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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

1216-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 16 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: Doug Peterson & Barry C. Silk
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 27m 16s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 4 … PIN ON, (AIN ON!) A HEAP (A DEAL), PHAIR (ADAIR), COTOPAXI (COTOLAXI)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Like Celsius : SWEDISH
Anders Celsius was a Swedish astronomer. The temperature scale that he created was the reverse of what it is today, with “zero” representing the boiling point of water and “100” representing water’s freezing point. This scale was "upended" (in 1744) just after Celsius died, by the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus. The resulting temperature scale then became known as the centigrade scale for over 200 years, until in 1948 it was decided to adopt the “degree Celsius”. So, anyone still using "degrees centigrade” is actually way behind the times …

8. Alchemist's goal : PANACEA
Panacea was the Greek goddess of healing. She lent her name to the term “panacea” that was used by alchemists to describe the beguiling remedy that could cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.

15. Early Appalachian crossers : CONESTOGA WAGONS
A Conestoga is a large covered wagon that was used in many of the wagon trains that crossed North America in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The name was taken from the Conestoga Valley near Lancaster, Pennsylvania where the design was developed. The Conestoga wagon resembled a boat on wheels, and often the gaps between the planks were caulked so that it would float when crossing water.

18. Google Maps offering : ROUTE
Google Maps is the core application to a suite of services that includes the Google Maps Website, Google Ride Finder and Google Transit. Google acquired this technology when they purchased a company based in Sydney, Australia. The basic application was developed by two Danish brothers called Lars and Jens Rasmussen.

20. Last article in the Constitution : VII
The US Constitution is composed of a preamble, seven articles and twenty-seven amendments.

Article VII of the US Constitution deals with its ratification. It called for nine states to ratify the wording of the Constitution before it would take effect.

21. Striking things about rec rooms : CUES
In a rec room there is often a pool table, and pool cues with which to strike the cue ball.

22. Creature on the New York coat of arms : EAGLE
The coat of arms for the State of New York was formally adopted in 1778. The design features a shield supported by Liberty and Justice, with an American eagle sitting atop a globe resting on the shield. There is a banner below the shield bearing the word “Excelsior”, which is Latin for “Ever Upward”.

24. Columbia ___, Minn. : HTS
Columbia Heights is a city in Minnesota with a long Polish-American heritage.

26. Four front? : PETIT
A “petit four” is a small confection served at the end of a meal, either as a desert or with coffee. The name “petit four” is French for “small oven”.

28. Pariahs and others : CASTES
Many creatures organize themselves into a social structure, a phenomenon known as "eusociality". Examples of such creatures would be ants, bees and wasps, where there are queens, workers and soldiers. The groups within such a hierarchical structure are known as castes. The word "caste" was borrowed from the class divisions in Indian society (although the word and concept was actually introduced by the Portuguese).

“Pariah” is an anglicized version of the Tamil word “Paraiyar”. The Paraiyar are a social group of about 9 million people found in some Indian states and in Sri Lanka. The term “pariah” came to be a general term for members of the lowest caste in society.

32. "Les Mots" autobiographer, 1964 : SARTRE
John-Paul Sartre was a leading French philosopher, as well as a writer and political activist. He is one of the few people to have been awarded a Nobel Prize who refused to accept it. He was named winner of the prize for Literature in 1964, for his first novel "Nausea". Before his win, Sartre knew that his name was on the list of nominees so he wrote to the Nobel Institute and asked to be withdrawn from consideration. The letter somehow went unread, so he found himself having to refuse the award after he had been selected.

34. Govt. instrument : T-NOTE
A Treasury note (T-Note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-Note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A T-Bill is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-Bond matures in 20-30 years.

39. Taiwan Strait city : AMOY
Xiamen (also “Amoy”) is a city on the southeast coast of the People’s Republic of China, on the Taiwan Strait. The city lies just a few miles away from the island of Taiwan, which is administered by the Republic of China.

