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Greetings from Blackrock in Dublin, Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland until October 9th. I plan on doing the puzzle each day (with a pint, no doubt), although I may be a little late due to time zone differences. I am sure that you understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

1107-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 7 Nov 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: David Steinberg
THEME: PX Something … each of the theme answers starts with two letters, followed by a word:
17A. 1964 Beatles hit : PS I LOVE YOU
19A. Part of school that includes push-ups and situps : PE CLASS
23A. Showman associated with the quote "There's a sucker born every minute" : PT BARNUM
44A. Chinese restaurant chain : PF CHANG’S
48A. Acidity or alkalinity : PH LEVEL
52A. Rating of "Avatar" : PG THIRTEEN
23D. U.S. mail holders : PO BOXES
COMPLETION TIME: 6m 09s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Healthful retreats : SPAS
The word "spa" migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name "Spa" comes from the Walloon word "espa" meaning "spring, fountain".

15. Nothin' : NADA
"Nada" is the Spanish word for "nothing". "De nada" translates literally from the Spanish as "of nothing", and is used to mean "you're welcome" or "don't mention it". The French have the same expression "de rien", also translating to "of nothing" and used the same way.

16. "A Death in the Family" author : AGEE
James Agee was a noted American film critic. He wrote an autobiographical novel "A Death in the Family" that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously.

17. 1964 Beatles hit : PS I LOVE YOU
“P.S. I Love You” was recorded by the Beatles way back in 1962. On the recording, Ringo Starr is playing the maracas, not the drums. A session musician played the drums, replacing Pete Best who had just been fired by Brian Epstein. Ringo had not yet been “anointed” as Best’s replacement.

22. Alternative rock genre : EMO
The musical genre of "emo" originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from "emotional hardcore". Not my cup of tea ...

23. Showman associated with the quote "There's a sucker born every minute" : PT BARNUM
Phineas Taylor Barnum was one of the great American showmen, famous for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus. By some measures, Barnum was the first ever "show business" millionaire. Beyond the world of entertainment, Barnum was also a politician for a while and served two terms in the Connecticut legislature, and was mayor of the city of Bridgeport. Barnum was a very successful author as well. One of his most famous books was "The Humbugs of the World", an exposé of deceptions in the world of entertainment. He was a believer in illusions providing they gave value for money in terms of entertainment, but he had an intense dislike of fraudulent deception and came down hard on spiritualist mediums in particular.

30. Illustrator Edward : SOREL
Edward Sorel is an illustrator and cartoonist from New York City. He is noted for creating content that is critical of right-wing politics and organized religion.

33. Ski lift : T-BAR
A T-bar is a type of ski lift in which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skier who remains standing on his/her skis (hopefully!). There's also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

37. "Et tu, ___?" : BRUTE
It was Shakespeare who came up with the words "Et tu, Brute?" (And you, Brutus?), in his play "Julius Caesar" although the phrase was around long before he penned his drama. It's not known what Julius Caesar actually said just before he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

39. Sumptuous : LUXE
"Luxe" can be used as an adjective, meaning elegant and sumptuous, posh.

41. Hawaiian souvenir : 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 for the body.

42. Any of the Seven Dwarfs, by profession : MINER
In the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Snow White", the seven dwarfs were not given any names. The names were added for the 1937 classic animated film from Walt Disney, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". The seven dwarfs are:
- Doc (the leader of the group)
- Grumpy (that would be me, according to my wife ...)
- Happy
- Sleepy
- Bashful
- Sneezy
- Dopey

43. Constricting snakes : BOAS
Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always bigger than the male.

44. Chinese restaurant chain : PF CHANG’S
P. F. Chang’s restaurant was founded in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1993. The restaurant’s name comes from the names of the two founders, Paul Fleming (P. F.) and Philip Chiang (simplified to “Chang”).

46. "___ the ramparts ..." : O’ER
The words "o'er the ramparts" come from "The Star Spangled Banner" written by Francis Scott Key.

Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a poem, inspired by witnessing the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song penned by John Stafford Smith called "The Anacreontic Song", with the Anacreontic Society being a men's club in London.

