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0530-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 30 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: Michael Barnhart
THEME: BREAK A LEG … all the theme answers feature a broken LE-G i.e. the answer contains a word ending in -LE followed by a word starting with G-
17. Bonding material for bathroom floors : TILE GROUT
25. Playground fixture : JUNGLE GYM
39. Donations : CHARITABLE GIFTS
51. Upholsterer's tool : STAPLE GUN
63. "Good luck!" ... and a hint to 17-, 25-, 39- and 51-Across : BREAK A LEG
COMPLETION TIME: 6m 27s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
15. ___ Major (constellation) : URSA
The constellation called Ursa Major (Latin for "Larger Bear") is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle, or dipper. It also resembles a plow, and that's what we usually call it back in Ireland, the "plough".

21. Piquancy : ZEST
Something that is “piquant” is pleasantly sharp in taste, zesty. “Piquant” is the French word for “prickly”.

24. Messenger ___ : RNA
RNA and DNA are very similar molecules. One big difference is that RNA is a single strand structure, whereas DNA is famously a double-helix. Another difference is that RNA contains ribose as a structural unit, and DNA contains deoxyribose i.e. ribose with one less oxygen atom. And that ribose/deoxyribose difference is reflected in the full name of the two molecules: ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

La Bamba (Recorded at Gold Star- the B-side of "Donna")27. 1959 Spanish-language Top 40 hit : LA BAMBA
"La Bamba" is a Mexican folk song that was recorded by Ritchie Valens in 1958. "La Bamba" appears in the oft-cited list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time compiled by "Rolling Stone" magazine, and is the only song in the list not sung in English. The song lent its name to the 1987 biopic about the life of Ritchie Valens, starring Lou Diamond Phillips as Valens.

Mozart: A Cultural Biography30. "___ the season to be jolly" : ‘TIS
“‘Tis the season to be jolly” is a line from the traditional Yuletide carol “Deck the Halls”. The tune itself is Welsh in origin, dating back to the 16th century. The lyrics however, are American and from the 19th century. Also, Mozart used the tune as a theme for a delightful violin and piano duet.

32. "Beowulf," e.g. : EPIC
"Beowulf" is an old epic poem from England, although the story is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf fights a battle, defending the Danish King Hrothgar from the ferocious outcast Grendel. Hrothgar had built a great hall for his people in which they could celebrate; singing, dancing and drinking lots of mead. Grendel was angered by the carousing, and attacked the hall, devouring many of the incumbent warriors as they slept. A bit of an extreme reaction to noisy neighbors I'd say ...

35. Civil rights grp. : NAACP
The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it actually still uses the old but offensive term "colored people". The NAACP was founded in 1909, by three white people: suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moscowitz.

KAREN CARPENTER 20X24 PHOTO43. One of the Carpenters, in 1970s pop : KAREN
Karen Carpenter was an accomplished drummer, although she only started playing drums in high school, as a member of the school band. After she graduated she started playing jazz with her brother, Richard, and a college friend. Later, she and Richard played with a group called Spectrum, and submitted many demo tapes to recording companies, but all were unsuccessful. Finally, Karen and Richard got a recording contract with A&M Records, and when they had Karen take the lead on their songs, they hit the big time. Sadly, of course, Karen passed away at only 32-years-old, dying from heart failure brought on by anorexia.

Parrot with Martini Neon Sign and Light44. Gas in advertising signs : NEON
The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows”, giving off the familiar light.

46. Toward the back of a boat : AFT
"Aft" really means "back there" on a boat, or "behind". The back of a boat is of course "the stern".

Weasel (Farthing Wood Find & Fit Book)48. Animals not to be trusted? : WEASELS
To weasel out of something is to back away from a prior commitment. The association of “weasels” with the concept of not being trusted might have arisen from the behavior in which a weasel sucks out the contents of an egg while leaving the shell virtually intact.

