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0129-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 11, Saturday

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


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Charlie Rose - Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google (March 6, 2009)1. Eric ___, Google C.E.O. beginning in 2001 : SCHMIDT
I used to visit Google a lot when I was in the industry. It is an amazing place, but the culture wouldn't suit an old fogey like me. It is a great company that produces wonderful products though. Eric Schmidt was brought in as CEO in 2001 as the "grown up" needed by Google's young co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Just the other day Google announced that Page and Brin are "all grown up" now, and so Schmidt will be stepping down as CEO in April 2011, and Page will take over the the reins.

8. Period between Shaban and Shawwal : RAMADAN
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is traditionally a period of fasting. The faithful that observe Ramadan refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk everyday, a lesson in patience, humility and spirituality.

Talladega Nights - The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Unrated Widescreen Edition)16. Home of Nascar's longest oval : ALABAMA
The Talladega Superspeedway is the longest oval on the NASCAR circuit with a length of 2.66 miles. It also has seating for a whopping 175,000 spectators. The track opened in 1969, built on an abandoned airfield north of the city of Telladega, Alabama. The circuit is renowned for its supposed Talladega Jinx, which is said to have caused a number of accidents and incidents over the years. There have been a relatively high number of fatalities and crashes, including the death of driver Larry Smith in what was apparently a minor wreck, and the death of driver Davey Allison in a helicopter crash in the raceway's infield. In another strange occurrence, driver Bobby Isaac left his car on the 90th lap of a race as he claims he heard voices that told him to park and get out of his vehicle.

17. It may be free or attached : EARLOBE
Whether an earlobe is free or attached is an example of genetic dominance at play. The dominant gene calls for free earlobes, and the recessive for attached. Among cultural groups, the Japanese and Chinese have a relatively high incidence of attached earlobes, running at about 65% of the population.

Biography - Christopher Columbus: Explorer of the New World (A&E DVD Archives)18. Title for Columbus, in the Indies : VICEROY
Christopher Columbus had a contract with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella before he set off on his voyages of discovery. According to the terms, he not only received a percentage of the revenue earned from any discovered lands, but he was also appointed Viceroy and Governor of the new territories. After his first voyage he therefore earned the title of Viceroy and Governor of the Indies (the land that he wrongly assumed was part of Asia, the goal of his travels).

22. More than un peu : TRES
In French, something can be more than "a little" (un peu), it can be "very" (très).

25. Firth class? : SCOTS
I think the idea here is that the people found around a firth would usually be classed as Scots, as most firths are found in Scotland. A firth is a narrow inlet or the estuary of a river, especially in Scotland. The word "firth" comes from the Old Norse word that is the same root for "fjord".

Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar, 14 Count27. Soapmaking compound, chemically : KOH
Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like potassium hydroxide, KOH) to a fat (like olive oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

37. Turn into a chestnut : OVERUSE
An "old chestnut" is a joke that is "well worn". The origin of the expression is very specific. It dates back to a play by William Diamond, first produced in 1816. In the story, one of the characters keeps telling the same joke over and over, with minor variations. The joke is about a cork tree, and an exasperated listener after hearing the joke one time too many refutes the use of the cork tree saying, "A Chestnut. I have heard you tell the joke 27 times and I'm sure it was a Chestnut!"

Father Christmas #7 In Series 2010 Hallmark Ornament40. Present day figure in Paris? : PERE NOEL
The "present day" is Noël, Christmas Day. And a central figure on Christmas Day is Father Christmas, "Père Noël".

42. Cheap cigar, in slang : EL ROPO
El ropo is American slang not only for a big, cheap cigar, but also for a cannabis cigarette ... so I am told ...

43. They have maridos: Abbr. : SRAS
In Spanish, married women are señoras, and they have maridos ... husbands.

46. One kneeling at work : TILER
Well, what if he/she is tiling a wall?

50. Sheep genus : OVIS
The sheep genus Ovis, has five species, only one of which is the domestic sheep. An example of another of the species is the wild, bighorn sheep.

