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0513-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 13 May 11, Friday

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

THEME: SUPERSTITION … recognizing that this puzzle is first appearing on Friday the 13th, the puzzle has answers that are every length from 3 to 15 letters, except there is no 13-letter answer.
NOTE: I solve the puzzle online, and today’s online puzzle is numbered differently than the print version. The print crossword reflects the superstition of the setter, so there is no clue number 13 (across or down). As a result the clue numbers may not jive here with your clue numbers. Apologies, but there is not much I can do about it!

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. [See blurb] : SUPERSTITION
The blurb reads, “Every length of answer from 3 to 15 letters - except one - appears in this puzzle. Some people might have a 1-Across about that”

Betty Crocker Homestyle Reds, 100% Real Mashed Potatoes, 3.3-Ounce Packages (Pack of 8)15. Betty Crocker or Hungry Jack product : INSTANT POTATOES
Instant mashed potatoes are basically potatoes that have been cooked, mashed and dehydrated. Compared to the original mashed potato, the instant variety contains much less fiber and a lot more salt. Speaking as an expert (referring to the Irish blood coursing through my veins!), I recommend sticking to the real thing ...

Signed Bean, Orson 8x10 B&W Photo22. Bean, for one : ORSON
Orson Bean is an actor, perhaps best known for his appearances on television game shows in the sixties, seventies and eighties. His most famous game show role was that of a panelist on "To Tell the Truth". Interestingly, Bean (real name Dallas Burrows) is a first cousin, twice removed, of President Calvin Coolidge.

23. Ruhr rodent : MAUS
The German for “mouse” is “maus”.

I knew a man back in Ireland, a German national from the city of Essen in the Ruhr Valley. He had very sad tales to tell from the days of WWII. As a young boy he lost his (socialist) parents during the Nazi purges early in the war. In 1943, he was living with his grandmother and still attending school when he was drafted into the army along with the rest of his class (at 14 years old, he told me). His platoon leader was his old school teacher who made a point of tutoring the boys in place of military drilling. One day, he was on guard duty with his class/platoon at the dam above the city, and along come the Dam Busters, with their bouncing bombs. The raid was successful (from the perspective of the Allies), but he described terrible famine faced by the people below the dam due to flooding of the farmland that surrounded the factories.

The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner (Cambridge Companions to Music)26. Like Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 : IN E
Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer, not a favorite of mine as he embraces the use of dissonances (I'm a sober traditionalist!). His Symphony No. 7 is perhaps his most popular work. He created a slow, mournful movement in recognition of the impending death of Richard Wagner, whom he greatly admired.

27. Day associated with an unlucky number: Abbr. : FRI
In our Gregorian calendar there is always at least one occasion annually when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, with the dreaded day only coming three times at most each year. Someone with a fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobic, from “Frigg”, the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named, and from “triskaidekaphobia”, the fear of the number thirteen. No one seems to know for sure from where the superstition arises, but it was first documented in the mid-1800s, apparently in an 1869 biography of the composer Rossini.

10k Yellow Gold 4mm Traditional Wedding Band Ring, Size 728. Certain ring-bearer: Abbr. : MRS
Mr. is the abbreviation for "master", and Mrs. is the abbreviation for "mistress".

36. Germany vis-à-vis France, e.g. : EX-ENEMY
We use the French phrase "vis-à-vis" to mean "with regard to" or "in relation to". The literal translation from the French is "face to face", and when we imported the phrase into English, in the mid-1700s, it had two other meanings that were more faithful to the original. Firstly it could be a "face to face" meeting (not so today), and secondly it was a type of carriage, in which the occupants face each other.

Worthington 281149 4.25-Pound Steel Propane Cylinder With Type 1 With Overflow Prevention Device Valve39. End of many a fuel source name : -ANE
The “smaller” alkanes are gases, and are quite combustible. Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas, with ethane (C2H6) being the second largest component. Propane (C3H8) is also found in natural gas and is heavy enough to be readily turned into a liquid by compression, for ease of transportation and storage. Butane (C4H10) is also easily liquefied under pressure and can be used as the fuel in cigarette lighters or as the propellant in aerosol sprays. The heavier alkanes are liquids and solids at room temperature.

41. Mortar carrier : HOD
A hod is 3-sided box on the the end of a long handle used for carrying bricks (and sometimes mortar) at a construction site, usually up and down ladders.

46. Island whose name means, literally, "main land" : HONSHU
Honshu is the largest island in Japan, with the name “Honshu” translating as “Main Island”. It is the seventh largest island in the world, and being home to the principal cities in the country it is the second most populous island on the planet (after Java, in Indonesia).

1. Sch. syst. with a campus in Buffalo : SUNY
The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest system of third level colleges and universities in the world, with almost 500,00 students attending over 60 campuses across the state.

Buffalo is the second most-populous city in the state of New York. The city takes its name from Buffalo Creek that runs though the metropolis (although it is called Buffalo River within the city). The source of the name Buffalo for the creek is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear, there were never any bison in the area.