56. Mal de ___ : MER
"Mal de mer" is French for sea-sickness.

58. Place to get an M.A. or Ph.D. : UNIV
In many countries, including the US, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) is the highest academic degree awarded by universities. However, in Ireland and the UK, "doctorates" can also be awarded, a higher recognition. For example, there is a Doctor of Sciences (DSc) and a Doctor of Letters (DLitt).

Changing How the World Does Business: Fedex's Incredible Journey to Success - The Inside Story61. UPS rival : FEDEX
FedEx began operations in 1973, as Federal Express, but now operates very successfully under it's more catchy, abbreviated name. Headquartered in Memphis, with its "SuperHub" at Memphis International Airport, FedEx is the world's largest airline in terms of tons of freight flown. And, due to the presence of FedEx, Memphis Airport has the largest-volume cargo operation of any airport worldwide.

63. "Good luck!" ... and a hint to 17-, 25-, 39- and 51-Across : BREAK A LEG
There are many, many colorful theories for the origins of the expression “break a leg”, used in the world of theater to mean “good luck”. Regardless of the origin, what is clear is that wishing someone “good luck” is considered to be very bad luck.

The Little Red Hen (Little Golden Book)68. "The Little Red Hen" response : NOT I
“The Little Red Hen” is an old folk tale, probably from Russia. In the story, the little red hen finds a grain of wheat and asks for help to plant it. “Not I” is the response she gets, repeatedly. She does the work herself, eventually baking bread from the harvested grain. She asks for help in eating the bread, and gets lots of volunteers. But, the hen decides to save the bread for herself and her chicks, seeing as no one would help her plant the wheat in the first place.

70. Indigo and others : DYES
Anil is another name for the indigo plant, as well as the name for the blue indigo dye that is obtained from it. And that blue is relatively close to "navy" blue.

Down
2. "Night" author Wiesel : ELIE
Elie Wiesel is a holocaust survivor, best known for his book "Night" which tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

7. Maker of the Rodeo and Trooper : ISUZU
Isuzu is a Japanese auto manufacturer, very successful in the medium and heavy truck market in particular. You'll be seeing fewer and fewer Isuzu passenger cars on American roads though, as the company exited the US passenger car market in 2008. The Isuzu Rodeo is a pick-up truck made between 1988 and 2002, and sold in the US as the Isuzu Pickup and Chevrolet LUV. "Rodeo" was the model name used back in Japan.

10. Tel Aviv's home: Abbr. : ISR
The full name of Israel's second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into "Spring Mound", a name chosen in 1910.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band22. The Beatles' ___ Pepper : SGT
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band was the alter-ego of the Beatles, used in the studio album of the same name released in 1967.

Morales, Esai Autographed/Hand Signed 8x10 Photo26. Actor Morales : ESAI
Esai Morales is best known for his role in the 1987 movie "La Bamba", which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai Morales).

28. Turkish title : AGHA
Aga, or agha, is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

37. Bottom-row PC key : CTRL
The control key.

38. Pitchfork-shaped letters : PSIS
The Greek letter psi is the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

49. One way to run : AMOK
The phrase "to run amok" has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for "attacking furiously", "amuk". The word "amok" was also used as a noun, to describe Malay natives who were "frenzied". Given Malaya's troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy ...

50. Many four-doors : SEDANS
The American "sedan" car, is the equivalent to the British "saloon" car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating, and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

Fantasy Furniture Fancy Sofa, Black51. Davenports : SOFAS
The name Davenport, when used to mean a sofa, is one of those generic terms that evolved for an item from the name of a prominent manufacturer. The long gone Davenport Company sold a lot of furniture in the midwest and upstate New York, so the term is especially common in that part of the country.

52. Pipsqueak : TWERP
Twerp and pipsqueak are both terms used for someone who is insignificant and contemptible.

ANDIE MACDOWELL 8x10 COLOUR PHOTO53. Actress MacDowell : ANDIE
Andie MacDowell is an American actress who seems to turn up in quite a few British productions set in that part of the world. Most famously she was the love interest in the fabulous film “Four Weddings and a Funeral” starring opposite Hugh Grant. I also enjoyed another of her movies, “Groundhog Day”, a fun tale.

