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0126-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Jan 11, Wednesday

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: NEAR MISS ... the first words of each of the theme answers, when taken together reveal the expression CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR:

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cigars, 2nd Edition1. With 65-Across, the starts of 20-, 26-, 43- and 51-Across taken together : NEAR
(65. See 1-Across : MISS)

The expression "close but no cigar" is a reference meaning that one can come close in a competition, but may not win the prize, the cigar.

5. Scopes Trial org. : ACLU
In 1925 Tennessee passed the Butler Act which made it unlawful for a public school teacher to teach the theory of evolution over the Biblical account of the origin of man. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sought to challenge this law and found a test case of a Tennessee high school teacher named John Scopes, who was charged with violating the law by presenting to his students ideas put forth by Charles Darwin. Celebrity lawyers descended on the small town of Dayton, Tennessee to argue the case. At the end of a high profile trial, teacher John Scopes was found guilty as charged, and was ordered to pay a fine.

9. Place for scrubs : BENCH
A "scrub" is a player who is not on the first team. The rather uncharitable term I think, arises from a usage of "scrub" from the 1580s to describe a person of no significance.

14. Start of an incantation : ABRA
The incantation "abracadabra" has a long history. It was used as far back as the 2nd century AD in Ancient Rome, when the word was prescribed by a physician to be worn on an amulet to help his emperor recover from disease. The word is Aramaic, and has the approximate translation of "I will create as I speak".

Omaha Beach: 6/6/194416. Normandy beach : OMAHA
The Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944 took place along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The worst fighting by far took place on Omaha Beach, a sector assigned to the US Army, transported by elements of the US Navy and the Royal Navy.

17. Assault or battery : TORT
The word "tort" comes to us directly from the French word, meaning "mischief, injury or wrong". It's a fitting word, as tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another, but that action is outside of the scope of criminal law.

19. React to mold, perhaps : RIPEN
Cheeses like Camembert are ripened by the action of mold.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]20. Alien abductions, e.g. : CLOSE ENCOUNTERS
A "close encounter" is an occasion when a person witnesses an unidentified flying object (UFO). The term was introduced to us in a 1972 book by Allen Hynek called "The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry". The population became really aware of the concept with the release of the excellent 1977 Steven Spielberg movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

23. Command to a plow horse : HAW
"Haw!" is a command given to a trained animal that is hauling something (like a horse or an ox). "Haw" is used to have the animal turn to the left. The equivalent command for a right turn is "Gee!"

24. It's fairly insensitive to shock, fortunately : TNT
TNT is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. The explosive chemical was first produced by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand in 1863, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate, so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

25. Houston-to-K.C. direction : NNE
Kansas City lies north-north-east of Houston.

Au revoir les enfants (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]35. "Au Revoir, ___ Enfants" (1987 film) : LES
"Au revoir, les enfants" ("Goodbye, Children") is a French film released in 1987. The film is based on real events from the childhood of director Louis Malle who witnessed a Gestapo raid on his school in which three Jewish students and a Jewish teacher were taken and transported to Auschwitz, where they were gassed upon arrival.

40. Chamonix setting : ALPS
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is on the eastern border of France, in the Alps. Famously it was the site of the 1924 Winter Olympics, the first ever Winter Olympic Games.

Aladdin (Disney Special Platinum Edition)46. "Aladdin" prince : ALI
The Disney animated feature "Aladdin" was released in 1992, and is one of the best features to come out of the studio, I think, largely due to the great performance by Robin Williams who voiced the Genie. "Aladdin" was the most successful film of 1992, earning over $500 million worldwide, an unusual feat for an animated movie.

48. Center of a ball? : DEB
Deb is short for "débutante", a French word meaning "female beginner", a young lady making her "debut". Traditionally the term was reserved for young women of aristocratic families who were newly introduced to society, and who were available for marriage. The male equivalent of a débutante is a "beau", also a French word.