The Beatles (Group Photo) Music Postcard - 4x62. BOAC destination, in song : USSR
By the time the Beatles recorded "Back in the U.S.S.R", they were having a lot of problems working with each other. The song was recorded in 1968, with the band formally dissolving in 1970. Tensions were so great during the recording of "Back in the U.S.S.R" that Ringo Starr actually stormed out saying that he had quit, and the remaining three Beatles made the record without Ringo. Drums were played mainly by Paul McCartney, but there are also drum tracks on the final cut by both George Harrison and John Lennon. Interesting, huh?

British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was one of the two airlines that were merged in 1974 to form British Airways (the other was British European Airways).

Angle Pitons 3/4 by Black Diamond3. Climbers' gear : PITONS
“Piton” is a French word for a “hook”.

4. Related on the mother's side : ENATE
Something that is enate is growing outward, and "enate" is used to describe ancestors related on the mother's side. Something that is agnate comes from a common source, and "agnate" is used to describe relatives on the father's side of the family tree.

5. Backing out of : RENEGING ON
To renege on something is to back out of it. It’s a word commonly used in card games like bridge and whist. A renege is when a player doesn't follow suit, even though there may be a card of the suit led in his/her hand.

Concorde: A Photographic History6. Boomer that retired in the early '00s? : SST
The most famous SuperSonic Transport (SST) was the Concorde, a plane that's no longer flying. Concorde had that famous "droop nose". The nose was moved to the horizontal position during flight to create the optimum aerodynamic shape thereby reducing drag, and was lowered during taxi, takeoff and landing, so that the pilot had better visibility. The need for the droop nose was driven largely by the delta-shaped wings. The delta wing necessitates a higher angle of attack at takeoff and landing than conventional wing designs, so the pilot needed the nose lowered so that he or she could see the ground.

9. One of the Jacksons : TITO
Tito Jackson was the third eldest of the Jackson children, and was known in Motown as the "quiet Jackson".

11. Mike Myers or Dan Aykroyd, once : ONTARIAN
MIKE MYERS 8X10 COLOR PHOTOMike Myers does do a great British accent, witness his performance in the madcap "Austin Powers" movies. He has an advantage though, as both his parents are British, and live in Ontario, Canada.

SNL - Best of Dan AykroydDan Akroyd is a Canadian comedian and actor, born in Ottawa, Ontario, although he is now a naturalized US citizen. He was of course an original cast member on “Saturday Night Live” and, along with John Belushi, fronted the Blues Brothers.

12. Bygone Dodges : NEONS
The Neon was made by Chrysler from 1994 to 2005. It was introduced to the rest of the world as the Chrysler Neon, but sold under the Dodge and Plymouth brands in the US.

14. Mulligan, say : REDO
There doesn't seem to be a definitive account for the origin of the term "Mulligan", most often used for a shot do-over in golf. There are lots of stories about golfers named Mulligan though, and I suspect one of them may be true.

23. End of the 26th century : MMDC
The 26th century will end in the year 2600 on December 31st. The 27th century will start on Jan 1st, 2601.

25. Defunct sports org. with the Denver Gold and Chicago Blitz : USFL
The United States Football League (USFL) was started in 1983, originally with a schedule of games that lasted through the off-season for the NFL. After a couple of seasons the schedule was changed so as to compete directly with the NFL. There followed a dispute between the USFL and the NFL which went to court, as a result of which the NFL was found to have violated anti-monopoly laws. The USFL was awarded one dollar (yep, $1) in the judgment, which was tripled to three dollars as required by anti-trust laws. The USFL folded soon after, having lost over $160 million.

31. Certain Wall Street type : BEAR
The terms "bull" and "bear" markets come from the way in which each animal attacks. A bull thrusts his horns upwards (an "up" market), whereas a bear swipes with his paws downward (a "down" market).

AL PACINO 8x10 COLOR PHOTO35. "Author! Author!" star, 1982 : AL PACINO
Al Pacino seems to be best known for playing characters on either side of the law. His big break in movies came when he played Michael Corleone in “The Godfather”, a role that grew for him as the series of films progressed. But his Oscar winning role was that of a blind ex-military officer in “Scent of a Woman”.

Body Candy Italian Charms Laser RHO Greek Letter LOWER CASE38. A fraternity chapter : RHO
Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter "p".

42. Made Berne burn? : PUNNED
Bern (or Berne) is the capital city of Switzerland. The official language of the city is German, but the language most spoken in Bern is a dialect, Bernese German.

43. Base letters : APO
Army Post Office.

44. Grp. in "Die Hard" : LAPD
The 1988 action movie “Die Hard” is such a fun film. We always pull it out at Christmas when we want something “Christmassy” but different from “The Bishop’s Wife” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The “Nakatomi Plaza” building that features so prominently in the film is actually “Fox Plaza” (headquarters for 20th Century Fox) in Los Angeles, built not long before filming started.