55. Bit of light that's harmful to the skin : UV RAY
It’s the ultraviolet light that causes skin to burn, but it’s also UV light that contributes to the manufacture of Vitamin D in the skin.

60. Himalayan beast : YETI
A yeti is a beast of legend, also called an abominable snowman. It is a Tibetan term, and the yeti is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot. The study of beasts whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

62. Top-row PC key : ESC
The escape key was originally used to control computer peripherals (a printer maybe). It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (like printing, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of other things, especially in gaming programs.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:

Across
1. House members, for short : REPS
5. Seethe : BOIL
9. Works the field : TILLS
14. Loads : A LOT
15. ___ Major (constellation) : URSA
16. To date : AS YET
17. Bonding material for bathroom floors : TILE GROUT
19. Overused, as a saying : TRITE
20. Premature : EARLY
21. Piquancy : ZEST
23. Hoops grp. : NBA
24. Messenger ___ : RNA
25. Playground fixture : JUNGLE GYM
27. 1959 Spanish-language Top 40 hit : LA BAMBA
30. "___ the season to be jolly" : ‘TIS
31. Get on in years : AGE
32. "Beowulf," e.g. : EPIC
35. Civil rights grp. : NAACP
39. Donations : CHARITABLE GIFTS
43. One of the Carpenters, in 1970s pop : KAREN
44. Gas in advertising signs : NEON
45. Prefix with cycle : TRI-
46. Toward the back of a boat : AFT
48. Animals not to be trusted? : WEASELS
51. Upholsterer's tool : STAPLE GUN
56. Mal de ___ : MER
57. Hold the deed to : OWN
58. Place to get an M.A. or Ph.D. : UNIV
59. Not to be believed : DODGY
61. UPS rival : FEDEX
63. "Good luck!" ... and a hint to 17-, 25-, 39- and 51-Across : BREAK A LEG
66. Get up : ARISE
67. "___ does it" : EASY
68. "The Little Red Hen" response : NOT I
69. Glasses, informally : SPECS
70. Indigo and others : DYES
71. Giant gulp, as from a bottle : SWIG

Down
1. Snitch : RAT
2. "Night" author Wiesel : ELIE
3. Arctic animal : POLAR BEAR
4. Breastbones : STERNA
5. Lay in a grave : BURY
6. Spanish gold : ORO
7. Maker of the Rodeo and Trooper : ISUZU
8. Approach dark : LATEN
9. Being a snitch : TATTLING
10. Tel Aviv's home: Abbr. : ISR
11. Bearing false witness : LYING
12. Allow to pass : LET BY
13. Good thing to build up or blow off : STEAM
18. Glitz : GLAM
22. The Beatles' ___ Pepper : SGT
25. Where 7-Down is based : JAPAN
26. Actor Morales : ESAI
27. Be deficient in : LACK
28. Turkish title : AGHA
29. "Wanna ___?" : BET
33. "May ___ of service?" : I BE
34. Entertainer at a kid's birthday party : CLOWN
36. Sunset remnant : AFTERGLOW
37. Bottom-row PC key : CTRL
38. Pitchfork-shaped letters : PSIS
40. Harvest : REAP
41. Streams of arrivals : INFLUXES
42. U-turn from WSW : ENE
47. Two hours before noon : TEN
49. One way to run : AMOK
50. Many four-doors : SEDANS
51. Davenports : SOFAS
52. Pipsqueak : TWERP
53. Actress MacDowell : ANDIE
54. Mocked : GIBED
55. Bit of light that's harmful to the skin : UV RAY
59. Calendar units : DAYS
60. Himalayan beast : YETI
62. Top-row PC key : ESC
64. Suffix with Canton : -ESE
65. Band booking : GIG

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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 bill@paxient.com.

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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