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Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada (again!)

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 a long and strenuos hike today in Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas in 100-degree weather, complete with a touch of heatstroke (scary), and saw the Cirque de Soleil show "Zarkana" this evening (amazing, as all Cirque shows are).

Bill

1207-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 7 Dec 11, Wednesday





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: Julian Lim
THEME: ZENER CARDS … all of the theme answers end with one of the fiver ZENER CARDS:
16A. *What an EEG reads : BRAINWAVES
28A. *Back to the beginning : FULL CIRCLE
38A. *Up-and-comer : RISING STAR
53A. Tools for ESP researchers (whose symbols are found at the ends of the answers to the five asterisked clues) : ZENER CARDS
10D. *Act of betrayal : DOUBLE-CROSS
23D. *Scene of an annual ball-dropping : TIMES SQUARE
COMPLETION TIME: 9m 51s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … ZENER CARDS (ZINER CARDS), CENO- (CINO-)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Chips go-with : SALSA
“Salsa” is simply the Spanish for “sauce”.

10. Lineage-based women's 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.

13. Person dressed in black : GOTH
The goth subculture developed from the gothic rock scene in the early eighties, a derivative of the punk music movement. It started in England and spread to many countries around the globe. The term "goth" of course comes from the Eastern Germanic tribe called the Goths. Frankly, I don't understand the whole goth thing though ...

15. Isao of golf : AOKI
Isao Aoki is one of Japan's greatest golfers, now playing on the senior circuit. His best finish in a major tournament was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open.

16. *What an EEG reads : BRAINWAVES
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is "brain dead".

18. Peat or propane : FUEL
When dead plant matter accumulates in marshy areas, it may not fully decay due to a lack of oxygen or acidic conditions. We are familiar with this in Ireland because this decaying matter can form peat, and we have lots and lots of peat bogs.

The “smaller” alkanes are gases, and are quite combustible. Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas, with ethane (C2H6) being the second largest component. Propane (C3H8) is also found in natural gas and is heavy enough to be readily turned into a liquid by compression, for ease of transportation and storage. Butane (C4H10) is also easily liquefied under pressure and can be used as the fuel in cigarette lighters or as the propellant in aerosol sprays. The heavier alkanes are liquids and solids at room temperature.

19. Stahl of "60 Minutes" : LESLEY
Lesley Stahl has worked on "60 Minutes" since 1991. She is married to author "Aaron Latham". As a journalist, it was Latham who wrote the article that inspired the movie "Urban Cowboy".

26. ___-nez : PINCE
Pince-nez are eyeglasses clipped to the bridge of the nose. The name is French, meaning literally “pinch the nose”.

27. Many a turkey : TOM
A male turkey is called a "tom", taking its name from a "tomcat". The inference is, that like a tomcat, the male turkey is relatively wild and undomesticated, sexually promiscuous and frequently getting into fights.

33. Justice Kagan : ELENA
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States, and in 2010 replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the fourth female US Supreme Court justice (there have been 108 men!). I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen and used to reread "Pride and Prejudice" once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I'd say ...

36. Enclosure with a ms. : SAE
A self-addressed envelope.

37. Newbies : TYROS
A tyro is a beginner or a novice. “Tyro” comes into English from Latin, in which "tiro" means "a recruit".

41. Polo Grounds great : OTT
At 5' 9", Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don't think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old.

The original Polo Grounds in New York city was built in 1876 and as one might expect, it was used to play polo. The property was leased in 1880 by the New York Metropolitans and was converted into a baseball stadium. Over the years, the stadium was replaced, three times in all, but the "Polo Grounds" name was retained.

50. Boxing's Brown Bomber : LOUIS
Joe Louis was defeated by German boxer Max Schmeling in 1936, an outcome that made Schmeling a hero in his homeland. Nazi party members claimed that the victory supported the claim of Aryan superiority. A much anticipated rematch was scheduled for 1938, to be held once again in Yankee Stadium. Prior to the fight, Louis was invited to the White House where President Roosevelt told him "Joe, we need muscles like yours to beat Germany." Louis won the rematch in spectacular style, knocking Schmeling to the canvas three times in a bout that lasted just two minutes and four seconds. Schmeling only managed to throw two punches.

