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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

0206-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 6 Feb 11, Sunday




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


CROSSWORD SETTER: David J. Kahn
THEME: HIGH SCHOOL REUNION ... the theme clues and answers tell a HIGH SCHOOL REUNION story, with a rough ending!
- A woman went TO SEE A NEW DOCTOR.
- In his office she noticed a DIPLOMA ON THE WALL.
- She remembered having a high-school crush on a handsome, dark-haired boy with THE SAME NAME.
- However, this man was balding, gray-haired and JUST AVERAGE LOOKING.
- She thought he was much too old to have been her CLASSMATE.
- Nevertheless, she asked him if he had attended her high school, and after he said yes, she asked "WHEN DID YOU GRADUATE?"
- He answered "In 1971. But WHY DO YOU ASK?"
- The woman exclaimed "YOU WERE IN MY CLASS!"
- He looked at her closely, then asked "WHAT DID YOU TEACH?"
COMPLETION TIME: 27m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
A Close View of an Emu Photographic Poster Print by Joel Sartore, 12x1619. Emu, e.g., to a chef : LEAN MEAT
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. The aborigines used them for food and are very adept at hunting them using a variety of traditional techniques. There was even an "Emu War" in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food, and knocked down fences. Soldiers were sent in using machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the emus. The emus were clever , and broke their usual formation and adopted guerrilla tactics, operating as small units. After 50 days of "war", the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers was refused.

James Ensor: Life and Work26. Expressionist artist James : ENSOR
James Ensor was a Belgian painter active in the first half of the twentieth century. He lived in Ostend for almost all of his life, and in terms of travel, he only made three brief trips, to Paris, London and Holland.

28. Fast-skating #4 : 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 ...

39. Michelle on a fairway : WIE
Michelle Wie is an American golfer on the LPGA Tour. She began playing golf at the age of four and was the youngest player ever to qualify for an LPGA tour event. Wie turned pro just before her 16th birthday ...

48. ___ Khan : AGA
Aga Khan is a hereditary title of the Imam of a large sect within the Shi'a Muslim faith. The current Aga Khan is Shah Karim al-Hussayni, who has held the position since 1957.

51. BP gas brand : AMOCO
Amoco is an abbreviation for the American Oil Company. Amoco was the first oil company to introduce gasoline tanker trucks and drive-through filling stations. I wonder did they know what they were starting?

60. Plains tribe : OSAGES
The Osage Nation originated in the Ohio River valley in what we now call Kentucky. They were forced to migrate west of the Mississippi by the invading Iroquois tribe. Most of the tribe members now live in Osage County, Oklahoma.

65. Michelle's predecessor : LAURA
Spoken from the HeartLaura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir "Spoken from the Heart" published quite recently, in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master's degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given her background, it's not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.

Michelle Obama: An American StoryMichelle Obama grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and is sister to Craig Robinson, the coach of men's basketball at Oregon State University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she worked as an associate at the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm. Barack Obama joined the firm as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson was assigned to mentor him, and as they say, one thing led to another ...

73. Debussy piece : 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".

74. Lands' End rival : LL BEAN
L.L.Bean was founded back in 1912 as a company selling its own line of waterproof boots. The founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, gave his name to the enterprise. Right from the start, L.L.Bean focused on mail-order and sold from a circular he distributed and then from a catalog. Defects in the initial design led to 90% of the first boots sold being returned, and the company made good on its guarantee to replace them or give back the money paid.

76. Bodes : AUGURS
The verb "augur" means to "bode", to "serve as an omen". The word comes from the name of religious officials in Ancient Rome, augurs, whose job it was to interpret signs and omens.

90. "One Mic" rapper : NAS
Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. He released "Illmatic", his first album, in 1994. Not my cup of tea, I would say ...

IAN MCKELLEN 16X20 COLOR PHOTO91. Actor McKellen : IAN
Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, someone who is comfortable playing Macbeth on stage and Magneto in an X-Men movie. On the big screen he is very famous for playing Gandalf in "The Lord of Rings". In the UK Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

95. The Dow and the Nikkei 225 : INDICES
Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today its most famous publication has to be "The Wall Street Journal". In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day.

