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Vacation Alert

I am currently on vacation in Ireland, returning on October 9th. I am hoping to complete a blog post each evening, even if it is only the basics (solved grid and clues, plus explanation of theme). I apologize in advance if I am late in posting.

Bill

1209-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Dec 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: Patrick Berry
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 46m 06s!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Visigoth king who sacked Rome : ALARIC
Alaric I was a Germanic leader, King of the Visigoths from 395-410 AD. Early in his life, Alaric served as a mercenary in the service of the Roman Empire, but such a career didn’t settle well with him. When he became King of the Visigoths, Alaric mounted a campaign to seek new kingdoms and was successful in invading Greece and Italy. His eventual sacking of Rome marked the end of the great Roman Empire.

15. Black, yellow and white, say : CALICO
Domestic cats with a white coat and patches of brown and black are called calico cats in this country. In Ireland, and the rest of the world I think, such cats are called tortoiseshell-and-white. "Calico" is not a breed of cat, simply a coloring.

17. Crabtree & ___, purveyor of skin care products : EVELYN
Crabtree & Evelyn is an American company that sells body and home products. It is owned by a Malaysian company, one that's big into palm and rubber tree plantations.

22. Income source on a 1040: Abbr. : INT
Form 1040 was originally created just for tax returns from 1913, 1914 and 1915, but it just will not go away ...

23. Pig of children's lit : OLIVIA
Olivia is a pig featured in a series of children’s books that is written and illustrated by Ian Falconer. The character was inspired by Falconer’s niece, also named Olivia.

25. "CSI" forensic scientist Grissom : GIL
I’m told that the TV show "CSI" gets a lot of razzing by law enforcement professionals for its unrealistic portrayal of the procedures and science of criminal investigation. I don't care though, as I just think it's fun television. The original "CSI" set in Las Vegas seems to have "gone off the boil", but the addition of Sela Ward to the cast of "CSI: NY" has really, really raised the level of the sister show centered around New York City.

26. Yiddish for "connoisseur" : MAVEN
I've always loved the word "maven", another word for an expert. Maven comes into English from the Yiddish "meyvn", someone who appreciates and is a connoisseur.

30. Parent company of Reebok : ADIDAS
The brand name "Adidas" dates back to when Adolf "Adi" Dassler started making his own sports shoes in his mother's laundry room in Bavaria after returning from WWI. With his brother, Adi founded Dassler shoes. The companies big break came in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics when Adi persuaded American sprinter Jesse Owens to use his shoes, and with the success of Jesse Owens came success for the fledgling shoe company. After WWII the brothers split, acrimoniously. Adi's brother, Ru-dolf Da-ssler, formed "Ruda" shoes (later to become Puma), and Adi Das-sler formed "Adidas".

The brand name Reebok was adopted as the new company name for Foster Shoes of the UK in 1960. The name Reebok (more commonly “Rhebok”) is an Afrikaans word for an antelope, and comes from the term "roe buck".

32. Poet ___ Wheeler Wilcox : ELLA
Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an author and poet from Wisconsin. Her most famous poem is “Solitude”, noted for the oft-quoted line “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone.”

36. Pop singer born Ellen Naomi Cohen : MAMA CASS
Cass Elliot was one of the four singers in the Mamas and the Papas, the sensational group from the sixties. She was performing sold-out concerts in London in 1974 when she was found dead one morning, having had a heart attack. She was only 32 years old. Eerily, she died in the same flat (on loan from Harry Nilsson) in which the Who's drummer, Keith Moon, would die just four years later.

43. Musica, e.g. : ARTE
In Italian “musica” (music) is an “arte” (art).

46. Longest-serving French president : MITTERRAND
François Mitterrand was the 21st President of France, serving from 1981 to 1995. There was some controversy after his term ended, as it was revealed that for much of the time he was in office he suffered from prostate cancer and falsified his personal medical records to hide the fact from the public. He died from the disease just six months after he handed over the presidency to Jacques Chirac.

