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Greetings from Louisburgh, County Mayo 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

1201-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 1 Dec 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: Elizabeth A. Long
THEME: JACK IN THE BOX … this is a rebus puzzle, and some of the “boxes” in the grid contain the letters “JACK” (abbreviated to “JK” in my grid above). The theme answers are:
1A. Table staple, of sorts : BLACKJACK
7A. You might find one at a sawmill : LUMBERJACK
36A. With 39-Across, apt title for this puzzle : JACK IN
39A. See 36-Across : THE BOX
69A. One in a corner : JACK HORNER
70A. Figure often mentioned by meteorologists : JACK FROST
6D. Eschewer of fat : JACK SPRAT
13D. Stick pulled from a pile : JACKSTRAW
46D. Brandy made from cider : APPLEJACK
51D. British standard : UNION JACK
COMPLETION TIME: 18m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Table staple, of sorts : BLACKJACK
The game of "twenty-one" was first referred to in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing "Don Quixote". He called the game "ventiuna" (Spanish for "twenty-one"). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn't all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker "Blackjack".

7. You might find one at a sawmill : LUMBERJACK
As one might imagine, "lumberjack" was originally a Canadian term.

18. Bad spells? : ERRATA
Errata is the past participle of the Latin word "errare" meaning "to err".

21. One of a Jewish biblical trio : SHADRACH
The Book of Daniel tells of three young Jews who were saved from being burned alive by divine intervention. Their names were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

25. Actor Penn of the Harold and Kumar movies : KAL
Indian-American actor Kal Penn made a name for himself in the "Harold & Kumar" series of comedy films. These so called "stoner comedies" are not my cup of tea, but I enjoyed him playing his more mainstream roles on TV's "House" and "24". He left the world of acting when President Obama won the 2008 election and now works as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement (although he did leave the White House briefly to film the "Harold & Kumar" sequel).

36. With 39-Across, apt title for this puzzle : JACK-IN
39. See 36-Across : -THE-BOX
A Jack-in-the-box is child's toy. It's a box with a crank handle at the side. Turning the crank causes a tune to play (usually "Pop Goes the weasel"), and at the right moment the lid pops open and a spring loaded clown character jumps up out of the box.

42. Flimflammed : HOSED
Flim-flam is another word for a confidence trick. The term has been in use since the 1500s, would you believe?

44. Terra ___ : FIRMA
“Terra firma” is the Latin for “solid ground”.

46. Big inits. in bowling : AMF
AMF Bowling Centers, Inc. is an operator of bowling centers, the largest such company in the world in fact.

49. Diversion with 81 squares : SUDOKU
"Sudoku" is a Japanese word meaning "single number". No doubt many of you are fans. I know I am ...

52. Some meditation : ZEN
Zen is one of the Buddhist schools, and it developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word "chan", which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word "dhyana" meaning "meditation".

53. Coffin cover : PALL
A pall is a cloth used to cover a casket at a funeral. Pallbearers actually carry the coffin, covered by the pall. The phrase "casting a pall over", meaning to create a dark mood, is metaphorical use of the pall over the casket.

55. Bounce back and forth quickly : PING-PONG
Ping-pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. It started off as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called "wiff-waff". To play, books were stacked in the center of a table as a "net", two more books served as ""rackets", and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a "ping" and a "pong", giving the sport its alternative name.

60. "Meet the Fockers" co-star : DE NIRO
Robert de Niro is noted for his longtime and highly successful collaboration with the director Martin Scorsese. He is also noted for his commitment as a method actor. Famously, he gained a full 60 pounds in order to play Jake La Motta in the 1980 movie “Raging Bull”.

“Meet the Fockers” is a 2004 comedy, a sequel to the 2000 hit called “Meet the Parents”. And then in 2010, along came the third film in the series, “Little Fockers”. That last one I haven’t seen …

63. More unctuous : OILIER
A person described as “unctuous” is oily and insincere. “Unctum” is the Latin for “ointment”.

67. Bistros : EATERIES
"Bistro" was originally a Parisian slang term for a "little wine shop or restaurant".

69. One in a corner : JACK HORNER
Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said 'What a good boy am I!

70. Figure often mentioned by meteorologists : JACK FROST
Our Jack Frost is based on a character in Viking lore called Jokul Frosti, meaning “icicle frost”.

Down
1. Ray preceder : BLU-
A Blu-ray disc looks just like a standard DVD or CD, but it has a lot more capacity for data storage making it an ideal medium for high-definition movies. The name "Blu-ray" comes from the fact that a Blu-ray player uses a "blue laser" to read the disc, unlike a standard DVD which uses a "red laser".

2. Chaney or Chaney Jr. : LON
Lon Chaney, Sr. played a lot of crazed-looking characters in the days of silent movies. He did much of his own make-up work, developing the grotesque appearances that became his trademark, and earning himself the nickname "the man of a thousand faces". Most famous of all was his portrayal of "The Phantom of the Opera" in 1925.