John Lennon / Yoko Ono - Two Virgins (Naked) - 1 1/2" Button / Pin105. 1969 newlywed in the news : ONO
John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a very public honeymoon in a hotel in Amsterdam, when they staged their famous "bed-in" for peace. In answering questions from reporters Lennon found himself often repeating the words "give peace a chance". While still in bed, he composed his famous song "Give Peace a Chance" and even sang it to the visiting reporters a few times. The original recording of the song was made in the hotel room, with reporters present, and a whole bunch of friends. The song was released later in 1969 and became a smash hit.

111. Chorus girl : ALTO
In choral music, alto is the second-highest voice in a four-part chorus: soprano, contr(alto), tenor, bass. The word "alto" describes the vocal range, that of the deepest, female singing-voice, whereas the term "contralto" describes more than just the alto range, but also its quality and timbre. An adult male's voice (not a boy's) with the same range as an alto is called a "countertenor".

113. See 48-Down : SEA

116. Hall-of-Famer with 10 World Series rings : BERRA
Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America's most celebrated "author" of malapropisms. Here are some greats:
- "It's ain't over till it's over."
- "90% of the game is half mental."
- "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
- (giving directions) "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
- "It's déjà vu all over again."
- "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."

121. "The Second Coming" poet : YEATS
Every Irish schoolchild has to read "The Second Coming" by W. B. Yeats. And when it comes to interpreting and understanding it, as kids we were in trouble right from the first line:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Because of this poem, I reckon more Irish kids know what a "gyre" is than kids from any other nation! A gyre is a basically a vortex ...

1981 Meredith Baxter Birney Photo Noxzema Skin Cream Print Ad (18191)124. "Family Ties" mom : ELYSE
"Family Ties" was one of the first TV shows that I fell for when I arrived in the US back in 1983. I found the situation very appealing, with two ex-hippie parents facing off against an ultra-conservative son. The main characters in the show were Michael J. Fox as Alex, Meredith Baxter-Birney as Alex's mom, Elyse, and Michael Gross as Alex's Dad, Steven. But some future stars had recurring roles, including Courtney Cox as one of Alex's girlfriends and Tom Hanks as Elyse's young brother.

Down
2. Some servitude : PEONAGE
Peonage describes the condition of being a peon.

A peon is a lowly worker with no real control over his/her working conditions. The word comes in to English from Spanish where the word has the same meaning.

Signed Sondheim, Stephen 8x10 B&W (P) Photo3. 1994 Sondheim musical : PASSION
Stephen Sondheim has won more Tony Awards than any other composer, a total of eight. He has a long list of stage (and big screen) successes including "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", "A Little Night Music", "Sweeney Todd" and "Into the Woods". Sondheim is big fan of crosswords and had a whole series of cryptic crosswords published in "New York" magazine in the sixties.

Lea Michele Signed Glee 8x10 Photo5. ___ Michele of "Glee" : LEA
Lea Michele is both an actor and a singer, and started performing as a child actor on Broadway, including appearances in "Les Miserables" and "Fiddler on the Roof". These days she plays Rachel Berry on the Fox TV show "Glee".

6. Midwest capital : LANSING
Lansing, Michigan is unique among US state capitals in that it is not a county seat, even though it is located in Ingham County. That honor goes to Mason, Michigan.

7. Plain : STEPPE
A steppe is a grassland, devoid of trees apart from those growing near rivers and lakes. We would likely call such a geographic feature a prairie in this country.

The Philadelphia Story [VHS]8. TV Guide's Pennsylvania headquarters : RADNOR
Radnor, Pennsylvania is home to the headquarters of "TV Guide", bet even more impressive to me is that Radnor is the setting for the fabulous play and movie "The Philadelphia Story".

15. Father of the bride, say : IN-LAW
An "in-law" is a person who has a legal affinity with someone by virtue of a marriage. Technically, this doesn't just include the parents and siblings of a spouse, but actually the spouse himself or herself. Yep, just think about it ...

24. Trick : WILE
Our word "wile" meaning a trick, is thought to come from an Old French word "wile" with the same meaning. This in turn was a variant of an older French word also with the same meaning, "guile", which seems to make perfect sense to me ...

