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Greetings from San Jose, California

My wife and I are on vacation until Friday, July 25th; a road trip through the backroads of the states east of California. I anticipate late-night solving and posting, with acknowledgement of comments and emails suffering. Please, don't be offended at my silence as I prioritize the writing of posts! We had a long and spectacular drive across the Sierra Nevada today, and saw Julianne and Derek Hough's dance spectacular this evening. Back home and back to reality tomorrow (Friday) ...

Bill

0920-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Sep 11, Tuesday





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: Daniel Raymon
THEME: RENT-A-CARS … all of the theme answers start with the name of a rental car company:
17A. Way to reduce spending : BUDGET CUT
23A. Pre-sporting-event songs : NATIONAL ANTHEMS
38A. President Taft's foreign policy : DOLLAR DIPLOMACY
54A. Areas targeted for economic revitalization : ENTERPRISE ZONES
63A. Some vacation expenses ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 23-, 38- and 54-Across : RENT-A-CARS
COMPLETION TIME: 6m 25s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. PC hearts : CPUS
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the main component on the "motherboard" of a computer. The CPU is the part of the computer that carries out most of the functions required by a program. Nowadays you can get CPUs in everything from cars to telephones.

5. Capital ENE of Fiji : APIA
Apia is the capital city, in fact the only "city", of the Pacific island nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven ships from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching, so the safest thing to do was head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of the others. Six of the vessels were lost in the typhoon as a result, and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely.

9. "Star Wars" director George : LUCAS
The producer and director George Lucas has amassed an incredibly large fortune, primarily due to the phenomenal success of his movie franchises “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”. Worth about $3 billion, Lucas has gone the way of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, agreeing to give half of his fortune to charity as part of "The Giving Pledge".

14. Mont Blanc, par exemple : ALPE
Mont Blanc, is the highest mountain in the Alps (or Alpes, in French). The name Mont Blanc translates into "white mountain". The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

15. Table salt, chemically : NACL
Sodium chloride (NaCl) is an ionic compound, a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na) ions in between the chlorides.

20. Coach Parseghian : ARA
Ara Parseghian coached the Notre Dame football team from 1964 to 1974, a period known as "The Era of Ara".

21. URL ending : COM
Internet addresses are Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

29. Baldwin of "30 Rock" : ALEC
Alec is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think his big break was playing Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan in "The Hunt for Red October", but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin is making a name for himself these days playing Jack Donaghy on "30 Rock", opposite Tina Fey.

30. Genesis mariner : NOAH
Genesis 6:19-20 states that Noah was instructed to take two animals of every kind into the ark. Later, in Genesis 7:2-3, Noah was instructed to take on board "every clean animal by sevens ... male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth". Apparently "extras" (7 rather than 2) were needed for ritual sacrifice.

31. Deli side : SLAW
The term "coleslaw" is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name "koolsla", which in itself is a shortened form of "Koolsalade" meaning "cabbage salad".

32. Fabergé collectible : EGG
Fabergé eggs are beautiful jeweled eggs made by the House of Fabergé from 1885 to 1917. The tradition of fabricating the eggs started when Tsar Alexander III commissioned Fabergé to create a jeweled egg for his wife in 1885. After this, the House of Fabergé produced more and more elaborate designs, year after year.

35. River to the Caspian : URAL
The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia, and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea.

37. Author Levin : IRA
As well as writing novels, Ira Levin was a dramatist and a songwriter. His first novel was "A Kiss Before Dying", and his most famous was "Rosemary's Baby" which became a Hollywood hit. His best known play is "Deathtrap", a work that is often seen in local theater (I've seen it a couple of times around here), but it also was a successful movie, starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve. My favorite Levin novels though are "The Boys from Brazil" and "The Stepford Wives".

38. President Taft's foreign policy : DOLLAR DIPLOMACY
“Dollar Diplomacy” is a term used to describe the US strategy of furthering its influence around the world by guaranteeing loans to foreign countries, particularly in Latin America and East Asia. The policy was particularly used by the administration of President William Howard Taft. Sadly, the times, they are a-changin’ …

43. N.Y.C.'s Park or Lex : AVE
Park Avenue in New York City used to be known as Fourth Avenue, and for much of its length carried the tracks of the New York and Harland Railroad. When the line was built, some of it was constructed by cutting through the length of the street and then forming underground tunnels by covering over the line with grates and greenery. This greenery formed a parkland between 34th and 40th Streets, and in 1860 the grassy section of Fourth Avenue was renamed Park Avenue, a name that was eventually used for the whole thoroughfare.

