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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

0512-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 12 May 11, Thursday





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: Patrick John Duggan
THEME: IDENTITY THEFT … the four theme answers are common phrases with the letters ID-EN-TI-TY “stolen” in sequence:
17A. Sparring session? : CASUAL FR(ID)AY
26A. Pitch for a pistol? : GLOCK(EN) SPIEL
37A. Crime of which 17-, 26-, 51- and 59-Across are victims? : IDENTITY THEFT
51A. Suffering from chicken pox? : SICK AND (TI)RED
59A. Jail cells? : PENAL(TY) BOXES
COMPLETION TIME: 17m 25s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
6. Staples of séances : RAPS
"Séance" is a French word meaning "a sitting".

WWE - Andre the Giant14. Wrestling's ___ the Giant : ANDRE
André the Giant was a professional wrestler from France, whose real name was André René Roussimoff. He suffered from gigantism, over-production of growth hormone, reaching the height of 6 feet 3 inches by the time he was 12-years-old. But, he used his size to develop a very successful career in the ring.

15. Slave who dies in the Temple of Vulcan : AIDA
"Aida" is the famous opera by Giuseppe Verde, actually based on a scenario written by a French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first performed in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander that falls in love with her, and then of course, complications arise!

16. Trillion: Prefix : TERA-
The prefix tera- signifies a trillion, and comes from the Greek word "teras" meaning "monster".

19. Place name before and after "Oh" in a Thomas Moore title : ERIN
Thomas Moore was an Irish poet and songwriter, best known for writing the lyrics of “The Minstrel Boy” and “The Last Rose of Summer”. He wrote a poem titled “Erin, Oh Erin” using words encouraging Ireland to fight for freedom from Colonial Britain. You’l have to bear with me as I include the whole poem, given that it speaks of my homeland!
Like the bright lamp, that shone in Kildare's holy fane,
And burn'd through long ages of darkness and storm,
Is the heart that sorrows have frown'd on in vain,
Whose spirit outlives them, unfading and warm.
Erin, oh Erin, thus bright through the tears
Of a long night of bondage, thy spirit appears.

The nations have fallen, and thou still art young,
Thy sun is but rising, when others are set;
And though slavery's cloud o'er thy morning hath hung,
The full noon of freedom shall beam round thee yet.
Erin, oh Erin, though long in the shade,
Thy star will shine out when the proudest shall fade.

Unchill'd by the rain, and unwaked by the wind,
The lily lies sleeping through winter's cold hour,
Till Spring's light touch her fetters unbind,
And daylight and liberty bless the young flower.
Thus Erin, oh Erin, thy winter is past,
And the hope that lived through it shall blossom at last.

23. I-90 in Mass., e.g. : TPKE
The Massachusetts Turnpike is the name given to the most easterly portion (138 miles) of Interstate 90. I-90 is the longest Interstate in the whole country (and one that I used to live right beside, in Liverpool, NY), and runs from Seattle to Boston.

Fobus GL26 Paddle Holster For Glock Models 26/27/3326. Pitch for a pistol? : GLOCK(EN) SPIEL
Glock G.m.b.H. is an Austrian company that produces the Glock series of pistols. Much of the frame of the Glock is made out of a polymer, as opposed to metal.

A spiel is a lengthy speech or argument designed to persuade, perhaps a sales pitch. "Spiel" comes to us from German, either directly ("spiel" is the German for "play") or via the Yiddish "shpil".

A glockenspiel and xylophone are similar instruments, the main difference being the material from which the keys are made. Xylophone keys are made from wood, and glockenspiel keys are made from metal.

Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster29. Geraldo Rivera opened one in 1986 : VAULT
In the 1980s a construction company surveyed the Lexington Hotel in Chicago prior to starting into renovations. In the process the engineers turned up a hidden shooting range and tunnels leading from a suite that used to be occupied by gangster Al Capone. Further investigation unearthed a vault beneath the hotel, the opening of which became the subject of a television special hosted by Geraldo Rivera. The walls to the vault were demolished on live TV after a great deal of hype, but inside was nothing but a pile of debris.