45. Pentium source : INTEL
Intel is the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips. The company was founded in 1968, and the name “Intel” is a derived from INT-egrated EL-ectronics Corporation.

Jim Kaat Minnesota Twins Autographed 11 x 14 Professionally Matted Color Photo49. Pitcher Jim who was a 16-time Gold Glove winner : KAAT
Jim Kaat is a former professional baseball pitcher who went on to become a famous sportscaster, mainly calling games for the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins.

51. Popular Sporcle subj. : GEOG is a trivia quiz website. The name is derived from the word "oracle" apparently. I like the web site's mission statement: "We actively and methodically search out new and innovative ways to prevent our users from getting any work done whatsoever."

52. Sea cliff dweller : ERNE
The ern (also erne) is also called the white-tailed eagle, and the sea-eagle.

53. Draft org. : SSS
The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SSS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objectors available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrants who have completed military service) and 4-D (ministers of religion).

Embassy Genuine Leather Passport Cover55. Passport application datum: Abbr. : SSN
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an "identity number" to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, a SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 years of age had no number assigned. There was concern that a lot of people were claiming children as dependents on their tax forms who did not exist, so from 1986 onwards it was a requirement to get a SSN for any dependents over the ago of 5. Sure enough, in the following year's tax returns, seven million dependents "disappeared".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. [See blurb] : SUPERSTITION
13. Deal-making occasion, maybe : BUSINESS DINNER
15. Betty Crocker or Hungry Jack product : INSTANT POTATOES
17. Mechanically : BY ROTE
18. "Impossible" : NO CAN DO
19. Cancel : NEGATE
22. Bean, for one : ORSON
23. Ruhr rodent : MAUS
26. Like Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 : IN E
27. Day associated with an unlucky number: Abbr. : FRI
28. Certain ring-bearer: Abbr. : MRS
29. Hard to nail down : INDEFINABLE
34. Takes the bite out of? : DEFANGS
36. Germany vis-à-vis France, e.g. : EX-ENEMY
37. Open formally : CALL TO ORDER
39. End of many a fuel source name : -ANE
40. Compose : PEN
41. Mortar carrier : HOD
42. Poker : PROD
43. "Are you calling me ___?" : A LIAR
46. Island whose name means, literally, "main land" : HONSHU
48. Flatten : PANCAKE
50. Overtones : TINGES
54. Reading devices : OPTICAL SCANNERS
57. Bridge workers, perhaps : DENTAL SURGEONS
58. Wasn't quite as great as before : LOST ONE’S EDGE

1. Sch. syst. with a campus in Buffalo : SUNY
2. BOAC destination, in song : USSR
3. Climbers' gear : PITONS
4. Related on the mother's side : ENATE
5. Backing out of : RENEGING ON
6. Boomer that retired in the early '00s? : SST
7. It's more than a pinch: Abbr. : TSP
8. "What on earth have ___?" : I DONE
9. One of the Jacksons : TITO
10. Trapped : IN A CORNER
11. Mike Myers or Dan Aykroyd, once : ONTARIAN
12. Bygone Dodges : NEONS
13. Lobster catcher? : BIB
14. Mulligan, say : REDO
16. Prince, e.g. : SON
20. "Hence ..." : AND SO
21. Basketball timeout sign : TEE
23. End of the 26th century : MMDC
24. Staging ___ : AREA
25. Defunct sports org. with the Denver Gold and Chicago Blitz : USFL
27. Apparently stationary light sources, to astronomers : FIXED STARS
29. Plays with others, for instance : INTERACTS
30. Had for a meal : FED ON
31. Certain Wall Street type : BEAR
32. Alphabet run : LMNO
33. Saw : EYED
35. "Author! Author!" star, 1982 : AL PACINO
38. A fraternity chapter : RHO
42. Made Berne burn? : PUNNED
43. Base letters : APO
44. Grp. in "Die Hard" : LAPD
45. Pentium source : INTEL
46. "What do we have here?!" : HELLO
47. Connector with a pivotal role : HINGE
49. Pitcher Jim who was a 16-time Gold Glove winner : KAAT
51. Popular Sporcle subj. : GEOG
52. Sea cliff dweller : ERNE
53. Draft org. : SSS
55. Passport application datum: Abbr. : SSN
56. Pool need : CUE

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Anonymous said...

I do like your website -- have been following Rex's site for year's but yours provides the clear explanations for the answers that he so often glosses over.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, anonymous visitor.Thanks for the kind words about the blog.

I think the Rex Parker site is the gold standard for crossword blogs. He is really knowledgeable and provides a really expert critique. I wouldn't dream of trying to do what he does online, as I am just the average solver who enjoys the NYTCrossword.

I like to use the puzzle as a learning experience, and pass on the little bits of trivia that I puck up in the research that I do after I've finished working on the puzzle itself. There's a small group of folks that seem to enjoy reading what I publish, and I'm having fun doing it!

Thanks for stopping by!

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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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