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1221-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 21 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: Nancy J. Byron, Ronald J. Byron
THEME: NOEL … each of the theme answers is a movie, with the letter “L” removed:
18A. Movie about La Brea Tar Pits' formation? : THE BIG SEEP (from “The Big Sleep”)
23A. Movie about a Nobel-winning chemist? : THE ION KING (from “The Lion King”)
37A. Movie about Wall Streeters' excesses? : CASH OF THE TITANS (from “Clash of the Titans”)
52A. Movie about the early life of Lassie? : PUP FICTION (from “Pulp Fiction”)
59A. Movie about the memoirs of the Duke? : WAYNE’S WORD (from “Wayne’s Word”)
69A. Seasonal song ... or a phonetic hint to 18-, 23-, 37-, 52- and 59-Across : NOEL
COMPLETION TIME: 15m 54s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … SCRIM (SCRIR!), MHO (RHO)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
14. Janowitz who wrote "Slaves of New York" : TAMA
Tama Janowitz is an American writer. She was born in San Francisco but has lived much of her life in New York City. In New York she hung around with the likes of Andy Warhol and became well known in literary circles. Her most famous work is a collection of short stories called "Slaves of New York", which was made into a film of the same name in 1989.

15. Dept. of Labor agency : OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector, and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

16. "M*A*S*H" setting : KOREA
"M*A*S*H" has only three stars in it (three asterisks, that is!). These asterisks first appeared on the poster for the 1970 movie, but they were omitted in the opening titles. The TV series went on to use the asterisks from the poster.

17. "Little Caesar" gangster : RICO
“Little Caesar” is a gangster movie released in 1931. The film was the big break for Edward G. Robinson, who played the title character, Caesar “Rico” Bandello.

18. Movie about La Brea Tar Pits' formation? : THE BIG SEEP (from “The Big Sleep”)
The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant at La Brea is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirst. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It's well worth a visit if you are ever in town …

“The Big Sleep” is a film released in 1946, a great example of the film noir genre. The stars of course are Humphrey Bogart as the detective Philip Marlowe, and Lauren Bacall.

23. Movie about a Nobel-winning chemist? : THE ION KING (from “The Lion King”)
The highly successful stage musical "The Lion King" started out life as a 1994 animated feature film of the same name from the Disney studio. The film is the highest-earning, traditionally-animated feature of all time. The film "Finding Nemo" has made more money, but it was created using computer animation.

26. Our sun : SOL
Sol was the god of the Sun in Ancient Rome.

29. Word after Farm or Live : AID
Farm Aid is a concert that raises funds for family farmers in the US. The first Farm Aid concert was held in 1985.

Live Aid was a concert held in 1985 to raise funds for famine victims in Ethiopia. It was held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia, and was organized by Bob Geldhof and Midge Ure. Almost 2 billion people watched the live broadcast.

34. Curtain material : SCRIM
“Scrim” is the name given to that transparent fabric that hangs down onto a stage, often used with special lighting for various effects.

36. Surfer wannabe : HO-DAD
“Ho-dad” is a term used for someone who hangs out at the beach pretending to be a surfer, as one does …

37. Movie about Wall Streeters' excesses? : CASH OF THE TITANS (from “Clash of the Titans”)
2010's "Clash of the Titans" is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. It's one of those fantasy movies, based on a Greek myth. It's not my cup of tea …

43. Bridge bid, briefly : ONE NO
“One no” is short for “one no-trump”, a common bid in the card game of bridge.

44. Wild West badge : TIN STAR
In the Old West a “tin star” was a sheriff's badge.

47. William Tell's canton : URI
Supposedly William Tell came from Uri, a canton in the German part of Switzerland. Altdorf is the capital of Uri and is the city where William Tell shot the apple off his son's head, according to legend.

48. Brit. military honor : DSO
The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a British military award, usually presented to officers with the rank of Major or higher.

51. ___ Tomé : SAO
São Tomé is one of two islands off the west coast of Africa that make up the nation of São Tomé and Príncipe.

52. Movie about the early life of Lassie? : PUP FICTION (from “Pulp Fiction”)
We owe the character Lassie to one Eric Knight who wrote a short story that he expanded into a novel called "Lassie Come Home", published in 1940. "Lassie Come Home" was turned into a movie three years later, the first of a very successful franchise. The original Lassie (a female in the storyline) was played by a dog called Pal, a male dog. In fact, all of the dogs that played Lassie over the years were males, because they looked better on camera, retaining a thick coat even during the summer months.