Cigar Aficionado (1-year auto-renewal)51. Magazine opposed to the Cuban trade embargo : CIGAR AFICIONADO
"Cigar Aficionado" is dedicated to the world of cigars, whereas its sister magazine, "Wine Spectator" is dedicated to the world of wine.

57. Old and gray : HOARY
The Old English word "har" meant "gray, venerable, old", and came into English as "hoar" (and later "hoary") with the same meaning. The term "hoar-frost" dates back to the 13th century, and reflects the similarity of the white feathers of frost to the gray/white of an old man's beard.

LENA OLIN 16X20 COLOR PHOTO59. Lena of "Chocolat" : OLIN
Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, discovered by Ingmar Bergman. Her most famous performance was in "Chocolat" released in 2000, and she won an Emmy in 2003 for Best Supporting actress in the TV show "Alias".

60. Composer Bruckner : ANTON
Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer, not a favorite of mine as he embraces the use of dissonances (I'm a sober, traditionalist!). His Symphony No. 7 is perhaps his most popular work. He created a slow, mournful movement in recognition of the impending death of Richard Wagner, whom he greatly admired.

61. Astringent fruit : SLOE
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and is the flavoring that gives gin its distinctive taste.

65. See 1-Across : MISS

1. "Why, of course!" : NATCH
"Natch" is a slang term meaning "naturally, of course". "Natch" is simply a shortening of the word "'naturally", first recorded at the end of WWII.

2. Jungle menace : EBOLA
The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name comes from the site of the first known outbreak of the disease, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Omar Epps Color Matte Photograph - 12x12 Inches7. "The Mod Squad" role : LINC
The 1999 movie "The Mod Squad" was an adaptation of the television show of the same name. The part of Lincoln Hayes was played by Omar Epps.

Omar Epps is the actor who plays Dr. Eric Foreman on the excellent television series "House". Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Grant on "ER". And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

9. World's third-largest island : BORNEO
Borneo is the third largest island on the planet, and is located north of Australia in Maritime Southeast Asia. Most of the island is part of Indonesia (taking up 73% of the island) with almost all of the remainder being part of Malaysia (26%). The final 1% is home to the sovereign state of Brunei.

Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man12. Mother of Chaz Bono : CHER
Chaz Bono is the only child of the singers Sonny and Cher (although they both have children from other marriages). Chaz was named Chastity Sun Bono at birth, and told her parents at the age of 18 that she was a lesbian. More recently Bono underwent gender reassignment surgery, and he has legally changed his name to Chaz.

Hans Brinker13. Brinker of children's lit : HANS
"Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates" is a children's novel written by American author Mary Mapes Dodge, first published in 1865. The novel is famous for introducing a story, told with within the novel's own storyline, the tale of the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the leaking dike. I always thought the tale of the boy and the dike was a Dutch legend, but no, it was the literary invention of Mary Mapes Dodge ...

21. Exercise on the keys : ETUDE
An étude is a small instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. Étude is the French word for "study".

22. Aussie colleges : UNIS
Not only in Australia, but also in Ireland we tend to call third level schools "universities" more often than we call them colleges, and "uni" for short.

26. Low man at the Met : BASSO
The Metropolitan Opera of New York City is the largest classical music organization in the country, presenting about 220 performances each and every year. Founded in 1880, the Met is renowned for using technology to expand its audiences. Performances have been broadcast live on radio since 1931, and on television since 1977. And since 2006 you can go see a live performance from New York in high definition on the big screen, at a movie theater near you.

Eleni [ NON-USA FORMAT, NTSC, Reg.4 Import - Latin America ]27. Nicholas Gage best seller : ELENI
Nicholas Gage is a Greek-American author and investigative journalist. He wrote two memoirs, "Eleni" and "A Place for Us". "Eleni" tells of his life in Greece during WWII and the Greek Civil War. The title is a tribute to his mother, Eleni, who was executed by Communists who occupied her village simply because she helped her children escape from the ravages of a war of occupation. "Eleni" was adapted into a movie in 1985, and starred John Malkovitch as Gage.