Al Gore: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies)51. A runner who loses may still win it : POPULAR VOTE
The United States is unique in that it elects the head of state using an electoral college, as opposed to a direct popular election. It has been argued that the original intent by the Framers of the Constitution was for the Electoral College to nominate candidates for the positions of President and Vice President based on popular vote, and then Congress would decide on which candidates would take office. This intent would have been more in line with elections for head of state in other countries. But, it doesn't work that way, as we well know ...

57. Works with steam? : EROTICA
Clever wording ...

"Addy's Bandbox" for 18" American Girl Doll58. Smallish ballpark, in slang : BANDBOX
A bandbox is a lightweight cylindrical box used for holding small articles, especially hats. It was used as a nickname for a relatively small baseball field that once stood in Philadelphia called National League Park, or more often "Baker Bowl". That park is long gone, but the nickname "bandbox" is still used today. Any small ballpark might be called a bandbox.

61. Lazuline : SKY-BLUE
Lazuline is a light shade of blue, one resembling the color of a clear sky. The name is derived from the semi-precious stone, lapis lazuli.

Lapis Lazuli Bead Mix Large Focal Beads Fine Blue 10mm-30mm (Qty=12)Lapis lazuli is a blue, semi-precious stone mined mainly in Afghanistan. Lapis Lizuli is Latin for "stone of Lazhward", referring to the Persian name for the place the stone was mined. Our word "azure", a shade of blue, has the same root.

62. Camphor and such : KETONES
Camphor is a white, waxy solid that has a strong, aromatic odor. It is found in the wood of some trees and notably in the plant called camphor basil. Camphor can also be produced synthetically, usually from oil of turpentine. Camphor has many uses, and we probably most associate it with camphor balls, a moth repellent. But it also has other uses, as diverse as cooking and embalming!

Chantal Ceramic 3-Cup Small Tea Pot, Glossy Indigo Blue63. Aids in preparing spots? : TEA SETS
I guess the reference here is to the oft quoted English phrase "a spot of tea". I've only ever heard that said in jest mind you ...

1. Much of New York's Garment District, once : SWEATSHOPS
The Garment District in Manhattan established itself as the powerhouse of the nation's garment industry by producing clothes for slaves on southern plantations. Slave owners found it more efficient to get clothes from New York than have the slaves make their own clothes. Up to this time, most American made their own clothes, so this really was a new industry. Business got a further boost with the need for ready-made uniforms for the soldiers fighting in the Civil War. As the market increased, competition grew and costs had to be kept down. Manhattan had a ready supply of cheap labor so it was able to keep up with demand, and by the end of the 1860s Americans were buying most of their clothes rather than making them.

3. Wild West show? : HORSE OPERA
"Horse opera" was a slang term for a western movie or show. A later variant was the famous "soap opera".

Pilot4. TV diner employer of 9-Down : MEL
(9. See 4-Down : ALICE)
The TV sitcom "Alice" ran from 1976 to 1985, a story about a widow named Alice who takes a job at Mel's Diner. The show was based on a very successful 1974 movie called "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" directed by Martin Scorsese (his first Hollywood production) and starring Ellen Burstyn and Kris Kristofferson.

5. English poet/composer Gurney : IVOR
Ivor Gurney is one of the so called "Great War Poets". He wrote a lot of his work at the Front in WWI. While serving he received a bullet wound, and was also subject to a harrowing and debilitating gas attack.

Alex Trebek Signed Photo7. TV host with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame : TREBEK
"Jeopardy" first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek has been host since 1984.

8. Sends : RAVISHES
To ravish is to seize something and carry it away by force, or to attack someone sexually. It can also mean to overwhelm with emotion.

9. See 4-Down : ALICE

1960 Mack C Fire Truck Diecast Replica10. Some big trucks : MACKS
Mack Trucks were started by John Mack in the early 1900s, after he had spent some years working in companies that made carriages and electric motor cars. Along with his two brothers, Mack started a new company, focusing on heavy duty trucks and engines. Since 2001, Mack is part of the Swedish company, AB Volvo.

