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Greetings from Mammoth Lakes, California

My wife and I are on vacation until Friday, July 25th; a road trip through the backroads of the states east of California. I anticipate late-night solving and posting, with acknowledgement of comments and emails suffering. Please, don't be offended at my silence as I prioritize the writing of posts! We had probably the last hike of our trip this morning (strenuous, past beautiful alpine lakes), and then opted for vegging out by the pool for a change this afternoon. Almost home ...

Bill

0509-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 9 May 11, Monday





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


CROSSWORD SETTER: Nina Rulon-Miller
THEME: The JOKER and His SUITS … the last word in four of the theme answers is a suit in a deck of cards, and the fifth is the JOKER:
17. Daily kids' TV show that debuted in 1955, with "The" : MICKEY MOUSE CLUB
21. Classic song about an Irish lass that was a #1 hit in 1913 and 1947 : PEG O’ MY HEART
35. A real wag : QUITE THE JOKER
50. Tool for turning up soil : GARDEN SPADE
57. Setting for the Cardinals or Orioles : BASEBALL DIAMOND
COMPLETION TIME: 6m 21s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
Darth Vader Life Size Cardboard Stand Up14. ___ Vader : DARTH
Anakin Skywalker is the principal character in all six of the "Star Wars" movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:
- Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
- Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and now a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife, Padme, gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
- Episode IV: Anakin, as Darth Vader comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
- Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son, Luke, over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
- Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor's evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after ...

Spears, Britney - Girls Are Always Right Unauthorized17. Daily kids' TV show that debuted in 1955, with "The" : MICKEY MOUSE CLUB
The Mickey Mouse Club was created by Walt Disney in 1955, and it’s still going strong today. Over the years the show has given some famous names their start in “the business”, especially in recent times. Included in the list are Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

Grant19. Gun owners' org. : NRA
The NRA is the National Rifle Association, an organization that has been around since 1871. The group has had some celebrity presidents, including US President Ulysses S. Grant. It's often said that the NRA is the most powerful lobbying group in Washington.

21. Classic song about an Irish lass that was a #1 hit in 1913 and 1947 : PEG O’ MY HEART
The song "Peg O' My Heart" appeared in the 1913 musical "Ziegfield Follies". The 1947 version referred to in the clue is by the Harmonicats, who had the most successful recording, one that made the number spot in the charts that year.

Der Spiegel26. German magazine ___ Spiegel : DER
"Der Spiegel" is a very successful German magazine found on news-stands all over Europe. The name "Der Spiegel" translates from German into "the Mirror".

27. Central point, as of an argument : CRUX
"Crux" is the Latin word for "cross", and came into English meaning "a central difficulty" in the early 1700s.

Deng Xiaoping and the Making of Modern China29. China's ___ Xiaoping : DENG
Deng Xiaoping was the Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China from 1978 to 1992. It was Deng Xiaoping who is given the credit for setting policies that led to China’s current economic boom. He moved the country towards a market economy and opened the borders to allow foreign investment.

33. ___ Beta Kappa : PHI
Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for "philosophia biou kybernētēs", which translates into "philosophy is the guide of life".

Nun Costume, Black, Standard40. Convent resident : NUN
Convents have been religious houses since the 1200s, but it wasn't until the 1700s that convents became purely female institutions.

41. "___ of Eden" : EAST
John Steinbeck considered "East of Eden" his magnus opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of where I live here in the Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.

According to the Bible's Book of Genesis, after Cain murdered his brother, Abel, he fled to the Land of Nod located "east of Eden" (the source for the title of John Steinbeck's celebrated novel "East of Eden").

Clearasil Adult Tinted Treatment Cream, 0.65-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 4)42. Clearasil target, informally : ZIT
The slang term “zit”, meaning a pimple, came into the language in 1966, but no one seems to know its exact derivation.

48. Florence's river : ARNO
The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, and passes through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously, the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures particularly in Florence.

57. Setting for the Cardinals or Orioles : BASEBALL DIAMOND
The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the "Brown Stockings", changing their name to the "Perfectos" in 1899. That obviously didn't go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

The Baltimore Orioles was one of the eight charter teams of MLB's American League, so dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn't fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn't help the team's performance on the field, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

Ralph Nader: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies)64. Independent candidate Ralph : NADER
Ralph Nader has run as a third-party candidate for the office of President of the United States four times now, in every election since 1996. Nader's name was first first linked with the presidential race in 1971, when the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock offered to stand aside as candidate in the 1972 race if Nader would agree to run, but he declined.

Esso Sign65. Old "Put a tiger in your tank" brand : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company, as it uses the initial letters of "Standard" and "Oil" (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US but it is still used in many other countries.