48. Acidity or alkalinity : PH LEVEL
As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

52. Rating of "Avatar" : PG THIRTEEN
I went to the 3D version of "Avatar" when I saw it for the first time ... it really is the only way to see that movie!

58. Hawaiian island : OAHU
O'ahu has been called "The Gathering Place", although the word "O'ahu" has no translation in Hawaiian. It seems that O'ahu is simply the name of the island. One story is that it is named after the son of the Polynesian navigator that first found the islands.

62. Seven things for a sailor : SEAS
The phrase “the seven seas” has been used for centuries by many different peoples. The actual definition of what constitutes the collection of seven has varied depending on the period and the culture. Nowadays we consider the seven largest bodies of water as the seven seas, namely:
- The North Pacific Ocean
- The South Pacific Ocean
- The North Atlantic Ocean
- The South Atlantic Ocean
- The Indian Ocean
- The Southern Ocean
- The Arctic Ocean

Down
3. Baldwin who has hosted "S.N.L." more times than anyone else : 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. He has also hosted the sketch show “Saturday Night Live” more times than anyone else (16 times).

5. Kiss : BUSS
“Buss” is a slang term for “kiss” apparently …

6. "Exodus" hero : ARI
"Exodus" is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris, first published in 1947. The book was incredibly well received by the public, and is the second biggest best seller in the US, after "Gone with the Wind". The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.

11. Brouhaha : ADO
"Brouhaha" was a French word that back in the 1550s meant "the cry of the devil disguised as clergy" . Wow ...

12. Sigma's follower : TAU
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman "T". Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) were symbolically associated with the cross.

14. Lhasa ___ (dog) : APSO
The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet, and is named after Lhasa (the capital city) and apso (a Tibetan word meaning "bearded"). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.

25. Part of a galaxy : NEBULA
In astronomical terms a nebula is a cloud of dust and ionized gases (“nebula” is the Latin for “cloud”). Many nebulae form as gases collapse in on themselves under the influence of enormous gravitational forces. Ultimately these collapses can result in the creation of new stars.

28. What the Red Cross provides : RELIEF
Back in 1859, a Swiss businessman called Henry Dunant went to meet French emperor Napoleon III, to discuss making it easier to conduct commerce in French-occupied Algeria. The Emperor was billeted at Solferino, where France and Austria were engaged in a major battle. In one day, Dunant witnessed 40,000 soldiers die in battle, and countless wounded suffering on the battlefield without any organized medical care. Dunant abandoned his business agenda, and spent a week caring for the sick and wounded. Within a few years he had founded the precursor to the Red Cross, and in 1901 was awarded the first ever Nobel Peace Prize.

29. Slanted type : ITALIC
Italic type leans to the right. The style is known as "italic" because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

37. Tower of ___ : BABEL
We use the word "babel" now to describe a scene of confusion, lifting the term from the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. The Tower was built in the city of Babylon, and the construction was cursed with a confusion of languages due to the varied origins of all the builders.

39. Retired hockey great Eric : LINDROS
Eric Lindros is a retired Canadian hockey player. During his NHL career he played for the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Dallas Stars.

42. West African land : MALI
The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa, south of Algeria. The country's most famous city is more famous than the country itself, namely the city of Timbuktu.

49. MasterCard competitor : VISA
Did you know that Visa doesn't issue any credit cards? Visa just sells the electronic systems and infrastructure to banks who then put the Visa logo on their own cards so that both the customer and merchant know to use the VISA system when making a transaction.

50. Place of bliss : EDEN
According to the Book Of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden "in" Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers, including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

51. Bard's instrument : LYRE
A lyre is a stringed instrument, most closely associated with Ancient Greece.

52. Hawaiian dish : POI
I am a big fan of starch, and being an Irishman I love potatoes however they are prepared. That said, I think that poi tastes horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant, by cooking the corm in water and mashing it until the desired consistency is achieved.

53. Gangster's gun : GAT
“Gat” is the slang term for the Gatling gun, the precursor to the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent it so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure ...

