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Greetings from Greenville, Missouri: BUSINESS AS USUAL

My wife and I are on a summer road trip, a loop from California extending as far east as New Orleans (we hope). While on the road I am continuing to solve and post, although I may not be as prompt in posting or responding to messages as I would like. I hope you can understand! We spent much of today at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. What a great place to visit ... Bill

0531-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 31 May 11, Tuesday

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: TWENTY-ONE … all the theme answers are associated with the number TWENTY-ONE:
17. Something to play at a casino : BLACKJACK
25. Pips : SPOTS ON A DIE
41. Jack Barry once hosted a rigged one : FIFTIES GAME SHOW
51. Place for Manhattanites to drink and dance : NEW YORK CLUB
65. Number associated with 17-, 25-, 41- and 51-Across : TWENTY-ONE

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
After the Thin Man Poster Movie Foreign 11x17 William Powell Myrna Loy James Stewart Elissa Landi1. Nick and Nora's terrier : ASTA
Asta was the wonderful little dog in the superb movie "The Thin Man" starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called "Skippy". Skippy was also the dog in "Bringing up Baby" with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of "The Thin Man" films.

5. Blood donation unit : PINT
Traditionally a unit of blood is about a pint, or more likely a half-liter these days.

Volume I - Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature (Philosophical Writings of Niels Bohr Series, Vol 1)14. Nobelist Niels : BOHR
Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist, who won his 1922 Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics and atomic structure. Later in his life he was part of the team working on the Manhattan Project, developing the first atomic bomb.

17. Something to play at a casino : BLACKJACK
The game of "twenty-one" was first referred to in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing "Don Quixote". He called the game "ventiuna" (Spanish for "twenty-one"). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn't all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker "Blackjack".

20. Holy Roman emperor dubbed "the Great" : OTTO I
Otto I the Great, ruled the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century.

21. Wife of Zeus : HERA
In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealousy and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character in Roman mythology was Juno.

25. Pips : SPOTS ON A DIE
As we all know, the numbers on dice are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. Now, there are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting ...

31. President pro ___ : TEM
Pro tempore can be abbreviated to "pro tem" or "p.t." It is a Latin phrase which best translates as "for the time being". It is used to describe a person who is acting for another, usually a superior.

34. Willing, old-style : LIEF
Lief means willingly, gladly. A lovely word ...

37. Kama ___ : SUTRA
Kama is the Hindu god of love. He is portrayed as a youth bearing a bow and arrows, much like Eros and Cupid.

The word "sutra" is used in Hinduism for a learned text, usually meant to be studied by students.

The Kama Sutra is renowned for its descriptions of positions that can be used for sexual intercourse, but the sutra includes many other texts that deal with other matters of a sexual nature including how to woo a woman, the conduct of a "chief wife", the conduct of "other" wives, how to make money as a courtesan and much, much more, as if that isn't enough ...

American Justice - Quiz Show Scandal and Other Frauds41. Jack Barry once hosted a rigged one : FIFTIES GAME SHOW
Jack Barry was the host of the fifties TV game show “Twenty One”. In 1958 it was discovered that the show was “fixed”. Even though Barry wasn’t involved in the cheating, he later admitted to participating in a cover up once he found out.

"Twenty One" (note the lack of a hyphen) is a TV game show from the fifties. Famously, it was discovered that "Twenty One" was a rigged game, with the audience favorite Charles Van Doren (and others) being fed the answers ahead of time. The whole scandal was the inspiration for the 1994 movie "Quiz Show" in which Ralph Fiennes played Van Doren.

44. Nicene ___ : CREED
What is known today in the Christian tradition as the Nicene Creed, was originally adopted by the first ecumenical council when it met in 325 AD. The meeting took place in the city of Nicaea, which gave its name to this particular profession of faith. Nicaea is the Greek name of the city that is now called Iznik, and it lies in the northwest of Turkey.

46. Predatory seabird : ERNE
The ern (also erne) is also called the white-tailed eagle, and the sea-eagle.

Hopkins BC0800 Juice Performance 12' Standard Power 10-Gauge Booster Cable49. Jumper cable connection : ANODE
The two terminals of a battery are called the anode and the cathode. Electrons travel from the anode to the cathode, creating an electric current.