48. "Twin Peaks" actress Sherilyn : FENN
Sherilyn Fenn was the actress who played Audrey Horne on “Twin Peaks” in the nineties.

50. #1 Dolly Parton country hit with the lyric "I'm beggin' of you, please don't take my man" : JOLENE
I must admit that I am not a big fan of country music, but I do like the 1974 hit “Jolene” written and performed by Dolly Parton. Dolly Parton tells the story that the song was inspired by a red-headed bank teller who was frequently flirting with her husband.

Down
2. Second wife of Aeneas : LAVINIA
In Roman mythology, Lavinia was the last wife of Aeneas, the hero of Virgil’s epic poem, “The Aeneid”.

"The Aeneid" is Virgil's epic poem that tells of the journey of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy to become the ancestor of all Romans.

6. Private meetings : CONCLAVES
Our use of the word “conclave” as a private assembly comes from its original use with reference to the papal conclave, a meeting of the College of Cardinals to elect a new Pope.

7. McGovern's 1972 running mate : SHRIVER
Sargent Shriver was the running mate of George McGovern, the Democratic nominee for US President in the 1972 race. Shriver was a member of the Kennedy clan, as he was married to Eunice Kennedy, sister to President John F. Kennedy.

8. "The Country ___" (1936 Oscar-winning Disney short) : COUSIN
“The Country Cousin” is a cartoon short film from RKO, released in 1936. The film was produced by Walt Disney, and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

9. In ___ paratus : OMNIA
“In omnia paratus” is Latin for “ready for anything”. It serves as the motto of the 18th Infantry Regiment of the US Army.

12. Removed from the can? : PAROLED
The term "parole" is a French word that we use in English, with the French "parole" meaning "word, speech". Of particular interest is the French phrase "parole d'honneur" which translates as "word of honor". In the early 1600s we started using "parole" to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his "word of honor" not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.

13. Queen who becomes a senator in the "Star Wars" saga : AMIDALA
In the "Star Wars" universe, Padmé Amidala is the Queen of the planet Naboo. Played very ably by Natalie Portman, Padmé becomes the secret wife of Anakin Skywalker, later revealed to be Darth Vader. As such, Padmé is also the mother of Luke Skywalker and his sister, Princess Leia Organa.

21. Tears apart : RIVES
To rive is to tear apart, a word that we've been using since about 1300, from the Old Norse word "rifa", also meaning to tear apart.

23. Egg foo yung, essentially : OMELET
Egg foo yung is a dish served in Chinese restaurants, and is basically an omelet. It probably takes its name from a flower called the Fu Yung.

27. 1992 Grammy winner for "Constant Craving" : KD LANG
k.d. lang is the stage name of Kathryn Dawn Lang, a Canadian singer and songwriter. Beyond her performing career, she is a noted activist focused on animal rights, gay rights, and human rights in Tibet.

30. Product once pitched with the line "Sometimes you feel like a nut" : ALMOND JOY
I think my favorite candy growing up was an Almond Joy (although in my part of the world it had a slightly different formulation and was called a Bounty Bar

34. Victorious fleet commander at Actium : AGRIPPA
The Battle of Actium was fought between the forces of Octavian, leader of the Roman Republic, and the combined forces of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. The Emperor’s fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. The victory helped to consolidate Octavian’s standing in Rome, and soon after he was given the title of Augustus, and became the first Roman Emperor.

41. Heavy cycle : HARLEY
The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company was started up in the very early 1900s by two childhood friends, William Harley and Arthur Davidson, . Their first design was in effect an engine hooked up to a pedal bicycle, but the 116 cc cylinder capacity simply couldn't generate enough power to get up the hills of their native city of Milwaukee. The pair came up with a redesigned model that had a cylinder capacity of 405 cc, which the partners built in a shed at the back of Davidson's house. In 1906 they built their first factory, located where the company's headquarters is to this day, on Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

44. El Greco's birthplace : CRETE
"El Greco" ("the Greek", in Spanish) was the nickname of the artist whose real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos. El Greco was born in Crete in 1541, and moved to Venice to study art when he was in his early twenties. A few years later he moved to the city of Toledo in central Spain, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.