51. Drive like a drunk : CAREEN
"Careen" dates back to 1590 when it meant "to turn a ship on its side, exposing the keel". The word evolved from the Middle French word "carene" meaning "keel". Our modern usage, meaning to lean or tilt, only dates back as far as the 1880s. Careen should not be confused with "career", a verb meaning to move rapidly. One has to "career" from side-to-side in order to "careen".

52. Midget car-racing org. : USAC
The United States Auto Club came into being right after the 1955 Le Mans disaster, the worst motor-sports catastrophe in history in which 84 people were killed (one driver and 83 spectators). Up to this point, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has been sanctioning auto races, but the AAA withdrew in light of the risks involved. So, the USAC was formed by the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and took charge of enforcing rules related to championship auto racing.

53. Tools for ESP researchers (whose symbols are found at the ends of the answers to the five asterisked clues) : ZENER CARDS
Zener cards were developed in the early thirties by psychologist Karl Zener for use in experiments related to extra-sensory perception. These five simple and distinctive cards replaced the standard deck of cards that had been used in trials up to that point.

57. Ankara native : TURK
Ankara is the second largest city in Turkey, after Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). After WWI, the Ottoman Empire had been defeated and the Allies occupied the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. The victors planned to break up most of Turkey, leaving native Turks just part of their country for their own. In the inevitable War of Independence that followed, the Turkish Nationalists used Ankara as their base. When they emerged victorious, they declared Ankara the new capital of Turkey.

59. "Gotta run!" : CIAO
"Ciao" is the Italian for "bye". "Arrivederci" is more formal, and translates better as "goodbye".

62. Small-screen award : 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.

Down
1. Putin's former org. : KGB
The Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved at that time after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d'état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Vladimir Putin became acting President of Russia at the very end of 1999 when Boris Yeltsin resigned. Putin was elected in his own right in 2000, re-elected in 2004, and then ran up against a term limit in 2008. In 2008 Putin was appointed by his successor, President Dmitry Medvedev, to the position of Prime Minister. Putin is a controversial figure, inside and outside Russia. On the one hand he led the country out of an economic crisis into a period of stability and relative prosperity. On the other hand he has been associated with government corruption and accused of allowing private concerns to have undue influence on government actions.

8. Chop ___ : SUEY
Many believe that the Chinese dish known as chop suey was invented in America, by Chinese immigrants. In fact, by the time it showed up in the US it already existed in the Taishan district of Guangdong in southeast China, the origin of many of those immigrants. “Chop suey” translates as “assorted pieces”, and is made up of some meat and eggs quickly cooked with vegetables in a thickened sauce.

9. H.S. courses for coll. credit : APS
Advanced placement courses (APs).

10. *Act of betrayal : DOUBLE-CROSS
A double-cross is a pre-arranged swindle. The original usage referred to the winning of a race that one had previously promised to lose.

11. "The Jungle Book" wolf : AKELA
Akela is the wolf in the "Jungle Book", and gave his name to the cubmaster in the scouting movement, now known as Akela.

12. Easy life, personified : RILEY
The phrase "life of Reilly" dates back to at least 1919. It may originate from a song from the 1880s about a man called O'Reilly and how he became rich and lived an easy life.

17. Sleuth Wolfe : NERO
Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for us to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: " Meet Nero Wolfe" (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and "The League of Frightened Men" (1937). One of Wolfe's endearing traits is his love of good food and beer, so he is a pretty rotund character.

22. Christ's literary stopping place : EBOLI
Carlo Levi was an Italian-Jewish painter, writer and political activist. He was one of the founders of the anti-fascist movement called Giustizia e Libertà in 1929, and his activities with the group led to his exile to the impoverished south of Italy. He wrote his most famous book based on his experiences in exile, and called it “Christ Stopped at Eboli”.

23. *Scene of an annual ball-dropping : TIMES SQUARE
Times Square in New York City of course isn’t a square at all, but rather a triangle. When the New York Times newspaper opened new headquarters in the area in 1904, the city agreed to the name “Times Square”, changing it from Longacre Square.

29. 1-Down's land : USSR
(1. Putin's former org. : KGB)
The former Soviet Union (USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. The new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent geographically to the old Russian Empire, and was comprised of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics.

