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0309-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Mar 11, Wednesday

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

THEME: TAILING OFF ... all the theme answers relate to kite-flying, and the four circled letters K-I-T-E form the shape of a kite when joined with a line. The remaining Ts in the grid, if circled and joined with a line, form the tail of the kite. The themed answers are:
17A. On cloud nine : FLYING HIGH
38A. Bob Dylan song ... or a hint to the object found by connecting the four circled letters in a diamond : BLOWIN' IN THE WIND
59A. Waning ... or a hint to what is found by circling all the T's in the completed puzzle : TAILING OFF

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
9. Poetry fest : SLAM
A poetry slam is a competition, in which poets read their own work (usually), with winners being chosen by members of audience. Apparently the first poetry slam took place in Chicago in 1984. Now there is a Nation Poetry Slam that takes place each year, with representatives from the US, Canada and France.

13. It might have the heading "Re:" : MEMO
A memorandum is a "thing to be remembered" in Latin, from the verb "memorare" meaning "to call to mind".

14. Crowning points : ACMES
The "acme" is the highest point, coming from the Greek "akme" which has the same meaning.

Eros Home Theater Seating - Row of 3 (Black)16. Theater section : LOGE
In most theaters today the loge is the name given to the front rows of a mezzanine level. It can also be the name given to box seating.

17. On cloud nine : FLYING HIGH
I don't think that anyone is really certain of the etymology of the term "cloud nine", but I do like this explanation ... the 1896 "International Cloud-Atlas" was a long-standing reference used to define cloud shapes. The biggest, puffiest of all cloud shapes (and most comfortable looking to lie on) is cumulonimbus. And you guessed it, of the ten cloud shapes defined in the atlas, cumulonimbus was cloud nine.

Lavender Blue: Songs of Charm, Humour & Sincerity [ORIGINAL RECORDINGS REMASTERED]19. Burl of stage and song : IVES
As well as being an actor, Burl Ives was a folk singer, his original calling. In Hollywood he had a distressing experience with the House Unamerican Activities Committee and avoided being blacklisted by cooperating to some level with McCarthy and his team. This cooperation created a rift between him and Pete Seeger in particular, a fellow singer whom he "discussed" with the committee.

21. Commercially prized ducks : EIDERS
Eiders are large seaducks. Their down feathers are used to fill pillows and quilts, giving the name to the quilt called an "eiderdown".

Lord of all hopefulness23. Cathedral city of England : ELY
Ely Cathedral is a famous and beautiful church in the city of Ely in the county of Cambridgeshire. There is a Gothic door on the north face of the cathedral that was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the man responsible for St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Christopher Wren had a personal link to the church, as his uncle was the Bishop of Ely.

24. Boutros Boutros-___ (former U.N. chief) : GHALI
Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian diplomat, the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations. Boutros-Ghali was nominated for a second term as Secretary-General in 1996, but the US used its right of veto to block the appointment. According to senior delegates, the US wasn't too happy with his handling of the international crisis in Bosnia.

26. Role in Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" : LEILA
"The Pearl Fishers" is the second most famous opera composed by the Georges Bizet, the French composer from the Romantic era. His most famous work of course is his opera "Carmen".

30. Great-grandfather of Noah : ENOCH
Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah, and the great-grandson of Adam.

34. Large crock : OLLA
An olla is a traditional clay pot used for the making of stews.

"Norma Rae" is a 1979 movie starring Sally Field, a tale of union activities in a textile factory in Alabama. The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton told in a 1975 book called "Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance".

The Essential Bob Dylan (Rm) (2CD)38. Bob Dylan song ... or a hint to the object found by connecting the four circled letters in a diamond : BLOWIN' IN THE WIND
Bob Dylan wrote the famous song "Blowin' in the Wind" in 1963, apparently taking all of ten minutes to finish the whole composition.

44. Auburn heads? : DEANS
Auburn University in Alabama was chartered in 1856, as the East Alabama Male College. The school was renamed when it was granted university status in 1960.

46. Bourbon and others: Abbr. : STS
When New Orleans was founded, the House of Bourbon was ruling France. Bourbon Street was named in its honor.

Kurosawa47. Director Kurosawa : AKIRA
Akira Kurosawa was an Oscar-winning Japanese film director. His most famous movie to us in the West has to be "The Seven Samurai", the inspiration for the "The Magnificent Seven" starring Yul Brynner, and indeed a basis for "Star Wars: The Clone Wars".

