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Greetings from Mammoth Lakes, California

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! Today's hike was in Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest where we passed a tree over 4,750 years old. Getting close to home ...

Bill

1215-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 15 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: Jim Hilger
THEME: There’s a note with today’s puzzle!
Parts of 15 answers in this puzzle are missing, in a manner for you to discover.
TOP is missing from the three answers in the TOP row, SIDE from the six answers at either SIDE of the grid, BOTTOM is missing from the three answers at the BOTTOM and MIDDLE is missing from the three answers across the MIDDLE of the grid:
1A. Company's numero uno : (TOP) BANANA
7A. Bit of dance attire for Fred Astaire : (TOP) HAT
10A. Elite : (TOP) TIER
38A. Oil source : (MIDDLE) EAST
39A. Midnight to 4 a.m., at sea : (MIDDLE) WATCH
41A. In the 40s? : (MIDDLE)-AGED
67A. Often-flooded locale : (BOTTOM)LAND
68A. Hit a low point : (BOTTOM) OUT
69A. Starfish or sea cucumber, e.g. : (BOTTOM) FEEDER
1D. Writing in a box : (SIDE)BAR
13D. Way less traveled : (SIDE)ROAD
23D. Drug drawback : (SIDE) EFFECT
33D. One way to ride a horse : (SIDE)SADDLE
53D. Tire part : (SIDE)WALL
63D. Brandy cocktail : (SIDE)CAR
COMPLETION TIME: 11m 58s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
7. Bit of dance attire for Fred Astaire : (TOP) HAT
As you may well know, Fred Astaire's real name is Frederick Austerlitz. Fred was from Omaha, Nebraska and before he made it big in movies, he was one half of a celebrated music hall act with his sister, Adele. The pair were particularly successful in the UK, and Adele ended up marrying into nobility in England, taking the name Lady Charles Cavendish.

14. Toyota sedan : AVALON
The Avalon is Toyota’s top-of-the-line, full-size car produced and sold in North America today. It took over from the Cressida and has been in production since 1994. The car’s name is derived from the island mentioned in Arthurian legend.

15. Recipient of three consecutive Hart Trophies : ORR
Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players who ever played the game. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn't skate any more. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking ...

19. Opening word of many an Italian letter : CARA
"Cara mia" is the Italian for "my beloved".

28. Key ___ : FOB
A fob is attached to another object to make access to it easier. And so a key fob is a chain attached to a key so that it can be retrieved easily. There are also watch fobs, of course.

29. With 30-Across, they started in 1969 : SALT
30. See 29-Across : TALKS
There were two rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the US and the Soviet Union, and two resulting treaties (SALT I & SALT II). The opening round of SALT I talks were held in Helsinki as far back as 1970.

34. Some shot targets : FLUS
Influenza is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.

37. One-named pop star : SELENA
Selena Quintanilla-Perez, known professionally simply as "Selena", was murdered in 1995 by the president of her own fan club at the height of her career. In a 1997 biopic about Selena's life, Jennifer Lopez played the title role.

39. Midnight to 4 a.m., at sea : (MIDDLE) WATCH
In the traditional watch system at sea, the crew is divided into two “teams”, often called the port and starboard watches. Each watch works for four hours, and then rests for four hours, works again for four hours, and rests etc. As there are six 4-hour periods in every day, an even number, the period from midnight to 4 a.m. (also called a watch, to confuse!) would have to be stood by the same crew members. As this is the watch that is considered undesirable to many, then a system was devised to rotate responsibilities for fairness. The “dogwatch” is the 4-hour period between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and it is split into two 2-hour periods, the first dogwatch and second dogwatch. This results in a compliment of seven watches in every 24-hour period, an odd number. Consequently, the team that attends a particular watch in a day, is replaced by the opposite team on the next day.

45. Harriet Beecher Stowe novel : DRED
Harriet Beecher Stowe's first novel ended up being her most famous, "Uncle Tom's Cabin". She followed it up with an 1856 novel, "Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp".

46. ___ verte (green earth pigment) : TERRE
Terre-verte is an olive-green pigment that is made from the mineral glauconite. It is used as a pigment by artists.