30. Long. partner : LAT
Lines of latitude are the imaginary horizontal lines surrounding the planet. The most "important" lines of latitude are:
- Arctic Circle
- Tropic of Cancer
- Equator
- Tropic of Capricorn
- Antarctic Circle

32. These, in Toledo : ESTOS
Toledo is a city in central Spain.

35. Diarist Nin : ANAIS
Anaïs Nin was a French author, famous for her journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. She also wrote highly regarded erotica, and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration.

39. "Skedaddle!" : GIT
"Skedaddle " is a slang term meaning "run away", and dates back to the Civil War.

40. Sister of Snow White : ROSE-RED
We are most familiar with the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Snow White", the basis for the Disney movie "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". There is another Grimm tale called "Snow-White and Rose-Red" which tells of two sisters, neither of which has anything to do with the more famous Snow White.

44. Tiny fraction of a min. : PSEC
A picosecond is one trillionth of a second, and is abbreviated “ps” in the SI system of measurements. I guess that's what “psec” is meant to be …

45. Bridge combo : TENACE
In the wonderful card game of bridge, a tenace is a broken sequence of honor cards, like AQ or KJ.

46. Wooer of Olive Oyl : BLUTO
Bluto is the villain in the Popeye cartoon strip and has been around since 1932. Sometimes you will see Bluto go by the name Brutus, depending on the date of the publication. This "confusion" arose because there was an unfounded concern that the name "Bluto" was owned by someone else. Bluto, Brutus ... it's the same guy.

"Thimble Theater" was the precursor comic strip to the famous "Popeye" drawn by E. C. Seger. Before Popeye came into the story, the brother and sister characters Castor Oyl and Olive Oyl were the main protagonists. And then, along comes a sailor ...

47. Merchant ship officer : BOSUN
A boatswain works on the deck of a boat. A boatswain is unlicensed, and so is not involved in the navigation or handling of the vessel. He or she has charge of the other unlicensed workers on the deck. Boatswain is pronounced "bosun" and this phonetic spelling is often used interchangeably with "boatswain". The contraction "bos'n" is also very popular.

48. ___ Games (quadrennial event) : PAN AM
The Pan American Games are held every four years, the year just before the Summer Olympic Games. Athletes participating all come from the Americas.

51. Prefix with -zoic : CENO-
The Cenozoic Era is the most recent geologic era, and covers the period from 65.5 million years ago to the present day. The start of the Cenozoic Era is defined as the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, the cataclysm that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

53. Part of a slalom's path : ZIG
Slalom is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word "slalam", meaning "skiing race".

54. What a swish shot doesn't touch : RIM
Basketball truly is an American sport. It was created in 1891 by a James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first "hoops" were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When you got the ball into the "net", you had to clamber up and get it back out again to continue the game!

56. Faux meat base : SOY
The wonderful soybean is a legume and is used to make a wide variety of foodstuffs, from soy milk and soy sauce to tofu and tempeh.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Had down : KNEW
5. Chips go-with : SALSA
10. Lineage-based women's org. : DAR
13. Person dressed in black : GOTH
14. Wolfed down : ATE UP
15. Isao of golf : AOKI
16. *What an EEG reads : BRAINWAVES
18. Peat or propane : FUEL
19. Stahl of "60 Minutes" : LESLEY
20. Dish alternative : CABLE
21. "Time to get moving!" : LET’S ROLL
24. Reinvest, as winnings : PARLAY
25. Some, but not much : A BIT OF
26. ___-nez : PINCE
27. Many a turkey : TOM
28. *Back to the beginning : FULL CIRCLE
33. Justice Kagan : ELENA
36. Enclosure with a ms. : SAE
37. Newbies : TYROS
38. *Up-and-comer : RISING STAR
41. Polo Grounds great : OTT
42. Way up or down : STAIR
43. Decides one will : OPTS TO
46. Pig roast spot, briefly : BBQ PIT
48. Mimics convincingly : PASSES AS
50. Boxing's Brown Bomber : LOUIS
51. Drive like a drunk : CAREEN
52. Midget car-racing org. : USAC
53. Tools for ESP researchers (whose symbols are found at the ends of the answers to the five asterisked clues) : ZENER CARDS
57. Ankara native : TURK
58. Half-witted : INANE
59. "Gotta run!" : CIAO
60. Unified : ONE
61. Lose one's marbles : GO MAD
62. Small-screen award : EMMY