Lexington Avenue in New York City is famous for many things, but my favorite fact is that it was the site of the first ever arrest for speeding in the city. In 1899 a police officer on a bicycle caught up with a cabdriver who was tearing down Lexington Avenue at the breakneck speed of 12 mph ...

45. "Alice" spinoff : FLO
Florence Jean "Flo" Castleberry was a waitress in the sitcom "Alice" which aired on CBS in the 70s and 80s. Flo got her own sitcom (called “Flo”) which had a brief run in the early 80s. I saw a few episodes of “Alice”, but that's about it. Oh, and Flo was played by Polly Holiday.

50. Malone of "Into the Wild" : JENA
Jena Malone is an American musician and actress.

"Into the Wild" is an interesting film, based on a non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. The book and movie tell the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who hiked into the Alaska wilderness with very little food and equipment, seeking an extended period of solitude. After four months alone he was found dead from starvation. At time of death, he weighed only 67 pounds.

58. Part of Miss Muffet's meal : WHEY
When milk curdles it separates into two parts, the solid curds and the liquid whey.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, in the popular nursery rhyme. A tuffet is a low seat or a footstool, another word for a pouffe or a hassock.

59. Kitchen gadget brand : OXO
The OXO line of kitchen utensils is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average kitchen tool. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn't have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

60. "Mighty ___ a Rose" : LAK’
“Mighty Lak’ a Rose” is a song first published in 1901.

61. Director Kurosawa : AKIRA
Akira Kurosawa was an Oscar-winning Japanese film director. His most famous movie to us in the West has to be "The Seven Samurai", the inspiration for the "The Magnificent Seven" starring Yul Brynner, and indeed a basis for "Star Wars: The Clone Wars".

66. Echolocation acronym : SONAR
The British developed the first underwater detection system that used sound waves. Research was driven by defence demands during WWI, leading to production of working units in 1922. This new sound detection system was described as using "supersonics", but for the purpose of secrecy the term was dropped in favor of an acronym. The work was done under the auspices of the Royal Navy's Anti-Submarine Division, so ASD was combined with the IC from "superson-ic-s" to create the name ASDIC. The navy even went as far as renaming the quartz material at the heart of the technology "ASDivite". By the time WWII came along, the Americans were producing their own systems and coined the term SONAR, playing off the related application, RADAR. And so the name ASDIC was deep-sixed ...

67. Kind of sax : ALTO
The saxophone was invented by Belgian, Adolphe Sax. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if that was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax's grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

69. Speaks silently : SIGNS
It's really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one, cannot understand someone signing in the other.

70. One pitied by Mr. T : FOOL
Mr. T's real name is Laurence Tureaud. He is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a night club so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catchphrase comes from the movie "Rocky III". Before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, "No, I don't hate Balboa, but I pity the fool". He parlayed the line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called "I Pity the Fool", and produced a motivational video called "Be Somebody ... or Be Somebody's Fool!".

71. McJob doer : PEON
A peon is a lowly worker with no real control over his/her working conditions. The word comes into English from Spanish where it has the same meaning.

McJob is a slang term for a low-paying position that offers little chance for advancement. The term of course comes from front-line jobs at McDonald's fast-food restaurants.

Down
1. Poolside enclosure : CABANA
Our word “cabana” comes from the Spanish “cabaña”, the word for a small hut or a cabin.

5. Composer Bruckner : ANTON
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.

6. Game with four "ghosts" : PAC-MAN
The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980 and is as popular today as it ever was, at least in some circles. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero "Paku", who was known for his large appetite.

7. Post-O.R. stop : ICU
After a visit to the Operating Room (OR) you might end up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

10. Heep and others : URIAHS
Uriah Heep is a sniveling, insincere character in the novel "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens. The character is such a "yes man" that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way then we might call that person a "Uriah Heep".