31. Composer of "The Microsoft Sound" : ENO
Brian Eno started out his musical career with Roxy Music. However, his most oft played composition (by far!) is Microsoft's "start-up jingle", the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows operating system starts up.

32. Joneses : YENS
The slang term “Jones” is used to mean an intense addiction, a yen, and probably arose in the late sixties out of the prior use of "Jones" for the drug heroin.

33. Bacchanalias : SPREES
A bacchanalia is a drunken spree, a term that derives from the ancient Roman festival held in honor of Bacchus, the god of winemaking.

USSR Russia Flag 3'x5' NEW Polyester 3x5 Russian Banner43. ___ Union : SOVIET
The former Soviet Union was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. The new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent geographically to the old Russian Empire, and was made up of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Saab-Scania story.45. "Born from jets" sloganeer : SAAB
SAAB stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. So yes, SAAB was and still is mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you will often find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automobile division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000.

48. It connects to the scull : OAR
A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell.

50. Source of strength : SINEW
Sinew is another name for a tendon. Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle.

51. Suffering from chicken pox? : SICK AND (TI)RED
Chicken pox is a viral infection, a classic disease of childhood most commonly caught by 4-10 year olds. There is a complication that can arise later in life as the virus sometimes reactivates to cause shingles.

Leading with My Chin54. Late-night wars participant : LENO
The so called “War for Late Night” of 2010 involved Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno. O’Brien had stayed loyal to NBC on the understanding that he would take over “The Tonight Show” after Jay Leno retired. When Leno’s contract expired in 2009, NBC moved Leno aside with his agreement, and O’Brien took over. But Leno then hosted “The Jay Leno Show” in prime time, and apparently the two shows split the traditional audience, much to the annoyance of advertisers. NBC reacted by moving Leno back to the late night slot, and mayhem ensued!

CARL 63040 40-Sheet capacity hc-340 heavy-duty 3-hole steel punch, 9/32 dia., silver56. One may be left hanging : CHAD
We are all familiar with "hanging chads" after the famous Florida election recounts of 2000. A chad is any piece of paper punched out from a larger sheet. So, those round bits of paper we've all dropped over the floor when emptying a hole punch, they're chads.

58. "The Wizard of Oz" companion : LION
Bert Lahr's most famous role was that of the cowardly lion in "The Wizard of Oz". Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Remember the catchphrase made famous by the cartoon character Snagglepuss, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!"? Snagglepuss stole that line from a 1944 movie called, "Meet the People" in which it was first uttered by Bert Lahr.

HILLMAN 6260 T-NUT 8-32 CARD 465. Hardware bit : T-NUT
A T-nut is so called because it has a t-shape when viewed from the side.

66. Brand name that might ring a bell? : AVON
In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous "Avon Calling" marketing campaign started in 1954.

The Best of Johnny Carson and Friends68. "It ___ laugh" : IS TO
Apparently the phrase “it is to laugh” comes as a direct translation of the French “C'est à rire”. Johnny Carson became fond of saying "it is to laugh" on “The Tonight Show”, using it to mean “that’s funny”.

69. Time to give up? : LENT
In Latin, the Christian season we now call Lent was termed "quadragesima", a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term "Lent" was introduced. "Lent" comes from "lenz", the German word for "spring".

The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night, c.1888 Poster Print by Vincent van Gogh, 24x3670. City in Provence : ARLES
A few years ago I had the privilege of living just a short car ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although it has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city's design. It has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place that Vincent van Gogh often visited, and where he painted his famous "Cafe Terrace at Night" and "Bedroom in Arles".

Down
1. ___ fly : SAC
Sacrifice fly, in baseball ...

Ortiz, Ana Autographed/Hand Signed 8x10 Photo2. "Ugly Betty" actress Ortiz : ANA
Ana Ortiz played the title character’s older sister in the TV series “Ugly Betty”.

