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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! Today's hike was in Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest where we passed a tree over 4,750 years old. Getting close to home ...

Bill

1031-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Oct 11, Monday





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: Jeff Chen
THEME: Once Bitten, Twice Shy … our Halloween crossword this year features a VAMPIRE at the center of the grid and four theme answers that end with the words, ONCE, BITTEN, TWICE and SHY:
17A. Simultaneously : ALL AT ONCE
22A. Like many itchy mutts : FLEA-BITTEN
38A. Creature who might disagree with the saying at the ends of 17-, 22-, 48- and 56-Across : VAMPIRE
48A. Be deliberative : THINK TWICE
56A. Not wanting to be shot? : CAMERA-SHY
COMPLETION TIME: 5m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
5. Prefix with morphosis : META-
Metamorphosis is another word for a transformation. “Metamorphosis” derives from the Greek “meta-” meaning “change” and “morphe” meaning “form”.

14. Colorado skiing mecca : VAIL
The Vail Ski Resort in Colorado is the largest single-mountain ski resort in the whole country. The resort was opened in 1962, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was given the name Vail after Vail Pass which runs by the mountain (now also called Vail Mountain). The town of Vail, Colorado was established four years later in 1966, and now has a population of about 5,000.

15. Man from Oman, e.g. : ARAB
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The capital city of Muscat has a strategic location on the Gulf of Oman, and has a history of invasion and unrest. Centuries of occupation by the Persians ended in 1507 when the Portuguese took the city in a bloody attack. The Portuguese held Muscat for much of the next century until finally ousted by local Omani forces in 1648. A Yemeni tribe invaded the area in 1741 and set up a monarchy that has been in place ever since.

16. Jeweler's magnifying tool : LOUPE
A loupe is a little magnifying lens that is held in the hand. “Loupe” is the French name for such a device.

19. Beatnik's "Gotcha" : I’M HIP
The slang term "hep" meaning "cool" has the same meaning as the later, derivative term "hip". The origins of "hep" seem unclear, but it was adopted by jazz musicians of the early 1900s.

The term "beatnik" was first coined by journalist Herb Caen in 1958 when he used it to describe the stereotypical young person of the "beat generation", oft associated with the writer Jack Kerouac. That stereotypical beatnik would be playing the bongos, rolling his or her own cigarettes, and the males sporting goatees and wearing berets.

21. Minnesota's capital : ST PAUL
Saint Paul that is the state capital of Minnesota, and is one half of the “Twin Cities”: Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Saint Paul used to be called Pig’s Eye, named after a popular tavern in the original settlement in the area. In 1841, Father Lucien Galtier established a log chapel nearby that he dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, giving the city it’s current name. The magnificent Cathedral of St. Paul now sits on the site where the log chapel was built.

26. Oscar : film :: ___ : TV : EMMY
The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars in the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name of "Emmy" is a softened version of the word "immy", the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras.

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

38. Creature who might disagree with the saying at the ends of 17-, 22-, 48- and 56-Across : VAMPIRE
"Dracula" is a novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker, originally published in 1897. Dracula wasn't the first vampire of literature, but he certainly was the one who spawned the popularity of vampires in theater, film and television, and indeed more novels. Personally, I can't stand vampire fiction ...

39. Opposite of mult. : DIV
The opposite of multiplication is division.

40. "O Sole ___" : MIO
"'O sole mio" is a famous Italian song from Naples, written in 1898. The lyrics are usually sung in the original Neapolitan, as opposed to Italian. The title translates from Neapolitan into "My Sun" (and not into "O, My Sun" as one might expect). It's a love song of course, sung by a young man declaring that there is a sun brighter than that in the sky, the sun that is his lover's face. Awww ...

42. Vena ___ (passage to the heart) : CAVA
The superior vena cava is a large vein carrying deoxygenated blood from the upper part of the body to the right atrium of the heart. The inferior vena cava does the same thing for the lower part of the body.

43. Author Ephron and others : NORAS
Nora Ephron has many talents, including writing film scripts and novels. Many of the movies that she writes, she also directs. These would include some of my favorite movies of all time like "Sleepless in Seattle", "You've Got Mail" and most recently, the wonderful "Julie & Julia". And, did you know that Nora Ephron's second marriage was to journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame?

54. Bar mitzvah scroll : TORAH
The word "Torah" best translates as "teaching", I am told.

A Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become Bar Mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into daughter and son of the commandments.

55. "Now!," in Nicaragua : AHORA
"Ahora" is the Spanish for "now".

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, lying between Honduras to the north, and Costa Rica to the south. The etymology of the name “Nicaragua” is not very certain. One suggestion is that it is a melding of the name “Nicarao” and “agua”, the Spanish for “water”. Nicarao was the name of the largest city in the area when the Spanish arrived, and it is thought that “agua” refers to the two large lakes: Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua.