The wonderful storyteller Hans Christian Andersen became very successful in his own lifetime. In 1847 he visited England for the summer and made a triumphal tour of English society's most fashionable drawing rooms. There he met with the equally successful Charles Dickens, and the two seemed to hit it off. Ten years later Andersen returned to England and stayed for five weeks in Dickens' home as his guest. Dickens published "David Copperfield" soon after, and supposedly the less than lovable character Uriah Heep was based on Dickens' house guest, Hans Christian Andersen. That wasn't very nice!

11. First wife of Julius Caesar : CORNELIA
Julius Caesar's first wife was Cornelia, and she had died one year before he married his second wife, Pompeia Sulla. Caesar divorced his second wife a few years later as there were unfounded allegations that she was having an affair. Caesar stated at the time that "my wife ought not even to be under suspicion", giving rise to the proverb "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion".

12. Suffix with block or cannon : -ADE
“Embargo” and “blockade” are two similar yet different terms. An embargo is a legal prohibition of trade with a particular country, whilst a blockade is an act of war, a militarily enforced prevention of the movement of goods and services. The term "embargo" came into English from Spanish, in the late 16th century.

A “cannonade” is a bout of very heavy artillery fire. It can also be a harsh attack on someone, either verbal or physical.

24. Reykjavik's land: Abbr. : ICEL
Reykjavik is the capital city, and indeed the only city, of Iceland. It is also the most northerly capital city of any country. It isn’t very large, relatively speaking, with a population of only 200,000 in the Greater Reykjavik Area.

25. 15th-century French king nicknamed "the Prudent" : LOUIS XI
Louis XI of France was nicknamed “the Prudent”, “the Cunning” and “the Universal Spider”. He ruled from 1461 to 1483 in a reign that was marked by numerous plots and conspiracies in which Louis was often the instigator.

26. Seniors' org. : AARP
AARP is the official name now for the interest group that used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons. The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired.

27. Painter Chagall : MARC
Marc Chagall was a Russian-French artist, one of the most successful of the 20th century. Unlike so many painters, Chagall was able to achieve wealth and notoriety for his work during his own lifetime. It did help that Chagall lived to a ripe old age though. He passed away in 1985, when he was 97 years young.

33. Wander, with "about" : GAD
"To gad about" is to move around with little purpose. The word comes from the Middle English "gadden" meaning "to hurry".

36. Follower of a chat room joke : LOL
LOL is an abbreviation used in Instant Messages and phone texting, an abbreviation of "Laughing Out Loud".

38. Miami-___ County : DADE
Miami-Dade was created as Dade County in 1836, named for Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed the year before in the Second Seminole War. The county took on its present name only in 1997, simply incorporating the more recognizable name of the county’s biggest city, Miami.

40. More than liberal : LEFT WING
The concept of left-right politics started in France during the French Revolution. When members of France's National Assembly convened in 1789, supporters of the King sat to the President's right, and supporters of the revolution to the President's left. The political term's "left" and "right" were then coined in the local media, and have been used ever since.

42. Voodoo charm : MOJO
The word “mojo”, meaning magical charm or magnetism, is probably of Creole origin.

47. Persian Gulf capital : TEHRAN
Tehran is the capital of Iran and is the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of about 8.5 million. Iran has been around an awful long time and Tehran is actually the country's 31st national capital. We really are only babies over here in the US ...

56. Heap kudos on : EXTOL
Our word "kudos" is used to acclaim an exceptional achievement. "Kudos" is not a plural, despite a common misapprehension. It is a singular noun derived from the Greek "kyddos" meaning "glory, fame".

57. Suffix meaning "animals" : -ZOA
The suffix “-zoa” is used for groups of animal organisms e.g. protozoa and metazoa. “Zoia” is the Greek for “animals, living beings”.

61. Balaam's beast : ASS
Balaam was a diviner who appears in the Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible. In one story, Balaam is held to task by an angel for particularly cruel treatment of an ass.

62. Fish in backyard pools : KOI
Koi are also called Japanese carp. They have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored koi found in Japanese water gardens.