29. Soft leather : CHAMOIS
The chamois is a goat-antelope species native to some European mountain ranges. The skin of the chamois is used to make real chamois leather, often imitated. Chamois leather is very soft, often used for making gloves, and for polishing prized metallic objects.

31. From the top : DE NOVO
"De novo" is Latin for "anew", just as we use it in English.

32. Phoenix hrs. : MST
Local solar time was replaced with standard time zones with the increasing use of rail travel and telecommunications, as the variations in local solar times became very inconvenient. Time zones in the US vary in hourly increments, but in some parts of the world a 30-minute or even 15-minute difference can apply.

Lee Women's Slender Secret Boot Cut Jean, Blue Dark, 10 Medium35. Some jeans : LEES
The Lee company famous for making jeans was formed in 1889, by one Henry David Lee, in Salina, Kansas.

37. Big name in plastic : VISA
Did you know that Visa doesn't issue any credit cards? Visa just sells the electronic systems and infrastructure to banks who then put the Visa logo on their own cards so that the customer and merchant know to use the VISA system when making a transaction.

2001: A Space Odyssey [Blu-ray]43. Space movie villain : HAL
In Arthur C. Clarke's "Space Odyssey" (famously adapted for the big screen as "2001: A Space Odyssey") the computer system that went rogue was called HAL 9000, or simply "HAL". HAL stands for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. In the French version of the film, HAL's name was changed to CARL.

44. Rock genre : EMO
The musical genre of "emo" originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from "emotional hardcore". Not my cup of tea ...

45. ___ Canals : SOO
In the summer of 2010 I spent a very interesting afternoon watching ships make their way through the Soo Locks and Soo Canal that allow ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great lakes. The name "Soo" comes from the US and Canadian cities on either side of the locks, both called Sault Ste. Marie.

48. With 113-Across, landlocked waters : ARAL
(113. See 48-Down : SEA)
The Aral Sea is great example of how man can have a devastating effect on the environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad ...

54. Russian/Kazakh river : URAL
The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia, and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea.

56. Laptop key : ESC
The escape key was originally used to control computer peripherals (a printer maybe). It was a key that programmers used to  allow the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (like printing, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of other things, especially in gaming programs.

Time (1-year auto-renewal)57. Time piece? : ESSAY
There are lots of essays in "Time" magazine.

58. At birth : NEE
"Née" is the French word for "born", when referring to a female. The male equivalent is "né"

67. Spa reaction : AAH
The word "spa" migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a health resort there. The name "Spa" comes from the Walloon word "espa" meaning "spring, fountain".

69. Unstable particle : MUON
A muon is a subatomic particle similar to an electron but it is very unstable, with a mean lifetime of 2.2 microseconds.

70. Río contents : AGUA
Río is the Spanish word for river.

75. Rome's home : NEW YORK
It is assumed that Rome, New York is named after the city in Italy, but no one seems to be sure why it is so called. The city, in Upstate New York near Utica, was originally founded as Lynchville. Prior to becoming a city, the settlement was called Fort Stanwix, named for the military outpost that dominated the area.

JOANNE DRU 20X24 B&W PHOTO81. Joanne of "The Pride of St. Louis" : DRU
Joanne Dru's most famous roles were in the movies "Red River" and "All the King's Men". She had a celebrity younger brother, Peter Marshall, the original host of "Hollywood Squares".

The Crying Game [VHS]82. Org. in "The Crying Game" : IRA
"The Crying Game" is a fascinating film that made quite a splash when it was released in 1992. Although it was set in Ireland and the UK, it didn't do well in cinemas in either country, but made a lot of money over here in the US. I think the politics of the movie were a bit raw for Irish and UK audiences back then. It's an unusual plot, blending Irish political issues with some raw sexuality questions. I won't tell you about the "surprise", just in case you haven't seen it and want to do so.

85. Valve opening? : UNI
Bivalves are mollusks that have two-part shells protecting their bodies. All bivalves live in water, examples being clams, scallops and oysters. Univalves on the other hand, have just one shell, if they have a shell at all. Today, univalves are usually just called gastropods. Some gastropod species are found in the sea (e.g. limpets and sea slugs) although many have adapted to living on land (e.g. slugs and snails).