61. Paradigm of happiness : CLAM
Our phrase “happy as a clam” dates back to the mid-1600s, when it was a more lengthy expression “happy as a clam in the mud at high tide”. The idea was that a clam would be happy in its muddy home at high tide, because no one from land could get to it and eat it.

62. Final Four org. : NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When President Roosevelt's son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States in 1906 with the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS evolved into the NCAA in 1910.

64. ___ Ranger : LONE
"The Lone Ranger" was both a radio and television show, dating back to its first radio performance in 1933 on a Detroit station. The line "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!" was a device used in the storyline to signal that a riding sequence was starting, so cue the music!

Down
1. Actress Gardner : AVA
Ava Gardner is noted for her association with some big movies, but also for her association with some big names when it came to the men in her life. In the world of film, she appeared in the likes of "Mogambo" (1953), "On the Beach" (1959), "The Night of the Iguana" (1964) and "Earthquake" (1974). The men in her life included husbands Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra. After her marriages had failed (and perhaps before!) she had long term relationships with Howard Hughes and bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin whom she met through her friend Ernest Hemingway.

2. "I've got a mule, and her name is ___" : SAL
The song "Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal" was written in 1905. The lyrics are nostalgic, and look back to the days when traffic on the canal was pulled by mules, and bemoans the introduction of the fast-moving engine-powered barges. The first line is "I've got an old mule and her name is Sal".

5. Indigenous New Zealanders : MAORI
The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting some time in the late 13th century. The word "māori" simply means "normal", distinguishing the mortal human being from spiritual entities.

6. Young's partner in accounting : ERNST
Ernst & Young is one of the Big Four accountancy firms, alongside Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ernst & Young is headquartered in London.

7. "Be silent," musically : TACET
“Tacet” is a musical direction meaning “be silent”. It is typically given on a score to instruct a particular voice or instrument to remain silent for a whole movement. “Tacet” is Latin for “it is silent”.

8. Honest ___ (presidential moniker) : ABE
Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky, making him the first president born in the West. His formal education was limited to a year and a half of schooling, but fortunately for us, Lincoln was an avid reader and educated himself over the years. Even though he was from a rural area, he avoided hunting and fishing because he did not like to kill animals even for food.

10. TV's "___ Room" : ROMPER
“Romper Room” was a television show for children that targeted pre-schoolers.

11. "It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am" speaker : MUHAMMAD ALI
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta? Ali was presented with a gold medal during those '96 Games, a replacement for the medal he won at the 1960 Olympics. He had thrown the original into the Ohio River as a gesture of disgust after being refused service at a "whites only" restaurant.

12. Drug from poppies : OPIUM
Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

18. Oom-pah-pah instrument : TUBA
The tuba is the lowest pitched of all the brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is only one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). "Tuba" is the Latin word for "trumpet, horn".

23. One of the Mario Brothers : LUIGI
Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game called "Donkey Kong". Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

24. Classic 1982 movie line spoken with an outstretched finger : ET PHONE HOME
1982’s classic science fiction movie “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was directed by Stephen Spielberg. The idea behind the film came from Spielberg himself, and the character of E.T. was based on an imaginary friend that he conjured up as a child after his parents divorced in 1960.

25. Bert's pal on "Sesame Street" : ERNIE
I've always believed that the "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie were named after two roles played in the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life". In the movie, the policeman's name is Bert, and his taxi-driving buddy is named Ernie. However, the "Sesame Street" folks have stated that the use of the same names is just a coincidence.

31. Gem units : CARATS
A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-carat representing pure gold.

32. Like the witness in "Witness" : AMISH
“Witness” is a 1985 movie directed by Peter Weir, starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. The film is a thriller set in the Amish country of Pennsylvania, where it was also filmed. Local Amish people worked on the set but would not agree to be filmed, so many of the “Amish extras” are actually Mennonites.

35. Honda model with a palindromic name : CIVIC
Introduced in 1972, the Honda Civic is the second-oldest brand of Japanese car made for the US today (only the Toyota Corolla has been around longer). Today's Civic is a compact car, but the original was smaller, and classed as a sub-compact. The first design had a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel drive to save on space, copying the design introduced with the British Mini. The Civic Hybrid that I drive these days is the best car I've ever owned ...

44. Egyptian god of the underworld : OSIRIS
Osiris was the Egyptian god of the underworld. He was the son of Geb, the Earth god, and Nut, the sky goddess. His wife, Isis, was also his sister ...

45. Proxima Centauri, for one : STAR
Proxima Centauri is a mere 4.2 light years away from the Earth, making it the second nearest star to our planet (the Sun, of course, is nearer). The name comes from “proxima” meaning “nearest to” and Centauri from the constellation Centaurus to which the star belongs.

46. Feature of Dumbledore or Merlin : BEARD
Dumbledore is the headmaster of the school for wizards called Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter universe. The “Harry Potter” books were of course written by J. K. Rowling, and she chose the name Dumbledore as it is an Early English word for a bumblebee. Apparently she pictured him wandering around, humming to himself.

Merlin is a figure of legend, most famous as the wizard in the stories of King Arthur.