51. Discontinued Chevrolet model : COBALT
The Cobalt was Chevrolet's compact car from 2005 to 2010, when it was replaced by the Chevrolet Cruze.

Nixon - A Presidency Revealed63. ___ Linda, Calif. : YORBA
Yorba Linda in Orange County, California is perhaps best known as the home of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

President Richard Nixon was born in 1913 in a house his father built in Yorba Linda, California. I toured the house a few years ago as it now sits on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.

1. Like most car radios : AM/FM
The radio spectrum is divided up into bands based on frequency. So, a "high" band would be a band with relatively high frequencies. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency, or VHF. AM radio uses lower frequencies, and so falls into the lower bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF). Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF).

Homesick : A Memoir2. Ward of "Sisters" : SELA
Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. She played Teddy Reed in the TV show "Sisters" in the nineties, and was in "Once and Again" from 1999-2002. I don't know either show, but I do know her from the medical drama "House" in which she played the hospital's lawyer, and Greg House's ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought. Now she has turned up on CSI: NY, a very welcome and much-needed addition to the cast ...

3. Writers Lowell and Tan : AMYS
Amy Lowell was an American poet, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926 for "What's O'Clock".

Amy Tan: Author And Storyteller (Signature Lives)Amy Tan lives not too far from here in Sausalito, just north of San Francisco. She is an American writer of Chinese descent whose most successful work is "The Joy Luck Club". "The Joy Luck Club" was made into a movie produced by Oliver Stone in 1993. The novel and movie tell of four Chinese-American immigrant families in San Francisco who start the Joy Luck Club, playing Mahjong for money and eating delicious food.

11. Worrying, for one : AGER
Too much worrying can make you age, so I hear ...

15. 2000 World Series locale : SHEA
Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city, in the form of the New York Mets.

18. Queen in "The Lion King" : NALA
In "The Lion King", Nala is a lioness, the childhood friend of Simba.

22. ___ France : ILE DE
Ile de France (literally "Island of France") isn't an island at all. It is the name given to the most populous of France's 26 administrative regions, and is roughly equivalent to the Paris metropolitan area.

24. January birthstones : GARNETS
Here is the "official" list of birthstones by month:
January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Pearl or Moonstone
July: Ruby
August: Sardonyx or Peridot
September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
November: Topaz or Citrine
December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

25. Some hotels : HYATTS
The Hyatt hotel chain takes its name from the first hotel in the group, that was purchased in 1957 ... Hyatt House at Los Angeles International Airport. Among other things, Hyatt is famous for designing the world's first atrium hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.

BARBARA BEL GEDDES 11X14 PHOTO27. "Dallas" matriarch : ELLIE
Miss Ellie was the matriarch of the famed Ewing family, around which the TV series "Dallas" was written. For most of the series, Miss Ellie was played by Barbara Bel Geddes, and once in a TV movie of Dallas by Molly Hagan. Barbara Bel Geddes left the show in 1984, and was replaced by the much more celebrated actress, Donna Reed. When Bel Geddes decided to return to the show the following year, Reed was fired, much to her chagrin, and a law suit ensued.

1947 Ilona Massey Rigaud Un Air Embaume Perfume Print Ad28. Massey of old movies : ILONA
Ilona Massey was a Hollywood actress, a native of Budapest in Hungary. Given her cultural background and the period at which she hit the big screen, she was marketed by the studios as "the new Dietrich".

31. African antelope : ORIBI
Oribi are small antelope that inhabit the grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa.

32. Rattan worker : CANER
Rattan is the name of a large number of species of palms, all of which look less like trees and more like vines. The woody stems are used for making cane furniture.

The Whole Truth and Nothing But by Hedda Hopper (Hedda Keeps Her Promise : The Stories Behind Fifty Years of Headlines)33. Gossipy Hopper : HEDDA
Hedda Hopper was a gossip columnist, famous for her long-running feud with her rival gossip columnist Louella Parsons.

36. Selective high-school org. : NHS
The National Honor Society (NHS) is a recognition program open to students who have demonstrated excellence in grades 10-12.

39. Hall-of-Fame hoopster Dan : ISSEL
Dan Issel is a retired basketball player who played for the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA, and the Denver Nuggets of the NBA.

