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0726-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Jul 11, Tuesday

I am away on vacation from Sunday, July 17 to Tuesday, August 2. I fully intend to sneak away to do the crossword each day, but probably won’t find time to do many look-ups. Some days I may be a little late posting the solution, and if that should happen, please let me apologize in advance. Email subscribers should check the blog directly at as the solution may be posted by the time they read check their email. Things will be back to normal very shortly! … Bill

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

THEME: Colors of Road Signs … all the theme answers are road signs, with each clue simply being the color of the sign:
17. [White] : SPEED LIMIT
26. [Yellow] : DEER XING
37. [Green] : EXIT
40. [Red] : STOP
53. [Blue] : HOSPITAL
64. [Orange] : MEN WORKING

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Doorframe part : JAMB
A door jamb is the vertical portion of a door frame. The term "jamb" comes from the French word "jambe" meaning "leg".

PONTE VECCHIO II Art Poster by Bill Philip - 12" x 12"5. ___ Vecchio (Florence landmark) : PONTE
The Ponte Vecchio is a famous bridge that spans the Arno River in Florence, Italy. The bridge dates back to medieval times, and indeed the name “Ponte Vecchio” translates as “Old Bridge”.

LE CASSE OMAR SHARIF 16X20 PHOTO14. Bridge maven Sharif : OMAR
Omar Sharif is the great Hollywood actor from Egypt, who played such memorable roles in the movies "Doctor Zhivago" and "Lawrence of Arabia". But to me he is my bridge hero (the card game). In his heyday he was one of the best players in the world.

16. Bouillabaisse, e.g. : STEW
Bouillabaisse is a traditional seafood stew that originated in the port city of Marseille on the Mediterranean coast of France.

Hy-Ko Prod. HW-23 Highway Signs17. [White] : SPEED LIMIT
The first speed limit introduced on a road system was in 1861 in the UK. The limit back then was 10 mph, and this was reduced a few years later to 4 mph in the country, and 2 mph in towns. The highest speed limit ever posted was in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates from 2005 to 2010, a maximum of 160 km/hr (99 mph). Famously, the autobahns of Germany have no speed limit in rural, uncongested areas.

19. PBS science series : NOVA
When I was growing up in Ireland I used to watch a wonderful BBC television science show called "Horizon", that had been on the air since 1964. In 1974, PBS struck a deal with the BBC to co-produce a very similar show for American audiences called "Nova". Often today, a "Horizon" show will simply be a "Nova" episode voiced over by an English narrator, and vice versa. Anyway, for my money, "Nova" is one of the best shows on television ...

39. Richards of the Stones : KEITH
Sir Mick Jagger met up with Keith Richards at school when Jagger was only 7-years-old. They were to become one of the most successful songwriting duos of all time, rivaling Lennon and McCartney (some say!).

On “The Brady Bunch”, Eve Plumb played Jan Brady, the middle of the three sisters.

47. Emissions watchdog, for short : EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency was set up during the Nixon administration, and began operation at the end of 1970.

3' x 5 ' 3x5 FT Texas Flag SolarMax Nylon Lone Star State59. Texas flag feature : LONE STAR
The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the "lone star" on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single gold star on a blue background symbolized Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.

68. Troubadour's instrument : LUTE
A troubadour was a composer and musician of the Middle Ages, whose works dealt mainly with chivalry and courtly love. Troubadours were usually men, and a female troubadour would have been called a trobairitz.

Better Than Ezra Press Kit and Photo70. Rock's Better Than ___ : EZRA
Better Than Ezra is an alternative rock band from New Orleans. The band apparently keeps the origins of its name a secret. The fans of the group call themselves “Ezralites”.

71. Professor Marvel in "The Wizard of Oz," e.g. : SEER
In the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, the same actor who plays the Wizard’s character, Frank Morgan, also plays Professor Marvel. Marvel is the traveling fortuneteller that Dorothy meets back in Kansas.

1. "___ Boys" (Louisa May Alcott book) : JO’S
Louisa May Alcott's "Jo's Boys" is a sequel to "Little Men" (in turn a sequel to "Little Women"). It is the final book in the trilogy.

She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography3. West of Hollywood : MAE
Mae West was always pushing the envelope when it came to the "sexy" side of show business, even in her early days in Vaudeville. One of the first plays in which she starred on Broadway was called "Sex", a work she penned herself. The show was a sell-out, but city officials had it raided and West found herself spending ten days in jail after being convicted of "corrupting the morals of youth". She started in movies in 1932, already 38 years old. West used her experience writing plays to rewrite much of the material she was given, and so really she was totally responsible for her own success and on-screen appeal.