63. U.K. fliers : RAF
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the oldest independent air force in the world (i.e. the first air force to become independent of army or navy forces). The RAF was formed during WWI on April 1, 1918, a composite of two earlier forces, the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service. The RAF's "finest hour" has to be the Battle of Britain when the vastly outnumbered British fighters fought off the might of the Luftwaffe causing Hitler to delay his plan to cross the English Channel. This outcome prompted Winston Churchill's memorable words:
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
64. "Xanadu" rock grp. : ELO
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. Their manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy).

The title song of the 1980 movie "Xanadu" was performed by ELO and Olivia Newton-John (who starred in the film). Despite the popularity of ELO around the world, the song "Xanadu" was the band's only number one hit back in their homeland of the UK.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. PC hearts : CPUS
5. Capital ENE of Fiji : APIA
9. "Star Wars" director George : LUCAS
14. Mont Blanc, par exemple : ALPE
15. Table salt, chemically : NACL
16. Chip away : ERODE
17. Way to reduce spending : BUDGET CUT
19. Broadcaster : AIRER
20. Coach Parseghian : ARA
21. URL ending : COM
22. ___ instant : IN AN
23. Pre-sporting-event songs : NATIONAL ANTHEMS
29. Baldwin of "30 Rock" : ALEC
30. Genesis mariner : NOAH
31. Deli side : SLAW
32. Fabergé collectible : EGG
35. River to the Caspian : URAL
37. Author Levin : IRA
38. President Taft's foreign policy : DOLLAR DIPLOMACY
43. N.Y.C.'s Park or Lex : AVE
44. Union collections : DUES
45. "Alice" spinoff : FLO
46. Nimble-fingered : DEFT
48. Long skirt : MAXI
50. Malone of "Into the Wild" : JENA
54. Areas targeted for economic revitalization : ENTERPRISE ZONES
58. Part of Miss Muffet's meal : WHEY
59. Kitchen gadget brand : OXO
60. "Mighty ___ a Rose" : LAK’
61. Director Kurosawa : AKIRA
63. Some vacation expenses ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 23-, 38- and 54-Across : RENT-A-CARS
66. Echolocation acronym : SONAR
67. Kind of sax : ALTO
68. Play opener : ACT I
69. Speaks silently : SIGNS
70. One pitied by Mr. T : FOOL
71. McJob doer : PEON

Down
1. Poolside enclosure : CABANA
2. Mice or men : PLURAL
3. "This just in ..." announcement : UPDATE
4. Line part: Abbr. : SEG
5. Composer Bruckner : ANTON
6. Game with four "ghosts" : PAC-MAN
7. Post-O.R. stop : ICU
8. PC key near the space bar : ALT
9. Was biased : LEANT
10. Heep and others : URIAHS
11. First wife of Julius Caesar : CORNELIA
12. Suffix with block or cannon : -ADE
13. Sun. speech : SER
18. Prefix with friendly : ECO-
22. Divided 50/50 : IN HALF
24. Reykjavik's land: Abbr. : ICEL
25. 15th-century French king nicknamed "the Prudent" : LOUIS XI
26. Seniors' org. : AARP
27. Painter Chagall : MARC
28. Have influence on : SWAY
33. Wander, with "about" : GAD
34. In a mood to complain : GRUMPY
36. Follower of a chat room joke : LOL
38. Miami-___ County : DADE
39. Place for a roast : OVEN
40. More than liberal : LEFT WING
41. Very expensive : DEAR
42. Voodoo charm : MOJO
47. Persian Gulf capital : TEHRAN
49. Sees through, in a way : IS ONTO
51. Intertwine : ENLACE
52. On the verge of : NEAR TO
53. Invites to enter one's home : ASKS IN
55. Brings up : REARS
56. Heap kudos on : EXTOL
57. Suffix meaning "animals" : -ZOA
61. Balaam's beast : ASS
62. Fish in backyard pools : KOI
63. U.K. fliers : RAF
64. "Xanadu" rock grp. : ELO
65. Salary ceiling : CAP

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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

I always signed my mails to my loved ones with LoL meaning Lots of Love. They sut have LOL...

Bill Butler said...

All these texters have hijacked our abbreviations of old ... :)

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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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