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Greetings from Mammoth Lakes, 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 probably the last hike of our trip this morning (strenuous, past beautiful alpine lakes), and then opted for vegging out by the pool for a change this afternoon. Almost home ...

Bill

1020-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Oct 11, Thursday





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: Patrick Berry
There’s a note with today’s puzzle!
"CROSS" WORD CONTEST — All the puzzles this week, from Monday to Saturday, have been created by one person, Patrick Berry. Have your solutions handy, because the Saturday puzzle conceals a meta-challenge involving the solution grids of all six. When you have the answer to the meta-challenge, mail it to: crossword@nytimes.com. Twenty-five correct solvers, chosen at random, whose entries are received by 6:00 p.m. E.T. Sunday, Oct. 23, will receive copies of "Will Shortz Picks His Favorite Puzzles: 101 of the Top Crosswords From The New York Times." Only one entry per person, please. The answer and winners' names will appear on Friday, Oct. 28, at Wordplay.
THEME: Black & White … this is a rebus puzzle, with some squares home to “BLACK & WHITE” (designated by B&W in the grid). In some squares the BLACK forms part of the “across” answer, WHITE part of the “down” answer. In other squares it’s the other way round:
8A. Toothpaste ingredient : WHITENER
12A. Some soot : LAMP BLACK
25A. 1980s Rowan Atkinson sitcom series set in various historical periods : BLACKADDER
36A. Like zebra crossings : BLACK AND WHITE
43A. Best Supporting Actress nominee for "Five Easy Pieces" : KAREN BLACK
58A. Nest-building pests : BLACK ANTS
59A. It's whipped to make mousse : EGG WHITE
8D. Famously polite Old West stagecoach robber : BLACK BART
13D. January department store events : WHITE SALES
15D. Iconic AC/DC album with the song "You Shook Me All Night Long" : BACK IN BLACK
25D. Cover-up : WHITEWASH
31D. Untainted by corruption : LILY-WHITE
36D. Some nerve tissue : WHITE MATTER
40D. Woman of letters? : VANNA WHITE
44D. Star of 2010's "Gulliver's Travels" : JACK BLACK
COMPLETION TIME: 14m 19s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Steamy places : SPAS
The word "spa" migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a health resort there. The name "Spa" comes from the Walloon word "espa" meaning "spring, fountain".

5. "EastEnders" network : BBC
“EastEnders” is a very, very successful soap opera produced and aired by the BBC since 1985.

Historically, the East End of London is the wrong side of the tracks, and is still home to some of the worst poverty in the UK. My parents moved from Ireland to the East End of London in the fifties, and had all their children there before moving back to Ireland. I’m an Irishman who is proud of his roots that extend across the Irish Sea into EastEnders territory.

12. Some soot : LAMPBLACK
Carbon black (also known as lampblack) is the product of the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products. It's very like soot, although the physical characteristics are a little different. Carbon black is commonly used as a pigment.

14. Fellah or fedayee : ARAB
A “fellah” is a peasant or agricultural worker in the Arabic-speaking world.

A “fedayee” was an Armenian volunteer soldier who fought in the Persian, Russian and Ottoman Empires.

16. The Venerable ___ (old English historian) : BEDE
The Venerable Bede was a monk in the north of England in the first century AD. His is mainly known as an author and scholar, publisher of "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People".

17. Then, to Thierry : ALORS
“Thierry” is a French boy’s name.

18. Insincere flattery, in slang : BANANA OIL
“Banana oil” is a slang term for nonsensical flattery, an expression we’ve been using since the early 1900s.

22. "Harry and Tonto" star : CARNEY
“Harry and Tonto” is a 1974 film starring Art Carney as an elderly widower who travels across the country with his pet cat.

Art Carney was best known as the actor who played Ed Norton on the fifties television show “The Honeymooners”.

23. "___, 'tis true I have gone here and there": Shak. : ALAS
William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets. Here is Sonnet 110:
Alas! 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
And made my self a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affections new;
Most true it is, that I have looked on truth
Askance and strangely; but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worse essays proved thee my best of love.
Now all is done, have what shall have no end:
Mine appetite I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A god in love, to whom I am confined.
Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,
Even to thy pure and most most loving breast.

24. Burlesque bit : SKIT
“Burlesque” came into English from French, although the word is rooted in the Italian “burla”, the word for a joke, or mockery. A burlesque is work of literature, drama or music that is intended to amuse and cause laughter. Burlesques in the US took on a variety show format and were popular in the US from the 1860s. Over time, the variety acts started to include female striptease, and the term “burlesque” has come to be associated mainly with such entertainment.

25. 1980s Rowan Atkinson sitcom series set in various historical periods : BLACKADDER
“Blackadder” is a very successful set of four television comedy series that stars Rowan Atkinson. Each of the series is set in a different era:
- The Middle Ages
- The Elizabethan era
- The Regency era
- World War One

32. Items wrapped in friction tape : WIRES
Friction tape is made from cloth impregnated with a rubbery adhesive to make it water-resistant. It was used in the past by electricians to insulate wires, but has now largely been replaced by PVC electrical tape.