86. Bob ___, 1986 P.G.A. Player of the Year : TWAY
American golfer Bob Tway won eight PGA tournaments and was top of the world golf ranking for 25 weeks in 1986/87.

87. One of the Three Rivers : OHIO
The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is situated at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, as they form the Ohio River, giving rise to the nickname for the area "Three Rivers".

Ty Murray World Champion [VHS]88. Nine-time world champion rodeo cowboy : TY MURRAY
The singer Jewel's full name is Jewel Kilcher. She is married to nine-time world champion rodeo cowboy, Ty Murray. You might have seen both of them on "Dancing with the Stars" not too long ago. As I recall, Jewel was meant to compete, but had to pull out at the last minute, so her hubby took her spot. He did surprisingly well for a cowboy!

94. Mary ___ cosmetics : KAY
Mary Kay Ash founded her skin care and cosmetics company, somewhat ominously on Friday 13th, 1963. In 1968, Mary Kay Ash bought herself a pink Cadillac, specially painted to match the color of one of her compacts. The car became so famous that she gave away five of them to her top sales women, a tradition that lasts to this day.

THE FIRM TOM CRUISE 8X10 B&W PHOTO102. Cruise lines? : SCRIPT
Actor Tom Cruise was born with the name Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, in my old stomping ground of Syracuse, New York. Cruise's first wife was a favorite actress of mine, Mimi Rogers. While they were married, Rogers introduced Cruise to the Church of Scientology, with which Cruise is very much associated today.

108. Bandleader Jones of the 1920s-'30s : ISHAM
Isham Jones was a very successful dance band leader in the twenties and thirties. Among the line up of musicians in his orchestra were Benny Goodman and Woody Herman. Jones composed a favorite oldie of mine, "It Had to be You" published in 1924.

110. Island near Quemoy : MATSU
The Matsu Islands lie in the Taiwan Strait just off the coast of mainland China.

115. Opposite of 64-Down : STET
(64. Take out : DELE)
"Stet" is the Latin word meaning "let it stand". In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word "stet" beside the change and then underscoring the change with a line of dots (or dashes).

116. "TTYL" : BYE
Talk To You Later ...

Clown Wig, Multi-color118. "Are ___ pair?" ("Send in the Clowns" lyric) : WE A
"Send in the Clowns" is a gorgeous, gorgeous song by Stephen Sondheim from his 1973 musical "A Little Night Music". The song doesn't actually have anything to do with clowns, and the title could be translated to "Aren't We Fools?"

119. Bug for payment : DUN
"To dun" is to insist on payment of a debt.


For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Many a download : APP
4. "___ well" : ALL'S
8. Certain bias : RACISM
14. Some storage places : DISKS
19. Emu, e.g., to a chef : LEAN MEAT
21. This second : AT ONCE
22. Put down : ENTER
23. A woman went ... : TO SEE A NEW DOCTOR
25. Tricks : PLOYS
26. Expressionist artist James : ENSOR
27. Suffer vertigo : SPIN
28. Fast-skating #4 : ORR
29. Scratch : CLAW
30. Cause of delay : RAIN
31. In his office, she noticed a ... : DIPLOMA ON THE WALL
36. A superstar might have a big one : EGO
37. Thin overlays : VENEERS
38. No-goodnik : RAT
39. Michelle on a fairway : WIE
40. Not allowing : DENYING
42. She remembered having a high-school crush on a handsome, dark-haired boy with ... : THE SAME NAME
47. What's that, José? : ESO
48. ___ Khan : AGA
51. BP gas brand : AMOCO
52. Voting side : AYES
53. However, this man was balding, gray-haired and ... : JUST AVERAGE LOOKING
59. North end? : -ERN
60. Plains tribe : OSAGES
61. Had room for : SEATED
65. Michelle's predecessor : LAURA
68. She thought he was much too old to have been her ... : CLASSMATE
73. Debussy piece : ETUDE
74. Lands' End rival : LL BEAN
76. Bodes : AUGURS
78. Zero : NIL
79. Nevertheless, she asked him if he had attended her high school, and after he said yes, she asked "...?" : WHEN DID YOU GRADUATE
86. Carry : TOTE
89. Stew : WORRY
90. "One Mic" rapper : NAS
91. Actor McKellen : IAN
92. He answered "In 1971. But ..." : WHY DO YOU ASK
95. The Dow and the Nikkei 225 : INDICES
99. Object : AIM
100. Turndowns : NOS
101. Go-aheads : ASSENTS
105. 1969 newlywed in the news : ONO
106. The woman exclaimed "...!" : YOU WERE IN MY CLASS
111. Chorus girl : ALTO
112. Spice holder : RACK
113. See 48-Down : SEA
114. Breather : REST
115. Divorce : SPLIT
116. Hall-of-Famer with 10 World Series rings : BERRA
118. He looked at her closely, then asked "...?" : WHAT DID YOU TEACH
121. "The Second Coming" poet : YEATS
122. Thoroughly enjoys : EATS UP
123. One wearing cuffs : ARRESTEE
124. "Family Ties" mom : ELYSE
125. Check line : AMOUNT
126. Shipped : SENT
127. Feminine suffix : -ESS