Z-series Sport Luge Style Sled. Grafsleds.com30. Race in a chute : LUGE
A luge is a small sled used by one or two people, on which one lies face up and feet first. It can be compared to the skeleton, a sled for only one person, and on which the rider lies face down and goes down the hill head first.

31. River in a 1914 battle : YSER
The Yser originates in northern France and flows though Belgium into the North Sea. The Yser name is oft associated with WWI as it figured in a major battle early in the conflict. In the first three months of the war, the German Army pushed almost completely through Belgium, inflicting heavy losses on the Belgian Army as the defenders were forced to fight a fast-moving rearguard action. The Germans were intent on pushing right through Belgium, across France in a "race to the sea". But, the Belgians, with the help of its Allies, decided to make a final stand at the Yser Canal in an effort to prevent the Germans reaching the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The 22-mile long defensive line was chosen at the Yser because the river and canal system could be flooded to create a barrier that might be defended. The plan was successful, and the front was "stabilized". As we now know, millions of lives were lost over the coming years with very little movement of that battle line.

SEAN 'P. DIDDY' COMBS 8x10 COLOUR PHOTO32. Rapper Combs a k a Diddy : SEAN
When Sean John Combs started his rapping career, he used the stage name Puff Daddy. Then he went with P. Diddy, and is now recording simply as Diddy. Having said that, he has to stick with P. Diddy in some countries as he lost a legal battle over use of the simpler "Diddy" name as there is another artist called Richard "Diddy" Dearlove. There's now talk of Mr. Combs going with the name "Ciroc Obama".

33. Alice's chronicler : ARLO
"Alice's Restaurant Masacree" is the name of the Arlo Guthrie song, all 18m 48s of it, that takes up one whole side of the album "Alice's Restaurant".

Tiny Bubbles (Album Version)39. "Tiny Bubbles" singer : DON HO
Don Ho apparently had a pretty liberal arrangement with his wife. When he was touring with his two backing singers Pattie Swallie and Elizabeth Gevara, all three of them shared a room together. He had two children with each of his roommates, giving a total of ten kids including the six he had with his wife. The arrangement was quite open, it seems, with all ten kids visiting each other regularly. To each his own ...

41. Adidas competitor : FILA
Fila was originally an Italian company, founded in 1911, but is now based in South Korea. Fila was started in Piedmont by the Fila brothers, primarily to make underwear for people living in the Italian Alps. The company started to focus on sportswear in the seventies, using tennis-great Bjorn Borg as their major endorser.

The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living48. ___ Lama : DALAI
Starting with the fifth Dalai Lama in the 17th century, the Buddhist leader spent the winter in the magnificent Potola Palace in the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. In 1959, however, the current Dalai Lama (the 14th) had to flee Tibet when the Tibetan people rebelled against Chinese occupation in 1959. Since then, he has resided in Dharamsala in Northern India, as a guest of the Indian people.

50. Dice, slangily : BONES
No one seems to know for sure why dice are called "bones", but we've been calling them that since the late 1300s.

51. 2000 election scrap : CHAD
We are all familiar with "hanging chads" after the famous Florida election recounts of 2000. A chad is any piece of paper punched out from a larger sheet. So, those round bits of paper we've all dropped over the floor when emptying a hole punch, they're chads.

IONE SKYE 8x10 Female Celebrity Photo Signed In-Person52. Skye of "Say Anything ..." : IONE
Ione Skye is an American actress, born in Hertfordshire in England. She is best known for portraying the character Diane Court in the 1989 high school romance movie "Say Anything ...", starring opposite John Cusack, Skye is the daughter of the Scottish folk singer Donovan.

53. Intl. commerce pact replaced by the W.T.O. : GATT
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was laid down in 1949, a compromise solution reached by participating governments after they failed in their goal to establish the International Trade Organization. Finally, in 1995, a similar organization was formed, and the World Trade Organization effectively succeeded GATT.