4. German port on the Weser : BREMEN
Germany is divided into 16 states, the smallest of which is Bremen. The state of Bremen is actually made up of two cities, Bremen and Bremerhaven, and is completely surrounded by the much larger state of Lower Saxony.

A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent5. President after Tyler : POLK
James Knox Polk was the 11th US President. He is known as a president who delivered on promises that he made during his election campaign. He left office after serving only one term, as he had sworn to the voters, and then contracted cholera on a goodwill tour of the South. He died at only 53 years of age, the youngest age for any president to die in retirement. He also enjoyed the shortest retirement of any president, at only 103 days. Guess that's why no one keeps their campaign promises these days ...

TY Odie The Dog Plush Beanie Baby 9 Inch Toy [Toy]6. Jim Davis cartoon dog : ODIE
Odie is Garfield's best friend, and is a slobbery beagle.

8. Cleveland Indians nickname, with "the" : TRIBE
The Cleveland baseball franchise started out in 1869 as the Forest Citys named after Forest city, the nickname for Cleveland. After a number of transitions, in 1914 the team took on the name "Indians". The media came up with name "Indians" after being asked for suggestions by the team owners. "Indians" was inspired by the successful Boston team of the day, the Boston Braves.

Estee Lauder: Beauty Business Success (Book Report Biographies)9. Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
Estée Lauder was quite the successful business woman with a reputation as a great sales person. She introduced her own line of fragrances starting in 1953, a bath oil called "Youth Dew". "Youth Dew" was marketed as a perfume, but it was designed to be added to bath water. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder's "perfume" into their baths, while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That's quite a difference in sales volume ...

10. Yahoo! competitor : MSN
MSN was originally called The Microsoft Network, introduced in 1995 as an integral part of Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system. MSN is a whole bundle of services including email, instant messaging, and the portal (the 9th most visited site on the Internet).

11. Perfect place : UTOPIA
The word Utopia was invented by Sir Thomas More for his book "Utopia" published in 1516, describing an idyllic fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More's use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek "ou" meaning "not" and "topos" meaning "place". By calling his perfect island "Not Place", More was making the point that he didn't think that the ideal could actually exist.

DOT DICE 6 EACH OF RED WHITE & GREEN12. Most common dice rolls : SEVENS
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 ...

First Note FN160 Firstnote Mouth Harp13. Jew's-harp sounds : TWANGS
The Jew’s harp is one of the oldest instruments in the world, with evidence of its existence in China back in the 4th century BCE. Despite its name, there is no evidence to link the Jew’s harp with the Jewish people. As it is played in the mouth, it’s commonly thought that the name is a corruption of “jaw harp”, but there doesn’t seem to be much evidence for this etymology either.

23. Links alert : FORE
No one seems to know for sure where the term "fore!" comes from. It has been used at least as far back as 1881, and has always been called out to warn other golfers that a wayward ball might be heading their way. My favorite possibility for its origin is that it is a contraction of the Gaelic warning cry "Faugh a Ballach!" (clear the way!) which is still called out in the sport of road bowling, a game where players bowl balls along roads between villages, trying to reach the end of the course in as few bowls as possible, just like in golf!

Nike Boys Black Swoosh Insulated Lunch Box29. "Swoosh" company : NIKE
I remember seeing Carolyn Davidson on the television show "I've Got a Secret". She created the Nike "swoosh" back in 1971 when she was a design student at Portland State. She did it as freelance work for Blue Ribbon Sports, a local company introducing a new line of athletic footwear. The "swoosh" is taken from the wing of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. Years later, BRS changed its name to Nike, so I suppose the company should be grateful to Carolyn for both the great design, and a great company name.

NCAA Maryland Terrapins 8-by-8 Inch Diecut Colored Decal38. U. of Maryland player : TERP
The sports teams of the University of Maryland are called the Maryland Terrapins, or "the Terps" for short. The name dates back to 1932 when it was first coined by the the university's president at the time, Curly Byrd. He took the name from the diamondback terrapins that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

41. Furniture hardwood : TEAK
Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family, commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia.

Signed Howard, Ron 8x10 Photo42. Early Ron Howard role : OPIE
Ron Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show". He has directed some fabulous movies, including favorites of mine like "Apollo 13", "A Beautiful Mind" and "The Da Vinci Code". And today, Opie is a grandfather ...

43. Henry VIII's sixth, Catherine ___ : PARR
Henry VIII was of course the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife, Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry, she had been widowed twice, and after Henry died, she married once again.