I"m not a big fan of Quentin Tarantino. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think "Pulp Fiction" is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence it's really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta's career was on the rocks, and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly received performances.

55. ___ Creed of A.D. 325 : NICENE
What is known today in the Christian tradition as the Nicene Creed, was originally adopted by the first ecumenical council when it met in 325 AD. The meeting took place in the city of Nicaea, which gave its name to this particular profession of faith. Nicaea is the Greek name of the city that is now called Iznik, and it lies in the northwest of Turkey.

58. Nonsense word said while pointing a finger : EENIE
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

59. Movie about the memoirs of the Duke? : WAYNE’S WORD (from “Wayne’s World”)
John Wayne's real name was Marion Mitchell Morrison, named after his grandfather, a Civil War veteran. When he was a little boy, a local fireman used to call him "Little Duke" because he was always seen walking with his large dog called "Duke". Young Mr. Morrison preferred the name "Duke" to "Marion", so he adopted it, and it stuck with him.

"Wayne's World" was originally a Saturday Night Live sketch starring Mike Myers (as Wayne) and Dana Carvey. The sketch was so successful it was parlayed into two hit movies, in 1992 and 1993. Not my cup of tea though ...

63. Saint Philip ___ : NERI
Philip Neri lived in the 16th century in Rome, an Italian priest who came to be known as "Apostle of Rome". He was the founder of a group of secular priests called the Congragation of the Oratory.

65. The "a" in a.m. : ANTE
The 12-hour clock has been around a long time and was even used in sundial format in Ancient Egypt. Our use of AM and PM dates back to Roman times, with AM standing for Ante Meridiem (before noon) and PM standing for Post Meridiem (after noon). Today we use the concept of AM and PM differently than it was intended. In Ancient Rome, 2 AM say, was 2 hours Ante Meridiem, two hours before noon, which makes sense grammatically anyway. We call that same time 10 AM.

66. Baseball analyst Hershiser : OREL
Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. He lives in Las Vegas, and when he isn't working for ESPN, apparently he is at the poker tables at least five times a week.

67. "Siddhartha" author : HESSE
Hermann Hesse was not only a novelist, but also a poet and a painter. His best known work is probably his 1927 novel "Steppenwolf".

68. River through Belgium : YSER
The Yser originates in northern France and flows though Belgium into the North Sea. The Yser name is oft associated with WWI as it figured in a major battle early in the conflict. In the first three months of the war the German Army pushed almost completely through Belgium, inflicting heavy losses on the Belgian Army as the defenders were forced to fight a fast-moving rearguard action. The Germans were intent on pushing right through Belgium, across France in a "race to the sea". But the Belgians, with the help of its Allies, decided to make a final stand at the Yser Canal in an effort to prevent the Germans reaching the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The 22-mile long defensive line was chosen at the Yser because the river and canal system could be flooded to create a barrier that might be defended. The plan was successful, and the front was "stabilized". As we now know, millions of lives were lost over the coming years with very little movement of that battle line.

69. Seasonal song ... or a phonetic hint to 18-, 23-, 37-, 52- and 59-Across : NOEL
“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for "birth", "natalis". Noel has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.

Down
2. Meditative exercises : TAI CHI
More properly called tai chi chuan, tai chi is a martial art mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.

3. Acted the host : EMCEED
"Emcee" come from "MC", an abbreviation for the Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

4. New Zealand native : MAORI
The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting some time in the late 13th century. The word "māori" simply means "normal", distinguishing the mortal human being from spiritual entities.

5. Boozehound : SOT
Our word "sot" comes from the Old English "sott", meaning a fool. The word "sot" started to be associated with alcohol, and not just foolery, in the late 1500s.

7. "S.N.L." alum Oteri : CHERI
Cheri Oteri was the SNL cast member who regularly appeared with Will Farrell in the skit featuring a pair of Spartan cheerleaders.

8. Texas/Louisiana border river : SABINE
The Sabine River passes through the states of Louisiana and Texas, forming part of the border between the states for some of its length. There are a lot of cypress trees growing along the rivers banks as it approaches the Gulf of Mexico, and these give the river its name. “Sabinas” is the Spanish for “cypress trees”.