34. Gift upon arrival, maybe : LEI
"Lei" is the Hawaiian word for "garland, wreath", although in more general terms a "lei" is any series of objects strung together as an adornment intended to be worn.

35. Winged god : AMOR
“Amor” is the Latin name for the Roman god Cupid.

36. Like zebra crossings : BLACK AND WHITE
A zebra crossing is a pedestrian crossing marked by alternating dark and white stripes on the ground. I am willing to bet that the world’s most well-known zebra crossing is the one in front of the Abbey Road Studios in London, as it features so prominently on the cover of the famous “Abbey Road” album recorded by The Beatles.

37. Livery delivery : FOAL
“Livery” is the boarding and care of horses.

39. Jimmy of "The West Wing" : SMITS
Jimmy Smits' most noted acting roles were probably as Victor Sifuentes on “L.A. Law” and as President Matt Santos on “The West Wing”. Smits is very fond of playing jai alai in a local league in his hometown of Los Angeles.

40. Title role for Joe Pesci : VINNY
"My Cousin Vinny" is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. Would you believe that in 2008, the American Bar Association rated "My Cousin Vinny" as the #3 Greatest Legal Movie of all time, after "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "12 Angry Man".

Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in "Raging Bull", earning him an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely "Once Upon a Time in America", "Goodfellas" and "Casino". But I like his comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the "Home Alone" films, the "Lethal Weapon" series, and my personal favorite, "My Cousin Vinny". Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical "Jersey Boys", which isn't too surprising as he is one of the show's producers.

41. House sitter? : HEN
A hen sits in a hen house …

43. Best Supporting Actress nominee for "Five Easy Pieces" : KAREN BLACK
The actress Karen Black played quite a few memorable roles, including the waitress girlfriend of Jack Nicholson in “Five Easy Pieces” for which performance she received an Oscar nomination. If you have ever seen “Airport 1975”, she is the one playing the stewardess who ended up flying the plane after a mid-air collision.

49. Pod-bearing plant : BEAN TREE
Bean trees are trees that bear their seeds in pods. My favorite bean tree is the Carob tree, as the dried and roasted seeds make a great substitute for chocolate.

58. Nest-building pests : BLACK ANTS
There are quite a few species of ant that are black in color and hence are called black ants.

60. Bud drinker? : BEE
A bee drinks nectar, from the buds of plants.

Down
1. Sarcophagus lid : SLAB
A sarcophagus is a stone or wooden box in which a body is interred. "Sarcophagus" is Greek for “flesh eating stones”. The name was applied as a sarcophagus was often made from a kind of limestone that was believed to cause the flesh of corpses to decompose.

2. Like Death's horse : PALE
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are introduced in the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible. Each of the four represents woe for man, in the form of pestilence, war, famine and death. The four horsemen ride on a white, red, black and pale horse respectively.

3. One of the Minor Prophets : AMOS
Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

6. Fastener in a punched hole : BRAD
“Brad” is a name given to the brass fastener that is used to hold sheets of paper together. The brad is used by inserting it through holes punched in the paper, and then spreading out the two legs of the fastener.

7. Pink-slip : CAN
The term "pink slip" can be used as a verb meaning "to terminate an employee". No one really seems to know for sure where the term originated, but there are lots of stories.

8. Famously polite Old West stagecoach robber : BLACK BART
Black Bart was a “gentleman” bandit of the Old West. He committed dozens of robberies, but is remembered for leaving poems at two of the robbery sites!

9. Unreactive element : NEON
The noble gases are those elements over on the extreme right of the Periodic Table. Because of their "full" complement of electrons, noble gases are very nonreactive. The noble gases are Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton and Xenon.

10. Sedgwick in Warhol films : EDIE
Edie Sedgwick became famous when she starred in several short films made by Andy Warhol in the sixties.

13. January department store events : WHITE SALES
The first white sale took place in January of 1878 in a Philadelphia department store. It was called a white sale because it was only bed linens (which were all white) that were discounted. Over time, white sales have evolved to include almost any household items.

15. Iconic AC/DC album with the song "You Shook Me All Night Long" : BACK IN BLACK
The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers in Australia. The group is usually called "Acca Dacca" down under.

26. Mann of rock : AIMEE
Aimee Mann is an American rock singer and guitarist.

30. Country singer Rimes : LEANN
LeAnn Rimes has been a country music star since she was 13 years old. In 2008 she disclosed publicly that she suffered from the autoimmune disease psoriasis. She has been active since then in raising money to fight the disease, and helping fund cancer research as well. So, not only did Rimes win three Grammy Awards in 1997, she also won a 2009 Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Country Music.

33. Call option? : TAILS
Heads or tails?

36. Some nerve tissue : WHITE MATTER
Nervous tissue is made up of white matter and grey matter. White matter is white because its mainly composed of fatty tissue. Grey matter appears grey as it contains a lot of blood capillaries.

39. Gumption : SPUNK
We've been using the word "spunk" to mean "pluck, courage" since the late 1700s. Prior to that it was a Scottish word meaning "spark", which we absorbed into English.