4. He killed Chuck Norris in "Return of the Dragon" : BRUCE LEE
Bruce Lee was born not far from here in San Francisco although he was raised in Hong Kong, returning to the US to attend college. Sadly, Bruce Lee died when he was only 32 years old, due to cerebral edema (a swelling of the brain) attributed to adverse reactions to the pain killing drug Equagesic.

8. Hi-tech helper : PDA
A device like perhaps an iPhone or Treo, can be termed a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).

10. Open grassland : STEPPE
A steppe is a grassland, devoid of trees apart from those growing near rivers and lakes. In this country we would likely call such a geographic feature a prairie.

11. Smack, so to speak : HEROIN
Back in the forties the drug heroin started to be known as “smack”, a slam term that probably came from the Yiddish word “schmeck” meaning “drug”.

12. Those in front of lenses : IRISES
The iris is the colored part of the eye that has an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

Groove Tube 12AX7 Russian Amp Vacuum Tube23. Tubes : TVS
Thermionic tube is another name for a vacuum tube, something we used to come across in old radios and televisions (giving us “tube” as the slang term for a TV). The tube consists of two electrodes (an anode and cathode) encased in a vacuum in a sealed glass tube. The anode can be heated, just like a light-bulb, and will give off electrons, and so is said to be thermionic.

Ortiz, David Autographed/Hand Signed 8x10 Photo24. Big ___ (nickname of baseball's Ortiz) : PAPI
The Dominican American baseball player David Ortiz has the nickname “Big Papi”. After each home run that Ortiz scores, he looks upwards and points to the sky, a tribute to his mother who died in a car crash in 2002 when she was only 46 years old.

25. Member of an Iraqi minority : KURD
Most of the Kurdish people live in a region known as Kurdistan, which stretches into parts of Iran, Syria, Turkey as well as northern Iraq.

Knit Tea Cozy Cosy Handmade Washable Red, White, Beige28. Brit's teapot cover : COSY
I don’t know what I’d do without my tea cosy …

34. "Rugrats" dad : STU
“Rugrats” is a cartoon show that aired on Nickelodeon.

38. Gadget whose name was inspired by "2001: A Space Odyssey" : IPOD
When Apple were planning the launch of their new music player in 2001, someone came up with the idea of the “iPod” name from the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The particular line that inspired the name is “Open the pod bay door, Hal”.

Baby41. Typical Justin Bieber fan : TEEN
I saw Justin Bieber on television not too long ago for the first time, and boy do I feel old. This heartthrob from Canada was born in 1994(!), and he is recording hit after hit record. Me, I'll stick with the Beatles ...

44. Blue ball : TWO
In pocket billiards, the 2-ball is colored blue.

51. 1972 missile pact : SALT I
There were two rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the US and the Soviet Union, resulting in the treaties SALT I (signed in 1972) and SALT II (signed in 1979).

52. Kingdom until 2008 : NEPAL
Nepal lies to the northeast of India. Today it is known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. In 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal won the country's general election. Soon after, the Assembly voted to change the form of government, moving away from a monarchy and creating a secular republic.

Bruder Toys Mack Granite Truck with Interchangeable DHL Container53. FedEx alternative : DHL
Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, he decided to parlay his experience into his own business, and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. Hillblom brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn as partners, and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights, gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born ... D (Dalsey) H (Hillblom) L (Lynn).

57. Start of an incantation : ABRA
The incantation "abracadabra" has a long history. It was used as far back as the 2nd century AD in Ancient Rome, when the word was prescribed by a physician to be worn on an amulet to help his emperor recover from disease. The word is Aramaic, and has the approximate translation of "I will create as I speak".

62. Sports org. that lasted only one season : XFL
The XFL was an American Football league that only survived for one season. The intention for the league was to provide football fans with something to watch in the off season, but they didn't bother ...