9. Ticker tests, for short : EKGS
An EKG measures electrical activity in the heart. Back in Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram, a brain scan.

11. Bygone Toyota sedan : CRESSIDA
The Toyota Cressida was a line of luxury cars sold in the US from 1976 to 1993. The Cressida name was taken from William Shakespeare’s play “Troilus and Cressida”.

12. Jeans brand : LEE
The Lee company famous for making jeans was formed in 1889, by one Henry David Lee, in Salina, Kansas.

19. "Young Frankenstein" woman : INGA
I am not really a big fan of movies by Mel Brooks, but “Young Frankenstein” is the exception. I think the cast has a lot to do with me liking the film, as it includes Gene Wilder, Teri Garr, Marty Feldman and Gene Hackman.

21. Certain protest : BOYCOTT
Boycott ... another word given to the world by the Irish! Englishman Captain Charles Boycott found himself on the wrong side of the local community in County Mayo, and in a concerted campaign he was refused service by all around him. His name lives on …

24. Soft ball brand : NERF
Nerf is the name given to the soft material used in a whole series of toys designed for "safe" play indoors. The Nerf product is used to make darts, balls and ammunition for toy guns. "NERF" is an acronym, standing for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.

27. "The Plague" setting : ORAN
“The Plague” is a novel by Albert Camus, first published in 1947. It is set in the Algerian port of Oran during a terrible plague.

Oran lies on the Algerian coast, and is famous for being the port where the French Navy was largely destroyed by the British during WWII in order to avoid the French vessels falling into the hands of Nazi Germany after France surrendered. This decisive and unexpected action by the British sent a very strong message around the world that Britain was willing to fight alone against the axis powers if necessary.

28. Bygone Fords : LTDS
There has been a lot of speculation about what the acronym LTD stands for in the car model known as "Ford LTD". Many say it stands for Luxury Trim Decor, and others that it is an abbreviation for "limited". Although the car was produced in Australia with the acronym meaning Lincoln Type Design, it seems LTD was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.

35. Unit now known as a siemens : MHO
Conductance (measured in mhos) is the inverse of resistance (measured in ohms). The mho has been replaced by the SI unit called the siemens.

37. Musical with Mungojerrie and Jennyanydots : CATS
Andrew Lloyd Weber's source material for his hit musical "Cats" was T. S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats". Eliot's collection of whimsical poems was published in 1939, and was a personal favorite of Weber as he was growing up. "Cats" is the second longest running show in Broadway history ("Phantom of the Opera" is the longest and is still running; deservedly so, in my humble opinion).

41. Garr who played 19-Down : TERI
(19. "Young Frankenstein" woman : INGA)
The lovely Teri Garr had a whole host of minor roles in her youth, including appearances in nine Elvis movies. Her big break came with the role of Inga in "Young Frankenstein", and her supporting role in "Tootsie" earned her an Academy Award nomination. Sadly, Teri Garr suffers from multiple sclerosis and is a National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

48. Do-re-mi : DINERO
Dinero is the Spanish word for money, as well as a slang term for money here in the US.

Do-re-mi is a slang term for cash.

49. Evening affair : SOIREE
"Soir" is the French word for "evening" and a "soirée" is an "evening party". The French word "soirée" has an acute accent over the first "e", but we tend to drop this when using the word in English.

50. "The Iceman Cometh" playwright : O’NEILL
"The Iceman Cometh" is a play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill, first performed in 1946, on Broadway. The play centers on some down-and-out men in a shabby saloon in Manhattan. The title is a reference to the "ice man", the man who would have delivered ice to homes back in the time of the play. The reference is to a bawdy joke is that the "ice man" was having an affair with someone's wife.

53. Lowly laborers : PEONS
A peon is a lowly worker with no real control over his/her working conditions. The word comes into English from Spanish where it has the same meaning.

54. Mortise's mate : TENON
One simple type of joint used in carpentry is a mortise and tenon, basically a projection carved at the end of one piece of wood that fits into a hole cut into the end of another. The mortise is the "hole" and the tenon the "projection".