47. Old-time anesthetic : ETHER
Ethers are a whole class of organic compounds, but in the vernacular “ether” is specifically diethyl ether. Diethyl ether was once very popular as a general anesthetic.

49. Author Calvino : ITALO
As well as being an author, Italo Calvino was a famous Italian journalist. He was a supporter of communism, and so wasn't very popular in the US nor in Britain.

50. "___ is an island ..." : NO MAN
John Donne wrote a piece of prose called “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions". One passage contains two phrases that are oft-quoted: “No man is an island”, and “for whom the bell tolls”.
No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
John Donne is one of England's most celebrated poets, working at the start of the 17th century. He spent much of his life in poverty, and even spent a short time in prison for having married his wife without procuring the appropriate permissions. His wife might have regretted that he was released, as she then bore him 12 children in 16 years, passing away a few days after the twelfth child was born.

51. Krispy ___ doughnuts : KREME
The Krispy Kreme chain of doughnut stores was founded in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company introduced the Whole Wheat Glazed doughnut in 2007, great for folks looking to eat a healthy diet, I am sure …

58. Fedora or fez : HAT
A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt, and is similar to a trilby but has a broader brim. "Fedora" was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to a modern-day fedora. The play gave rise to the women's fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the fashion ...

"Fez" is the name given to the red cylindrical hat worn mainly in North Africa, and by Shriners here in the US. It used to be very popular right across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of "fez" is unclear, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez.

59. Big name in Bosox history : YAZ
Yaz was the nickname for Carl Yastrzemski who played his whole career with the Boston Red Sox.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. "Now!," in a memo : ASAP
5. Prefix with morphosis : META-
9. Knight's protection : ARMOR
14. Colorado skiing mecca : VAIL
15. Man from Oman, e.g. : ARAB
16. Jeweler's magnifying tool : LOUPE
17. Simultaneously : ALL AT ONCE
19. Beatnik's "Gotcha" : I’M HIP
20. "Damn!," e.g. : CURSE
21. Minnesota's capital : ST PAUL
22. Like many itchy mutts : FLEA-BITTEN
26. Oscar : film :: ___ : TV : EMMY
27. "Get ___ here!" ("Scram!") : OUTTA
28. Get guns again : REARM
30. Yellow, as a banana : RIPE
31. Art of "The Honeymooners" : CARNEY
34. Star pitcher : ACE
37. Likely reaction to fried ants : UGH
38. Creature who might disagree with the saying at the ends of 17-, 22-, 48- and 56-Across : VAMPIRE
39. Opposite of mult. : DIV
40. "O Sole ___" : MIO
41. Perjury and piracy, for two : CRIMES
42. Vena ___ (passage to the heart) : CAVA
43. Author Ephron and others : NORAS
45. Not liquid or gaseous : SOLID
46. Honey makers : BEES
48. Be deliberative : THINK TWICE
52. Moral standards : ETHICS
54. Bar mitzvah scroll : TORAH
55. "Now!," in Nicaragua : AHORA
56. Not wanting to be shot? : CAMERA-SHY
60. Send, as payment : REMIT
61. Paradigm of happiness : CLAM
62. Final Four org. : NCAA
63. Gown : DRESS
64. ___ Ranger : LONE
65. Airhead : DITZ

Down
1. Actress Gardner : AVA
2. "I've got a mule, and her name is ___" : SAL
3. Be under the weather : AIL
4. Throw a bone to : PLACATE
5. Indigenous New Zealanders : MAORI
6. Young's partner in accounting : ERNST
7. "Be silent," musically : TACET
8. Honest ___ (presidential moniker) : ABE
9. Came down to earth : ALIT
10. TV's "___ Room" : ROMPER
11. "It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am" speaker : MUHAMMAD ALI
12. Drug from poppies : OPIUM
13. Answer : REPLY
18. Oom-pah-pah instrument : TUBA
21. Derisive looks : SNEERS
22. Discussion site : FORUM
23. One of the Mario Brothers : LUIGI
24. Classic 1982 movie line spoken with an outstretched finger : ET PHONE HOME
25. Bert's pal on "Sesame Street" : ERNIE
29. Affirmative vote : AYE
31. Gem units : CARATS
32. Like the witness in "Witness" : AMISH
33. Meas. of engine speed : RPM
35. Honda model with a palindromic name : CIVIC
36. Circumvent : EVADE
38. Passé TV hookup : VCR
42. Ranch worker : COWHAND
44. Egyptian god of the underworld : OSIRIS
45. Proxima Centauri, for one : STAR
46. Feature of Dumbledore or Merlin : BEARD
47. Old-time anesthetic : ETHER
49. Author Calvino : ITALO
50. "___ is an island ..." : NO MAN
51. Krispy ___ doughnuts : KREME
53. Meowers : CATS
56. 250, in old Rome : CCL
57. Chem., for one : SCI
58. Fedora or fez : HAT
59. Big name in Bosox history : YAZ

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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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