Wife" and "Penny Serenade". Irene Dunne was great friends with fellow actress Loretta Young, and the two often attended church together. She is often described as the best actress never to win an Oscar, even though she was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award five times.

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs: Official Companion Book to the Exhibition sponsored by National Geographic41. Traveling show of the 1970s and 2000s that originated in Cairo : KING TUT EXHIBIT
King Tut is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen. Tutankhamen may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamen's magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

47. Madrid museum : PRADO
The Museo del Prado is in Madrid, the capital of Spain, and has one of the finest art collections in the world. The galleries most famous work is "Las Meninas" By Velazquez.

53. "Now is the winter of ___ discontent ..." : OUR
One of Shakespeare's most famous lines, is also perhaps he most famous pun. From "Richard III", the line reads "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son (punning "sun") of York".

Speeches By Martin Luther King: The Ultimate Collection54. They're in la-la land : DAYDREAMERS
I remember listening to the full text of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream ..." speech not long after I moved to this country. I think I am man enough to admit that my eyes misted up as I listened to the words. I also recall thinking how lucky I was to have been invited to live in this great country, that was facing up to some of the sins of its past.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

60. "For ___ a jolly good fellow" : HE'S
Do you think you know the names of the three most popular songs are in English? According to the "Guinness Book of Records" they are, in order:
1. "Happy Birthday to You"
2. "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"
3. "Auld Lang Syne"

The Line King - The Al Hirschfeld Story61. Names hidden in Hirschfeld sketches : NINAS
Al Hirschfeld was a caricaturist known for sketching simple, black and white portraits of celebrities. His wife gave birth to a daughter in 1945 who they called Nina and soon after her arrival into the world, Hirschfeld started to include Nina's name in his portraits, hiding the word "Nina" somewhere in the drawing. Often her name would appear more than once, so Hirschfeld got in to the habit of adding a number after his signature, denoting how many times "Nina" appeared. In 1966 he drew a portrait of Nina herself, and titled it "Nina's Revenge". There wasn't one occurrence of Nina's name, but there were two appearances each of "Al" and "Dolly", Nina's parents!

Beaver (In Water) Art Poster Print - 13x1962. Beaver constructions : DAMS
Beavers build dams so that they can live in and around the slower and deeper water that builds up above the dam. This deeper water provides more protection for the beavers from predators such as bears. Beavers are nocturnal animals and do all their construction work at night.

Down
2. Berry touted as a superfood : ACAI
Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years as its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

3. Guam or the U.S. Virgin Isls. : TERR
Guam is a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean, the largest of the Mariana Islands. Guam is also the westernmost territory in the United States, so it is the first place to see the sun rise. As such, it has adopted the motto, "Where America's day begins".

The Virgin Islands were so named by Christopher Columbus in 1493, in honor of Saint Ursula and her legendary virgin followers. The islands were Danish territory until WWI, when they were purchased by the United States. The driving force behind the purchase was a fear on the part of the US that the islands might be seized by Germany and used as a submarine base.

VIZIO E550VL 55-inch Full HD 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV6. How many TV shows are now shown : IN HD
In the digital world, resolution of a display, television, image etc. is the number of pixels that can be displayed in a standard area (say a square inch). The emphasis today is on producing larger area displays/televisions, increasing the number of pixels required simply by increasing the size of the screen. In the past couple of decades the emphasis was on adding more pixels within the same size screen, but that would just be wasted effort these days, as the eye cannot perceive the difference. Now that TV's are capable of displaying such high resolutions, broadcasters are responding by producing a video signal of "higher resolution", that they call high-definition television, HDTV.

10. Latin words before a year : ANNO DOMINI
The designations Anno Domini (AD, "year of Our Lord") and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC, without a year "0" in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays, a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) replacing BC.

12. Cyberauction site : EBAY
eBay is an auction site with a twist. If you don't want to enter into an auction to purchase an item, there's a "Buy It Now" price. Agree to pay it, and the item is yours!

14. Bottles of liquor : FIFTHS
A fifth is so called as it is approximately one fifth of a US gallon.

Remembering Bobby Orr: A Celebration22. Canadian-born hockey great : ORR
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 ...

25. Computer operating system developed at Bell Labs : UNIX
I always think of an operating system as that piece of software that sits between the hardware on my computer and the programs that I choose to run. Developers of application programs don't really have to worry about being able to "talk to" the countless different types of hardware that can exist on a computer, they just need to talk to the handful of operating systems that are out there, like Windows, MAC and Unix. The operating system takes care of the rest.

Super Mario Bros. 326. Mario's video game brother : LUIGI
Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arccade game "Donkey Kong". Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

Sibelius Orchestral Works: An Owner's Manual (Unlocking the Masters)28. Sibelius's "___ Triste" : VALSE
Jean Sibelius is the most famous Finnish classical composer, and shall forever be linked with his wonderful symphonic poem, "Finlandia". Sibelius composed many lovely pieces of music right up until the mid 1920s when he was in his fifties. Despite all his efforts, he wasn't able to produce any noted works for the last thirty years of his life.

"Valse triste" (Sad Waltz) is one of Jean Sibelius's most famous pieces. It was originally composed as incidental music for a play written by Sibelius's brother-in-law, but now stands alone as separate concert piece.