56. Supermodel Sastre : INES
Inés Sastre is a model and actress from Spain.

60. "Chances ___," 1957 #1 hit : ARE
“Chances Are” is a song first published in 1957. It was most famously a hit for Johnny Mathis in that same year.

62. ___ Spiegel : DER
"Der Spiegel" is a very successful German magazine found on news-stands all over Europe. The name "Der Spiegel" translates from German into "the Mirror".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Hold back : STEM
5. Egg pouches : SACS
9. Bus. cards in commercial mailings, e.g. : ENCLS
14. Janowitz who wrote "Slaves of New York" : TAMA
15. Dept. of Labor agency : OSHA
16. "M*A*S*H" setting : KOREA
17. "Little Caesar" gangster : RICO
18. Movie about La Brea Tar Pits' formation? : THE BIG SEEP (from “The Big Sleep”)
20. Sharp-tongued : ACERB
22. Does a post-meal chore : RINSES
23. Movie about a Nobel-winning chemist? : THE ION KING (from “The Lion King”)
26. Our sun : SOL
29. Word after Farm or Live : AID
30. Craving : YEN
31. Humble oneself : EAT DIRT
34. Curtain material : SCRIM
36. Surfer wannabe : HO-DAD
37. Movie about Wall Streeters' excesses? : CASH OF THE TITANS (from “Clash of the Titans”)
42. So far : AS YET
43. Bridge bid, briefly : ONE NO
44. Wild West badge : TIN STAR
47. William Tell's canton : URI
48. Brit. military honor : DSO
51. ___ Tomé : SAO
52. Movie about the early life of Lassie? : PUP FICTION (from “Pulp Fiction”)
55. ___ Creed of A.D. 325 : NICENE
58. Nonsense word said while pointing a finger : EENIE
59. Movie about the memoirs of the Duke? : WAYNE’S WORD (from “Wayne’s Word”)
63. Saint Philip ___ : NERI
64. Packing heat : ARMED
65. The "a" in a.m. : ANTE
66. Baseball analyst Hershiser : OREL
67. "Siddhartha" author : HESSE
68. River through Belgium : YSER
69. Seasonal song ... or a phonetic hint to 18-, 23-, 37-, 52- and 59-Across : NOEL

Down
1. Geologic layers : STRATA
2. Meditative exercises : TAI CHI
3. Acted the host : EMCEED
4. New Zealand native : MAORI
5. Boozehound : SOT
6. Bat wood : ASH
7. "S.N.L." alum Oteri : CHERI
8. Texas/Louisiana border river : SABINE
9. Ticker tests, for short : EKGS
10. Snoop (around) : NOSE
11. Bygone Toyota sedan : CRESSIDA
12. Jeans brand : LEE
13. Syrup base : SAP
19. "Young Frankenstein" woman : INGA
21. Certain protest : BOYCOTT
24. Soft ball brand : NERF
25. Put in stitches : KNIT
27. "The Plague" setting : ORAN
28. Bygone Fords : LTDS
32. Precarious place, metaphorically : THIN ICE
33. ___ death (overwork) : DO TO
34. Dams and does : SHES
35. Unit now known as a siemens : MHO
37. Musical with Mungojerrie and Jennyanydots : CATS
38. Home to billions : ASIA
39. Prim and proper, e.g. : SYNONYMS
40. Plenty, informally : ENUF
41. Garr who played 19-Down : TERI
45. Knuckle draggers : APES
46. Takeoff site : RUNWAY
48. Do-re-mi : DINERO
49. Evening affair : SOIREE
50. "The Iceman Cometh" playwright : O’NEILL
53. Lowly laborers : PEONS
54. Mortise's mate : TENON
56. Supermodel Sastre : INES
57. Hand over : CEDE
59. Cartoon baby's cry : WAH
60. "Chances ___," 1957 #1 hit : ARE
61. Address abbr. : RTE
62. ___ Spiegel : DER

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2 comments :

Dick Elton said...

Well, I finished, with all correct, but it took two hours. Did you used to take one or two hours, Bill? I'd never heard of ascerb, ho dad, St Phillip Neri, or mho. Again, I enjoyed your comments.

Bill Butler said...

Dick,

Oh yes, I've taken a couple hours over a puzzle in the past :)

Congrats on the finish. I think that the main thing, and enjoying the experience.

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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 everyday 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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