51. Place for Manhattanites to drink and dance : NEW YORK CLUB
The 21 Club in New York City has a colorful history as a speakeasy in the days of Prohibition. The club was raided a number of times, but the owners were never caught. When the cops arrived, levers were activated that tipped the shelves holding the booze, dropping everything down a chute and into the New York City sewer system.

56. Soufflé ingredient : EGG
A soufflé is of course a French dish, usually served as a dessert. The verb “souffler” means “to blow, blow up”.

Revelation of the Magi: The Lost Tale of the Wise Men's Journey to Bethlehem60. The Magi, e.g. : TRIO
Magi is the plural of the Latin word "magus", a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, magi is commonly used with reference to the "wise men from the East" who followed the star and visited Jesus just after he was born.

La Dolce Vita [VHS]63. Paparazzo's target, briefly : CELEB
Paparazzi are photojournalists who specialize in taking candid shots of celebrities. The name comes from the famous Fellini movie, “La Dolce Vita”, in which there is a character that’s a news photographer, with the name Paparazzo …

69. Architect Saarinen : EERO
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect, renowned in America for his unique designs for public buildings such as Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK.

71. British earldom : ESSEX
The title of Earl of Essex has been in use in England since the 12th century.

EDIE FALCO 8X10 COLOR PHOTO73. Falco of "Nurse Jackie" : EDIE
Edie Falco won her three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano in HBO's outstanding drama series, "The Sopranos".

Memoirs2. Conductor Sir Georg : SOLTI
Sir Georg Solti was a great Hungarian-British conductor, who spent 22 years as music director of the Chicago Symphony, one of many prestigious positions he held in the world of classical music and opera. Solti has one 31 Grammy Awards, the most won by any individual in any genre of music.

4. Western U.S. oil giant : ARCO
ARCO stands for Atlantic Richfield Company. One of ARCO's claims to fame is that it is responsible for the nation's largest Superfund site. Mining and smelting in the area around Butte, Montana polluted the region's water and soil, and ARCO have agreed to pay $187 million to help clean up the area.

6. Often rolled-over investment, for short : IRA
I have to tell you, when I first came to the US from Ireland, it was pretty confusing seeing big signs along the freeway advocating IRA contributions. Back in Ireland, that was pretty illegal (where IRA stands for the outlawed Irish Republican Army!).

7. After-dark time in Germany : NACHT
“Nacht”, German for “night”.

8. Rug rats : TYKES
"Tyke" has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902, but for centuries before that a "tyke" was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.

Child's Inflatable Sumo Costume with Battery Operated Fan9. Like most sumo wrestlers : JAPANESE
Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in the country of its origin, Japan. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of its aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

12. The blahs : ENNUI
Ennui is the French word for boredom, that we now readily use in English. It's one of the few French words we've imported that we haven't anglicized and actually pronounce "correctly".

13. Coffee shop order : LATTE
The name latte is an abbreviation of the Italian "caffelatte" meaning "coffee (and) milk". Note that in the original spelling of "latte", the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the "e". An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

Pele: The Illustratrated Autobiography: Photographs and Memorabilia from Soccer's Greatest Player26. Brazilian soccer hero : PELE
Pele is the nickname of Edison de Nascimento, who has gone by the name Pele for most of his life. He is now retired, and for my money was the world's greatest ever soccer player. He is the only person to have been part of three World Cup winning squads. Pele is a national treasure in his native Brazil.

27. Keats or Wordsworth : ODIST
John Keats is famous for a writing a whole series of beautiful odes, in particular the so-called “1819 Odes”, a collection from the year 1819 that includes famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, "Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.

The great English poet William Wordsworth lived in the Lake District in the north of England, a beautiful part of the country. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Dove Cottage in Grasmere a couple of times, where Wordsworth lived with his wife, Dorothy.

Queen Victoria (Essential Biographies)28. "We are not ___": Queen Victoria : AMUSED
The royal “we” is more correctly called the majestic plural, and is the use of a plural pronoun to describe a single person in a high office. I suppose the most often quoted phrase that uses the majestic plural is, “We are not amused”, uttered by Queen Victoria.