CBS Logo Two-tone Mug64. CBS part: Abbr. : SYS
CBS used to be called the Columbia Broadcasting System.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Did nothing while other things went on : SAT BY
6. Staples of séances : RAPS
10. Figurehead's place : SHIP
14. Wrestling's ___ the Giant : ANDRE
15. Slave who dies in the Temple of Vulcan : AIDA
16. Trillion: Prefix : TERA-
17. Sparring session? : CASUAL FR(ID)AY
19. Place name before and after "Oh" in a Thomas Moore title : ERIN
20. One who stirs the pot : CHEF
21. Face down : OPPOSE
23. I-90 in Mass., e.g. : TPKE
26. Pitch for a pistol? : GLOCK(EN)SPIEL
29. Geraldo Rivera opened one in 1986 : VAULT
31. Composer of "The Microsoft Sound" : ENO
32. Joneses : YENS
33. Bacchanalias : SPREES
35. "Gimme ___!" : A SEC
37. Crime of which 17-, 26-, 51- and 59-Across are victims? : IDENTITY THEFT
42. Take for a ride : DUPE
43. ___ Union : SOVIET
45. "Born from jets" sloganeer : SAAB
48. It connects to the scull : OAR
50. Source of strength : SINEW
51. Suffering from chicken pox? : SICK AND (TI)RED
54. Late-night wars participant : LENO
55. Worn things : ATTIRE
56. One may be left hanging : CHAD
58. "The Wizard of Oz" companion : LION
59. Jail cells? : PENAL(TY) BOXES
65. Hardware bit : T-NUT
66. Brand name that might ring a bell? : AVON
67. Cook, as some beans : REFRY
68. "It ___ laugh" : IS TO
69. Time to give up? : LENT
70. City in Provence : ARLES

Down
1. ___ fly : SAC
2. "Ugly Betty" actress Ortiz : ANA
3. 62-Down events, for short : TDS
4. He killed Chuck Norris in "Return of the Dragon" : BRUCE LEE
5. "Amen to that!" : YEAH
6. Drawing : RAFFLE
7. Inspired stuff : AIR
8. Hi-tech helper : PDA
9. Give the go-ahead : SAY OK
10. Open grassland : STEPPE
11. Smack, so to speak : HEROIN
12. Those in front of lenses : IRISES
13. Jury : PANEL
18. It's kept under the table : LEG
22. Whack jobs : PSYCHOS
23. Tubes : TVS
24. Big ___ (nickname of baseball's Ortiz) : PAPI
25. Member of an Iraqi minority : KURD
27. Raising hell : ON A TEAR
28. Brit's teapot cover : COSY
30. Conjure up spirits? : TEND BAR
34. "Rugrats" dad : STU
36. Aliens, for short : ETS
38. Gadget whose name was inspired by "2001: A Space Odyssey" : IPOD
39. Baddie : EVIL DOER
40. Dandy : FINE
41. Typical Justin Bieber fan : TEEN
44. Blue ball : TWO
45. Occupations that may mean being forced to move away : SIT-INS
46. Rebel, in a way : ACT OUT
47. Like : AKIN TO
49. Take back, as a statement : RECANT
51. 1972 missile pact : SALT I
52. Kingdom until 2008 : NEPAL
53. FedEx alternative : DHL
57. Start of an incantation : ABRA
60. Night before : EVE
61. Prefix with -com : NON
62. Sports org. that lasted only one season : XFL
63. Poet's preposition : ERE
64. CBS part: Abbr. : SYS

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2 comments :

jon said...

A delightful puzzle, although I would have liked to have seen acouple of additional question marks, specifically:
21 across- Face down?
7 down- Inspired stuff?
6 down may also deserve one- Drawing?
I also think the clue for 6 across was unacceptably weak- Staples of seances ?!
Otherwise, a wonderful puzzle.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Jon.

I have to agree, that RAPS as the answer to "Staples of seances", without a question mark, is a little weak. Although, the linking of raps with seances deserves a round of applause, I'd say.

Regarding the other clues, and the "missing" question marks, that isn't so cut and dry in my mind. I take your point, that the each clue's meaning is deliberately misleading, but on the other hand the clues are "dictionary" definitions of the answers. To question mark or not to question mark ... that is the question! :)

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it!

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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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