49. Wrigley product : BIG RED
Big Red is a cinnamon-flavored gum made by Wrigley’s since 1976.

51. Certain gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" : GEESE
The fabulous Christmas Carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

58. Michigan college : ALMA
Alma College in Alma, Michigan was founded by Michigan Presbyterians in 1886. The school has a Scottish heritage of which it is very proud. Alma has its own Scottish marching band, a Scottish dance troupe and even its own design of tartan.

59. Boom-causing, perhaps : SUPERSONIC
Supersonic transports (SSTs) like the Concorde broke Mach 1, the speed of sound. As a plane flies through air, it creates pressure waves in front (and behind) rather like the bow and stern waves of a boat. These pressure waves travel at the speed of sound, so as an aircraft itself accelerates towards the speed of sound it catches up with the pressure waves until they cannot "get out of the way". When the aircraft reaches the speed of sound, the compressed waves merge into one single shock wave, creating a sonic boom.

66. What Cowboy legend Tom Landry sported : FEDORA
A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt and is similar to a trilby, but has a broader brim. "Fedora" was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to the modern-day fedora. The play led to the introduction of a women's fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the idea …

Although Tom Landry was a football player, he is best known as the head coach for the Dallas Cowboys. As coach he had a run of 20 consecutive winning seasons, a record that has yet to be broken. Landry had an impressive record during WWII as well. He completed a tour of 30 missions as co-pilot in a B-17 Flying Fortress in Europe, and survived a crash landing in Belgium. In his days with the Dallas Cowboys he was noted for wearing a fedora hat, and there is even an image of that famous hat on his tombstone in Texas State Cemetery. He passed away in 2000.

Down
2. Many a Monopoly property: Abbr. : AVE
The commercial game of Monopoly is supposedly a remake of "The Landlord's Game" created in 1903 by a Quaker woman called Lizzie Phillips. Phillips used her game as a tool to explain the single tax theory of American economist Henry George. The Landlord's Game was first produced commercially in 1924. The incredibly successful derivative game called Monopoly was introduced in 1933 by Charles Darrow, making him a very rich man when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game just two years later in 1935.

5. Like the origin of the names for some days of the week : NORSE
Thor is the Norse god of thunder, wielding his mighty hammer. One day of the week recognized by pagans during the time of the Roman Empire was Thor's Day, named for the Norse god. We now know it as Thursday. Thor's mother was Frigg, and she was honored on Frigg's Day, which we now call Friday.

6. Pantry problem : ANTS
The word "pantry" dates back to 1300, when it came into English from the Old French "panetrie" meaning a "bread room". Bread is "pain" in French, and "panis" in Latin.

7. ___ polloi : HOI
"Hoi polloi" is a Greek term, literally meaning "the majority, the many". In English it has come to mean "the masses" and is often used in a derogatory sense.

9. Nottingham's river : TRENT
The River Trent in England is one of the few rivers that flows north for much of its route. The Trent rises in Staffordshire and empties into the River Ouse in Yorkshire.

Nottingham is a city in the East Midlands of England. To outsiders, perhaps Nottingham is most famous for its links to the legend of Robin Hood.

12. To be, at the Louvre : ETRE
The French for “to be” is “être”.

The Musée du Louvre has the distinction of being the most visited art museum in the whole world. The collection is housed in the magnificent Louvre Palace, which was the seat of power in France until 1682 when Louis XIV moved to Versailles.

18. Capital whose name comes from an Algonquin word for "to trade" : OTTAWA
Ottawa is the second largest city in the Province of Ontario (after Toronto) and is the capital city of Canada. The name “Ottawa” comes from an Algonquin word “adawe” which means “to trade”.

22. Jump on a stage : JETE
A jeté is a leap in ballet, coming from the French word "jeter" meaning "to throw".

24. 1958 hit that won the first-ever Grammy for Song of the Year : VOLARE
The song we know as "Volare" doesn't actually have that name. It's real name is "Nel blu dipinto di blu" (In the Blue Painted Blue). The Italian lyrics tell of how the singer feels like he is flying when he is with his lover ("volare" is the Italian for "to fly"). The original version has a prelude, which helps put the "blue" and the "flying" in perspective ... "I think that a dream like that will never return; I painted my hands and my face blue, then was suddenly swept up by the wind and started to fly in the infinite sky."