66. Like the English Channel for the first time in 1875 : SWUM
Swimming across the English Channel has been a famous sporting event since it was first crossed in 1875 by one Captain Matthew Webb. Webb became quite a celebrity swimmer after his 22-hour “marathon”, and turned swimming into his profession. Eight years later he died swimming across the Niagara River in the Whirlpool Rapids just below Niagara Falls.

67. The bee's ___ (the height of excellence) : KNEES
Something excellent can be described as the “bee’s knees”, although other animals and their anatomy can be used in the same sense e.g the cat’s whiskers and the flea’s eyebrows. More “rude” anatomical references are common too ...

Down
Zhou Enlai: The Last Perfect Revolutionary2. China's Chou En-___ : LAI
Zhou Enlai (also Chou En-Lai) was the first government leader of the People's Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. He ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon's famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.

3. Tolkien creature : ORC
According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth. They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

Fort Knox, Kentucky, Exterior View of the US Gold Depository Giclee Poster Print, 32x244. U.S. army post in Kentucky : FT KNOX
Fort Knox is actually a US Army base, but it gives its name to the adjacent facility, the United States Bullion Depository. Most of the US gold reserves are in Fort Knox, although it isn't the biggest gold repository in the US. That honor goes to the vault under the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan. Most of the gold stored in that vault belongs to foreign nations and banks.

7. "___ Te Ching" (old Chinese text) : TAO
The “Tao Te Ching”is a classical Chinese text, fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

Ralph Lauren12. Designer Ralph : LAUREN
Ralph Lauren is an American fashion designer, born Ralph Liftshitz in the Bronx, New York. Lauren started off working as a salesman for Brooks Brothers after spending two years in the US Army. He then opened a necktie store, featuring his own tie designs. The ties were sold under the name "Polo", which became Lauren's most famous brand.

Stefan Edberg (Tennis) autographed Sports Illustrated Magazine13. Tennis's Stefan : EDBERG
Stefan Edberg is a Swedish tennis player, and former world number one. Sadly, one part of his legacy is his involvement in a freak accident at the 1983 US Open. A ball struck by Edberg hit one of the linesmen causing him to topple off his chair, fracturing his skull as he hit the ground. That injury was fatal.

21. Compaq products : PCS
These days the Compaq brand of computers are sold by Hewlett-Packard, as the two companies merged in 2002. The original Compaq company was founded in 1982, with the name coming from COMP-atibility A-nd Q-uality.

Signed E.R. (Noah Wylie / Eriq La Salle) 8x10 by Noah Wylie and Eriq La Salle Photo22. Actor La Salle : ERIQ
Eriq La Salle played Dr. Peter Benton on "ER", and is best known in film for his portrayal of Darryl in the1998 comedy "Coming to America".

23. Teacher sitting cross-legged, maybe : GURU
“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

24. Male deer : HART
Nowadays a hart is a male red deer, over five years old.

Hagar the Horrible: The Epic Chronicles: The Dailies 1973-197429. Cartoonist Browne : DIK
The cartoonist Dik Brown is most associated with his strip “Hägar the Horrible”, as well as with the strip “Hi and Lois”, which he drew.

31. A/C meas. : BTU
In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units. This dated unit is basically the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water's temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.

Intimo Women's Poly Charmeuse Pajama Set,Rose,Large33. Attire that might have images of jumping sheep, informally : PJS
Our word "pajamas" comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where "pai jamahs" were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals, and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And "pajamas" is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is "pyjamas".

38. Book before Nehemiah : EZRA
In the Hebrew Bible the Book of Ezra was originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah, with the two being separated in the early days of the Christian Era.

46. Tex-Mex sauces : SALSAS
“Salsa” is simply the Spanish word for “sauce”.

Jack Daniels~ Jack Daniels Rear Fender Tip47. Prohibition of alcohol sales : DRY LAW
I used to live in Tennessee, and one weekend took a tour of the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg. After watching all the whiskey being produced, we were brought to a room for "refreshments". We were given lemonade and no samples of the whiskey were offered, because the distillery is located in Moore County, Tennessee, a dry country ...

JOHNNY WEISSMULLER MAUREEN O'SULLIVAN 20X24 PHOTO48. Tarzan, for one : APEMAN
"Tarzan" is the title character in the series of books created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The line "Me Tarzan, you Jane" never appeared in the books, and indeed doesn't even figure in the movies. Apparently Johnny Weissmuller (the original movie "Tarzan") saw Maureen O'Hara (the original movie "Jane") struggling with a suitcase in the parking lot during filming. He grabbed the bag from her, jokingly saying "Me Tarzan, you Jane", and people have been quoting those words ever since.