47. Furry denizen of Endor : EWOK
The Ewoks are creatures that live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi". They're the cute and cuddly guys that look like teddy bears.

51. Sudbury Basin export : ORE
The Sudbuy Basin is a huge basin in Ontario, Canada, about 40 miles long and 20 miles wide. It was formed when a meteoroid crashed into the Earth almost two million years ago. As a result of the impact, the area is rich in mineral deposits.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Visigoth king who sacked Rome : ALARIC
7. Play book? : SCORE PAD
15. Black, yellow and white, say : CALICO
16. One that's in your field? : HOME GAME
17. Crabtree & ___, purveyor of skin care products : EVELYN
18. Bug out : RUN FOR IT
19. Bring into the business : HIRE
20. "The worst is upon us" mentality : CRISIS MODE
22. Income source on a 1040: Abbr. : INT
23. Pig of children's lit : OLIVIA
24. Sighed word : ALAS
25. "CSI" forensic scientist Grissom : GIL
26. Yiddish for "connoisseur" : MAVEN
27. Went down, in a way : KNELT
28. Summer ailment : HAY FEVER
30. Parent company of Reebok : ADIDAS
31. Hoppy beverages : ALES
32. Poet ___ Wheeler Wilcox : ELLA
33. Wedding reception groups : TABLES
36. Pop singer born Ellen Naomi Cohen : MAMA CASS
40. Discharge : EGEST
41. Think of, to some surprise : HIT ON
42. 1.0 is not a good one : GPA
43. Musica, e.g. : ARTE
44. Window holder : CASING
45. "Awesome!" : RAD
46. Longest-serving French president : MITTERRAND
48. "Twin Peaks" actress Sherilyn : FENN
49. Join in one place : SPOT-WELD
50. #1 Dolly Parton country hit with the lyric "I'm beggin' of you, please don't take my man" : JOLENE
52. Forced to leave home : UPROOTED
53. Supplies an address : ORATES
54. Versatile openers : PASS KEYS
55. "Oh me, oh my!" : YE GODS

Down
1. First-rate : ACE HIGH
2. Second wife of Aeneas : LAVINIA
3. With eyes wide open : ALERTLY
4. Rub the wrong way : RILE
5. Dangerous to drive on, say : ICY
6. Private meetings : CONCLAVES
7. McGovern's 1972 running mate : SHRIVER
8. "The Country ___" (1936 Oscar-winning Disney short) : COUSIN
9. In ___ paratus : OMNIA
10. Hand signal users : REFS
11. Number one fan? : EGOMANIAC
12. Removed from the can? : PAROLED
13. Queen who becomes a senator in the "Star Wars" saga : AMIDALA
14. Has no love for at all : DETESTS
21. Tears apart : RIVES
23. Egg foo yung, essentially : OMELET
27. 1992 Grammy winner for "Constant Craving" : KD LANG
29. Female impersonators use them : FALSETTOS
30. Product once pitched with the line "Sometimes you feel like a nut" : ALMOND JOY
32. Have a home-cooked meal : EAT IN
33. Joins (with) : TEAMS UP
34. Victorious fleet commander at Actium : AGRIPPA
35. Racetrack regulars : BETTORS
36. Screws up totally? : MISADDS
37. Go along with : AGREE TO
38. Reached across : SPANNED
39. Depression : SADNESS
41. Heavy cycle : HARLEY
44. El Greco's birthplace : CRETE
47. Furry denizen of Endor : EWOK
48. Standard : FLAG
51. Sudbury Basin export : ORE

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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

thanks for the solution and all the tidbits! its always nice to learn a little bit from each puzzle!

Bill Butler said...

You are very welcome. I love to learn from the puzzle 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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