The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, all seven volumes in a single file, with active table of contents, improved 8/19/201049. Lincoln, e.g., before he was pres. : ATTY
Abraham Lincoln served as a prairie lawyer for many years, meaning that twice a year he traveled from town-to-town for ten weeks at a time. He worked a lot on disputes involving the operation of river barges under railway bridges, and argued a case before the US Supreme Court involving a canal boat that sank after hitting a bridge. His exposure to river vessels led to him designing a device for buoying vessels over shallow shoals. He was awarded a patent for his design in 1849, making Lincoln the only US president to hold a patent.

52. Letter before Peter in an old phonetic alphabet : OBOE
Nowadays we tend to use the NATO Phonetic Alphabet (Alfa, Bravo, Charlie etc.) but before this was introduced in 1956, the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet was common. This latter series started with Able, Baker, Charlie, with O and P represented by Oboe and Peter. The NATO equivalents for O and P are Oscar and Papa.

54. Island whose name is another word in this puzzle spelled backward : ELBA
(58. Proficient : ABLE)
I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on the island of Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day, and we won't be going back.

57. Country addresses: Abbr. : RFDS
Rural Free Delivery was started in the US in 1891. Prior to RFD, rural Americans had to travel to the nearest post office to pick up their mail.

60. Popular I.S.P. : AOL
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is just what its name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way that the end users are connected to the ISPs network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs. I'd go with cable if I were you, if it's available in your area ...

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. "___ alternative ..." : AS AN
5. Tackle, in a way : SACK
9. Poetry fest : SLAM
13. It might have the heading "Re:" : MEMO
14. Crowning points : ACMES
16. Theater section : LOGE
17. On cloud nine : FLYING HIGH
19. Burl of stage and song : IVES
20. Kink removal : MASSAGE
21. Commercially prized ducks : EIDERS
23. Cathedral city of England : ELY
24. Boutros Boutros-___ (former U.N. chief) : GHALI
26. Role in Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" : LEILA
29. It breaks in the morning : DAY
30. Great-grandfather of Noah : ENOCH
34. Large crock : OLLA
35. Picking up the dry cleaning, say : ERRAND
37. "Norma ___" : RAE
38. Bob Dylan song ... or a hint to the object found by connecting the four circled letters in a diamond : BLOWIN' IN THE WIND
41. German's one : EIN
42. Creates slippery conditions, in a way : SLEETS
43. Not up : ABED
44. Auburn heads? : DEANS
46. Bourbon and others: Abbr. : STS
47. Director Kurosawa : AKIRA
48. Tops : BEATS
50. "___ dreaming?" : AM I
51. Discontinued Chevrolet model : COBALT
54. Something that may be shot on a golf course : EVEN PAR
58. Proficient : ABLE
59. Waning ... or a hint to what is found by circling all the T's in the completed puzzle : TAILING OFF
62. Causing the lips to pucker : SOUR
63. ___ Linda, Calif. : YORBA
64. Not new : USED
65. The lady's : HERS
66. Tilt : LEAN
67. Flock's locale : PEWS

1. Like most car radios : AM/FM
2. Ward of "Sisters" : SELA
3. Writers Lowell and Tan : AMYS
4. Anti-honking ordinance, e.g. : NOISE LAW
5. Droopy : SAGGY
6. Nagging pain : ACHE
7. Roman 901 : CMI
8. ID-requiring purchase : KEG
9. Reached base horizontally : SLID IN
10. Sonnet subject : LOVE
11. Worrying, for one : AGER
12. Meddle (with) : MESS
15. 2000 World Series locale : SHEA
18. Queen in "The Lion King" : NALA
22. ___ France : ILE DE
24. January birthstones : GARNETS
25. Some hotels : HYATTS
26. Like brains : LOBED
27. "Dallas" matriarch : ELLIE
28. Massey of old movies : ILONA
29. Least sweet, as wine : DRIEST
31. African antelope : ORIBI
32. Rattan worker : CANER
33. Gossipy Hopper : HEDDA
35. Photo lab abbr. : ENL
36. Selective high-school org. : NHS
39. Hall-of-Fame hoopster Dan : ISSEL
40. Rousing : WAKING UP
45. 39-Down and others, for short : NBAERS
47. "You got that right!" : AMEN
49. Lincoln, e.g., before he was pres. : ATTY
50. ___ flu : AVIAN
51. Credit's counterpart : CASH
52. Letter before Peter in an old phonetic alphabet : OBOE
53. Photo mishap : BLUR
54. Island whose name is another word in this puzzle spelled backward : ELBA
55. What people often do for pictures : POSE
56. Two or three : A FEW
57. Country addresses: Abbr. : RFDS
60. Popular I.S.P. : AOL
61. Anger : IRE

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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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