11. He had righteous blood, per Matthew 23:35 : ABEL
The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Bible. It also features in the Qur'an, where the brothers are named Kabil and Habil.

13. The love of Juan's life? : AMOR
"Amor" is the Spanish (and Latin) word for "love".

21. County with the resort town Red River : TAOS
Red River, New Mexico is a ski resort in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It has a population of under 400 people, but I bet there are more people than that around during the winter ...

23. Volume measures : STERES
"Stere" is a metric measure, although it is not part of the modern metric system. Nowadays the stere is used as a measure for firewood, equal to one cubic meter.

28. Texas city near the Coahuila border : DEL RIO
Del Rio is a border city in Texas, sitting opposite the Ciudad Acuña in the Mexican state of Coahuila. Del Rio was chosen as the site for Laughlin Air Force Base back in the forties. It was closed after a few years, but reopened during the Cold War mainly for flight training. Laughlin is now the busiest flight training base in the US Air Force.

29. Like the equation "x = x + 1" : UNSOLVABLE
If x is 1 say, it can't be 1+1 at the same time. It's unsolvable!

33. Big creature in un zoológico : OSO
In Spanish, "osa" is a female bear, and "oso" is a male.

38. Freshwater plant also called wild celery : EELGRASS
Eelgrass is more correctly called Vallisneria. It grows submerged in freshwater, and is commonly used to decorate aquaria.

Signed Schreiber, Liev 8x10 Photo41. Actor Schreiber : LIEV
Liev Schreiber is highly regarded as a stage actor, and is has many classical roles under his belt. He won a Tony in 2005 for his Broadway performance in "Glengarry Glen Ross", and earned excellent reviews for his performance in Shakespeare's "Cymbeline".

Survivor Poster TV B 11x17 Jeff Probst45. Emmy-winning reality show host of 2008, '09 and '10 : PROBST
Jeff Probst is of course the highly successful host of the US version of the reality show "Survivor". He is obviously a friendly guy, and ended up in a 3-year relationship with one of the contestants from "Survivor: Vanuatu", Julie Berry.

48. Inlay option : NACRE
Nacre is another name for mother-of-pearl. Nacre is the strong, iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells, and it's also what makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of it's body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite, and that's how a pearl is formed.

52. D-Day invasion river : ORNE
When the allies landed on the Normandy beaches on D-Day, the 6 June 1944, the Orne formed the eastern flank for the invasion.

Espionage Francis Gary Powers Testifying before Committee Collections Photographic Poster Print by John Dominis, 30x4054. Aircraft in 1960 headlines : U-TWO
The 1960 U-2 incident involved the shooting down of CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers over Soviet airspace, and the recovery by the Soviets of large sections of his U-2 spy plane virtually intact. Powers' mission was to take off from Turkey, overfly and photograph ICBM sites in the USSR and then land in Norway. The U-2 was detected early in its mission, and attempts to intercept it by Soviet aircraft were unsuccessful, as the U-2 flew at such a high altitude. However, one of three surface-to-air missiles launched at the plane hit their target, and Powers bailed out and landed safely on the ground. Powers was put on trial for espionage, was convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison and 7 years of hard labor. He served almost two years and was then exchanged for a the Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel, captured in New York City. When Powers returned to the US he received a cold reception from the CIA, as he didn't activate the aircraft's self-destruct charge, and nor did he use his "suicide pin". However, he was later commended by a Senate Committee for not having divulged critical information. In 1977, Powers died when the helicopter he was flying ran out of fuel and crashed. He is reported to have noticed children playing as he made his emergency autorotative descent, and in trying to avoid them he crashed and was killed.

ENYA 20X24 COLOR PHOTO55. Mononymous four-time Grammy winner : ENYA
Enya's real name is Eithne Patricia Ni Braonain, which can translate from the Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya left Clannad launched a very successful solo career. Personally, I don't like her music, as it all sounds the same to me, but she sure does turn up in crosswords a lot!