32. U.S.M.C. enlistee : PFC
In the US Marine Corps, an E-1 is the entry-level enlisted rank of private. An E-2 is a Private First Class.

The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud (Psychopathology of Everyday Life, the Interpretation of Dreams, and Three Contributions To the Theory of Sex)35. Freudian concept : EGO
Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the super-ego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic, instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The super-ego has almost a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I Poster Movie F (11 x 17 Inches - 28cm x 44cm) Emma Watson Daniel Radcliffe Ralph Fiennes Helena Bonham Carter Tom Felton Alan Rickman Movie Poster Print, 11x1739. Potter pal Weasley : RON
In the “Harry Potter” series of films , Harry has two "best friends” in school, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.

42. Boob tube : IDIOT BOX
“Idiot box” and “boob tube” are nicknames for your television.

50. Article often bordered in black : OBIT
"Obituary" comes from the Latin "obituaris", the word for the record of a death of a person, although the literal meaning is "pertaining to death".

51. Mother-of-pearl : NACRE
Nacre is another name for mother-of-pearl. Nacre is the strong, iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells, and it's also what makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of its body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite, and that's how a pearl is formed.

EPEE - Budget Practice Blade52. Blunted blades : EPEES
The French word for sword is épée. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

54. Passed illegally, as a check : KITED
Check kiting is illegal. The idea behind kiting is to write a check, even though there are insufficient funds to cover the amount. Then, the con artist writes another check, also with insufficient funds, from another bank's account to cover the original check. I am not sure it would work nowadays, but then again, I am as honest as the day is long! Oh, and I think the term "kiting" comes from the older phrase "go fly a kite", the idea being that the bad check is floated on air (non-existent funds).

BARBARA EDEN 8x10 Female Celebrity Photo Signed In-Person57. Wish granters : GENII
I think there might be a mistake here, as “genii” is the plural of “genius”, and not of “genie”. Although the two terms are related historically (see below), I think that's all in the past ...

Genii is the plural of genius. In Roman mythology a genius was something divine to be found in any person, place or thing. In particular, doors and gates each had their own genius that acted as a guardian spirit.

The "genie" in the bottle takes his or her name from "djinn". "Djinns" were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book "The Thousand and One Nights" was translated into French, the word "djinn" was transformed into the existing word "génie", because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This "génie" from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived "genius", a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the "djinn" that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

grete weitz58. Late marathoner Waitz : GRETE
Grete Weitz is the most successful runner of the New York City marathon, winning nine times in the ten years between 1978 and 1988. Grete is a Norwegian, from Oslo, and understandably a national icon.

62. Big Board initials : NYSE
The New York Stock Exchange has its roots back in 1792, when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement.

66. NOW political cause, once : ERA
The National Organization of Women was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1966. NOW is focused on six core issues:
- Abortion rights and reproductive issues
- Violence against women
- Constitutional equality
- Promoting diversity and ending racism
- Lesbian rights
- Economic justice
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was written by the American suffragist leader, Alice Paul. Although Paul was successful in her campaign to get passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution (guaranteeing voting rights regardless of sex), her 1923 Equal Rights Amendment didn't make it to the Senate floor until 1972. The amendment was passed by the Senate, and then headed to the state legislatures for the required ratification. 38 states had to approve the legislation for the amendment to be adopted, but only 35 states voted in favor before the deadline. So, the amendment is still pending, although about half of the fifty states have adopted the ERA into their state constitutions.