55. Election day: Abbr. : TUE
Election Day was chosen by congress back in 1845. The month of November was selected as it suited an agricultural society, following the fall harvest and yet not too far into winter, which could make travel difficult. Tuesday was chosen so that people had time to travel to polling stations. Monday elections might have meant that some would have to start out on Sunday, and that could interfere with Christian services.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Healthful retreats : SPAS
5. Suitcases : BAGS
9. Minor quarrel : SPAT
13. Result of four balls, in baseball : WALK
14. Ear-related : AURAL
15. Nothin' : NADA
16. "A Death in the Family" author : AGEE
17. 1964 Beatles hit : PS I LOVE YOU
19. Part of school that includes push-ups and situps : PE CLASS
21. Hive dweller : BEE
22. Alternative rock genre : EMO
23. Showman associated with the quote "There's a sucker born every minute" : PT BARNUM
28. Religious observance : RITE
30. Illustrator Edward : SOREL
31. WSW's opposite : ENE
32. Determined to do : SET ON
33. Ski lift : T-BAR
34. Somewhat : A BIT
35. Family groups : CLANS
36. Gangster's gun : ROD
37. "Et tu, ___?" : BRUTE
38. Is bedridden, say : AILS
39. Sumptuous : LUXE
40. More fit : ABLER
41. Hawaiian souvenir : LEI
42. Any of the Seven Dwarfs, by profession : MINER
43. Constricting snakes : BOAS
44. Chinese restaurant chain : PF CHANG’S
46. "___ the ramparts ..." : O’ER
47. Superannuated : OLD
48. Acidity or alkalinity : PH LEVEL
52. Rating of "Avatar" : PG THIRTEEN
57. Neat : TIDY
58. Hawaiian island : OAHU
59. Expenditures : OUTGO
60. Consumer : USER
61. Collector's ___ : ITEM
62. Seven things for a sailor : SEAS
63. Stable locks? : MANE

Down
1. Exchange : SWAP
2. Call on an intercom, as a doctor : PAGE
3. Baldwin who has hosted "S.N.L." more times than anyone else : ALEC
4. Some Halloween costumes : SKELETONS
5. Kiss : BUSS
6. "Exodus" hero : ARI
7. Rodeo female : GAL
8. Drool : SLOBBER
9. Expression that includes a lip curl : SNEER
10. Salary : PAY
11. Brouhaha : ADO
12. Sigma's follower : TAU
14. Lhasa ___ (dog) : APSO
18. Calf's meat : VEAL
20. Prayer enders : AMENS
23. U.S. mail holders : PO BOXES
24. Merchant : TRADER
25. Part of a galaxy : NEBULA
26. Brings together : UNITES
27. Something that's fed along a street : METER
28. What the Red Cross provides : RELIEF
29. Slanted type : ITALIC
30. Like tennis rackets and harps : STRUNG
32. Where dandruff accumulates : SCALP
34. Place where trees are studied : ARBORETUM
37. Tower of ___ : BABEL
39. Retired hockey great Eric : LINDROS
42. West African land : MALI
45. Dull : HO-HUM
46. Cry of panic : OH NO
48. Things to hang hats on : PEGS
49. MasterCard competitor : VISA
50. Place of bliss : EDEN
51. Bard's instrument : LYRE
52. Hawaiian dish : POI
53. Gangster's gun : GAT
54. Article seen in many places : THE
55. Election day: Abbr. : TUE
56. Pilot's approximation, for short : ETA

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4 comments :

Bob Kerfuffle said...

Re: 33 A - Please, no, do not "sit" on a t-bar! Very important to remain standing in good skiing form!

(Just discovered this blog a few days ago. Awesome amount of research!)

Bill Butler said...

Hi Bob,

So that's what I've been doing wrong! I will change that "sitting" to something a little safer :)

Thanks for the kind words. And the research has built up over time, so it's not as hefty a task as it looks at first sight!

Tita said...

Thanks to Bob K for pointing me here.

Bill - what a tour de force - thanks!

And while we're speaking french, thanks for the derivation of "brouhaha" - I like the word even better now!

Also appreciate learning about the Red Cross.

BTW, PT Barnum was born in Bethel, CT...

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Tita.

I am glad you found my little blog. I hope you get the chance to drop back soon.

Thanks for the info about PT Barnum too. Now we know!

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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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