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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland, and have extended my stay until October 24th. I am focused on getting the puzzle solved and at least a basic post up each day. It's proving to be difficult to do much more than that due to pressure of time, which I am sure you can understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

1125-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 25 Nov 11, Friday





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: Joe Krozel
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 58m 09s!! (but it’s Thanksgiving evening, if you know what I mean!)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … UPI (EPI), SUE ME (SEE ME!)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Mussel morsel : ALGA
Mussels eat algae, I guess …

15. It might tax a levee : WATER LEVEL
A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, running along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back the river water at a time of potential flooding. "Levee" is the French word for "raised", and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

21. When to begin an operation : D-DAY
The most famous D-Day in history was June 6, 1944, the date of the Normandy landings in WWII. The term "D-Day" is used in the military to designate the day on which a combat operation is to be launched, especially when the actual date has yet to be determined. What D stands for seems to have been lost in the mists of time although the tradition is that it just stands for "Day". In fact, the French have a similar term, "Jour J" (Day J), with a similar meaning. We also use H-Hour to denote the hour the attack is to commence.

23. Grp. advising the president : NSC
The National Security Council was created by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. The NSC is chaired by the sitting president, and meets in the White House Situation Room.

25. 1940s-'50s White House name : BESS
Harry and Bess Truman met when they were very young children, at Sunday school. They were friends right through high school and became engaged in 1918 just before Harry went off to France during WWI, marrying the next year. Bess Truman never really took to the Washington scene when she became First Lady, and stayed out of the limelight as much as she could. Perhaps that contributed to her longevity. Mrs. Truman lived to the age of 97, making her the longest living First Lady in US history.

26. Way out: Abbr. : ESC
Escape!

27. Topkapi title : AGA
“Topkapi” is a fun film released in 1964. It is based on the novel “The Light of Day” by Eric Ambler. Peter Ustinov played one of the leading roles in the movie, and yet he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.

"Aga", or "agha", is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

29. Baltimore Orioles' spring training site : SARASOTA, FLORIDA
The Baltimore Orioles was one of the eight charter teams of MLB's American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn't fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn't help the team's performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

39. "Amazing Grace" melody basis : PENTATONIC SCALE
The musical scales with which we are most familiar are called heptatonic scales, as they have seven pitches per octave (do re mi fa so la ti). A pentatonic scale has only five pitches per octave.

“Amazing Grace” is a very, very famous hymn, with words written by John Newton in 1779. The words have been set to a number of different melodies, but what we are used to hearing is that of a tune named “New Britain”.

41. Time of day, briefly : E’EN
"E’en" is a poetic shortening of the word "evening".

46. Campaign manager: Abbr. : GEN
A general manages a military campaign.

49. When many ballots are cast: Abbr. : TUES
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.

51. Blood-typing syst. : ABO
The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-Neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, AB or O, positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a "universal donor".

52. Subject of the 2007 biography subtitled "The Man Who Became a Book" : ROGET
Peter Mark Roget was an English lexicographer. He was an avid maker of lists, apparently using the routine of list-making to combat depression, a condition he endured for most of his life. He published his famous thesaurus in 1852, with revisions and expansions being made years later by his son, and then in turn by his grandson.

54. Old wiring org. : UPI
United Press International (UPI) was one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists but with only a handful of employees.

62. Workers associated with ding-dongs : AVON LADIES
In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous "Avon Calling" marketing campaign was launched in 1954.

63. "Chicago" husband ___ Hart : AMOS
The wonderful 1975 musical “Chicago” is based on a 1926 play of the same name by a news reporter called Maurine Dallas Watkins. Watkins had been assigned to cover the murder trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaernter for the “Chicago Tribune”, and used the story that unfolded as the basis for her play. Annan became the character Roxie Hart, and Gaernter became Velma Kelly.

65. It happens by default : REPO
Default on payments of your car, say, and the repo guy might come calling.

Down
2. Island do : LUAU
Nowadays the word "luau" denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of "poi", the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.

5. Star of "Mon Oncle" : TATI
Jacques Tati was a very famous filmmaker in France. "Mon Oncle" was an Oscar-winning film that he released in 1958.

7. French military wear : KEPIS
The kepi is that circular cap with a visor, worn in particular by the French military.

8. Tudor ___ : ERA
The Wars of the Roses was a series of civil wars fought for the throne of England between the rival Houses of Lancaster and York. Ultimately the Lancastrians emerged victorious after Henry Tudor defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry was crowned King Henry VII and united the two Houses by marrying his cousin, Elizabeth of York. Henry had a relatively long reign of 23 years that lasted until his death, after which his son succeeded to the throne as Henry VIII, continuing the relatively short-lived Tudor dynasty. He ruled from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry VIII was the last male to lead the the House of Tudor, as his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, died without issue.

9. Canonflex, e.g. : SLR
SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

11. Like a wool supplier : OVINE
The Latin word for "sheep" is "ovis", giving us the adjective "ovine", meaning "like a sheep".

15. Cerecloth feature : WAXY COATING
"Cera" is the Latin word for "wax", and it gives us the verb "to cere" once used to mean "coat in wax". Cerecloth, cloth coated in wax, was once used to wrap the dead.

