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0308-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Mar 11, Tuesday

Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

THEME: KEYBOARD WEST ... every answer in the puzzle is composed exclusively of letters that are found on the WEST side of the keyboard

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
What Would Google Do?1. "I trust him about ___ ..." (start of a leery person's statement) : AS FAR
"I trust him about as far as I can throw him." If you check Google for this common expression, you'll see that it is often misused, sometimes written as "I DON'T trust him as far as I can throw him", which doesn't make any sense at all!

10. "Get outta here!" : SCAT
Our word "scat" comes from a 19th-century expression "quicker than s'cat", which meant "in a great hurry". The original phrase probably came from the words "hiss" and "cat".

14. Twilled fabric : SERGE
Serge is a type of twill fabric with diagonal ridges on both sides. The name "serge" comes from the Greek word for "silken".

Consider Me Gone15. Country's McEntire : REBA
Reba McEntire is country music singer and television actress. She starred in her own sitcom called "Reba" that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007.

19. Quod ___ demonstrandum : ERAT
Q.E.D. is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. The acronym stands for the Latin "quod erat demonstrandum" meaning "that which was to be demonstrated".

21. SoHo loft output : ART
The Manhattan neighborhood known today as SoHo was very fashionable in the early 1900s, but as the well-heeled started to move uptown the area became very run down and poorly maintained. Noted for the number of fires that erupted in derelict buildings, it earned the nickname "Hell's Hundred Acres". The area was zoned for manufacturing and became home to many sweatshops. In the mid-1900s artists started to move into open loft spaces and renovating old buildings as the lofts were ideal locations in which an artist could both live and work. In 1968, artists and others organized themselves so that they could legalize their residential use of an area zoned for manufacturing. The group they formed took its name from the name given to the area by the city's Planning Commission i.e "South of Houston". This was shortened from So-uth of Ho-uston to SoHo, as in the SoHo Artists Association, and the name stuck.

27. Tapioca-yielding plants : CASSAVAS
The cassava plant is a woody shrub native to South America, grown largely for its carbohydrate-rich tubers. In fact, the cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates for food (for humans) in the world. Ordinarily, the carbohydrate is extracted from the plant and dried as flour, and called tapioca.

34. Coup d'___ : ETAT
A coup d'etat (often just "coup") is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French "stroke of state".

Very Best of Ravi Shankar40. Mumbai music : RAGA
Raga isn't really a type of music as such, but has been described as the "tonal framework" in which Indian classical music is composed. Ravi Shankar is perhaps the most famous raga virtuoso (to us Westerners).

43. Our planet, to a Berliner : ERDE
Erde is the German word "earth".

Disney Grumpy "Back Off" Car Decal Sticker -SDGBO006- WHITE COLOR - 6"L44. One of a Disney septet : DWARF
In the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Snow White", the seven dwarfs were not given any names. The names were created for the 1937 classic animated film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" from Walt Disney. The seven dwarfs are:
- Doc (the leader of the group)
- Grumpy (that would be me, according to my wife ...)
- Happy
- Sleepy
- Bashful
- Sneezy
- Dopey

50. Racer on a strip : DRAGSTER
Back in the 18th century drag was slang for a wagon or buggy, as it was "dragged" along by a horse or horses. In the 1930s, the underworld adopted drag as slang for an automobile. This sense of the word was imported into automobile racing in the forties, giving the name to "drag racing". A drag race is basically a competition between two cars to determine which can accelerate faster from a standstill.

52. Dinner-and-a-show venue : CABARET
We've been using the word "cabaret" for a restaurant/night club since the early 1900s. Cabaret is a French word for a "tavern".

58. Squid's ink holder : SAC
Octopuses and squid both have the ability to release a dark pigment into the water as a means of escape. The dark pigment is called cephalopod ink (the squid and octopus belong to the class cephalopod). The dark color is caused by melanin, the same constituent that acts as a pigment in human skin.

KATHRYN ERBE 8x10 Photo Signed In-Person65. Kathryn of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" : ERBE
The actress Kathryn Erbe is best known for playing Det. Alexandra Eames on the TV show "Law & Order: Criminal Intent". Paradoxically perhaps, her other noted role is as Shirley Bellinger in the HBO series "Oz", a death row inmate.

68. Keister : REAR
Back in the early 1900s a keister was a safe or a strongbox. It has been suggested that this term was then used as slang by pickpockets for the rear trouser pocket in which one might keep a wallet. From this usage keister appeared as a slang term for the buttocks in the early 1930s.

