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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

1208-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 8 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: Daniel A. Finan
THEME: Sounds Like … each of the theme answer is clued by two circled letters with in the answer, with the clue being a homophone of those letters:
7A. [See circled letters] : EVEN O(NE) (NE sounds like “any”)
18A. [See circled letters] : ITE(M T)O RECYCLE (MT sounds like “empty”)
35A. [See circled letters] : GREE(N V)ICE (NV sounds like “envy”)
52A. [See circled letters] : COMMERCIA(L C)OW (LC sounds like “Elsie”)
62A. [See circled letters] : A BRE(EZ)E (EZ sounds like “a breeze”)
COMPLETION TIME: 37m 53s!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Gambol about : PRANCE
“Gambol” is a such a lovely word, meaning "to frolic. leap about".

15. Schubert masterpiece : AVE MARIA
Franz Schubert wrote a piece of music in 1825 called “Ellen’s Third Song”, part of a group of songs written based on Walter Scott’s poem “The Lady of the Lake”. The opening words in the refrain are “Ave Maria”, which perhaps led to the melody of the song being adapted to the Roman Catholic prayer that uses the words “Ave Maria” is its title.

16. Renée of silent films : ADOREE
Renée Adorée was a French actress who made a name for herself in Hollywood silent movies in the twenties.

17. '84 Super Bowl victor : LA RAIDER
Super Bowl XVIII was played in 1984 between the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Raiders. The Raiders emerged victorious by a record 29 point margin.

21. It comes in a chicken variety : POX
Chicken pox is a viral infection, a classic disease of childhood most commonly caught by 4-10 year olds. There is a complication that can arise later in life as the virus sometimes reactivates to cause shingles.

30. Blotto : LIT
The term "blotto" meaning "drunk" dates back to the early 1900s. It supposedly is derived from the word "blot", in the sense that being drunk you must have soaked up a whole load of booze.

40. Headquarters for UBS and Credit Suisse : ZURICH
UBS was adopted as the official name of what was intended to be the United Bank of Switzerland when it was formed by a merger in 1998.

Credit Suisse is a financial services company, founded in 1856 by Alfred Escher.

45. Sequence with two hyphens: Abbr. : SSN
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation although, given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an "identity number" to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children who did not actually exist, as dependents on their tax returns. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get a SSN for any dependents over the ago of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents "disappeared".

46. Anderson who directed "Fantastic Mr. Fox" : WES
“Fantastic Mr Fox” is a children’s novel by Roald Dahl. It was adapted into a 2006 animated film directed by Wes Anderson.

Wes Anderson's most famous movie is probably "The Royal Tenenbaums", released in 2001. It's not my favorite film by any stretch. However, his 2007 release "The Darjeeling Limited", that I enjoyed.

50. Half-___ (coffee order) : CAF
The term “half-caf” is used to specify a 50-50 mixture of regular and decaffeinated coffee.

51. Rockefeller Center muralist : SERT
José Maria Sert was a painter of murals from Catalan, and a friend of Salvador Dali.

52. [See circled letters] : COMMERCIAL COW (LC sounds like “Elsie”)
Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World's Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. Elsie was also given a husband, Elmer the Bull, who eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer's Glue.

59. Neighbor of Suriname : GUYANA
Guyana's official name today is the Co-Operative Republic of Guyana. Guyana is located on the northern coast of South America. The country used to be a British colony, with the name British Guyana, but it achieve independence in 1966. It is now the only member of the British Commonwealth (now called the Commonwealth of Nations) that is on mainland South America.

60. Male gland : PROSTATE
The function of the male’s prostate gland is to secrete a fluid that helps to prolong the lifespan of spermatozoa in the vaginal tract.

63. Rendezvous : TRYSTS
A rendezvous is a meeting, from the French “present yourselves”. The plural is simply “rendezvous”.

Down
5. Online tech news resource : CNET
c|net is an excellent technology website. c|net started out in 1994 as a television network specializing in technology news. The host of “American Idol”, Ryan Seacrest, started off his career as a host on a c|net show.

9. Old Apple product marketed to schools : EMAC
The name eMac is short for "education Mac". The eMac was similar to an iMac.

12. Einstein's "never" : NIE
"Nie" is the German word for "never".

15. "A Clockwork Orange" narrator : ALEX
"A Clockwork Orange" is a novella by Anthony Burgess, first published in 1962. The story is about a young teenager, Alex, who leads a small gang on violent rampages each night. The story has been adapted for the big and small screens, most famously in a 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick. It's way too violent for me ...

19. N.H.L. great Patrick : ROY
Patrick Roy is a former NHL goaltender who played for the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche.

23. "My country, ___ ..." : ‘TIS
The patriotic song “America” is also known by its first line, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”. It was written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, and was the de facto national anthem of the country until “The Star-Spangled Banner” was declared the official anthem.

27. Big D cager : MAV
The Mavericks is the name of the NBA franchise in Dallas, Texas. The team was founded in 1980, and the Mavericks name was chosen by fan votes. The choice of “Mavericks” was helped on by the fact that the actor James Garner was a part-owner of the team, and he of course played “Maverick” on television.

29. Start of a spelling? : HOCUS
There appears to be a lot of speculation about the origin of the magician's phrase "hocus pocus", but nothing stands out to me as being very clear.

32. Anti-Bond 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.

33. ___ Park (Pirates' stadium) : PNC
PNC Park is the home to the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. The park is sponsored by PNC Financial Services, the sixth largest bank in the US, founded and based in Pittsburgh.