22. Hard-copy : DEAD-TREE
A slang term for a “hard copy”, a copy on paper, is “dead-tree”.

31. Sofer of soaps : RENA
Rena Sofer came to prominence as an actor in daytime television, most notably playing Lois Cerullo on "General Hospital". Her love interest on the show was played by Wally Kurth, and the online romance led to the pair walking down the aisle in real life in 1995 (although they divorced two years later).

32. Beta follower : -TRON
A betatron is machine that’s used to produce electrons. The name betatron comes from “beta particles”, electrons emitted by some radioactive nuclei.

34. Gladly, old-style : FAIN
“Fain” is an old way of saying “gladly, joyful”.

37. Hydrocarbon endings : -ANES
Alkanes are also known as paraffins, and saturated hydrocarbons.

Technically, a saturated hydrocarbon is an organic compound with no double or triple bonds between carbon atoms. Because it has no double or triple bonds it is "saturated" with hydrogen, has the maximum number of hydrogen atoms that each carbon atom can take. This is particularly important to us when talking about saturated fats (generally unhealthy, animal-sourced fats) and unsaturated fats (generally, healthy plant-sourced fats).

48. Girlfriend, in Granada : NOVIA
“Novia” is Spanish for “bride, a newly married woman”. That’s a little more than a girlfriend, I’d say …

53. Circus performer : GEEK
The original geek was a sideshow performer, perhaps at a circus.

58. Napkin edges? : ENS
At the “edges” of the word “napkin” there are two letters N i.e. two “ens”.

59. Adriatic repub. : ALB
The Republic of Albania is a country in the Balkans in southeastern Europe. Albania was made a communist state after WWII but became independent again with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990.

60. "God, home and country" org. : DAR
In order to be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), an applicant has to prove that she is a descendant of someone closely associated with and supportive of the American Revolution.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Mussel morsel : ALGA
5. Observes, with "of" : TAKES NOTE
14. Roll up : FURL
15. It might tax a levee : WATER LEVEL
16. Lots of stadiums have them : TAILGATE PARTIES
18. Something soaked up : SUN
19. Super Bowl of 2029 : LXIII
20. Hoboken-to-Fort Lee dir. : NNE
21. When to begin an operation : D-DAY
23. Grp. advising the president : NSC
25. 1940s-'50s White House name : BESS
26. Way out: Abbr. : ESC
27. Topkapi title : AGA
29. Baltimore Orioles' spring training site : SARASOTA, FLORIDA
38. His inventory has gone many miles : USED CAR SALESMAN
39. "Amazing Grace" melody basis : PENTATONIC SCALE
40. Naive optimism : STARS IN ONE’S EYES
41. Time of day, briefly : E’EN
42. Start to stick? : NON-
43. 17-Down part : PANE
46. Campaign manager: Abbr. : GEN
49. When many ballots are cast: Abbr. : TUES
51. Blood-typing syst. : ABO
52. Subject of the 2007 biography subtitled "The Man Who Became a Book" : ROGET
54. Old wiring org. : UPI
57. Get smitten hard : GO HEAD OVER HEELS
62. Workers associated with ding-dongs : AVON LADIES
63. "Chicago" husband ___ Hart : AMOS
64. Reason to "interrupt this program" : NEWS BREAK
65. It happens by default : REPO

Down
1. Times of day, briefly : AFTS
2. Island do : LUAU
3. Tedious work : GRIND
4. See 44-Down : ALL
5. Star of "Mon Oncle" : TATI
6. Didn't take out? : ATE IN
7. French military wear : KEPIS
8. Tudor ___ : ERA
9. Canonflex, e.g. : SLR
10. Take in : NET
11. Like a wool supplier : OVINE
12. Period of rapid growth : TEENS
13. No one ___ business : ELSE’S
15. Cerecloth feature : WAXY COATING
17. Bell jar relative : GLASS CASE
22. Hard-copy : DEAD-TREE
24. Where "operators are standing by" : CALL CENTERS
25. Backdrop for many singles matches? : BAR SCENE
28. Declines : GOES SOUTH
29. Takes evening courses? : SUPS
30. At ___ time (prearranged) : A SET
31. Sofer of soaps : RENA
32. Beta follower : -TRON
33. ___ other (uniquely) : AS NO
34. Gladly, old-style : FAIN
35. Wishy-washy response : I MAY
36. Land in a depression : DALE
37. Hydrocarbon endings : -ANES
43. Like some rites : PAGAN
44. With 4-Down, first and foremost : ABOVE
45. "Ain't gonna happen!" : NO HOW
47. Opposite of build up : ERODE
48. Girlfriend, in Granada : NOVIA
50. Dismissive retort : SUE ME
53. Circus performer : GEEK
55. Sound associated with ripples : PLOP
56. "That ___ you!" : IS SO
58. Napkin edges? : ENS
59. Adriatic repub. : ALB
60. "God, home and country" org. : DAR
61. Place to put a plug : EAR

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2 comments :

Tita said...

Always much to learn here, Bill...

Today I learned that D-Day is a generic term, not only for 6/6/1944.

Happy thanksgiving!

Bill Butler said...

Tita,

I thought the "Jour J" usage in French was interesting, and instructive!

Hope you had a good TG too.

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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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