Lon Chaney, Jr. followed in his father's footsteps as an actor, and most famously played the werewolf in the "The Wolf Man" series of films, starting in 1941. He started his acting career using his real name, Creighton Chaney, but later adopted the name "Lon Chaney, Jr." getting a boost from his father's reputation, I'd guess.

3. Dept. of Justice chiefs : AGS
Attorneys General.

5. Soup brand : KNORR
When I was growing up in Ireland, we never saw Campbell's soup on the shelves. It was basically all Knorr products, and dehydrated soup from a packet at that. How times have changed. Knorr is a German brand, now owned by the Anglo-Dutch Company Unilever.

6. Eschewer of fat : JACK SPRAT
Jack Sprat was a nickname given in the 16th century to people of small stature. This gave rise to a proverb of the day:
Jack will eat not fat, and Jull doth love no leane. Yet betwixt them both they lick the dishes cleane.
Over time, this mutated into a nursery rhyme that can heard in England to this day:
Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean. And so between them both, you see, they licked the platter clean.

7. 1971 Bond girl ___ Wood : LANA
Lana Wood is the younger sister of the actress Natalie Wood. Lana is an actress in her own right, and a producer. She appeared regularly on television’s “Peyton Place”. She was also a Bond girl, appearing opposite Sean Connery as Plenty O’Toole in “Diamonds Are Forever”. In fact, for a while Lana Wood and Sean Connery were romantically involved.

9. Thom ___ shoes : MCAN
Thom McAn footwear was introduced in 1922 by the Melville Corporation (now CVS Caremark). The brand was named after a Scottish golfer, Thomas McCann. The brand is epitomized by the comfortable leather casual and dress shoe, so sales have really been hurt in recent decades by the growing popularity of sneakers.

10. Some ties : BOLOS
I've never worn a bolo tie, and was surprised to discover that it is a relatively recent invention. The first one was apparently produced in Wickenburg, Arizona in the late 1940s by a silversmith. The bolo takes its name from the boleadora, an Argentine lariat.

11. Leading record label of the early 1900s : EDISON
Edison Records was founded by Thomas Edison in 1888, and was one of the earliest record labels in the world. Thomas Edison had invented the phonograph over a decade earlier, in 1877.

13. Stick pulled from a pile : JACKSTRAW
Jackstraws are also known as pick-up sticks.

19. Bandage trademark : ACE
ACE is a brand name of elastic bandage.

21. Some Caribbean music : SKA
Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties, and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term "ska", but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

22. Pilgrimage near year's end : HADJ
A Haji is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The journey itself goes by the name "haj" ot "hadj".

23. ___ mater : ALMA
The literal translation for the Latin phrase "alma mater" is "nourishing mother". Alma mater was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one's alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one's last place of education.

28. Addis Ababa is its capital: Abbr. : ETH
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia. The city is relatively young, only being founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II.

32. I, in Innsbruck : ICH
"Ich" is the German for "I", as in "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner), the famous words of support uttered by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 in a speech in West Berlin. The supposed translation of "Ich bin ein Berliner" as "I am a jelly doughnut" ... that's just an urban myth. President Kennedy's use of German was perfectly correct.

The Austrian state of Tyrol has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially if you love the mountains. It is in the very west of the country, just south of Bavaria in Germany. The capital city is the famous Innsbruck.

33. Too many hits might result in them, for short : TKOS
In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can't get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly "knocked out". A referee, fighter, or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter's safety. In this case, the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

35. One hit might result in it, for short : RBI
Runs Batted In …

37. Sch. in Pocatello : ISU
Idaho State University is located in Pocatello, Idaho. The school started out in 1901 as the Academy of Idaho.

38. 1998 film "Waking ___ Devine" : NED
"Waking Ned Devine" is an entertaining comedy film from 1998, set in Ireland. It's all about Ned Devine, who wins a fortune from the National Lottery but also who dies before he can claim the prize. The whole village conspires to "keep him alive" so that the winnings will be delivered and the locals can share the loot. Worth a rental ...

40. Type of pasta : ORZO
Orzo is pasta that has been formed into granular shapes, much like barley. And indeed, "orzo" is the Italian word for "barley".

41. Marvel characters : X-MEN
X-Men is a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays they are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier.

45. Director Lee : ANG
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as "Sense and Sensibility" (my personal favorite), "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hulk", and "Brokeback Mountain".

46. Brandy made from cider : APPLEJACK
Applejack was originally made by freeze distillation of hard cider. The process of freeze distillation is also called “jacking”, giving the resulting “apple brandy” its name. Jacking involves lowering the temperature of the cider so that some of the the water freezes and can be filtered off, hence increasing the alcohol content and intensity of flavor.