34. Gen ___ : XER
The term Generation X originated in the UK, the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture". By the latest accepted definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

46. W.W. II female : WAC
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women's Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his "best soldiers", saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

50. Algonquian tribe : CREE
The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

53. Bit of dust : MOTE
"Mote" is just another word for "a speck of dust".

54. Jason who sang "I'm Yours," 2008 : MRAZ
Jason Mraz is a singer-songwriter from Mechanicsville, Virginia. He is of Czech descent, and his name “Mraz” translates as “frost”.

56. Violinist Leopold : AUER
Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, as well as a conductor and composer. He wrote a small number of works for the violin, the most famous of which is the "Rhapsodie Hongroise" written for violin and piano.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Gambol about : PRANCE
7. [See circled letters] : EVEN ONE (NE sounds like “any”)
14. Tart, in a way : LEMONY
15. Schubert masterpiece : AVE MARIA
16. Renée of silent films : ADOREE
17. '84 Super Bowl victor : LA RAIDER
18. [See circled letters] : ITEM TO RECYCLE (MT sounds like “empty”)
20. Pinches : NABS
21. It comes in a chicken variety : POX
22. Niña's title: Abbr. : SRTA
25. Prefix with center : EPI-
26. "Psst!" : HEY
27. Dash reading: Abbr. : MPH
30. Blotto : LIT
31. S'pose : RECKON
33. Emotional outburst : PAROXYSM
35. [See circled letters] : GREEN VICE (NV sounds like “envy”)
37. Uncivilized : BARBARIC
40. Headquarters for UBS and Credit Suisse : ZURICH
44. Flock female : EWE
45. Sequence with two hyphens: Abbr. : SSN
46. Anderson who directed "Fantastic Mr. Fox" : WES
47. Bird sound : COO
48. Very willing : GLAD
50. Half-___ (coffee order) : CAF
51. Rockefeller Center muralist : SERT
52. [See circled letters] : COMMERCIAL COW (LC sounds like “Elsie”)
57. Went downhill : GOT WORSE
59. Neighbor of Suriname : GUYANA
60. Male gland : PROSTATE
61. Santa's little ___ : HELPER
62. [See circled letters] : A BREEZE (EZ sounds like “a breeze”)
63. Rendezvous : TRYSTS

Down
1. Less convoluted : PLAINER
2. Bureaucratic hoops : RED TAPE
3. Roundish with an irregular border : AMOEBIC
4. They're standard : NORMS
5. Online tech news resource : CNET
6. Epiphanies : EYE-OPENERS
7. Fire drill activity, briefly : EVAC
8. So so? : VERY
9. Old Apple product marketed to schools : EMAC
10. Gets perfectly : NAILS
11. Ward worker : ORDERLY
12. Einstein's "never" : NIE
13. Good listener? : EAR
15. "A Clockwork Orange" narrator : ALEX
19. N.H.L. great Patrick : ROY
23. "My country, ___ ..." : ‘TIS
24. Balance provider, for short : ATM
26. Parts of el día : HORAS
27. Big D cager : MAV
28. Struggle over a purse : PRIZEFIGHT
29. Start of a spelling? : HOCUS
32. Anti-Bond org. : KGB
33. ___ Park (Pirates' stadium) : PNC
34. Gen ___ : XER
36. A in German class? : EIN
37. Do a dog trick : BEG
38. Cobbler's need : AWL
39. It has many rods : REACTOR
41. Ones at the pole positions? : ICECAPS
42. Princess' headwear : CORONET
43. Active military conflicts : HOT WARS
46. W.W. II female : WAC
49. Use a divining rod : DOWSE
50. Algonquian tribe : CREE
51. How a card sharp plays : SLYLY
53. Bit of dust : MOTE
54. Jason who sang "I'm Yours," 2008 : MRAZ
55. 90° from sur : ESTE
56. Violinist Leopold : AUER
57. No. with a decimal : GPA
58. Celestial body : ORB

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6 comments :

Anonymous said...

it was a breeze - it was so easy (EZ)
Regards Alastair

Bill Butler said...

Thanks for stopping by, Alastair.

For some reason I found this one a little tougher than the usual Thursday puzzle. But, the toughness of a puzzle is in the eye of the beholder, I always say :)

Dick Elton said...

Too hard for me, Bill, but I'll keep at it just because of the quality of your comments.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,
I found this one tough, too. Two comments: 1. My local paper listed the puzzle setter as Will Shortz, not Daniel A Finian. Any idea why that would be? 2. The theme "sounds like" wasn't included, which is typical for weekdays here. It might have helped if it were because one of the first of the "see circled letters" answers I got was "a breeze". Although my Canadian pronunciation of Z as "zed" might have led me astray anyway. Thanks for doing this.

Rob

Bill Butler said...

Hi Dick,

You are too kind!

This was a tough one, I absolutely agree. An absolute nightmare until you cop on to "the trick".

Hang in there :)

Bill Butler said...

Hi Rob,

Thanks for stopping by.

Re Will Shortz
Will is the puzzle's editor, and his name is always added in addition to the person who set the puzzle. At least that's the way it is when the puzzle first appears in the NYTimes. Apparently only Will's name survived by the time it got your local publication.

Re "Sounds Like" Theme
I don't mean to mislead, but there is no theme listed for any of the puzzles during the week, just for the Sunday puzzle. So, I make one up after the fact, the intent being to help explain what is happening in the puzzle itself. Sorry for the confusion.

And trust me, coming from Ireland the zee/zed migration if the least of my problems!

Thanks again for leaving the comment.

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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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