Down
1. Not the way it was : ALTERED
2. Some servitude : PEONAGE
3. 1994 Sondheim musical : PASSION
4. From the States: Abbr. : AMER
5. ___ Michele of "Glee" : LEA
6. Midwest capital : LANSING
7. Plain : STEPPE
8. TV Guide's Pennsylvania headquarters : RADNOR
9. From ___ Z : A TO
10. Brown shade : COCOA
11. Emcee's words : INTRO
12. Disdain : SCORN
13. 113-Across, in France : MER
14. Exhaust : DEPLETE
15. Father of the bride, say : IN-LAW
16. One who goes free? : STOWAWAY
17. With 34-Down, kind of pie : KEY
18. Yearbook div. : SRS
20. Superbright : NEON
24. Trick : WILE
29. Soft leather : CHAMOIS
31. From the top : DE NOVO
32. Phoenix hrs. : MST
33. Tail : TRACK
34. See 17-Down : LIME
35. Some jeans : LEES
37. Big name in plastic : VISA
41. Still : YET
43. Space movie villain : HAL
44. Rock genre : EMO
45. ___ Canals : SOO
46. Bother a lot : NAG AT
48. With 113-Across, landlocked waters : ARAL
49. Blown away : GAGA
50. Mellows : AGES
53. Come together : JELL
54. Russian/Kazakh river : URAL
55. Brush-off : SNUB
56. Laptop key : ESC
57. Time piece? : ESSAY
58. At birth : NEE
62. Sushi fish : TUNA
63. Take out, maybe : EDIT
64. Take out : DELE
66. Say "I do" again : REWED
67. Spa reaction : AAH
69. Unstable particle : MUON
70. Río contents : AGUA
71. Canal boats : TUGS
72. Mess up : ERR
75. Rome's home : NEW YORK
77. Symbols of piety : SAINTS
80. Hanging piece : NOOSE
81. Joanne of "The Pride of St. Louis" : DRU
82. Org. in "The Crying Game" : IRA
83. Bad: Prefix : DYS-
84. Pops : DADS
85. Valve opening? : UNI
86. Bob ___, 1986 P.G.A. Player of the Year : TWAY
87. One of the Three Rivers : OHIO
88. Nine-time world champion rodeo cowboy : TY MURRAY
93. 24 bottles of beer : ONE CASE
94. Mary ___ cosmetics : KAY
95. Coming up : IN STORE
96. Sort : COLLATE
97. Attracts by design : ENTICES
98. Palliates : SOOTHES
102. Cruise lines? : SCRIPT
103. Runner's place : SLED
104. Snap courses : EASY AS
107. ___ and all : WARTS
108. Bandleader Jones of the 1920s-'30s : ISHAM
109. "Cool!" : NEATO
110. Island near Quemoy : MATSU
111. Goons : APES
115. Opposite of 64-Down : STET
116. "TTYL" : BYE
117. Reef denizen : EEL
118. "Are ___ pair?" ("Send in the Clowns" lyric) : WE A
119. Bug for payment : DUN
120. Table server : URN


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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I was stumpted on 'muon' 'aral' and 'seated' for had room for.

Bill Butler said...

Don't forget those muons :)

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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.

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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