47. Singer Carey : MARIAH
Mariah Carey produced her first album in 1990 under the guidance of Tommy Mottola, an executive at Columbia Records. Mottola and Carey must have hit it off, because they were married three years later (although Mottola is now married to a different singer ...).

The record for the most number-one “Billboard” hits is held by the Beatles (20), however, the record for the most cumulative weeks at number one in the charts is shared by Elvis Presley and Mariah Carey (79 weeks).

51. British standard : UNION JACK
The Union Jack is a "jack" (a flag) representing the "Union" (the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). The flag is made up of three crosses:
- The St. George's Cross of England, a red cross (+) on a white background.
- The St. Andrew's Cross of Scotland, a white cross (x), on a blue background.
- The St. Patrick's Cross representing Northern Ireland, a red cross (x) on a white background.

54. Schlemiel : LOSER
A “schlemiel“ is an awkward and clumsy person. “Shlemiel” is the Yiddish for “a bungler”, with the term coming from the German story “The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl”, published in 1813.

59. Nonlibrary reading : PORN
The word "pornography" comes from the Greek "pornographos" meaning "writing of prostitutes".

60. Harts and hinds : DEER
Nowadays a hart is a male red deer, over five years old. A hind is a female red deer.

65. Loop loopers : ELS
The Chicago "L" is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The "L" is also the second oldest, again with the New York Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the "L" (originally short for "elevated railroad"), although the term "El" is also in common use (especially in crosswords as "ELS"). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

The historic commercial center of Chicago is known as The Loop. One theory is that the “loop” got its name from the cable loops in the city’s old cable car system.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Table staple, of sorts : BLACKJACK
7. You might find one at a sawmill : LUMBERJACK
14. Times going onto a secure site : LOGINS
15. Delivery expediters : BAR CODES
16. Open : UNSTOP
17. Chronicler of events : ANNALIST
18. Bad spells? : ERRATA
20. Gentle decline? : NO, SIR
21. One of a Jewish biblical trio : SHADRACH
24. Party mixer : SODA
25. Actor Penn of the Harold and Kumar movies : KAL
26. Show instability : TEETER
30. Untested : NEW
31. Make no bones about : ADMIT
34. Grandparent, often : DOTER
36. With 39-Across, apt title for this puzzle : JACK-IN
39. See 36-Across : -THE-BOX
42. Flimflammed : HOSED
44. Terra ___ : FIRMA
46. Big inits. in bowling : AMF
49. Diversion with 81 squares : SUDOKU
52. Some meditation : ZEN
53. Coffin cover : PALL
55. Bounce back and forth quickly : PING-PONG
58. Before surgery, briefly : PRE-OP
60. "Meet the Fockers" co-star : DE NIRO
61. Blankets : LIES OVER
63. More unctuous : OILIER
67. Bistros : EATERIES
68. Part of a meter : NEEDLE
69. One in a corner : JACK HORNER
70. Figure often mentioned by meteorologists : JACK FROST

Down
1. Ray preceder : BLU-
2. Chaney or Chaney Jr. : LON
3. Dept. of Justice chiefs : AGS
4. Pointed to : CITED
5. Soup brand : KNORR
6. Eschewer of fat : JACK SPRAT
7. 1971 Bond girl ___ Wood : LANA
8. Certain porcelain piece : URN
9. Thom ___ shoes : MCAN
10. Some ties : BOLOS
11. Leading record label of the early 1900s : EDISON
12. Domicile : RESIDE
13. Stick pulled from a pile : JACKSTRAW
15. Got clean : BATHED
19. Bandage trademark : ACE
21. Some Caribbean music : SKA
22. Pilgrimage near year's end : HADJ
23. ___ mater : ALMA
27. Playground user : TOT
28. Addis Ababa is its capital: Abbr. : ETH
29. Coral formation : REEF
32. I, in Innsbruck : ICH
33. Too many hits might result in them, for short : TKOS
35. One hit might result in it, for short : RBI
37. Sch. in Pocatello : ISU
38. 1998 film "Waking ___ Devine" : NED
40. Type of pasta : ORZO
41. Marvel characters : X-MEN
43. Druggies : DOPERS
45. Director Lee : ANG
46. Brandy made from cider : APPLEJACK
47. Singer Carey : MARIAH
48. Run for : FLEE TO
50. Blood : KIN
51. British standard : UNION JACK
54. Schlemiel : LOSER
56. "Good ___!" : GRIEF
57. Person propelling a punt : POLER
59. Nonlibrary reading : PORN
60. Harts and hinds : DEER
62. Go (for) : VIE
64. Court affirmation : I DO
65. Loop loopers : ELS
66. Abbr. after many a military title : RET

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2 comments :

Dick Elton said...

Good puzzle, this one; and I enjoyed every comment.

Bill Butler said...

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Dick. And that the little commentary went down well too!

Happy New Year!

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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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