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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

1228-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 28 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: Louis Zulli
THEME: ID THEFT … each of the theme answers is a common term, but with the letters “ID” removed:
17A. Gift to an outgoing member of Congress? : LAME DUCK PRES(ID)ENT
36A. Dialect coach's slogan? : ACC(ID)ENTS HAPPEN
54A. Modern crime, briefly ... or a hint to 17-, 36- and 59-Across : ID THEFT
59A. European gin mill? : CONTINENTAL DIV(ID)E
COMPLETION TIME: 9m 40s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … SEWANEE (SAWANEE), ELEA (ALEA)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
14. Big name in handbags : PRADA
Prada was started in 1913 as a leather goods shop in Milan, by the two Prada brothers. One of the brothers, Mario Prada, prevented the female members of his family participating in the company as he didn't believe women should be involved in business (!). Ironically, when he passed on his son had no interest in the business, so it was daughter who took over and ran the company for about twenty years, handing it over to her own daughter.

15. Withdrawn apple spray : ALAR
The chemical name for Alar, a plant growth regulator and color enhancer, is daminozide. It was primarily used on apples but was withdrawn from the market when it was linked to cancer.

16. James who won a posthumous Pulitzer : AGEE
James Agee was a noted American film critic. He wrote an autobiographical novel "A Death in the Family" that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously.

17. Gift to an outgoing member of Congress? : LAME DUCK PRES(ID)ENT
The original usage of the term “lame duck” was on the London Stock Exchange where it referred to a broker who could not honor his debts. The idea was that a lame duck could not keep up with the rest of the flock and so was a target for predators.

20. Hanukkah pancakes : LATKES
A latke is a delicious potato pancake (I'm Irish ... so anything made with potato is delicious!).

22. The University of the South, familiarly : SEWANEE
The University of the South is a private school located in Sewanee, Tennessee. It is owned by a consortium of dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

25. Em, to Dorothy : AUNTIE
In “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, Dorothy lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.

26. Y sporter : ELI
Eli is the nickname for a graduate of Yale University, a term used in honor of the Yale benefactor Elihu Yale.

30. Camera type, for short : SLR
SLR stands for "single lens reflex". Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

33. Like some elephants : ASIAN
There are only three species of elephant living today, with all others being extinct. These are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant (or "Indian elephant"). As is well known, the African elephant is distinguished from the Asian/Indian elephant by the much larger ears.

44. A Bush : JEB
I always thought that Jeb was an American nickname for James or Joseph but I must be wrong, because George and Barbara's son John Ellis Bush is called "Jeb".

47. Carl Sagan book : COSMOS
Carl Sagan was a brilliant astrophysicist and a great communicator. He was famous for presenting obscure concepts about the cosmos in such a way that we mere mortals could appreciate. He also wrote the novel "Contact" which was adapted into a fascinating 1997 film of the same name starring Jodie Foster.

50. "Michael Collins" org. : IRA
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) has been around in various forms since 1913, just three years before it launched the famous Easter Rising of 1916, a thwarted rebellion against British rule. The IRA fought the Irish War of Independence against the British which lasted from 1919 until 1921, ending in a treaty which divided the country into the self-governing Irish Free State and the separate country of Northern Ireland which remained part of the United Kingdom. The IRA split at the time the treaty was signed, leading to the Irish Civil War which lasted from 1922 to 1923, ending in a victory for the faction that supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

“Michael Collins” is a fabulous Neil Jordan film released in 1996 that tells the story of the Irish patriot Michael Collins. The title role is played by Liam Neeson, with British actor Alan Rickman doing an excellent job playing Éamon de Valera.

57. He "was here" : KILROY
The omnipresent doodle and graffiti “Kilroy was here” dates back to WWII, although the exact origins are in doubt. A similar character exists in other countries, with a different name. In Australia, “Foo was here” and in Britain “Chad was here”. It’s felt that Chad might have been the original, and he probably pre-dated the Second World War.

64. Romain de Tirtoff's alias : ERTE
Erte was the pseudonym of French artist (Russian born) Romain de Tirtoff. Erte is the French pronunciation of his initials "R.T."

65. Hence : ERGO
"Ergo" is the Latin word for "hence, therefore".

66. Hale who won three U.S. Opens : IRWIN
Hale Irwin won three US Open golf championships, and now plays on the senior tour.

67. Nostradamus, e.g. : SEER
Nostradamus is the Latin name given to the French apothecary and purported seer Michel de Nostredame. His book "The Prophecies" is a famous source for predictions of world events. It is so popular that "The Prophesies" has rarely been out of print since it first appeared in 1555!