Bonjour, Babar!: The Six Unabridged Classics by the Creator of Babar46. Kid-lit elephant : BABAR
"Babar the Elephant" originated in France, a creation of Jean de Brunhoff in 1931. The first book was "Histoire de Babar", a book so successful it was translated into English two years later for publication in Britain and the US. Jean de Brunhoff wrote six more Babar stories before he died in 1937, and then his son Laurent continued his father's work.

49. Rotational force : TORQUE
Torque can be thought of as a turning force, say the force needed to tighten a bolt or a nut.

Signed Tomei, Marisa 8x10 Photo54. Marisa of "My Cousin Vinny" : TOMEI
Marisa Tomei's first screen role was in "As the World Turns", but her break came with a recurring role in "The Cosby Show" spin-off, "A Different World". She won an Oscar for her delightful performance in "My Cousin Vinny" in 1992.

56. Slowly, on a score : LENTO
A lento passage in a piece of music has a slow tempo.

60. Bird in a bevy : SWAN
“Bevy” is a collective noun used for a number of types of bird, including quails and swans. It’s also sometimes used as a collective noun for ladies.

GeminiJets Aer Lingus BAC 111 Series 208AL63. ___ Lingus : AER
Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn't great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with Aer Lingus being a phonetic spelling of the Irish "aer-loingeas" meaning "air fleet". These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland's oldest airline as it's no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline, Ryan Air.

U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (Civil War America)66. Gun lobby 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.

67. Roam (about) : GAD
To gad about is to move around with little purpose. The word comes from the Middle English "gadden" meaning "to hurry".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. Doorframe part : JAMB
5. ___ Vecchio (Florence landmark) : PONTE
10. Can't-miss event : MUST
14. Bridge maven Sharif : OMAR
15. What some sprays eliminate : ODORS
16. Bouillabaisse, e.g. : STEW
17. [White] : SPEED LIMIT
19. PBS science series : NOVA
20. Put down some chips : MAKE A BET
22. Tool for a confident solver : PEN
23. Sound engineer's control : FADER
26. [Yellow] : DEER XING
28. Without a time limit, as a contract : OPEN-END
31. Bring together : AMASS
32. DVR button : REC
33. No-calorie drink : DIET SODA
37. [Green] : EXIT
39. Richards of the Stones : KEITH
40. [Red] : STOP
44. Jan Brady player on "The Brady Bunch" : EVE PLUMB
47. Emissions watchdog, for short : EPA
48. Long look : STARE
51. Just barely : BY A HAIR
53. [Blue] : HOSPITAL
57. Professional with an apron : BAKER
58. Table scrap : ORT
59. Texas flag feature : LONE STAR
62. Water : AQUA
64. [Orange] : MEN WORKING
68. Troubadour's instrument : LUTE
69. Patronize, as a restaurant : EAT AT
70. Rock's Better Than ___ : EZRA
71. Professor Marvel in "The Wizard of Oz," e.g. : SEER
72. Dungeon hardware : IRONS
73. In need of recharging : DEAD

1. "___ Boys" (Louisa May Alcott book) : JO’S
2. Hearing aid? : AMP
3. West of Hollywood : MAE
4. German port on the Weser : BREMEN
5. President after Tyler : POLK
6. Jim Davis cartoon dog : ODIE
7. One without a permanent address : NOMAD
8. Cleveland Indians nickname, with "the" : TRIBE
9. Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
10. Yahoo! competitor : MSN
11. Perfect place : UTOPIA
12. Most common dice rolls : SEVENS
13. Jew's-harp sounds : TWANGS
18. Had the guts : DARED
21. Like much folk music: Abbr. : TRAD
23. Links alert : FORE
24. Very top : APEX
25. Tenth: Prefix : DECI-
27. Present time, briefly : XMAS
29. "Swoosh" company : NIKE
30. How a quarterback may throw a ball : DEEP
34. Up to, in ads : ‘TIL
35. Ballgame souvenir : STUB
36. "Good golly!" : OH MY
38. U. of Maryland player : TERP
41. Furniture hardwood : TEAK
42. Early Ron Howard role : OPIE
43. Henry VIII's sixth, Catherine ___ : PARR
45. Bit of bridal attire : VEIL
46. Kid-lit elephant : BABAR
48. Lighthouse locales : SHOALS
49. Rotational force : TORQUE
50. Sharp as a tack : ASTUTE
52. Listened, old-style : HARKED
54. Marisa of "My Cousin Vinny" : TOMEI
55. Close to, in poetry : ANEAR
56. Slowly, on a score : LENTO
60. Bird in a bevy : SWAN
61. Preschoolers : TOTS
63. ___ Lingus : AER
65. Suffix with moral or popular : -IZE
66. Gun lobby org. : NRA
67. Roam (about) : GAD

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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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