Down
1. Putin's former org. : KGB
2. Scand. land : NOR
3. Capt.'s guess : ETA
4. As long as, old-style : WHILST
5. Removes, as a branch : SAWS OFF
6. Whatsoever : AT ALL
7. Like a pool table, ideally : LEVEL
8. Chop ___ : SUEY
9. H.S. courses for coll. credit : APS
10. *Act of betrayal : DOUBLE-CROSS
11. "The Jungle Book" wolf : AKELA
12. Easy life, personified : RILEY
15. Much removed (from) : A FAR CRY
17. Sleuth Wolfe : NERO
20. "Zip your lips!" : CAN IT
21. "Gotta run!" : LATER
22. Christ's literary stopping place : EBOLI
23. *Scene of an annual ball-dropping : TIMES SQUARE
24. Shot : PIC
26. ___ bargain : PLEA
29. 1-Down's land : USSR
30. Long. partner : LAT
31. Bunch of, casually : LOTTA
32. These, in Toledo : ESTOS
34. Sweat the small stuff, in a way : NITPICK
35. Diarist Nin : ANAIS
39. "Skedaddle!" : GIT
40. Sister of Snow White : ROSE-RED
44. Tiny fraction of a min. : PSEC
45. Bridge combo : TENACE
46. Wooer of Olive Oyl : BLUTO
47. Merchant ship officer : BOSUN
48. ___ Games (quadrennial event) : PAN AM
49. Boxing venue : ARENA
51. Prefix with -zoic : CENO-
53. Part of a slalom's path : ZIG
54. What a swish shot doesn't touch : RIM
55. Hydroelectricity structure : DAM
56. Faux meat base : SOY

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8 comments :

Anonymous said...

"PSEC"? That's neither a word nor an abbreviation. A picosecond is abbreviated with the greek letter pico, not the roman letter p. Terrible answer...

Bill Butler said...

I had a problem with this answer too, as I pointed out in my commentary. I think that picosecond is abbreviated to "ps" in the SI system though. I also think that "pico-" is a prefix, and not a Greek letter.

Having said all that, we're just here for the fun!

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

Dick Elton said...

I missed the "W" on square 4. Couldn't come up with KNEW for "Had down". Nor could I think of WHILST. But I had a good time.

Bill Butler said...

Dick,

Having a good time ... that's the main thing. WHILST is a lovely word, I think, and one I still use. I am clearly living in the past :)

Anonymous said...

36. Enclosure with a ms. : SAE
A self-addressed envelope.

I researched ms. and found nothing relevant to SAE. What does ms. mean?
-joe t. Lotus, CA

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Joe.

I probably shouldn't have glossed over that one. MS in this case stands for "manuscript". Apparently, the idea is that many unsolicited manuscripts are submitted by authors to editors for review and they include stamped self-addressed envelopes so that they are likely to get the manuscript returned.

I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

HI, Bill.

I thoroughly enjoy reading the information that you have taken the time to look up -- it allows me to 'get on with my day' (by not looking up the stuff myself).

Regarding "41 across", I was puzzled by your information that the "New York Mets" played in the original "polo grounds" (since they were formed in 1962). On this one, I used Wikipedia to find out that the team that you referred to was the "New York Metropolitans".

One of my 'little enjoyments'/amazements is to see how many variations puzzle-makers come up with for the name "Ott". (I kinda wish that I had written them down.)

On a 'side note', I've long noted that since the advent of ready-access to Google, the puzzle answers have gotten more varied than at one time. There was a time when there were many more 'recurring answers'. "Ott" is one of the few that seems to have survived. ("Orr", as in Bobby Orr, once was also quite common.)

(By the way, the reason that I'm commenting on this puzzle at such a late date is that I work the puzzles by downloading them to my computer, printing them off, and working them at my own pace. It just so happens that "my own pace" is several months behind everyone else.)

Thanks again -- I enjoy your work.

Kerry

Bill Butler said...

Hi Kerry,

Thanks for the kind words about the blog.

You really caught me on this one, as I was way out by assuming that the New York Mets were one and the same as the old New York Metropolitans. My only excuse is that I haven't played a game of baseball in my life!

I am a little jealous that you get to work on these puzzles at your own pace, as you say. Since starting this blog I've been tied to a very rigorous schedule!

I hope you can drop by again soon!

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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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