51. Military plane acronym : AWACS
When the British developed radar in WWII, they also came up with an airborne system which they actually deployed during the war. In 1944 the US Navy commissioned a similar system, and so launched the first American Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system, also before the war was over. The more modern term for the technology is Airborne Warning and Control System, AWACS for short.

HILARY SWANK 16X20 COLOR PHOTO53. Actress Hilary : SWANK
The actress Hilary Swank had her first major role in “The Next Karate Kid” released in 1994, in which she played the first female student of the sensei, Mr. Myagi.

Leno, Jay Autographed/Hand Signed 8x10 Photo55. Funnyman Jay : LENO
Jay Leno is a car nut, and owns about 200 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website!

58. Baton Rouge sch. : LSU
LSU's full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.

60. "___ on a Grecian Urn" : ODE
John Keats wrote a whole series of odes in 1819, including the very famous "Ode on a Grecian Urn", "Ode to Psyche" and "Ode to a Nightingale".

Michelle Obama: An American Story61. Michelle Obama (___ Robinson) : NEE
Michelle 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 ...

62. A.M.A. members : DR
The American Medical Association was founded in 1847, at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The first female member was allowed to join in 1868, but the first African American members weren't admitted until exactly one hundred years later, in 1968.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Up high : ALOFT
6. On : ATOP
10. Seriously susceptible to sunburn : PALE
14. ___ Vader : DARTH
15. Tex-Mex dish with lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc., in a hard tortilla "bowl" : TACO SALAD
17. Daily kids' TV show that debuted in 1955, with "The" : MICKEY MOUSE CLUB
19. Gun owners' org. : NRA
20. Talk that might put one to sleep : LECTURE
21. Classic song about an Irish lass that was a #1 hit in 1913 and 1947 : PEG O’ MY HEART
26. German magazine ___ Spiegel : DER
27. Central point, as of an argument : CRUX
28. Farm-related: Abbr. : AGR
29. China's ___ Xiaoping : DENG
30. Knight's title : SIR
31. Floating ice mass : BERG
33. ___ Beta Kappa : PHI
35. A real wag : QUITE THE JOKER
40. Convent resident : NUN
41. "___ of Eden" : EAST
42. Clearasil target, informally : ZIT
44. Wine barrel : CASK
47. Govt. prosecutors : DAS
48. Florence's river : ARNO
49. Smart ___ whip : AS A
50. Tool for turning up soil : GARDEN SPADE
54. Bulging, as a cloud : BILLOWY
56. Be in debt : OWE
57. Setting for the Cardinals or Orioles : BASEBALL DIAMOND
63. No matter what happens : IN ANY CASE
64. Independent candidate Ralph : NADER
65. Old "Put a tiger in your tank" brand : ESSO
66. Like the English Channel for the first time in 1875 : SWUM
67. The bee's ___ (the height of excellence) : KNEES

Down
1. Navy V.I.P. : ADM
2. China's Chou En-___ : LAI
3. Tolkien creature : ORC
4. U.S. army post in Kentucky : FT KNOX
5. Heat unit : THERM
6. $$$ convenience : ATM
7. "___ Te Ching" (old Chinese text) : TAO
8. Eye-related : OCULAR
9. Tricky puzzle : POSER
10. Treaty : PACT
11. Refer (to) : ALLUDE
12. Designer Ralph : LAUREN
13. Tennis's Stefan : EDBERG
16. Splinter group : SECT
18. "Yippee!" : YAY
21. Compaq products : PCS
22. Actor La Salle : ERIQ
23. Teacher sitting cross-legged, maybe : GURU
24. Male deer : HART
25. Brainiac : EGGHEAD
29. Cartoonist Browne : DIK
31. A/C meas. : BTU
32. After-dusk time, to a poet : E’EN
33. Attire that might have images of jumping sheep, informally : PJS
34. Like the tropics : HOT
36. Hard-to-erase stuff : INK
37. Leisure : EASE
38. Book before Nehemiah : EZRA
39. Melon's cover : RIND
43. Tip of a sock : TOE
44. One hailed on city streets : CABBIE
45. Tibetans and Thais : ASIANS
46. Tex-Mex sauces : SALSAS
47. Prohibition of alcohol sales : DRY LAW
48. Tarzan, for one : APEMAN
50. Elapse : GO BY
51. Military plane acronym : AWACS
52. "___ do not!" : NO I
53. Actress Hilary : SWANK
55. Funnyman Jay : LENO
58. Baton Rouge sch. : LSU
59. Rep.'s rival : DEM
60. "___ on a Grecian Urn" : ODE
61. Michelle Obama (___ Robinson) : NEE
62. A.M.A. members : DR

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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 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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