Down
1. Radar's rank on "M*A*S*H": Abbr. : CPL
Corporal Radar O’Reilly is a character in the “M*A*S*H” television series and film. The role was played by Gary Burghoff in both the film and on television.

4. Miss Quested of "A Passage to India" : ADELA
"A Passage to India" is a wonderful novel by E. M. Forster set in the days of the British Raj. There are two excellent adaptations for the screen that I would recommend. There's a BBC television version from 1965 starring a wonderful cast including Virginia McKenna and Cyril Cusack. There is also an Oscar-winning movie version from 1984 with Alec Guinness and Peggy Ashcroft. Forster had first-hand knowledge of life during the Raj, having worked in India during the twenties.

7. Sommer on screen : ELKE
Elke Sommer is a German-born actress who was at the height of her success on the silver screen in the sixties. She won a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer Actress for her role opposite Paul Newman in 1964's "The Prize". She also sings and has released several albums. Now she focuses on painting, producing artwork that is strongly influenced by Marc Chagall.

9. Notable #4 on the ice : 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 ...

18. Sun Bowl Stadium sch. : UTEP
The University of Texas at El Paso was founded in 1914, originally as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. To this day there is a mineshaft on the campus.

19. Grounded avian : EMU
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an "Emu War" in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the "invading force". The emus were clever, breaking their usual formation and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of "war", the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

22. Sun. talk : SER
A sermon is a Sunday talk …

23. Zeno's home : ELEA
Zeno of Elea was a Greek philosopher, who lived in Elea, a Greek colony in Southern Italy. He is famous for his “paradoxes”, a set of problems that really make you think! In the problem known as Achilles and the Tortoise, Zeno tells us that Achilles races a tortoise, giving the tortoise a head start (of say 100 meters). By the time Achilles reaches the starting point of the tortoise, the tortoise will have moved on, albeit only a small distance. Achilles then sets his sight on the tortoise’s new position and runs to it. Again the tortoise has moved ahead a little. Achilles keeps on moving to the tortoise’s new position, but can never actually catch his slower rival, or can he …?

25. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA
Apparently the song "Adia", co-written by Sarah McLachlan, was intended as an apology to her best friend ... for stealing her ex-boyfriend and then marrying him!

32. Leaf-turning time: Abbr. : OCT
As we all know, leaves are green because of the presence of the pigment chlorophyll. There is so much chlorophyll in a leaf during the growing season that it masks out the colors of any other pigments. The amount of chlorophyll falls off in the autumn so that other pigments become evident. These pigments are carotenoids which are orange-yellow in color, and anthocyanins which are red-purple.

35. D.C.-based media giant : NPR
National Public Radio (now just called NPR) was launched in 1970, after President Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The intent of the act was to provide funding for radio and television broadcasting that wasn’t simply driven by profit. As a longtime fan of the state-funded BBC in the UK, I’d have to agree with that intent …

37. Riviera city : NICE
The city of Nice lies on the Mediterranean coast of France, not far from the Italian border. Although it is only the fifth most populous city, it has the second busiest airport in the country (after Paris), a reflection of the vast number of jet-setting tourists that flock to Nice and environs.

38. Bout ender, briefly : TKO
In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can't get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly "knocked out". A referee, fighter, or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter's safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

39. Pop singer Brickell : EDIE
Edie Brickell is a singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas.

40. Soft ball material : 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.

45. Shout at a concert : ENCORE
"Encore" is the French word for "again".

46. Literary family name : BRONTE
The Brontë family lived in the lovely village of Haworth in Yorkshire, England. The three daughters all became recognised authors. The first to achieve success was Charlotte Brontë when she published “Jane Eyre”. Then came Emily with “Wuthering Heights” and Anne with “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”.

48. Poet who wrote "They also serve who only stand and wait" : MILTON
English poet John Milton is best known for his epic poem "Paradise Lost". He also wrote several sonnets, the most famous of which is probably "On His Blindness". Milton developed glaucoma which rendered him completely blind so he had to dictate a lot of his work, including the whole of "Paradise Lost".

49. Wroclaw's river, to Poles : ODRA
The River Oder rises in the Czech Republic and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland, before eventually emptying into the Baltic Sea.

Wroclaw is a city in southwestern Poland.

