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Vacation Alert

I am currently on vacation in Ireland, returning on October 9th. I am hoping to complete a blog post each evening, even if it is only the basics (solved grid and clues, plus explanation of theme). I apologize in advance if I am late in posting.

Bill

1008-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Oct 11, Saturday





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: Tim Croce
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 51m 05s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
17. Assassinated leader called "the Liberator" : TSAR ALEXANDER II
Tsar Alexander II ruled the Russian Empire from 1855. He lived in dangerous times. There was an attempt on his life in St. Petersburg in 1866, and then another in 1879. Later in 1879 someone exploded a bomb intended for the tsar’s train, but missed. In 1880 another explosion, this time in a Winter Palace dining room, killed eleven people but missed Alexander. Finally, in 1881 after a bomb exploded under the tsar’s bulletproof carriage, he emerged unharmed but then a second bomb was thrown and exploded at Alexander’s feet, killing him instantly.

21. Largest city in Nordrhein-Westfalen : KOLN
Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany, and is called “Koln” in German.

25. Supermarket chain : IGA
IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance, a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA's headquarters is in Chicago.

26. Predecessor of Pope Hilarius : LEO I
The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. He is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.

Pope Saint Hilarius (also Hilary) was head of the Roman Catholic Church from 461 to 468.

37. Unquestioning adherents : KOOL-AID DRINKERS
The drink we know today as Kool-Aid was invented by Edward Perkins and his wife, in Perkins’ mother’s kitchen in southwest Nebraska. Kool-Aid is now the Official Soft Drink of the state.

“Drinking the Kool-Aid” is an expression meaning acceptance of a philosophy or argument blindly, without question. The expression refers to the Jonestown Massacre of 1978, during which members of the Peoples Temple drank Kool-Aid that contained cyanide, in a mass suicide. In actual fact, the drink wasn’t Kool-Aid, but a similar drink mix called Flavor Aid.

41. ___ nitrite : AMYL
Amyl nitrite is intended for use as a vasodilator, but it is also psychoactive when inhaled, so it has been abused as a recreational drug.

42. Its minimum score is 60, briefly : PSAT
I think the acronym PSAT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.

45. ___ 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.

46. Old political inits. : SSR
The former Soviet Union was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution that overthrew the Tsar in 1917. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and was made up of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics.

57. Singer called "The Jezebel of Jazz" : O’DAY
Anita O’Day was the stage name of the jazz singer Anita Colton. O’Day had problems with heroin and alcohol addiction leading to erratic behavior, and earning her the nickname “The Jezebel of Jazz”.

Down
1. Certain fabric worker's work : BATIK
Genuine batik is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped into a solvent that dissolves the wax.

2. Richard ___, 2002 Pulitzer winner for the novel "Empire Falls" : RUSSO
Richard Russo’s 2001 novel titled “Empire Falls” won the Pullitzer Prize for Fiction the following year. The novel was adapted into a television miniseries by HBO that was aired in 2005.

4. Existentialist Kierkegaard : SOREN
Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher and theologian, and I never really understood anything I’ve read about him!

5. Kind of request in Burns's "To a Mouse" : SMA’
There are a couple of lines in Robert Burns's poem "To a Mouse" that go "A daimen icker in a thrave, 'S a sma' request;", which translates from Scots dialect into "An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves, Is a small request;". So, "a sma' request" is "a small request".

The famous Robert Burns poem, "To a Mouse" describes the little creature as a "wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie". There's another oft-quoted line later in the poem, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, gang aft agley." John Steinbeck used this as inspiration for the title of his 1937 novel "Of Mice and Men".

6. ___-pros : NOL
"Nolle prosequi" is a Latin phrase that translates literally as "to be unwilling" (nolle) "to pursue" (prosequi). In the arena of law, a declaration of nolle prosequi (shortened to nol. pros.) by a plaintiff or prosecutor is a declaration that all or part of the case will be dropped.

7. Grandpa player in "Look Who's Talking," 1989 : ABE VIGODA
Abe Vigoda played Detective Sergeant Phil Fish in television’s "Barney Miller" in the seventies, and even got his own spin-off show called "Fish". On the big screen he played Sal Tessio in “The Godfather” and Grandpa Ubriacco in “Look Who’s Talking”.