59. Volume measures: Abbr. : DBS
Decibels can be used to measure sound levels.

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. Eric ___, Google C.E.O. beginning in 2001 : SCHMIDT
8. Period between Shaban and Shawwal : RAMADAN
15. "It doesn't matter ... anyone's fine" : WHOEVER
16. Home of Nascar's longest oval : ALABAMA
17. It may be free or attached : EARLOBE
18. Title for Columbus, in the Indies : VICEROY
19. Start of some picture books : A IS
20. They can make people break up : RIB-TICKLERS
22. More than un peu : TRES
24. Rags : TEASES
25. Firth class? : SCOTS
27. Soapmaking compound, chemically : KOH
28. Make clean ... or dirty : DUST
32. Expect that one will : HOPE TO
34. Something handed down : SENTENCE
37. Turn into a chestnut : OVERUSE
39. Keeps cruising : SAILS ON
40. Present day figure in Paris? : PERE NOEL
42. Cheap cigar, in slang : EL ROPO
43. They have maridos: Abbr. : SRAS
44. Glass part : LIP
46. One kneeling at work : TILER
47. More than ruffles : ANGERS
50. Sheep genus : OVIS
51. A runner who loses may still win it : POPULAR VOTE
56. With 36-Down, cocked : AT A
57. Works with steam? : EROTICA
58. Smallish ballpark, in slang : BANDBOX
60. Clues from 7-Down : ANSWERS
61. Lazuline : SKY-BLUE
62. Camphor and such : KETONES
63. Aids in preparing spots? : TEA SETS

1. Much of New York's Garment District, once : SWEATSHOPS
2. Upscale wedding reception amenity : CHAIR COVER
3. Wild West show? : HORSE OPERA
4. TV diner employer of 9-Down : MEL
5. English poet/composer Gurney : IVOR
6. Checkout choice : DEBIT
7. TV host with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame : TREBEK
8. Sends : RAVISHES
9. See 4-Down : ALICE
10. Some big trucks : MACKS
11. He had righteous blood, per Matthew 23:35 : ABEL
12. Say "You can't do that!" to, say : DARE
13. The love of Juan's life? : AMOR
14. Passage blockers : NAYS
21. County with the resort town Red River : TAOS
23. Volume measures : STERES
26. Floor : STUN
28. Texas city near the Coahuila border : DEL RIO
29. Like the equation "x = x + 1" : UNSOLVABLE
30. Case the joint : SCOPE IT OUT
31. Staples of jazz music : TENOR SAXES
33. Big creature in un zoológico : OSO
35. Aye's counterpart : NAE
36. See 56-Across : TILT
38. Freshwater plant also called wild celery : EELGRASS
41. Actor Schreiber : LIEV
45. Emmy-winning reality show host of 2008, '09 and '10 : PROBST
47. Not from around here : ALIEN
48. Inlay option : NACRE
49. Driven supporter : STAKE
51. Trough's opposite : PEAK
52. D-Day invasion river : ORNE
53. A Webmaster may approve it : POST
54. Aircraft in 1960 headlines : U-TWO
55. Mononymous four-time Grammy winner : ENYA
59. Volume measures: Abbr. : DBS

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Anonymous said...

29 down---the equation "x = x + 1" has no solution. I think that knowing that means you have solved the equation.
What does it mean to "solve an equation" ? I say it means "tell what number works" "No number"
is an acceptable response. I am an ex-math teacher (high school) and
a proponent of the "university of
Illinois committee on school mathematics (UICSM)

Bill Butler said...

Hi Bob!

Well, that is an interesting take on the question! Good point!

Thinking about it in the light of what you said, maybe one might argue that the "answer" to the "problem" is that "x = x + 1 has no solution". So, the question is "answerable". If one uses the term "solution" to mean the set of all numbers that work in the equation, then that set is empty, there is no solution. Maybe the term "unsolvable" would apply in that context?

Very thought provoking!

Thanks for stopping by, Bob.

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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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