To Live and Die in LA Poster Movie French H 11x14 William L. Petersen Willem Dafoe John Pankow55. "To Live and Die ___" : IN LA
"To Live and Die in L.A." is novel written by Gerald Petievich, a former Secret Service agent. It was made into a pretty successful film starring William L. Petersen (of TV's "CSI" fame) as the good guy, and Willem Dafoe as the bad guy. The plot is all about a pair of Secret Service agents tracking down a counterfeiter. I haven't seen the film, but it's on my list ...

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. With 65-Across, the starts of 20-, 26-, 43- and 51-Across taken together : NEAR
5. Scopes Trial org. : ACLU
9. Place for scrubs : BENCH
14. Start of an incantation : ABRA
15. "Double" facial feature : CHIN
16. Normandy beach : OMAHA
17. Assault or battery : TORT
18. "Please?" : CAN I
19. React to mold, perhaps : RIPEN
20. Alien abductions, e.g. : CLOSE ENCOUNTERS
23. Command to a plow horse : HAW
24. It's fairly insensitive to shock, fortunately : TNT
25. Houston-to-K.C. direction : NNE
26. "All kidding aside ..." : BUT SERIOUSLY
32. Menu heading : SALADS
35. "Au Revoir, ___ Enfants" (1987 film) : LES
36. ___-chef : SOUS
37. Backspace through : ERASE
38. Get-up-and-go : PEP
39. Ring around the collar, say : DINGE
40. Chamonix setting : ALPS
41. Season box holder, e.g. : FAN
42. Like a par 5 hole vis-à-vis a par 3 : LONGER
43. Unwelcome sign for a sales rep : NO SOLICITING
46. "Aladdin" prince : ALI
47. "Open wide" sound : AAH
48. Center of a ball? : DEB
51. Magazine opposed to the Cuban trade embargo : CIGAR AFICIONADO
57. Old and gray : HOARY
58. Signs, as a contract : INKS
59. Lena of "Chocolat" : OLIN
60. Composer Bruckner : ANTON
61. Astringent fruit : SLOE
62. Word with cut or exchange : RATE
63. Dry out, informally : DETOX
64. Salon acquisitions : TANS
65. See 1-Across : MISS

1. "Why, of course!" : NATCH
2. Jungle menace : EBOLA
3. You might wait for it at a stoplight : ARROW
4. "Fiddlesticks!" : RATS
5. Dialect coaches teach them : ACCENTS
6. Monastery music : CHANTS
7. "The Mod Squad" role : LINC
8. Shop steward, briefly : UNION REP
9. World's third-largest island : BORNEO
10. Release : EMIT
11. Mane area : NAPE
12. Mother of Chaz Bono : CHER
13. Brinker of children's lit : HANS
21. Exercise on the keys : ETUDE
22. Aussie colleges : UNIS
26. Low man at the Met : BASSO
27. Nicholas Gage best seller : ELENI
28. On drugs : USING
29. Something to break into : SONG
30. Race in a chute : LUGE
31. River in a 1914 battle : YSER
32. Rapper Combs a k a Diddy : SEAN
33. Alice's chronicler : ARLO
34. Swimmers do them : LAPS
38. Conscientious objector : PACIFIST
39. "Tiny Bubbles" singer : DON HO
41. Adidas competitor : FILA
42. Is a go-between : LIAISES
44. Adam's apple site : LARYNX
45. Add later : TACK ON
48. ___ Lama : DALAI
49. Magazine jobs : EDITS
50. Dice, slangily : BONES
51. 2000 election scrap : CHAD
52. Skye of "Say Anything ..." : IONE
53. Intl. commerce pact replaced by the W.T.O. : GATT
54. Suffix with buck : -AROO
55. "To Live and Die ___" : IN LA
56. What's expected : NORM

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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 try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at

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.

January 29, 2009

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