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

1. Nick and Nora's terrier : ASTA
5. Blood donation unit : PINT
9. Tiara inset : JEWEL
14. Nobelist Niels : BOHR
15. Jackass's sound : BRAY
16. Skybox site : ARENA
17. Something to play at a casino : BLACKJACK
19. Word-processing command : PRINT
20. Holy Roman emperor dubbed "the Great" : OTTO I
21. Wife of Zeus : HERA
23. Same old same old, as at work : RUT
24. "'Tain't" retort : ‘TIS
25. Pips : SPOTS ON A DIE
29. Performed microsurgery on, perhaps : LASED
31. President pro ___ : TEM
32. Two twos, say : PAIR
34. Willing, old-style : LIEF
37. Kama ___ : SUTRA
41. Jack Barry once hosted a rigged one : FIFTIES GAME SHOW
44. Nicene ___ : CREED
45. Carryall : TOTE
46. Predatory seabird : ERNE
47. Barbecue item : RIB
49. Jumper cable connection : ANODE
51. Place for Manhattanites to drink and dance : NEW YORK CLUB
56. Soufflé ingredient : EGG
59. Tailless simian : APE
60. The Magi, e.g. : TRIO
61. Get by logic : INFER
63. Paparazzo's target, briefly : CELEB
65. Number associated with 17-, 25-, 41- and 51-Across : TWENTY-ONE
68. So old it's new again : RETRO
69. Architect Saarinen : EERO
70. Revealing skirt feature : SLIT
71. British earldom : ESSEX
72. "Phooey!" : DRAT
73. Falco of "Nurse Jackie" : EDIE

1. Monk's superior : ABBOT
2. Conductor Sir Georg : SOLTI
3. "Win some, lose some" : THAT’S LIFE
4. Western U.S. oil giant : ARCO
5. Brown-bagger's sandwich, for short : PBJ
6. Often rolled-over investment, for short : IRA
7. After-dark time in Germany : NACHT
8. Rug rats : TYKES
9. Like most sumo wrestlers : JAPANESE
10. Miss a cue, say : ERR
11. Off-the-wall : WEIRD
12. The blahs : ENNUI
13. Coffee shop order : LATTE
18. X, on a greeting card : KISS
22. "Baloney!" : ROT
26. Brazilian soccer hero : PELE
27. Keats or Wordsworth : ODIST
28. "We are not ___": Queen Victoria : AMUSED
30. Main line : ARTERY
32. U.S.M.C. enlistee : PFC
33. Hang on a clothesline : AIR
35. Freudian concept : EGO
36. Causing ruin : FATAL
38. Like a $6 return on a $2 bet : THREEFOLD
39. Potter pal Weasley : RON
40. Leave dumbstruck : AWE
42. Boob tube : IDIOT BOX
43. It might end with "Beverages" : MENU
48. "It's c-c-cold!" : BRR
50. Article often bordered in black : OBIT
51. Mother-of-pearl : NACRE
52. Blunted blades : EPEES
53. Evidence of a caning : WELTS
54. Passed illegally, as a check : KITED
55. Shrink in fear : COWER
57. Wish granters : GENII
58. Late marathoner Waitz : GRETE
62. Big Board initials : NYSE
64. Bard's "before" : ERE
66. NOW political cause, once : ERA
67. "Just kidding!" : NOT

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john said...

hey what's the deal with grey boxes in the lower right corner? is that a special clue or something? or just something that shows you finished?

Bill Butler said...

Hi John,

Thanks for stopping by.

That's a very common question ... the mystery of the grey squares at the bottom right of the grid. I even wrote up an answer in the FAQ section of the blog (the link at the top right of each page). I'll just paste that in here, and all should be revealed!

Why are the last few letters on the bottom-right of the grid always shaded?

I pay for access to the New York Times crossword online, so I download the puzzle every evening into a crossword program called Across Lite, and solve it on my computer. When I am done, I take a "picture" of the finished puzzle on the screen and post it in my blog that readers of the blog can see it everyday.

The problem is that Across Lite always highlights the space in the grid where I am typing an answer, so there will always be one answer shaded. I try to make it a little less distracting by always tabbing down to the last answer leaving the shading in the bottom right of the grid.

john said...

much thanks! mystery solved, keep up the good puzzlin'


Anonymous said...

Answer to 32 down (PFC) is wrong. A Marine recruit is a Private. Only 10% of all Privates (Recruits) make PFC (Private First Class) out of boot camp. In fact, Recruits are told that they are not Marines until they graduate boot camp. They do not even get to wear the Insignia until just before graduation from Boot Camp.

Posted by Mississippi Joe

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Joe.

Thanks for clarifying that for us. I think what I wrote in my short explanation for the clue was technically correct, but you've laid it out more fully and clearly. I was a little wary of being too forthright in disagreeing with the clue's wording, as I never served with the US military.

Thanks again, Joe.

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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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