Signed Star Trek (Leonard Nimoy / William Shatner) 8x10 By Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner Photo31. Voyage with Captain Kirk : TREK
When Gene Roddenberry first proposed the science fiction series that became "Star Trek", he marketed it as a "Wagon Train to the Stars", a pioneer-style Western in outer space. In fact his idea was to produce something more like "Gulliver's Travels", as he intended to write episodes that were adventure stories on one level, but morality tales on another. Personally I think that he best achieved this model with the spin off series "Star Trek: The Next Generation". If you watch individual episodes you will see thinly disguised treatments of moral issues such as racism, homosexuality, genocide etc. For my money, "The Next Generation" is the best of the whole franchise ...

36. Tolkien's tree beings : 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".

37. Embodied : SUBSUMED
Our verb "to subsume" comes from the Latin "subsumere" meaning "to take under" (sub/under ... sumere/take). We use subsume in the sense of taking an idea or classification say, and incorporating it into a broader idea or classification.

42. Odin or Osiris : GOD
In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. His wife, Frigg, was the queen of Asgard, and the deity that gave us our English term Friday (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin's son was Thor, and he gave us the name Thursday.

Osiris was the Egyptian god of the underworld. He was the son of Geb, the Earth god, and Nut, the sky goddess. His wife, Isis, was also his sister ...

Classic Pooh By Disney Large Plush Winnie the Pooh Bear47. Winnie-the-___ : POOH
Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author, best known for his delightful "Winnie-the-Pooh" series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920, the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin's real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay49. ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA
Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver"). As well as for her work, Millay was noted for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

50. Disaster relief org. : FEMA
Federal emergency management has been structured for over 200 years, but what we know today as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979 in an Executive Order issued by President Jimmy Carter.

52. Nine-digit govt. IDs : SSNS
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an "identity number" to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, a SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. There was concern that a lot of people were claiming children as dependents on their tax forms who did not exist, so from 1986 onwards it was a requirement to get a SSN for any dependents over the ago of 5. Sure enough, in the following year's tax returns, seven million dependents "disappeared".

Yin Yang Flag Polyester 3 ft. x 5 ft.56. Yang's go-with : YIN
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin, and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine.


For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Plaster backing : LATH
5. Bigger than big : GIANT
10. Wonderment : AWE
13. ___ spades (highest card in a deck) : ACE OF
15. Fully extended, as a ballerina : ON TOE
16. San Francisco's ___ Hill : NOB
17. "S.N.L." alum who co-starred in "Three Amigos!" : MARTIN SHORT
19. Gun enthusiast's org. : NRA
20. Cheep eats? : BIRD FOOD
21. Spacious : ROOMY
23. Westernmost of the Aleutians : ATTU
24. One of two on a basketball team : GUARD
26. His "Dance With My Father" won the 2003 Grammy for Song of the Year : LUTHER VANDROSS
31. Songs : TUNES
32. Boxers Muhammad and Laila : ALIS
33. Record co. that bought Motown in 1988 : MCA
34. Social reformer Jacob : RIIS
35. Take it easy : RELAX
37. Thailand, once : SIAM
38. Sense of self : EGO
39. Heirs, but not heiresses : SONS
40. Actress Irene : DUNNE
41. Traveling show of the 1970s and 2000s that originated in Cairo : KING TUT EXHIBIT
45. Old geezers : COOTS
46. ___ Piggy : MISS
47. Madrid museum : PRADO
49. Winter headgear : EARMUFFS
53. "Now is the winter of ___ discontent ..." : OUR
54. They're in la-la land : DAYDREAMERS
57. Like 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. : ODD
58. Permanently, as writing : IN INK
59. Fruit that makes you pucker : LEMON
60. "For ___ a jolly good fellow" : HE'S
61. Names hidden in Hirschfeld sketches : NINAS
62. Beaver constructions : DAMS

Down
1. Baby sheep : LAMB
2. Berry touted as a superfood : ACAI
3. Guam or the U.S. Virgin Isls. : TERR
4. Sexy movie companions, maybe : HOT DATES
5. Spoil, as milk : GO SOUR
6. How many TV shows are now shown : IN HD
7. From ___ Z : A TO
8. Neither's partner : NOR
9. Groups of four : TETRADS
10. Latin words before a year : ANNO DOMINI
11. Fish bait : WORM
12. Cyberauction site : EBAY
14. Bottles of liquor : FIFTHS
18. Post-it, e.g. : NOTE
22. Canadian-born hockey great : ORR
24. Grand party : GALA
25. Computer operating system developed at Bell Labs : UNIX
26. Mario's video game brother : LUIGI
27. Things in the wallets of many laborers : UNION CARDS
28. Sibelius's "___ Triste" : VALSE
29. Barely sufficient : SCANT
30. Identical : SAME
31. Voyage with Captain Kirk : TREK
35. Easy win : ROUT
36. Tolkien's tree beings : ENTS
37. Embodied : SUBSUMED
39. Substituted (for) : STOOD IN
40. Gloomy : DISMAL
42. Odin or Osiris : GOD
43. Pirate map features : X MARKS
44. Put on the payroll : HIRE
47. Winnie-the-___ : POOH
48. Disrespectful : RUDE
49. ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA
50. Disaster relief org. : FEMA
51. Partner of "to" on a gift tag : FROM
52. Nine-digit govt. IDs : SSNS
55. "Gimme ___!" (start of a cheer at Iowa) : AN I
56. Yang's go-with : YIN


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4 comments :

Anonymous said...

In which game is the ace of spades the highest card in the deck?
I thought all aces had the highest
value but I don't play all games.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, anonymous visitor.

In most trick-taking games, especially bridge, the suits are ranked from highest to lowest as spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. That makes the ace of spades the highest of all aces, and the highest card in the deck.

I hope that helps!

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Great solve! Thanks to you, "Luigi" pulled me through.

Bill Butler said...

Good old Luigi!!

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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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