31. Fictional plantation owner : LEGREE
Simon Legree is the cruel slave owner in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

32. Kowtows, say : KNEELS
To kowtow is to show servile deference. “Kowtow” comes from the Chinese “k’o-t’ou” which is the name for the custom of kneeling and touching the forehead to the ground in a gesture of respect. The Chinese term literally translates as “knock the head”.

35. Port alternative : STARBOARD
The left side of a ship used to be called the "larboard" side, but this was dropped in favor of "port" as pronunciation of "larboard" was easily confused with "starboard", the right side of the vessel. The term "port" was chosen as it was customary to dock a ship, for loading in port, with the left side of the vessel against the dock.

37. Feng ___ : SHUI
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese tradition of arranging objects, buildings and other structures in a manner that is said to improve the lives of the individuals living in or using the space. "Feng shui" translates as "wind-water", a reference to the belief that positive and negative life forces ride the wind and scatter, but are retained when they encounter water.

40. Overindulge : CODDLE
The word “coddle” means to boil gently, as in “coddle an egg”. Coddle was first used to mean “treat tenderly” by Jane Austen. Quite aptly I think, she used the term in her masterpiece “Emma”. Isn’t that interesting …?

47. "Star Trek" helmsman : MR SULU
Mr. Sulu was of course played by George Takei in the original "Star Trek" series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, "Pt-109"? Not only did Takei play the helmsman on the Starship Enterprise, he played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy's motor torpedo boat.

50. Painter's preparation : GESSO
Gesso is the Italian word for "chalk", and gives it name to the powdered calcium carbonate that is used as a primer coat under artistic panel paintings. The gesso is mixed with a glue, and when applied to wood it acts as an absorbent surface for paint.

52. Lyric poem : EPODE
An epode is a lyric poem made up of couplets in which the first line is long, and the second line much shorter. The form was invented by the Greek poet Archilochus, and was most famously used by the Roman poet Horace.

54. "The South-Sea House" essayist : ELIA
“The South-Sea House” is a story in the collection known as “Essays of Elia” written by Charles Lamb.

The "Essays of Elia" began appearing in "London Magazine" in 1820, and were immediate hits with the public. The author was Charles Lamb, and Elia was actually a clerk and one of Lamb's co-workers. The most famous of the essays in the collection are probably "Dream-Children" and "Old China".

55. No friend of the bootlegger : T-MAN
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury.

“To bootleg” is make or smuggle alcoholic drinks illegally. The term arose in the late 1800s as slang for the practice of concealing a flask of liquor down the leg of a high boot.

57. "Carmina Burana" composer : ORFF
Carl Orff was a German composer whose most famous piece of music is the dramatic cantata from 1937 called "Carmina Burana".

60. What a big hand often grabs? : POT
The biggest hand at a game of poker might win the pot.

61. Make a little mistake : NOD
To nod is to make a little mistake, as in the phrase “even Homer nods”.

63. Brandy cocktail : (SIDE)CAR
The Sidecar is actually my favorite cocktail. It was invented around the end of WWI possibly in the Ritz Hotel in Paris. It’s a simple drink to make, and contains brandy, cointreau or triple sec, and lemon or lime juice. It’s really the Brandy version of a margarita (or vice versa).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Company's numero uno : (TOP) BANANA
7. Bit of dance attire for Fred Astaire : (TOP) HAT
10. Elite : (TOP) TIER
14. Toyota sedan : AVALON
15. Recipient of three consecutive Hart Trophies : ORR
16. About : AS TO
17. Arsenal, so to speak : REPERTOIRE
19. Opening word of many an Italian letter : CARA
20. Kind of coach: Abbr. : ASST
21. Reveled in : ENJOYED
23. Bypass : EVADE
26. Bitter and sweet : TASTES
28. Key ___ : FOB
29. With 30-Across, they started in 1969 : SALT
30. See 29-Across : TALKS
34. Some shot targets : FLUS
36. User of night vision : OWL
37. One-named pop star : SELENA
38. Oil source : (MIDDLE) EAST
39. Midnight to 4 a.m., at sea : (MIDDLE) WATCH
41. In the 40s? : (MIDDLE)-AGED
42. Whups : CREAMS
44. Debt doc : IOU
45. Harriet Beecher Stowe novel : DRED
46. ___ verte (green earth pigment) : TERRE
47. Early 26th-century year : MMDI
48. Certain joint : ELL
49. Wrigley product : BIG RED
51. Certain gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" : GEESE
53. Trademarked sanitary wipes : WET ONES
56. Word with belt or tape : LOOP
58. Michigan college : ALMA
59. Boom-causing, perhaps : SUPERSONIC
64. Fabulist : LIAR
65. ___-pitch : SLO
66. What Cowboy legend Tom Landry sported : FEDORA
67. Often-flooded locale : (BOTTOM)LAND
68. Hit a low point : (BOTTOM) OUT
69. Starfish or sea cucumber, e.g. : (BOTTOM) FEEDER