Prom Queen and King Sashes73. Promgoer's buy : DRESS
A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them just "formals" over in Ireland). The term "prom" is short for promenade, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

1. Nick Charles's dog : ASTA
High on the list of my favorite movies of all time is "The Thin Man" series starring William Powell and the incredibly attractive Myrna Loy. Powell and Loy played the characters Nick and Nora Charles.

The Thin Man Poster Movie C 11x17 William Powell Myrna Loy Maureen O'Sullivan Cesar RomeroAsta was the wonderful little dog in the superb movie "The Thin Man" starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called "Skippy". Skippy was also the dog in "Bringing up Baby" with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of "The Thin Man" films.

2. I.R.S. part: Abbr. : SERV
The IRS came into being during the Civil War, to raise money to pay for war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, taxation was limited to levies on trade and property.

Petri Dishes (20/ pk)4. Petri dish gel : AGAR
Agar is a jelly extracted from seaweed and has many uses. It is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a laxative or as a food thickener, and it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

5. It was parted in Exodus : RED SEA
The Red Sea (sometimes called the Arabian Gulf) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south.

6. Garment with underwires : BRA
The word "brassière" is of course French in origin, but it isn't the word the French use for a "bra". In France what we call a bra is a "soutien-gorge", translating to "held under the neck". The word "brassière" is indeed used in France but it applies to a baby's undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. "Brassière" comes from the Old French word for an "arm protector" in a military uniform ("bras" is the French for "arm"). Later "brassière" came to mean "breast plate" and from there was used for a type of woman's corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

7. Test software release : BETA
In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the "alpha" version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a "beta" and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as "beta". The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, bug-free. Yeah, right ...

Q*Bert8. Cube-hopping character in a 1980s arcade game :
Q*bert is an arcade game published in 1982. It's the game where a character with a big nose (Q*bert) jumps up and down on cubes arranged in a big pyramid.

9. "No Exit" playwright : SARTRE
"Huis Clos" means "behind closed doors" in French. It is the title of the Jean-Paul Sartre play that we in the English-speaking world would better recognize as "No Exit". The play features four characters who are trapped in a room that they discover is actually located in Hell. One of the characters is Estelle Rigault, a society woman who married her husband for her money, and then has an affair that results in a child whom she murders. Heavy stuff ...

TWA SuperJet to Europe10. Old TWA hiree : STEWARDESS
Trans World Airlines was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan-Am, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of the forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original TWA) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

11. Gemologist's weight : CARAT
A carat is a unit of mass used to measure gemstones and pearls. There are one hundred points in a carat, each equal to 2 milligrams, so a carat is equal to 200 milligrams.

26. Mesozoic ___ : ERA
Geologic time is divided into four different units, which are, starting from the longest:
- Supereons
- Eons
- Eras
- Periods
- Epochs
- Ages
So, supereons can be divided in eons, and eons divided into eras etc.

Fisher-Price Imaginext Spike Jr. the Ultra DinosaurThe Mesozoic Era is also known as the Age of the Dinosaurs, as most dinosaurs developed during that time and the Era ended with the extinction of all dinosaur species (except the avian species, which developed into our modern birds). The Mesozoic Era started with another cataclysmic event, the so called "Great Dying", the largest mass extinction in the history of our planet. During the "Great Dying" over 90% of all marine species and 70% of all terrestrial vertebrate species died off.

35. Pre-1917 autocrats : TSARS
The term czar (also tsar) is a Slavic word, and was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 A.D. It is derived from the word Caesar, which was synonymous with emperor at that time.

Cobra 19DXIV 40-Channel CB Radio52. People with handles : CBERS
A CBer is someone who operates a Citizens' Band radio. In 1945, the FCC set aside certain frequencies for the personal use of citizens. The use of the Citizens' Band increased through the seventies as advances in electronics brought down the size of transceivers and their cost. There aren't many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.

NMC TM34R 18" Diameter Rig Plstc Traffic Sgn - Stop Sign53. Québec traffic sign : ARRET
"Arret" is the French word for stop.

54. Kid-lit elephant : BABAR
Babar the Elephant originated in France, a creation of Jean de Brunhoff in 1931. The first book was "Histoire de Babar", a book so successful it was translated into English two years later for publication in Britain and the US. Jean de Brunhoff wrote six more Babar stories before he died in 1937, and then his son Laurent continued his father's work.

59. Playbill listing : CAST
I get quite a kick out of reading the bios in "Playbill" as some of them can be really goofy and entertaining. "Playbill" started off in 1884 in New York, an in-house publication for just one theater on 21st St. You can't see any decent-sized production these days anywhere in the United States without being handed a copy of "Playbill".