52. The "I" of ICBM : INTER-
An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with the range necessary to cross between continents. Being ballistic (as opposed to a cruise missile) it is guided during the initial launch phase, but later in flight just relies on thrust and gravity to arrive at its target. It is defined as intercontinental as it has a range greater that 3,500 miles. ICBMs are really only used for delivering nuclear warheads. Scary stuff ...

53. Tire letters : PSI
Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) is a measure of pressure.

57. Deborah of "Tea and Sympathy" : KERR
The lovely Deborah Kerr was a Scottish actress who made a real name for herself on the American stage and in Hollywood movies. Despite all her success, and six nominations for a Best Actress Oscar, she never actually won an Academy Award. In 1967 she appeared in the James Bond film "Casino Royale" at the age of 46, making here the oldest Bond Girl of all time.

58. "Bus Stop" playwright : INGE
Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. His most celebrated work of that time was the play "Picnic", for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of "Picnic" included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway, by the name of Paul Newman.

"Bus Stop" is a marvelous play written by William Inge in 1955. The famous 1956 movie of the same name starring Marilyn Monroe is only very loosely based on the play.

61. 1945 battle site, briefly : IWO
Iwo Jima today is an uninhabited volcanic island located south of Tokyo. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out, and no one has lived there ever since.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Roommate, informally : COHAB
6. Parade honoree, perhaps : HERO
10. Brewer's need : MALT
14. Big name in handbags : PRADA
15. Withdrawn apple spray : ALAR
16. James who won a posthumous Pulitzer : AGEE
17. Gift to an outgoing member of Congress? : LAME DUCK PRES(ID)ENT
20. Hanukkah pancakes : LATKES
21. Billing cycle, often : MONTH
22. The University of the South, familiarly : SEWANEE
25. Em, to Dorothy : AUNTIE
26. Y sporter : ELI
27. Rancher's land : SPREAD
30. Camera type, for short : SLR
31. Plant anew : RESOW
33. Like some elephants : ASIAN
36. Dialect coach's slogan? : ACC(ID)ENTS HAPPEN
41. Tot's wheels : TRIKE
42. "The usual," say : ORDER
44. A Bush : JEB
47. Carl Sagan book : COSMOS
50. "Michael Collins" org. : IRA
51. Too firm, perhaps : UNRIPE
54. Modern crime, briefly ... or a hint to 17-, 36- and 59-Across : ID THEFT
56. Computer screen lineup : ICONS
57. He "was here" : KILROY
59. European gin mill? : CONTINENTAL DIV(ID)E
64. Romain de Tirtoff's alias : ERTE
65. Hence : ERGO
66. Hale who won three U.S. Opens : IRWIN
67. Nostradamus, e.g. : SEER
68. Small songster : WREN
69. Spoke sweet nothings : COOED

Down
1. Radar's rank on "M*A*S*H": Abbr. : CPL
2. "... Mac ___ PC?" : OR A
3. Cured fare : HAM
4. Miss Quested of "A Passage to India" : ADELA
5. "You shouldn't have said that!" : BAD ANSWER
6. Cyber-nuisance : HACKER
7. Sommer on screen : ELKE
8. Speaks ill of : RAPS
9. Notable #4 on the ice : ORR
10. Grand Lodge member : MASON
11. Most major-leaguers have them : AGENTS
12. Campbell's variety : LENTIL
13. Restrain, in a way : TETHER
18. Sun Bowl Stadium sch. : UTEP
19. Grounded avian : EMU
22. Sun. talk : SER
23. Zeno's home : ELEA
24. Cheesehead's state: Abbr. : WISC
25. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA
28. Moves carefully : EASES
29. Mountain ___ : ASH
32. Leaf-turning time: Abbr. : OCT
34. Pontifical : APOSTOLIC
35. D.C.-based media giant : NPR
37. Riviera city : NICE
38. Bout ender, briefly : TKO
39. Pop singer Brickell : EDIE
40. Soft ball material : NERF
43. Wharf pest : RAT
44. Breakfast offerings : JUICES
45. Shout at a concert : ENCORE
46. Literary family name : BRONTE
48. Poet who wrote "They also serve who only stand and wait" : MILTON
49. Wroclaw's river, to Poles : ODRA
52. The "I" of ICBM : INTER-
53. Tire letters : PSI
55. Prefix with foil or phobia : HYDRO-
57. Deborah of "Tea and Sympathy" : KERR
58. "Bus Stop" playwright : INGE
60. Just out : NEW
61. 1945 battle site, briefly : IWO
62. Go head to head : VIE
63. What this is, fittingly : END

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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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