9. Savanna grazer : ELAND
An eland is a large African antelope, in fact the largest on the continent.

A savanna (also savannah) is a grassland. If there are any trees in the area, by definition they are small and widely spaced so that light can get to the grasses, which can grow unhindered.

10. Big brand of writing instruments : PENTEL
Pentel is Japanese company, noted for manufacture of pens and markers.

11. The Taurus replaced it : LTD
There has been a lot of speculation about what the acronym LTD stands for in the car model known as "Ford LTD". Many say it stands for Luxury Trim Decor, and others that it is an abbreviation for "limited". Although the car was produced in Australia with the acronym meaning Lincoln Type Design, it seems LTD was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.

12. "Xena: Warrior Princess" role : ARES
Ares, God of War is a character in the fantasy television series “Xena: Warrior Princess”.

13. Parts of some pay-as-you-go plans? : TURNPIKES
Back in the 15th century a “turnpike” was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travellers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.

14. "Giant Brain" of the 1940s : ENIAC
The acronym ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (although many folks insist that the C was for "Computer"). ENIAC was the first general-purpose electronic computer. It was designed to calculate artillery firing tables, but it ended up being used early on to make calculations necessary for the development of the hydrogen bomb. Given its uses, it's not surprising to hear that development of ENIAC was funded by the US Army during WWII.

27. Cleaning the mess? : ON KP
KP is a US military slang term, and stands for either "kitchen police" or "kitchen patrol".

31. "Dream-Children" author, 1822 : ELIA
The "Essays of Elia" began appearing in "London Magazine" in 1820, and were immediate hits with the public. The author was Charles Lamb, and "Elia" was actually a clerk with whom Lamb worked. The most famous of the essays in the collection are probably "Dream-Children" and "Old China".

36. Reason for a late shift?: Abbr. : DST
On the other side of the Atlantic, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is known as "summer time". The idea behind summer/daylight-savings is to move clocks forward an hour in spring and backwards in the fall, so that afternoons have more daylight.

38. Plant in the pea family : ANIL
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.

39. "___ Pastore" (Mozart opera) : IL RE
Il re pastore” is an opera seria by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The title translates into “The Shepherd King”. Mozart wrote the whole thing in six weeks.

46. Hayek of Hollywood : SALMA
Salma Hayek is a Mexican actress, the first Mexican national to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, for her portrayal of painter Frida Kahlo in the 2002 movie "Frida".

47. Hoops Hall-of-Famer Jerry : SLOAN
Jerry Sloan is a former NBA player and head coach. He is the only coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 wins with the same club, and that team was the Utah Jazz.

51. Fictional Sicilian town in a 1944 novel : ADANO
"A Bell for Adano" is a novel written by John Hersey, about an Italian-American US Army officer, Major Joppolo, who found a replacement for the town's bell stolen by the fascists. It was made into a film in 1945, the same year the novel won a Pulitzer.

52. Member of a crack team? : NARCO
Crack cocaine is manufactured from powdered cocaine in a simple process. The powder is dissolved in an aqueous solution of baking soda, and the liquid is boiled off leaving a solid residue. The residue is broken up into chunks, and sold as crack. Apparently the crack is smoked, delivering an awful lot of cocaine into the body very quickly though the lungs. Nasty stuff ...

53. Bandleader with the hit "Three Little Fishies" : KYSER
Kay Kyser was popular bandleader in the thirties and forties.

61. "Forgot About ___" (2000 Grammy-winning rap) : DRE
“Forgot About Dre” is a single recorded by rap artist Dr. Dre, “featuring Eminem”.

Dr. Dre is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. He is perhaps as well known for his own singing career as he is for producing records and starting the careers of others such Snoop Dog, Eminem and 50 Cent.

Eminem's real name is Marshall Mathers, a native of Saint Joseph, Missouri. He grew up poor, raised by a single-mom as the family was abandoned by his father when he was 18 months old. Marshall and his mother moved around the country before settling in a suburb of Detroit. He didn't do well at school, and dropped out at the age of 17. But, in the end, he made it pretty big ...