40. Ascribe to : PIN ON
A murder might be “pinned on” someone, for example.

45. Effect used to measure astronomical distances : STELLAR PARALLAX
A blog reader very kindly sent me an excellent definition for stellar parallax which I'd like to share:
Just as we use the slightly different perspectives of our two eyes to gauge distance, astronomers can use the different perspectives of a star viewed, say, six months apart—when Earth is at the opposite points in its orbit around the sun. Stars closer to us will appear to have "shifted" more, relative to stars further away.

48. It does a body good : AEROBIC EXERCISE
Aerobic exercise is moderate activity, designed to be at a low enough intensity that very little anaerobic activity takes place.

Down
4. Treas. and the like : DEPTS
The Department of the Treasury was established in 1789 with the mission of managing government revenue. Famously, the first Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton.

6. Point on a line: Abbr. : STA
That would be a station on a rail line.

7. Japanese island : HOKKAIDO
Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan, after Honshu. It lies to the north of the country, and its largest city is the capital, Sapporo.

8. Triptych trio : PANELS
A triptych is a work of art divided into three panels. The word “triptych” comes from the Greek adjective for “three-fold”.

12. "Route 66" car : CORVETTE
The famous old highway called Route 66 has largely been replaced by modern interstates. It ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, right through the heart of America, and so it was often called the "Main Street of America". The road gained notoriety because of Nat King Cole's song "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66", and also because of the sixties TV show called "Route 66".

16. Teriyaki ingredient : GINGER
Teriyaki is a Japanese technique of cooking in which the foods are grilled in a sweet soy sauce marinade. The marinade may or may not include ginger.

22. Orange half of a TV duo : ERNIE
I've always believed that the "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie were named after two roles played in the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life". In the movie, the policeman's name is Bert and his taxi-driving buddy is named Ernie. However, the "Sesame Street" folks have stated that the use of the same names is just a coincidence.

25. Training unit : CADRE
A "cadre" is most commonly a group of experienced personnel at the core of a larger organization that the small group trains or heavily influences. Cadre is a French word meaning a "frame". We use it in the sense that a cadre is a group that provides a "framework" for the larger organization.

26. "The Alchemist" novelist Coelho : PAULO
Paulo Coelho is a novelist and lyricist from Brazil. He wrote the novel called “The Alchemist” in 1987, one of the biggest selling books in history. It is also the most translated book written by any living author, and is available in 71 languages.

28. Staples, e.g. : CHAIN
Staples is an office supply chain store based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

29. Daly City's county : SAN MATEO
San Mateo is located south of San Francisco, just across the other side of the Bay from where I live. San Mateo is Spanish for Saint Matthew.

30. Smokeys, so to speak : TROOPERS
In CB slang a “smokey” is a police officer. The term arose as Smokey Bear, the US Forest Service’s mascot, wears a hat that is similar to that worn by many highway patrol officers.

31. Volcano south of Quito : COTOPAXI
Cotopaxi is a volcano in the Andes Mountains, located less than twenty miles south of the city of Quito in Ecuador.

33. Cocktail party bite : CANAPE
A canapé is a finger food, usually small enough to eat in just one bite. In French, "canapé" is actually the word for a couch or a sofa. The name was given to the snack as the original "canapés" were savories served on toasted or stale bread that supposedly resembled a "couch".

35. Kansas-Nebraska Act signer : PIERCE
Franklin Pierce was the only US President from the State of New Hampshire. Pierce was by all accounts a tragic figure. Even though he was from the north of the country, he had sympathies for the causes of the South. After he left office he formerly declared support for the Confederacy during the Civil War, which completely destroyed his reputation in the North. His marriage fell apart, and he died in 1869 from cirrhosis of the liver after struggling with alcoholism for much of his life.

36. Simpson who was Time's first Woman of the Year : WALLIS
Wallis Simpson was an American socialite. She was married three times. Her first husband was Earl Winfield Spencer, Jr., a navy pilot who was the first commanding officer of the Naval Air Station at San Diego. The couple divorced in 1927 and the following year she married Ernest Aldrich Simpson, a British shipping executive. Around 1934, Mrs. Simpson started an affair with Edward, Prince of Wales, the heir to the British throne. In 1936, Edward’s father died resulting in Mrs. Simpson's beau becoming King Edward VIII. Wallis Simpson filed for divorce, but the UK constitution would not allow her marriage to the King (the regent cannot marry someone who is divorced). A few months later, the King abdicated the throne in order to be with the woman he loved.