61. Way up a slope : T-BAR
A T-bar is a type of ski lift in which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair sitting either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skier who remains standing on his/her skis (hopefully!). There's also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

The Tate Modern Handbook62. ___ Modern (London gallery) : TATE
The days "the Tate" is actually made up of four separate galleries in England. The original Tate gallery was founded by Sir Henry Tate as the National Gallery of British Art. It is located on Millbank in London, on the site of the old Millbank Prison, and is now called Tate Britain. There is also the Tate Liverpool in the north of England located in an old warehouse, and the Tate St. Ives in the west country located in an old gas works. My favorite of the Tate galleries is the Tate Modern which lies on the banks of the Thames in London. It's a beautiful building, a converted power station, that you have to see to believe.

64. Soaks, as flax : RETS
Retting is soaking, and is commonly used to describe the soaking of fibrous plants such as flax in order to soften and separate the fibers.

67. El-overseeing org. : CTA
The Chicago "L" is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The "L" is also the second oldest, again with the New York Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the "L" (originally short for "elevated railroad"), although the term "El" is also in common use (especially in crosswords as "ELS"). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. "I trust him about ___ ..." (start of a leery person's statement) : AS FAR
6. Patio cookouts, for short : BBQS
10. "Get outta here!" : SCAT
14. Twilled fabric : SERGE
15. Country's McEntire : REBA
16. "And ... there you have it!" : TADA
17. Neither sink nor swim : TREAD WATER
19. Quod ___ demonstrandum : ERAT
20. Strongly disinclined : AVERSE
21. SoHo loft output : ART
22. Hourly pay : WAGE
23. Musician's asset : EAR
25. Tab grabber : TREATER
27. Tapioca-yielding plants : CASSAVAS
32. Miscalculate : ERR
33. "I smell ___!" : A RAT
34. Coup d'___ : ETAT
36. Thrown in : ADDED
40. Mumbai music : RAGA
41. ___ good example (shows the proper way) : SETS A
43. Our planet, to a Berliner : ERDE
44. One of a Disney septet : DWARF
46. Do an usher's job : SEAT
47. Herb used in sausages : SAGE
48. Lang. in which 43-Across is a word : GER
50. Racer on a strip : DRAGSTER
52. Dinner-and-a-show venue : CABARET
56. U-turn from NNW : SSE
57. Arg. neighbor : BRAZ
58. Squid's ink holder : SAC
60. Rip to shreds : TATTER
65. Kathryn of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" : ERBE
66. Make worse : EXACERBATE
68. Keister : REAR
69. The half of the keyboard on which all of this puzzle's answers can be typed : WEST
70. Trouble no end : EAT AT
71. Cellos, violas, etc.: Abbr. : STRS
72. Sp. miss : SRTA
73. Promgoer's buy : DRESS

1. Nick Charles's dog : ASTA
2. I.R.S. part: Abbr. : SERV
3. For the taking : FREE
4. Petri dish gel : AGAR
5. It was parted in Exodus : RED SEA
6. Garment with underwires : BRA
7. Test software release : BETA
8. Cube-hopping character in a 1980s arcade game : Q*BERT
9. "No Exit" playwright : SARTRE
10. Old TWA hiree : STEWARDESS
11. Gemologist's weight : CARAT
12. "Time is money," e.g. : ADAGE
13. Source of fries, slangily : TATER
18. Boxers' moves : WEAVES
24. $25/hour and the like : RATES
26. Mesozoic ___ : ERA
27. Check for ID, as at a bar : CARD
28. Got ___ deal (was rooked) : A RAW
29. Epic tale : SAGA
30. Astronomers ... or daydreamers : STARGAZERS
31. Filled beyond full : SATED
35. Pre-1917 autocrats : TSARS
37. "Fiddlesticks!" : DRAT
38. Nose out : EDGE
39. Animal on XING signs : DEER
42. Just one little bite : A TASTE
45. In favor of, in dialect : FER
49. Stitches over : RESEWS
51. Got ready, with "up" : GEARED
52. People with handles : CBERS
53. Québec traffic sign : ARRET
54. Kid-lit elephant : BABAR
55. Duty imposer : TAXER
59. Playbill listing : CAST
61. Way up a slope : T-BAR
62. ___ Modern (London gallery) : TATE
63. Airport guesses, for short : ETAS
64. Soaks, as flax : RETS
67. El-overseeing org. : CTA

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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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