40. Woman of letters? : VANNA WHITE
Vanna White is the lady who turns the letters on the “Wheel of Fortune” game show. She is big into knitting and crochet, and has her own line of yarns called “Vanna’s Choice”.

43. Sorento manufacturer : KIA
Kia Motors is the second largest manufacturer of cars in South Korea, behind Hyundai (and Hyundai is a part owner in Kia now). In recent years, Kia has focused on sales into Europe, and has been remarkably successful.

44. Star of 2010's "Gulliver's Travels" : JACK BLACK
The actor Jack Black was born in Santa Monica, California and is the son of two satellite engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope program.

50. Novelist Jaffe : RONA
Rona Jaffe was an American novelist perhaps most famous for two of her books, "The Best of Everything" and "Mazes and Monsters". "The Best of Everything" was published in 1958 and has been compared with the HBO television series "Sex and the City" as it depicts women in the working world. "Mazes and Monsters" was published in 1981 and explores a role-playing game similar to Dungeons & Dragons and the impact it has on players.

52. Defender in a bridge column : EAST
That would be bridge, the card game.

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Steamy places : SPAS
5. "EastEnders" network : BBC
8. Toothpaste ingredient : WHITENER
12. Some soot : LAMPBLACK
14. Fellah or fedayee : ARAB
16. The Venerable ___ (old English historian) : BEDE
17. Then, to Thierry : ALORS
18. Insincere flattery, in slang : BANANA OIL
20. Request to an interviewee : BE SEATED
22. "Harry and Tonto" star : CARNEY
23. "___, 'tis true I have gone here and there": Shak. : ALAS
24. Burlesque bit : SKIT
25. 1980s Rowan Atkinson sitcom series set in various historical periods : BLACKADDER
28. Material you might look through : VEIL
29. Every last bit : ALL
32. Items wrapped in friction tape : WIRES
33. Many arcade-goers : TEENS
34. Gift upon arrival, maybe : LEI
35. Winged god : AMOR
36. Like zebra crossings : BLACK AND WHITE
37. Livery delivery : FOAL
38. Follow a pattern, say : SEW
39. Jimmy of "The West Wing" : SMITS
40. Title role for Joe Pesci : VINNY
41. House sitter? : HEN
42. Mates : PALS
43. Best Supporting Actress nominee for "Five Easy Pieces" : KAREN BLACK
44. Sticks out : JUTS
45. Eat in style : DINE
46. Biased : ASLANT
49. Pod-bearing plant : BEAN TREE
53. Started one's shift : CLOCKED IN
55. Hunger enhancer, sometimes : AROMA
56. Typical romance novel love interest : HUNK
57. "What rotten luck!" : RATS
58. Nest-building pests : BLACK ANTS
59. It's whipped to make mousse : EGG WHITE
60. Bud drinker? : BEE
61. Former life : PAST

Down
1. Sarcophagus lid : SLAB
2. Like Death's horse : PALE
3. One of the Minor Prophets : AMOS
4. Butter knife, e.g. : SPREADER
5. Nurslings : BABES
6. Fastener in a punched hole : BRAD
7. Pink-slip : CAN
8. Famously polite Old West stagecoach robber : BLACK BART
9. Unreactive element : NEON
10. Sedgwick in Warhol films : EDIE
11. Bank : RELY
13. January department store events : WHITE SALES
15. Iconic AC/DC album with the song "You Shook Me All Night Long" : BACK IN BLACK
19. Filed things : NAILS
21. Organic sealant : TAR
24. Bird feeder tidbits : SEEDS
25. Cover-up : WHITEWASH
26. Mann of rock : AIMEE
27. Go under : DROWN
28. Volcano features : VENTS
29. Unlucky in love, say : ALONE
30. Country singer Rimes : LEANN
31. Untainted by corruption : LILY-WHITE
33. Call option? : TAILS
36. Some nerve tissue : WHITE MATTER
37. It's worthy of condemnation : FIRETRAP
39. Gumption : SPUNK
40. Woman of letters? : VANNA WHITE
43. Sorento manufacturer : KIA
44. Star of 2010's "Gulliver's Travels" : JACK BLACK
45. Packed with ideas, as an essay : DENSE
46. Soreness : ACHE
47. Shot of liquor : SLUG
48. Protracted : LONG
49. Snack : BITE
50. Novelist Jaffe : RONA
51. First-aid experts, briefly : EMTS
52. Defender in a bridge column : EAST
54. Lightly apply : DAB

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4 comments :

Anonymous said...

I think this type of crossword is vert unfair. To me, its not really a crossword. Thanks, Steph

Anonymous said...

I agree

Anonymous said...

I totally agree! It would have helped if the "B/W" theme was at least headlined.

Bill Butler said...

I have to agree that this was one of the tougher Thursday puzzles that I've come across.

I also agree that some indicator of the theme would have helped in solving. I'd have to say though that regular solvers of the NYTimes Thursday puzzles have come to expect something "wacky" on that day of the week, so probably enjoyed the challenge. I can see how someone just picking up this puzzle and expecting a "normal" challenge would get quite a shock.

Thanks for stopping by everyone, to share your feelings! I appreciate it.

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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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