38. Loser at Salamis and Plataea : XERXES
Xerxes was the eldest son of Darius I of Persia. He succeeded to the throne in 486 BC as Xerxes I, and was later to be known as Xerxes the Great. It was Xerxes who fought against the Spartans in the famous Battle of Thermopylae.

40. Rocker Liz : PHAIR
Liz Phair is a rock singer from New Haven, Connecticut. She started out in the industry releasing homemade tapes under the name Girly Sound.

41. Sweet, in music : DOLCE
The musical term “dolce” instructs the performer to play “gently and sweetly”.

43. ___ Longa, ancient city founded by the son of Aeneas : ALBA
Alba Longa was an ancient Italian city, located southeast of the region that became Rome. Legend is that the supposed founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were from the royal dynasty of Alba Longa.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Like Celsius : SWEDISH
8. Alchemist's goal : PANACEA
15. Early Appalachian crossers : CONESTOGA WAGONS
17. Like friendly acquaintances : ON SPEAKING TERMS
18. Google Maps offering : ROUTE
19. Prepare for gardening, maybe : KNEEL
20. Last article in the Constitution : VII
21. Striking things about rec rooms : CUES
22. Creature on the New York coat of arms : EAGLE
23. They're grounded when they're misbehaving : JETS
24. Columbia ___, Minn. : HTS
25. Betrays one's blue state : CRIES
26. Four front? : PETIT
27. Rat race remedy, briefly : R AND R
28. Pariahs and others : CASTES
29. Where to make tracks : STUDIO
31. Drops for dirty clothes : CHUTES
32. "Les Mots" autobiographer, 1964 : SARTRE
33. Pieces for grilling : COALS
34. Govt. instrument : T-NOTE
35. Place for grilling : PATIO
36. Option for a seal : WAX
39. Taiwan Strait city : AMOY
40. Ascribe to : PIN ON
41. Questionnaire info : DATE
42. Big mouth : YAP
43. Tons : A HEAP
44. One may clash with another : COLOR
45. Effect used to measure astronomical distances : STELLAR PARALLAX
48. It does a body good : AEROBIC EXERCISE
49. Galore : TO SPARE
50. What brains do well on : IQ TESTS

Down
1. Leave a black mark on, say : SCORCH
2. Carried the day : WON OUT
3. Goes after : ENSUES
4. Treas. and the like : DEPTS
5. "Ah" : I SEE
6. Point on a line: Abbr. : STA
7. Japanese island : HOKKAIDO
8. Triptych trio : PANELS
9. "Well, golly" : AW GEE
10. Fed. : NATL
11. Questionnaire info : AGE
12. "Route 66" car : CORVETTE
13. Rancors : ENMITIES
14. Goal facilitators : ASSISTS
16. Teriyaki ingredient : GINGER
22. Orange half of a TV duo : ERNIE
23. Cuts up : JESTS
25. Training unit : CADRE
26. "The Alchemist" novelist Coelho : PAULO
27. Rough to drive on, perhaps : RUTTY
28. Staples, e.g. : CHAIN
29. Daly City's county : SAN MATEO
30. Smokeys, so to speak : TROOPERS
31. Volcano south of Quito : COTOPAXI
32. Occupies : STAYS AT
33. Cocktail party bite : CANAPE
35. Kansas-Nebraska Act signer : PIERCE
36. Simpson who was Time's first Woman of the Year : WALLIS
37. Start of some salutes : A TOAST
38. Loser at Salamis and Plataea : XERXES
40. Rocker Liz : PHAIR
41. Sweet, in music : DOLCE
43. ___ Longa, ancient city founded by the son of Aeneas : ALBA
44. Trolley : CART
46. Cut back : LOP
47. Like some univ. courses : REQ

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2 comments :

Dick Elton said...

Enjoyed this puzzle but missed four words across and four down. Enjoyed your comments. Should I read Sartre or perhaps "The Alchemist"? So many books...

Bill Butler said...

Dick,

So much to do, and so little time :)

I am afraid I can't help with that particular choice. You'd have to talk to my librarian wife!

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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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