Down
1. Writing in a box : (SIDE)BAR
2. Many a Monopoly property: Abbr. : AVE
3. Pile : NAP
4. Following ___ : A LEAD
5. Like the origin of the names for some days of the week : NORSE
6. Pantry problem : ANTS
7. ___ polloi : HOI
8. Check : ARREST
9. Nottingham's river : TRENT
10. Dish often served in a shell : TACO SALAD
11. "My word!" : I SAY
12. To be, at the Louvre : ETRE
13. Way less traveled : (SIDE)ROAD
18. Capital whose name comes from an Algonquin word for "to trade" : OTTAWA
22. Jump on a stage : JETE
23. Drug drawback : (SIDE) EFFECT
24. 1958 hit that won the first-ever Grammy for Song of the Year : VOLARE
25. Rehab candidate : ABUSER
27. Like the highest high : ALL-TIME
29. Disseminates : SOWS
31. Fictional plantation owner : LEGREE
32. Kowtows, say : KNEELS
33. One way to ride a horse : (SIDE)SADDLE
35. Port alternative : STARBOARD
37. Feng ___ : SHUI
40. Overindulge : CODDLE
43. Words after count or let : ME IN
47. "Star Trek" helmsman : MR SULU
50. Painter's preparation : GESSO
51. "Check it out" : GO SEE
52. Lyric poem : EPODE
53. Tire part : (SIDE)WALL
54. "The South-Sea House" essayist : ELIA
55. No friend of the bootlegger : T-MAN
57. "Carmina Burana" composer : ORFF
60. What a big hand often grabs? : POT
61. Make a little mistake : NOD
62. Source of heat : IRE
63. Brandy cocktail : (SIDE)CAR

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4 comments :

Anonymous said...

i don't have a copy at hand but i seem to remember Legree as the overseer not the plantation owner

Bill Butler said...

Hi there,

Thanks for the comment, and prompting me to check!

Simon Legree is indeed the plantation owner. He uses two slaves to act as overseers, namely Quimbo and Sambo.

Anonymous said...

Hi (again), Bill.

Kerry here.

I had the same reaction to the clue about Legree, but I Wiki'd the name, to find that he was indeed a 'plantation owner'.

However, I am a little 'dissatisfied' with the answer to #61 down. While I did NOT do an extensive search, I did consult four dictionaries, and NONE of them used "nod" in this sense.

The closest that I could find was the Homer reference you cited, in my computer's American Heritage Dictionary. To whit:

"even Homer nods" (proverb) -- even the best person sometimes makes a mistake due to a momentary lack of alertness or attention. [ORIGIN: with allusion to Latin dormitat Homerus (Horace Ars Poetica 359).]

This meaning is not only 'poetic', but 'arcane' (even for a NYT crossword), in my little mind.

However, I will grant Jim & Will an 'artistic license', and not raise a stink about it.

Though, perhaps with your background, this usage is more familiar?

Bill Butler said...

Hi Kerry,

It's always good to hear from you.

I guess you could be right, about my use of the phrase "even Homer nods". I can't say that I've heard it used on this side of the pond. I've used it myself once in a while and gotten funny looks.

I used to do a crossword in an Irish paper that was set by the same man from 1943 to 2010. If he would make a mistake in his puzzle, we solvers were fond of saying "even Homer nods", sort of forgiving the great man his error.

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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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