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Accessories for some suits : BRASS NAMEPLATES
16. It's often popped on a shoulder : AUTOMOBILE TRUNK
17. Assassinated leader called "the Liberator" : TSAR ALEXANDER II
18. Part of many a chain : ISLE
19. Blow off : VENT
20. Go off : SNAP
21. Largest city in Nordrhein-Westfalen : KOLN
22. Like many dyed eggs : HIDDEN
24. They may be networked : PCS
25. Supermarket chain : IGA
26. Predecessor of Pope Hilarius : LEO I
28. It's often enough : ONCE
32. Kind of memory : FOND
34. Permanent, in a way : INKED
37. Unquestioning adherents : KOOL-AID DRINKERS
40. Stigma : STAIN
41. ___ nitrite : AMYL
42. Its minimum score is 60, briefly : PSAT
43. End of the lion : TAIL
45. ___ Lingus : AER
46. Old political inits. : SSR
48. Quality of the queen's jewels? : LUSTRE
50. Set, as the sun : SANK
54. Opposite of "Happily ..." : ALAS
56. Quarter-millennium year : MCCL
57. Singer called "The Jezebel of Jazz" : O’DAY
58. Jails : LOCKS BEHIND BARS
62. Shows oneself : MAKES AN ENTRANCE
63. Responded to some rapping : ANSWERED THE DOOR

Down
1. Certain fabric worker's work : BATIK
2. Richard ___, 2002 Pulitzer winner for the novel "Empire Falls" : RUSSO
3. Ever : AT ALL
4. Existentialist Kierkegaard : SOREN
5. Kind of request in Burns's "To a Mouse" : SMA’
6. ___-pros : NOL
7. Grandpa player in "Look Who's Talking," 1989 : ABE VIGODA
8. Like some clothing ensembles : MIXED AND MATCHED
9. Savanna grazer : ELAND
10. Big brand of writing instruments : PENTEL
11. The Taurus replaced it : LTD
12. "Xena: Warrior Princess" role : ARES
13. Parts of some pay-as-you-go plans? : TURNPIKES
14. "Giant Brain" of the 1940s : ENIAC
15. Sounds like a broken record : SKIPS
22. Sound investment : HI-FI
23. 21-Across refusal : NEIN
27. Cleaning the mess? : ON KP
28. Stamps, say : OKS
29. With 50-Down, fair : NOT
30. Ones holding wraps in restaurants : COAT RACKS
31. "Dream-Children" author, 1822 : ELIA
33. What's caught during a tumble? : DRYER LINT
35. Long reign, e.g. : ERA
36. Reason for a late shift?: Abbr. : DST
38. Plant in the pea family : ANIL
39. "___ Pastore" (Mozart opera) : IL RE
44. Like some vertebrae : LUMBAR
46. Hayek of Hollywood : SALMA
47. Hoops Hall-of-Famer Jerry : SLOAN
49. Where it's at : SCENE
50. See 29-Down : SO BAD
51. Fictional Sicilian town in a 1944 novel : ADANO
52. Member of a crack team? : NARCO
53. Bandleader with the hit "Three Little Fishies" : KYSER
55. Twist : SKEW
59. From Bakersfield to L.A., say : SSE
60. Kind of power : NTH
61. "Forgot About ___" (2000 Grammy-winning rap) : DRE

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2 comments :

Jean and Lee said...

UHm, I still don't get SMA for 5 down? kind of request in To a Mouse What am I missing?

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Jean and Lee.

Apologies for the omission in what I wrote about Robert Burns's "To a Mouse", and thank you for taking the time to point out that I had missed the point! I've just added the following lines in the commentary, which should answer your question, and explain the clue:

**********
There are a couple of lines in Robert Burns's poem "To a Mouse" that go "A daimen icker in a thrave, 'S a sma' request;", which translates from Scots dialect into "An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves, Is a small request;". So, "a sma' request" is "a small request".
**********

And I just took a look at your blogs. What a wonderful adventure you both are living. I have nothing but admiration for your work.

And thank you for stopping by to visit my very modest blog (in comparison)!

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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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